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Frank Marshall vs Vassily Soldatenkov
New York (1928), New York, NY USA
King's Gambit: Falkbeer Countergambit. Charousek Gambit Accepted (C32)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-15-04  refutor: fantastic finish!
Mar-14-07  Whitehat1963: Here's a good midweek puzzle after 19. Qg6.
Mar-14-07  TrueFiendish: Black played some tremendous moves here, especially the last, with queen en prise to two pieces.
Mar-14-07  sambo: delightful. I concur with whitehat.
Mar-14-07  TrueFiendish: Has anyone heard of Soldatenkoff before? Only one game on this database for one capable of such play...I hope this isn't a "paste diamond"!
Mar-15-07  Albertan: Soldatenkoff is the french variant of Soldatenkov (Russian). In my Mega chessbase database I found games with the surname Soldatenkov, however, none of them had a player with a first name which started with the letter B. I also discovered that in my database not a single game exists of Marshall's from 1928 in which New York was the playing site.
Mar-15-07  Calli: My DB gives Basil Soldatenkoff. Basil? Maybe someone is playing a little joke.
Mar-15-07  TrueFiendish: To me the game just seems a little too neat.
Mar-15-07  mig55: This is a joke from Marshall...
Mar-16-07  Calli: Turns out there really was a Basil Soldatenkov who was in New York in the teens. He was a diplomat for the Czar. Have not been able to place him there in the late twenties, but certainly he might have played Marshall at some point.

Is he a different Soldatenkov than the one who played consulting against Lasker in 1909: Lasker / Taubenhaus vs Janowski / Soldatenkow, 1909 ? Whyld lists him as V. Soldatenkov, but Lasker also describes him as diplomat.

Mar-16-07  shalgo: There was a Basil Soldatenkov (Soldatenkoff) who was a well-known race-car driver in early twentieth-century Russia. He is mentioned in the memoirs of Prince Felix Yusupov, "the man who killed Rasputin."

Could it be the same person? Race-car driver, chess player, diplomat--it sounds like there is a story there.

And if he had been a diplomat for the tsarist government, he presumably would have been in exile by 1928.

Mar-16-07  Calli: <shalgo> Thanks for the tip!

A Russian site translated by Google:

They start out saying that Vasily Soldatenkov has been misnamed as Alexander or Alexei in the history books. He was employed in the Russian Embassy in Rome and this agrees with Lasker's story, so Vasily is very likely the player in the Lasker/Janofsky game.

The Russian site then introduces "Basile" into story without much explanation. Is this the same person? Vasily(russian)/Basil(greek)

Jun-28-08  sneaky pete: Ken Whylds <V> may be a prefix taken for an initial. Kagans Neueste Schachnachrichten, September/October 1928, has this game as played "some time ago" in the Marshall Chess Cafe by <von Soldatenkoff>.
Jun-28-08  DCP23: Basil = Vasiliy, it's the same name. Thus his appearance with either B. or V. initial.
Jun-30-08  Golfmasta: Hi, i was just googleing my name and i found this, my last name is Soldatenkov and my first is Aleksey... you think any relation???
Dec-21-08  sneaky pete: From the British Chess Magazine, November 1928

NN vs B. Soldatenko<ff>, Nice, May 1928

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bg5 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 c5 6.e3 Qa5 7.Qb3 Ne4 8.Bf4 Nxc3 9.Bd3 Ne4+ 10.Ke2 Qd2+ 11.Kf3 Qxf2+ 12.Kxe4 Qxg2+ 13.Nf3 Qg6+ 14.Ke5 Qf6+ 15.Kd6 Qe7+ 16.Ke5 d6+ 17.Ke4 f5#

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: fyg, there is some more material on <Soldatenkov> on Edward Winter's site --> chess note #6138

Premium Chessgames Member
  sachistu: The discussion regarding Soldatenkov's first name (or initial) was quite interesting. My first reaction was to think this was a common transliteration error of not converting the Russian letter 'B' into the English 'V'. However, I see there is more to it.

Regardless, I wanted to point out it looks like there are at least two mistakes regarding the game itself. The game appeared in Neuste Schachnachrichten, 1929 p.198 and in Shakhmaty, 1928, p.264 (albeit in the last-named publication, only the position before move 18 was given).

Although the venue and year are often given as New York 1928, I have seen it listed as 1926. It was also listed to be as late as 1942 (!) on one Czechoslovakian website. It appears none of these are correct.

According to the Czech publication Casopis Ceskoslovenskych Sachistu 1924 Issue 4 p.54-55, the game was played at the Marshall Chess Club in New York in 1920.

Second, the actual game went 18.Qc2 Ne5! 19.Qb3+ Kh8 20.fxe5 Rxd2! and White resigned.

The version given here (18.Bxh7 etc) is given as a note.

The score and notes in C.C.S. were courtesy of V. Soldatenkov!

Thus, we may have another case where a more beautiful or spectacular line, found in analysis, somehow becomes the published game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  NM JRousselle: Nice finish, but the veracity of this game has to be seriously doubted. Marshall knew the King's Gambit very well (came up with Qa4+ to revitalize the line where Black declines the gambit with Bc5 and d6).
Premium Chessgames Member
  sachistu: Am curious <NM JRousselle> "Nice finish, but the veracity of this game has to be seriously doubted. Marshall knew the King's Gambit very well (came up with Qa4+ to revitalize the line where Black declines the gambit with Bc5 and d6)"

What facts do you have to support this speculation.? Are you suggesting Soldatenkov made it up? This game has been widely published (albeit with an inaccurate date and apparently an inaccurate score). The game was published well within Marshall's lifetime, so if he or someone disputes it happened, there was ample opportunity to do so. I do not profess to be an authority on Marshall or his games, but I have not read of anyone disputing that it was played in New York and that Marshall lost. If you have some evidence to the contrary, I would welcome seeing it.

Just because Marshall played the King's Gambit is no evidence he could not lose badly with it. Using the logic you describe, I suppose we have to reject his game against Duras as 'inaccurate'. This, too was in New York, in 1913, where he lost even more quickly (again on the White side of the King's Gambit, and again facing the Falkbeer!).

I'm sure I do not have every game of Marshall's, but of the 1412 games I have that are attributed to him, I found only 14 that involved the Falkbeer; and of those in 12 he played Black!. The only 2 times he faced the Falkbeer as White, he lost.

Perhaps, psychologically, it was difficult for Marshall to face the Falkbeer given he had good success playing it as Black. I have not seen the exact circumstances of his game with Soldatenkov. This may have been an off-hand game, which Marshall may not have taken seriously. Or perhaps Soldatenkov used it for psychological reasons, or had a prepared variation (10...Bh4) in mind. Any of these reasons seem more plausible to me than doubting the game ever happened just because Marshall lost.

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