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WCC: Capablanca-Alekhine 1927
Compiled by WCC Editing Project
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ORIGINAL: Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927)

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DRAFT EDIT:

Alexander Alekhine was born in Moscow in 1892.<Jan Kalendovsky and Vlastimil Fiala, "Complete Games of Alekhine Vol 1, 1892-1921" (Olomouc 1992), pp.6-7> He began to take chess seriously at the age of 12. During grammar school classes he would play and analyze games in his head without looking at the chessboard.<Jan Kalendovsky and Vlastimil Fiala, "Complete Games of Alekhine Vol 1, 1892-1921" (Olomouc 1992), pp.24-25> At age 16, a victory in the Moscow Autumn Tournament 1908 led to his appearance in the strong All Russian Amateur (1909). He won, earning the Russian national master title.<Leonard Skinner and Robert Verhoeven, "Alexander Alekhine's Chess Games 1902-1946," (McFarland 1998), p.738; Jan Kalendovsky and Vlastimil Fiala, "Complete Games of Alekhine Vol 1, 1892-1921" (Olomouc 1992), p.48> A shared first with Aron Nimzowitsch at the <All Russian Masters St Petersburg 1914>-<insert tournament link here: http://www.edochess.ca/tournaments/...> qualified him for St. Petersburg (1914). He finished third, behind world champion Emanuel Lasker and Jose Raul Capablanca, ahead of Siegbert Tarrasch, Frank James Marshall, and Akiba Rubinstein. <Leonard Skinner and Robert Verhoeven, "Alexander Alekhine's Chess Games 1902-1946," (McFarland 1998), p.89>

Alekhine now conceived a long term plan to become world champion. His strategy was to finish first in every tournament he entered and so earn the right to challenge Capablanca, whom he predicted would soon be champion.<"Shakhmaty v SSSR” No.3 (March 1956), pp.87-89. In Sarah Beth Cohen, "Encounters with Alekhine" http://www.chess.com/blog/batgirl/e... > Capablanca indeed <won the world title>-<insert match link here Lasker - Capablanca World Championship Match (1921)> on April 20, 1921. His first challenge came from Akiba Rubinstein on September 7, followed by a challenge from Alekhine on November 7, after he won both Budapest (1921) and The Hague (1921).<Edward Winter, "Capablanca" (McFarland 1989), pp.186-187> After The Hague (1921), Dutch chess officials proposed a "Candidates Match" between Alekhine and Rubinstein, to be held in the Netherlands in or after March 1922. Both masters agreed to the idea. <Toni Preziuso, "AMERIKA! AMERIKA!" In "KARL" no.3 2013, pp.34-39.> On December 1921 the "American Chess Bulletin" reported that Capablanca would honor Rubinstein's challenge first, unless the proposed Dutch candidates match should produce a "decisive victory for one or the other." <Edward Winter, "Capablanca" (McFarland 1989), pp.186-187> When Alekhine arrived in the Netherlands in January 1922, he stated that a candidates match was no longer possible because Rubinstein had suffered a mental breakdown after winning <Triberg-B 1921> <insert tournament link here: http://www.365chess.com/tournaments...>. Shortly afterwards the Dutch press proved this claim to be inaccurate, but Alekhine still never played the match. <Toni Preziuso, "AMERIKA! AMERIKA!" In "KARL" no.3 2013, pp.34-39>.

After London (1922), where Alekhine placed second to the champion, the top eight finishers signed "the London rules," Capablanca's proposal for all future title match conditions. The rules stipulated that challengers guarantee a purse of "$10,000 U.S. dollars."<"American Chess Bulletin" Sept-Oct 1922, p.150. In Winter, "Capablanca" p.188> Alekhine continued steady negotiations for a title match, but his inability to raise the $10,000 purse proved a stumbling block. <Edward Winter, "Capablanca" pp.191-197> A title challenge from Frank James Marshall in 1923 also came to nothing after he failed to raise the required purse.<Edward Winter, "Capablanca," p.191> In 1926 Aron Nimzowitsch challenged for the title, followed by a renewed challenge from Alekhine in the same year.<Edward Winter, "Capablanca" pp.193-194> Alkhine had secured a pledge from the Argentine Chess Federation to finance the match.<Alexander Alekhine, "On the Road to the World Championship 1923-1927" (Pergamon 1984), p.117> William Hartston suggests that the federation did so because "they simply felt it was time to give Capablanca, hero of Latin America, a chance to demonstrate his superiority again somewhere close to home soil."<William Hartston, The Guinness Book Of Chess Grandmasters (1996), p.82> Capablanca accepted Alekhine's challenge, but also told him that he had given Nimzowitsch until January 1, 1927 to meet the purse requirement. <Edward Winter, "Capablanca" pp.193-194> Nimzowitsch failed to meet his deadline and Capablanca finally agreed to face Alekhine in a world championship match.<Edward Winter, "Capablanca" pp.193-197;Alexander Alekhine, "On the Road to the World Championship 1923-1927" (Pergamon 1984), p.131>

