BISHOP'S OPENING | DIMOCK TOURNAMENT | URUSOV GAMBIT | TWO KNIGHTS DEFENSE | LINKS


Key Moments

The 20 games described below are the only ones recovered so far from the Dimock Tournament. Most feature Marshall and Torre, who provoked the most interest in contemporary commentators. Each game is briefly described with a diagram of a key position, inviting you to find the best move. You can choose to View the Game Online (using the Palview javascript interface) or Download the PGN file so that you can view it with your preferred game viewing software. All games are now annotated, some with notes after almost every move to aid beginners in understanding the complexities of the game.

 

Introduction
The Players
Key Moments
The Tournament
Marshall vs. Torre
The NY International
A Piece of History
Chess History Links
Acknowledgments
Games Index
 
 


White to move after 12...Kh8.

Frank James Marshall
vs.
Bruno Forsberg

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Forsberg attempts an aggressive countergambit beginning with 3....c6. Though Black's attack is premature, Marshall is required to play aggressively to retain the initiative. An exciting game, with both sides attacking the other player's King.

Can you find the best move in the diagrammed position? Forsberg threatens to grab the Knight at e4 with 13....Qxe4 and if the Knight moves it's mate on the back rank with 13....Qe1#. Meanwhile, if Marshall defends the Knight with 13.f3, there comes 13....d5! with a double attack on the Queen and the Knight. What did Marshall do to turn the tables on his opponent?



White to move after 11...O-O.

Carlos Torre
vs.
Anthony Edward Santasiere

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Torre's opening novelty leads to a speculative attack that Santasiere is unable to resist. A wonderful game.

In the diagram, it is White to play. Black has exchanged White's powerful light-squared Bishop and has just castled to escape the pin along the e-file. If White does nothing soon, Black can attempt further simplifications with 12....Nfd7 or 12....h6, hoping to capitalize on his extra pawn. How can White prevent Black's defensive consolidation?



Black to move after 22.hxg3.

Carlos Torre
vs.
Frank James Marshall

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Marshall transposes to the Two Knights Defense with 3....exd4 4.Nf3 Nc6 and Torre chooses the Perreux Variation with 5.Ng5. An ending is soon reached where Black has an isolated pawn on the open e-file but has managed to damage White's pawn formation as well.

In the diagram, it is Black to play. Marshall has just exchanged off the remaining minor pieces with 21....Nxg3+ 22.hxg3 leaving an instructive Rook ending. Material is equal, but Black's pawns are better than White's, giving him the advantage. Rook endings depend, though, on piece activity and it appears that White's Rook is keeping Black's tied to the defense of the pawn at e5. How should Black proceed?



White to move after 12...f6.

Carlos Torre
vs.
Horace Ransom Bigelow

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Bigelow attempts to grab the initiative with a Knight sacrifice in the opening, but Torre plays carefully to exploit the fact that the Black King remains in the center. A masterly game on Torre's part.

In the diagram, it is White to play after 12....f6. Black is offering his Knight at g5. What are the consequences if White takes it?

 



White to move after 12...Kf8.

Frank James Marshall
vs.
Erling Tholfsen

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This is a classic Urusov Gambit game, where White exploits his opening initiative (purchased at the cost of a pawn) by patiently building up an attack.

In the diagram, it is White to play after 12....Kf8. Tholfsen has has taken his King off of the dangerous e-file, challenging White to break through his defenses. How is White to continue building pressure on Black's position?

 



Black to move after 50.Kf2.

Anthony Edward Santasiere
vs.
Frank James Marshall

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Santasiere plays for a draw against Marshall, carefully defending well into the ending. But just when he had a chance to prolong the game further, he allowed Marshall a clear winning line.

In the diagram, it is Black to play after 50.Kf2. Can Black bring about a clear win?

 



Black to move after 9...O-O 10.Bd3?

Frank James Marshall
vs.
Carlos Torre

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The second meeting between Marshall and Torre is a fascinating struggle in the Urusov Gambit. Marshall misses the best line of play in the opening but continues to make it difficult for Torre to consolidate his pawn advantage well into the ending. Eventually, though, Torre finds the way to win.

In the diagram, it is Black to play after 9....O-O 10.Bd3? What should Marshall have played instead of 10.Bc4-d3? And what defensive plan does Torre discover in this position?

 



White to move after 13....Kf8.

Carlos Torre
vs.
Erling Tholfsen

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Torre plays the opening imperfectly, and Tholfsen is able to mount a counterattack and then liquidate into a winning ending.

In the diagram, it is White to play after 13....Kf8. What was Torre's best move to continue the attack?

 



White to move after 19...b5.

Frank James Marshall
vs.
Rudolph Smirka

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Marshall chooses an unusual variation of the Two Knights Defense with 3....exd4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bg5!?, expecting, perhaps, that Smirka would not be prepared to find the best line in defense. The game grows quite complex until Marshall finds a surprising way to continue his attack on Black's King.

In the diagram, it is White to play after 19....b5. What did Marshall do here to break through for the attack?

 



White to move after 23...Rb6.

Carlos Torre
vs.
Rudolph Smirka

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As in his game against Santasiere (see above), Torre sacrifices the exchange in order to continue his attack. Again the plan succeeds in brilliant fashion.

In the diagram, it is White to move after 23....Rb6. Torre has massed all of his pieces on the King's side ready for a breakthrough. How should he push forward with the attack?

 



White to move after 18...Bb4.

Frank James Marshall
vs.
Horace Ransom Bigelow

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Marshall encountered the main line of the Perreux Variation of the Two Knights Defense several times in this tournament, playing both the White and the Black pieces. In all cases, he finds a way to win, proving that the opening provides chances for both sides.

