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Capablanca vs Alekhine 1927
Buenos Aires

From 1921 to 1927, Alexander Alekhine labored to become José Raúl Capablanca's logical challenger, winning or sharing first prize in 12 of 20 tournaments (he also won or shared six second prizes during this period). He also began a minute study of Capablanca's games, searching for weaknesses.[1] In the age of luminaries such as Rubinstein, Bogoljubow, and Nimzowitsch, Alekhine was not the only legitimate contender to the crown. He was, however, the only leading player able to secure the necessary finances to allow the match to take place. In 1927 the two giants met over the chessboard in Buenos Aires with the World Championship title at stake.

 Capablanca
 Argentinian newspaper photo. Click here for larger view.
Capablanca was, of course, a heavy favorite in this match. In addition to his own record, his heads-up record against Alekhine was far superior. They had met in four previous tournaments, and in each case Capablanca had placed higher. Their head-to-head record was an exceptional +5 -0 =7 for Capablanca. Grandmaster predictions were heavily in his favor. Rudolf Spielmann predicted that Alekhine would not win a single game, while the optimistic Bogolubov thought that he might perhaps win 2 games.[2]

In Argentina, from September 16 through November 29, 1927, the world witnessed the longest World Championship Match in the history of chess. The conditions for the match was the first to win 6 games. The star opening of this match was the Orthodox Defense to the Queen's Gambit which appeared in every game but two. After a titanic struggle of 34 games, Alekhine achieved the impossible: he defeated Capablanca 6 to 3, and became the 4th World Chess Champion.

click on a game number to replay game 1234567891011121314151617181920
Alekhine1½0½½½0½½½11½½½½½½½½
Capablanca0½1½½½1½½½00½½½½½½½½

click on a game number to replay game 2122232425262728293031323334
Alekhine1½½½½½½½0½½1½1
Capablanca0½½½½½½½1½½0½0

FINAL SCORE:  Alekhine 6;  Capablanca 3 (25 draws)
Reference: game collection WCC Index [Capablanca-Alekhine 1927]

NOTABLE GAMES   [what is this?]
    · Game #11     Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927     0-1
    · Game #34     Alekhine vs Capablanca, 1927     1-0
    · Game #1     Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927     0-1

FOOTNOTES
1. World Championship Chess Matches by Graeme Cree

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 34  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Capablanca vs Alekhine 0-143 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchC01 French, Exchange
2. Alekhine vs Capablanca ½-½19 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD65 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack, Main line
3. Capablanca vs Alekhine 1-042 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchA47 Queen's Indian
4. Alekhine vs Capablanca ½-½49 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD64 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack
5. Capablanca vs Alekhine ½-½42 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. Alekhine vs Capablanca ½-½40 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD67 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Bd3 line
7. Capablanca vs Alekhine 1-036 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
8. Alekhine vs Capablanca ½-½42 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD62 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack
9. Capablanca vs Alekhine ½-½34 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
10. Alekhine vs Capablanca ½-½20 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD62 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack
11. Capablanca vs Alekhine 0-166 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. Alekhine vs Capablanca 1-041 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD64 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack
13. Capablanca vs Alekhine ½-½27 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
14. Alekhine vs Capablanca ½-½25 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD64 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack
15. Capablanca vs Alekhine ½-½30 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
16. Alekhine vs Capablanca ½-½24 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD67 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Bd3 line
17. Capablanca vs Alekhine ½-½59 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
18. Alekhine vs Capablanca ½-½28 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD67 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Bd3 line
19. Capablanca vs Alekhine ½-½21 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
20. Alekhine vs Capablanca ½-½43 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD67 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Bd3 line
21. Capablanca vs Alekhine 0-132 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
22. Alekhine vs Capablanca ½-½86 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD67 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Bd3 line
23. Capablanca vs Alekhine ½-½48 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
24. Alekhine vs Capablanca ½-½41 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD67 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Bd3 line
25. Capablanca vs Alekhine ½-½40 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship MatchD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 34  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  
 

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 28 OF 28 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-09-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: < Gypsy: <Hesam7> Bradley Beach, New Jersey offered to host the Capablanca-Alekhine return match in 1929. I <<<presume>>> that was for the right sum. But Alekhine chose to play Bogo in 1929 instead. Nothing realy wrong with that. But combined with the Stock Market crash later that year, I personally do not think Alekhine had any moral grounds to single out Capablanca for the higher sum requirements afterwards.>

I am looking for any evidence that the presumption here is true? Any help from anyone would be appreciated.