The match began in Buenos Aires on September 9, 1927. Conditions followed the London rules: games to be played at 2 1/2 hours per 40 moves, with the match awarded to the first to win 6 games, draws not counting. Capablanca would receive $2,000 of the purse as a fee, with the remainder split $4,800 to the victor and $3,200 to the loser.<Edward Winter, "The London Rules" (2008) http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/... "La Prensa" (14 Sept 1927). In Edward Winter, "Capablanca v Alekhine, 1927" (2003) http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...> The Buenos Aires Chess Club provided the venue, except for two games played in the Jockey Club.<Yuri Shaburov, "Alexander Alekhine- The Undefeated Champion" (The Voice 1992), p.161> Dr. Carlos Querencio served as referee, and Daniel Deletang was Alekhine's second.<Alexander Alekhine, "On the Road to the World Championship 1923-1927" G. Feather transl., (Pergamon 1984), p.151.>

Alekhine had never won a single game from Capablanca, so it was perhaps understandable that some doubted he could win 6 match games against him. Geza Maroczy predicted victory was bound to go to Capablanca,<"La Nación” (14 Sept. 1927), p.12. In Edward Winter, Chess Note 5665 http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...> and Rudolf Spielmann said he would be surprised if Alekhine "were to win even a single game."<"Sonntagsbeilage der Augsburger Postzeitung” (25 June 1927), p.104. In Edward Winter, Chess Note 5338 http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...> Richard Reti, on the other hand, concluded "that there are no fundamental reasons for affirming with such certainty that the Cuban grandmaster must necessarily defeat the talented Slav player."<"La Nación” (14 Sept. 1927), p.12. In Edward Winter, Chess Note 5665 http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...>

Alekhine won the <first game>-<insert game link here> Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927 with the French Defence. Capablanca ascribed his loss to a "gross error."<Edward Winter, "Capablanca" p.198> Every subsequent game would be contested with a Queen's pawn opening. After 10 games Capablanca led 2-1, but he dropped two in a row and a long series of draws followed. According to Garry Kasparov, Capablanca let slip "an enormous positional advantage" in <game 17>-<insert game link here> Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927. <Garry Kasparov, "On My Great Predecessors Part I" (Everyman Chess 2003), p. 316> After Alekhine notched his fourth win in <game 21>-<insert game link here> Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927, Capablanca opined that "there can hardly be a stronger player in the world than the Slav master."<Edward Winter, "Capablanca" p.200>

But Capa saves the 22nd game. According to Kasparov (p. 316 of OMPG I), Capa played now with increasing power until he missed the win in the "completely won" 27th game (game 105, pp. 316-318). In game 28, Capa drew the game instead of playing on being up a pawn (Kaspy claims he thought for 40 min and then offered a draw, but we avoid any problems by simply claiming that he drew, what he did - not saying who offered the draw.). In game 29, Alekhine put up great resistance and Capa "from a practically winning position he had reached one that was drawn" (p. 322 of OMPG I) and won after a blunder. According to Kasparov (p. 322) but then he missed a win in game 31 and agreed to a draw, although he could have played on (game 107, pp. 323-328). With a win, he could have equaled the score (4-4). Capa then lost the 32nd and 34th game and the match.

With adjournments, the final game took four days to complete, ending on 29 November when Capablanca did not show up to resume play. Instead, he sent a congratulatory resignation note.<17> Nor did the ex-champion show up for the closing ceremony on December 8. Alexander Alekhine, the 4th world chess champion, did attend. He thanked the Argentine Chess Club for its work and declared he was against any future changes to the world title match rules- the London rules.<"Magazine Actual” (May 1997), p. 25. In Edward Winter, Chess Note 3428 http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...>

1 Jan Kalendovsky and Vlastimil Fiala, "Complete Games of Alekhine Vol 1, 1892-1921" (Olomouc 1992), pp.6-7

2 Kalendovsky and Fiala, pp.24-25

3 Leonard Skinner and Robert Verhoeven, "Alexander Alekhine's Chess Games 1902-1946," (McFarland 1998), p.738

4 "Shakhmaty v SSSR” No.3 (March 1956), pp.87-89. In Sarah Beth Cohen, "Encounters with Alekhine" http://www.chess.com/blog/batgirl/e...

5 "Manhattan Chess Club Archives." In Edward Winter, "Capablanca" (McFarland 1989), p.186

6 "American Chess Bulletin" Sept-Oct 1922, p.150. In Winter, "Capablanca" p.188

7 Alexander Alekhine, "On the Road to the World Championship 1923-1927" (Pergamon 1984), p.2

8 "The Russell Collection” Item 1569. In Edward Winter, "Capablanca" p.319

9 Edward Winter, "The London Rules" (2008) http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

10 "La Prensa" (14 Sept 1927). In Edward Winter, "Capablanca v Alekhine, 1927" (2003) http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

11 Yuri Shaburov, "Alexander Alekhine- The Undefeated Champion" (The Voice 1992), p.161

12 "La Nación” (14 Sept. 1927), p.12. In Edward Winter, Chess Note 5665 http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

13 "Sonntagsbeilage der Augsburger Postzeitung” (25 June 1927), p.104. In Edward Winter, Chess Note 5338 http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

14 Emanuel Lasker, "Schachmaty". In "Wiener Schach-Zeitung" (March 1924), p.86. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek http://anno.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/a...

