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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Reuben Fine
AVRO (1938), The Netherlands, rd 10, Nov-20
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Classical. Noa Variation (E34)  ·  1/2-1/2
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-11-04  Lawrence: <Gypsy>, my mind wanders but Junior's doesn't, it finds 40.h5 in a split second. Reuben Fine, coffeeshop skills?
Apr-11-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Wish I could play as well as Fine, coffee shop or anywhere else for that matter.
Apr-11-04  Benjamin Lau: 40. h5! does look pretty final. I'm surprised that Fine came as close as he did however, Capablanca's blunder notwithstanding. After 23...fxe5, I thought that Capablanca had an easy win but Fine manages to make his horrible pawn structure not count.
Apr-11-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Gentlemen, you found it: 40.h5 Rb1 41.Kg2 indeed wins.

Regarding Fine: I used a probably misleading (though intentional) characterization of his play. To me, coffee-shop is a style (not level) of play---brawling, tactical, inventive, cool under fire, bold. Fine had probably the finest set of coffee-shop play skills since Lasker. (And he did need them all, for, strategically, he was outplayed by Capa.) Perhaps, had I said coffee-shop play skills, meaning would have been a bit clearer. By no means, however, an insult was intended: Fine is a great hero of mine, but even were he not, I would have appreciated the skill by which he stayed alive in the game.

Also, thank you <Lawrence> for the gentle, funny way of pointing out the humorous aspects of my second-hand English. (Being a tad dyslexic also 'helps'. :-))

Apr-11-04  capanegra: I have the tournament’s book with me, analyzed by Euwe. He puts a question mark to 37.♖c8? and states that 37.g5! (threatening ♖c8 and ♖h8) would have won. If 37…♖b8 38.♖c7, and if 37…♔f5 38.♖c8 ♔g6 39.♖g8+. On the other hand, no comment is made after 40.♖xg5.
Apr-11-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Yes <capanegra>, this is the other place I had in mind. But this one is far less clear to me. (Besides, Capablanca's continuation should have ended in a win anyway.)
Apr-12-04  capanegra: Yes <Gypsy>, the other continuation (with 40.h5!) looks much more conclusive than this. I just wanted to cite Euwe’s analysis and his omission in the fortieth move, which only sustains your comment: everybody oversaw –including Capablanca (!!)- this rather simple win.

I studied this game more carefully yesterday. Man, it is really exciting. It takes a lot of nerve to play like Fine did in the middle game (16…♖fd8!), specially against a Capablanca. Probably 35…♔f6 was his worst mistake, and he should have played instead 35…♖b4.

Aug-29-05  Koster: <capanegra> Is that book in Dutch or German? I didn't think it was available in English.
Nov-10-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: Fine regards the early opening/middlegame combination as his best in his fantastic AVRO tourney, although it saved a draw rather than winning the game. Capa had a stroke during this tournament, the worst in his life.
Sep-03-07  notyetagm: <Gypsy: Gentlemen, you found it: 40.h5 Rb1 41.Kg2 indeed wins.>

Amazing that Capablanca missed this simple win. I guess Capablanca was not expecting a player as strong as Fine to gift him a trivial win in a rook ending!

It is amazing that after the simple 40 h4-h5! White wins with ease because the passed White h-pawn cannot be stopped from promotion, mainly because the Black f6-king is cut off from the h-file by the White g8-rook.

Sep-03-07  notyetagm: So what is the proper response to 39 g4-g5+ as played by Capablanca?

Fine's actual response of 39 ... h6xg5? leads to a dead-lost endgame after the simple 40 h4-h5!.

Sep-03-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <notyetagm> <: So what is the proper response to 39 g4-g5+ as played by Capablanca?>

I don't think the game can be saved at this stage if White continues properly. 40...♔f5 41.gxh6 ♖b1 42.♔g2 doesn't help as the pawn simply advances to promote.