I have a contemporaneous magazine and newspaper sources that do mention <Bradley Beach> wanted to host a rematch in 1929, but I have yet to find any mention that the organizers had indeed secured the $10,000 purse.

Sep-09-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <MichAdams: <By the way, why Capa didn't show up for his game to Alekhine in the 1939 Olympiad? Does anybody know?> Neither player showed up. It was agreed prior to the round that both players would be rested.>

No.

<Alekhine> showed up for France's 12th round match up against Cuba and defeated Alberto Lopez Arce:

Alekhine vs A Lopez Arce, 1939

<Capablanca> rested during the 12th round.

In an article originally published by the Argentine newspaper "Critica," <Capa> explains why he rested this round, but he does not disclose any actual details about his feelings about facing <Alekhine>:

<"I should like to explain my absence, which was due partly to personal reasons... A week ago I notified the Argnetine Chess Federation that <<<I did not intend to play against Alekhine,>>> and I explained my reasons for this decision.">

<Capa> did not include the explanation for these reasons in the article.

--"Capablanca"
Edward Winter
McFarland 1989
p. 295

Sep-09-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: "Capa Ducks Alekhine!"

Read all about it.

Sep-09-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <TheFocus> heh...

You know I'd give everything I own (which isn't much) to read that letter Capa sent to the Argentine Chess Federation. I wonder if anyone has ever tried to dig it up?

That would be like finding King Solomon's mine eh?

Sep-09-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: I wish <Winter> had it.
Sep-09-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <Akavall: <Gypsy> Do you by any chance know what exactly Bradley Beach baking was? Did Capablanca just had, say, document where Bradley Beach stated their williness to support Capa, or did they actually have some money down? And if so how much? As far as I understand, Bogoljubov had nothing when Alekhine accepted the match with him, and it took Bogoljubov a while to even get the initial $500 in.

Mar-18-08
Premium Chessgames Member Gypsy: <Akavall> That is a question for a true chess historian.>

Yes I am looking for <a true chess historian> to help me find any actual primary evidence that <Bradley Beach> had the full $10,000 purse ready for a Capa challenge.

I would like any primary evidence that mentions any dollar figure these organizers may have actually had in hand for a rematch.

Nov-27-13  RedShield: I need help.... looking for an article somewhere online wherein Capa writes to the organising committee of the Buenos Aires match making his excuses for not attending the official ceremony at which Alekhine was to be declared the new champion. Saw it recently, meant to bookmark it, but have completely lost the scent.
Nov-28-13  aliejin: Once I have asked those responsible for chessgame
of where they got the information of bradley beach offer ....

They told me that he was taken from other site
I do not remember now the name of that that site,
but at the time I visited

This site did not have any evidence ..... But I remember a funny statement .... said euwe lost with alekhine in 1937 because Flohr, replacement of fine at the last moment, as a second, had not been up to Eliskases level , second of alekhine!

In 1927 Capablanca did not attend the coronation ceremony of alekhine

Nov-28-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: <Red Shield>

Here is the new intro to this event, which will replace the old one in the near future. You'll find it at the top of the intro to this games collection:

Game Collection: WCC: Capablanca-Alekhine 1927

The source you're looking for is cited in the new draft, and here it is for you to look at:

12 "Magazine Actual” May 1997, p. 25. In Edward Winter, “<Chess Note 3428>.” Retrieved from http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

You'll see a photograph of the actual letter here.

Nov-28-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: <aliejin> You are mentioning a detail from the intro to this event:

Alekhine-Bogoljubov World Championship Match (1929)

The citation for the Bradley Beach offer in that intro is from <Graeme Cree's> web page here: http://graeme.50webs.com/chesschamp...

You'll note, however, that the Cree page does not mention that the Bradley Beach organizers had come up with the required $10,000 purse.