15 Edward Winter, "Capablanca" p.198

16 Edward Winter, "Capablanca" p.200

17 "Magazine Actual” (May 1997), p. 25. In Edward Winter, Chess Note 3428 http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

Triberg-A 1921 (7-16 July) Alekhine 1st over E. Bogoljubow, F. Saemisch, A Selezniev, and A. Brinckmann. (Kagan's Neueste Schachnachrichten 192, n4, p425.)

Triberg-B 1921 Dec 5 <http://www.365chess.com/tournaments...>

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Alekhine remained optimistic about his chances against the champion. After finishing 3rd to Lasker and Capablanca at New York (1924), he later recalled a momentous discovery while analyzing <this game>-<insert game link here>: Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1924 "I had finally detected a slight weakness in my future opponent: increasing uncertainty when confronted with stubborn resistance!"<Alexander Alekhine, "On the Road to the World Championship 1923-1927" (Pergamon 1984), p.2>

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<On September 7, 1921, Capablanca accepted Akiva's challenge for the World Championship. Rubinstein could not meet the deadline of December 31, 1923

Alekhine had also become a serious contender and after Triberg 1921, Dutch chess officials had the idea to arrange a "Candidates Match" in the Netherlands. The winner should have the right to play Capablanca.

Oskam approached van Linschoten asking for financial support (for a short time in 1921/1922, van Linschoten was head of the Royal-Dutch Chess Association "KNSB"). Rubinstein and Alekhine were also willing to play under these conditions:

The winner receives 1,000 Gulden and the loser 500 Gulden. Travel expenses of 250 Gulden for each player are paid. The winner is the first to win 5 games, in case of a 4-4 tie the match is declared drawn. The match is not to begin prior to March 1922.

In January 1922, Alekhine travelled to the Netherlands, declaring to take the ship to Havana and directly negotiate with Capablanca. In this case, a candidates match was unnecessary.

After his arrival in the Netherlands, Alekhine spread the news in the 'Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courrant' (NRC) that a match against Akiva would not take place, as Rubinstein was mentally disturbed and had been admitted to a sanatorium after the tournament in Triberg. Two days later, the 'NRC' repudiated Alekhine's claim. The match didn't take place.

After Triberg 1921, Rubinstein went to Sankt Blasien in the Black Forest, to recover and prepare for the matches against Alekhine and Capablanca. In St. Blasien was also a well-known hospital for lung- and respiratory diseases. This is the basis of Alekhine's false assertion.

Akiva was still in good shape as he demonstrated later that year, at Vienna (1922).

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Publication: KARL 3/2013
(3 is the issue number, the magazine is published every 3 months)

Author: Toni Preziuso

Title: AMERIKA! AMERIKA!

Pages 34-39

The possible Candidates match was covered on pages 36-37

Capablanca's accepting the challenge: London 'Times' of September 29, 1921

Conditions of the candidate match: 'Hamburger Fremdenblatt' of December 24, 1921

Alekhine's false assertion: 'NRC' of January 14, 1922

Repudiation and rectification: 'NRC' of January 16, 1922>

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SECONDS

8409. World championship seconds

From Leonard Barden (London):

‘In an interview after his match against Anand, Carlsen said that he had no on-site seconds in Chennai, although he was in contact via Skype with Jon Ludwig Hammer, Norway’s number two player.

When was the last time that a player had no strong assistant at a world championship match? I am referring to assistants of master level capable of providing technical help, and not “seconds” who were effectively managers dealing with match rules and similar matters.’

Precise records of players’ seconds are often difficult to trace, and no list of the kind requested by a correspondent in C.N. 5657 has yet been built up. For example, for the 1929 and 1934 Alekhine-Bogoljubow matches and, even, the 1927 Capablanca v Alekhine encounter it seems unclear which other players were involved in any capacity.

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New Information on purse payout from <Chessical, Karpova>:

1
<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.>

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2 (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'.

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

"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".>

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4
<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.

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5

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.

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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.

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7
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.

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8
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>

...

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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>.

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<Vidmar on signing the London Rules>

Vidmar:

"Merkwürdigerweise kam es mir, als ich das Londoner Statut unterschrieb, nicht zum Bewustsein, das nun mien Jugendplan Schiffbruch gelitten, das mein Weltmeisterstraum engültig ausgeträumt war. Es hatte mir doch sofort klar sein mussen, das ich nicht die geringste Aussicht hatte, zehntausend Dolar fur meine Heraus forderung aufzubringen, es sei denn, ich hatte meine Betatigung in der elektrotechnischen Welt sofort liquidiert und mich in die weite Welt auf die Such nach dem sich meiner annehmenden Mäzen begeben."

