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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Milan Vidmar
New York (1927), New York, NY USA, rd 12, Mar-08
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Chigorin Defense (C98)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: 35. b3! is a beautiful move. But is it the only move?

Look: 35. Ke3 Nax4 36. Bxb4 Nxb2 37. Bc3 Nc4+ 38. Kd3 and capturing on e5 is inevitable.

At that point we'd have a bishop and 4 pawns vs. a knight and 3 pawns, with all the pawns being on the same side of the board.

I don't know enough about endings to tell you if that's good enough to win. Anybody?

Aug-17-02  pawntificator: It doesn't look good enough to win... after 38. Kd3 Nd6 39. Bxe5 Nf7 I think black could play for a draw. The black King is back there ready to stop the advance of the white pawns and he could sacrifice his horse if he absolutely had to.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: You're probably right, especially considering that after 39...Nf7 the next move is rather difficult. (40. Kd4? Ng5 wins a pawn; 40. f4 Nxe5 looks like one of those 'doubled pawns not enough to win' type pawn endings.)

In any case there's no need to bust one's brain over that when such an easy win can be had with 35. b3!

Viva Capablanca!

Aug-17-02  pawntificator: I don't know if it's that easy: 37...Nc6 38. a6 Kf7 Ke3 and then black runs over to try to get the pawn while white works his way through the kingside mess. White still wins because blacks king has to abandon his pawns but it requires precise play.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: pawntif, I think you're making it harder than it is. 37 ...Nc6 38 a6 Kf7 39 Bc5

Then will come a7 and Black has to give up his knight for the pawn. Then you win on the kingside with your extra piece.

Jan-21-04  Whitehat1963: For more analysis, check out this link:
Jul-01-06  ChessDude33: I read something funny in Capablanca's best Chess Endings about 35. b3

"In a clearly winning position, Capablanca always plays the most precise moves. Naturally, there was also a win by 35. Bxb4 Nxa4 36.b3 Nd7 37. Bd6 Nd7 38. Ke3, and this was easy enough." - Alekhine

It's funny since if you haven't noticed it yet. If 35. Bxb4?? then 35...Nd3+ Wins the bishop! Goof by Alekhine, great game by Capablanca.

Aug-20-07  sanyas: Even Alekhine had his Kramnik moments.
Oct-13-10  Wayne Proudlove: By 24. Be3 it's curtains for Black what with its weak Queenside pawns and White's Bishops.
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