Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Marshall Swindle


It is claimed that the most spectacular move ever made in the history of chess is known as the “Marshall Swindle”.  Great interest was generated by the comedy-action movie “Tower Heist” starring Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Alan Alda and Casey Affleck.

The "Marshall Swindle"(Stefan Levitsky v. Frank James
Marshall, 1912)
Josh Kovaks (played by Stiller), a luxury condo manager, tries to get back on Arthur Shaw (played by Alda), a Wall Street millionaire, who defrauded him and the rest of the employees of their retirement money. In the early part of the movie, Kovaks and Shaw are opponents in a chess game via the internet. Shaw is depicted as a serious chess player who asks Kovaks if he still remembers that swindle perpetrated by Frank James Marshall against Stefan Levitsky in their chess game of 1912.

There are accounts that when Marshall played the move (23_Qg3), there were gold pieces thrown by the spectators on the chessboard. The queen can be taken in three (3) different ways. The result however at whatever way Marshall’s queen is taken - is that Levitsky would lose the game. Levitsky appeared to have been swindled as Marshall is already in the verge of losing. Before Marshall’s 23.__Qg3, his queen is attacked by white’s rook and one of his own rooks is hanging by the teeth at h3 waiting to devoured. Marshall’s 23rd move is indeed a shock to Levitsky who resigned thereafter.

In life, when faced with great obstacle and adversity it is necessary to remain calm and not to lose concentration. Without focus, Marshall would not have found that spectacular (23._Qg3) move. That move is a testament of concentration and focus. The lack of concentration and focus is often the reason why we fail to find solutions to our problems.

What is important is to never forget that a problem may be very difficult to solve but there should always be a solution. Perhaps,  the solution entails the sacrifice of a valuable piece.


           how to win chess

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