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Jose Raul Capablanca vs George Alan Thomas
"Draw a Blanca" (game of the day Sep-28-2007)
Karlsbad (1929), Karlsbad CZE, rd 2, Aug-01
Queen's Gambit Declined: Traditional Variation (D30)  ·  1/2-1/2
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-26-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <aragorn69> As noted by Edward Winter, Alfred Brinckmann in the 1929 Carlsbad tournament book, gave the following analysis:

47...b2 48.Rd1 Kb4 49.Rb1 Kc3 50.f4 Kc2 51.Rf1 b1(Q) 52.Rxb1 Kxb1 53.f5 Kc2 54.Kf4 Kd3 55.Ke5 Kxe3 56.f6 Kf2 57.f7 Rc8 58.g4 Kg3 59.Kf6 Kxh3 60.g5.

Or 51...Rb6 52.f5 b1(Q) 53.Rxb1 Rxb1 54.Kf4 Kd3 55.Ke5 Kxe3 56.f6 Rf1 57.g4 Kf3 58.Kf5 Kg3+ 59.Kg6 Kh4 60.f7 Kxh3 61.Kxh6 Rxf7 62.g5.

Brinckmann indicates that in both lines, the position will be a draw.

In the first variation, after 53.f5, Fritz 9 at (25 ply) evaluated the position as being completely equal (.00).

In the second variation, after 57.g4, Fritz 9 at (22 ply), evaluated the position as being completely equal (.00).

However, Seirawan's analysis contained some improvements for Black: 47...b2 48.Rd1 Kb4 49.Rb1 Kb3 50.f4 Rc1 51.Rxb2+ Kxb2 52.Kh4 Rc6 53.g4 Kc3 54.Kh5 Kd3 55.g5 hxg5 56.fxg5 Ke4. Black is clearly winning in this final position.

But there are also some improvements available for White.

In Seirawan's line, a small improvement for White is 56.Kxg5. However, after 56...Ke4 57.h4 Kd5 58.f5 Kd6, White is clearly lost, (-6.00) (27 ply) 59.h5 Ke7, or (-6.00) (28 ply) 59.Kf6 Rc2.

The main improvement, per Fritz 9, is at White's 52nd move. Here is Fritz's line: 47...b2 48.Rd1 Kb4 49.Rb1 Kb3 50.f4 Rc1 51.Rxb2+ Kxb2 52.Kg4 (-1.36) (24 ply) Kb3 53.Kf5 (-.75) (24 ply) Kc4 54. Kg6 (-.29) (26 ply) Kd5 55.Kxh6 (.00) (22 ply).

At move 52, Fritz's 2nd choice for Black was 52...Rc6 (-.01) (24 ply. After 52...Rc6 53.Kf5 Kc3 54.g4 (.00) (22 ply) 54...Kd3 55.e4 Rc8 56.g5 Rf8+ 57.Ke5 Ke3 58.g6 Rxf4 59.g7, the position is a draw.

In Fritz's main line, after 55.Kxh6 Re1 56.g4 Rxe3 57.h4 (.00) (22 ply), Fritz is showing a clear draw. Here are two variations that would finalize the draw: 57...Ke6 58.Kg6 Re4 59.h5 Rxf4 60.g5 Rf8 61.Kh7 Rf5 62.Kg6 Rf8, or 57...Rg3 58.g5 Ke4 59.g6 Rg4 60.Kg7 Rxh4 61. f5 Kxf5 62. Kf7 Rd4 63.g7 Rd7+ 64.Kg8.

After this analysis, I believe the position after move 47 is a draw. Perhaps with a deeper search, someone may find an improvement to overturn this evaluation.

It would have been very interesting to see if Capablanca could have found a drawing line if Thomas had decided to play for a win.

Dec-29-06  aragorn69: <Pawn and Two> Thx! Interesting analysis. Might be a draw after all... ;-) Cheers.
Sep-28-07  Alphastar: What is so special about this game?
Sep-28-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: Didn't spend that much time on it but all the lines I did look at eventually reached drawn positions. With black against Capa I'm sure that was enough for Thomas.
Sep-28-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I think a big point can be made on the complexity of the game of chess. Even with only 10 pieces,and nothing bigger than a pawn,how complex even a simple position like this could be.

We have some arguing how black can "salvage a draw" while others are saying that he had thrown away half of a won game.

Sep-28-07  paladin at large: <With black against Capa I'm sure that was enough for Thomas.> That's your answer in a nutshell.

