Keeping up with Frank Marshall

  • GM Gserper
  • | Dec 18, 2011

I want to share my frustrations with you, my dear readers. I find it extremely annoying that these days you cannot turn on TV, read a newspaper or browse the Internet without being attacked by the Kardashians' news. Their weddings, divorces, fragrances, tapes... you name it. I admit, the ladies are attractive, but when a guy on a financial Web site tries to find a connection between the latest Kardashian news and the spot gold price (even if half jokingly), I think the obsession with the Kardashians has gone a bit too far.  I don't know what these ladies are famous for or why the World should keep up with them.  Instead I want to suggest a really good role model to keep up with (at least for us chess players).  How about Frank Marshall?

I don't need to introduce such a strong GM, many times US champion and the author of numerous opening ideas (The Marshall Counter Attack in the Ruy Lopez is by far the most famous one).  But first and foremost he was an outstanding chess tactician, so it is small wonder that it was he who played one of the most famous and beautiful moves in chess history.  According to a well-known legend, after Marshall played his unbelievable move, the spectators started throwing golden coins on the chess board!

Try to find this move!

(Just like in most of my articles I give you a chance to test your tactical skills, so the games are given as a Quiz.  Please remember that you can always replay the whole game from the first move if you click "Solution" and then "Move list.")


The next game is known as a 'pipe game'. If you don't know the story, read Marshall's annotations to the game.  They are the most hilarious annotations to a chess game I ever read!
So, today I want to offer you to solve combinations from Frank Marshall's games. First try to find solutions for the next pretty basic combos.  I included these elementary combinations for our less advanced chess friends.
That was a good warm up, wasn't it?  OK, here are more complicated positions:
I hope you enjoyed our new show "Keeping up with..." and also learned typical tactical patterns.
to be continued...


  • 15 months ago


    Amazing games, very dangerous play! That was stile at the end of 19th and at the start of 20th century, King's Gambit most played!

  • 3 years ago


    cookie3 if 15...Qf6?? then Qxe8+...(the one of the pipe against Burn)

  • 4 years ago


    Good point about the Kardashians. They're superficial, and five years from now they'll be living in a trailer park outside Buffalo NY. Although it seems elusive at times, substance usually wins. And chess wins always, for whoever will take the time.

  • 5 years ago


    simply awesome....couldnt comprehend some of his moves!

  • 5 years ago


    this is what i need more practice with tactics i need to see them in my

    games wow

  • 5 years ago


    funny story about the 'pipe game'.

  • 5 years ago


    flossrancher, no it does not. If Qxg3, then Ne2+ Kh1 Nxg3+ Kg1 (fxg3 Rxf1#) Nxf1 secures an extra knight.

  • 5 years ago


    Wonderful article. Marshall was a real throwback to the Romantic age in terms of his attacking skills.

  • 5 years ago


    Fun article! Somebody probably already pointed this out, but in the first example, I believe if White captures with the Q (24. Qxg3) the game ends with 26. ... Rxf1#.

  • 5 years ago



    Getting to the position is far more difficult than playing this spectacular move. I agree with you, since that move was the logical continuation of the plan he had in mind. Thank you for your answer.

  • 5 years ago


    i like your article its refreshing and funny

  • 5 years ago


    bakal ba yun pre?

  • 5 years ago


    put in pipe and smoked it

  • 5 years ago


    I don't watch much TV so I really don't hear much about the Kardashians. I'd rather be doing chess problems, to be honest. Thanks for posting these puzzles.

  • 5 years ago


    The puzzles all seemed fairly natural, easy to solve. I really liked the point about the Kardashians too. My wife and I were just discussing how they came out of nowhere and everybody seems to know who they are somehow, except for the two of us. LOL. Looking forward to the next sequence of puzzles.

    On the bright side, while waiting for the new installement in this series, I went back and started solving all the old puzzles, from the beginning of the series. Strange, or maybe not so strange, even though I thought I remembered all the patterns, I discovered new ideas for my games. Too bad I get too lazy to look at the entire game from beginning to end or else my rating would probably jump higher:)

  • 5 years ago


    Qg3!! is just.. mind blowing

  • 5 years ago


    Just brilliant. 

  • 5 years ago


    they were all amazingWow!Surprised

  • 5 years ago


    he is amazing...but these puzzles are not very difficult....Cool

  • 5 years ago


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