There is currently no contemporaneous evidence that they raised this sum.

You can read about it here in the new intro, which will replace the old one in the near future:

Game Collection: WCC:Alekhine-Bogoljubov 1929

This intro will replace the existing one in the near future.

Here is the relevant passage from the new intro, with proper citation:

"The challenger's obligation to raise a $10,000 purse would be the main obstacle to a rematch. In 1928 American organizers offered Bradley Beach, N.J. as a venue, but there exists no evidence that they ever raised the required purse.[2]

And here is the citation:

[2] W.H.W.,"Daily Mail" 16 November 1928 p.17. In Edward Winter, Chessnote 8193,http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/....

This contemporaneous source mentions that Bradley Beach tried to organize a rematch, but the source makes no mention that the organizers actually had raised the required $10,000 purse.

As you know, this purse was "required" by <Alekhine>, who held <Capablanca> to the same strict London Rules that he had been held to by <Capablanca>.

Jan-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: The purse for this match was: $10,000 (£2,000).

Alekhine received $5,600 (£1,080) and Capablanca $4,600 (£920). <Source: Aberdeen Journal - p.8; Saturday 10 December 1927>.

This would be about a £100,000 purse with prizes of £53,500 and £46,500 in 2013 values.

Jan-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <Chessical>

Your source for the fee payout on this match is contemporaneous, and thus more likely to be more accurate than the source I have listed- which is a citation of the "London Rules 1922" agreement, found here in a draft I'm writing to replace the existing introduction to this event:

Game Collection: WCC: Capablanca-Alekhine 1927

In my draft, it currently reads:

<<Capablanca got $2,000 of the purse as a fee, the remaining to be split $4,800 to the victor and $3,200 to the loser.7

NOTE:

7 Vlastimil Fiala and Jan Kalendovsky, "Complete Games of Alekhine Vol 2, 1921-1924" (Olomouc 1996), pp.153-154>

I have a few questions:

1. Are the currency conversions from <pounds to dollars> from the actual article, or did you do those yourself?

2. Can you find any other contemporaneous sources for the actual match payout?

###########

Since my source is based only on the "fact" that the actual conditions of this match conformed to the "London 1922" agreement, and your source is a contemporaneous report of the "actual" payout, I'm inclined to replace the information I currently have in my draft with your new information.

What do you think?

Jan-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: The currency conversions from <pounds to dollars> are from the actual article.

I have also found the following regarding the purse, <Grantham Journal - Saturday 3rd December 1927> -

"On the present occasion the purse was £2,000, and of this Alekhine receives £960 and Capablanca £1,040. (This seems an obvious transpositional mistake but the division of the total purse is slightly - £40 - different).

The report also later quotes:

<"The "Times' chest correspondent writes: —" Alekhine has stated that he will give Capablanca the first chance of a return match for the title, under conditions similar to those of the present match, namely, purse of $10,000 (£2,000); the series of games unlimited, the first player to win six games to take the title, and draws not to count. He added, however, that he would not be ready to defend the title until at least the year 1929".>

Jan-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: The September 1927 'Wiener Schach-Zeitung' on page 265 (the first report on the match) also gives $10,000 overall with $2,000 for Capablanca and the rest 3:2 ratio for winner and loser. But this may be again based on the London rules.

Winter quotes 'La Prensa' of 14 September 1927 (according to Winter <the day after a meeting between Capablanca, Alekhine and the organizing committee>) the following way <Las condiciones finales para el encuentro quedaron fijadas ayer en una reunión de la comisión directiva y en presencia de Capablanca y Alekhine. Referente a la bolsa, se han tenido en cuenta las condiciones aprobadas por el torneo de Londres. Es de 10.000 dólares, correspondiendo el 20% de premio al campeón. El 80% restante será dividido en la siguiente forma: 60% al ganador y 40% al perdedor.> in http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

So this seems to have been agreed upon by Alekhine and Capablanca. Was it changed at the end?

And may your source <Grantham Journal - Saturday 3rd December 1927>, <chessical> closer to the truth with more money for Capablanca than <Aberdeen Journal - p.8; Saturday 10 December 1927>? Then Capablanca would have received about $5,200 and Alekhine $4,800. If not, when did they decide to change it and why? Didn't find info in Winter's Capablanca book, chapter 'Challenges'.

