Friday, 19 September 2008


Frank James Marshall was born on August 10 1877 In New York. His family moved to Montreal Canada when he was 8 for 11 years. When he was 10 he began playing chess and by 1890, he was one of the leading players in Montreal.
He won the U.S. chess championship in 1904, but did not accept the title because the current U.S. champion, Harry Nelson Pillsbury, did not compete.
Pillsbury died in 1906 and Marshall again refused to be reconginized as champion,he won the title in 1909 and kept it untill 1936.
Marshall played in tournaments and matches from 1897 to 1940,he played some great games but did not win many tournaments.
His best tournament results and 18 months period was 1904/1905 he won 5 tournaments.Cambridge springs 1904(undeafted),New York masters 1904,3rd American congress 1904,4th Netherlands Congress 1905 and Barmen International 1905.
He played Lasker for the World championship in 1907 the result was lost 8, won 0, drew 7.
Marshall has a bad "public" match record he was beat by Tarrasch 8-1 Capablanca 8-1, but he won matches against Janowsky,Napier,Mieses and Leonhardt true not great players but he did win matches.
Marshall captained the U.S. teamp at the Chess Olympiads in the 1930s. He inspired them to 4 gold medals from 4 Olympiads.In those teams Marshall had Samuel Reshevsky and Rubin Fine.This was befor the Russians entered the Olympiad.
He was one of the first 5 Grandmasters of chess a title given by the Tsar of Russia in 1914.
The Marshall Attack in the ruy Lopez is a well known openning and is still used today.
On November 9, 1944, he was walking to a friend's house when he collapsed from a heart attack and died in the street.
I give 4 games of Marshall the American beauty,the pipe game and Marshalls notes to this game, a crazy game against Dus chotimirsky and what many think is his best game played in Ostend 1905 against Chigorin.
The American Beauty

The Pipe game

The pipe game notes
1.d4 {Notes by Marshall. Britisher Amos Burn was a very
conservative player who liked to settle down for a long
session of closed, defensive chess. He loved to smoke his pipe
while he studied the board.} d5 2.c4 e6 {Burn began hunting
through his pockets for his pipe and tobacco. } 3.Nc3 Nf6
4.Bg5 Be7 {Not much thought needed on these moves, but Burn
had his pipe out and was looking for a pipe cleaner.} 5.e3 O-O
6.Nf3 b6 7.Bd3 Bb7 8.cxd5 exd5 { He began filling up his
pipe. I speeded up my moves.} 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.h4 { Made him
think on that one. And he still didn't have the pipe
going. The threat is Bxh7+, Kxh7; Ng5+, known as the Pillsbury
Attack.} g6 11.h5 Re8 12.hxg6 hxg6 { Now he was looking for
matches. } 13.Qc2 Bg7 14.Bxg6 fxg6 { He struck a match and
appeared nervous. The match burned his fingers and went
out. }15.Qxg6 Nd7 {Another match was on its way. } 16.Ng5 Qf6
{ He was puffing away and lighting up at last, but too late. }
17.Rh8+ Kxh8 18. Qh7# { Poor Burn. I think I swindled him out
of that one. If he could only have got that pipe going, it
might have been a different story. He took it good naturedly
and we shook hands. Then his pipe went out. } 1-0

The crazy game

When Dus Chotimirsky played his 12th move Qg3 so the story goes he went into the players waiting room and said in his broken English “poor Marshall dead”.
When the players gathered around the board they saw blacks next move was either Qh2# or Qxg2#.
But Marshall just played 13Qxg4 When Dus chotimirsky saw this he swept the pieces from the board and said “oh Marshall not dead I dead”

His best game

Marshall was a fine attacking player that always went for the win,but by trying to win every game Marshall lost games that other players would have agreed a draw.This finally got to him in 1904 when he wrote a letter to a friend saying “when will I learn that a draw counts more than a loss”