Sep-03-07  notyetagm: <Benzol: <notyetagm> <: So what is the proper response to 39 g4-g5+ as played by Capablanca?> I don't think the game can be saved at this stage if White continues properly. 40...f5 41.gxh6 b1 42.g2 doesn't help as the pawn simply advances to promote.>

Yes, that was my thought exactly, that basically 39 g4-g5+ wins for White because Black does not have an adequate response.

Black's problems stem mostly from the White g8-rook cutting off the Black f6-king from the h-file, with that strange piece pattern Black f6-king, Black f7-pawn, White g8-rook.

Mar-29-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: Another move 40 mistake. Still I don't think Capablanca would ever miss a move like 40.h5 if he hadn't had a stroke during AVRO.
Mar-30-08  MichAdams: <This win was missed by the players, other participants, spectators, and annotators for some 50 years.>

So when did this first come to light?

Mar-30-08  RookFile: <Fine's actual response of 39 ... h6xg5? leads to a dead-lost endgame after the simple 40 h4-h5!.>

40. h5 isn't simple. On the face of it, it's not obvious that capturing a pawn to give white a passed h pawn is worse than not capturing the pawn to give white a passed h pawn.

Yes, I know that 40. h5 wins.

Aug-04-08  Owl: What happens if white plays 16. Rxb7 I don't see a win there for black with the bishop sacrifice?
Aug-07-09  WhiteRook48: 40 h5 was missed because Capablanca lost to Alekhine in the previous round
Sep-23-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: 'Capablanca v Fine: A Missed Win' - http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/....
Sep-24-10  morphy2010: 40. h5 wins capablanca did make mistakes.
Apr-29-12  JohnDahl: Hard to believe that Abrahams was the first to spot this, or, at least, note it in print, some 13 years later.
Nov-16-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: <notyetagm: <Gypsy: Gentlemen, you found it: 40.h5 Rb1 41.Kg2 indeed wins.> Amazing that Capablanca missed this simple win. I guess Capablanca was not expecting a player as strong as Fine to gift him a trivial win in a rook ending!>

Clearly not "simple". In addition to the tournament book the game is also included in Fine's anthology - neither mention 40 h5. The fact that the move was not found till years later is pretty self-explanatory.

Fine is critical of 8..Nc6?; 8..dxc is better. 13..Qe7? 14 Bd3..h6 15 b5..Na5 16 Bb4 would have lost the exchange. After the alternative defense 18 Nd4..Qg6 Black has numerous threats.

Nov-14-14  Rookiepawn: <Gypsy: For those who wander---yes, there is a White win just at the end. This win was missed by the players, other participants, spectators, and annotators for some 50 years. Enjoy finding it. (There definitely is one, but probably two forced-win places.) The logic of Capa's play inspires awe, while Fine employs his best coffe-shop skils to just stay in the game. I checked out an obscure report from the tournament (Opocensky). The story is that the play in the rook ending went very fast and that Capa looked somewhat tired and dejected at the end. Perhaps he was late for a game of bridge, but, more likely, he felt late in life, his life-force ebbing.>

I think the way both styles are depicted is accurate and even elegant, to find it any disrespectful needs too much severity.

The only thing I disagree with is the final line. Knowing Mr. Capablanca's mundane abilities a bridge game stands less chances than a lady.

Dec-22-15  poslednieje: "Practische eindspelen 1" no. 9 ed.2 by Euwe 1951. The double rook ending is analysed until the king move Kg3. According to Euwe Fine should have continued with Tb4 (Kf6?) with a draw, however both were in time trouble and that's the cause of the mistakes.
Jan-27-19  sakredkow: Fine used the continuation from 25. Kg3 through 33...Rb4 as an example of a two-rook ending where establishing two rooks on the seventh is worth the cost of a pawn. From Basic Chess Endings 2003 revision p. 433.

I probably need an additional, and better endgame manual, but if I studied this one more I know my rating would get up there.

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