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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
  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.

Sep-23-16  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.
Jun-26-17  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.
Jun-26-17  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-♙.

Jun-26-17  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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  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).
Jun-26-17  beatgiant: <Petrosianic>
26...Nd3 has already been suggested in the previous kibitzing, as has 21...Na4, 21...Qb3 and 23...Nbd7 24. Qxa7 Qb3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  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?

Jun-26-17  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...


Premium Chessgames Member
  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+

Premium Chessgames Member
  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

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