In the diagram, Horace Bigelow is applying some pressure on Marshall after 18....Bb4. If Black is able to exchange the Knight and double Rooks on the d-file, Marshall will have to struggle for the draw. How should White play?



Black to move after 17.Qxb2.

Rudolph Smirka
vs.
Frank James Marshall

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Smirka's 5.Qe2?! in response to 4....Nc6 is unusual and commits him to a pawn sacrifice. A wild game results, with both monarchs stuck in the center of the board. You can guess, though, whose King falls first.

In the diagram, it is Black to play after 17.Qxb2. White is down a pawn, but he is currently forking two of Black's at b7 and e5. If he has a chance to castle, Smirka might be able to organize an attack against Marshall's King at f7. What did Marshall do to seize the initiative, leading to a quick finish?

 



Black to move after 16.Ba4.

Erling Tholfsen
vs.
Frank James Marshall

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Tholfsen apparently loves to move his King to the f-file; he does so in several games in the tournament. As White, he definitely has not chosen the best line of play.

In the diagram, it is Black to play after 16.Ba4. Material is equal and White seems to have begun reorganizing. What should Black play?

 



White to move after 27....a6.

Bruno Forsberg
vs.
Frank James Marshall

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To judge by his two fighting games against Marshall, Bruno Forsberg could be quite a resourceful and inventive player. In this game, he plays the Perreux Variation of the Two Knights Defense and maintains at least equality well into the ending. Eventually, the grandmaster wears him down, but he puts up quite a fight all the way.

In the diagram, it is White to play after 27....a6. The White Knight looks to be in a bit of a fix. His retreats are all blocked and he would be immediately lost after 28.Na7+? Kb8. Meanwhile, if 28.Nd6+ Kc7 Black will either win the Knight after 29.Nf7? Re7 or gain powerful control of the d-file after 29.Nc4 Rd5. How did the ingenious Forsberg rescue his Knight without handing Marshall a clear advantage?



Black to move after 7.Bd2.

Anthony Edward Santasiere
vs.
Carlos Torre

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Santasiere seems to have been unprepared to play the Urusov Gambit (3....exd4 4.Nf3), for he instead chooses a weak line of the Center Game with 4.Qxd4. After Torre wins a pawn in the opening, however, Satasiere battles back to secure a hard fought draw.

In the diagram, it is Black to play after 7.Bd2. How did Torre exploit the alignment of White's Queen and King along the e-file to win a pawn?



White to move after 15....Kd7.

Anthony Edward Santasiere
vs.
Erling Tholfsen

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Santasiere regains his gambit pawn with a nice maneuver but then falls victim to an unfortunate hallucination and tries to grab a poisoned pawn, handing Tholfsen a piece and the game. Santasiere plays on for quite a while a piece down, but the ending is hopeless.

In the diagram, it is White to play after 15....Kd7. He can win back his gambit pawn with 16.Qxg7+?! Kc8, but the opened g-file would clearly provide Black a wonderful avenue for attack against White's King and Black's center pawns would give him a space advantage. How did White win a pawn while retaining the initiative?



Black to move after 7.Qh4.

Erling Tholfsen
vs.
Carlos Torre

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Tholfsen plays the opening in less than accurate fashion and pays the consequences.

In the diagram, it is Black to play after 6.Bg5?! Nc6 7.Qh4. Tholfsen has chosen the standard method of reaching the Urusov Gambit main line. But it was in the 1924 Dimock Tournament that Marshall and Torre showed the superiority of 6.Nc3. How does Torre demonstrate White's mistake?

 



Black to move after 23.h3.

Frank James Marshall
vs.
Anthony Edward Santasiere

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Santasiere, playing Black, chooses the identical line that Marshall deployed against him when Santasiere held the White pieces. In a sense, then, he makes Marshall play against himself, and a draw is the natural result.

In the diagram, it is Black to play after 23.h3. No doubt Santasiere feared the prospect of a drawn out Queen ending where there would be many opportunities for him to go wrong. How did Santasiere force an immediate draw against the famous grandmaster?



Black to move after 22.a4.

Horace Ransom Bigelow
vs.
Frank James Marshall

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Marshall plays his favorite Two Knights Defense and Bigelow chooses the Modern Variation with 5.e5. But Bigelow is a little too reckless about material in the opening, allowing Marshall to grab two pawns. Always a player to prefer the initiative to material, though, Marshall returns some of his booty for the attack, which he parlays into a won ending.

In the diagram, it is Black to play after 22.a4. Marshall's Rook at b5 is attacked and if he retreats with 22....Rb8 then 23.gxf5 Bxf5 (23....Qxf5?! 24.Bh6!) 24.Rg2 gives White the initiative to compensate for his lost material. With his pressure on g7 and on the dark squares generally, in fact, White may give Black real trouble. How did Marshall play to keep the initiative?



Black to move after 27.Nc2.

Rudolph Smirka
vs.
Anthony Edward Santasiere

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Santasiere as Black plays the interesting move 4....c5!?, attempting to hold onto the gambit pawn rather than grab another with 4....Nxe4. White then tries the rather dubious 5.Ne5?!, allowing Black to gain the initiative.

In the diagram, it is Black to play after 27.Nc2. Black is up a pawn and has a powerful protected passed pawn at d4 that he may eventually be able to force through to a Queen with careful maneuvering and exchanges. But Santasiere sees an opportunity to pursue a different method of queening a pawn by playing in the dashing style most suited to the Urusov Gambit tournament.... What did he do to finish the game?


If you prefer, you can play though all of the Games from the Dimock Tournament on one page (without annotations) or Download the PGN file of all available games in one convenient file.

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Contact: Michael Goeller, goeller@rci.rutgers.edu
Last modified: July 15, 2002
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