Jaques Marshall Tournament Chessmen.
A set of Boxwood and Ebony Jaques Marshall Tournament Chessmen. The pieces are heavily weighted and felted, with “Jaques London” inscribed very faintly on the base of both Kings. A very attractive set with beautifully carved Marshall Knights with drilled out pupils. The King stands 3.5″ tall with a 1.7″ diameter base. These are Jaques Marshall Tournament Chessmen. The chessmen are housed in their original Mahogany hinge-top box with its original white manufacturer’s label. The chessmen and box are in excellent condition and have a very pleasant patina. The set is circa 1920.
A Little About Frank Marshall.
Frank James Marshall (August 10, 1877 – November 9, 1944) was the U.S. Chess Champion from 1909 to 1936, and one of the world’s strongest players in the early part of the 20th century. Marshall was born in New York City, and lived in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, from age 8 to 19. He began playing chess at the age of 10, and by 1890 (aged 13) was one of the leading players in Montreal.
Marshall was best known for his great tactical skill. Grand Master Andrew Soltis writes that, “In later years his prowess at rescuing the irretrievable took on magical proportions”. Not so well known now, but appreciated in his day, was his endgame skill.
Marshall invented a number of opening variations. Two gambit variations are still theoretically important today. One of the most famous is the Marshall Attack in the Ruy Lopez (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5). Marshall’s first debut with this opening was against Capablanca in 1918 (see Image right). Even though Capablanca won in a game widely regarded as a typical example of his defensive genius, Marshall’s opening idea became quite popular. Black gets good play and scores close to 50 percent with it. The Marshall Attack is so respected that many top players often choose to avoid it with “Anti-Marshall” variations such as 8.a4.
Marshall won the1904 Cambridge Springs International Chess Congress (scoring 13/15, ahead of World Champion Emanuel Lasker) and the U.S. congress in 1904. Marshall was not awarded the National title because the U.S. champion at that time, Harry Nelson Pillsbury, did not compete. In 1906 Pillsbury died and Marshall again refused the championship title until he won it in competition in 1909.
In 1936, after holding the U.S. championship title for 27 years, he relinquished it to the winner of the First official U.S. Championship Tournament. which was sponsored by the National Chess Federation and held in New York. That first official U.S. Championship was won by Samuel Reshevsky.