This was not a dramatic game in terms of timing, the second game of a long tournament where Capa finished tied for second with 10+ 2- 9= and ahead of Rubinstein, Euwe and Bogo. Alekhine was a correspondent at the tournament and, as observed by Salo Flohr, avoided the presence of Capa. Alekhine no doubt added to the focus afterwards when he wrote: "Against Thomas he even drifted into a very tight corner; Thomas might have won." I suspect that if Alekhine had found a winning line for Thomas, he would have published it.

Sep-28-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: I would just rate this game as normal one because I don't find anything that is so special.
Sep-28-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: 47..Rb6 looks like a win for Black to me.
Sep-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <47..Rb6 looks like a win for Black to me.> 48.Rd1 b2 49.Rb1... Do you think Black has the time to dislodge (and win) the white rook and then return in time to stop all those White pawns?
Sep-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Richard Taylor: 47...Rb6 looks like a win for Black to me.>

Please provide your analysis showing a win for Black after 47...Rb6. Note Alfred Brinckmann's tournament book analysis (my post of 11/26/06), where he reviewed the move 51...Rb6, which may transpose with your suggestion of 47...Rb6. If you have an improvement in this line, I would be very interested in seeing it.

Sep-30-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: < Gypsy: <47..Rb6 looks like a win for Black to me.> 48.Rd1 b2 49.Rb1... Do you think Black has the time to dislodge (and win) the white rook and then return in time to stop all those White pawns?>

I played it over and over and kept finding a win for Black ... so I put it on my Chess Master which won against itself twice. But I am not a master or anything.

In any case Capablanca was in an inferior position and it was worth a try by Thomas - Capablanca played the whole game as if he was half asleep, or tired, ill, or uninterested - very dull chess by him - and I mean we all have such days - and Thomas was I believe pretty good player in those days.

But these endings as are extraordinarily difficult to evaluate OTB - in way that is how we should view it. I mean as if one was playing OTB - not according to long analysis - of course the analysis is interesting.

Capablanca's King is not well placed to win and his pawns come under fire by hetblack rook and King

Sep-30-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: < Pawn and Two: <Richard Taylor: 47...Rb6 looks like a win for Black to me.>

Please provide your analysis showing a win for Black after 47...Rb6. Note Alfred Brinckmann's tournament book analysis (my post of 11/26/06), where he reviewed the move 51...Rb6, which may transpose with your suggestion of 47...Rb6. If you have an improvement in this line, I would be very interested in seeing it.>

I'll study this later - I didn't see the idea of bringing the Black King down maybe it is a draw. These endings are are very difficult to judge -ultimately it boils down to judgement.

But Thomas was in no danger of losing so should have given it a go with 47 Rb6

But see my comment above.

Oct-01-07  eaglewing: <Pawn and Two>: Nicely summarized.

I seem to have something promising for Black following Seirawan's analysis 47...b2 48.Rd1 Kb4 49.Rb1 Kb3 50.f4. It is:

50. f4 Ka2 51.Rf1 Rc1 52.Rf2 Rg1

Note: 52.Rf2 Ka1 (or a3) 53.Rxb2+ Kxb2 only leads back to the line by Seirawan (and your improved Kg4, <Pawn and Two>). With Ka2/Rc1 the Ka1/Rxb2/Kxb2 maneuvre can be delayed and the rook can be repositioned on the first row.

First, I tried Re1, but this seems to lead after f5 to the Fritz-main line by <Pawn and Two>, same positions like after <55.Kxh6 Re1 56.g4 Rxe3 57.h4 (.00) (22 ply)> or to 52.Rf2 Re1 53. f5 Rxe3+ Kf4 with the problem for Black how to place the rook. It seems to be even "advantage White".

With 52.Rf2 Rg1 White seems to be in danger, however I played it only against my old Fritz 7 (got it for one Euro) and analyzed loosely with him. Fritz tried 53. e4 and I won it against him in Blitz game settings, so far from being well analyzed, maybe it is just a variant or even a bad idea. I looked at other options and 53. f5 Ka1 54.Rxb2+ Kxb2 does not yet allow f6. 53. forward King-Moves h4/g4 have disadvantages, too, because the g-pawn has to be moved immediately, after ...Kxb2 or it is lost. Comments?

Oct-01-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Richard Taylor> I agree that Thomas should have tried to win this game. Black has the advantage and can play for a win with very little risk. The legitimate result may be a draw, but White has to walk the tightrope.

