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Alexander Alekhine vs Jose Raul Capablanca
Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927)  ·  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>
Mar-10-08  SBGiffy: Can someone demonstrate the win after 60... Rxa5? . If rooks are exchanged the black king gets to e8 in time to save the f pawn after which I cannot see how white wins. I've seen another site which actually give the move as 60. Rb2+ which makes more sence to me... black king then cannot take on a5 as after Ra2+ the rooks are exchanged and now white king is 1 move closer to the f7 pawn and will win it. Is white's 60th here correct?!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <black king gets to e8> Then just advance f4-f5 and White will win a pawn.
Apr-07-08  Whitehat1963: Is 23. Qa5 the winning move, then? Or is 23...Nc4 the losing move? At what point do the engines say the advantage was gained? At what point might Capa have recaptured the initiative?
Mar-05-09  M.D. Wilson: Alekhine deserved to win the match because he simply outplayed Capablanca. Capa's biggest mistake was underestimating Alekhine, a mistake I'm sure he would not have repeated during a re-match. Alekhine played at an exceptional level after he won the title for a 4 or 5 year period where he reached an atmospheric peak in performance, thus raising the bar to new, unseen heights. For a period he simply "destroyed" opponents, treating everyone like patzers, even the great Nimzowitsch. However, Capablanca played chess as if it were his mother tongue. Perhaps it could be argued that Alekhine won more brilliant games, whereas Capablanca won more "brilliantly", by virtue of his pure style, which shunned all that was unnecessary and gratuitous OTB. Although Alekhine thoroughly deserves to be regarded as an artist, Capablanca, the chess technician, brought his own, perhaps deeper vision of art, into the game.
Mar-05-09  Petrosianic: <Alekhine deserved to win the match because he simply outplayed Capablanca.>

Actually, their overall level of play seemed to be about the same, but Capablanca missed more opportunities, the worst of which was blowing the win on the last move of Game 27. Alekhine didn't do things like that.

<Alekhine played at an exceptional level after he won the title for a 4 or 5 year period where he reached an atmospheric peak in performance, thus raising the bar to new, unseen heights. For a period he simply "destroyed" opponents, treating everyone like patzers, even the great Nimzowitsch.>

Well, Capablanca did the same his whole career. +5-0=6 against Nimzo, +5-0=2 against Bogolubov. Arguing about who won more brilliantly versus more technically doesn't mean much. The real bottom line is that Alekhine had no confidence in his ability to repeat the feat, and went down in history as The Guy Who Avoided Capablanca. Considering the way he was playing in 1930-1931, it's quite possible that he cheated himself rather than Capa.

<However, Capablanca played chess as if it were his mother tongue.>

I have the strangest feeling I've heard that analogy somewhere before. I'm not sure how much I think of it, though. I've heard lots of people butcher their mother tongue.

Mar-06-09  M.D. Wilson: <Considering the way he was playing in 1930-1931, it's quite possible that he cheated himself rather than Capa.> How true.
Mar-06-09  ughaibu: It's rather well established that Alekhine agreed to a match in this period.
Mar-14-09  Dredge Rivers: I don't think these guys played the QGD nearly enough in this match! :)
May-10-09  WhiteRook48: are you crazy? 33 of them were Queen's Gambits! and 32 of them were declined! Just joking :) Alekhine then refused a rematch, and they were bitter enemies until the end. Sad story
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!
Feb-26-12  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!
Sep-14-13  thegoodanarchist: This should be a GOTD. The pun? "Eating Raul", for cinema buffs.
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
Sep-04-14  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:

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