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Frank Marshall vs Alexander Alekhine
St. Petersburg (1914), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 3, May-12
French Defense: McCutcheon Variation (C12)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-20-04  Whitehat1963: Using the opening of the day, Alekhine badly outplays Marshall.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Very odd Marshall over-looking a mate like this.
May-14-08  sfairat: I'd say Marshall badly outplays Alekhine but then aliens kidnap Marshall and substitute him with someone who makes childish blunders and Alekhine wins. NOT a good game for Alekhine.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <sfairat: I'd say Marshall badly outplays Alekhine but then aliens kidnap Marshall and substitute him with someone who makes childish blunders and Alekhine wins. NOT a good game for Alekhine.>

At what point do you think Marshall is better?

May-14-08  anjyplayer: Marshall was a super genius with bad temperament. A huge majority of his games are full of such blunders.
May-14-08  sfairat: At the point where Marshall deprives Alekhine of the ability to castle and goes on a king hunt, I think his play is definitely superior.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <At the point where Marshall deprives Alekhine of the ability to castle and goes on a king hunt>

You mean at move 12? That's one way to look at it. Another is that Marshall's center is gone, that he really can't get at Alekhine's king, and that he's a pawn down. 13. Qxd4 Nc6 does not look promising to me. If you see a concrete way for Marshall to get an advantage (expressed in moves, not words), I'd like to see it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <keypusher & sfairat> In the tournament book, Tarrasch states after 17.Nd6: <Now the knight stands much stronger than previously. The center pawns are weak and Black's King's position endangered. Black is totally lost; but he defends himself valiantly.>

Fritz indicates that Alekhine's moves 14...e4? (14...Qxc8!) and 15...dxe4? (15...Qa5+!) caused Black to slip into a losing position.

At move 20, Tarrasch recommends 20.Nxe4, and states, <With a pawn more and an excellent position, White must clearly win,..>.

Fritz agrees that White is winning at move 20: (1.87) (20 ply) 20.cxd3 exd3 21.f4 Qa5 22.Qxa5 Nxa5 23.Nd4 Nec4 24.N4f5.

Fritz shows there are several other moves that offer White good winning chances: 20.Nc3 Rf8; 20.Nxe4 Qc8; 20.Nf4 Qd7, or 20.Ng3 Qc7.

At move 24, Fritz and Tarrasch agree that after 24.Re3, Black would exchange Rooks, and after the exchange of Queens, penetrate to g2 with his other Rook, and it is a likely draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Pawn and Two> Thanks. What does the computer say if 14...Qxc8?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <keypusher> A deeper search by Fritz provided a better evaluation of 14...Qxc8 and 14...e4. Fritz indicated both moves will lead to an equal position.

At 23 ply, Fritz gave the following continuation: 14...Qxc8 15.Bf5 Qc5 16.Ne2 Nb6 17.0-0 Nc6 18.Bc8, with an equal position.

A review of 14...e4 showed the following: (.05) (24 ply) 14...e4 15.Bxe4 Qa5+ 16.Kd1 dxe4 17.Qxe4 Nc6 18.Nd6 Qb4. At this point Fritz indicated: (.00) (20 ply) 19.Qd5 Rh7 or (.00) (20 ply) 19.Qf4 Nce5, with an equal position.

Alekhine's slip at move 15 was a serious error: (1.59) (20 ply) 15...dxe4? 16.Qa3+ Kg7 17.Nd6 Ne5 18.0-0-0 d3.

Alekhine varied at move 17, but Fritz indicted White still maintained his winning advantage: (1.52) (18 ply) 17...Nc6 18.0-0-0 Nde5 19.Ne2 d3.

Marshall then missed a clear winning line at move 20.

At move 23, White still had some advantage, and Fritz indicated he should try: (.87) (19 ply) 23.Qb3 Qb6 24.Rxd3 Rhg8 25.Rxg8 Rxg8 26.Re3. This line looks promising for White, but additional research is needed to determine if it offers White winning chances.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <keypusher> A deeper review of 23.Qb3 confirms White's advantage. After 23.Qb3: (1.12) (23 ply) 23...Qb6 24.Rxd3 Rhg8 24.Rxg8 Rxg8 25.Re3.

At this point Black has two main options: (1.08) (23 ply) 26...Rg2 27.Qxb6 axb6 28.h3 b5 29.b3 Nxf3 30.Nxb5 Rf2 31.Nd6 Nfd4 32.Nxd4 Nxd4 35.c3 Nf5 34.Nxf5 Rxf5, or (1.16) (23 ply) 26...Qxb3 27.Rxb3 b6 28.f4 Rg2 29.fxe5 Rxe2 30.exf6 Re1+ 31.Kd2 Re6 32.Rd3 Rxf6 33.Ne4.

At this point Fritz shows White's advantage is slowly increasing in both of these lines. I think White has good winning chances in either of these lines.

Marshall's tragic blunder at move 24 is hard to explain. Perhaps he was short of time. The time control was 2 hours for the first 30 moves.

A win for Marshall in this game would have moved him into a 2nd place tie with Lasker. Instead, it was Alekhine who enjoyed a brief stay in 2nd place. Also, this game had a large effect on the final standings, with Alekhine finishing in 3rd with 10 points, Tarrasch 4th with 8.5 points and Marshall 5th with 8 points.

May-12-14  notyetagm: Marshall vs Alekhine, 1914

Wow, this game was played *exactly* 100(!) years ago today.

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