It is interesting to read Thomas's comments about this game. In the book, "Delights of Chess", by Assiac (Heinich Fraenkel), he noted that Thomas had added to the end of the score the following comment: <Draw agreed. A case of funk. Black should win the ending.>

Thomas certainly could produce some fine games, including wins over Botvinnik, Capablanca, Tartakower and Flohr. However, he had some draws against top players where he had a winning position, but could not score the full point.

Consider the games, Alekhine vs G A Thomas, 1926 and Flohr vs G A Thomas, 1933. In both of these games, Thomas had a winning position. Regarding the Alekhine game, Thomas commented; <Interesting game. Black missed a forced win in the endgame, but White should have won earlier.> On his missed win with Flohr, Thomas commented; <Draw agreed, but Black can win by Rg8+.>

If you provide additional analysis with the move 47...Rb6, please indicate the differences in your suggested line and Brinckmann's 2nd variation.

In reviewing the position after 47...Rb6, Fritz found another drawing line. After the moves 47...Rb6 48.Rd1 b2 49.Rb1 Kc4 50.Kh4 Kd3 51.g4 Kc2 52.Rf1 b1(Q) 53.Rxb1 Rxb1 (if 53...Kxb1 .00 17 ply) 54.Kh5 (.00) (18 ply).

Oct-01-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <eaglewing> Your line is an interesting suggestion. This is certainly not a simple ending.

Your suggested line is: 47...b2 48.Rd1 Kb4 49.Rb1 Kb3 50.f4 Ka2 51.Rf1 Rc1 52.Rf2 Rg1.

Fritz now determined that White's best move is 53.Kh4!, with an evaluation of (.00) (20 ply). If 53.Ka3, then 54.Rxb2 Kxb2 55.g4, with an equal game.

Oct-02-07  eaglewing: <Pawn and Two>: I see, with 53. Kh4 it could be compared to the Seirawan line with the difference of the rooks (Rc6 Seirawan, Rg1 my) but it is weaker than it, because the pawn h6 is not defended. It remains to check if my line could be improved by 52. Rf2 Rh1. The idea: After g4+Kh5 Rxh3 is possible and after Pawns g2/h3 and Kh5 the move Rh2 gets a pawn immediately. And if Kf4 is played, the move g4 is answered immediately by Rxh3 as long as he does not need to got to f1/e1.
Oct-02-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <eaglewing> It is interesting that almost all of the discussion regarding this game has been about what might have happened had the game continued with a different move by Black at move 47. I wonder if we would have found this game to be so interesting had Capablanca and Thomas played this game to a clear conclusion.

Your latest suggested line is: 47...b2 48.Rd1 Kb4 49.Rb1 Kb3 50.f4 Ka2 51.Rf1 Rc1 52.Rf2 Rh1.

A review by Fritz shows the following: (.00) (20 ply) 52..Rh1 53.f5 Kb3 54.Rxb2+ Kxb2 55.Kh4 Rh2 56.Kh5 Rxg2 57.Kxh6 Rh2 58.f6 Rxh3+ 59.Kg7 and the position is a draw.

Fritz also shows that 52...Rh1 53.Kh4 Ka3 54.Rxb2 Kxb2 55.Kh5 is equal.

Oct-04-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <Pawn and Two: <Richard Taylor> I agree that Thomas should have tried to win this game. Black has the advantage and can play for a win with very little risk. The legitimate result may be a draw, but White has to walk the tightrope.

It is interesting to read Thomas's comments about this game. In the book, "Delights of Chess", by Assiac (Heinich Fraenkel), he noted that Thomas had added to the end of the score the following comment: <Draw agreed. A case of funk. Black should win the ending.>

Thomas certainly could produce some fine games, including wins over Botvinnik, Capablanca, Tartakower and Flohr. However, he had some draws against top players where he had a winning position, but could not score the full point.>

Thanks for this (and the links to the games) - I analysed it some more and decided Black could win but it wasn't that easy.

I only really guessed (o.k. I did some analysis) it might be a win for Black ...this kind of ending - many in fact require judgement and sometimes it is best to take a draw. The Bard would have said Thomas had decided that "Discretion was the better part of valour"! Funk - no - I have taken draws when I was fairly sure I might be winning - from fatigue or caution - in a tournament it is often a good policy.

My suspicion is that Capa wasn't too sure he had draw though!