Again, <Karpova> will be able to supply a better translation, but it reads something like this in English:

<"Strangely, it came to me when I signed the London Agreement, I had not been fully conscious that I had just definitively shipwrecked the dreams of my youth to become world champion. It was clear that <<<I did not have the slightest chance to raise ten thousand dollars for my challenge>>> unless I gave up my career as an electrical engineer and began a search the world over looking for a patron who could supply the $10,000 purse.">

-Milan Vidmar,
"Golden Schachzeiten (2d auflage)"
(Walter de Gruyter 1981), p.176

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NEW EDIT INFORMATION <Karpova> For the sake of completeness:

An early prediction by Dr. Lasker from an interview in 'Schachmaty', reprinted on page 86 of the March 1924 'Neue Wiener Schachzeitung':

In einem Wettstreit Capablanca-Aljechin räume ich letzterem sehr gute Chancen ein, vorausgesetzt, dass der Wettkampf nicht in Havanna stattfindet. Capablanca steht zwar seit dem 14. Lebensjahre ununterbrochen im Training und ist daher höher einzuschätzen, dagegen überragt ihn Aljechin zweifellos durch den Reichtum an Phantasie.

(In a match Capablanca-Alekhine, I concede very good chances to the latter, presupposing that the match does not take place in Havana. Capablanca has been training without interruptions since the age of 14 and therefore has to be considered to be superior, yet Alekhine indubitably outshines him due to his riches in fantasy.)

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From page 362 of the November-December 1926 'Neue Wiener Schachzeitung

New York 1927 is announced for March. It's made clear that the WC match Capablanca against Alekhine takes place afterwards as Nimzowitsch withdrew his challenge. He could only raise $4,000 instead of the demanded $10,000.

===================

The January 1926 'Neue Wiener Schachzeitung' reports on page 29, that Dr. Lasker held a lecture in the Hamburg Chess Club and also addressed the world championship. The Russians were disposed to arrange a match between Capablanca and Bogoljubov, yet the plan suffered a setback as Capablanca declared that he wanted to play in 1927. Then, Capablanca is cited who said in Berlin that no one had offered him money for a match and neither Bogoljubov nor Dr. Lasker had challenged him. He is ready to defend his title against every player, whomever it may be and "I have no doubts about the outcome of such a match" (<und ich bin nicht im Zweifel über den Ausgang eines solchen Kampfes>).

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After an address by Carranza on the significance of the match, Alekhine spoke, thanking the Club for its work and declaring himself against changes to the world title match rules

Maróczy, that victory bound to go to Capablanca

Although Alekhine sometimes played brilliantly in New York, I should be surprised if, in this autumn’s world championship match against Capablanca, he were to win even a single game.

‘Capablanca freilich hält mit seinen eisernen Nerven die fünfstündige Spielzeit glänzend durch. Schon wegen dieses Punktes allein glaube ich, daß Aljechin in seinem bevorstehenden Wettkampf keine ernstliche Chance hat.’ Capablanca certainly maintains his iron nerve throughout the five hours of play. For that reason alone I believe that in his forthcoming match Alekhine has no serious chance.

-Sonntagsbeilage der Augsburger Postzeitung of 25 June 1927, page 104

http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

3428. Another Capablanca letter

<Christian Sánchez (Rosario, Argentina) has sent us a letter written by Capablanca which was presented (and billed as previously unpublished) on page 25 of Magazine Actual, May 1997. Below are the original and our English translation:

‘8 December 1927
Dr Lizardo Molina Carranza

President of the Club Argentino de Ajedrez
Dear Sir,

In my opinion, Dr Alekhine was already proclaimed world champion, not only here but throughout the entire world, from the moment when, through the official match referee, Dr C. Querencio, I sent the letter in which I resigned the final game.

Moreover, in similar cases I have always emphatically opposed any act of public ostentation. It is clear that the organizing committee of the match is applying a different criterion.

Given our difference of views with respect to these matters, <<<permit me to refrain from attending tonight at the Chess Club.>>>

As regards my share of the purse, I am asking Mr Ricardo Illa, the official match treasurer, kindly to retain it for me until I go to his office to collect it.

Yours sincerely,

J.R. Capablanca.’

The context is that on 29 November 1927 Capablanca had written to Alekhine (in French) to resign the 34th and last match game, adding ‘you are therefore the world champion’. The day the above-quoted letter was written to Lizardo Molina Carranza (8 December 1927) Alekhine was ‘officially proclaimed world champion’ at the Club Argentino de Ajedrez, as reported on page 123 of the January 1928 issue of El Ajedrez Americano. After an address by Carranza on the significance of the match, Alekhine spoke, thanking the Club for its work and declaring himself against changes to the world title match rules.>

1"Shakhmatny v. SSSR #3 March, 1956, pp.87-89." Retrieved from Batgirl article at http://www.chess.com/blog/batgirl/e...

