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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Mikhail Botvinnik
"The Boy Who Would be King" (game of the day Aug-20-11)
Leningrad (1925)  ·  Queen's Gambit Declined: Manhattan Variation (D51)  ·  0-1
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Given 63 times; par: 53 [what's this?]

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find similar games 7 more Capablanca/Botvinnik games
sac: 16...c5 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-02-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Thanks for clearing that up <Calli> Never quite made sense to me in previous versions. See if I have it right.

On Nov 20, 1925, Capablanca travelled to Leningrad 5 1/2 hours, played Botvinnik in a simul and lost, travelled back the same day, and the next day Nov 21, played Verlinsky, adjourned and lost on resumption Nov 24th.

Oct-02-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Correct, except 5 1/2 hours is the length of the simul. I don't know how long the train ride was.
Dec-11-07  paladin at large: <I don't know how long the train ride was.> Capa was throughout his career on occasion guilty of poor time management in getting to his chess engagements, sometimes specific games, begun or adjourned, sometimes the tournament itself (e.g. New York 1924, AVRO 1938).

Also, he had been away from Russia for eleven years when he traveled in 1925 to the very forbidding Soviet Union. The creature comforts he enjoyed in peacetime czarist Russia were probably better than what he encountered in 1925. And this is northern Russia in late November - ugh!.

He played tournament games on the 18th,19th and 21st in Moscow, and for the simul on the 20th in Leningrad scored - 18+ 4- 8= against all first-category players.

Dec-11-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: I have since read somewhere that they provided Capablanca with a private car on the train as an inducement toward doing the simul. Unfortunately, I did not note the source of this tidbit. Probably a Russian web site. So he should have gotten a good rest on the way back. Unless, of course, some other "amenities" were afforded. ;->
Dec-12-07  paladin at large: <Calli> Thanks. Capablanca no doubt received special attention from the Soviets, who were congenitally manipulative. I believe he praised the treatment that he received from them and event organizers, etc. There are two marked aspects - on one hand, the Soviets believed firmly in the modern man and their view of the way society was going, so they wanted to learn absolutely as much as possible from leading practictioners in every field - for them, Capa was simply Mr. Chess. They had a fascination for Capa exemplified by one of the tournaments in the mid-1930s where Stalin walked up and gazed at Capa from behind.

On the other hand, the Soviets were no doubt keen to showcase the progress of their own budding Socialist masters, and the better they did against Capa, the more propaganda value. Whether they manipulated Capa's schedule or entertainment to his physical detriment, or whether due to his own lack of discipline (I recall his remarks about "intemperance" in regard to the Havana 1913 tournament) - he was not in form when in front of certain relatively undistinguished masters (Ilyin-Genevsky, Verlinsky). It is impossible to say. He lost only to these two Soviets at Moscow 1925, not to the big names in the tournament: Lasker, Réti, Spielmann, Marshall, Bogoljubov, Rubinstein, Tartakower.

Jun-23-08  Marmot PFL: <Boomie> Agree. I have never heard Botvinnik's account verified. Capa was a very correct player and anyway its doubtful he would care that much about one game in a simul.
Jul-19-08  Helios727: But he lost 4, not 1, and drew 8.
Oct-25-09  Champ Chess Player: It's very hard to believe that Mikhail Botvinnik was only 14 when he played this game. He just beat the "Most Invinsible Player"!!!
Apr-04-10  The Rocket: Not a very good simul game, Capablanca just plays dubiously and loses.

Yes botvinnik was very young but still capa plays horribly:=

Apr-25-11  drnooo: if you look at the position, it wuld be natural for Capa to HAVE to push the few remaining pieces on the right to the center of the board: any other motion would look clumsy. The other account, simply turning the king over would also work, though few accounts hold with that.Then walking on, if tired, it would be easy to read a thousand things into a look. Hardly seems worth all the bother of worrying about Capas behavior or emotion.
Aug-20-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: <ismet: move 31 Capa Blunders ?!> Oh really? What do you suggest instead, 31.Bb1? Then comes ...c2 . Or do you fancy 31.Ba4? Then comes Rxg2!

I'm not sure where Capa went wrong, but it wasn't move 31.

Aug-20-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Maybe castling 10.0-0-0 is a good place to start if you want to find fault; Capa gets shredded on the queenside.
Aug-20-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: You can already sense 'the patriarch' within the little Botvinnik.
Aug-20-11  consul: I'm not strong enough to appreciate the strength of Botvinnik's 29 .. Rc6
Aug-20-11  aliejin: "Hardly seems worth all the bother of worrying about Capas behavior or emotion."

yes, mistreat characters from the past it is easy , especially because they can not defend themselves

Aug-20-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: a masterpiece-if only for the fact that a future champ defeats the present champ in an elegant game.
Aug-20-11  BobCrisp: <They had a fascination for Capa exemplified by one of the tournaments in the mid-1930s where Stalin walked up and gazed at Capa from behind.>

We only have <Olga Capablanca>'s word for this. Colour me skeptical.

