February 26, 2020

In the 1914 St. Petersburg Tournament, Czar Nicholas awarded the first five finishers the title “grandmaster.” First place winner Emanuel Lasker, then world champion, became the first grandmaster. Today there are more than 300 grandmasters.

Among others given the title were, Jose Capablanca, later to become world champion; Alexander Alekhine, to be world champion in 1927; Siegbert Tarrash, who did not become a world champion; and Frank Marshall, although he, too, never became a world champion.

Marshall, America’s first international grandmaster, was born Aug. 10, 1877 in New York City, and learned chess from his father when he was 10 years old.

At 17, he won the championship of the Montreal Chess Club and five years later the championship of the Brooklyn Chess Club, which decided to send him to London to play in an international tournament.

Marshall became U.S. champion as a result of Pillsbury’s failure to appear at a St. Louis Tournament. He didn’t feel right about the title until Pillsbury died and he had defeated Showalter, the previous champion. His international tournaments where he placed first included Monte Carlo, Cambridge Springs, Scheveningen, Nuremburg, Dusseldorf, New York, Havana, and Chicago. They gave him recognition as a world championship candidate but his attempt against Lasker in 1907 did not work out. Marshall died in 1944.

Solution: As was his custom, Marshall finds an attacking move. 1.Rxg7! and Kupchik could not play Kxg7 because 2.Qg3+ K-f8, 3.Ng6+ Bxg6, 4.Qgxd6 loses the queen and the game. He tried 1…Qd8, 2.Rg3 c5xd4, 3.Ng6+ Bxg6, 4.f5xg6 Rxe3, 5.Relxe3 d4xe3, 6.g6-g7+ Kg8, 7.Qf5 Ng5, 8.h4xg5 Kxg7, 9.g5xh6+ Kf7, 10.Rg7+ Kf8, 11.Qh7 Re7, 12.Qg8 checkmate. The student of chess finds Marshall’s games a wonderful source of combinative victories.

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