Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

(If you register a free account you won't see all these ads!)
Jose Raul Capablanca vs David Janowski
San Sebastian (1911), San Sebastian ESP, rd 5, Feb-27
Queen Pawn Game: Colle System (D04)  ·  1-0


Click Here to play Guess-the-Move
Given 65 times; par: 108 [what's this?]

explore this opening
find similar games 10 more Capablanca/Janowski games
PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: To flip the board (so black is on the bottom) press the "I" key on your keyboard.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: The endgame is remarkably difficult. Aside from the asymmetry, with both sides racing pawns on opposite sides of the board, it is also an open Queen endgame, which for humans are the most difficult to play. Technically, White is also two pawns down, but in endgames such as this material does not count as much as initiative and piece activity.

click for larger view

How should White proceed?

(1) First he forces back Black's centralized Knight, thus reducing Black's piece activity.

55. b7 Nd7 56. Nc5 Nb8

click for larger view

(2) White centralizes his pieces, thus increasing his piece activity with the aim of directly attacking the Black King; and picking up pawns in the process.

57. Qxc4 Kh8 58. Ne4 Kh7 59. Qd3

click for larger view

It was characteristic of Capablanca that all his moves often just seemed to precisely fit in. Noticed how centralized his two remaining pieces are, and that they 'coincidentally' defend all the squares from which the Black Queen can check him.

(3) A direct attack on the Black King with the final sting being to exchange off Black's Queen and Queen his advanced pawn.

click for larger view

In these types of endings, (in this particular case an asymmetric and open Queen ending) material and pawn weaknesses are not as important as dynamic piece activity and the initiative and the attack. In other words, Capablanca would play these endgames as though they were middlegames.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Boomie: Capa thought that 13. Be2 was bad. He said the bishop belongs on g2 here. But since this was his first tournament in Europe, he was reluctant to play a move like g3, which he thought would be criticized.

Funny considering he was rated 4th in the world according to Chessmetrics. Of course, this rating was based almost solely on his match with his rabbi and sponsor, Frank Marshall.

Jun-09-12  thejack: 17.Nc6 fails to 17.-Rc6: 18.bc6: d4 19.Nd5 Bd5: 20.Bd5: Nc5! 21.Qa2 Nd5: (22.Qd5: Bh2:+)
Jan-04-13  chrisfalter: tarswelder provides an excellent, detailed analysis of the game on YouTube here: . However, you must understand French if you wish to benefit from the video.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <chrisfalter> Such a teaser.

Great game, very historical. The comments, especially on page 1, detail some of the significance of this important game.

Feb-14-13  SirChrislov: This could have been Jano's greatest game and the finest-ever defeat of JRC. Only in the post-mortem did Amos Burn point out that 53...Qh1+ 54.Ka2 Nxe5 would win elementarily (I'll let the kibitzers figure out the sequence). The move played (<53...Qe1+??>) is a blunder which throws away the win-and the bid for immortality.

<vonKrolock: Capa reportedly admitted - i have not the original source of the quote - that he was "overplayed" in this game "for the first time" in his life... But he won - Janowski's mistakes, therefore, appears as something quite natural and comprehensive - moreover in this side of the Atlantic: Capablanca, as strong as Morphy was, would start his european campaigns at least as flamboyantly as Pillsbury started - whith a great Tournament victory: So, Jano's claudications - his instability was notorious - were simply necessary...>

After 20.Na4, Capa noted that he saw the possible combination on the horizon but felt this was the only way to avoid being crushed positionally. He also said this was the first time in his life he felt that an opponent had completely outplayed him.

Feb-14-13  SirChrislov: 23.Bb2 <Not 23.Nxb6? Qc7 but perhaps 23.f3 or 23.Nxg6 was better, as Capa felt.> 28.Kg1! <Exact play: 28.Kh1?? would be punished by 28...Bh3! 29.Bf1 Nf2+ 30.Kg1 Ng4 and wins.> 39.Qd2! <Capa considered this "the only move" in a difficult position.> 48.Qc2 <Capa felt 48.Ka2 would draw but others, including Em. Lasker, thought 48...Qf5! would pose serious problems for him.> 54...Nxe5? <This costs Janowski the game. He could have drawn by perpetual with 54...Nc1+> 58...Kh7? <Much better defense is offered by 58...Qe3 or 58...Qh4.> (Soltis).

Janowski's disappointment must have been agonizing when he saw the missed 53...Qh1+!!. In the next 10 encounters between these two men, Capa was winner in 8 occasions. A crush.

