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Ramon Iglesias vs Jose Raul Capablanca
Odds game (1893)  ·  Chess variants (000)  ·  0-1
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-05-08  MaczynskiPratten: Irving Chernev published this game with the title "Extra! Extra! Capablanca gets Queen odds!!!". Only at the end did he give the explanation.
May-09-08  jeeky1996: Oh my god! A queen handicap?
Jun-21-08  amuralid: Chess talent like this HAS to be in born. Sorry Philip E Ross, experts can be born too. The toddler respects so many principles of the middlegame and endgame.

1) Look at the position after 11. ... Bd7
The pawn structure is sound, the development is decent

2) Na5 > b3 but not taking the bishop on d2! Where do you get understanding like that?

3) c5 The correct breakthrough

4) b5 Attacking with pawns on when kings have castled on opposite wings

5) Nd4 entering complications to open the center and come ahead

6) 32. ... Qf6 Maturity well beyond his age. How many trained adults can do this?

7) Cool defense. I did not find even one instance where Capa was under any pressure. White was rendered totally toothless

8) Saves the best for last. The king march towards the center is my pick for the most astounding phase of the game. He had so many ways to win but again respected endgame principles.

Amazing! Astounding! Capa was born to play chess.

Jul-04-08  mmmsplay10: <AMAZING!!>
Jul-05-08  blacksburg: after 21...Bxg4, black has an extra pawn, which is passed and on d4, and he hasn't even used his queen yet.

after 23...Bxd5, black would be up 2 pawns and probably winning, even without the extra queen.

Oct-24-08  tommy boy: Four years old ???? Amazing
Nov-30-08  TheaN: <blacksburg: after 21...Bxg4, black has an extra pawn, which is passed and on d4, and he hasn't even used his queen yet.

after 23...Bxd5, black would be up 2 pawns and probably winning, even without the extra queen.>

Reading through the comments I was surprised that something like this was not mentioned yet and was about to post it myself...

Put the White Queen on d1 and consider, albeit the inferior Nxe4 in the Petroff (and even then), the game up to move 25 approximately.

Although the non-available Queen might have had some considerable influence to the game, at the point at move 25 a Queen would not make the game in White's favor at all. And even in the final position, where Capablanca obviously used his Queen to terminate the White cannons, a White Queen would not make the position an immediate win.


Jan-05-09  WhiteRook48: wow amazing game
<Sibahi> what about adding this game to your collection "Queen Odds?"
Jan-05-09  WhiteRook48: Capa played this game amazingly, considering he was only 4 years old at the time...
Premium Chessgames Member
  peirce: 34 K*g7 is a mistake ,
an illegal move , there is
a Rook in f1 .

Jan-24-09  WhiteRook48: 34...Kxg7 is not illegal
Mar-05-09  WhiteRook48: Damiano's Defense with Queen advantage?
Feb-07-10  AnalyzeThis: Why not? The usual problem with 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 Nxe4 is 4. Qe2. With the queen missing, that's no problem here.

Even in this early game, you can see Capablanca's wonderful ability to play clear chess, and make it seem simple.

Apr-04-10  Chess Network: Wow! 4 year old Capa!
Apr-05-10  miguelito: falso , yo conoci a alberto garcia amigo personal de capa y organizador del primer capa in memoriam 1952 y me dijo que capa no jugaba a los 4 aņos .
May-30-10  wladimirsky: It is impossible for this game to have been played by a 4-year old.

The orderly development, the breakthrough c5, activation of the king in the end-game - those are not actions of a prodigy, those are actions of a player with a basic understanding and study of chess principles.

He may have played that when he was 8 but not 4. One thing is to be a prodigy, the other is to have learned chess positional concepts. Given me a break.

May-30-10  wladimirsky: And chess bios of Capa confirm he learned to play chess at a later age. 4-year old, get real.
May-30-10  SufferingBruin: <wladimirsky>, initially, I shared your incredulity. But I say it's possible. And Capablanca, FWIW, was nearly five when this game was played (4yrs 10mos).

Mozart at three was watching his sister play the piano, started screwing around and within two years, he was composing. I remember reading a story of a toddler, just barely learning to crawl, arranging building blocks into the form of a roman numeral clock. It is exceedingly rare but very young children have done some amazing things.

I can't recall how often I've read that Capablanca was the most naturally gifted player ever to push a piece of wood. I'm sure if you and I got together, we would find a hundred references. I cannot explain how a four-year old could play like this but it's a mite easier to accept that the child was, in point of fact, nearly five. That's kindergarten age, wlad, and I say that's possible. Incredible, but possible.

Jul-23-10  Achilles87: miguelito: falso , yo conoci a alberto garcia amigo personal de capa y organizador del primer capa in memoriam 1952 y me dijo que capa no jugaba a los 4 aņos .

False, I knew an Alberto Garcia personal friend of Capa, and the organizer of the first Capa memorial in 1952 and he told me that Capa didn't play when he was 4 years old.

Aug-24-10  asiduodiego: If true, it's really impressive for a four years old. Surely Iglesias wasn't playing too seriously, and he was only trying to test the kid. In any case, nicely played. :P
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: If the date of the scoresheet is accurate, (Sept 17, 1893) then Capa was 4 years, and 10 months old when he played Iglesias.

(as observed by <SufferingBruin>)

Capa's birthday is on Nov 19, 1888.

Mar-31-11  Dionysius: Interesting that the only time Capablanca took notice of his queen enough to move it was when he sacrificed it. As if he's been saying all along "thanks Senor Iglesias, but I really don't need the queen odds - you do see that, don't you?"
Apr-18-11  SeanBurdine: Another one listed in "Great Games by Chess Prodigies". According to the book, Capa really did play this well at the age of 4 years and 10 months. The authors' comment is "Normally, odds games are decided by blunders made by the odds-reciever, but here he makes no blunders."
Apr-18-11  drnooo: in another vein, Fine said that Fischer at thirteen was the better and greatest prodigy at thirteen, so you pays your money and takes your choice a silly argument of course but it is an interesting one the 13 year old Fischer playing the 13 year old Capa who had the greater talent all opening knowledge of course thrown out the window, we know for certain at eight who was greater, but then Fischer himself once said all of a sudden I just got good
Jan-30-12  Troller: I wonder who could write with the best punctuation at age 4?
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