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Aron Nimzowitsch vs Jose Raul Capablanca
"Notes by Capablanca" (game of the day May-15-2004)
Exhibition Game (1913), Riga RUE, Dec-30
Italian Game: Giuoco Pianissimo. Canal Variation (C50)  ·  0-1


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Given 31 times; par: 138 [what's this?]

Annotations by Jose Raul Capablanca.      [26 more games annotated by Capablanca]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-31-11  arnakor: <AnalyzeThis> : it's not only egalization for black, it's an easier game too, maybe it's even a small edge. It's not possible to say <can hold a draw> after 7 moves and only 1 pawn and 1 piece exchanged :-)

Nowadays it would be the choice of all GM. It's well known that Capa was not searching for best moves in the opening.

<TheFocus> : I agree that Kf2-e3 is faster but there is no need to be faster because it's already a draw with this. I agree that not playing b5 is better but I think it's a draw anyway.

I did not analyze 100% (almost impossible!) but I'm 90% sure 30.Bb8 leads to a draw. I think it's possible that Nimzo and Capa did not analyze this move. I did not even find any analyze of this move in books or internet.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <arnakor> It is very interesting suggestion. I have searched and not found it mentioned in any of my endgame books, nor do I have an engine to examine it.

I know, I am from the stone ages of chess!

Oct-31-11  AnalyzeThis: I've played it over the board, this fork trick is as old as the hills. Capa and Nimzo both knew about it, I'm sure.

A couple of wrong ways to play it with white are:

a) 4.... Nxe4 5. Bxf7+ Kxf7 and black will shortly have a dominating central position.

b) 4.... Nxe4 5. Nxe4 d5 6. Bb5 dxe4 7. Nxe5 Qd5 and black is better

Instead, white can play 4... Nxe4 5. Bd3 dxe4 6. Bd3 dxe4 7. Bxe4 and work diligently towards his draw. It's true that black might win anyway, but the simplified position offers less prospects of this win then the complex position after 4.... Bc5.

As I mentioned, 4.... Nxe4 equalizes easily, so there is certainly nothing wrong with it. Capa was interested in beating Nimzo, so he kept more pieces on the board. The same thing happens in tournament play these days when the stronger player has black.

Oct-31-11  Nilsson: I agree with Arnakor. It looks like a draw. (after 30.Bb8!) Forcing the black pawns to wrong colour on the queen-side, and the extrapawn on c2 has no function, the important one is on c3. I think they started analyzing one move to late after 30.a4 Ke6! (Fritz 13 give 1.77 for black,who care´s)
Oct-31-11  newton296: <I am astounded to read Capa's notes: <The ending is now won by force.>

He knew this ending was won even before he got into it, but how!?>

just because cap a says it doesn't make it true! remember, he had no tablebases or progs to analyze games with.

the fact is capa was simply wrong when he said the ending is now won by force. after move 29) the game is a classic (boc) draw, capa just didn't know it, and nimzo wasn't good enough to prove capa wrong.

houdini or any modern prog would draw this game.

Oct-31-11  Petrosianic: <"When asked by some admirer how many moves he saw in advance, Capa answered, 'Just one, but it's always the best!'">

I've heard that story about Lasker.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: And Reti.

And Bogojubow.

Nov-01-11  Everett: <If a talented young chess player will arise in the near future who could intuitively discern such potential BOOC endings as winning, he could steer middlegames into such won endgames, and his opponents would not even know that they were already irrevocably lost- a powerful method of winning.>

The closest in recent times is Karpov. Of course it is not a fluke that the 4 modern players at the top have superb endgames <Anand, Aronian, Carlsen and Kramnik> nor is it strange that Lasker and Capablanca dominated chess for so long. Alekhine only matched them when he mastered the endgame.

Nov-02-11  Comejen: He makes it look so easy
Capablanca was a genius!!
Nov-02-11  bronkenstein: B. Ivkov gave this endgame 3 pages in his `School of Chess : Endgames` , with remark that `It is much more useful to study such endgames for hours than to play endless blitz`.

I remember having strong intuition that white must be able to draw somehow , but after hours of woodpushing , I had to admit that I am simply mistaken. I believe Capa took few seconds to evaluate the position right .

Feb-15-12  Chessmaster9001: One of the most memorable games of great Cuban! But still I`m curious why Capa never mentioned 21.g4? as a most serious mistake of white? This terrible move aside from weakening position also is limiting white`s flexibility in following sequence of moves. Normal moves like 21.Kf2 or even 21.a3 makes more sense IMHO.
Sep-02-14  SpiritedReposte: Ok that's not even a pun lol.
Apr-18-17  andrea volponi: 30 Re1 Af5 -Rd2 c4 -a4 Re6 -Ag7 h5 -a5 a6 -Re3 Axc2 -Ah6 g4 -Ag5 Rd6 -Ad8 Rc6 -Rd2 Ag6 -Rc1 Ad3 -Rd2 Rb5 -Re3 h4 -Axh4 Rxa5 -Ad8+ Ra4 -Ab6 a5 -Rf4 Rb5 -Ac7 a4 -Ad6 Rc6 -Re5 b5 -Aa3= draw.
May-01-17  machuelo: According to Nimzo's biographers this was a light game and not a exhibition game with clock. Remember that in 1913-1914 Capablanca played a group of exhibition games witch clock against Mieses, Teichmann, Alekhine, Znovsko-Borovsky, Dus-Khotimirsky, Bernstein, Tartakower, Reti and Aurbach with the colossal result of 15 points of 17, after his sweep of 2-0 against Alekhine, Aurbach, Dus-Khotimirsky, Mieses and Teichmann; his 1.5-05 against Bernstei and Tartakower; his 1-0 against Reti and his 1-1 against Znovsko-Borovsky. For this reason it is rare that the game against Nimzowitch in Riga was not a formal exhibition game, but a off-hand game. (See pages 189-196 of "José Raúl Capablanca Chess Biography by Miguel A. Sánchez, McFarland 2015.
May-01-17  Paarhufer: <machuelo: According to Nimzo's biographers this was a light game and not a exhibition game with clock.> Do you mean Skjoldager and Nielsen, who called it a 'serious game'?
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: This was a serious game, not an off-hand game.
May-01-17  Albion 1959: This classic ending is featured in Irving Chernev's brilliant book "Capablanca's 60 Best Chess Endings - Game 19, though in Chernev's book moves 63 and 64 are not given! However, it DOES NOT appear in Golombek's Capablanca's 100 best games! It does appear in The Unknown Capablanca (Hooper & Brandreth)1974 / Game 13:
May-01-17  Paarhufer: <TheFocus: This was a serious game> And why?
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Paarhufer> Why was it serious?

It was an exhibition game. Large audience, including Nimzo's daddy.

May-01-17  Paarhufer: <TheFocus> I was asking for a source and meanwhile I've found it myself. A newspaper report of the following day called it explicitly a 'serious game', which lastet almost three hours. Clocks were not mentioned, but Capablanca's strong endgame technique and applauding spectators.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Paarhufer> Okay. I misunderstood.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <A newspaper report of the following day called it explicitly a 'serious game', which lastet almost three hours.>

Date, man, date!

May-01-17  Paarhufer: <Miss: Date, man, date!> You're right! The newspaper has indeed two dates: 18 and 31 December 1913. So, the game was played 17 December (old style) or 30 December 1913 (new style). Not new (see Skjoldager and Nielsen).
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Newspaper title, man, newspaper title!
Premium Chessgames Member
  mifralu: < MissScarlett: Newspaper title, man, newspaper title! >

Rigasche Zeitung, 17 December 1913

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