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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Marc Fonaroff
"The Nutty Professor" (game of the day Jul-16-11)
Casual Game (1918)  ·  Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. Hedgehog Variation (C62)  ·  1-0
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-17-11  LIFE Master AJ: <KingV93>

The two games which I referred to (above) are:

# 1.) Capablanca vs Marshall, 1918; and

# 2.) Reti vs Capablanca, 1928.

Study them carefully - and you will see - an absolute masterery of tactics. (I have annotated both games - look for the links in the kibitzing.)

Jul-17-11  BobCrisp: Did <Capablanca> himself originate the expression <une petite combinaison>?
Jul-17-11  LIFE Master AJ: no small combinations here - only "big-time" ones
Jul-18-11  JoergWalter: <sevenseaman: Deja vu, the combination has a precedence but I cannot recall.> How about this:

[White "Alexander Alekhine"]
[Black "Friedrich Koehnlein"]
[Result "1-0"]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 e6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Bd3 Nbd7 5.Nbd2 Bd6 6.e4 dxe4 7.Nxe4 Nxe4 8.Bxe4 0-0 9.Bg5 Qe8 10.0-0 f5 11.Bd3 e5 12.dxe5 Nxe5 13.Re1 Qh5 14.Nxe5 Qxg5 15.Bc4+ Kh8 16.Qxd6 cxd6 17.Nf7+ Kg8 18.Nxg5+ 1-0
I do not remember exactly but the final combination scheme appeared also in an earlier game of Kolisch? Rosenthal? Harrwitz?

Jul-18-11  psmith: <JoergWalter> I don't think that is close enough to be a precedent to the entire combinative scheme of Capablanca. By the way the game you cite is in the database, as played in 1908 (so it does precede the Capa game):

Alekhine vs Kohnlein, 1908

Jul-18-11  JoergWalter: <psmith> you're probably right. It is just the regaining of the Q through Kt on f7 and the possible backrang mate when taking the Kt with the R. For interest only, when will you speak of a precedence? certain number of moves and exact sequence of moves required?
Jul-18-11  psmith: <JoergWalter> I don't have a precise test in mind, but it is reasonable for certain well-known patterns to ask for the first instance: double-bishop sac is probably Lasker vs Bauer, for example. Of course there are variations on such a theme. But I suspect anyway that what <sevenseaman> had in mind was a closer match of some kind.
Jul-31-11  KingV93: <LIFE Master AJ> That is the case, I have not studied Capablanca. Mostly because the games shown here as the GOTD or what I run across randomly seem to be positional stuff which I can appreciate but is not my taste. Thank you for the refrence games, I'm too weak a player to see the depth of the tactical brilliancy in game #1 but I do like the bravado in game #2. I have seen the postion several times as a tactics puzzle and found it amazing. Thanks for the insight.
Nov-27-11  fetonzio: apparently black freaks out and plays rd1, which looks like a horrible blunder
Nov-28-11  sevenseaman: Thanks <JoergWalter>. You have pinpointed the game I had in mind, 1908. It came out as POTD in March 2011 and we had loads of fun kibitzing over a sumptuous anecdote by <Once>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: <fetonzio> When I first read your comment that 18...♖d1? was a blunder, I thought it was senseless, as I believed the game was completely lost by then. But you are right, there is an option to 18...♖d1?: it is 18...♕a5,which holds.
Jan-18-12  LIFE Master AJ: Pretty game ... one question.

Can anyone state - with any authority - and say which opening that this game came out of? (My web page gives the Ruy Lopez move order ...)

Premium Chessgames Member
  pawn to QB4: Hi AJ: David Hooper and Dale Brandreth, in their book "The Unknown Capablanca" quote The New York Evening Post as the original written source for the game:

"A lightweight classic, that will take rank with some of Paul Morphy's, was produced by Jose R Capablanca Tuesday when, as a guest at a soiree in the apartment of Professor Marc Fonaroff, of the New York Institute of Musical Art, he played a game of chess against that master musician. Mrs Leon Rosen...fortunately took and preserved the score for the benefit of posterity".

Hooper & Brandreth then comment: "The moves are here given in the correct order, as reported. This is hardly a matter for comment but one annotator refers to 'Black's well-known finesse' in a position which did not, in fact, occur". They then give the score as has it.

What the 'well-known finesse' may be I don't know.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <pawn to QB4> thanks for this info; I have always been curious about the circumstances surrounding this game.

<I've not considered myself a Capablanca fan because I don't regularly see fireworks tactics>

I don't think this is true at all especially for the young Capablanca. He played in some of the most bizarrely complicated tactical games I have ever seen, and waded through them with so few errors that it's almost unbelievable to think a human bring could do it. The more one thinks through these games, the more reasonable computer 'judgements' on him look. It becomes less surprising why modern computer analysis tend to see him as the human being whose play most resembled a computer's.

Jan-18-12  LIFE Master AJ: I have "The Unknown Capablanca" book (somewhere) ... I will have to look, thanks for that reference.

My problem is that I have five bookcases full of chess books, I cannot always put my finger on the book that I want or that I am thinking of.

Jan-18-12  LIFE Master AJ: <<Jan-18-12 pawn to QB4: Hi AJ: David Hooper and Dale Brandreth, in their book "The Unknown Capablanca" quote The New York Evening Post ... <snip> <<<>>> >>

[URRRGH!!! Yellow pages, this book is getting old ... like me.]

I have the hard-back book: page # 112, game # 123. It says exactly what you stated.

And - this afternoon - a friend and fellow bibliophile sent me a copy of the original NY Evening Post. (U.S. Library of Congress / saved on microfilm?)

All of this is great, yet it also means my web page is doo-doo.

Jan-18-12  LIFE Master AJ:

Modified the above web page accordingly - see the bottom of the page.

Feb-09-12  Whitehat1963: What an absolutely mind-blowing ability to calculate clearly. This is without question one of the most amazing ending combinations in the history of the game. Nothing more needs to be said.
Premium Chessgames Member
  bharat123: I got 55 out of possible 57 points while playing the 'Guess the move'. I missed 17.Rxd6 and played 17...h4 instead but the computer gave me full credit. I could see the combination(Pure luck) at the end only after reaching the position after 18...Rd1.I do not know why computer gave me full credit for 17...h4. Probably because 18...Qa5 holds instead of 18...Rd1.
Apr-23-13  master of defence: Best move for black was 18...Qa5!, and a probable continuation is 19.Bc3 Bxc3 20.bxc3 Rg6 21.Ne7+ Kh8 22.Nxg6+ fxg6.
May-26-13  LIFE Master AJ:
Mar-24-14  SpiritedReposte: The combination motifs for this are just lovely.
Premium Chessgames Member
  David2009: User: thanks for republishing this in your Fall 2014 newsletter!

The pun is a grave injustice to the loser - I prefer 'The distinguished professor'!

Check out for masterly background information

Nov-22-14  gmelfranco: si que calcula demasiado usted maestro!!
Mar-12-15  Cactusjuice:
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