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Jose Raul Capablanca
Number of games in database: 857
Years covered: 1893 to 1940
Overall record: +379 -47 =265 (74.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      166 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (82) 
    C66 C88 C83 C64 C78
 Orthodox Defense (59) 
    D63 D51 D52 D64 D69
 Queen's Gambit Declined (48) 
    D30 D31 D37 D38
 Queen's Pawn Game (33) 
    D02 D00 D05 D04 A50
 French Defense (28) 
    C12 C01 C11 C14 C00
 Four Knights (23) 
    C49 C48 C47
With the Black pieces:
 Orthodox Defense (53) 
    D67 D53 D64 D63 D51
 Ruy Lopez (47) 
    C66 C77 C72 C68 C73
 Queen's Pawn Game (37) 
    A46 D02 D00 D05 E10
 Nimzo Indian (18) 
    E24 E34 E23 E40 E37
 Queen's Indian (17) 
    E16 E12 E15 E18
 Slav (17) 
    D19 D17 D12 D15 D10
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Capablanca vs Tartakower, 1924 1-0
   Capablanca vs Marshall, 1918 1-0
   O Bernstein vs Capablanca, 1914 0-1
   Nimzowitsch vs Capablanca, 1927 0-1
   Capablanca vs K Treybal, 1929 1-0
   Lasker vs Capablanca, 1921 0-1
   Capablanca vs M Fonaroff, 1918 1-0
   Capablanca vs J Corzo, 1901 1-0
   Capablanca vs NN, 1918 1-0
   Janowski vs Capablanca, 1916 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Lasker - Capablanca World Championship Match (1921)
   Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Capablanca - Marshall (1909)
   Rice Memorial (1916)
   London (1922)
   American National (1913)
   Hastings (1919)
   New York Masters (1915)
   New York (1918)
   New York (1927)
   Budapest (1929)
   Moscow (1936)
   New York Masters (1911)
   St Petersburg (1914)
   New York (1924)
   Karlsbad (1929)
   Moscow (1925)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Capablanca! by chocobonbon
   Match Capablanca! by amadeus
   Jose Raul Capablanca's Best Games by KingG
   Delicatessen by Gottschalk
   Chess World Champion Nr. 03: Capablanca by Olanovich
   "The Immortal Games of Capablanca" by Reinfeld by mjk
   capablanca best games by brager
   Capablanca´s Official Games (1901-1939) Part I by capablancakarpov
   Capablanca's Best Chess Endings by refutor
   Capablanca's Best Chess Endings (Irving Chernev) by nightgaunts
   Capablanca vs the World Champions Decisive Games by visayanbraindoctor
   Ruylopez's favorite games by Ruylopez
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1920-1939 (Part 2) by Anatoly21
   On the shoulders of giants by ughaibu

   Lasker vs Capablanca, 1921
   Lasker vs Schlechter, 1910
   Capablanca vs Lasker, 1921
   Capablanca vs Lasker, 1921
   Nimzowitsch vs Capablanca, 1913

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(born Nov-19-1888, died Mar-08-1942, 53 years old) Cuba

[what is this?]
José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera was the third World Champion, reigning from 1921 until 1927. Renowned for the simplicity of his play, his legendary endgame prowess, accuracy, and the speed of his play, he earned the nickname of the "Human Chess Machine".


Capablanca, the second son of a Spanish Army officer, was born in Havana. He learned to play at an early age by watching his father and defeated Cuban Champion Juan Corzo in an informal match in 1901 by 6.5-5.5 (+4 −3 =5), turning 13 years of age during the match. Despite this and despite taking 4th place in the first Cuban Championship in 1902, he did not focus on chess until 1908 when he left Columbia University where he had enrolled to study chemical engineering and play baseball. He did, however, join the Manhattan Chess Club in 1905, soon establishing his dominance in rapid chess. He won a rapid chess tournament in 1906 ahead of the World Champion Emanuel Lasker, and played many informal games against him. Within a year or two of dropping out of university and after playing simultaneous exhibitions in dozens of US cities, winning over 95% of his games, Capablanca had established himself as one of the top players in the world, especially after the Capablanca - Marshall (1909) New York match exhibition win 15-8 (+8 -1 =14).


