The Marshall Attack

sharp Chess Opening for Black versus Ruy Lopez

The Marshall Attack is a variation of the Ruy Lopez chess opening (or spanish opening) and originates from Grandmaster Frank James Marshall.

He was born 10th of August in 1877 in New York City, but lived in Montreal, Canada from age 8 to 19, where he started playing chess at the age of 10. At 1890 he was one of the best chess players in Montreal.

In 1904, 1906 and 1909 Marshall won the U.S. Chess Championship.

The first moves of the Marshall Attack are:
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5
7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 d5

After Blacks Move 7...O-O White is suffering psychologically as he does not know if Black will now play the Marshall Attack or not if White plays 8.c3 next. So often White avoids the Marshall Attack for fear at this point and plays not 8.c3, but 8.d4 instead and ruins the whole concept of the Ruy Lopez.

The Marshall Attack has a good reputation and many players who play the spanish opening with the white pieces are fearful that Black employs the Marshall Attack and play the so-called Anti-Marshall Lines to avoid this opening.

In the Marshall Attack Black sacrifices a pawn in return for the initiative and starts a very sharp attack at the white kingside. White must defend and be careful not to run into dangerous attacking lines.

Anti-Marshall lines are, when White does not play 8. c3 - which most players do - but plays other moves instead:
8. a4!?
8. h3
8. d4 Nxd4

But this requires different studies. Go to the Anti-Marshall.

The Birth of the Marshall Attack


The Marshall Attack - Games

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