Oct-04-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Richard Taylor> I agree that Capa was probably not too sure about his drawing chances. As the position favors Black, a draw should be a good result for White. Also, as this was only the 2nd round of a 21 round tournament, this was no logical reason why he should not have been satisfied with a draw.

Based on Thomas's comment on the score sheet, it appears he later thought that Black should have been able to win. Unfortunately, he did not provide any analysis.

A. Brinckmann and Y. Seirawan have provided analysis of this ending (see my post of 11/26/06). My review of their analysis indicates their suggestions all end in drawn positions.

My other analysis, some of which is posted here, have all started with advantage for Black, with many variations winning for Black, but when the search went deeper, down a very narrow path, all eventually ended up in clearly drawn positions.

If you have any new analysis or suggested lines that could indicate a win, I would be interested in reviewing them.

I did review your suggestion of 47...Rb6, and that also ended in a drawn position (see my post of 10/01/07).

Oct-06-07  paladin at large: Thanks for the many interesting posts. The following improvement was offered on Seirawan's analysis: <The main improvement, per Fritz 9, is at White's 52nd move. Here is Fritz's line: 47...b2 48.Rd1 Kb4 49.Rb1 Kb3 50.f4 Rc1 51.Rxb2+ Kxb2 52.Kg4 (-1.36) (24 ply) Kb3 53.Kf5 (-.75) (24 ply) Kc4 54. Kg6 (-.29) (26 ply) Kd5 55.Kxh6 (.00) (22 ply).> Good - It is more important for the shepherd to take a central position to the flock (52. Kg4) than to immediately go after the black pawn at h6 (with 52. Kh4). Every white pawn is now free to move, too.

It would seem that white needs a pair of advanced connected pawns to ensure at least a draw in the above. The e and f pawns are the best candidates. Could 53. e4 followed soon by e5 be an improvement over going after the black pawn on h6? Is Fritz overrating the importance of material in the line above?

Appreciate comment.

Oct-08-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <paladin at large> 53.e4, in the indicated Fritz variation, is not adequate. Black can reply 53...Rg1, and after 54.f5 Rxg2+ 55.Kh5 Kc4 56.Kxh6 Kc5, (not 56...Kd4 57.f6 Rg8 58.f7, which is equal), 57.e5 Kd5 58.e6 Kd6, and Black wins.
Nov-03-08  Karpova: There's a discussion between Yasser Seirawan and Monokroussos in C.N. 5820 regarding the position after 47.Rd7 [see diagram]


click for larger view

Source: http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

May-04-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Karpova> Thanks for the update. In C.N. 5820 Monokroussos and Seirawan agree that White can obtain a draw after 47.Rd7 b2 48.Rd1 Kb4 49.Rb1 Kb3 50.f4 Rc1 51.Rxb2+ Kxb2, with the move 52.Kg4!


click for larger view

Earlier analysis of 52.Kg4!, with a conclusion of a draw for White, was done on this game page. See my posting of 11/26/06 and various subsequent postings by several other members.

Jun-19-16  edubueno: Capa played in a poor way. 20 Tfc1 would ensure a continuous advantage.
Sep-29-16  Straclonoor: Here is the line from Stockfish
Analysis by Stockfish 180916 64 POPCNT: (-7.52): 42...b3 43.Rb7 Kc4 44.Rc7+ Kb4 45.Rb7+ Kc3 46.Rc7+ Kb2 47.e4 Ra5 48.Rxg7 Kc3 49.Rc7+ Kd3 50.Rd7+ Kc4 51.Rd1 b2 52.Rb1 Kc3 53.Kf4 Ra1 54.Rxb2 Kxb2 55.Ke5 Kc3 56.f4 Kd3 57.f5 Ra5+ 58.Ke6 Kxe4 59.f6 Ra6+ 60.Ke7 Kf5 61.f7 Ra7+ 62.Ke8 Ke6 63.f8N+ Kf6 64.Nd7+ Kg5 65.Ke7 Ra2 66.g3 Ra3 67.h4+ Kg4 68.Nf6+ Kxg3 69.h5 Kf4 70.Kf8 Ra7 71.Ke8 Kg5 72.Ne4+ Kxh5 73.Kf8 Kg4 74.Nf2+ Kg5 75.Ne4+ Kf4 76.Nf6 Kf5 77.Nd5 Kg5 78.Nc3 h5 79.Nb5 Ra8+ 80.Kg7 Kg4 81.Kg6 Kh3 82.Nc7 Ra5 83.Ne8 h4 84.Kf6 Kg4 85.Ke6
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