Capablanca won the 1910 New York State Championship by defeating co-leader Charles Jaffe in a tiebreaker match. In 1911, he placed second in the National Tournament in New York, with 9½ out of 12, half a point behind Marshall, and half a point ahead of Jaffe and Oscar Chajes. There followed Capablanca’s ground breaking win at San Sebastian (1911) with 9.5/14 (+6 -1 =7), ahead of Akiba Rubinstein and Milan Vidmar on 9, Marshall on 8.5, and other luminaries such as Carl Schlechter , Siegbert Tarrasch and Ossip Bernstein. Before the tournament, Aron Nimzowitsch protested the unknown Capablanca’s involvement in the event, but the latter demonstrated his credentials by defeating Nimzowitsch in in their game. Winning at San Sebastian was only the second time a player had won a major tournament at his first attempt since Harry Nelson Pillsbury ’s triumph at Hastings in 1895, and it provided a powerful boost to his credibility to challenge for the world title. He did so, but the match did not take place for another 10 years.

In early 1913, Capablanca won a tournament in New York with 11/13 (+10 -1 =2), half a point ahead of Marshall. Capablanca then finished second with 10/14 (+8 -2 =4), a half point behind Marshall in Havana, losing one of their individual games, rumour having it that he asked the mayor to clear the room so that no-one would see him resign. Returning to New York, Capablanca won all thirteen games at the New York tournament of 1913, played at the Rice Chess Club. 1914 saw the <"tournament of champions"> played at St. Petersburg. Capablanca, with 13/18 (+10 -2 =6), came second behind Lasker and well ahead of Alexander Alekhine on 10, Tarrasch on 8.5 and Marshall on 8.

After the outbreak of World War I, Capablanca stayed in New York and won tournaments held there in 1915 (13/14 (+12 -0 =2)), 1916 (14/17 (+12 -1 =4)) and 1918 (10.5/12 (+9 =3)). During the New York 1918 tournament, Marshall played his prepared Marshall Attack of the Ruy Lopez* against Capablanca, but Capablanca worked his way through the complications and won. Soon after the war, Capablanca crossed the Atlantic to decisively win the Hastings Victory tournament 1919 with 10.5/11, a point ahead of Borislav Kostic.

Capablanca did not play another tournament until 1922, the year after he won the title from Lasker. During his reign, he won London 1922 with 13/15 (no losses), 1.5 points ahead of Alekhine; placed second behind Lasker at New York 1924 (suffering his first loss in eight years – to Richard Reti – since his 1916 lost to Oscar Chajes); placed 3rd at Moscow in 1925 behind Efim Bogoljubov and Lasker respectively with +9 =9 -2; won at Lake Hopatcong (New York) 1926 with 6/8 (+4 =4), a point ahead of Abraham Kupchik; and won at New York in 1927 with 14/20 (+10 -1 =9), 2.5 points clear of Alekhine, his last tournament before his title match with Alekhine. During the latter tournament, Capablanca, Alekhine, Rudolf Spielmann, Milan Vidmar, Nimzowitsch and Marshall played a quadruple round robin, wherein Capablanca finished undefeated, winning the mini-matches with each of his rivals, 2½ points ahead of second-placed Alekhine, and won the "best game" prize for a win over Spielmann. This result, plus the fact that Alekhine had never defeated him in a game, made him a strong favourite to retain his title in the upcoming match against Alekhine. However, Alekhine's superior preparation prevailed against Capablanca's native talent.

After losing the title, Capablanca settled in Paris and engaged in a flurry of tournament competition aimed at improving his chances for a rematch with Alekhine. However the latter dodged him, refusing to finalise negotiations for a rematch, boycotting events that included Capablanca, and insisting that Capablanca not be invited to tournaments in which he participated. In 1928, Capablanca won at Budapest with 7/9 (+5 =4), a point ahead of Marshall, and at Berlin with 8.5/12 (+5 =7), 1.5 points ahead of Nimzowitsch; he also came second at Bad Kissingen with 7/11 (+4 -1 =6), after Bogoljubov. In 1929, Capablanca won at Ramsgate with 5.5/7 (+4 =3) ahead of Vera Menchik and Rubinstein, at Budapest with 10.5/13 (+8 =5), and at Barcelona with 13.5/14, two points clear of Savielly Tartakower; he also came equal second with Spielmann and behind Nimzowitsch at Carlsbad with 14.5/21 (+10 -2 =9). He won at the 1929-30 Hastings tournament and came second at Hastings in 1930-31, behind Max Euwe, his only loss being to Mir Sultan Khan. Several months later he won New York for the last time, this time with a score of 10/11 (+9 =2) ahead of Isaac Kashdan.

