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Paul Keres vs Jose Raul Capablanca
AVRO (1938), The Netherlands, rd 6, Nov-14
French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Open System Main Line (C09)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-29-05  gambitfan: great game !
Jul-29-05  GoldenKnight: Hmm, I find it interesting that all three players named herein who have a plus score against Capablanca only have the plus score by one game. And none of them are his name contemporaries (Sultan Khan may have been a contemporary, but I don't think I would call him a "name" contemporary -- Capablanca himself called him a genius, but his career was too short-lived, and he had a sizeable minus score against Alekhine, three losses and a draw).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: With mutiple games between them, only Keres had a + (2:1) score against Capa.

Botvinnik, Eliskases, Fine, Lilienthal, Reshevsky, Rubinstein, Samisch, and Spielmann managed lifetime draws.

Sultan Khan won their only encounter. (And maybe someone else?)

Rubinstein won in 1911, lost in 1928. Spielmann, who only with Rubinstein of these was of the same or earlier generaration as Capablanca, won two games in 1928 and 1929. Fritz Samisch won after Capa blundered (for possibly a private, marital-shock reason) in 1929. Rest of the loses against this group start about 1933 and their frequency increases after 1936.

The results are partly a testimonial to the strenght of the new generation (Keres, Botvinnik, Eliskases, Reshevsky, and Fine). But it also looks that Capablanca became latently infirm and aged rather quickly, at least from mid 1930's on. He may have started to loose his energy alredy sometime in the mid-to-late 1920's.

Tarrasch and Flohr came close to lifetime tying w. Capa. Tarrasch lost in 1928, when he was already quite frail, and Flohr in 1938, when he was a nerve wreck (because of the Nazi asault on Czechoslovakia).

Alekhine won 7 games from Capablanca; Marshall 4; Lasker, Spielmann and Keres 2; and that seems to be it for the multiple wins. (I do not seem to find anyone alse with multiple wins against him since Capa became a master.)

Jul-29-05  GoldenKnight: Yes, with Botvinnik, Gypsy's conclusion is correct counting only tournament games and not counting the simultaneous game when Botvinnik was just a boy.
Jul-29-05  samvega: Does 26.Rxf4 also work?

This is a favourite game. White's play has a beautiful flow to it throughout the game. Good illustration of the theme of attacking on alternate sides of the board.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <Does 26.Rxf4 also work?> Yes

25...Rb4?? A blunder by Capa. 25...Bxg5 looks okay

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <tud> I got a laugh re your remark about Botvinnik and his putting down other great players; back in 1985 or so, he was interviewed in New in Chess and admitted that Smyslov was the best player in the world in the mid-1950s. I almost fell off my chair when I read that!

Capablanca did have a mild stroke near the half-way point of AVRO, scoring 1.5/6 (-3 =3) thereafter.

Sep-21-05  ughaibu: Perfidious: what's the point in repeating that nonsense about the stroke?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <ughaibu> if you had the knowledge you claim, you'd realise it isn't nonsense.....on the other hand, maybe you wouldn't, since you know everything..........
Sep-22-05  ughaibu: Try the medical opinion here Jose Raul Capablanca
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: 9.Re1 Be7 10.Nb3 is another possibility, as Black's lack of development will cause him some trouble.

I believe Capablanca's judgment was correct, as it nearly always was; it's just that the line 6....Qe7+ isn't anything to write home about. Note how few games were played in this line until very recently.

May-06-06  Ulhumbrus: 15...dxc4?? is completely anti-positional, leaving Black with a broken Queen side. Capablanca has described himself the effects of his blood pressure at the time : he was playing in a red haze at times. Keres of course played superbly.
Jul-09-06  ismetov: old Capa lost, younger win easily (Capa died 4 years after this game!!!)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <tud> <...and gets gold medal at Buenos Aires ahead of Keres, Alekhine, Najdorf, Eliskases etc. And Alekhine once again avoids playing him.>

<Calli> <I don't know the whole story of 1939. Why didn't Capa and Alekhine play?>

<tud> <Alekhine was the team captain of the French team. It's from what I heard, not read that Capablanca had to play someone else (Vassaux or Tartakover)when France met Cuba. It's not a surprise, you know, looking back to Alekhine's strategy.>

I have heard the same story many times too and it always convinces me again and again that some myths are very persistent if not immortal despite their evident factual falsity. The facts here clearly indicate the opposite that Capa avoided to play with Alekhine. When Cuba met France, Capa absented and Alekhine played on the first board against Alberto Lopez Arce. See Alekhine vs A A Lopez, 1939 and

