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Alexander Alekhine vs Jose Raul Capablanca
"The Game to End All Games" (game of the day Jun-26-2017)
Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927), Buenos Aires ARG, rd 34, Nov-26
Queen's Gambit Declined: Modern. Knight Defense (D51)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Phony Benoni> <cheap traps, and almost insulting> Making harmless moves in order to gain time on the clock is standard operating procedure, and I wouldn't be insulted.
Sep-24-16  Paarhufer: Some additions.

I used 'dependent', because the first Dutch newspaper I found with the game-score was the "Algemeen Handelsblad" of Dec-2, and it published the game with an explicit reference to "The Times". So, the game-score came probably this way to the Netherlands.

<Phony Benoni: But this is hardly an example of that....> Yes. Therefore I wrote 'even'. Quite condensed writing.

<Phony Benoni> Reading your last two kibitzings I'm a little bit confused which version you prefer. In the first one for example, you speak of 60.Rb2+ and when it was correted, and in the second one, you ask whether 60.Kb3 became established immediately or later.

Some more sources chronologically:

In "Auf dem Wege zur Weltmeisterschaft 1923-27", Alekhine added <Zeitgewinn!> to 60.Kb3, which means saving time.

"Schachgenie Aljechin - Mensch und Werk" by H.Müller & A.Pawelczak (1953, third ed. 1974) has 60.Kb3.

"Alexander Alekhine" (in Russian) and "Alekhine's chess heritage", vol. 2 (in Russian), both by A.A. Kotov (1973 & 1982, resp.) have 60.Kb3, too.

But then: "Das Schachgenie Aljechin" by I.& W. Linder (1992) has 60.Rb2+.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: The final game of what seemed an interminable match.

That "the" should not be in the pun.

Jun-26-17  JimNorCal: Agree with PB
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: I think Capa should have played 63...Ra6. If 64. Kf4, then 64...f6. If 64. Kd5, then 64...Kb4. If 64. f4, then 64...f5 65. Kd5 Kb4, etc.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <al wazir>
How about 63...Ra6 <64. Rd2> so if Black takes the a-pawn either way, White can reply with a rook check and rook trade, and White wins the pawn ending. Meanwhile, White threatens to make further progress with 65. Rd6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A war of rooks and pawns.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <beatgiant: How about 63...Ra6 <64. Rd2>>? Then 64...Rf6+, and now black can safely play 65...Kxa4.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <al wazir>
You're right. But going back to one of your other lines, 63...Ra6 64. Kd5 Kb4, simply <65. Rb2+> Kc3 66. Rb5. The situation looks like a win for White, who is threatening to maneuver his king around to support the a-pawn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <beatgiant: 63...Ra6 64. Kd5 Kb4, simply <65. Rb2+> Kc3 66. Rb5. The situation looks like a win for White, who is threatening to maneuver his king around to support the a-pawn.>

The analysis has a lot of branches, but it looks to me as if black's ♔ will sweep up white's K-side ♙s, and then, with three connected passers, black can give up his ♖ in exchange for the a-♙.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <al wazir>
To me it looks like a fairly easy win, although White does have to be a little careful to contain Black's counterplay.

After 63...Ra6 64. Kd5 Kb4 65. Rb2+ Kc3 66. Rb5:

click for larger view

Here's a sample: 66...Kd3 67. Kc5 Ke2 68. Rb2+ Kf3 69. Ra2 f6 70. Kb5 Ra8 71. a6 g5 72. a7 gxh4 73. gxh4 Kg4 74. Kb6 Kxh4 75. Kb7 Rxa7+ 76. Rxa7.

click for larger view

Black gets only one passed pawn for his rook, and White's king is still close enough to handle the counterplay, for an easy White win. I'll be very surprised if you find any major improvement for Black in the above.

