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Max Euwe vs Jose Raul Capablanca
Capablanca - Euwe (1931), Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Scheveningen NED, rd 10, Jul-30
Bogo-Indian Defense: Monticelli Trap (E11)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-26-06  Plato: <RookFile> Do a poll of modern master players and above and ask how many of them play "pawn and move odds" chess on a regular basis. Out of 100, you'd be lucky to find one. Quit changing the subject.
Oct-26-06  Plato: <RookFile> I have played over many of Morphy's games. What got me confused was that I never looked up the exact definition of "pawn and move," so I assumed that the games where he just played down a pawn (with Black) were "pawn odds" and the games where he played down a pawn (with Black) AND White got an <extra> move were "pawn and move odds." It was a simple matter of confusing two different terms for odds games. It's not as if I didn't know what odds games were, I just didn't know the correct terminology.

Quite different from not knowing, for example, that Karpov was well known for his modern exchange sacrifices (RookFile: <Karpov didn't play for messy positions when he was champ (1975-1985). Anybody got a lot of Karpov examples of exchange sacs where he didn't get at least one pawn or a mating attack? If not, I guess Plato can explain to Karpov that he didn't have a modern understanding of the issue.>), or that Euwe became the FIDE president (<Rookfile: Wow, Euwe became FIDE president - I never knew he did this.>), or that the ...Bg7-h8 concept has become a typical exchange sacrifice idea in the Dragon Sicilian, or who thinks that the position Black gets out of the opening in this game is <"comparable to Morphy's giving masters of his day the odds of knight!">, or equivalent to <"the odds of exchange and move">, and who has denied that the modern conception of the exchange sacrifice has evolved at all since Capablanca's time.

My confusion was regarding semantics; <RookFile's> confusion is regarding the history and the understanding of chess. I, for one, would much rather be caught confusing the terms "pawn and move" and "pawn and two move."

And no, "pawn and move odds" are not popular odds in master chess anymore. They haven't been popular for over 100 years. I know you're not a master, but you really ought to know this.

Oct-26-06  Plato: <RookFile> If you're going to accuse me of lying about my strength, stop hiding and accept my challenge. I offer a chess match of two to eight games, you decide, where we both get the same number of Whites and Blacks.

The match will have to take place over-the-board and not over the internet, as you have already demonstrated that you substitute Fritz for a brain ... (anybody in doubt should just see the difference between his variations in the Panov-Simagin game, which he "miraculously" was able to produce in less than five minutes and which "coincidentally" were the same variations that Fritz provided, and his "verbal analysis," if you want to call it that, of Black's exchange sacrifice in that game. He demonstrates the comprehension of a 1400 player, and that's being too generous. Just look at his initial comments on this game!!).

If you live in or around the New York area, such a match can be easily arranged Otherwise, tell me the next major tournament you'll be attending, and we can arrange a match there or maybe play in the tournament itself.

Put up or shut up.

Oct-26-06  Steppenwolf: Plato, Rookfile, go to bed kids. You sound like a couple of thirteen years old betting to see who can pee farther.
Oct-26-06  Plato: <RookFile: Point is, I've read a lot of literature, and a lot of books on things like the Sicilian dragon, and have a good sense of what you can get away with, and what you can't. So, for example, here on this very website, you will find some games of mine, against another confused lad, such as yourself, that I needed to straighten out: J Davidson vs A J Goldsby, 1990;

Wow. What a great game. You sure straightened him out with your vast understanding of the Dragon ... I see all those books you read really paid off, didn't they? ... losing with White in just 23 moves. Oh, and to follow your "logic" from this Capablanca game, Goldsby even gave you "exchange and move odds"! Yup, you sure straigtened him out alright. Poor guy.

Oct-26-06  Jack Sprat: So this started out as to whether Capa understood the concept of modern exchange sacrifice? Seems like overkill.
Oct-26-06  Plato: <Jack Sprat> Yes, it started out as a debate on whether or not modern knowledge of the exchange sacrifice has increased since Capablanca's era. Put another way, are there any things that modern Grandmasters understand about exchange sacrifices which weren't fully understood by <anyone> in Capablanca's time or before, simply because the relevant games and theory didn't exist yet.

It is overkill. I won't deny it. <RookFile> has never missed an opportunity to escalate things, even after I suggested that we both try to tone things down a little bit. And when he escalated, I admit that I responded in kind. At this point he is arguing out of spite rather than logic, though. I'm not even sure that he himself believes that Capablanca had a wholly modern understanding of the positional exchange sacrifice ... he has vacillated on this point <many> times already. He's just out to contradict me and to make me look stupid any way he can. It no longer even concerns him to examine the matter objectively; that's why he focuses on side topics like the semantics of "pawn and move odds" rather than the main issue we have been debating all along.

It does not matter to him whether he even believes what he is arguing, so long as he feels that he can make me look bad.