2"Manhattan Chess Club Archives." In Edward Winter, "Capablanca." McFarland 1989, p.186

3Milan Vidmar "Golden Schachzeiten (2d auflage)." Walter de Gruyter 1981, p.176

4Alexander Alekhine, "On the Road to the World Championship 1923-1927." Pergamon 1984, p.2

5"The Russell Collection Item 1569." In Edward Winter, "Capablanca" p.319

6Yuri Shaburov, "Alexander Alekhine- The Undefeated Champion " The Voice 1992, p.161

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

8"La Nación 14 September 1927," p. 12

9Sonntagsbeilage der Augsburger Postzeitung of 25 June 1927, page 104

10Edward Winter, "Capablanca." p.198

11Edward Winter, "Capablanca." p.200

11"Magazine Actual May 1997, p. 25." In Edward Winter Chess Note 3428, retrieved from http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

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The London Rules Edward Winter (2008) http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

Capablanca v Alekhine, 1927 Edward Winter (2003) http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

CN 7134. Capablanca explains his defeat by Alekhine http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

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<BEFORE THE MATCH> Chess Events

Alekhine tournament highlights

St. Petersburg (1914)

Mannheim (1914)

Budapest (1921)

The Hague (1921)

New York (1924)

Baden-Baden (1925)

Alekhine - Euwe Training Match (1926)

New York (1927)

Kecskemet (1927)

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St. Petersburg 1913 Informal games with Capablanca, cordial relations- quote

(Winter 1913)

<"In the winter of 1913, José Raúl Capablanca arrived in Moscow... After his arrival, Capablanca organized several simultaneous exhibitions and accepted B. Suvorin's proposal for him to play against the best chess players of St. Petersburg.... Duz-Khotimrisky, <<<Alekhine>>> and Znosko-Borovsky took part in these matches and was (sic) defeated by Capablanca one to five when Znosko-Borovsky scored the only victory.">

-"Moskovskie Vedomosti Dec. 22, 1913, No. 295." In Vlastimil Fiala and Jan Kalendovsky, "Complete Games of Alekhine Vol 1, 1892-1921." Olomouc Moravian Chess Publishing 1992, p.109.

<"After his first game against Capablanca, Alekhine became <<<enthusiastic>>> about the standard and strategy of the Cuban master's manner of chess playing. Talking to his friends, Sosnitsky and Potemkin, he stated that any rival's performance looked weak in playing against Capablanca as Capablanca played much better than the others.">

-"Shakhmaty v SSSR 1959, No. 6, p.181." In Vlastimil Fiala and Jan Kalendovsky, "Complete Games of Alekhine Vol 1, 1892-1921." p.109.

<"...after meeting Capablanca personally he felt closer to him. Alekhine interpreted the impressions of those years in an interesting manner much later after Capablanca's death: <<<'His real talent that cannot be imitated was first displayed during the St. Petersburg tournament. Never before and never later, did I see- and I cannot even imagine- such astounding rapidity of chess thought as Capablanca possessed. It is enough to say that he offered an advance advantage to all St. Petersburg chess masters in the score 5-1 in blitz games and still won!'>>>">

- Vlastimil Fiala and Jan Kalendovsky, "Complete Games of Alekhine Vol 1, 1892-1921." p.123.

EDIT Karpova

<"This was the first game in a series of three two-game matches played for stakes; the other contestants were<<< Alekhine and Duz Hotimirsky>>>. Besides the stake-money there was a gold cup to be awarded for the series, either to Capablanca if he won all six games, or to the player who made the best score against him.">

- Hooper & Brandreth, "The Unknown Capablanca." Mineola 1993, pp. 9-10

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EDIT <JFQ>

Alekhine to Pyotr Romanovsky, explaining why he had asked the organizers of Mannheim 1914 if Capablanca would be playing in that event:

<“If Capablanca would have participated, then I would not have played. The fact of the matter is that in the coming years I must prepare for my match with Capablanca for the world’s championship. <<<For this purpose I must take only first prizes.>>> Right now I am still weaker than Capablanca, and, this means, that in the event of his participation I must be content, at best, with second place which does not enter at all into my calculations”.>

-"Shakhmatny v. SSSR #3 March, 1956, pp.87-89." In Pyotr Romanovsky, "Encounters with Alekhine." Retrieved from Batgirl article at http://www.chess.com/blog/batgirl/e...

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Alekhine's study of Capa's games after New York (1924), (April 1924):

<"...I did take home with me from this tournament one valuable moral victory, and that was the lesson I learned from my first game with Capablanca, which had the effect of a revelation on me. Having outplayed me in the opening, having reached a won positionin the middle game and having carried over a large part of his advantage into a rook ending, the Cuban then allowed me to neutralize his superiority in that ending and finally had to make do with a draw. That made me think, for Capablanca had certainly been trying very hard in this game, so as to draw nearer to Dr Lasker, who was in the lead, and who had won against me the previous day. I was convinced that if I had been in Capablanca's position I should certainly have won the game. I had finally detected a <<<slight weakness>>> in my future opponent: increasing uncertainty when confronted with stubborn resistance! Of course I had already noticed Capablanca committing occasional slight inaccuracies, but I should not have thought that he would be unable to rid himself of this failing even when he tried his utmost. That was an exceedingly important lesson for the future!">

-Alexander Alekhine "On the Road to the World Championship 1923-1927." Pergamon 1984, p. 2

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<BEFORE THE MATCH> Negotiations and Conditions

7th November 1921

Alekhine's first challenge letter:

<"This success (Hague 1921), following the ones at St. Petersburg, Mannheim, and Budapest, seems to justify my desire for a serious meeting with the <<<world champion.>>> Consequently, I should be grateful if you would consider the present letter as an official challenge to a match for the World Chess Championship.">