Jun-26-17  Petrosianic: The real question is where Black went wrong in the first place. I always thought Black was in big trouble after he allowed Qa5. But Stockfish doesn't think so, and gave this line:

23. Qa5 Nc4 24. Qxa7 Nxb2 25. Rxc8 Rxc8 26. Qxb7 Nd3 (instead of Nc4) 27. a4 Rc3 28. a5 Ra3 29. Rd1 Qc4 30. a6 Nxf2! 31. Kxf2 Qc2+ 32. Rd2 Qc5+ 33. Kf1 Qc1+ = (or 33. Ke1 Qe3+ with advantage to Black).

click for larger view

On one hand, this doesn't look like a line a human player would go into. On the other hand, Nd3, keeping the c file open for the Black Rook to get behind the Pawn isn't that odd a plan. and if a few natural looking moves were played after that, Black might well have found Nxf2.

Jun-26-17  Petrosianic: If we regard the Nxf2 line as an extraordinary line that Black shouldn't have to be looking for in the first place if he's played correctly, then the place Black went wrong may well be 13...Nb6 (which sticks the Knight on a bad square, and no option to go to d5 after White's e4), or 17...Rac8 (instead of Rfc8).
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Petrosianic>
26...Nd3 has already been suggested in the previous kibitzing, as has 21...Na4, 21...Qb3 and 23...Nbd7 24. Qxa7 Qb3.
Jun-26-17  Petrosianic: I see that csmath mentioned Nd3 5 years ago, but he didn't offer any variations or ideas, only a vague assurance that it was okay. He certainly didn't get as far as Nxf2.

I still think Black did something wrong earlier, to be looking for this save at all.

Jun-26-17  patz8491: Can someone please explain to me why not 46.Rd8

The black queen cannot leave the back rank because of 47.Qh8#

After 46...Rf2, simply 47.Kg1 wraps it up, doesn't it?

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <patz8491>
On 46. Rd8, Black has <46...Qg7> and the result looks similar to the actual game.
Jun-26-17  Ninja702: Kotov analyses this in "Alekhine", game 39.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Pure waste of time trying to figure out why that drunk Capablanca lost this match...


Jun-27-17  RandomVisitor: After the proposed drawing line 26...Nd3: white can try many lines, but it appears that black can equalize in all. Key in most lines is the move Rc3 or Rc2. Curious would have been 27.h4 h5 28.Ng5 Qc4 29.Nxf7 Rc7 30.Nd6 Qc5 31.Qa6 Nxf2>

click for larger view

Stockfish_17061704_x64_modern: <59-ply, 13.5 hours computer time>

0.00 27.Rb1 Rc3 28.Ne1 Qa2 29.Nxd3 Rxd3 30.Qb5 Rxa3 31.Qb2 Qxb2 32.Rxb2 h5 33.h4 Ra1+ 34.Kh2 Ng4+ 35.Kh3 Nf6 36.f3 Ne8 37.Rb6 f6 38.Rb7+ Kf8 39.Ne2 Nd6 40.Rb6 Ke7 41.Nc3 f5 42.Nd5+ Ke6 43.g3 fxe4 44.fxe4 Rh1+ 45.Kg2 Ra1 46.Kh3

0.00 27.Kh2 Rc3 28.a4 Ra3 29.Qb5 Nd7 30.Ne2 Rb3 31.Qa5 Qc6 32.Ng3 N7c5 33.Ra1 Qf6 34.Qd2 Rb2 35.Qe3 Qf4 36.Ra3 h5 37.Qxf4 exf4 38.Nh1 Rb3 39.Rxb3 Nxb3 40.g3 fxg3+ 41.fxg3 Nbc5 42.Kg2 Nxa4 43.Nf2 Nac5 44.Nxd3 Nxd3 45.Kf1 Kf6 46.Ke2 Ne5 47.Nxe5 Kxe5 48.Ke3 f6 49.h4 g5 50.hxg5 fxg5

0.00 27.Qa7 Rc2 28.Ne1 Nxe1 29.Rxe1 Qb3 30.Ra1 h5 31.Qe3 Qxe3 32.fxe3 h4 33.Nh1 Nxe4 34.a4 Nc5 35.a5 Nb3 36.Ra3 Rc1+ 37.Kh2 Nd2 38.g4 Rc2 39.Kg1 Rc1+ 40.Kh2 Nf3+ 41.Kg2 e4 42.a6 Rg1+ 43.Kf2 Rxh1 44.a7 Rh2+ 45.Kf1 Rd2 46.a8Q Nh2+ 47.Kg1 Nf3+ 48.Kf1

