Modern Analysis of the Chess Openings

Author: Marshall, Frank James (1877-1944) inscribed

Publisher: J R Vrolijk

Location: Amsterdam

Year: 1912



82 pages with frontispiece, plates and diagrams. Octavo (7 1/2" x 5") bound in original publisher's grey cloth with grey lettering to spine. Inscribed by the author dated 1913. (Betts: 14-7) First edition.

The author commences with some general remarks on the openings and goes on the analyse some of his favorite lines in answer to 1. P-K4. The basic defense recommended is the Petroff, with additional analysis of the lines by which white avoids the Petroff (Three Knights' Game, Max Lange and others). Includes a few illustrative games played by Marshall.

Marshall was born in New York City, and lived in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, from age 8 to 19. He began playing chess at the age of 10, and by 1890 (aged 13) was one of the leading players in Montreal. He won the 1904 Cambridge Springs International Chess Congress (scoring 13/15, ahead of World Champion Emanuel Lasker) and the U.S. congress in 1904, but did not get the national title because the U.S. champion at that time, Harry Nelson Pillsbury, did not compete. In 1906 Pillsbury died and Marshall again refused the championship title until he won it in competition in 1909. In 1907 he played a match against World Champion Emanuel Lasker for the title and lost eight games, winning none and drawing seven. They played their match in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Chicago, and Memphis from January 26 to April 8, 1907. In 1909 he agreed to play a match with then young Cuban chess player José Capablanca, and to most people's surprise, lost eight games, drew fourteen, and won only one. After this defeat Marshall did not resent Capablanca; instead, he realized the young man had immense talent and deserved recognition. The American champion worked hard to ensure Capablanca had the chance to play at the highest levels of competition. Marshall insisted that Capablanca be permitted to enter the San Sebastián tournament in 1911, an exclusive championship promising to be one of the strongest yet in history. Despite much protest at his inclusion, Capablanca won the tournament. Marshall finished fifth at the St. Petersburg tournament in 1914, behind World Champion Lasker, future World Champions Capablanca and Alekhine, and former World Championship challenger Tarrasch, but ahead of the players who did not qualify for the final: Ossip Bernstein, Rubinstein, Nimzowitsch, Blackburne, Janowski, and Gunsberg. According to Marshall's 1942 autobiography, which was reportedly ghostwritten by Fred Reinfeld, In 1915 Marshall opened the Marshall Chess Club in New York City. In 1925 Marshall appeared in the short Soviet film Chess Fever in a cameo appearance, along with Capablanca. In the 1930s Marshall captained the U.S. team to four gold medals at four Chess Olympiads. During one round, he returned to the board and found that his teammates had agreed to three draws. After he finished his own game, he gave each of them a stern talk individually on how draws do not win matches. In 1936 after holding the U.S. championship title for 27 years, he relinquished it to the winner of a championship tournament. The first such tournament was sponsored by the National Chess Federation and held in New York. The Marshall Chess Club donated the trophy, and the first winner was Samuel Reshevsky. Frank Marshall has a number of chess opening variations named after him. Two gambit variations that are still theoretically important today are named after him. One is the Marshall Attack in the Ruy Lopez (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5). Marshall's first well-known game with this opening was against José Capablanca in 1918, although Marshall had previously played it in other games that did not gain widespread attention. Even though Capablanca won in a game widely regarded as a typical example of his defensive genius,[9] Marshall's opening idea became quite popular. Black gets good attacking chances and scores close to 50 percent with the Marshall, an excellent result for Black. The Marshall Attack is so respected that many top players often choose to avoid it with "Anti-Marshall" variations such as 8.a4. During his early career, Marshall was primarily known as a colorful tactical player in the Morphy tradition. When playing the White pieces, he normally used e4 openings such as King's Gambit and Vienna Game. As Black, he favored the Albin Counter-Gambit as an answer to the Queen's Gambit. By the 1920s, most elite chess players had switched entirely to d4 openings and a more positional style of play, and Marshall changed his playing style to adapt to the times. In his later years, he often used the Caro-Kann Defense and Indian Defenses. An important gambit in the Semi-Slav Defense is also named after Marshall. That "Marshall Gambit" begins 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 e6 4.e4!? The main line runs 4...dxe4 5.Nxe4 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 (6.Nc3 saves the pawn but is not considered dangerous) Qxd4 7.Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8.Be2 with sharp and unclear play. Another opening named after Marshall is the Marshall Defense to the Queen's Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nf6). It is generally considered inferior to the Queen's Gambit Declined (2...e6), Slav Defense (2...c6), and Queen's Gambit Accepted (2...dxc4).


Inscribed on front end paper, Pittsburgh, April 18th, 1913. Greeting from Frank J Marshall, author. Corners bumped, hinges rubbed and cracked, soiled, gutter cracked between frontispiece and title else a good copy.