Apr-03-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  David2009: 8.Qb3 seems to have been the first inaccuracy, better 8.Nf3 to reach


click for larger view

Compare D Jakovenko vs Fressinet, 2012 where Jakovenko beat Fressinet in the last round to win the 13th European Individual Championship (2012). This game continued 8...Qa5 9.Rc1 Bxc3+ 10.bxc3 0-0 11.Nd4 Qxc5 12.Bd3 to reach


click for larger view

when White, with the two Bishops, has a small pull.

Apr-03-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: The thread in Capablanca vs Verlinsky, 1925 is relevant to the present discussion.
May-03-12  Anderssen99: Consul: Had Capa retreated his B to b1 then the beautiful point of 29. ...,Rc6 would have been revealed: 30.Re3,Rd2. 31.Bb1,c2. 32.Ba2,Nxa2+!!. 33.Rxa2,Re1+. 34.Kb2,Rb1+. 35.Ka3,Ra6 mate!!
May-04-12  Anderssen99: The 33rd move above should read 33....,Rd1+. Sorry for the misprint!
Dec-19-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Black's move accuracy after White castled queenside is Houdini 4 move 1 or 2 choices ALL THE WAY. This is astonishing accuracy for the then 14 year old Mikhail Botvinnik. My provisional PGN follows:

[Event "Leningrad"]
[Site "Leningrad"]
[Date "1925.11.20"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Jose Raul Capablanca"]
[Black "Mikhail Botvinnik"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D51"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[EventDate "1925.??.??"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3
Nf6 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. e3 Bb4 6. cxd5 exd5 7. Qb3 c5 8. dxc5 Qa5 9. Bxf6 Nxf6 10. O-O-O Maybe a bit too optimisti. Technically black better now (10. Rc1 O-O 11. Bd3) 10... O-O 11. Nf3 Be6 Houdini 4 first choice move depth 20 12. Nd4 Rac8 Houdini 4 first choice move depth 20 13. c6 (13. Nxe6 fxe6 14. Kb1 Bxc3 15. Qxc3 Qxc3 16. bxc3 Ne4 17. Rc1 Rxf2) 13... Bxc3 Houdini 4 2nd choice move depth 20 14. Qxc3 (14. bxc3 bxc6) 14... Qxa2 Houdini 4 first choice move depth 20 15. Bd3 bxc6 Houdini 4 first choice move depth 20 16. Kc2 c5 Houdini 4 2nd choice move depth 18 17. Nxe6 Qa4+ Houdini 4 first choice move depth 20 (17... fxe6 18. Ra1 d4 nearly equal) 18. b3 Qa2+ Houdini 4 first choice move depth 20 19. Qb2 Qxb2+ 20. Kxb2 fxe6 21. f3 3rd choice houdini move at depth 22. c4 and rb8 strong as well Rc7 Houdini 4 2nd choice move depth 20 22. Ra1 c4 Houdini 4 first choice move depth 20 23. bxc4 dxc4 24. Bc2 Rb8+ Houdini 4 2nd choice move depth 20 25. Kc1 Nd5 Houdini 4 first choice move depth 20 26. Re1 c3 Houdini 4 first choice move depth 20 27. Ra3 Nb4 Houdini 4 first choice move depth 20 28. Re2 Rd8 Houdini 4 first choice move depth 20 29. e4 (29. h3 Rd2 30. Rxc3) 29... Rc6 preparing Rd2 without allowing Rxc3! Houdini 4 first choice move depth 20 30. Re3 (30. Rxa7 Rd2) 30... Rd2 Houdini 4 first choice move depth 20 31. Raxc3 Rxc2+ 32. Rxc2 Rxc2+ 0-1

Jul-10-14  1d410: 6. Capa exchanges a wing pawn for a center pawn
12. planning Bxc3 and either doubling pawns or pinning against the queen 14. Capa chooses to pin the queen 15. Capa is occupying the center while Botvinnik wreaks havoc on the queenside Capa does not tryi to save the advanced but doomed pawn, allowing Botvinnik a material material advantage 17 Capa wins the bishop pair, but he is already a pawn down 19 Botvinnik simplifies by forcing an exchange of queen's hoping to enter the endgame a pawn up 31. Capa loses rather than play the endgame
Jul-11-14  1d410: 6. Capa exchanges a wing pawn for a center pawn
8. Capa gives up the bishop pair for little compensation. 12. planning Bxc3 and either doubling pawns or pinning against the queen 14. Capa chooses to pin the queen 15. Capa is occupying the center while Botvinnik wreaks havoc on the queenside Capa does not try to save the advanced but doomed pawn, allowing Botvinnik a material advantage 17 Capa wins a knight for a bishop, but he is already a pawn down 19 Botvinnik simplifies by forcing an exchange of queen's hoping to enter the endgame a pawn up 31. Capa loses rather than play the endgame
Jul-13-14  1d410: I edited it to be more exciting and less boring
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