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Frank Marshall vs Jose Raul Capablanca
"Cuban b-File Crisis" (game of the day Sep-22-2014)
Capablanca - Marshall (1909), New York, NY USA, rd 23, Jun-23
Tarrasch Defense: Rubinstein System (D33)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: I have video annotated this game which is a great demonstration of exploiting a pawn majority from the "Mozart of Chess" here:

Mar-01-11  Calli: A few points about this game:

Julius Finn pointed out that 14.Bxf3 exf3 15.Qa4+ Bd7 16.Nxd7 Qxd7 17.Qe4+ Qe7 18.Qxf3 should draw.

16.KR-B1 is also in ACM (July, 1909) which the earliest source I have.

Em. Lasker, annotating in the Evening Post, recommended 17.e4 followed by Qe3 as a way to get the pawns moving. It appears that Marshall's move deserves a question mark 17.Qe4?

ACM gives the time consumed as Marshall 2hr 17 min, Capablanca only 1hr 35 min.

This was the last game of the match, Capablanca finally ending it after nine draws in a row.

Jul-02-12  Zkid: <Gypsy> That position is definitely not a routine win. In fact I think it is quite likely drawn. Black cannot force either a kingside invasion or promotion; by combining threats he might invade but it's certainly not easy and probably not forced. The extra piece, on the other hand, is a definitely won position which proved to be simple technique for Capablanca.
Sep-22-13  rccomputacion: Parece muy poca ventaja un peón de mas en un flanco... yo pienso que Marshall jugo mal... bien jugado debería ser tabla... o no????
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: : < rccomputacion: Parece muy poca ventaja un peón de mas en un flanco... yo pienso que Marshall juego mal... bien jugado debería ser tabla... o no????>

Marshall didn't play very well but Capablanca did play well. It's a great example of making use of a pawn majority. But my favourite part is black's powerful bishop.

Nov-04-13  whiteshark: Shereshevsky's "Endgame Strategy" also gives <16.Rfc1>.

I wonder when will finally correct the score.

* submitted

Nov-04-13  RookFile: A perfectly modern game by Capa. One can easily see Karpov conducting this middlegame and endgame and getting the victory in exactly the same way.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: 48...Rxc3 47. Rd6+ Kf7 48. Rxg6 Kxg6? 1/2:1/2.
Premium Chessgames Member
  piltdown man: Yeah alright, I'll pay the pun.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Simply delicious. Black's pawns are turbocharged. White's are clamped.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: It's a great pun, inspired!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Lovely and very instructive endgame by Capa.
Sep-22-14  kevin86: white must give up his rook to avoid a quick mate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bubo bubo: <kevin86> But even this will grant White only a very short respite, since he cannot free his king from its cage: 50.Rd7+ Kh6 51.Rh7+ Kxh7 52.Kg5 Kg7 and mate in two.

Anyway, an instructive game and a cool pun!

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: They didn't call him "the wily Cuban" for nothing.
Sep-23-14  Petrosianic: That's Wile E. Cuban. He was part coyote, on his mother's side.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Petro is warming up for his next gig, lead comedy writer for Jimmy Fallon.
Sep-23-14  Shams: From what I've seen, Seth Myers is in more need of help than Fallon is.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: The final position would be more interesting if White did not possess the c3 Pawn.
Mar-11-16  RookFile: Sure, he could play something like Rxg6+ with stalemate ideas. And Marshall, the great master of the swindle, would have have seen it. Alas, there was indeed a c pawn.
Dec-24-16  maelith: Classic example of utilizing your majority.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: Although in this game, Capablanca made use of the Q-side majority in this game, 20 years later against the same opponent, this opponent had this majority and still lost! Marshall vs Capablanca, 1927
Oct-05-22  Henriquetm122118: Marshall was wrong to play 19. a3?! it was better to have played: 19.b3 Kfc8 20.Rac1 c4 21. bxc4 bxc4 22.Bf3 Kb5 23.Bg4 Ke5 24.Qf4 f5 25.Bf3 h6=
Premium Chessgames Member
  EBowie: 16.) Rfc1, to my eye, is where things started to go wrong for Marshall. Occupying the d file right away seems better.
Jul-19-23  generror: An impressive win by young Capablanca. His <6...Be6> looks pretty bad to me; it was quite common in the 1910s (maybe inspired by this victory), but has fallen out of use since then. Stockfish doesn't seem to mind much, but I guess White can simply go Ng5 and Nxe6 and then Black has ugly hanging pawns in the center.

Similar to the famous first Marshall vs Lasker, 1907 match game, Marshall allows his opponent to quickly simply the game, getting a threatening pawn formation with <19.a3?> (<19.b3!> was clearly required here), but I'd say the decisive mistake is <24.Qc6?>, because now Capablanca gladly forces the queen exchange with <24...Qe5!> (with the threat of <25...Rd2>).

From then on, Capablanca is in his element. Even though Marshall defends himself very well (at (least compared to the Lasker game), Capablanca inexorably tightens the net and forces him to give trade his bishop for the two aforementioned pawns. Marshall even exploits about the only endgame inaccuracy by Capablanca, <40...h5?!> allowing <41.f4> which gives Marshall a (rather theoretical) chance to mobilize his kingside majority.

However, then, it goes downhill fast. Even I, a lowly 1200-rated worm, had to wince when I saw him first blockading his own passed pawn with <45.Bc4?> instead of pushing it, then trapping his own king with <46.Qh4?>, and finally helping Black in mating his king with <47.Bc7+?> ("Marshall sees check, Marshall gives check", to nastily paraphrase a nasty saying). Stockfish says it's already a forced mate in 18 after <46.Kg7>, but after <47.Kf6>, it's mate in 7, and Capa sure doesn't miss it.

Definitively an impressive win by Capablanca who shows what a accomplished endgame player he was. As to Marshall, I'd say he was born a twenty years too late. He just was no match for more well-rounded guys like Lasker or Capablanca who had soaked up and transcended the teachings of Steinitz and were not only good at tactics and calculation, but equally good in the endgame.

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