Two ladies at once

Dec 28, 2015, 1:06 PM |

During the past season, I played two games in which the opening choice was quite strange. I faced the lesser known Marshall defense. In my first game, I played against a beginner, so I did not think much of it. But then I saw it again in a much higher rated player. And this made me think that it was perhaps interesting to take a look at the opening.


The not so common Marshall defense
I quite liked the finish of this first game, but apart from that, I have not given it much attention. As mentioned above, the second game followed the same opening. But it also has some other interesting features. When analyzing this game, I took a look at the opening and found a better approach than the ones that were chosen in both these games. However, in the diagram below, we jump right into a critical position.
In the position below, white is clearly in control of the game. Black has no space, and no control over the center. And white has a nasty threat of a pawn fork on d6.
What to do?
 As shown, I miscalculated and blundered a pawn. I missed an obvious defense. To quote Homer Simpson: "D'oh!" Another interesting thing (blunder) is that I managed to get my rook trapped in enemy territory. This is something I have done a couple of times before. Every time, I am thinking to myself that I am "invading" my opponent's position. But apparently, this is not the case. I have to stop making that sort of move, unless it is absolutely called for.
Oops, I did it again
But as the title of this blog post suggests, there is a very cool feature about this game. I had the opportunity to sacrifice not only one piece, but two. A bishop and a rook for the promotion of a pawn. And then a second pawn, and suddenly there were two white queens on the board.
Go ahead, take my bishop!
A lot of people claim that having two ladies at once is a nice experience. And I can verify that it is. At least on the chess board.
So what do I take away from these two games?
  1. Don't play the Marshall defense as black!
  2. If you face the Marshall defense with white, play 4. Nf3!
  3. Don't "invade" with the rook unless there is a very(!) good reason to do so.
  4. Look for obvious ways to defend "crushing" attacks and tactics.
  5. Get two queens if you can.

As always, I appreciate any comments or suggestions for improvement of my analyses. Cheers!