-"Manhattan Chess Club Archives." In Edward Winter, "Capablanca." McFarland 1989, p. 186

August 10, 1922 after London (1922)

<"Señor Capablanca met the masters last evening, and they agreed to accept his conditions for the World's Chess Championship (London Rules). It was also agreed that A. Rubinstein's challenge... should remain open until the end of 1923 to give him time to obtain the necessary funds. If by that period he is unable to obtain the necessary support, his challenge will lapse and <<<A. Alekhine's>>> challenge will materialize.">

-"The Times, 10 August 1922," p. 9. In Edward Winter, "Capablanca." p. 187

early 1924, before New York (1924))

Alekhine:

"In 1924 the question of my involvement in competition for the World Championship was still something of an open one... In those days Capablanca was unquestionably superior t me in many respects... and among his rivals Dr Lasker still took firs place. The thought of a return match between these two filled the minds of everyone in the chess world, and this idea took precedence over my plans.

-Alexander Alekhine "On the Road to the World Championship 1923-1927." p. 1

August-September 1926

<"I was warmly welcomed in Buenos Aires and in the very first week after my arrival the idea of the World Championship match was mentioned in the influential circles of the city, notably by the President of the Argentinian Republic, Dr Alvear. Negotiations on the subject made rapid progress, and finally I was given a firm commitment that the financial conditions of the <<<London agreement>>> would be met, whereupon I sent off my challenge to Capablanca.... I at first received no definite answer from the World Champion, and the matter thus remained open until the spring of 1927.">

-Alexander Alekhine "On the Road to the World Championship 1923-1927." p.117

<"...Alekhine had arrived in Buenos Aires. Rumors of a challenge from him to José R. Capablanca were soon confirmed by the receipt of a cablegram addressed to the latter and conveying to him the desire of Dr. Alekhine to contest a match for the Cuban's title in Buenos Aires in 1927. It was understood that the <<<Club Argentino de Ajedrez of Buenos Aires>>> was ready to finance such a match and would post a guarantee of $500, as required by the conditions adopted by the masters at London in 1922. Capablanca... let it be known that, while willing to accomodatee Dr. Alekhine, he was in duty bound to give preference to A. Nimzowitsch of Copenhagen, who had also challenged.">

-"American Chess Bulletin Sept-Oct 1926, p. 126." In Edward Winter, "Capablanca." p. 194

1st January 1927

<<<<Nimzo's deadline for securing funds and his deposit>>> "came and went without Nimzowitsch following up on his challenge.">

-In Edward Winter, "Capablanca." p.194

According to Alekhine, Some time between 22d December 1926 and 8th January 1927

Alekhine writing about events supposedly occurring during Alekhine - Euwe Training Match (1926)

<"During the event (match with Euwe) I received a telegram calling into question the <<<justification of my match>>> with Capablanca, because the New York committee had determined that no-one could be considered as the principal challenger for the World Championship unless he took at least the second prize in the coming New York Tournament. I had to interrupt my match with Dr. Euwe and travel to Paris in order to sort out this matter...">

-Alexander Alekhine
"On the Road to the World Championship 1923-1927." p. 130

Alekhine's memory of events may be incorrect

Alekhine either sent <two> separate cables from Paris to the <New York 1927> organizers, or he sent <one> cable to them and he is misremembering exactly when.

Alekhine - Euwe Training Match (1926), ended on 8th January 1927, and the following cable is dated- <14th January 1927>, after the training match with <Euwe> was already over.

14th January 1927

Alekhine's cable to <Norbert Lederer>, sent from Paris:

<"Cannot play (in New York (1927)) unless Committee officially cables me they cancel point programme about first and second winner as <<<contradicting actual situation>>>, Capablanca having officially accepted my challenge confirming tournament will have no connection whatsoever our match. Alkehine.">

-"The Russel Collection, Item 1385." In Edward Winter, "Capablanca." p. 319

Alekhine seems distrustful here, if he had indeed received the following assurances from both <Lederer> and <Capablanca>:

In a letter to Capablanca dated <21st December 1926>, Lederer informs Capa that he is just about to write a letter to <Alekhine> to reassure him:

<"From Alekhine enclosed letter came today and I am replying that a letter of yours is on the way and that <<<of course>>> our tournament has nothing whatever to do with his match offically.">

-Edward Winter, "Capablanca." p. 319

<In addition, in a letter to Lederer dated <7th January 1927> Capa informs him that <<<"Yesterday I send Alekhine the following cable: 'N.Y. Tournament has no connection whatsoever with our negotiations. Capablanca.'">>>>

-Edward Winter, "Capablanca." p. 319

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EDIT <Karpova>

Additional sources on Negotiation Timeline

on page 2 Raymond Keene repeats yet again his mistaken claim that New York, 1927 decided Capablanca’s challenger (although we drew attention to this error in C.N. 586) in http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/... so if you have access to this early Chess Note, you may find out more.>

<If it exists, why isn't it in Winter's <Capa>?>

He may not have had access to it (Winter's book is more than 20 years old) or perhaps it has been published elsewhere and Winter concentrated more on neglected stuff. And it doesn't have directly to do with Capablanca.