Feb-14-13  JimNorCal: Ed Lasker has a long description and deep notes for this game. He states that the game affected 3 careers. It immediately thrust Capa forward as a candidate. This put a roadblock in Rubenstein's way. I forget the 3rd... But probably Janowski got knocked back. A tough one to lose.
Feb-15-13  JimNorCal: The full Ed Lasker quote is on pg 1
Feb-27-13  SirChrislov: <Ghengis Pawn II: 53. BxP Q-K8 ch??

A mistake which affected the destinies of three great chess masters. It was a tragedy in Janowski's life that he did not bring this brilliant game to a fitting conclusion with Q-R8 ch, followed by N x B and Q-N7. Capablanca won the tournament as a result of this game. Thus he became the favorite contender for the world championship overnight, and he brought Cuba into the news thoughout Europe in such a flattering manner that the Cuban Government gave him employment in its diplomatic service, thereby relieving him of making a living for the rest of his life. Rubinstein, on the other hand, who had been considered the logical heir to Lasker's throne, was pushed into the background because of Janowski's defeat, despite the fact that he had won his individual game against Capablanca in classic style.

Chess Secrets I Learned From the Masters, Edward Lasker>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Garech: Fantastic game.


Aug-29-13  Dragi: Great game ...and indeed after 53.Qh1+ game is over because : 54.Ka2 Nxe5 55.Qe2 (probably only correct move for white ) than black answers with 55.Qg2 ,56.Nc3 Qxe2+ ,57.Nxe2 Nd7 and black wins because of passing pawn on h sguare and weak white knight wich is stuck to prevent his promotion ...

Easy to see , hard to achieve this position ..

Pity for Janowski , he deserved at least a draw in his winninig game ...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Ulhumbrus: Following the move 13...Be6 if White combines the pawn advance e4 with the capture Nxe6 this fractures Black's pawns, as in the game Capablanca vs Znosko-Borovsky, 1938
Dec-04-15  thejack: I would be curious to know what Kasparov had to say about 10.-b6. Does anyone own his MGP on Capablanca?

I donīt like this move at all [it creates a glaring hole on c6], but neither Capablanca himself nor Lakdawala in his new book criticize it!?

Premium Chessgames Member
  sleepyirv: <Good Knight and Good Luck>

Perhaps the most amazing "comeback" in Chess history. You can't blame Janowski for playing for a win because he HAD a win. But the point of repeating moves is to save time on the clock. Does anyone know the time pressure Janowski faced in this game?

Dec-05-15  dannygjk: Ironically 58...Kh7 may be a losing move.
May-15-16  Albion 1959: With hindsight and the use of powerful and far-reaching search engines we can pin point with a fair degree of accuracy the subtleties and errors of this game. I first came across this game in Capablanca's Best Chess Endings by Irving Chernev (Game 7 page 23). An author I rate, though I have to be a touch critical because while he lavishes exclamation marks for good moves and brilliant play, he never seems to give moves question marks when they are bad moves! For example - 52. b6 should be a ? Qxc4+ was the correct move for Capa: 58. Ne4 Kh7 (deserves a ?)
Rybka gives Qe3 (prevents Qd3)and black hangs on:
59. Qd3 g6? (another ?)
Better was
59. Qd3 g5!
60. Nxg5+ Kh6
61. Nxh3 Qe6+
With a barrage of checks, where black should not lose:
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <dannygjk: Ironically 58...Kh7 may be a losing move.>

I can't see the irony.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <offramp> <dannygjk: Ironically 58...Kh7 may be a losing move.>

<<I can't see the irony.>>

That... is the ironic part.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: "I could not play either 17.♘xd5 or 17.♘c6, as close analysis will show. I would have lost a piece in either case." - Capablanca

Kasparov, or his stand-ins, decided to have fun with this quote by not giving it verbatim, but by paraphrasing it and making the tone even more imperious.

"As is easily verified, 17 Nxd5? and 17 Nc6? both lose material." OMGP V 1 page 236

It has to be a joke, as why else not use the original quote. Capablanca does not say it is easily verified, only that it is based on close analysis.

Their joke backfires because a little checking even with engines of their day would reveal 17 Nc6 as close to winning. if 17...Rxc6 18 bxc6 Ne5 19 Qa4 Nxf3+ 20 gxf3 Nd7!? 21 f4 (taking 21 cxd7 allows perpetual with 21...Qg5+ 22 Kh1 Qh4) and White gradually consolidates .84/33 Stockfish 030916

The other variation, the one both players probably intended 17 Nc6 d4, it is fairly certain Garry did not check, as it is right in his wheelhouse even without a computer.

