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 Marshall - Lawrence; CS-1904 

As part of my continuing efforts to annotate all the games from Cambridge Springs, 1904 ...   [more]   

I started (mostly) with the games of F.J. Marshall, so I will continue with that work here.  

 This is mostly a text-based game ... with just a few diagrams. You will definitely want a chess board.   

 Click  HERE  to see an explanation of some of the symbols that I use when annotating a chess game.  [replay] 

  Frank J. Marshall (2707) - Thomas F. Lawrence (2570) 
  International Chess Tournament (Super-Master Event)  
  Cambridge Springs, PA; {USA}  (R6) / 03,05,1904.  

mar_m-v-law_cs04__medal.gif, 02 KB

  [A.J. Goldsby I]  

Marshall dismantles a 'lesser-light' and scores a very nice victory. But it is far from easy, and it is also a complicated game ... with many surprising twists and turns. 

According to a copy of the official bulletins of the event, this game was played on Table (board) Number Five. (# 05)  
[Steve Etzel's game # 45.]  

  *** *** *** ***    *** *** *** *** ***    *** *** *** *** ***    *** *** *** *** ***    *** *** *** *** ***    *** *** *** ***  

All the notes from Fred Reinfeld (F.R.) given here are from the official book on the tournament ... unless 
otherwise indicated. 

{The source for the ratings here are: I used the July 1904 rating list, as Lawrence 
was not rated prior to any of the other lists that J. Sonas has on his site.}  

 1.d4 d5;  2.c4 e5;  {See the diagram given, just below.}   
The Albin Counter Gambit," an opening that was very much "in vogue" at the end of the nineteenth century.  

mar_m-v-law__p1.gif, 08 KB

  rnbqkbnr/ppp2ppp/8/3pp3/2PP4/8/PP2PPPP/RNBQKBNR w  


Black willingly gives up a Pawn, but gets a lot of counterplay. The official theoretical verdict today is that this is unsound, but OK for the club level. (But please bear in mind that this opening was played over 100 years ago!!! Opening theory was hardly as well developed then as it obviously is today. Further, the light bulb was 
not even common in those days, today we have computers, large databases of GM-level games and dozens of books to refer to. So please keep all this in mind ... it helps to place this game into it's proper historical context.) 

As with any gambit, the defender must play with caution, or risk a quick and decisive defeat.   

     [ After the moves:  2...e63.Nc3 Nf64.Nf3 c65.e3 Nbd76.Bd3,  "+/="  
       we reach the Meran System. (See ECO for more details.)  

       A recent game - that was played at a high level - was the contest:  
       GM Ivan Sokolov - GM A. Dreev; / ICT, The 7th Karpov Tournament 
       Poikovsky, RUS; (Rnd. # 04) / 2006.  {Drawn in 47 moves.} ]  


 3.dxe5 d4!;   
This move is considered best. (It denies White's QN its best square and also causes White some problems in finishing his overall development.) 

     [ After the continuation:  </=  3...Nc6!?; (Inferior?)  4.cxd5 Nxe5; 5.Qd4, "+/="  
        White has a clear edge. (No games found in the db with this position.) ]  


This is the most natural move for White in this position ... but other tries are playable. 
(See the line given - just below.)  

     [ After the continuation of:   4.a3 Nc65.Nf3 Bg46.Bf4 a5!?  ( >/= 6...Bxf3!; "~")   
       7.Nbd2 Nge78.h3 Bxf39.Nxf3 Ng610.Bg5 Be711.Bxe7 Qxe712.Nxd4 0-0-0  
       13.e3 Ncxe5!?14.Qe2 c515.Nf5, "+/="  (Maybe - '')    
        White kept an extra Pawn ... and went on to win a very long and difficult struggle. 

       A.B. Hodges - F.J. Marshall; / ICT, Masters / New York City, NY; (R5) / 1900.   
       {1-0 in 67 total moves.} ]  


So far - this is all considered to be the best line - even today.  


 5.Bf4!?,   {See the diagram given, just below.}   
A seemingly natural move, White protects his KP and develops a piece at the same time. However, a book on this opening, (albeit a rather older tome in my library); criticizes this try as "amateurish."  

mar_m-v-law__p2.gif, 08 KB

r1bqkbnr/ppp2ppp/2n5/4P3/2Pp1B2/5N2/PP2PPPP/RN1QKB1R b  


To me, the move is a very logical one, and if Black plays inaccurately, White keeps his extra Pawn and quickly gets the better of things. 

[ A modern, ('book') line is:   (>/=)  5.g3 Be6!?  
  This appears to be a relatively 'normal' developing move.  

  * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *    

     ( After the continuation of: 5...Bg4;  6.Bg2 Qd7;  7.Nbd2, "+/="  7...0-0-0;  "~"    
        Black has a fair amount of counterplay in this position. 

