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Marshall - Tarrasch Match

Siegbert Tarrasch12/17(+8 -1 =8)[games]
Frank Marshall5/17(+1 -8 =8)[games] Chess Event Description
Marshall - Tarrasch (1905)

After defeating David Janowski by a score of +8 -5 =4 in Janowski - Marshall, Match 2 (1905), Marshall issued a challenge to Tarrasch. The match between the then 8th (Marshall) and 3rd strongest players in the world, would be won by the first player to score eight wins.

Marshall's credentials as an elite player had been made out through his performance at the strong Cambridge Springs (1904) tournament. This he had won by a two points margin, ahead of World Champion Emanuel Lasker who came second equal (+9 -2 =4) with Janowski. Marshall had also beaten the world champion in their first individual game at Paris 1900.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Tarrasch 1 = = = 1 = 1 1 0 1 = = = 1 = 1 1 12 Marshall 0 = = = 0 = 0 0 1 0 = = = 0 = 0 0 5

The 42 year old Tarrasch demolished his 27 year old challenger in his third strongest career rating performance (his 1894 match with Walbrodt and Vienna (1898) being the other two), and what would be his best rating achievement after 1900. Tarrasch went onto two further very good performances in Ostend (1905) and Ostend (Championship) (1907), but then began a lengthy albeit slow decline down the rankings.

Marshall was about to hit his peak years which lasted up to around 1918.

Match conditions

The playing venue was the Kleine Saal (Small Hall) of the "Rosenau" in Nuremberg, Germany. The stakes were 2,000 Marks each side, and the winner to take it all. The winner being the first to win 8 games, but if the player were tied at 7 wins each, the match would then be drawn and the stake divided.

The match was played five days in the week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Play began at 11 am and continued until a 5 pm adjournment, recommencing again at 8 pm. If play continued until 11 pm, the match director had to decide the arrangement of the further adjournment depending on the expected length of the remainder of the game. If a game was adjourned for a second time, then only this and no other game would be played on the next playing day.

Each player was allowed to take three breaks during the match; every break had to be announced until 10:30 am of the playing day, and then that day would be a free day.


The time the players took is given in the book of the match. The fourth column indicates <M> if Marshall consumed significantly more time, <T> if Tarrasch did, and <=> if roughly equal. The time-control was a reflective 3 hours for the first 40 moves, thereafter one hour for the next 14 moves.

Game Tarrasch Marshall 1 3:08 3:40 M 2 1:25 1:57 M 3 2:20 2:45 M 4 2:55 3:08 = 5 3:17 3:12 = 6 4:42 4:01 T 7 3:03 3:10 = 8 3:35 4:11 M 9 2:57 2:46 = 10 2:16 2:56 M 11 0:59 1:22 M 12 3:17 3:06 = 13 3:08 3:11 = 14 3:03 3:14 = 15 2:53 2:57 = 16 2:51 2:47 = 17 1:56 1:44 =

Tarrasch declared in the match book that he would have still enjoyed playing even without a time limit. The comparatively long reflection time was soon the subject of an article by William Ewart Napier in the Pittsburg Dispatch in September, part of which is reprinted in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on October 1. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle report speaks of the disappointment of Marshall's supporters at the results so far and states that "Evidently the unusual time limit .. an almost unheard of condition is telling against the Brooklynite". It then quotes Napier speaking of Marshalls "concession" regarding the time control. In a long paragraph of what is especially pleading, he contrasts Marshall's "Happy blend of spontaneity, vital keenness and enthusiasm" with Tarrasch's genius, "if such it really be ... (which is) an infinite capacity for taking pains."

Napiers conclusion is that the public want exciting games played by "men rather than machines". Marshall's "wayward imaginative games" rather than his opponent's "approximate perfection played with day clocks!" Ironically, Tarrasch reported that Marshall was regularly in time trouble, so the additional time available did not improve his play.

The publication of the games

The match was notable in that the players attempted to restrict the publication of the games.

"The world of chess will be disappointed to learn that the games scores have not been published; they will appear only after the match in a German language booklet, with the notes of Mr Tarrasch." - La Stratégie, 19 October 1905.

Tarrasch reported that his club gave 500 Marks for Marshall's travel expenses and "compensation", and that 600 Marks was given by the Deutsche Schachbund (DSB), whose president Prof. Gebhardt came to Nuremberg for the match's negotiations. Gebhardt's only condition was that the match book should be given free to every contributing member of the DSB. In the Deutsche Schachzeitung, 1905, p. 352, Gebhardt stated that the copies of the match book were already been sent to DSB members (November 12th, 1905).

