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Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Frank Marshall Trivia

Frank James Marshall (1877-1944) was born of British-Scottish parentage on the west side of Manhattan (8th Avenue and 50th Street) in New York City. Most recent sources say he was born on August 10. For the first 50 years, sources on Frank Marshall say he was born on August 21.

His father, Alfred, was in the flour business and moved to Montreal when Frank was 8 years old.

Frank began playing chess at the age of 10 in Montreal, being taught by his father. In six months, Frank was on equal terms with his father in chess. By age 11, Frank was able to beat his father in chess consistently. His father then introduced Frank to the Hope Coffee House in Montreal to play stronger competition.

At age 12, Marshall beat the best player of the Hope Coffee house, in whose back room chess and checkers was being played.

In 1890 (age 13), he joined the Montreal Chess Club, and was soon one of the leading chess players in Montreal.

In 1892 (age 14), Marshall made his real debut in the chess world on the occasion of a visit to a French café with his father by defeating the best player there on even terms, a feat that electrified the spectators.

In 1892, Marshall won the championship of the Montreal Chess Club.

In 1893, Marshall won the championship of the Montreal Chess Club for a second time.

On November 13, 1893 Marshall played world chess champion William Steinitz when Steinitz was giving a 16-board simultaneous exhibition in Montreal. Marshall lost, but the game was published in a Montreal magazine (Le Monde Illustre). Steinitz complimented Marshall on his game and predicted a great future for him.

In December 1893, when Harry Nelson Pillsbury, the American chess champion, visited Montreal, he was defeated by Marshall in both the simultaneous and blindfold exhibitions given by Pillsbury at the Montreal Chess Club. Marshall also won in simultaneous exhibitions against Showalter, Gossip, Barry, and Pollock. He lost to Emanuel Lasker in one of the simultaneous exhibitions.

In January 1894, Frank Marshall placed 5th in the 20th Canadian chess championship, held in Montreal, won by A.T. Davison. He won 7 games, lost 7 games, and drew no games.

In 1894, Marshall won the championship of the Montreal Chess Club for the third time in a row.

Marshall was also active in baseball, hockey, lacrosse, and was an excellent speed skater.

In 1895, Marshall moved to Brooklyn and assisted his father in the flour business. Marshall later joined the Brooklyn Chess Club (146 Montague Street) and the Manhattan Chess Club. He later decided to make chess his profession. There is no indication that Frank graduated from high school.

In 1896, Marshall won the junior chess championship of the New York Chess Association at Ontario Beach.

Marshall defeated Chang, the Eden Musee chess automaton the first time he played it.

In October-November 1896, William Napier (1881-1952) defeated Frank Marshall in a match, held at the Brooklyn Chess Club. Marshall won 1 game, drew 3 games, and lost 6 games.

In 1897, Marshall played Hermann Helms in a simultaneous exhibition and lost.

In 1897, Marshall took 3rd place in the Brooklyn championship tournament, won by William Napier. Napier won his first Brooklyn Chess Club Championship when he was 15.

Marshall took 2nd place at the Café Chess Club, behind W.H.K. Pollock. Marshall won the brilliancy prize.

In March 1898, Marshall, age 20, won the Brooklyn Chess Club championship, defeating William Napier.

In 1898, Marshall played a match in Montreal with Nicolai Jasnogrodsky, ex-champion of New York State. Marshall scored 3 wins, 3 losses, and 1 draw to draw the match. After the match, Marshall returned to Brooklyn.

In November 1898 through January 1899, Marshall played in the Manhattan Chess Club Championship. The event was won by Albert B. Hodges.

In November 1898, Marshall went to New Haven, Connecticut and spent 3 weeks coaching chess at Yale College and preparing them for the upcoming inter-collegiate tournament in New York

In March 1899, Marshall played board 8 in a USA vs. Great Britain cable match. He drew his game against George E. Wainwright. The USA team won 6 to 4.

In May-June 1899, Marshall, representing the Brooklyn Chess Club, won the minor masters tournament at the St. Stephen’s Hall, Westminster, London, his first international event. There were 12 players in his section. He won 7, drew 3, and lost 1. He lost to Dr. Physick, drew with Georg Marco, Jacques Mieses, and Muller, and defeated the rest. The Brooklyn Chess Club guaranteed his entrance money and part of his expenses. Marshall won 70 British pounds or $350 (almost $3,000 in today’s currency) for his 1st place finish and attained the title of master.