Jan-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <Chessical, Karpova>

Thanks for providing more contemporaneous sources.

<Chessical> Since a contemporaneous source from 14 Sep 1927 reiterates precisely the original "London Rules 1922" payout plan, it seems that the "mistake in transposition" you speculate on, if true, should more properly be thought of as a mistake "in the other direction" than what you suppose. This is because the second contemporaneous source you found is closer to the payout scheme stipulated by both players, a scheme decided upon in London, 1922, and then reported again on the eve of the actual match.

In the absence of a reliable source explaining when, and preferably also why, the "London Rules 1922" payout might have been amended some time during the course of the actual match, I will list the original "London Rules" payout scheme in my intro.

I will add another footnote in the intro that references the two (conflicting) post-match contemporaneous sources that supply payout information different than that stipulated by the pre-match payout plan.

If you've the appetite for it, though, more digging might make the picture clearer.

I have to agree with <Karpova> about her point that a document explicitly announcing that the payout scheme was altered some time during the course of the match is a necessary piece of the puzzle.

Without such a document, the "transposition" between payout details in the two articles you cite seem, at least at present, to be more likely sloppy reporting than anything else.

Jan-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <Chessical>

Would you please supply a page number, if it is given, for the information supplied by your citation here?

<Grantham Journal - Saturday 3rd December 1927>

If a page number exists and you don't supply it, then we can't use your information in our project.

We should very much like to use your information in our project.

Jan-21-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <WCC Editing Project> The page number for the Grantham Journal's piece with information on the match purse: Saturday 3rd December 1927, page 3.
Jan-21-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <WCC Editing Project> The following newpaper reports may be of interest to you:

<CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP. Conditions for Capablanca-Alekhine Match>

Jose Capablanca, of Cuba, the chess champion of the world, and the Russian master, Alexander Alekhine, are about to engage a contest for the title at Buenos Aires. The opening match has been fixed for September 10, but before final arrangements are made will be necessary to obtain the consent Alekhine, who is not expected arrive before September 7. The conditions provide for games, and the contestants will play for five hours daily except Sundays with a minimum of moves every two and half hours. Reuter.

<Friday 02 September 1927 , Western Daily Press, page 3>.

...

<SILENT WARRIORS>. (By a Chess Correspondent.)

A big, quiet room where the very air seems heavy with deliberation, two men are sitting at a chess-board. The one sits motionless, regarding the game with serene air of aloofness, except when he gets up at long intervals to pace the room while deciding on his next move. The other, in strange contrast, is twisting half-smoked cigarettes nervous fingers while contemplating some dashing move the board. They are Capablanca and Alekhine, and they are playing for the chess championship of the world.

In appearance and temperament, these formidable rivals are utterly unlike. One would almost think that if they exchanged characteristics and personalities they would more consistent. For while Capablanca, whose native land Cuba, and whose slim, dark looks are typically Latin in every detail, preserves Sphinx-like calm and stolidity in playing, Alexander the fair-haired, blue-eyed Russian, unmistakably a Slav, is filled with a burning imagination and a fiery courage, and is highly strung in every nerve.

The style their play is equally unlike, and both have written books their methods, Alekhine's "Best Games of Chess" being published just before the great match. When Capablanca is at the board hardly a flicker of expression passes across his face, but his cool judgement and calculating accuracy do not suffer through the want of outward show. And, opposite him, Alekhine is bringing all the flames of his imagination and the untiring resources of his daring to his brilliant play. The challenge match brings to mind the old strife between the classic and romantic arts.

<Aberdeen Journal - Tuesday 15 November 1927, page 6.>

...

Alekhine has won another game of the great match for the championship, and, at the time of writing, now leads by five games to three. 25 games have been drawn. Everything now points to Alekhine winning the match, Capablanca seems far back an October 15th. to have made his mind that it would be so, on that date be asked his backers arrange another match, limited to 20 games, in New York early in 1929. is stated that Alekhine agrees to the suggestion and would be willing play on those lines.

<Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 03 December 1927, page 1>.

....