Perhaps discouraged by his inability to secure a rematch with Alekhine, there followed a hiatus for over three years before he reentered the fray with a fourth placing at Hastings in 1934-35 with 5.5/9 (+4 -2 =3), behind Sir George Alan Thomas, Euwe and Salomon Flohr but ahead of Mikhail Botvinnik and Andre Lilienthal. In 1935, he secured 4th place in Moscow with 12/19 (+7 -2 =10), a point behind Botvinnik and Flohr, and a half point behind the evergreen Lasker. Also in 1935, he came second at Margate with 7/9 (+6 -1 =2), half a point behind Samuel Reshevsky. 1936 was a very successful year, coming 2nd at Margate with 7/9 (+5 =4), a half point behind Flohr, but then he moved up a gear to take Moscow with 13/18 (+8 =10), a point ahead of Botvinnik who in turn was 2.5 points ahead of Flohr, and then came =1st with Botvinnik at the famous Nottingham tournament, with 10/14 (+7 -1 =6) ahead of Euwe, Reuben Fine and Reshevsky on 9.5, and Flohr and Lasker on 8.5. These latter two results were the only tournaments in which he finished ahead of Lasker, which enhanced his chances of challenging for the title, but a challenge to World Champion Euwe was out of the question until after the Euwe - Alekhine World Championship Rematch (1937) , which was won by Alekhine. In 1937, Capablanca came =3rd with Reshevsky at Semmering with 7.5/14 (+2 -1 =11) behind Paul Keres and Fine and in 1938 he won the Paris tournament with 8/10 (+6 =4) ahead of Nicolas Rossolimo. The worst result of his career occurred at the AVRO tournament which was played in several cities in the Netherlands in 1938, placing 7th out of 8 players with 6/14 (+2 -4 =8), the only time he ever had a negative score in a tournament. His health in this tournament was fragile as he had suffered severe hypertension, which affected his concentration towards the end of his games; he may have also suffered a slight stroke halfway through the tournament. Traveling between the numerous cities in which the tournament was played was also hard on the ageing master. In 1939 he played his last tournament at Margate, placing =2nd with Flohr on 6.5/9 (+4 =5) a point behind Keres. Shortly afterwards, he finished his playing career – albeit unknowingly - in a blaze of glory by winning gold with +7 =9 on board one for Cuba at the 8th Olympiad in Buenos Aires.


In addition to the informal match against Corzo in 1901 and the exhibition match against Marshall in 1909 (see above), Capablanca played a three game match against Charles Jaffe in New York in 1912, winning two and drawing one, and won the first game of a match against Chajes before the latter withdrew from the match. In 1914, he defeated Ossip Bernstein 1.5-0.5, Tartakower by 1.5-0.5 and Andre Aurbach by 2-0. On his way to the 1914 tournament in St Petersburg, he played two-game matches against Richard Teichmann and Jacques Mieses in Berlin, winning all his games. Once he reached Saint Petersburg, he played similar matches against Alexander Alekhine, Eugene Aleksandrovich Znosko-Borovsky and Fyodor Ivanovich Dus Chotimirsky, losing one game to Znosko-Borovsky and winning the rest. In 1919, Capablanca accepted a challenge to a match from Borislav Kostić who had come second at New York in 1918 without dropping a game. The match was to go to the first player to win eight games, but Kostić resigned the match, played in Havana, after losing five straight games. In late 1931, just before his temporary retirement from top level chess, Capablanca also won a match (+2 −0 =8) against Euwe.