Jun-01-07  jmrulez2004: Capablanca was such a wonderful player that it took an endgame to beat him, many players after keres wonderful moves would have lost in midgame.
Apr-18-08  Ulhumbrus: On 14 c4 Black cannot reply with 14...d4 and so it may seem that Black's centre has become a target instead of a weapon. However instead of 15...dxc4 which leaves Black with a shattered Queen side, 15...c5! changes things. It threatens ...d4 and on 15...c5 16 cxd5 Nxd5 threatens ...Nf4. So why did Capablanca not play it? The answer is that he was suffering from blood pressure and was playing in a haze, if not in a daze : Anything could have failed to occur to him. Had Capablanca been in better health, the public would have gained a completely different impression of his strength, such as that which he displayed at the Buenos Aires Olympiad in 1939.
Aug-02-09  birthtimes: This game provides a wonderful example of Nimzowitsch's concept of overprotection. By move 17, the d4 square is contacted by White's bishop, knight, and queen. On move 20, Keres moves his f1 rook to d1, further "overprotecting" the d4 square.

On the next move, Keres moves his knight onto the d4 square, and from that point onwards, as Nimzowitsch states, "the reward came in the form of a large radius of activity for the pieces engaged on that service [of overprotecting a strategically important point]."

That is, the knight radiated out from d4 to e6, g5, and f7; the queen to g4; the bishop to g7; and the d1 rook to d7 followed by e7.

Thus, "everything that we can include in the conception of strategically important points, should be overprotected. If the pieces are so engaged, they get their reward in the fact that they will then find themselves well posted [for further beneficial action] in every respect."

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Capablanca played the French all 3 games he faced 1 e4 in this tournament with only one draw to show for it. 6..Qe7+ was first played in Panov-Bondarevsky 1937 USSR Championship; it seems dubious as White obtains a large lead in development. 9..Bd6?! led to a further loss of time; 9..Nf6 followed by ..Be7 seems more logical. 15..dxc was almost forced due to the threats of c5 and Ng5. Capablanca may have been counting on playing 21..Rd5 only to realize that after 22 Nxc6!..Rxd1+ 23 Rxd1..Qxc6 24 Rxd6! White wins a pawn. Kasparov showed extensive analysis of 25..Re7 with Black having decent drawing chances. Capablanca's last chance to stay in the game would have been 27..Bxg3. Instead, he lost a second pawn and had no chance to save the game.
Sep-13-11  Kasparovsky5: Instead of: 28.Rxf4 Keres could have won prettily as follows: 28.Rd7!!,Bb8. 29.Bxg7!!,Rh5 (Kxg7. 30.Nd6+ wins the queen). 30.R4-d4,Rd5 (Practically forced). 31.Nh6 mate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Kasparovsky5> - <28. Rd7> is better met by <28...Rd5>, for instance, 29. Rd4 Qxd7 30. Qxd7 Rxd7 31. Rxd7. I believe that Keres' actual move is still the best continuation.
Sep-16-11  Kasparovsky5: < Chessical> After 28. ...,Rd5 Keres has 29.Re7!!,Bxg3. 30.Nh6+!!,gxh6. 31.Rg7+,Kf8. 32.Qxg3,Qf5. 33.Rxh7 with an extra pawn and a dominating position as 33. ...,Qb1+?? loses as follows: 34.Kh2,Qxb2. 35.Qf3+,Kg8. 36.Qf7 mate!!
Feb-22-14  Everett: <Kasparovsky5: < Chessical> After 28. ...,Rd5 Keres has 29.Re7!!,Bxg3. 30.Nh6+!!,gxh6. 31.Rg7+,Kf8. 32.Qxg3,Qf5. 33.Rxh7 with an extra pawn and a dominating position as 33. ...,Qb1+?? loses as follows: 34.Kh2,Qxb2. 35.Qf3+,Kg8. 36.Qf7 mate!!>

Can't <30.Nh6+> simply be taken by ...Bxh6? Remember Black still has a Bf4, since your suggestion eschews its capture on move 28.

Even if Keres saw such tactical possibilities (and be likely saw many options) he chose the most solid and easily winning. Nothing to quibble about...

Feb-22-14  Everett: Oh, I see... Well Keres' move is still best, but I see you have Capa playing 29.. Bxg3. In either case, Keres is still crushing his opponent.
Nov-06-18  laskereshevsky: From what i know the only other game Capablanca was in the position after 6...♕e7+ was in this 1929 simul game Capablanca vs D E McNab, 1929 .... just in the white camp (!) ... He played 7. ♕e2 and lost... May be he hope Keres did the same choice? ... of course 7 ♗e2 is much better
Jan-02-19  machuelo: "Gypsi" is wrong. Keres just beat Capa once, in AVRO 1938.
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