0.00 27.Ne2 Rc2 28.Nfd4 exd4 29.Nxd4 Qc8 30.Qb1 Rc3 31.Nb5 Nf4 32.Nxc3 Qxc3 33.Qa1 Qc2 34.e5 N6d5 35.e6+ Kh7 36.exf7 Qe4 37.f3 Ne2+ 38.Kh1 Ng3+ 39.Kg1 Ne2+

0.00 27.Qb5 Rc3 28.Rd1 Rb3 29.Qa5 Qe7 30.a4 h5 31.Nd2 Rb4 32.Nf3 Rb3

0.00 27.Nh4 Rc3 28.a4 Nc5 29.Qa8 Ncd7 30.a5 Qc4 31.Rd1 Qb3 32.Rd6 Rxg3 33.fxg3 Qe3+ 34.Kh2 Nxe4 35.Rxd7 Qxg3+ 36.Kg1 Qe1+ 37.Kh2 Qg3+

0.00 27.Rd1 Rc3 28.Qb5 Rb3 29.Qa5 Qe7 30.a4 h5 31.Nd2 Rb4 32.Nf3 Rb3

0.00 27.Ne1 Nxe1 28.Rxe1 Rc2 29.Rd1 h5 30.Qb4 Rc4 31.Qa5 h4 32.Nf1 Rxe4 33.Ne3 Qb3 34.Rf1 Qb2 35.Nd1 Qd4 36.Ne3 Qb2

<0.00 27.h4 h5 28.Ng5 Qc4 29.Nxf7 Rc7 30.Nd6 Qc5 31.Qa6 Nxf2> 32.Rxf2 Ng4 33.Ne8+ Kh8 34.Nxc7 Qxf2+ 35.Kh1 Qxg3 36.Qc8+ Kh7 37.Qd7+ Kh6 38.Qd2+ Kh7 39.Qd7+

0.00 27.a4 Rc3 28.a5 Ra3 29.Qc7 Qd7 30.Qb6 Qa4 31.Nh4 Qxa5 32.Nhf5+ gxf5 33.Nxf5+ Kg6 34.Nh4+ Kg7 35.Nf5+

Jun-28-17  Petrosianic: And of course, in the final line, 29. Rd1 Qc4 30. a6 Nxf2 31. Kxf2 Qc2+ 32. Rd2 Qc5+ 33. Kf1. That's the most important line as it would be White's best chance to keep the Pawn, if Nxf2 weren't there.

White's 30. a6 is playable because if 30...Rxa6 31. Rxd3! Qxd3 32. Nxe5

Jul-03-18  SpiritedReposte: The match bio says this game took FOUR DAYS to complete... good lawd I'd be seeing variations in my sleep.
Nov-08-18  CharlesSullivan: < Capablanca and Alekhine swap errors >

As is well known, this is considered a classic rook endgame. By the time the queens come off the board (at move 50), the ending is technically won for White. (Basic Chess Endings and Fundamental Chess Endings analyze this ending beginning with move 53 or 54.) So where did the great endgame master (Capablanca) stumble?

Alekhine thought that Capablanca's fatal move was 21...Be6. But today's computers show that 5 moves later, Black could have completely equalized with 26...Nd3, so Alekhine's claim is incorrect.

Capablanca's first losing move was 35...Rb8. All credit to Alekhine, he did see that 35...Ra5

click for larger view

was worth analyzing, but he dismissed it as insufficient: "In answer to 35...Ra5 White would first make his king safe from possible checks, by playing g2-g3 and h3-h4, and then invade the back rank with his pieces." (Alekhine, On the Road to the World Championship)

But, as Dvoretsky (Endgame Manual [2nd edition], p. 185) points out, if the passed a-pawn is not immediately blocked, Black "would have had no chances at all" to save the game. And, in fact, it is fairly easy to see that 35...Ra5 36.g3 Rd5 37.Rf4 Qe5 38.Rf3 Rc5 39.Qd1 g5 40.g4 Rc4 41.Qd7 Rf4 42.Rxf4 gxf4 43.Kg2 Qe4+ 44.Kh2 Qe5 45.Qf5 Qd6 46.Qc2 f3+ 47.Kg1 Qe5 48.Qc1 Kh7 49.Qc2+ Kg7 50.Qc1 Kh7 51.Qe3 Qf6 52.h4 Qa1+ 53.Kh2 Qxa4 54.Qxf3 Kg8 55.h5 Qa7

click for larger view

is very drawish and does save the game.

