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Akiba Rubinstein vs Jose Raul Capablanca
St. Petersburg (1914), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 3, Apr-24
Queen's Gambit Declined: Orthodox Defense. Main Line (D63)  ·  1/2-1/2
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-29-04  Whitehat1963: Who is this Gazza?
Jan-29-04  AdrianP: <Who is this Gazza?> I don't know whether or not it was deliberate but you are echoing the words of an illustrious member of the English judiciary. The Gazza in question was Paul Gascoigne, the footballer... the Gazza in question here is Garry "Gazza" Kasparov...
Jan-29-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Capablanca mentions his ill health in a couple of places. The most prominent being his story in "My Chess Career". A few days before the start, Bernstein asked him who would win the tourney among Lasker, Capablanca and Rubinstein. Capa picked Rubinstein because Lasker had not played recently and he, Capablanca, was in poor health. He also wrote of the illness in Capablanca magazine.

In neither case, does he elaborate on the nature of the illness.

Jan-30-04  ughaibu: AdrianP: See this game Gipslis vs Smyslov, 1967 for a similar story.
Sep-28-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Has anyone commented on 20. ♕b3 as a possible improvement, with the idea of keeping the queenside pawns together to better slow down Black's queenside advance? If then 20...♖c4 21. a3 , with the idea of continuing with 22. ♗e2 and then playing to consolidate and restrain the queenside counterplay.
Jun-30-05  aw1988: Capablanca also mentioned he in his poor health would be happy if he got 2nd. Of course, the winner of the tournament happened to be the "inactive" Lasker.
Feb-17-06  Rohan: Kasparov mentions this game in his book Learn Chess with Garry Kasparov his analysis focuses on the end game starting after move 27 when he says that it seems that white has a tremendous advantage having an extra pawn and well positioned queen then by move 33 states whites formidable kingside superiority is balanced by blacks apparantly modest but extremely powerful a pawn .His final comment is that "Capablanca defended his inferior position with astonishing ease ,testifying to his virtuosity. ... Appreciate defence .Learn to defend-a good sheild can withstand the blow of any sword.
Sep-29-07  capablancakarpov: Capa´s 27.b4! saved the day, giving him the decisive A pass pawn.
Oct-06-07  notyetagm: <Rohan: ... His final comment is that "Capablanca defended his inferior position with astonishing ease ,testifying to his virtuosity. ... Appreciate defence .Learn to defend-a good sheild can withstand the blow of any sword.>

Great quote by Kasparov about this magnificent defensive effort by Capablanca.

Oct-06-07  notyetagm: <capablancakarpov: Capa´s 27.b4! saved the day, giving him the decisive A pass pawn.>

Yes, a brilliant save by Capablanca.

Endgame genius Rubinstein must have been in shock after the game that he failed to convert his rather large advantage into a win. He was probably counting on getting the whole point from somewhere around the middlegame.

Dec-10-07  Karpova: L. Van Vliet in the Sunday Times (giving 28.Qxc5 a question mark): <A mistake that enables Black to escape with a draw. Correct is 28.c4 and if 28...Qc8 29.Qb6, followed by f3 and g4. Or if 28...Qa7 29.Qd8+ Kh7 30.Qa5, etc.>

Donaldson/Minev think that 28.c4 was the best try also though they say that if it was winning was open to question. Seems that Keres analysed this position in <The Art of the Middlegame>.

Jun-18-09  Bridgeburner: Keres would have killed to have had an engine, and then killed the computer to find that even with super-accelerated processing, it's diabolically difficult to extract a win from this Q+P endgame.
Nov-25-12  Everett: <GK's analysis attempts to establish that Rubinstein had a winning advantage but frittered it away by avoiding complications. >

This was Kasparov's most frequent criticism of Karpov's chess, though it took him a couple of matches to get a plus score on Tolya.

Nov-26-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: If it is at all possible to obtain a copy, <The Art of the Middlegame> by Kotov and Keres is a fine book, in which I first saw this game many years ago.
Nov-26-12  SimonWebbsTiger: I was fortunate to pick up "Kunsten at Vinde I Skak", the Danish translation of the Kotov and Keres book, from a second hand store for the equivalent of a buck! The chapters on the analysis of adjourned games and the defence of difficult positions by Keres are by far the best bits of the book.

Keres does indeed use a few columns analysing 28. c4 as White's best chance to play for a win.

Aug-14-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: "The advantage could have been retained only by a sharp attack on the King-16 Ne4 Be7 17 h4!" Tarrasch

The truth of this short note is borne out when you go through Keres' analysis of the Queen ending, and then use even the most powerful engine to try to keep an advantage.

Garry speculates that Rubinstein "moved his bishop from h7, so as not to have to calculate the 'sharp' variations with g7-g6."

Could be, but there were a number of other tactics he would have to see. For example,

16 Ne4 Be7 17 h4 Rac8 18 Ng5 (Garry gives the more positional 18 Nc5, but a direct attack appears stronger) Bb4+ 19 Kf1 c5 20 d5 (this may have been what Rubinstein missed-this pawn sacrifice leading to an exchange sacrifice opens the path for the bishop to f5)


click for larger view

20...Bxd5 21 Rd1 Rcd8 22 Rxd5 exd5 23 Bf5 Qe7 24 Be6! g6 25 Bxf7 Qf6 26 h5 Qxg5 27 hxg6+ Kg7 28 Rh7+ Kf6 29 Bxe8 Rxe8 30 Rf7+ Ke6


click for larger view

Here Komodo puts the advantage for White as +3 even though White is still material down. 31 a3! is good here because if 31...Ba5 32 Ra7 sets up winning the whole Qside.

