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Alexander Alekhine vs Jose Raul Capablanca
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 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-03-09  WhiteRook48: final curtain
Aug-14-09  WhiteRook48: where did Capablanca fail?
Mar-24-10  The Rocket: One of the greatest games of all time to win the endgame a pawn up took great skills!

Alekhine was not only a monster tactician but also at very strong endgame player, which the instructional chessbooks also mentions.

Nov-22-10  immikhailtal: ahhhh....
rooks belong behind passed pawns!
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: As soon as Capa played 13.... Nb6 and Alekhine played 14. Ba2, you knew this wasn't going to be easy for black at all. Should black have preferred 13.... b6?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Extensive analysis of Black’s 56th move (specifically considering <56. … Kd5><!?> as an alternative to Capablanca’s actual <56. … h5>) was published by Karsten Müller (with attribution to Erich Körber of Germany) here:

The idea of <56. ... Kd5><!?> is to avoid weakening the g5-square and the entire dark-square complex on the K-side that Alekhine’s King uses as a route of entry in the actual game continuation. (The conclusion of the above-linked analysis is that White still wins.)

Aug-16-12  csmath: Engine analysis shows that Capablanca made a decisive error in 26th move with Nc4. Had he played 26. ... Nd3 the balance would stay.

Practically this move is hard to see and while it is dynamic it escapes to a mortal over the board. While everybody was praising Capablanca like a machine it seems to me Alekhine played here like a machine. Capa had clumsily places knight on b6 and extraordinary vision was required to get out of that. He did not have that here being already tired.

Too bad that they did not play a return match as after going through all of their encounters I believe that would have been extraordinary match of equally matched champions. Alekhine of 1929 without alcohol and prepared Capa would have given something special. I think they both did not want to play against each other even though usually only Alekhine is blamed for that.

Jul-11-13  jinmin: Beaten at his own game!
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: This should be a GOTD. The pun? "Eating Raul", for cinema buffs.
Jul-06-14  Bowen Island: In Hellsten's "Mastering Chess Strategy" this game is given in his notes, on page 96, as an example of how to exchange pieces to improve one's (in this case White's) position.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <immikhailtal: ahhhh....
rooks belong behind passed pawns!>

Yes, well you know that and I know that, but I'm surprised Alekhine and Capablanca don't know that:

Alekhine has just played 51.♙a4-a5.

click for larger view

Capablanca replies with 51.♖f6-a6.

click for larger view

This attacks the a-pawn. How does Alekhine defend it? Surely he will play 52.♖a4, because <immikhailtal: ahhhh.... rooks belong behind passed pawns!>?

Alekhine plays 52.♖d5. It seems he doesn't know that <immikhailtal: ahhhh.... rooks belong behind passed pawns!>

click for larger view

Capablanca decides to let his opponent fix his little error. Perhaps Capablanca doesn't know that <immikhailtal: ahhhh.... rooks belong behind passed pawns!>.

He plays 52...♖f6, so now the a-pawn is not attacked and white has time to reposition his rook <immikhailtal: ahhhh.... rooks belong behind passed pawns!> on a4 behind the passed pawn. Because <immikhailtal: ahhhh.... rooks belong behind passed pawns!>!

Aug-09-14  SpiritedReposte: So rooks go in front of passed pawns?? Or to the side you mean, got it.

I gleaned that from a subtle quote insert from the post above.

Sep-04-14  coldsweat: It doesn't seem logical to me to believe that Jose underestimated his challenger. The striking characteristics of Alekhine's play were there to be seen in previous games.

It doesn't seem logical to me to believe that Jose was more interested in playing bridge and romancing the ladies than in defending his position as World Champion. He was far too much of a fighter to be complacent about losing.