       [ See MCO-14, page # 504; the fourth (#4) column ...   
         and all appropriate and relevant notes. ]   


       Apparently, Marshall already had some experience with the Black side    
       of this variation. For example:  5...Bc5;  6.a3 a5;  7.Bg2 Nge7;  8.Nbd2 Bg4;     
       9.0-0 0-0;  10.h3 Bxf3;  11.Nxf3 Ng6;  12.e6!?,  "+/="  and this contest was    
       eventually drawn.    

       C. Schlechter - F.J. Marshall; / ICT, Master's Tournament    
       Paris, FRA; (10.2) / 09,06,1900. )   

  * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *    

  6.Nbd2 Qd77.Bg2 0-0-08.0-0 h5;  9.h4,  "+/="   9...Nh6;  "~"   
  when Black has good play.  

  FM Robert Vogel (2330) - IM Benjamin Finegold (2375);  
  8990 "Bundesliga" (National Team League) / Germany, 1989. (0-1, 34 moves.) ]   


Black attempts to immediately play ...Ng6 in an attempt to gain counterplay and perhaps get the Pawn back. (This remains one of the main lines, even today.)  

     [ Another idea here is: 5...h6 thinking about a possible  ...g7-g5;  and then  ...Bf8-g7. ]  


 6.h3!?,  (Maybe - '!')  (TN?)   {See the diagram given, just below.}  
The 'book' line is to simply play a developing move here, but I really like Marshall's move.  

mar_m-v-law__p3.gif, 08 KB

  r1bqkb1r/ppp1nppp/2n5/4P3/2Pp1B2/5N1P/PP2PPP1/RN1QKB1R b  


The idea is to play g2-g4, and then fianchetto White's KB. Furthermore, h3 creates a safe haven for White's dark-squared Bishop ... which can now hide on h2 ... or maybe later will come to rest on the g3-square. (Which is what occurs in the actual game.) 

     [ A more common continuation, and one that theory approves of, would have (instead) been:   
       6.Nbd2 Ng67.Bg3 Bf58.a3 Qe7;  "~"   when Black seems to be OK.   

       W. Schiller - M. Petters; / Correspondence, (079) / 1999.   
       {An evenly played contest that was eventually drawn in 40 moves.} ]   


 6...Ng6;  7.Bh2 Bf5!?;   
Black is thinking about ...Nb4. 
(The most natural move here would have probably been to play 7...Be7.) 

"Better is 7...B-K3; at once."  - Fred Reinfeld.  


 8.a3 f6!?;  (Perhaps dubious?)   
"Playing strictly to win, Lawrence decides to get along with a two Pawn minus -   
 rather a hazardous undertaking."  - Fred Reinfeld  

     [ I would suggest that Black try:  (>/=)  8...h5!?9.Nbd2!? Qe7!10.Qa4 0-0-0;  "~  
       with a comfortable position. ]   

The next series of moves does not require a lot of commentary to understand, both sides focus (mainly) on {their respective} development. 
 9.exf6 Qxf6;  10.Bxc7 Be7;  11.Nbd2 0-0;  12.g4 Be6;  13.Bg3!,   {Diagram below.}  
Marshall slyly consolidates and prevents Black from obtaining any real counterplay.  

mar_m-v-law__p4.gif, 08 KB

  r4rk1/pp2b1pp/2n1bqn1/8/2Pp2P1/P4NBP/1P1NPP2/R2QKB1R b  


This would be a good place to take 5-10 minutes and try to study this position. A fair evaluation would be that White is better here - but Black has some play.  

     [ If  13.Bg2!?,  then  13...Nh4;  "<=>"  (w/counterplay)  - Fred Reinfeld. ]  


 13...Qf7;  14.Qc2 Rac8;  15.Bg2 Bf6?!;   (Maybe - '?')   {See the diagram given, just below.}   
Black attempts to centralize. (His last move protects/covers d4.)  

mar_m-v-law__p6.gif, 08 KB

  2r2rk1/pp3qpp/2n1bbn1/8/2Pp2P1/P4NBP/1PQNPPB1/R3K2R w   


This is the wrong approach, however, Black should instead play the aggressive 15...b5! or maybe the prophylactic 15...h6

     [ "The move, 15...Kh8;  was in order."  - Fred Reinfeld ]   


Now Marshall leaves his King in the center to swiftly strike at the "hole" on d6. 
(F.J.M.'s next move threatens to win an exchange.) 

 16.Ne4! Rcd8;  (hmmm)   {See the diagram given, just below.}   
Black sidesteps the threat(s).   

mar_m-v-law__p6.gif, 08 KB

  3r1rk1/pp3qpp/2n1bbn1/8/2PpN1P1/P4NBP/1PQ1PPB1/R3K2R w  


This has been labeled a mistake by some, but the truth is that Black is already in a bad way. (If you want to look for substantial improvements, you have go back much earlier in this contest.) 