The 'Neue Wiener Schachzeitung' of October 1926 reports on page 289 that Nimzowitsch and Alekhine had challenged Capablanca and he had accepted - now it was a matter of money (Alekhine was backed by Argentina).

It is mentioned that at Budapest, Fide had presented another solution (every 4 years a Fide title match, in between a challenger tournament) but this had become less of an issue at the moment (undoubtly because of the challenges.

On page 18 of the January 1927 'Neue Wiener Schachzeitung', in the article on the Alekhine - Dr. Euwe match, nothing is mentioned about Alekhine travelling to Paris in between, but instead that he could have used as an excuse (for not beating Dr. Euwe more clearly) that the match was preparation for his WC mtach. Furthermore, the WC was said to be firmly agreed upon for October 1927 (<fix vereinbart>).

The report on New York 1927 on page 57 ff. of the March 1927 'Neue Wiener Schachzeitung' nothing is mentioned about it being a tournament to determine the challenger. For sure, it was interesting as Capablanca met his two challengers Alekhine and Nimzowitsch but they weren't regarded as such because of good chances of placing best (besides Capablanca) but because of having challenged him. The biggest issue is again the L-L controversy.

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<BEFORE THE MATCH> Predictions

EDIT <Karpova> MATCH PREDICTIONS:

<<<<Alfred Brinckmann>>>:

Brinckmann is quoted <Der Weltmeister des nächsten Jahrzehnts heißt Capablanca!> (the World Champion of the next decade is called Capablanca!) - page 266 of the 1927 'Neue Wiener Schachzeitung'

==========

<<<Rudolph Spielmann>>>:

‘Trotzdem Aljechin in New York teilweise glänzend spielte, würde es mich wundern, wenn er in dem im Herbst bevorstehenden Kampf um die Weltmeisterschaft gegen Capablanca auch nur eine Partie gewinnen würde.’ Although Alekhine sometimes played brilliantly in New York, I should be surprised if, in this autumn’s world championship match against Capablanca, he were to win even a single game.

‘Capablanca freilich hält mit seinen eisernen Nerven die fünfstündige Spielzeit glänzend durch. Schon wegen dieses Punktes allein glaube ich, daß Aljechin in seinem bevorstehenden Wettkampf keine ernstliche Chance hat.’ Capablanca certainly maintains his iron nerve throughout the five hours of play. For that reason alone I believe that in his forthcoming match Alekhine has no serious chance.

-Sonntagsbeilage der Augsburger Postzeitung of 25 June 1927, page 104

===========

<<<Richard Reti>>>:

‘To assert, as does Maróczy, that victory is bound to go to Capablanca ... is to act as a fortune-teller. There will be reasons for saying that Capablanca is an exceptional master in our field, in that his career has no failures of any kind, yet if we make a thorough study of the characteristics of each player, if we consider the psychological factors that will come into play in the match and if, more importantly, we destroy the legend of Capablanca’s invulnerability – which has become a reality among aficionados – we shall conclude that there are no fundamental reasons for affirming with such certainty that the Cuban grandmaster must necessarily defeat the talented Slav player.’

‘Capablanca has an apathetic temperament, he does not have further ambitions and he is incapable of preparing himself intensely for a match of this kind, since it is annoying for him to have to think. By dint of his natural talent he has arrived where he is, but he does not love chess. He is admirably instinctive but lacks the energy to undertake strict training.

Alekhine, in contrast, has an extraordinary wealth of energy. When engaged in battle, he is driven by noble eagerness to excel himself, and he has subjected himself to training commensurate with the importance of the match to be played ...’

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 was 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

-La Nación of 14 September 1927 p. 12

===

<<<Savielly Tartakower>>>:

In order not to appear influenced by the current situation of it the fight, I will quote the readers of La Prensa my article published in the April issue of the publication this year of Magyar Sakkvilág, in which, after asking if the 'match' Alekhine-Capablanca still had its rationale, expressed my opinion that then more than ever.

-La Prensa 31 October 1927 p. 10

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<<<Hartwig Cassel>>>:

http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

Chess note 5117. Cassel on Capablanca and Alekhine

Mr Sánchez also provides an article by Hartwig Cassel (1850-1929) on page 2 of section 3 of the 21 August 1927 issue of La Prensa, although it was written in June (in New York). Cassel reported that in the opinion of the New York chessplayers the Capablanca v Alekhine match would not be of interest, as Capablanca would win easily. He stated that, on the basis of recent tournament results, Lasker and Bogoljubow had a greater right to challenge the Cuban, as Alekhine lacked the requisite stature for the match.>

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EDIT <Karpova>

<In C.N. 7502, Félix Valderrama Loyola (Barquisimeto, Venezuela) reports that, according to his brother Julio, Jacobo Bolbochan was Alekhine's sparring partner in preparation for : Capablanca-Alekhine 1927 See http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...>

PHOTO of <Jacobo Bolbochan>: http://www.chessgames.com/portraits...