18 Qd1! Rxc6 19 bxc6 dxc3 20 Qxd6 cxb2 21 Rad1! and it is clear Black is out of steam even queening the b pawn. Stockfish gives it + 1.51/31

click for larger view

Can we have a correction Garry?

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Have to wonder what mood Capa was in when he made these notes. Take this suggestion after his 23 Bb2

"I had already seen what was coming, but I also felt that my only chance was to weather the storm. Perhaps 23 f3 or 23 Nxe6 followed by 24 f3 would have held the game, but at any rate, Black had an advantage."

But 23 f3 Ng4! wins out of hand

The variations are worth playing over as Black just sweeps aside all defense. 24 g3 Bxg3 25 Nf5 Qc7 26 Nxg3 Nxg3 27 Bd1 Ne2+ 28 Kf1 Nc1 29 Qb2 Nxe3+ 30 Kg1 Nd1 Ouch! Not just unplayable but mate in 15 from here.

click for larger view

23 Nxe6 fxe6 24 f3 Ng4! is hopeless also as the pieces pour in on White's King.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Does anyone have "My Chess Career by Capablanca?

The suggestion of 23 f3 attributed to Capa in OMGP loses so badly that I wonder if the original said 23 g3, which looks like it holds.

Mar-17-17  Olavi: The Dover edition of 1966 has it as quoted.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: thanks for that, Olavi. I just found an online copy and it does say f3 in descriptive notation there as well.

This is the game where Capa claimed that after move 23 he played perfectly to the end, which Bobby Fischer mentioned in one of his radio interviews as obviously wrong.

Just a carelessly annotated game from Capa, who was obviously relieved that Janowski did not finish him off.

Oct-08-17  bkpov: Maintaining dominance over your peers for years is very difficult. Being a world champion is comparatively easy, most of the time through chicanery. In the past century there were three greats; Capablanca, Karpov and Kasparov who were head and shoulder above their peers. I rank capablanca first.
Jump to page #    (enter # from 1 to 3)
search thread:   
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
NOTE: You need to pick a username and password to post a reply. Getting your account takes less than a minute, totally anonymous, and 100% free--plus, it entitles you to features otherwise unavailable. Pick your username now and join the chessgames community!
If you already have an account, you should login now.
Please observe our posting guidelines:
  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, or duplicating posts.
  3. No personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No posting personal information of members.
Blow the Whistle See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform an administrator.

NOTE: Keep all discussion on the topic of this page. This forum is for this specific game and nothing else. If you want to discuss chess in general, or this site, you might try the Kibitzer's Café.
Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
Spot an error? Please submit a correction slip and help us eliminate database mistakes!
This game is type: CLASSICAL (Disagree? Please submit a correction slip.)

Featured in the Following Game Collections [what is this?]
Game 77
from On My Great Predecessors 1 (Kasparov) by Qindarka
by Zorilla
60# San Sebastian Tournament. Round 5 (2/27/1911)
from Capablancaīs Official Games (1901-1939) Part I by capablancakarpov
Game 8: Chess Masters on Winning Chess by Fred Reinfeld
from yPublished Games by Year and Unconfirmed Source by fredthebear
Game 8: Chess Masters on Winning Chess by Fred Reinfeld
from Zukertort/Rubinstein Powered Fredthebear by fredthebear
Game 14
from Move by Move - Capablanca (Lakdawala) by Qindarka
My Great Predecessors by Garry Kasparov
by JoseTigranTalFischer
Jose Raul Capablanca's Best Games
by KingG
from colle & related systems by gmlisowitz
101? Honorable mention (Near miss No. 5, c notes to 53...)
from 100 Best Chess Games of the 20th Century, RANKED by SirChrislov
12. "Problem-like series of forcing moves"
from Immortal Games of Capablanca, F. Reinfeld by mjk
Capablanca's Best Chess Endings
by refutor
My Great Predecessors by Garry Kasparov
by LionHeart40
Capa sneaks a win
from collection #2 by pixing
from Queen's pawn games by freeman8201
seadragon's favorite games
by seadragon
Round 5. Some guys have all the luck ...
from Capablanca Spanish Tournaments: S.Sebastian 1911 by meloncio
student 0440's favorite games
by student 0440
Game 77
from Garry Kasparov's On My Great Predecessors (1A) by demirchess

home | about | login | logout | F.A.Q. | your profile | preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | new kibitzing | chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | privacy notice | contact us
Copyright 2001-2018, Chessgames Services LLC