"This move entails the loss of the exchange, and likewise, much good attacking material." - F. Reinfeld 

   *** *** *** *** ***   *** *** *** *** ***   *** *** *** *** ***   

Now the box likes castling, (on the Queenside); yet I think that the line chosen by Marshall seems both the simplest and the best. (After Ng5, Black's choices over the next series of moves is limited.)   
 17.Nfg5! Qe7;  18.Nxf6+ Qxf6;  19.Nxe6 Qxe6;  20.Bd5 Rxd5;  21.cxd5 Qxd5;  22.0-0,   
One writer {in a newspaper of that period}; said that "Lawrence appeared a bit puzzled" by this perfectly natural play. 

Fred Reinfeld states that: "Lawrence must have suffered from a hallucination regarding the possibility of this move." 

Apparently, it has been a common misconception - all over the world - that if the Rook is attacked, then castling is impossible. (Even players at the highest level seem to be somewhat unsure of the rules, {for more details}; see my web page on the Korchnoi - Karpov game ... from their Candidates Match in Moscow, USSR; 1974. Apparently, in a similar situation, Korchnoi was unsure if castling was legal ... and had to ask the arbiter for a ruling before he played the simple move of 0-0.) 

     [ </= 22.f3?!, "+/="  23...Qe6; "<=>" ]   


 22...Nce5;  23.Rac1 d3!;   
The only practical try.  

Fred Reinfeld called this play, "Ingenious, but unavailing," and went on to comment that:   ... "the rest is merely a struggle against fate." 


All of Black's tricks gain him little, on this day, Marshall is defending well ... and plays nearly perfect chess.  
 24.Rfd1! Qd4;  25.Qb3+ Kh8;  26.Rxd3!,    {See the (last) diagram given, just below.}  
The best move, Marshall avoids any possibility of a miracle "save" by his opponent.  

mar_m-v-law__p7.gif, 07 KB

  5r1k/pp4pp/6n1/4n3/3q2P1/PQ1R2BP/1P2PP2/2R3K1 b  


This move is also correct on principle, Marshall - greatly ahead in material - returns some of the booty, in order to pare down the attacker's forces.  

     [ Fritz prefers the greedy  26.Qxb7, "+/-"  in this position. ]   


 26...Nxd3;  27.Qxd3 Qf6;   
Black is two Pawns down.  

Although White's King seems to have a lot of "air" in front of it, Lawrence is completely unable to generate anything meaningful.  

     [ After the moves:  27...Qxb2!?28.Rb1 Qf629.Rxb7 Nf430.Bxf4 Qxf431.Qg3 Qxg3+  
        32.fxg3 Ra833.e4,  "+/-"   Black's endgame is completely without hope here. ]  

The rest does not require any further commentary.   
 28.Qc3 Qe6;  29.Qc4 Qb6;  30.b4 Qd8;  31.Qe6 Re8;  32.Qd6 Qg5;  33.f4!? Qb5;  34.f5 Nf8;   
 35.Rc5 Qa4;  36.Qd3 Nd7!?; ('?!')   [36...Qd7.]   37.Rc7 Nf6;  38.g5 Ne4?!;  ('?')   
One last miscue.  

     [ >/= 38...Nh5!? ]   


 39.Qd4,  "+/-"   
Black resigns, if 39...Rg8; (to prevent the mate on g7); then simply 40.QxN/e4 wins.  

An under-rated game by Marshall, who played the whole of this pithy struggle with keenly precise moves, a lesser player would have fallen victim to Black's many tricks & traps. 

  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 2003.  
  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 2006. All rights reserved.  


    1 - 0    

 A special deep, sincere thanks - are due to  Steven Etzel  of Wisconsin. (His website.)  Because of his generosity, I have a clear and legible copy of the original tournament book, AND a copy of the very rare bulletins for this event. He also was kind enough to play through this game ... {Several other friends and students were kind enough to play through this game ... and offer their questions and ideas as well.) I also cannot stress how good his website is, Steve's attention to detail and accuracy are incredible. I am both proud to contribute to his website and also grateful to him for all the meticulous work that he has done. Without him, great events like CS-1904 might be forgotten. (Thanks, Steve!!!)  


I used the excellent program,  ChessBase 9.0  to prepare the notes and game analysis. I used the program,  Chess Captor 2.25  to prepare the diagrams. I used  "FrontPage"  to prepare and polish the HTML for my website.  

  This (web) page  (just the basic HTML shell)  was created in  June,  2004.   
  (Final format and posting completed on:  Monday; August 28th, 2006.)  
  This page was last updated on 04/02/14   


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    Copyright ()  A.J. Goldsby,  2008.  All rights reserved.     

   [Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 2002 - 2007. All rights reserved.]  

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