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Alexander Alekhine vs Jose Raul Capablanca
Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927), Buenos Aires ARG, rd 22, Oct-28
Queen's Gambit Declined: Orthodox Defense. Alekhine Variation (D67)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: The first match in which official seconds were used was the Alekhine - Euwe 1935 match. Alekhine had the services of Salo Landau, and Euwe had Géza Maróczy.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Olavi>< The story is most probably false, but is has been widely distributed. I possess several books that mention it, all of course (very) far from what you could call a source.>

Yes. Myths and lies spread like wildfire, while the truth has to slowly make its way through the fog.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Is it sourced? This is the question I ask when a modern book tells a story about the old days. (The old days being one where all the principals are deceased.) If it's not sourced, then I don't believe it until some proof is forthcoming.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: Absolutely no reason to give any credence to this story without a proper contemporary source.

In addition, this isn't actually "evidence," but I have read a great deal of what Capablanca wrote, and this attributed phrase most decidedly does not match his writing style, which is quite formal by today's standards:

"Really? I'll eat those pawns up!".

This idiom sounds like it belongs in "Jack and the Beanstalk" or "The Three Little Pigs."

Certainly doesn't sound like Capa, or any other adult, for that matter, particularly the exclamation mark! I'd be very surprised to learn that he indeed uttered this phrase.

Aug-12-13  Olavi: A rumour is also a reality. That is, in politics at least.
Aug-12-13  Olavi: Vidmar writes in his memoirs Goldene Schachzeiten that Lasker had seconds in his matches. Also, says Vidmar, Tarrasch wrote in his booklet about the 1905 match with Marshall that he had two seconds; however, their duties were not specified.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: <Olavi>

I also have Vidmar's <Goldene Schachzeiten>, but it's torture for me to go through because I can't read German. So if I want to find something in the book, I have to manually type the German letters (with some old-style letters in the case of this volume) into the Google translator to make any sense of a given passage.

I'm assuming you read German? And it sounds like you have a good chess library.

Might you be interested in helping us re-edit the intros to History of the World Chess Championship?

We are currently doing this project at the <World Chess Championship Editing Project> here: WCC Editing Project chessforum.

If you wanted to help we'd be very happy to have your assistance.

With respect to your points, I do think it's worth some effort to try to track down the provenance of such rumours as the notorious tale about this game. Sometimes there is something or other that actually happened, or it can be a case of missattribution. Other times you can't track the provenance to a contemporary source, making the tale a "dead letter," at least for the purposes of chess history writing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Hello everyone. Here I am again, 10 years after my first post. The Eagles were flying high with Hotel California, Bill Clinton was in the Whitehouse and Tab Cola had just arrived on everyone's lips.

The world was in a second summer of love, and I was indoors commenting on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <offramp> I saw what you did there.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Benzol: <An arrogant move...>>

The German Alekhine book says 'Ein übermütiger Zug', which could imo be translated as <a cocky/boisterous move>, implying that Alekhine meant it negatively.

There's also a positive tone in 'übermütig' e.g. exuberant or jaunty, but I think that's not what Alekhine meant.

Aug-29-13  Caissanist: "Really? I'll eat those pawns up!".

Although I agree with User: jessicafischerqueen that this is not something Capablanca would likely say in English, I could imagine him saying it in Spanish. "Eat" as a synonym for "capture" seems to be quite a bit more common in Spanish than in English, at least if Google hits are any indication. I couldn't find any references to the story in Spanish, however.

Aug-29-13  Caissanist: Regarding seconds, I could not find any reference to Capablanca using seconds during the match, but the Spanish Wikipedia page says that Alekhine used Roberto Grau as an "analyst".
Aug-29-13  Shams: <Caissanist><"Eat" as a synonym for "capture" seems to be quite a bit more common in Spanish than in English, at least if Google hits are any indication.>

True, although synonyms for 'eat' abound: devour, munch, snarf (my favorite), grub, etc.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: < Aug-16-03 offramp: Kasparov says that 42.Ne2 would win.>

What a strange long trip it's been.

Recently I celebrated 10 years at <>. This is my 6,000th post. It feels like more!

Sep-06-13  aliejin: "Kasparov says that 42.Ne2 would win"

Alekhine also pointed out this move, in time

Roberto Grau, Argentine player said that accompany
Alekhine to a cafe and analyzed, and annotated variants, for the entire night .....
Roberto Grau does not know why alekhine did not play ce2 , they had seen as a winning move...

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Caissanist: Regarding seconds, I could not find any reference to Capablanca using seconds during the match, but the Spanish Wikipedia page says that Alekhine used Roberto Grau as an "analyst".>

Alekhine said in his German game collection that C. Grau was the reporting journalist for "La Nacion".

His second during the match was [meinem treuen Sekundatenten] <D. Deletang>.

<Daniel Deletang> was a Frenchmen living in Argentina during the 1920ties

Oct-10-13  rccomputacion: En el libro de Roberto Grau III dice que el con Alekhine estuvieron 9 horas analizando la partida y llegaron a la conclusión que no se podía ganar... mientras tanto Capablanca atendia obligaciones "sociales" descuidando el torneo... así se fue también.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: That sounds absolutely like Hooey as well! Capablanca just ignoring the game and popping out, in the certainty that his opponent was analysing. These are just myths created probably to give a reason for Capablanca's stunning loss.
Oct-11-13  aliejin: Alekhine wrote Ne2 and "Black can resign .....with peace of mind. "
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Here is a possible scenario.
The organizers offer to put up Alekhine, "and his second." Alekhine has no regular second but he invites along the second nearest Joe Schmoe. He gets a free holiday and helps Alekhine a bit.

Capablanca, of course, would never have considered having a second.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: 32.Bb3xe6

click for larger view

That must have shocked Capablanca.

Dec-02-13  Owl: If Alekhine would of played 42.Ne2 he would won two games in row again like he won game 11 and 12
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: After 44...Kd7

click for larger view

It is hard to say if Alekhine saw the idea of 45...Nxf4 46.Kxf4 Ne6+ 47.Ke3 f4+ 48.Ke4 fxg3 or not. Playing Ne2 at some earlier point would have defused the idea entirely. It is too late to play that now owing to ...Rh8.


Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Happy New Year to all at <chessgames>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I played this game over today without (many) notes (from a facsimile of an old book of the tournament) and it seems to me one of the greatest games, by both players. Capablanca's defence was superb while Alekhine played great strategy and an interesting positional sacrifice.
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