World Championship

Capablanca’s win at San Sebastian in 1911 provided the results and the impetus for Capablanca to negotiate with Lasker for a title match, but some of Lasker’s conditions were unacceptable to Capablanca, especially one requiring the challenger to win by two points to take the title, while the advent of World War I delayed the match. In 1920, Lasker and Capablanca agreed to play the title match in 1921, but a few months later, former was ready to surrender the title without a contest, saying, "You have earned the title not by the formality of a challenge, but by your brilliant mastery." A significant stake ($25,000, $13,000 guaranteed to Lasker) was raised that induced Lasker to play in Havana where Capablanca won the Lasker - Capablanca World Championship Match (1921) - without losing a game - after Lasker resigned from the match when trailing by 4 games, the first time a World Champion had lost his title without winning a game until the victory by Vladimir Kramnik in the Kasparov - Kramnik World Championship Match (2000). From 1921 to 1923, Alekhine, Rubinstein and Nimzowitsch all challenged Capablanca, but only Alekhine could raise the money stipulated in the so-called “London Rules”, which these players had signed in 1921. A group of Argentinean businessmen, backed by a guarantee from the president of Argentina, promised the funds for a World Championship match between Capablanca and Alekhine, and once the deadline for Nimzowitsch to lodge a deposit for a title match had passed, the title match was agreed to, beginning in September 1927. Capablanca lost the Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927) at Buenos Aires in 1927 by +3 -6 =25 in the longest title match ever, until it was surpassed by the legendary Karpov - Kasparov World Championship Match (1984). The match lasted over ten weeks, taking place behind closed doors, thus precluding spectators and photographers. All but two of the 34 games opened with the Queen's Gambit Declined. Before Capablanca and Alekhine left Buenos Aires after the match, they agreed in principle to stage a rematch, with Alekhine essentially sticking with the conditions initially imposed by Capablanca. Despite on-again off-again negotiations over the next 13 years, the rematch never materialised, with Alekhine playing two title matches each against Bogolyubov and Euwe in the subsequent decade. While Capablanca and Alekhine were both representing their countries at the Buenos Aires Olympiad in 1939, an attempt was made by Augusto de Muro, the President of the Argentine Chess Federation, to arrange a World Championship match between the two. Alekhine declined, saying he was obliged to be available to defend his adopted homeland, France, as World War II had just broken out. A couple of days prior to this, Capablanca had declined to play when his Cuban team played France, headed by Alekhine, in the Olympiad.

Simultaneous exhibitions

Capablanca’s legendary speed of play lent itself to the rigours of simultaneous play, and he achieved great success in his exhibitions. From December 1908 through February 1909, Capablanca toured the USA and in 10 exhibitions he won 168 games in a row before losing a game in Minneapolis; his final tally for that tour was 734 games, winning 96.7% (+703 =19 -12). In March and April 1911, Capablanca toured Europe for the first time, giving exhibitions in France and Germany scoring +234=33-19. Once completed, he proceeded to San Sebastian and his historic victory before again touring Europe via its cities of Rotterdam, Leiden, Middelburg, The Hague, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Berlin, Breslau, Allenstein, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Stuttgart, Mannheim, Frankfurt, Paris, London and Birmingham at the end of which his tally was +532=66-54. After he received his job as a roving ambassador-at-large from the Cuban Foreign Office, Capablanca played a series of simuls in London, Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, Riga, Moscow, Kiev, and Vienna on his way to St Petersburg in 1914, tallying +769=91-86. In 1922, Capablanca gave a simultaneous exhibition in Cleveland against 103 opponents, the largest in history up to that time, winning 102 and drawing one – setting a record for the best winning percentage ever – 99.5% - in a large simultaneous exhibition. In 1925 Capablanca gave a simultaneous exhibition in Leningrad and won every game but one, a loss against 12 year old Mikhail Botvinnik, whom he predicted would one day be champion. Capablanca still holds the record for the most games ever completed in simultaneous exhibitions, playing and completing 13545 games between 1901-1940.**

Legacy, testimonials and life

Soon after gaining the title, Capablanca married Gloria Simoni Betancourt in Havana. They had a son, José Raúl Jr., in 1923 and a daughter, Gloria, in 1925. His father died in 1923 and mother in 1926. In 1937 he divorced Gloria and in 1938 married Olga Chagodayev, a Russian princess.

Capablanca's famous “invincible” streak extended from February 10, 1916, when he lost to Oscar Chajes in the New York 1916 tournament, to March 21, 1924, when he lost to Richard Réti in the New York International tournament. During this time he played 63 games, winning 40 and drawing 23, including his successful title match against Lasker. Between 1914 and his World Championship match against Alekhine, Capablanca had only lost four games of the 158 match and tournament games he had played. In match, team match, and tournament play from 1909 to 1939 he scored +318=249-34. Only Spielmann held his own (+2 −2 =8) against Capablanca, apart from Keres who had a narrow plus score against him (+1 −0 =5) due to his win at the AVRO 1938 tournament, during which the ailing Capablanca turned 50, while Keres was 22.

