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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Emanuel Lasker
Moscow (1925), Moscow URS, rd 1, Nov-10
Semi-Slav Defense: Semi-Meran Variation (D47)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-22-08  Lutwidge: Kinda sucks that Capablanca and Lasker met in the first round of this great tournament.
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  AnalyzeThis: Capa was often a slow starter in tournaments, and figured that he should get on the board early. Certainly Lasker could be satisfied with getting a draw with black.
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  whiteshark: Here's a game-related picture, possibly taken during the post-mortem:
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  Calli: <WS> see
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  Penguincw: Not much action in this game.
Mar-04-12  RookFile: The play after 7... c5 is a transposition into Queen's Gambit Accepted.
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  tamar: First round or not, Capablanca should have tried 26 Rc1+. It seems to win a pawn by force!

After 26...Kb6 (26...Kb8 27 Bd6+ with the idea of 28Rc7 and 29 Rxb7+ is obviously bad) 27 f4 Re8 28 Rc4!

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Now the only way to prevent Rb4+ winning the b pawn is to advance the a pawn, but that allows the following sequence

28...a5 29 Bd6 Be7 30 Bc7+ Ka6 31 Bd3 b5 32 Rc6+ Kb7 33 Rc2 Rc8 34 Be4+ Ka7 35 Bxa5 Rxc2 36 Bxc2 b4 +.87/29 Houdini 3x64

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The position is not yet a win for White because the bishop on a5 is stranded for the present. But White can save it with 37 Bd3 and has chances for a win.

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  RandomVisitor: After 11...Ke8

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Rybka 4.1 x64:

[+0.62] d=29 12.b4 Nce4 13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.Bb2 Bxb4 15.Rd4 f5 16.Bd3 Be7 17.Bxe4 fxe4 18.Rxe4 b5 19.Rc1 Bd7 20.Bxg7 Rg8 21.Bd4 Rc8 22.Rxc8+ Bxc8 23.Kf1 Rg6 24.Rf4 a5 25.e4 b4 26.Ne5 Rg5 27.Nc6

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  RandomVisitor: After 14...Rd8

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Rybka 4.1 x64:

[+1.44] d=25 <15.Ne5> Rf8 16.b4 Nce4 17.Nxe4 Nxe4 18.Nxd7 Rxd7 19.Rxd7 Kxd7 20.Rd1+ Kc8 21.Bxg7 Rd8 22.Rc1+ Kb8 23.Be5+ Bd6 24.Ba1 Be7 25.Bf3 Nd2 26.Bh5 f6 27.Bd4 b5 28.Rc6 e5 29.Bc3 Ne4 30.Be1

Sep-04-13  JimNorCal: <WhiteShark><Calli> thanks for the links!
Sep-04-13  paladin at large: <tamar> Thanks for your interesting suggestion. Capa had a heavy schedule of simuls packed in and around this tournament, including arduous travel, as I recall. (He lost to the 14 year old Botvinnik, among others.) Also, he may have been burning the candle at both ends with after hours carousing, as he often did as a young man (see Havana 1913, earlier monster simuls in the USA). He also appeared in the film "Chess Fever" during this time. I wouldn't be surprised if Capa was physically subpar for much of this tournament. Anyway, after drawing with Lasker, he drew the next day with Romanowsky and drew the day after that with the white pieces against Grünfeld.
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  tamar: <paladin at large> It does appear that Capablanca was treating the tournament lightly, more as an exhibition from the evidence of his early games, before he realized he could actually fail.

Lasker, too, does not seem sharp in this game, and dodged a couple of bullets. The placid surface of the game does not indicate how close White was to dominating, both early as RandomVisitor has shown, and as late as move 26

There definitely seems to be contention going on between Capa and Lasker in the postmortem, if that photo indeed was taken then. One of the great images in chess history.

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