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Frank J. ("James") Marshall (2474) - Amos Burn (2575) Paris, 1900

Note: Ratings are Chessmetric Ratings for the year 1900

This is the famous "Pipe game" between future US champ Frank Marshall and the English master Amos Burn. Burn was a habitual smoker, usually smoking his pipe non-stop during an entire game. Some opponents claimed it was distracting and they could not see the board for the haze of smoke!

Here, Marshall "smokes" his opponent before Burn could even get his blasted pipe lit!

Fascinating. I have found 3 different move orders for this game from different sources and one well annotated game with different moves and ending! (It was the wrong game!)

This is the actual "pipe game" that was played in Paris and contains Marshalls own notes from his auto-biography.

Marshall-Burn, Paris 1900

1. d4, d5

2. c4, e6

"Britisher Amos Burn was a very conservative player and liked to settle down for a long session of close, defensive chess. He loved to smoke his pipe while he studied the board. As I made my second move, Burn began hunting through his pockets for his pipe and tobacco"

3. Nc3, Nf6

4. Bg5, Be7

"Not much thought needed on these moves, but Burn had his pipe out and was looking for a pipe cleaner"

5. e3, 0-0

6. Nf3, b6

7. Bd3, Bb7

8. cxd5, exd5

"He began filling up his pipe. I speeded up my moves"

9. Bxf6, Bxf6


"Made him think on that one -- and he still didn't have the pipe going. The threat is Bxh7+ kxh7 Ng5+, known as the Pillsbury attack" (11. Bxh7+ Kxh7 12. Ng5+, and if 12... Bxg5 13. hxg5+)


Too radical

11. h5, Re8

12. hxg6, hxg6

"Now he was looking for matches"

13. Qc2, Bg7

14. Bxg6!, fxg6

"He struck a match, appeared nervous. The match burned his fingers and went out"

15. Qxg6, Nd7

"Another match was on its way"

16. Ng5! Qf6

"He was puffing away and lighting up at last. No time left"

17. Rh8+

Black Resigns

For if 17...Kxh8 18 Q-h7 mate. "Poor Burn. I think I swindled him out of that one. If he could only have got his pipe going, it might have been a different story. He took it good-naturedly and we shook hands. Then his pipe went out"