In December 1899, Marshall played a match against Sidney P. Johnston at the Chicago Chess and Checker Club. Marshall won with 7 wins, 6 losses, and 2 draws. Marshall won the $150 purse.

In February 1900, Frank Marshall (age 23) won the New York State Championship, held in Manhattan, after defeating David G. Baird in a playoff match.

In April 1900, Marshall played 14 games simultaneously at the Queens County Chess Club at Jamaica, Long Island. He won 13 and drew 1 in one hour and 59 minutes. The referee was Henry Chadwick, the “father of baseball.”

In May-June 1900, Marshall, age 22, tied for 3rd-4th place (with Geza Maroczy) at the international masters’ tournament in Paris, won by Lasker, followed by Pillsbury. Marshall defeated world champion Emanuel Lasker (Lasker’s only loss) and U.S. champion Harry Pillsbury in their individual games. Marshall’s prize was the equivalent of $2,000 in today’s currency.

In September, 1902, he defeated Richard Teichmann in a match in London, scoring 3.5-1.5.

In May 1903, Marshall finished 2nd, behind Chigorin, in a King’s Gambit Accepted tournament at Vienna.

In 1903, he played in the 8th cable match between the USA and the UK. He played board 4 and won against Henry Atkins.

In 1903, he defeated James Mortimer in a match in London.

In February, 1904, he took 3rd in Monte Carlo.

In February-March, 1904, he tied for 1st with Rudolf Swiderski in the Rice Gambit tournament held in Monte Carlo.

In April-May 1904, he won the Cambridge Springs (Pennsylvania) International Chess Congress, scoring 13 out of 15 (11 wins and 4 draws), two points ahead of Emanuel Lasker and Dawid Janowski, without the loss of a game. Marshall won the $1,000 first prize money. He was also presented with a gold watch by the Manhattan Chess Club in honor of his victory.

In August, 1904, he won the Rice Trophy Competition held at the 17th New York State Chess Association tournament in Sylvan Beach.

In October 1904, Marshall won the 7th American Chess Congress in St. Louis with 8 wins and 2 draws. Marshall was given the title of US Champion, but Marshall did not accept this title because US Champion Pillsbury did not play (he was suffering from syphilis). The committee of the tournament gave Marshall a gold medal inscribed “Champion.”

On January 6, 1905, Frank Marshall married Miss Caroline Krause of New York. The next day they were both on a ship to Paris for a chess tournament.

In January-March, 1905, he defeated David Janowski in a match in Paris, scoring 10-8. The games were played at the Philidor Club.

In June-July, 1905, he tied for 8th-10th at Ostend, Belgium.

In August, 1905, he took 1st at Scheveningen.

In August, 1905, he took 3rd at Barmen, Germany.

In 1905, he defeated James Mortimer in a match in London, with 4 wins.

At the end of 1905 Frank Rice Marshall was born. The Rice middle name was in honor of Professor Isaac Rice, Frank J. Marshall’s benefactor. Many sources referred to Frank Rice Marshall as Frank, Junior.

In 1905-1906, he took 3rd in the Manhattan Chess Club championship.

In 1906, he tied for 2nd with Albert Fox in the 20th Brooklyn Chess Club championship, won by Eugene Delmar.

In June-July, 1906, he took 7th at Ostend, Belgium.

In July-August, 1906, he took 1st place at Nuremberg.

In 1906, he defeated Albert Fox in a match in New York.

In 1906 Harry Nelson Pillsbury died and Marshall was acknowledged as the US champion. Marshall refused the title until 1909 when he played a match for the title with Showalter.

From January 26, 1907 to April 8, 1907, Marshall played a match against Emanuel Lasker for the world championship title. Marshall lost 8, drew 7, and won no games. The match took place in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Chicago, and Memphis.

In 1908, he took 1st at Dusseldorf.

In February, 1909, he defeated Charles Jaffe in a match held at the Rice Chess Club.