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


Richard Réti was born in may 28th 1889 in Pezinok (now Slovakia). He was one of the best players in the world during the early 20th century. He was a classical chess player during his early career being a keen Kings gambit player.
After the First World War, Reti's play underwent a radical change, and he became one of the leading proponents of hypermodernism, along with Aron Nimzowitsch,Gyula Breyer, Savielly Tartakower and others.
When Frank Marshall the USA champion entered european competion again after world war 1, he was worried how he would fare against this "new craze hypermodernism". But it turned out just to be chess.
Reti has an openning named after him the Réti Opening (1. Nf3 d5 2. c4), with which he famously defeated the world champion Jose Raul Capablanca in New York in 1924 (his most famous game).
This defeat was the first time Jose Raul Capablanca had lost since he had became world champion,in fact it was the first defeat for Capablanca for 8 years.
Reti's openning can be transformed into the Catalan and English opennings with ease.It is still a commonly used opening by Grandmasters today.
Reti passed away a week after turning forty from scarlet fever, had he lived longer and not been an hypermodern who knows what chess heights he could of reached.
Although Reti was a great player and won many tornaments,i feel he never attained his true worth chesswise,even in his short life.
In 1942 Alekhine was taken ill with scarlet fever and was shocked to find he was the same Prague hospital where Reti had died from the disease in 1929.
Réti also composed numerous endgame studies this being one of his best known.

White to play and draw
• 1. Kg7! h4
• 2. Kf6 Kb6 (or 2. ... h3 3. Ke7 and the white king can support its own pawn)
• 3. Ke5!! (and now the white king comes just in time to the white pawn, or catches the black one)
• 3. ... h3
• 4. Kd6 and draws

I have to give the Capablanca defeat New york 1924 Reti's win made front page news.

Saturday, 13 September 2008


Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian (June 17, 1929 – August 13, 1984) born to Armenian parents in Tbilisi Georgia.He was nicknamed "Tigran" or "Iron Tigran" due to his playing style because of his almost impenetrable defence, which emphasised safety above all else.
So much was safety his first thought that in the 1955 U.S.S.R Championship he won 4 games lost none but drew 15 games.In his defence this championship was also a world championship zonal, the most important thing was to qualify to the interzonal rather than win the tournament.
He won the U.S.S.R championship 4 times.He played in 8 world champion candidate tournaments/matches 1953,1956,1959,1962,1971,1974,1977 and 1980.
He was world champion 1963-1969,beating Botvinnk in 1963, defending the title against Spassky in 1966 but losing to Spassky in 1969.For 27 years he was either a candidate or champion,a feat that may not be beaten in mordern times.
He was placed high in many tournament tables rather than winning many tournaments.He was very hard to beat and often went a year or so without losing a game.
In team events he was fantastic his Olympiad results are just great.
Munich 1958, 2nd reserve, 10.5/13 (+8 =5 −0), board and team gold medals;
Leipzig 1960, 2nd reserve, 12/13 (+11 =2 −0), board and team gold medals;
Varna 1962, board 2, 10/12 (+8 =4 −0), board and team gold medals;
Tel Aviv 1964, board 1, 9.5/13 (+6 =7 −0), team gold medal;
Havana 1966, board 1, 11.5/13 (+10 =3 −0), board and team gold medals;
Lugano 1968, board 1, 10.5/12 (+9 =3 −0), board and team gold medals;
Siegen 1970, board 2, 10/14 (+6 =8 −0), team gold medal;
Skopje 1972, board 1, 10.5/16 (+6 =9 −1), team gold medal;
Nice 1974, board 4, 12.5/14 (+11 =3 −0), board and team gold medals;
Buenos Aires 1978, board 2, 6/9 (+3 =6 −0), team silver medal.
His overall performance in Olympiad play is impressive: +78 =50 −1 (only one game lost out of 139 played), for 79.8 per cent
His play was considered dull by many but if he played 5 minute chess the tactian in him came out and he played open attacking chess,very unlike his normal play.
I give the 10th game from the 1966 world championship match with Spassky.
Petrosia's last move is a killer.

Petrosian has two major opening systems named after him: the Petrosian variation of the King's Indian Defence (1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. d5) and the Petrosian system in the Queen's Indian Defense (1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. a3). A variation of the Caro-Kann defense also bears his name, along with former world champion Vassily Smyslov; the Petrosian–Smyslov variation (1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7).

Thursday, 11 September 2008


Akiba Rubinstein (born Oct-12-1882, died Mar-15-1961)was Polish but become a citizen of Belgium. He was one of the strongest players never to become World Champion.
In 1912 he won five consecutive strong tournaments in one year (Vilna, San Sebastian, Breslau, Pistyan, and Warsaw). Rubinstein was to play Lasker for the World Championship in October 1914 but the first world war put a stop to that.During World War I Rubinstein as did Lasker invested all his money in German War bonds.
From 1907 to 1921 Rubinstein was one of the top 5 players in the world. He won many tournaments during his career.