Oct-26-06  RookFile: <Plato: Wow. What a great game. You sure straightened him out with your vast understanding of the Dragon ... I see all those books you read really paid off, didn't they? ... losing with White in just 23 moves. Oh, and to follow your "logic" from this Capablanca game, Goldsby even gave you "exchange and move odds"! Yup, you sure straigtened him out alright. Poor guy.>

So, you misunderstood. Check the notes to the game Davidson vs. Goldsby, not the game itself. I'm not Davidson. You'll see 3 or 4 games of mine in the notes.

Oct-26-06  Plato: <RookFile> I see. Care to explain why you accepted his challenge to play games but are avoiding mine?
Oct-26-06  RookFile: I've already given you enough chess lessons and wasted enough of my time with you.
Oct-26-06  Plato: I posted this on the Jose Raul Capablanca thread, but I think I should post it here as well.

I would like to apologize to the frequenters of this thread for carrying on far too long on a point which most people probably recognize as self-evident. I also apologize to <RookFile> if I have offended him; we both have escalated things, we have both carried a negative tone too much of the time, and this is not conducive to a pleasant environment, which is what this site should be about. Chess is a game, after all.

There is no reason why it shouldn't be possible to have friendly disagreements.

Regarding the main point of this argument, I feel that I could not have made the case any more plain. It appears that what I thought was a disagreement with <paladin> was merely a misunderstanding. <RookFile> has indicated that he still disagrees with my main point, but I'm willing to let that go.

<RookFile>, I realize that I can't persuade everybody on everything, no matter how obvious something seems to me. You are entitled to your opinions.

I offer not a "draw," but a truce.

Let's move on.

Oct-26-06  RookFile: Truce agreed, Plato.
Oct-26-06  TrueFiendish: Ah, such is life. I remember an individual going by the handle of Benjamin Lau a few years back. Boy was he hard to shake!
Jan-29-08  paladin at large: 24....Nd4 - such a magnificent steed - it blocks the rooks on the otherwise open file, hems in the white king and plays a major role in executing a 3-fold repetition to draw the game. A maximized knight.
Jun-26-09  AnalyzeThis: This game must have been pretty humiliating for Euwe.
Jun-26-09  visayanbraindoctor: Although other GMs have played into the Monticelli trap, perhaps as an element of surprise, Capablanca must be the only one who walked into it in two successive Blacks, and in a match wherein he could expect his opponent to come in more well-prepared in the second game. Unusual behavior that has become the stuff of legends. Whatever Capablanca's real motive was, it must have had an emotional effect on Euwe.

(I could imagine poor Euwe thinking "Is this man trying to prove the Monticelli trap is playable, or is he just amusing himself at my expense?")

There have been discussions if the idea of the exchange sacrifice was well understood in the 1930s. Of course it was. So were such stuff as pawn sacrifices for the initiative and piece activity. Any perusal of the games of Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, and the rest of the chess masters of this era shows that they understood what they were doing when they were making these types of sacs. Perhaps they didn't word it too clearly, but they clearly knew what they were doing.

As for the concept of the sacrifice itself, Anderssen and the masters of his era were already pretty good at it.

Oct-19-09  WhiteRook48: 10 Ng5 starts interesting problems
Jan-22-10  paladin at large: <Plato><Apparently some world-class Grandmasters STILL don't know about the exact winning procedure! :P Read on:

This very line has been played for Black by such Grandmasters such as Kortchnoi, Andersson, Larsen, Azmaiparashvili, Seirawan, Christiansen and others ... including Postny, used it in his game at Aeroflot just last year against Aronian!>

You make some good points elsewhere, but your above commentary is somewhat misleading: Korchnoi, Christiansen and Postny all lost with Black!, at least in the games I could find here. Were any of the others you mention able to draw? It is fascinating that some GMs feel there is a fighting chance with Black, but if you only cite games where Black lost, then you are arguing that White knows the winning procedure. Certainly there is no GM, past or modern, who can match Capa's performance, twice - in a key match - with Black and the Monticelli Trap.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <paladin at large>< To my knowledge, Capablanca did not annotate any of his games from the Euwe match. Does anyone know if Euwe did?>

To my knowledge, Capablanca annotated both games 3 and 9 in A Primer of Chess. Euwe annotated game 9 in Bobby Fischer - The Greatest?

Premium Chessgames Member
Jan-24-10  paladin at large: <TheFocus> Thanks. It's a shame we don't have annotations by either Capa or Euwe of the two Monticelli Trap games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <paladin at large> Euwe annotated game 8, in considerable detail, in his book, "Dr. M. Euwe - From My Games 1920-1937".

Game 8 also has detailed annotations from "Tijdschrift KNSB 1931", in A. Munninghoff's, "Max Euwe, The Biography". These notes include comments from Capablanca on moves 35, (<35.Rd4 would have been stronger>), and on move 37, <37...Nh3 would have thrown up similar problems for White as the text move>.

In Euwe's book, he noted that Capablanca pointed out after the game, that 37...Nh3 would have given Black considerable drawing chances.

Jan-24-10  paladin at large: <Pawn and Two> Thanks very much, that is very helpful.
Jun-09-10  Wyatt Gwyon: This is just badass.
Jan-17-13  LIFE Master AJ: Interest in these lines ...
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