Friday, March 13, 2009

3rd NMCC Blitz Session Ruy Lopez Marshall Attack.

Neo Manhattan Chess Centre will be organising their 3rd blitz session today at 9pm. Last week we saw several chess heavyweights like Ian Udani, Fairin Zakaria, NM Kamalarrifin, NM Kamal Abdullah & Kamaluddin Yusof & some old faces like Ahmad Nasri & Mohd Imran coming back to the local chess scene. FM Peter Long as guest to watch the ongoing blitz session of Chigorin Defence. For more details, please visit NMCC blog.

Ruy Lopez Marshal Attack

1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. Bb5 a6

4. Ba4 Nf6

5. O-O Be7

6. Re1 b5

7. Bb3 O-O

8. c3


One of Black's more aggressive alternatives is the Marshall Attack: after 3...a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 Black plays the gambit 8...d5, sacrificing a pawn. The main line begins with 9.exd5 Nxd5 (9...e4?!, the Herman Steiner variation, is considered weaker) 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 (Marshall's original move, 11...Nf6, and 11...Bb7 are considered inferior, but have also yielded good results at top levels of play for Black). Black will attack and force weaknesses in White's kingside which has been stripped of defenders. White's first decision is whether to play d3 or d4. In either case it is apparent that the move 8.c3 is no longer helpful to White. The Black attack can be quite treacherous for White. Since Black's compensation is based on positional rather than tactical considerations, it is difficult or perhaps impossible to find a refutation, and variations have been analyzed very deeply (sometimes to move 30) without coming to a definite determination over the soundness of Black's gambit. The Marshall Attack is a very sharp, tactical opening system, and so White often chooses to avoid it by playing one of the anti-Marshall systems, 8.a4 or 8.h3 instead of 8.c3.

The Marshall Attack was introduced by Frank Marshall in a famous game against José Capablanca in 1918. In that game, Capablanca weathered the Black attack and won brilliantly. According to legend, Marshall saved this prepared innovation for eight years before getting the chance to play it against Capablanca. This seems unlikely in reality, however, and in fact the gambit had been played earlier in a few obscure games including a consultation game in Havana, with Marshall himself playing 8...d5 a year earlier against Walter Frere. Improvements to Black's play were found (Marshall played 11...Nf6!? originally, but later discovered 11...c6!) and the Marshall Attack was adopted by top players including Boris Spassky, and more recently Michael Adams.

Source: Wikipedia

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