Position Place Year
1 Barmen 1905
1 Lodz 1906
2 St.Petersburg 1906
3 Ostende 1906
1-2 Ostende 1907
1 Karlsbad 1907
1 Russisches Nationalturnier Lodz 1907
1 Dreimeisterturnier (2.Marshall, 3. Salwe) Lodz 1908
1-2 St.Petersburg 1909
1 Warschau 1910
2 San Sebastian 1911
2-3 Karlsbad 1911
1 San Sebastian 1912
1 Pistyan 1912
1-2 Breslau 1912
1 Warschau 1912
1 Wilna 1912
2 Viermeisterturnier Berlin 1918
2 Viermeisterturnier Stockholm 1920
1 Viermeisterturnier Rotterdam 1920
2 G”teborg 1920
1 G”teborg 1920
3 Haag 1921
1 Triberg 1922
1 Wien 1922
2 Hastings 1922
3 Meran 1924
2 Baden-Baden 1925
1 Marienbad 1925
3 Breslau 1925
3 Dresden 1926
2 Hannover 1926
3 Budapest 1926
2 Berlin 1926
1 Lodz 1927
3 Bad Kissingen 1928
2 Budapest 1929
1 Rohitsch - Sauerbrunn 1929
3 San Remo 1930
3 Scarborough
Also he never lost a match.


Year Place Opponents Results
1903 Lodz Salwe 5 - 5 (+ 5 - 5 = 0)
1903 Lodz Salwe 6 - 4 (+ 5 - 3 = 2)
1908 Lodz Salwe 5 - 3 (+ 3 - 1 = 4)
1908 Lodz Marshall 4,5 - 3,5 (+ 3 - 2 = 3)
1908 Warschau Marshall 4 - 3 (+ 4 - 3 = 0)
1908 Wien Teichmann 3,5 - 2,5 (+ 3 - 2 = 1)
1909 Berlin Mieses 6 - 4 (+ 5 - 3 = 2)
1910 Warschau Flamberg 4,5 - 0,5 (+ 4 - 0 = 1)
1918 Berlin Schlechter 3,5 - 2,5 (+ 2 - 1 = 3)
1920 Stockholm Bogoljubov 6,5 - 5,5 (+ 5 - 4 = 3)
1930 Amsterdam Landau 2,5 - 0,5 (+ 2 - 0 = 1)
I have given his playing record because he is one of the over looked players of chess. When you see this it shows how good he was.
It is claimed he studied chess for six hours a day, 300 days a year.With 60days of playing in chess tournaments. The remaining five days he rested. He never ate in public and would not shake hands for fear of germs. He was so paranoid that if a stranger came to his door, he would jump out the window
I give a game that has become known as Rubinsteins Immortal game played in 1907 against Rotlewi,sometimes spelt Rotlevi.

Sunday, 7 September 2008


Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais(1795 - 1840) possibly the strongest player in the early 19th century.
De La Bourdonnais can lay claim to be the unofficial world champion (there was no official title at the time) from 1821, when he was able to beat his chess teacher the equally if not greater Alexandre Deschapelles.
In 1834 he played a match against Alexander McDonnell this match was considered by some to be a World championship match.This match was 85 games played over 6 matches in London.Final score La Bourdonnais won 45 Mcdonnell won 27 with 13 games drawn.
The final match was abandoned.La Bourdonnais had to return to France to deal with his creditors.
Mcdonnell died a year later and La Bourdonnais died penniless in 1840.
The following game is from these matches and has a strange final position.

Saturday, 6 September 2008


Today i start a series of famous games by famous players.
Adolf Anderssen full name Karl Ernst Adolf Anderssen(July 6, 1818 - March 13, 1879) was the first great German chess master, Tarrasch and Lasker were to shortly follow. One of the classic masters of 19th century chess. He was one of the leading chess player in the world from 1851-1858 and 1861-1866.
I give 2 games from Anderssen his IMMORTAL game against Lionel Kieseritsky 1851 and his EVERGREEN game against Jean Dufrense 1852.
Both games have many sacrifices and a win is all that is in each players mind.
I don't think in these games the players were thinking get a small advantage, then grind out a win in 60 moves.Perhaps this chess is a little out of date with some of todays Grandmasters,but it is exciting to play over.