It follows from the above discussion that perhaps White could have played 36.a5 with great effect (after all, passed pawns are meant to be pushed!). But Alekhine played -- without comment! -- 36.Re2. Kasparov even attached an exclamation point: 36.Re2! Kasparov added a cryptic analysis to explain why 36.a5 was not the best move: 36.a5?! Qf5! It seems that Kasparov did not notice that 36.a5 Qf5 37.Rb4! is sufficient to win:

click for larger view

The finish might be 37...Ra8 38.Qa1+ and 38...Kh7 39.a6 Qe6 40.a7 Qc8 41.Kh1 Qc7 42.Ra4 Qc6 43.Qd4 <+10.65> 43...Qc7 44.f4 Qc1+ 45.Kh2 Qc6 46.Ra5 Qb7 47.Qc5 h5 48.f5 Kh6 49.Ra4 Kh7 50.Ra3 Qd7 51.fxg6+ fxg6 52.Qb6 Qe7 53.Ra6 Qf7 54.Kg1 Re8 55.Qd6 Ra8 56.Qb8 Qd5 57.Rb6 Kh6 58.Rb7 h4 59.Qc7 Re8 60.Qf4+ Qg5 61.Rh7+ wins:

click for larger view

So, although it was spurned or ignored by annotators, 36.a5 <+5.12, depth 59, 4 hours> wins. One variation is 36.a5 Ra8 37.Ra4 Kh7 38.Qa1 Qa6 39.Qe5 h5 40.Rf4 Qb7 41.Rc4 Qb1+ 42.Kh2 Qa2 43.Qd5 Kg7 44.Qd4+ Kg8 45.Rc5 Qe2 46.Re5 Qa6 47.Rd5 Rf8 48.h4 Qa8 49.Qd2 Rb8 50.Rd7 Rc8 51.Qa2 Rf8 52.a6 Qc6 53.Rb7 g5 54.hxg5 h4 55.Qa3 Re8 56.g6 Qxg6 57.a7 Qh6 58.Qf3 Rf8 59.Rxf7:

click for larger view

and Black can resign.

Coming soon... Capablanca's fatal second error.

Nov-08-18  CharlesSullivan: < Capablanca's fatal second error >

When Alekhine failed to take advantage of Capablanca's first major error (35...Rb8), Capablanca made it to adjournment with a draw in reach. Alekhine sealed his 41st move and wrote: "The game was adjourned here and this move was sealed. The manoeuvres now made by Capablanca are thus the result of exhaustive analysis. Neither my opponent nor I were successful in finding adequate means of defence for Black."

Incredibly, despite this "exhaustive analysis," Capablanca immediately committed the fatal blunder (41...Qb1+) that lost the game and his title. He should have played 41...Rf5

click for larger view

42.Qd4 Qb1+ 43.Kh2 Qc2 44.Rd8 Qc7+ 45.Kg1 Qc1+ 46.Qd1 Qb2 47.Rd2 Qb6 48.Rd4 h5 49.h4 Qc5 50.g3 Qb6 51.Qd2 Qc6 52.Rf4

click for larger view

(Now, if 52...Rxf4??, then 53.Qxf4 Qd5 54.Qc7 is an easy win)
52...Rc5 53.Rxf7+ Kg8 54.Re7 Rc1+ 55.Re1 Rxe1+ 56.Qxe1 Qxa4

click for larger view

and any competent grandmaster can hold this position -- so a draw.

Dec-09-18  CharlesSullivan: Note: I am submitting a second correction slip -- Black played 44...Qe8 in this game, NOT 44...Qf8. At least, that is what Skinner & Verhoeven (Alexander Alekhine's Chess Games, 1902-1946), Alexander Alekhine (My Best Games of Chess 1924-1937; On the Road to the World Championship 1923-1927), Yates & Winter (World's Championship Matches, 1921 and 1927), Garry Kasparov (My Great Predecessors Part I), and Chessbase say.
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