Capablanca played himself in Chess Fever, a short film shot by V. Pudovkin at the 1925 Moscow tournament. The film can be seen at

On 7 March 1942, Capablanca collapsed at the Manhattan Chess Club and he was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he died the next morning from "a cerebral haemorrhage provoked by hypertension". Emanuel Lasker had died in the same hospital the year before. Capablanca's body was given a public funeral in Havana's Colón Cemetery a week later, with President Batista taking personal charge of the funeral arrangements.

Capablanca proposed a new chess variant, played on a 10x10 board or a 10x8 board. He introduced two new pieces. The chancellor had the combined moves of a rook and knight (the piece could move like a rook or a knight). The other piece was the archbishop that had the combined moves of a bishop and knight.

Capablanca‘s style also heavily influenced the styles of later World Champions Botvinnik, Robert James Fischer and Anatoly Karpov. Botvinnik observed that Alekhine had received much schooling from Capablanca in positional play, before their fight for the world title made them bitter enemies. While not a theoretician as such, he wrote several books including A Primer of Chess, Chess Fundamentals and My Chess Career.

Alekhine: <…Capablanca was snatched from the chess world much too soon. With his death, we have lost a very great chess genius whose like we shall never see again.>

Lasker: <I have known many chess players, but only one chess genius: Capablanca.>


Capablanca occasionally played consultation on the team consisting of Reti / Capablanca.


Bill Wall's Chess Master Profiles -; Edward Winter's article A Question of Credibiity:; Chess Corner's article on Capablanca: and <kingcrusher>'s online article at A list of books about Capablanca can be found at

* Ruy Lopez, Marshall (C89) **

Wikipedia article: José Raúl Capablanca

 page 1 of 35; games 1-25 of 857  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. R Iglesias vs Capablanca 0-138 1893 Odds game000 Chess variants
2. J Corzo vs Capablanca ½-½40 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC67 Ruy Lopez
3. Capablanca vs J Corzo 0-160 1901 Havana casualC45 Scotch Game
4. Capablanca vs E Corzo 0-130 1901 Havana casualC40 King's Knight Opening
5. J A Blanco vs Capablanca 0-177 1901 Habana (Cuba)C55 Two Knights Defense
6. J Corzo vs Capablanca ½-½20 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC25 Vienna
7. Capablanca vs J Corzo ½-½61 1901 Capablanca - CorzoA80 Dutch
8. Capablanca vs M Sterling  1-030 1901 HavanaC01 French, Exchange
9. A Fiol vs Capablanca 0-136 1901 Habana (Cuba)C55 Two Knights Defense
10. Capablanca vs J Corzo 1-059 1901 Capablanca - CorzoA83 Dutch, Staunton Gambit
11. Capablanca vs J Corzo ½-½49 1901 Capablanca - CorzoD00 Queen's Pawn Game
12. M Sterling vs Capablanca  ½-½50 1901 HavanaC77 Ruy Lopez
13. Capablanca vs E Corzo 1-042 1901 Havana casualC40 King's Knight Opening
14. J Corzo vs Capablanca 1-027 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC52 Evans Gambit
15. J Corzo vs Capablanca 0-168 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC49 Four Knights
16. Capablanca vs J Corzo ½-½28 1901 Capablanca - CorzoA83 Dutch, Staunton Gambit
17. J Corzo vs Capablanca ½-½41 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC42 Petrov Defense
18. Capablanca vs J Corzo 0-146 1901 Capablanca - CorzoA80 Dutch
19. Capablanca vs J Corzo 1-060 1901 Capablanca - CorzoD02 Queen's Pawn Game
20. A Ettlinger vs Capablanca 0-153 1901 Havana casualC45 Scotch Game
21. J Corzo vs Capablanca 0-126 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC25 Vienna
22. Capablanca vs J Corzo 0-129 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC47 Four Knights
23. J Corzo vs Capablanca 1-041 1901 Havana casualB01 Scandinavian
24. E Corzo vs Capablanca 0-137 1902 Havana,C39 King's Gambit Accepted
25. E Corzo vs Capablanca 0-136 1902 Havana casualC10 French
 page 1 of 35; games 1-25 of 857  PGN Download
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 243 OF 243 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-26-14  TheFocus: <The game might be divided into three parts, the opening, the middle-game and the end-game. There is one thing you must strive for, to be equally efficient in the three parts> - Capablanca.
Dec-26-14  TheFocus: <An hour's history of two minds is well told in a game of chess> - Capablanca.
Dec-26-14  TheFocus: <During the course of many years I have observed that a great number of doctors, lawyers, and important businessmen make a habit of visiting a chess club during the late afternoon or evening to relax and find relief from the preoccupations of their work> - Capablanca.
Dec-26-14  TheFocus: <Your Soviet players are cheating, losing the games on purpose to my rival, Botvinnik, in order to increase his points on the score. - (to Stalin in Moscow 1936, where he finished clear 1st, one point ahead of Botvinnik) > - Capablanca.
Dec-26-14  TheFocus: <Ninety percent of the book variations have no great value, because either they contain mistakes or they are based on fallacious assumptions; just forget about the openings and spend all that time on the endings> - Capablanca.
Dec-26-14  TheFocus: <Although the Knight is generally considered to be on a par with the Bishop in strength, the latter piece is somewhat stronger in the majority of cases in which they are opposed to each other> - Capablanca.
Dec-26-14  TheFocus: <People who want to improve should take their defeats as lessons, and endeavor to learn what to avoid in the future. You must also have the courage of your convictions. If you think your move is good, make it> - Capablanca.
Dec-26-14  TheFocus: <Chess is something more than a game. It is an intellectual diversion which has certain artistic qualities and many scientific elements> - Capablanca.
Dec-26-14  Petrosianic: Well, the books are better than they used to be. But even knowing the book lines isn't much help unless you know how to follow them up.

