Monday, July 18, 2005

Kupchik-Marshall, Lake Hopatcong 1923

Black to play after 15.Bc4.
What's the strongest move to continue Marshall's initiative?

The following game was one of the best of the 9th American Chess Congress at Lake Hopatcong 1923. Marshall considered it one of the best of his career. The two players went on to tie for first in the tournament. The PGN file is introduced with Helms's original notes in his chess column followed by many of Marshall's own notes on the game. You can play through the PGN by copying it to the clipboard and pasting it into Fritz or another PGN-viewer.

by Herman Helms
The Brooklyn Eagle
Friday, August 17, 1923

Marshall's success against Kupchik in the chess masters tournament at Lake Hopatcong came as a result of his treatment of the Black side of the Queen's Gambit, which commenced in posting his King's Bishop to QKt5. Generally speaking, this is not regarded as the ideal post for that piece, which is really required for defensive purposes either at K2 or Q3. It suits Marshall better, however, when in an attacking mood. Kupchik might have improved his chances with 5.Q-R4ch instead of Q-Kt3 and later he lost time when he played 8.B-Q2.

Ordinarily the experts prefer two bishops to two knights, but in the hands of the United States champion the 'horses' were terrible weapons. His manipulation of them cost Kupchik the 'exchange' and soon after the game.

[Event "9th American Chess Congress"]
[Site "Lake Hopatcong, NJ USA"]
[Date "1923.08.16"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Kupchik, Abraham"]
[Black "Marshall, Frank James"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D38"]
[Annotator "Marshall, Goeller, and Fritz"]
[PlyCount "68"]
[EventDate "1923.??.??"]

{Marshall annotates this game in his book "My Fifty Years of Chess," where he calls this "one of my best games." He prefaces it with the following: "It is delightful to observe how Black's advantage in development sweeps over all resistance. Open lines give him the initiative in short order." White makes no obvious blunders but only plays a bit passively, which invites Marshall to cause trouble.} 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bb4 ({ Marshall writes: "Black has a wide choice here:} 4... Nbd7) (4... Be7) (4... c5 ) ({or} 4... c6 { . However, I like the text best, because of its aggressive tendencies."}) 5. Qb3 ({Marshall thinks better is} 5. Qa4+ Nc6 $8) 5... c5 (5... Nc6 $5) 6. cxd5 exd5 7. dxc5 ({Marshall suggests that "here or next move} 7. Bg5 {was better. The text opens lines for Black, and the following move is too conservative."}) 7... Nc6 8. Bd2 $6 Be6 $1 {"Already threatening to win a piece with ...d4."} 9. Ng5 O-O $1 $15 {Black strives for speedy development at every turn and already has a slight edge.} ({The time-wasting} 9... Nd4 $5 10. Qd1 $1 (10. Nxe6 $5) 10... O-O 11. e3 Nc6 12. Be2 (12. Nb5 $5 Bg4 $1 $36) 12... Bf5 13. O-O { gives White good chances of equalizing.}) 10. e3 Nd7 $1 11. Nxe6 fxe6 $17 { "Black has splendid prospects, what with his superior development and the open f-file."} 12. Bb5 Nxc5 13. Qd1 d4 $1 {"With this energetic push Black opens up the game further to his advantage" writes Marshall.} 14. exd4 $8 Nxd4 15. Bc4 Qh4 $1 $19 {At every turn Marshall strives to increase his development and the scope of his pieces. White is already lost yet he has made no obviously bad moves other than the overly cautious 8.Bd2?!} 16. O-O Rad8 $5 {Marshall foregoe s cashing in on his advantage in order to develop his last piece to its best square!} ({In his notes, Marshall gives this move an exclamation mark and writes that the apparently stronger} 16... Nf3+ $1 17. gxf3 Qxc4 { "yields a winning positional advantage; but the text is even more convincing."} ) 17. Be2 $6 ({Better resistance might be offered by} 17. f4 $1) 17... Bxc3 18. bxc3 Ne4 $1 {"Decisive because of the pressure on the d-file. There is really no good counter to the threat of Nxd2 followed by Nf3+.} 19. cxd4 ({ Marshall notes that "Amusing would be} 19. Kh1 $2 Nxd2 ({ Fritz prefers the stronger} 19... Rxf2 $1) 20. Qxd2 $2 (20. cxd4 Nxf1 $19) 20... Nf3 {and the Queen is lost just the same!"}) 19... Rxd4 20. Qb3 $6 ({ White can first force Black's Knight out of position with the tricky} 20. Bg5 $1 Nxg5 21. Qc2 $17 {though Black is still winning.}) 20... Nxd2 21. Qxe6+ Kh8 22. g3 ({"There was no escape from material loss: if} 22. Rfe1 Qxf2+ 23. Kh1 Re4 $19 {and wins."}) 22... Qe4 $1 { Marshall always preferred to simplify once he had won material.} 23. Qxe4 Rxe4 24. Bd3 (24. Rfe1 Rfe8 25. Rac1 h6 $19) 24... Rd4 { White must surrender the exchange or lose a piece.} 25. Bc2 Nxf1 26. Rxf1 b5 27. Kg2 Rd2 {"The ending is an easy win" remarks Marshall.} 28. Bb3 a5 29. a4 Rb2 30. Bd1 Rb1 31. axb5 Rd8 32. Bg4 Rxf1 33. Kxf1 a4 34. b6 Rb8 0-1

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