Aug-15-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <tamar>
You weren't convinced by my now 10-year-old suggestion of <20. Qb3>? I'm no Capablanca, but I would have a hard time holding that position as Black.
Aug-15-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <beatgiant: <tamar> You weren't convinced by my now 10-year-old suggestion of <20. Qb3>? I'm no Capablanca, but I would have a hard time holding that position as Black.>

I looked at it briefly, but didn't understand if it was purely defensive, or it could be analysed to a win.

Kasparov calls 20 Qb3 a5!? "interesting" in OMGP without fully endorsing it, and I currently have Komodo looking at it...

I'll try to have some analysis up in at least 90 years :)

Aug-15-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar:


click for larger view

Here are two attempts by Black after 20 Qb3. I like to analyse with Komodo because it plays for fortress and positional draw more than Stockfish or Houdini.

At 27 ply it still thinks its best chance is Kasparov's 20...a5, retaining the idea from the game of using the pawn majority to create a passed pawn.

At 28 ply (and 11.5 hours) it switches to a tactical idea with 20...Bc8, allowing White to win a second pawn with the surprising 23 Nxb5, but getting rid of all the Qside pawns, and going for a positional draw two pawns down with the two bishops, a safe King, and a more active Rook.

It would be nice to see what Stockfish makes of 20 Qb3, as it would reveal some sharper attacking methods to break these ideas.

20...a6-a5 21 Rf1-d1 Bb7-c8 22 Nc3-e4 a5-a4 23 Qb3-d3 Rc5xc1 24 Rd1xc1 Bc8-f5 25 g2-g4 Bf6xb2 26 Rc1xc6 Ra8-d8 27 Qd3-c2 Bf5-d7 28 Rc6-c5 Bb2-e5 29 Rc5-d5 Kh8-g8 30 Qc2-c5 Rd8-e8 31 Ne4-d6 Be5xd6 32 Rd5xd6 Re8-c8 33 Qc5-d4 Bd7-e6 27/-0.79

20...Bb7-c8 21 Qb3-a3 Bc8-e6 22 b2-b4 Rc5-c4 23 Nc3xb5 a6-a5 24 b4xa5 Qe7xa3 25 Nb5xa3 Rc4xc1 26 Rf1xc1 Ra8xa5 27 Na3-b1 Ra5xa2 28 Bf3xc6 Ra2-a1 29 Bc6-e4 Bf6-b2 30 Rc1-d1 g7-g5 31 g2-g3 Kh8-g7 32 Kg1-g2 g5-g4 33 Rd1-d6 Bb2-e5 34 Rd6-b6 Ra1-a4 35 Be4-c6 Ra4-c4 36 Rb6-b5 Be5xg3 Bc6-d5 Be6xd5+37 Kg2xg3 Bd5-e4 38 Nb1-d2 28/-0.69

Note: the minus eval is from Black's POV, so means White advantage.

Aug-15-14  Olavi: <tamar: 16 Ne4 Be7 17 h4 Rac8 18 Ng5 (Garry gives the more positional 18 Nc5, but a direct attack appears stronger) Bb4+ 19 Kf1 c5 20 d5 (this may have been what Rubinstein missed-this pawn sacrifice leading to an exchange sacrifice opens the path for the bishop to f5)> No strong player of any era would ever contemplate anything like these complications after having won a safe and simple pawn.
Aug-16-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Olavi> I take your point. But there was one player present at St Petersburg who might have played it, Alexander Alekhine.

The fact that Tarrasch, not a wild player, saw 20 Ne4 Be7 21 h4! shows that the seeds of further combinational ideas were in the air even then.

Kasparov says White also could have got an advantage from 16 Bd3 e5 17 Ne4 exd4 18 Nxf6 gxf6 19 Qe2 Qd5 20 0-0 c5 21 e4.

However, Black can play for piece activity with 19...Kg7 20 0-0 Re5 21 b4 a5 22 a3 axb4 23 axb4 Rh8 and again it looks very hard to convert Komodo gives only a +.14 to White

Aug-16-14  RookFile: Lasker was capable of anything, of course. And by the way, Marshall was known to take a risk or two.
Aug-16-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <RookFile> Lasker certainly. He probably analysed this game thoroughly, as it was between his two main rivals. Wonder who he was rooting for?

The complications are daunting, and many more players, including Kasparov, who gives the note, would lower their sights and opt for a bind after 16 Ne4 Be7 17 h4 Rac8 with 18 Nc5 playing against the bishop. That looks good enough too, and does not need the god-like vision that Komodo's line suggests.

But I think we could add Tal to the list of players though who would take up the banner of Kingside attack with 19 Ng5. In a way it is more natural to go to g5, since h4 has been played.

Correction: in my previous note, I gave wrong move numbers. The choice to play Ne4 or Bd3 was at move 16 not 20. Move 20 was beatgiant's Qb3.

Jan-03-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <tamar....I'll try to have some analysis up in at least 90 years :)>

Come back a little sooner, will ya?

Feb-12-17  edubueno: Está claro que Capablanca imitó a Rubinstein en su partida contra Marshall. Pero A.R. era un gran artista y lo superó en la apertura. Al decidir cuál es la mejor continuación blanca en la jugada 16, los análisis de Kasparov son para un solo lado, es decir parciales, no buscan la defensa práctica que Capablanca encontró en todas sus partidas contra Rubinstein.
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