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<THE MATCH>

Venue

################################

Venue- Argentine Chess Club

Шабуров Юрий Николаевич «Александр Алехин. Непобежденный чемпион»

Издательство: Москва. «Голос», 1992 г., 256 стр

6На следующий день толпа поклонников осажденном доме под номером 443 на улице Карлос Pellegrani, в котором находился аргентинский шахматный клуб. Он был предоставлен первый этаж, и сами участники сыграли матч в комнате на втором этаже. Потребовалось почти все партии дуэли, за исключением двух, состоявшейся в Жокей-клубе. Но в Жокей-клубе была очень шумной обстановке, по настоянию матча Алехин обратно в шахматном клубе. 161

Shaburov Yuri
"Alexander Alekhine. The undefeated champion "

Publisher: Moscow. 'The Voice', 1992, 256 pp.

The next day a crowd of fans besieged the house at number 443 on the street Carlos Pellegrani, which housed the Argentine Chess Club. The fans were granted the first floor, and the participants themselves played the games in a room on the second floor. This room held nearly all the match games, except for two held in the Jockey Club. But the Jockey Club had a very noisy environment, and at the urging of Alekhine the match was moved back into the chess club. p. 161

Conditions

The games were played at 2 1/2 hours per forty moves, the match awarded to the first to win 6 games, draws not counting. Capa got $2000 of the purse as a fee, the remaining to be split $4,800 to the victor and $3,200 to the loser.7

-Vlastimil Fiala and Jan Kalendovsky, "Complete Games of Alekhine Vol 2, 1921-1924." pp.153-154

Course of the Match

19th September- 30th November 1927 Series of articles Capa wrote during the match for the Buenos Aires newspaper "Critica":

Capablanca on Game 1 (19th Sept. 1927):

Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927

<"Taking advantage of a gross error on our part, he won a pawn and obtained the better game, but from then on his play became much weaker... <<<However>>>... when we thought that we would get back on our feet, we committed a fresh error and this time Alekhine duly took advantage and scored a victory.">

-Edward Winter, "Capablanca." p.198

On Game 21 (27th Oct. 1927):

Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927

<"With the game he won yesterday Alekhine obtained his fourth victory... This fresh victory provides even more confirmation of our opinion that there can hardly be a <<<stronger player>>> in the world than the Slav master.">

-Edward Winter, "Capablanca." p.200

On Game 34 (30th Nov. 1927):

Alekhine vs Capablanca, 1927

<"In our opinion the last game of the match... was his best game up to the last moves of the ending, where he played a series of very weak moves which started to spoil what would otherwise have been a model game. Examining the possible factors contributing to Dr. Alekhine's final victory, we find that his success is chiefly due to the fact that <<<he took advantage of all the winning chances>>> that became available, with the exception of one or two; in the course of the match we, however, missed a great number of chances and if we had taken advantage of them the actual result of the match would have been completely transformed.">

-Edward Winter, "Capablanca." p.202

Capablanca's resignation letter

Translation from French:

<20 November 1927

"Dear Mr. Alekhine- I <<<resign>>> the game. You are therefore the world champion and I congratulate you on your success. My regards to Mrs. Alekhine.

Yours sincerely, J.R. Capablanca>

-Edward Winter, "Capablanca." p.203

#####################

http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

3428. Another Capablanca letter

<Christian Sánchez (Rosario, Argentina) has sent us a letter written by Capablanca which was presented (and billed as previously unpublished) on page 25 of Magazine Actual, May 1997. Below are the original and our English translation:

‘8 December 1927
Dr Lizardo Molina Carranza

President of the Club Argentino de Ajedrez
Dear Sir,

In my opinion, Dr Alekhine was already proclaimed world champion, not only here but throughout the entire world, from the moment when, through the official match referee, Dr C. Querencio, I sent the letter in which I resigned the final game.

Moreover, in similar cases I have always emphatically opposed any act of public ostentation. It is clear that the organizing committee of the match is applying a different criterion.

Given our difference of views with respect to these matters, <<<permit me to refrain from attending tonight at the Chess Club.>>>

As regards my share of the purse, I am asking Mr Ricardo Illa, the official match treasurer, kindly to retain it for me until I go to his office to collect it.

Yours sincerely,

J.R. Capablanca.’

The context is that on 29 November 1927 Capablanca had written to Alekhine (in French) to resign the 34th and last match game, adding ‘you are therefore the world champion’. The day the above-quoted letter was written to Lizardo Molina Carranza (8 December 1927) Alekhine was ‘officially proclaimed world champion’ at the Club Argentino de Ajedrez, as reported on page 123 of the January 1928 issue of El Ajedrez Americano. After an address by Carranza on the significance of the match, Alekhine spoke, thanking the Club for its work and declaring himself against changes to the world title match rules.>

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<AFTER THE MATCH> Evaluations, Excuses, Comments

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Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927 
(C01) French, Exchange, 43 moves, 0-1

Alekhine vs Capablanca, 1927 
(D65) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack, Main line, 19 moves, 1/2-1/2

Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927 
(A47) Queen's Indian, 42 moves, 1-0

3 games

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