I remember a game years back against a guy. Pretty good player, about 1950. But he played a Goring Gambit, and played the opening moves pretty accurately. But once we were out of the book (as I knew it), he played a really neutral move, like Qc2, that didn't threaten anything specific, and lost time. Right there I felt sure I was going to win the game, because that's just not the way to play it. White's given up a pawn, and has to keep playing sharp moves to keep the pressure on and get something for it. Giving black a breather even for a move is a luxury he just can't afford.

Dec-26-14  TheFocus: <When you sit down to play a game you should think only about the position, but not about the opponent. Whether chess is regarded as a science, or an art, or a sport, all the same psychology bears no relation to it and only stands in the way of real chess> - Capablanca.
Dec-26-14  Jim Bartle: You're describing me exactly, <petrosianic>. Play a book line perfectly for 15 moves, then left without a clue once It runs out.
Dec-26-14  RookFile: A way to handle that is to make your book bigger. That is, play through complete games of whatever you're doing. Certain tactics and endgames come up over and over again.
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <When you sit down to play a game you should think only about the position, but not about the opponent. Whether chess is regarded as a science, or an art, or a sport, all the same psychology bears no relation to it and only stands in the way of real chess> - Capablanca

This is referred to as <playing the board>. I find that it distinguished Capablanca's, and also Fischer's, style. Botvinnik, Smyslov, Kramnik and Anand also play in this style IMO (although with a lower level of accuracy than Capa and Fischer). They tend to aim for the best moves. In Capa's case, if this led to an easy-to-play game for his opponent allowing quick simplification into dead draws, he was OK with it. In marked contrast with Lasker (and perhaps Korchnoi) who played to present as many problems to his opponents and place them in difficult or uncomfortable situations <playing the man>. Other styles: Alekhine, Keres, Tal, Spassky and Kasparov who played to attack; and Petrosian, Karpov, and Carlsen who play to constantly improve their position while disallowing counter-play by their opponents.

<TheFocus> There is a quote I have read somewhere here in CG by Botvinnik that he tried to train Kasparov using Capablanca's games as a standard, but that toward the latter part of his career Kasparov in effect stopped objectively playing the board. I wonder if you have it.

There might also be a quote from Reshevsky a few years before his death that Capablanca was the best player he had ever seen, although I am uncertain of this. In any case, every one who actually saw Capablanca live playing chess seemed to have agreed that he was the best they had ever seen.

IMO the most appropriate quotes on Capa's way of playing chess.