In April-June, 1909, Marshall played Jose Capablanca in a match and won 1 game, lost 8, and drew 14. The games were played in New York, Scranton, and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

In 1909, Marshall defeated Jackson Whipps Showalter for the U.S. chess championship with 7 wins, 2 losses, and 3 draws. The match was played in Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky. Marshall’s purse for the match was $500.

Frank Marshall was considered the U.S. chess champion from 1909 to 1936, 27 years.

In 1910, he played board 1 in the 12th Anglo-American cable match and defeated Blackburne.

In 1911, Marshall insisted that Capablanca be permitted to enter the San Sebastian tournament, an exclusive tournament for only the best players in the world. Despite much protest at his inclusion, Capablanca won the tournament.

In 1913, he won at Havana, edging out Capablanca by half a point.
In 1913, Marshall played 57 boards simultaneously in Pittsburgh, at the time, a world record. He won 46 and drew 11, with no losses.

In 1914, Marshall finished 5th at St. Petersburg. Tsar Nicholas II conferred the title of “Grandmaster” on Marshall and the four other finalists, Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, and Tarrasch.

In July-August 1914, Marshall participated in the 19th German Chess Federation in Mannheim, when World War I broke out on August 1. At the time, he was in a tie for 4th-6th place and was playing Dawid Janowski, the French champion. According to Marshall, at the first shot, all the participants were made prisoners by the German military authorities. Marshall was soon released, being a citizen of the United States, a neutral power. Marshall departed so hurriedly that his baggage was left behind.

In January 1915, Marshall gave two simuls at the Washington Chess and Whist Club. In the afternoon he played 11 players (winning 10 and losing 1) and in the evening he played 16 players (winning all 16 games).

On February 23, 1915, Frank Marshall played 92 boards simultaneously at the Portland Chess and Checker Club in Portland, Oregon, a new world record. He won 78, drew 10, and lost 4. The simul lasted 6 hours and 34 minutes.

In March 1915, Marshall played 41 boards simultaneously at the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club, winning 29, drawing 4, and losing 8.

In April-May 1915, Marshall took 2nd place behind Capablanca in a double round-robin masters tournament held at various chess clubs in New York. Marshall drew Capablanca twice.

In July 1915, Frank Marshall founded Marshall’s Chess Divan. It was first established at Young’s Old Pier, Tennessee Avenue and Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ. Here, he provided playing quarters for the accommodation of traveling chess players. Marshall also plays chess and checkers against all comers.

In late September 1915, Marshall established a chess divan for himself in the back room of Keen’s Chop House, 70 West Thirty-sixth street in Manhattan (now Keens Steakhouse on 72 West 36 Street, established in 1885). The use of tables for chess or checkers was available for a nominal charge. Marshall was available for instruction or practice play on a professional basis. This later became known as the Marshall Chess Club, which later purchased a townhouse at 135 West Twelfth Street. (source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 30, 1915, p. 21). Friday evenings were set aside for exhibitions and lectures. Charles Jaffe (1879-1941), former New York State chess champion, was associated with Marshall in the venture.

In December 1915, Frank Marshall asked the management of the Rice Memorial masters’ tournament to withdraw his name from the event, to be held at the Brooklyn Chess Club. His reason was that the managers refused to play Marshall $150 for training expenses from money contributed toward the prize fund and held by them in trust for all the players.

On March 21, 1916, Marshall played 105 boards in a simul exhibition held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. It was a world record at the time. The former world’s record was made in 1911 at Munich by H. Fahrni, who played 100 simultaneous games, winning 55, drawing 39, and losing 6. One member of Congress (Congressman James Glynn of Connecticut), as well as members of the press club, newspaper correspondents and local experts participated. Marshall won 82 games, lost 8 and drew 15 in 7 hours. The Vice President of the United States, Thomas R. Marshall, was there to watch and followed Frank Marshall’s performance with great interest.

In June 1916, Marshall played David Janowski, the French chess champion, in a match at the Manhattan Chess Club in New York, winning 4, drawing 3, and losing 1.

On December 26, 1916, Marshall played 129 boards simultaneously in Philadelphia, a new world record. It was played at the Curtis auditorium. Marshall played for 8 hours, walking 18 miles. Marshall won 97, lost 9, and drew 23.