Sep-04-14  Mating Net: Even though Capa lost this endgame, he gave himself the best chance of holding a draw by having his King blockade the a pawn. If his Rook would have remained fixed on a6 he would have made it easier for Alekhine to win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Rooks can go on the side. Shereshevsky covers this in his endgame book.
Dec-25-14  sand1390: In this game specifically, White's rook goes behind the passed pawn. See the Tarrasch rule:

Rooks only go on the side in a rook + pawn v rook endgame, for the player down in material. Which can be seen here:

Jan-25-16  Albion 1959: to Drunken Knight. Who is fixated with the position after 61 moves. Have a look at the book Rook Endings by Smyslov and Levenfish (Batsford 1971) Page 151. Capablanca has defended the position with the best moves available to him. But now Alekhine can win more easily with 67 Kg7 instead of f4. The main line goes 67. Kg7 Rf3
68. Kg8!Rf6
69. Kf8 Rf3
70. Kg7 Rf5
71. f4 does the trick !
Improve your endgame ability which is clearly lacking by studying the finer points of this ending !! Andd please, no more move 61:
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: After <59...Kb5>:

click for larger view

Our score continues <60.Kb3 Kc5 61.Kc3 Kb5 62.Kd4>. The question has arisen how White wins after <60.Kb3 Rxa5 61.Rxa5+ Kxa5>, since after a sample sequence such as <62.Kc4 Kb6 63.Kd5 Kc7 64.Ke5 Kd7 65.Kf6 Ke8>:

click for larger view

The Black king gets back in time to protect his f-pawn. The answer, as <Calli> pointed out, is that White plays f4-f5, which forces a weakening in Black's pawns which will lead to material loss.

But there may be another explanation. I've been going through the chess column in the "Los Angles Times" lately (looking for US Open games, of course). The column for December 18, 1927, gives a variant in the original diagram with <60.Rb2+>.

click for larger view

This makes quite a difference in a race to the kingside after <60...Kxa5 61.Rs2+ Kb5 62.Rxa6 Kxa6>; Since White's king starts one file closer, Black can't return in time to protect his f-pawn. The score in the "Times" continued <60...Kc5 61.Ra2 Kb5>, and then as we have.

It turns out that this variant shows up in several other contemporary sources:

"New York Times", November 30, 1927

"Brooklyn Daily Eagle", December 1, 1927

"American Chess Bulletin", January 1928, p. 9.

Of course th4ese are all U.S. sources and are probably not independent. However, the <60.Rb2+ Kc5 61.Ra2 Kb5> continuation also occurs in "Wiener Schachzeitung", December 1927, p. 350-352.

\It would be nice to know the origin of this variant, and how it was spread so soon after the event.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Alekhine in <On the Road to the World Champipnship>, gives the score as presented above. No 60.Rb2.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: On 67.f4, Alekhine wrote: <Understandably excited in sight of my desired goal, I lengthened the struggle with this over-hasty pawn move, instead of which I could have won in five moves in an obvious way: 67.Kg7 Rf3 68.Kg8 Rf6 69.Kf8! Rf3 70.Kg7 Rf5 71.f4, and Black would have to resign. Curiously enough, the entire body of chess commentators missed this opportunity.>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <The Focus> Thanks. It makes sense to assume Alekhine's version of the score as correct.

But I'm still curious how the version with 60.Rb2+ came about. Since it was published the day after the game ended on November 29, was it part of the original report from Buenos Aires? And when was it corrected? Was Alekhine the first to point it out?

Sep-23-16  Paarhufer: I checked several dependent and independent European newspapers, and I only found the version with 60.Rb2+ (among them "The Times" of Dec 1st).

<Phony Benoni: It makes sense to assume Alekhine's version of the score as correct.> Alekhine changed even intentionally some game-scores in his books.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Paarhufer> Thanks for looking. Again, the only instance found of 60.Rb2+ was within a few days of the game. (By the way we can add "Tidskrift för Schack", April-June 1928, p. 57, to the list of sources with 60.Rb2+.

With all the research done on these players and this match, surely the accuracy of the score is established. The only question I'm wondering about is when 60.Kb3 became established: immediately, or some time afterward?

I'm quite aware of Alekhine's reputation for "improving' his published games, and was even trying to make a little joke of it. (Evidently, very little.) But this is hardly an example of that. The score was too well known, and 60.Kb3 is no improvement over 60.Rb2+. Both moves are probes, amounting to nothing more than cheap traps, and alsmost insulting at this level.

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+.

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