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Paul Keres vs Jose Raul Capablanca
Semmering/Baden (1937), Semmering/Baden AUT, rd 7, Sep-17
Sicilian Defense: Prins Variation (B54)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  who: I don't understand Keres' plan. He develops his Be3 and Qd2 and then just undevelops both pieces. Capa starts a queenside pawnstorm and only then does Keres castle on that side?? On a different note, why not 24.Rxd6
Premium Chessgames Member
  samvega: <why not 24.Rxd6> Nc6-d4-b3-d2-c4-b2
Premium Chessgames Member
  who: 24.Rxd6 Nd4 25.Bxd4 and now if 25...Qxd6 26.Bxg7+ wins.
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  samvega: Did I say Nd4? I meant Na5.
Sep-20-05  RookFile: <Who> I think that is exactly Keres's point. He hoped to beat Capablanca,
and sought a tactically complicated position. Must have figured there was no way to beat the great Cuban with simpler play.
Premium Chessgames Member
  samvega: No seriously guys, all kidding aside, 24.Rxd6 Na5 25.Rxd6 Nb3+ 26.Kd1 Nxd2 27.Rd6 Nxc4 28.Rd3 Nxb2+ is winning for black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  samvega: <Rookfile> Oh, nevermind, I just realized you were responding to Who's original post, not the later one.

<Who> Black threatens to double white's pawns at c3, so Qc2 and Bd2 are a reasonable way to deal with the threat.

Castling queenside is the consistent plan after Qc2 & Bd2. In order to castle kingside, white would have to return the bishop to e3, to which black could respond ..Bd4, and if white stubbornly continues with Qf2 the resulting exchanges leave white with the worse bishop. Also in order to castle kingside white would have to 'develop' the light bishop to e2 or d3, wheras in the actual game he's able to exchange it off without expending any tempo at all!

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  who: If I'm not mistaken Capa was annoyed that Keres didn't accept the draw earlier in the game. He said it showed a lack of chess understanding on Keres's part.
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  keypusher: But Capablanca was a pawn down, which evidently shows an even greater lack of chess understanding on his part.
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  who: I'm not sure what you mean. Is it that it was inappropriate for him to offer the draw?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: To be honest, all I meant was that, if you get in an inferior ending, just defend the damn thing. Don't whine that your opponent played on too long. If you don't like defending inferior endings, show your superior chess understanding by avoiding them.
Oct-27-06  paladin at large: <who> You are mistaken. It was a different game, a Ruy Lopez in the fourth round of the 1939 Buenos Aires Olympiad. (The Margate designation in the database is wrong.) Capablanca was very comfortable with his position in that game, and recommended it to connoiseurs of the Ruy.
Oct-27-06  paladin at large: 6K╗?6vr by Capablanca's description in the press, it was this game:

Keres vs Capablanca, 1939

"Irritated" is probably overdrawn. Capa offered a draw, Keres said he wanted to play on, and six moves later the draw was agreed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Plato: <paladin at large> I don't think the Margate designation to the other game is wrong; they played twice during that year (both were Ruy Lopez games). They list the event as "O3" in the game above.
Oct-27-06  paladin at large: <Plato> Maybe so. The game in question was ca. 27 August 1939, and resulted in an endgame of rook, knight and six pawns on each side with no disadvantage for black, which matches the description of the game I showed. In any case, the game where Capa offered the draw and Keres wanted to play on is definitely not the 1937 game above.
Oct-27-06  paladin at large: I have it now: this game was played on 27 August 1939 in the third round in Buenos Aires and is the game in question (raised by <who>) :

Keres vs Capablanca, 1939

Source- Weltgeschichte des Schachs (1963). Capablanca said it was the fourth round in his newspaper article, but whoever is right about the round, there is no mistaking the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <The game in question was ca. 27 August 1939, and resulted in an endgame of rook, knight and six pawns on each side with no disadvantage for black>

Four days later, Hitler invaded Poland. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Oct-27-06  paladin at large: <Plato> Keres and Capablnaca played two Ruy Lopezs in 1939, one in Margate on April 13 and one in Buenos Aires. If you look on the game page of the game I just cited, you will see has the correct date and location of Buenos Aires. (It was unclear on the collection of Keres-Capablanca games page.) Capablanca described in an article on 28 August 1939 the game of the day before and his exchange with Keres regarding a draw and Keres's wish to continue.
Oct-27-06  Fabiow: Great Game !
Premium Chessgames Member
  Plato: <paladin at large> Good research. Thank you!
Dec-28-06  Owl: 52...Kd6, why doesnt Keres check at 53.Ra6 and take Capablancas h6 pawn and go two pawns up.
Premium Chessgames Member
  who: Not sure what you're saying. 52...Kd6 is impossible. In addition, even 52...Ke6 wasn't played. But if Capa had played (which he didn't) 52...Ke6 53.Ra6+ Kd7 (or even 53...Ke7) 54.Rxa6 it would still be a tablebase draw.
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  DoneMac: 32. Rb7 or 32 Bh6 should lead to simply won endings - 32. f4 gives Black chances - it seems Keres was trying to do too much
Jul-11-11  andresberger: The f4 move from Keres is horrible. Should have made 32. ♗d2 and then 33. ♗c3, consolidate his position for an easy win, even against Capablanca.
Feb-21-18  RookFile: I think andresberger is basically right. I was looking at the position after 31....b5 and Capa is on life support. He could even consider resigning. With white, I think Capa would first of all play 32. Rd7, taking away one open file for black's rook. Than he would follow up with Bd2 and Bc3 as andresberger said, and there's nothing for black's rook to do. This is a good example of the maxim: "Do not hurry".
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