In January 1917, after a residence of over 20 years in Brooklyn, Frank Marshall moved to Manhattan to be near his Chess Divan. The Divan moved to 118 West Forty-ninth Street, New York, in the Café Francais. A few friends of Frank Marshall formed themselves into a working committee and paid the rent for four months. Annual dues for the Chess Divan were $10. A large front room on the second floor was set aside for the Divan. The Divan’s treasurer was A.J. Gordon.

On March 8, 1917, Frank Marshall played 144 boards in a simultaneous exhibition in Buffalo, New York, in two sessions, half the games in the afternoon and the other half in the evening. He won 131, lost 1, and drew 12.

On April 14, 1917, Marshall played 101 boards in a simultaneous exhibition at the New York City Chess Club in New York City. He won 69 games, drew 25, and lost 7.

On April 28, 1917, festivities took place at the Café Francais celebrating the second anniversary of Marshall’s Chess Divan. A tournament was arranged at 20 seconds a move with 8 leading chess players. The event was won by Marshall, followed by David Janowski and Oscar Chajes. Nearly 100 guests participated in the annual dinner held in the banquet room of the Café Francais. Hermann Helms of the Brooklyn Chess Club was made honorary member in Marshall’s Chess Divan.

In the summer of 1917, Frank Marshall moved his divan for chess and checkers to the Million Dollar Pier at Atlantic City, New Jersey.

In November 1917, there was a large attendance at the Marshall Chess Divan as Frank Marshall played two blindfold games against consulting teams. He lost one game and drew the other.

In May 1918, Oscar Chajes, New York State Chess Champion, challenged Frank Marshall for a match for the United States championship. The conditions that Marshall wanted were the winner being the first to win 8 games, draws not counting, and the purse should not be less than $2,000. The time limit would be 30 moves in the first 2 hours, then 15 moves per hour after that.

In September 1918, Sgt. Benjamin H. Marshall, a younger brother of Frank Marshall, served with the Quarter-Master’s Corps in Bordeaux.

In October-November 1918, Marshall took 3rd in an international masters’ chess tournament at the Manhattan Chess Club, behind Jose Capablanca and Boris Kostic.

Frank Marshall is often quoted as saying, “almost any plan will be better than none.” Marshall never said this nor wrote it. It is a quote on advice for beginners by a writer in the Melbourne Times of Australia in 1918.

During the summer of 1919, Frank Marshall opened his Chess and Checkers Divan on the Million-Dollar Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey. His popular resort was patronized more than ever.

In 1919, the Marshall Chess Club played a four game match with the Brooklyn Chess Club – each game played without site of board. Marshall won his game, and the Marshall CC won the match.

In 1920 he won the American Chess Congress.

In 1922 the Marshall Chess Club was incorporated. That year he played 155 games simultaneously at the National Club in Montreal, Canada, a world record. He scored 126 wins, 21 draws, and 8 losses in just over 7 hours. When Marshall returned to New York, he was able to remember 154 of the 156 games.

In 1923, Marshall defeated Edward Lasker for the U.S. chess championship with 5 wins, 4 losses, and 9 draws.

In 1924 he took 4th at the great New York 1924 International, behind Lasker, Capablanca, and Alekhine.

In 1925, Marshall appeared in the short Soviet film Chess Fever in a cameo appearance.

In the 1930s, Marshall captained the U.S. team to four gold medals at four Chess Olympiads.

In 1936, after holding the U.S. chess championship for 27 years, he relinquished it to the winner of a U.S. championship tournament. The first such tournament was sponsored by the National Chess Federation and held in New York. The Marshall Chess Club donated the trophy, and the first winner was Samuel Reshevsky.

In 1942 he published My Fifty Years of Chess, ghosted by Fred Reinfeld.

In 1944 Marshall was still playing chess, including correspondence chess during World War II.

On November 9, 1944 he was walking to some friend’s house around 7:30 pm to play bingo when he collapsed and died in the street of a heart attack. He was 67. For 57 years he played chess almost every day. He took a pocket chess set to bed with him at night so that he might record a game or position from his dreams.

His wife, Caroline, ran the Marshall Chess Club until her death in 1971.

Marshall’s nickname was “The Great Swindler.”

– Bill Wall

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