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Marshall versus Tarrasch Match, Nuremberg 1905
Compiled by Chessical

After defeating David Janowski (Paris 1905) by a score of +8-5+4, 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 very strong Game Collection: Cambridge Springs 1904 tournament. This he had won by a two points margin, ahead of World Champion Emanuel Lasker who came second equal (+9=4-2) with Janowski. Marshall had also beaten the world champion in their first individual game at Paris 1900.

Tarrasch 1 = = = 1 = 1 1 0 1 = = = 1 = 1 1 - 12/17 Marshall 0 = = = 0 = 0 0 1 0 = = = 0 = 0 0 - 5/17

The 42 year old Tarrasch demolished his 27 year old challenger in his third strongest career rating performance, and what would be his best rating achievement after 1900. Tarrasch went onto two further very good performances in Game Collection: Ostend 1905 and Game Collection: 0, but there then began a lengthy albeit slow decline down the rankings.

Marshall was about to hit his peaks 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 begun 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 has 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 do far and states "Evidently the unusual time 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 special 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 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 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 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 Professor Gebhardt came to Nuremberg for the match's negotiations. Gebhardt's only condition was 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 one 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 something special for the members of the DSB (see for example 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 "M√ľnchener 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.

Game 1
Marshall vs Tarrasch, 1905 
(D51) Queen's Gambit Declined, 44 moves, 0-1

Game 2
Tarrasch vs Marshall, 1905 
(C12) French, McCutcheon, 29 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 3
Marshall vs Tarrasch, 1905 
(D40) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 30 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 4
Tarrasch vs Marshall, 1905 
(D30) Queen's Gambit Declined, 44 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 5
Marshall vs Tarrasch, 1905 
(D00) Queen's Pawn Game, 48 moves, 0-1

Game 6
Tarrasch vs Marshall, 1905 
(C11) French, 65 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 7
Marshall vs Tarrasch, 1905 
(C26) Vienna, 47 moves, 0-1

Game 8
Tarrasch vs Marshall, 1905 
(C11) French, 60 moves, 1-0

Game 9
Marshall vs Tarrasch, 1905 
(D32) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch, 39 moves, 1-0

Game 10
Tarrasch vs Marshall, 1905 
(C11) French, 42 moves, 1-0

Game 11
Marshall vs Tarrasch, 1905 
(C68) Ruy Lopez, Exchange, 12 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 12
Tarrasch vs Marshall, 1905 
(C11) French, 50 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 13
Marshall vs Tarrasch, 1905 
(C61) Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense, 51 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 14
Tarrasch vs Marshall, 1905 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 44 moves, 1-0

Game 15
Marshall vs Tarrasch, 1905 
(D32) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch, 36 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 16
Tarrasch vs Marshall, 1905 
(B21) Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4, 37 moves, 1-0

Game 17
Marshall vs Tarrasch, 1905 
(C61) Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense, 32 moves, 0-1

17 games

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