In the foreword, Tarrasch wrote that the manuscript had been completed only a week after the match; "This will reassure those of you who were dissatisfied during the match that you did not get to see the games. Why should a Chess Artist provide his best as a free service? Anyone who wants to see the games may buy the book, it is cheap enough. I won't let myself be a 'scrounger'".

This quote from the foreword is the only indication of monetary interests; everything else looks like "delayed publication" in order to make the match book special for the members of the DSB (see e. g. the quote from La Strategie in ).

The games (or in some cases only fragments) appeared, however, before the match book. Games 3-8 were printed by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on October 15, and games 9-15 on October 25. German newspapers (Berliner Lokal-Anzeiger and Münchener Neuste Nachrichten) published reports and at least fragments, which were reprinted in the Dutch De Telegraaf on October 13 and 25. The Wiener Schachzeitung published no games until the match book had been published (but in the January issue of 1906, two thirds of the games in the WSZ are games commented on by Tarrasch in his notes for the Berliner Localanzeiger.

User: thomastonk contributed considerable original text and valuable documentary research for the above from Wiener Schachzeitung and various newspapers of the period.

Original collection: Game Collection: Marshall versus Tarrasch Match, Nuremberg 1905 by User: Chessical.

 page 1 of 1; 17 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Marshall vs Tarrasch 0-1441905Marshall - TarraschD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
2. Tarrasch vs Marshall ½-½291905Marshall - TarraschC12 French, McCutcheon
3. Marshall vs Tarrasch ½-½301905Marshall - TarraschD40 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
4. Tarrasch vs Marshall ½-½441905Marshall - TarraschD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
5. Marshall vs Tarrasch 0-1481905Marshall - TarraschD00 Queen's Pawn Game
6. Tarrasch vs Marshall ½-½651905Marshall - TarraschC11 French
7. Marshall vs Tarrasch 0-1471905Marshall - TarraschC26 Vienna
8. Tarrasch vs Marshall 1-0601905Marshall - TarraschC11 French
9. Marshall vs Tarrasch 1-0391905Marshall - TarraschD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
10. Tarrasch vs Marshall 1-0421905Marshall - TarraschC11 French
11. Marshall vs Tarrasch ½-½121905Marshall - TarraschC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
12. Tarrasch vs Marshall ½-½501905Marshall - TarraschC11 French
13. Marshall vs Tarrasch ½-½511905Marshall - TarraschC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
14. Tarrasch vs Marshall 1-0441905Marshall - TarraschC42 Petrov Defense
15. Marshall vs Tarrasch ½-½361905Marshall - TarraschD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
16. Tarrasch vs Marshall 1-0371905Marshall - TarraschB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
17. Marshall vs Tarrasch 0-1321905Marshall - TarraschC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
 page 1 of 1; 17 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-03-14  MountainMatt: This performance clearly showed that Marshall deserved a title shot ahead of Tarrasch. Yep, makes perfect sense!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <The match between the then 8th (Marshall) and 3rd strongest players in the world...>

How were these placements determined?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Most probably by retrospective grading from Sonas' website.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <perfidious: Most probably by retrospective grading from Sonas' website.>

Yes, and although some people disagree with Sonas's methods and ratings, his ordering of top players looks very reliable.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <offramp> Sonas' ratings reinforce the oft-posted view of <frogbert> that ratings should be treated as relative measures within a period of time, not across different eras.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <perfidious: <offramp> Sonas' ratings reinforce the oft-posted view of <frogbert> that ratings should be treated as relative measures within a period of time, not across different eras.>

Although I really like Sonas and his site, I prefer the more conservative The ratings there are much less "far out" despite being Californian, but they stop in 1921. It gives Capablanca's highest rating as 2829, following his win in Capablanca - Kostic (1919), and I believe that Capa himself said that that was when he was strongest.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Edochess has a page for this at, although it doesn't say much. It gives the following ratings.

<Tarrasch, Siegbert 2645 (34) Marshall, Frank 2583 (26).>

Feb-16-16  john barleycorn: So the result Marshall had in his match with Lasker did not come as a shock him

Lasker - Marshall World Championship Match (1907)

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Not reeeeeeally.
Mar-09-18  sudoplatov: Note that running up to this match, Marshall won several strong tournaments. It's just that Tarrasch (and Lasker and Capablanca) were much stronger.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: The result here makes one wonder what Tarrasch might have achieved if he had not had to wait until the age of 46 to get a shot at the world title.

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