Attack of the killer pawns!

Time for another chess posting, and another miniature. The game in question was played between Frank James Marshall and Hyman Rogosin, and was played during the championship of the Marshall Chess Club in New York city in 1940.

Frank James Marshall (born August 10 1877, New York; died November 9 1944, New York), was United States champion from 1909-1936 and a respected international competitor for the first quarter of the 20th century. He won several tournaments, and challenged Emanuel Lasker to a match for the World Championship, which he lost convincingly (0 wins, 8 losses and 7 draws). Marshall voluntary relinquished his US championship in 1936 so that a tournament could be played to decide who the best player in the country was. Tournaments have been held since then to determine the United States champion. Previously, a player had to defeat Marshall in a match to gain the title.

Marshall founded the club that beared his name in 1915, and along with the Manhattan Chess Club, were the two biggest chess clubs in New York City until the Manhattan club closed down in 2002. Marshall was famous for his attractive, attacking style of play, and for his “swindles”, in which he would turn a losing position into a won position through a tactic or combination.

Hyman “Rogie” Rogosin (born April 15, 1908, New York; died March 16 2004, Laguna Hills California) was a Marshall Chess Club player whose strength was just below the top level of players in the United States during the middle part of the 20th century. Like many other players, he is mainly remembered for this loss, rather than for the many victories that he achieved in tournament and club play.

What makes this game truly bizarre is Marshall’s play with the White pieces. Instead of developing his pieces, Marshall moves all eight of his pawns within the first fourteen moves, in an attempt to trap one of the two black knights. it is amusing to see the Black knights moving all around the board as they are constantly attacked by the advancing White pawns. Here is a video of this amazing game with some analysis.

This game still holds the record for the most consecutive pawn moves from the start of a serious tournament or match game.

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