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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Roberto Grau
"Olympic Sportsmanship" (game of the day Aug-22-2016)
Buenos Aires ol (Men) fin-A (1939), Buenos Aires ARG, rd 9, Sep-10
English Opening: King's English Variation. Reversed Closed Sicilian (A25)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Capa blundered a knight in this game at some point and Grau graciously insisted that Capa take his move back. Capa returned the favor by offering a draw in the final position.
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  Aurora: Capablanca acts honestly, too.
Jan-09-08  RookFile: I had never heard this before. I'm sure the explanation is correct, white has a crushing position after the last move, axb6.
Oct-05-08  malvar: <chancho> Where did you get this information about the game? I find it fascinating. Two great gentleman and players. Great game!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mendrys: It's as if Cqapablanca was saying "Ok, I blundered earlier and you gave me a takeback. Now I'll blunder again (offer a draw in a winning position.) and make you take it." if the story is true of course.

I wonder if Cabablanca would ever had used CTRL+T if he had Chessmaster 2100 available to him when he was a youngster.

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  chancho: There's some mention of the story here:

It's in spanish so if you can translate it...

I did not know that they did a movie about Capablanca in 1987. the soap opera star Cesar Evora, played the great Capa:

If anyone has seen the movie, how was it!?

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  offramp: The current issue of Chess, the UK magazine (volume 80, number 5, August 2015, page 56), gives a different version while reviewing the book <Pawns in a greater game by Justin Corfield.

Quoting that book, Chess Magazine gives the following:

click for larger view

<Capablanca moved his queen to d8 instead of d7.> [42.Qd7] <He took his hand off and then 'an instant later ...[his] hand darted out again and shifted the queen to the King's seventh'.> [Whoever spoke this internal quote must have meant Queen's seventh. Who cares?] <Grau contemptuously shrugged and made no complaint. Grau resigned eight moves later. There were mutterings of unsporting play by some of the bystanders, and Capablanca, already hurt by accusations of cowardice [for avoiding a game with Keres a few games earlier], offered to cancel all moves back to the time of the mistake and call the game a draw. And that is what happened.>

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  Fusilli: The quote by <offramp> seems like a much more plausible story to me.

I have to disagree with the view that giving a takeback is a gentlemanly thing to do. The intention may be noble, but one can think of it as a condescending gesture. When I blunder, I take responsibility. I don't expect mercy and I show no mercy if I am on the other side either. Mistakes are part of the game. Accepting your own and enforcing your opponent's is fair sportsmanship to me.

Besides, if I give a takeback and then I make a mistake, how does it work then? Do I deserve mercy? If my opponent beats me without giving me a chance, do I have the right to get angry? What if my mistake is smaller than his? Does blundering a knight qualify for a takeback but blundering a pawn or making a serious positional mistake doesn't? The whole thing introduces a degree of ambiguity that I would rather avoid.

On ICC there is also the option of adding time to your opponent's clock. I find nothing more insulting than that. When someone occasionally does that to me, I resign. (Granted, people only do that when they are completely winning already.)

Jan-11-16  paulofx2071: But Capa played 42)Dd8 and said CHECK, so Grau said ¿where is the check? and Capa corriged the movide

José Raúl Capablanca: A Biography Ajedrez
Por Miguel A. Sánche Pag 487

Aug-22-16  Abdel Irada: ∞

<Besides, if I give a takeback and then I make a mistake, how does it work then?>

Of course it depends on your opponent.

Years ago in Santa Cruz, I played a lot of blitz against (among many others) a Seagate hardware engineer rated about 2050.

When he made a blunder, he'd immediately try to retract it, quietly intoning as he did so, "Move back!?" Since I didn't like to see games ruined by blunders, I'd generally let him do it (and, since I was about 150 points higher, usually beat him anyway).

But one day I discovered his own attitude. He'd taken back a move, and later I made a blunder of my own and asked for the same consideration. His response was interesting: "No! I don't respect people who give me moves back!"

He won a piece this way, but in the process he made me so determined to punish him that I complicated the daylights out of the position, and then gradually stole the advantage and won anyway.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <paulofx2071: But Capa played 42)Dd8 and said CHECK, so Grau said ¿where is the check? and Capa corriged the movide José Raúl Capablanca: A Biography Ajedrez
Por Miguel A. Sánche Pag 487>

There may be some truth in this. I can't imagine Capablanca saying check after every check. But if Grau began reaching for his queen at b4, after 42.Qd8, Capablanca might then have said Check!

Aug-22-16  dunican: Reminiscent of Navara-Moiseenko at the World Cup
A Moiseenko vs Navara, 2011
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A surprise finish. Does anybody remember when the music broke on a gymnastic floor exercise. competition and a Chinese band played for the beleaguered team?
Aug-22-16  talljack: Too bad offramp's version is undoubtedly the true one. I liked the nobler one.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Capa had to give him the draw.

Roberto Graued at him.

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  WannaBe: There were accusation of cowardice? Was he playing Hope Solo?!
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Would not mind some time with Hope, solo--there would then be no accusations of cowardice from her quarter!
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <perfidious> If I spend time with H. Solo, you'd see me in full body cast for the next 3 month...
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