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Georg Marco vs Frank James Marshall
Monte Carlo (1904), Monte Carlo MNC, rd 9, Feb-17
Four Knights Game: Spanish. Classical Variation (C48)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-31-07  Petrosianic: Looking at this game, one might wonder why on earth it's a draw. Black is dead lost, since his Bishop is trapped.

What happened was this: Marco and Marshall actually agreed to a draw on Move 19. But the officials wouldn't accept one until Move 32. So they went through the motions of playing to Move 32, during which time Marshall blundered (with 30...Kb6??). Marco, feeling it would be wrong to take advantage of this, honored the draw they'd already agreed to.

(Source: Chess To Enjoy by Andy Soltis, Chess Life, April 1992)

Jul-31-07  capanegra: <Petrosianic> The Bishop is trapped of course, but I can't see how it could be taken. Before ♔b2 White must protect his ♙ with ♗d3, but then Black plays ♔xa4. Can you show me the winning line?
Jul-31-07  Petrosianic: You're right, it's not as easy as it looks. Soltis writes: "Of course, Black is quite lost after Bd3 and Kb2.", but it's not as simple as that. I believe that White wins by keeping K and B where they are, making pawn moves, and running Black out of Pawn moves (since Black's h pawn has already moved, he should run out of pawn moves first). Then after Black moves his king away from a5, White plays Bd3, Black plays K back to a5, then Kb2, and the Bishop falls.

But it's not quite as easy as Soltis makes it sound.

Incidentally, his column gives black's last move as 32... P-N3, which isn't included in the score here. But due to ambiguous notation, it's not clear whether that should be b6 or g6.

Nov-10-10  centralfiles: 6...Nd4 is rarely played but seems an adequate way for Black to hold in the four Knights. 7.Be2 is met nicely here by Marshalls ...d5 (but not ...♖e8 ♘f3 ♘xe4 ♘xe4 ♖xe4 ♘xd4 ♗xd4 c3 ). 7.d3 holds the pawn but Black has nice compensation as the light Bishop cannot defend the Kingside (see Tarrasch vs J Perlis, 1912 and my post there). 7.Ba4 is similiar only worse as White must still take time to play d3. 7.Nf3 allows simple equality after Nxb5 see H Morton vs I A Horowitz, 1936. 7.Nd3 ...Bb6 8.e5 Ne8 with compensation for the pawn. 7.Re1 ...d6 8.Nf3 Ng4 with more than just compensation.
Nov-10-10  centralfiles: Were left with 7.Bc4! holding d5 and keeping the rook on f8 while the Bishop still retains access to e2. After the natural 7...d6 8.Bg4 Be2 Black does not have enough compensation for the pawn. 7...d5?! is tricky since Black does well both after 8.exd5 ♖e8 9.♘f3 ♗g4 and 8.♗xd5 ♕e7 9.♘f3 ♗g4. White should play 8.♘xd5 ♘xd5 9.♗xd5(9.exd5 is not so clear)♕e7 10.♗xf7+! . Black should try 7...c6 though White might still have a small edge with 8.Be2!.
Apr-06-14  centralfiles: <Petrosianic> But white does not have seem to have a way to force zugzwang, if Kd2 ...Kb4 and if Be1 ...Bb1. so there isn't a simple way forward here.
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