Marshall Cleans Capa’s Clock
by National Life Master Loal Davis
Frank MarshallFrank Marshall played, and lost, a match against Jose Capablanca in 1909. Marshall had the distinction of winning (my opinion) the smoothest and most beautiful game of the match. Capablanca showed himself a superb defender during this match, but couldn’t hold up against Marshall’s exquisite blend of position and tactics in this, the seventh game of the match. New York – 1909 Marshall versus Capablanca Queen’s Gambit Declined. 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e3 Ne4 Lasker’s Defense. This was introduced to the chess world by non other than Emanuel Lasker during his World Championship match with Marshall in 1907. 6. Bxe7 Qxe7 7. Bd3 Nxc3 8. bxc3 Nd7 9. Nf3 O-O 10. cxd5 exd5 11. Qb3 Nf6 12. a4 A move that is ’unjustly’ not played much nowadays. It really aids in White’s prosecution of the minority attack against Black’s Queenside. 12. …. c5 13. Qa3 b6 14. a5 Bb7 15. O-O Qc7 16. Rfb1 Ideal. White is breathing down all lines here and Black is under pressure. 16. …. Nd7 16… Ne4 appears better. 17. Bf5 Capablanca confessed to not seeing this move until it was played against him. 17. …. Rfc8 Out of the frying pan into the fire. 17… Nf6 would be better and just admit that the Knight’s last move was a mistake. 18. Bxd7 Qxd7 19. a6 Forcing an interference that wins an important Pawn. 19. …. Bc6 20. dxc5 bxc5 21. Qxc5 Rab8 Capablanca banks on activity (a trap?) to bail him out. He’s in for a surprise. 22. Rxb8 Rxb8 23. Ne5 It appears that White is winning a piece here. 23. …. Qf5 Ah – the trick/point is that Black threatens a back rank mate. Does this save him? 24. f4 Not about to be taken in, Marshall protects the Knight, provides luft(air) for the King, still threatens the Bishop, and the Pawn on a7. 24. …. Rb6
White (Marshall) To PlayProtects the Pawn, but does it hang the Bishop? The answer is NO. 25. Nxc6 allows Rb1+ and Black has a perpetual check. Check it out. As long as Black stays along the light squared weaknesses of the Pawns, White cannot avoid the constant stream of checks to his King. So – What will Marshall play now? 25. Qxb6 ! ! Marshall not only sees, but pulls off a beautiful Queen sacrifice which if accepted allows the Nxc6 and the promotion of the Queen’s Rook Pawn is inevitable. 1-0 PGN Files – Comments.