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Frank Marshall vs Mikhail Chigorin
Monte Carlo (1902), Monte Carlo MNC, rd 4, Feb-07
Queen's Gambit Declined: Chigorin Defense (D07)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-23-03  bishop: Marshall routs Chigorin and the Chigorin. The experimental 4...Na5 has not been tried again, according to the Opening Explorer.
Nov-26-03  mikebpresident: The wierd thing about this game is that I think Chiggy would have been fine with ...6.Bxe6, sure white can win the pawn back after 7.Qa4+ ...Nc6, 8.Bxc4 that is a lot of wasted time, and now black can trade off white bishops, which is what black usually wants to do anways. I think chig was tired and didn't want to play, or was to lazy to fight it out.
Feb-21-04  capanegra: <mikebpresident> Maybe he was tired, as the game before he had fought for 144 wearisome moves to beat Mason. On the other hand, Chiggy was famous for his incredible blunders, and 7…fxe6?? is just one more of his collection.
Apr-08-04  notyetagm: That's the amazing thing about Chigorin. He could play tactics brilliantly but would also play the occasional howler like 7 ... fxe6?? here or in that World Championship game against Steinitz when he moved his bishop off the h2-b8 diagonal and allowed a simple mate in 3.
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  tamar: The 23rd game Chigorin vs Steinitz, 1892 was worse if only because he had played so brilliantly before 32 Bb4???
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  ToTheDeath: I agree with you Mikeb- except after 8. Qa4+ Nc6 is bad because of 9. Rd1, then the queen has to move to a bad square and black is way behind in development. The right move is ...c6 which guards the knight and gives the queen a spot to go to on b6 after Rd1. White's advantage, if any, is minimal.
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  Honza Cervenka: The gamescore is not complete here. This game was a little bit longer. See Marshall vs Chigorin, 1902
Premium Chessgames Member We fixed it now, thanks Honza.
Apr-06-05  Minor Piece Activity: Looks like 6...c6 could be an improvement to preface e6. capanegra, what is the alternative to 7...fxe6? I am guessing 7..Bxe6 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Rd1+? Still looks dangerous after Nb5.
Apr-15-05  EmperorAtahualpa: How embarassing!
Apr-15-05  paladin at large: Boy, no kidding! This beats even Reti vs Tartakower, 1910 in terseness.

Chigorin must have spent a long night in the casinos before this one......probably after this one, too.

May-23-06  Castle In The Sky: Blunders away! Even great players are human.
Apr-19-07  vonKrolock: <♕h5+> Thanks <Calli>!
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  FSR: This looks like a five-minute game you win against some random guy on the Internet, not a tournament game against a man who's played two matches for the World Championship.
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  GrahamClayton: The game was featured in article in a January 1940 issue of "LIFE" magazine, using a board to show each move. Marshall claims in the article that Chigorin resigned after move 8:

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  OBIT: The 144-move marathon mentioned by <capanegra> was actually played the year before, in the 1901 Monte Carlo tournament, so this opening blunder can't be blamed on fatigue. As for capanegra's reporting error, he can put the blame somewhere else: The Fireside Book of Chess, page 100, gives as "Odd, But True" item #97. "At Monte Carlo in 1902, Tchigorin fought for 144 wearisome moves to defeat Mason, only to lose to Marshall in 8 moves!"
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  KEG: An embarrassing loss by Tchigorin, who made a beginner's mistake on move 7 and dropped a piece.

Thanks to this blunder and to a blunder by Tarrasch in Round 2 (allowing Marshall to win a lost ending), Marshall was in 2nd place after Round 4 at Monte Carlo 1902. After a bye in Round 5 and a win in Round 6, Marshall appeared to be regaining the magic he had at Paris 1900. But he soon was brought back to earth and finished in 9th place, a half point behind Tchigorin.

1. d4 d5
2. c4 Nc6

Tchigorin's favorite defense to the Queen's Gambit. I am not a fan of this variation, but Tchigorin knew it well. That makes his opening blunder here all the more remarkable.

3. Nc3 dxc4

A line Tchigorin knew well.

4. d5

click for larger view

4... Na5

Tchigorin had played this moves three times before. Contrary to <Bishop>, the move was indeed played several times after 1902, including one time by Trifunovic.

5. Bf4

"!"--(Tournament Book)

"Threatening Nb5." (Tournament Book)

The text, which hardly deserved the "!" bestowed upon it by the Tournament Book, was a novelty at the time (later revived by Keene).

In the three earlier games in this line, Tchigorin had faced the much better 5. Qa4+. He was apparently put off by Marshall's novelty, and now made two week moves and then a losing blunder.

The position after 5. Bf4 was:

click for larger view

5... Bd7?

"?"--Tournament Book)

5...e5 as suggested by the Tournament Book is indeed better, as is 5...Nf6 (after which the Tournament Book's suggested 6. Nb5 would give Black the edge after 6...e5 7. Bxe5 Bb4+). The text move (5...Bd7) allows White to control the center and obtain a fine game:

6. e4 e6

Another weak move by Tchigorin (and in his favored opening variation!). Black has decent chances with 6...a6 or 6...c6.

7. dxe6

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7... fxe6??

"??"--(Tournament Book)(Soltis)

Soltis is surely correct in believing that Tchigorin was not happy with the position he would get with 7...Bxe6 8. QxQ+ KxQ (8...RxQ 9. Bxc7 Rc8 10. BxN b6 11. Bxb6 axB 12. Rd1 is even worse) 9. 0-0-0+ Kc8 10. Nb5.

Black would indeed have an uphill (but hardly hopeless) battle after 7...Bxe6, but it was the only move to avoid immediate loss. After the text, Marshall picked up the Black Knight on a5 with a simple fork.

8. Qh5+ g6
9. QxN

click for larger view

The authorities are split on whether Tchigorin played on from here. One source has him resigning after 8. Qh5+. Others give the moves reflected on this site.

Analysis of moves 9-20 is pointless. The moves appear to be the play of non-masters rather than of Marshall and Tchigorin, Black making either silly or desperate efforts to do...God knows what. As an admirer of Tchigorin, I derived no pleasure in watching his game picked to pieces. The only further point of interest is the last move. After 19...Bc5?, the position was reportedly:

click for larger view

Here, if the score is to be believed, Marshall concluded proceedings with:

20. Bh6+


A nice finish to an other wise forgettable game. Mate cannot be long delayed.

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