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David Janowski vs Frank Marshall
Janowski - Marshall, Match 2 (1905), Paris FRA, rd 8, Feb-11
Sicilian Defense: Closed Variation (B23)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Of course, if 26.Qxh2, then 26...Rg6+ wins the Queen or leads to mate (27.Kh1 Qe4+ ; 27.Kh3 Qh5#).
Jul-03-07  myteacher34: David didn't 12.Nxe4 because after 12.Nxe4 dx e4 he loses the knight at f4 because it can't move queen is under danger behind.
May-27-11  backrank: The game score given here seems to be slightly incorrect. Marshall himself (in 'My Fifty Years of Chess') gives 26. P-QB3, i.e. 26. c3 instead of a3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <backrank> It is hard to determine whether 26.a3, or 26.c3 was played.

I checked a couple of other sources. The book, <"7 Matches 1905">, edited by A.J.Gillam, included the Janowski - Marshall 1905 match, with match introduction, and extensive game notes from, <"The Match and the Return Match: Janowski v. Marshall">, edited by Leopold Hoffer.

Hoffer's title, <"The Match and the Return Match: Janowski v. Marshall">, refers to the Janowski and Marshall matches of 1905 & 1908. Hoffer shows move in question to be 26.a3.

Hoffer's only comment at move 26 was to note: <"if 26.Qxh2 then obviously 26...Rg6+ 27.Kh1 Qe4+ wins">.

My Fritz database, and the database at 365 chess, show the move to be 26.a3.

By move 26, White is lost, all moves are clearly losing. By using computer analysis some interesting points are revealed, but this analysis does not resolve the question whether 26.a3 or 26.c3 was played.

If White played 26.a3, Fritz indicates the best contnuation is: (-11.32) (20 ply) 26...Qe2 27.Rf1 Bf4.

If White played 26.c3, Fritz indicates the best continuation is: (-14.80) (20 ply) 26...Qe2 27.Rf1 Be5.

This analysis does not help to resolve the question, the game continuation followed the computer continuation for two half-moves after 26.a3, and for three half-moves after 26.c3.

If 26.a3 was played, then Marshall missed a quicker finish with 28...Rf4! 29.f3 Rf5 30.Rf2 Rg5+. Also, after Marshall's 28...d3, Janowski could have held his hopeless position a little longer with 29.cxd3 or 29.Nc3. Janowski's move 29.f4, allowed a forced in 11, with 29...Rg6+, or in 13, with 29...d2 with 29.

If 26.c3 was played, then by move 29, Black had a forced mate available against any move by White.

As you have indicated in, <"Marshall's Best Games of Chess">, former title, <"My Fifty Years of Chess">, Marshall showed the move to be 26.c3.

Maybe somebody will uncover some additional information to help resolve which move was actually played.

It is interesting to note that Marshall concluded his notes to this game with the statement: <"This was considered the best game of the match">.

Hoffer's conclusion was a bit different: <"There is hardly a single of Janowski's games in which he has shown such poor judgement of position. Marshall played splendidly.">

May-28-11  Calli: <Pawn and Two> Google books has the Wiener Schachzeitung for 1905. See page 202:
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Pawn and Two> Here are four other contemporary sources, available through Google books, all of which indicate <26.c3>:

American Chess Bulletin, Feb. 1905, p. 30:

British Chess Magazine, March 1905, p. 116:

Deutsche Schachzeitung, March 1905, p. 76:

Marshall's Chess Swindles, 1914, p. 50:

The BCM is particularly interesting, since it repeats Hoffer's notes from <The Field> and gives 26.c3.

Looking at the position before White's 26th move:

click for larger view

It seems to me that 26.a3 serves no purpose at all, while 26.c3 could well be an attempt to get the knight back into the game. That is hardly proof, but it is an indication.

In short, the contemporary evidence looks to be heavily in favor of <26.c3>. As for the book edited by Gillam, there may be a typo in the original Hoffer book, or possibly Gillam himself (relying on modern databases) inserted 26.a3 thinking he was correcting an error in the original.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Calli & Phony Benoni> Thanks for your extensive research on White's 26th move. Based on the many contemporary sources you have provided, I believe the evidence is clearly strong enough to conclude that 26.c3 was the move actually played.
May-29-11  Calli: Also, I think White would simply play 29. c2xd3 with the pawn still on c2.
May-29-11  Calli: The Wiener Schachzeitung sums it up:

"Die Partie beweist nur, daß ein lebender Läufer stärker ist, als ein toter Springer (a4)"

The game only proves that a living bishop is stronger than a dead knight on a4. :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Calli> Interestingly, while White's position at move 26 is hopeless, Fritz indicated 26.a3 allowed for a slightly longer resistance than 26.c3 (see my post of 5/28/11).

Based on the large amount of contemporary evidence you and <Phony Benoni> have provided, it seems clear that the move played was 26.c3.

Janowski's 29.f4 was inferior, allowing for a forced mate whether either 26.c3 or 26.a3 had been played.

If 26.c3 was played, Janowski's 29.f4 allowed for a mate in ten with 29...Rg6+.

If 26.a3 was played, then 29.f4 Rg6+ is mate in nine.

With the pawn on c2 (26.a3), your suggestion of 29.cxd3 would have been White's best try, but after 29.cxd3 Rg6+ 30.Kh1 Rg5 31.Nc3 Bxc3 32.bxc3 Rh5 33.Qxh5 Qxh5+, White could resign, although perhaps we could expect Janowski would hang on for a few more moves.

Jan-22-12  backrank: Interestingly, in the meantime the game score has indeed been changed to 26. c3. Now quite in vain, I may add that Tarrasch (in 'Die moderne Schachpartie', Game 198) also gives 26. c3.

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