The Marshall Swindle

We just saw “Tower Heist” with Ben Stiller & Eddie Murphy last night, and I have to say it’s a great movie.

In the movie, they mention “The Marshall Swindle”, a term coined after famous GM Frank James Marshal. The term is often used to mean “a diabolically clever move or combination that turns the tables on the opponent.”

I was intrigued and looked up the famous 1912 game.
Can you see what the next move is and why it’s so brilliant?

 

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31 thoughts on “The Marshall Swindle

  1. Qg3!! I’ve seen this on chessgames, while it looks pretty, I don’t think such a sac was needed for black. Black was winning anyway.

    • I still don’t get it.
      After black plays Q to G3. white can capture the queen with his queen.
      What happens next?
      How does black win? Q g3,  Qxg3 Ne2 Kh1 Nxg3 Kg1…I’m not seeing mate.

    • Black was in a losing position here if he hadn’t played Qg3. Because his queen AND his rook are threatened and there is no way to save both. Off course,after Qg3 he doesn’t need his queen anymore 🙂

  2. There are three paths:
    hg Ne2 mate, fg Ne2 Kh1 Rf1 mate, or Qg3 Ne2 Kh1 Ng3 fg(hg is not possible because of rook on h3) Rf1 mate

  3. after white queen capture the black queen. The white moves the rook in E2. At this moment the black rook can capture the king or the queen. After the white king is moved to h1, the rook takes the white queen and is chess. If the white soldier captures the black rook in g3, the black tower will capture the white one and checkmate in f1.

  4. I still don’t get it.
    After black plays Q to G3. white can capture the queen with his queen.
    What happens next?
    How does black win?

  5. As Clayton describes, the only non-immediate-mate option for white is Qxg3, Ne2+, Kh1, Nxg3, Kg1. From there, black can easily be 1 piece ahead and have a winning end-game.

  6. omfg it took me almost an hour to find out why black won. cause i thought there were posibilities for white to win. but there really isn’t. lol i had to play it on my own chessboard and watch several youtube vids to find out.

  7. I still don’t get it. 
    After black plays Q to G3. white can capture the queen with his queen. 
    What happens next? 
    How does black win? Q g3,  Qxg3 Ne2 Kh1 Nxg3 Kg1…I’m not seeing mate.

  8. To Frank : the move you mentioned do not make checkmate but white will lose Rf1.. and have 1 piece ahead like Ofer said which have a winning end-game.

  9. I just finished watching the Tower Heist and heard the phrase for the first time and had to look it up.  Very glad to see you posted this from the movie.  Another quote I loved was at the end when the 3 day old attorney said, “Sharks are born swimming.”  Epic!

  10. I just saw the movie this past weekend. After watching it, I had to play this game twice to appreciate the beauty of the moves…amazing! 

  11. Thanks for the summary. Is indeed a great move and I too just saw it through the film. Yet what if white responds with Qe5? Let’s say they swap queens and black ends up a knight in front. Is that considered a great advantage going into an end game?

  12. Hi again. Don’t worry worked it out. Still results in victory for black, with Ne2+, Kh1 then Rook takes h2, checkmate.

    If white takes the knight with the queen, then black queen takes h2, checkmate…

    It really is an amazing move!

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