Capablanca arrived in England last week to fulfil a number of simultaneous engagements commencing at Hackney Wick last Tuesday. In interview with the chess correspondent of the "Daily Mail," Capablanca said would welcome the offer of an International board to take control of the championship.

Referring to his last contest with Alekhine, he said, <" I made mistake in thinking I could engage in a serious match without interrupting my routine social and business engagements. I know better now.>" but he went on to say that at the present time was playing well enough to entitle him to battle on equal terms with anybody.

<Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 24 November 1928, page 11>.

Jan-21-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Did Capablanca actually receive the higher portion of the purse? Different newspaper reports of the time give conflicting accounts:

Some say he did and I admit the first time I saw this <Grantham Journal - Saturday 3rd December 1927>, I assumed it was a typographical error), but:

"As a result of the meeting, it is stated that Capablanca receives £1,040 and Alekhine £950".

Source: <Referee (Sydney, Australia, Wednesday 25 January 1928, page 18)>. ...

"Capablanca received a purse of 5,200 dollars and Alekhine 4,000".

Source: <Queensland Times (Ipswich) Thursday 1 December 1927, p.4> ....

The purse divided, Capablanca received 5,200 dol. and Alekine 4,000 dol.

Source: <Sunday Times (Perth, Australia)Sunday 11 December 1927, p.18>

...

THE WAGES OF SPORT.

Alekhine gets £800 for his trouble, and Capablanca, who, holding the championship title, could command better terms, receives something over £1000.

Source: <Auckland Star, Volume LVIII, Issue 284, 1 December 1927, p.6.>

...

(United Press Association.— Copyright.) BUENOS AIRES, 29th Nov. The conditions provided that the winner of the first six games should secure the title. Capablanca received a purse of 5,200 dollars and Alekhine 4,000 dollars.

Source: <Evening Post, New Zealand, Volume CIV, Issue 133, 2 December 1927, p.9>

...

The most detailed report I have found so far is:

The match was played under the, rules governing world championship contests that were adopted by the great masters during the London Congress of 1922 (a year after Capablanca won the title from Dr. Emannel Lasker. Among other conditions, they call for a minimum purse of 10,000 dollars. Of this the title-holder receives 20 per cent as a fee, the balance being divided in the proportion of 60 per cent to the winner, and 40 per cent to the loser. In addition the travelling and living expenses of both players must be provided for. It Capablanca's contention that remuneration given to a chess player for an exhibition of his brain power should be commensurate with that: accorded to a prize-fighter for an exhibition of skill.

Source: <Evening Post, (New Zealand) Volume CIV, Issue 135, 5 December 1927, p.4>.

Jan-21-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <Chessical>

This is outstanding research sir, and thank you for sharing it with our entire website.

I noticed I'd read a few of the passages you posted before, but that would have been from secondary sources, and you have now published primary sources for such passages. Excellent.

When I get home from work today, I will add all of your new finds to our mirror collection for two purposes: the storage of valuable data, and for careful consideration about what, exactly, we should write in our intro draft.

Game Collection: WCC: Capablanca-Alekhine 1927

Jan-21-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <Chessical>

I wrote

<I noticed I'd read a few of the passages you posted before, but that would have been from secondary sources>

Having had a chance now to review some of my Alekhine material, I spoke prematurely on that. As yet I haven't found anything that corresponds closely enough to your primary sources to suggest that's where any of my material came from.

Some of your primary source material certainly sounded familiar to me, but I shouldn't have said "I'd read" any of it before in any of my secondary Alekhine resources without checking first.

Feb-04-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Can some human help?

I received New In Chess 1/2014 today. On page 9 there is a letter from Manuel Saborit (Castellon, ESP), which mentions this match.

He writes:
<"...The best book on the match is the French book by Alekhine himself - there is a German version, but the French is Alekhine's original..."> Does anyone have an ISBN for this book; or a full title?

Feb-05-14  aliejin: The book is "Deux cents parties d'echecs" ...... outstanding game collection
All games of the match, are discussed ......
Mar-30-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: The footnote link here is also stale.
Mar-30-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <zanzibar> a group is working on rewriting all the World Championship intros. You can see our work here:

WCC Editing Project chessforum

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