<Capablanca's phenomenal move-searching algorithm in those early years, when he possessed a wonderful ability for calculating variations very rapidly, made him invincible - Mikhail Botvinnik.>

<Capablanca was among the greatest of chess players, but not because of his endgame. His trick was to keep his openings simple, and then play with such brilliance in the middlegame that the game was decided - even though his opponent didn't always know it - before they arrived at the ending - Bobby Fischer.>

And a third one by Euwe (or was it Alekhine?) that claimed that Capablanca's combinations and sacrifices were always correct, which I also can't find anymore.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Excerpt from an interview with Casablanca in 1925 -

One of the interesting revelations made by the champion is that he does not make a habit of polishing up on the game or studying moves in advance of a game. He does not, he said, intend to play any game on his way to Russia. He plays only when he sits down to a board against an adversary, he added, and obtains his chief pleasure from playing in seeing if he cannot, at the right moment, make the right play to win.

“Just as an artist would make the right stroke of his brush at the right moment and in the proper manner to complete his canvas”, is the way Capablanca describes this.

This interview was published in New York World, 25 October 1925

Dec-28-14  1d410: <vbd> I agree about how you said Anand is similar but less accurate than Capablanca. It's hard to imagine Capablanca making those particular blunders against Carlsen in the WCC matches. I think it's because Anand only got where he is with actual computer aid, although that is nothing to be ashamed of.
Dec-28-14  RookFile: Anand's 45. That's all we need to know. He was a worthy champion in his day.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: <1d410> "It's hard to imagine Capablanca making those particular blunders against Carlsen in the WCC matches." Precisely. There is an ease and naturality in Capa's play that reminds one of Reti's phrase about chess being his mother tongue.
Dec-29-14  Petrosianic: <Jim Bartle>: <You're describing me exactly, <petrosianic>. Play a book line perfectly for 15 moves, then left without a clue once It runs out.> I found the game I was talking about, so see what you think of it. I misremembered slightly. There were in fact two neutral moves.

I wasn't really ready for the Goring Gambit, but had looked at it several months earlier. The first 8 moves are all book moves. All I knew after that was the White should play 9. e5 and that 9...Nxe5 was the better move for Black, and 9...dxe5 not as good.

But instead white played 9. h3, taking a move out to defend against Bg4. Then his next move was 10. Qc2, which also threatens nothing. By this time Black has consolidated completely, castled, and still has the gambit pawn. White's playing slow developing moves, as though material were even, which it isn't.

It was after 10. Qc2 that I felt that Black really ought to win and anything less would be a failure. White is out of his book, and playing moves that aren't in the spirit of the position. I'm looking at it in Fritz now, and it only says -0.40, which is far from winning, but I don't agree with the eval. White's got nothing left for the pawn he gave up.

[Event "ACE's Delight for D Players"]
[Site "Austin, TX"]
[Date "1988.04.17"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Blanchard"]
[Black "Cree"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1871"]
[BlackElo "2104"]
[TimeControl "30/90 - 15/30"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. c3 dxc3 5. Nxc3 Bb4 6. Bc4 d6 7. O-O Bxc3 8. bxc3 Nf6 9. h3 O-O 10. Qc2 Qe7 11. Re1 Ne5 12. Nxe5 dxe5 13. Bg5 Be6 14. Bb3 Bxb3 15. axb3 h6 16. Be3 a6 17. b4 Rfd8 18. Qc1 Qe6 19. f3 Rac8 20. Qc2 Rd7 21. Rad1 Rcd8 22. Rxd7 Qxd7 23. Re2 Qd1+ 24. Kf2 Qxc2 25. Rxc2 Kf8 26. Ke2 Ke7 27. Rd2 Rxd2+ 28. Kxd2 Kd6 29. Kd3 Nd7 30. Kc4 h5 31. Bf2 b5+ 32. Kb3 Nb6 33. Bc5+ Ke6 34. Be3 f5 35. exf5+ Kxf5 36. Kc2 h4 37. Kd3 Nd5 38. Bd2 Nf4+ 39. Bxf4 Kxf4 40. Ke2 e4 41. fxe4 Kxe4 42. Kd2 Kf4 43. Ke2 Kg3 44. Kf1 g5 45. Kg1 g4 46. hxg4 Kxg4 47. Kf2 Kf4 48. Ke2 Ke4 49. Kd2 Kd5 50. Ke3 Kc4 51. Kf4 Kxc3 52. Kg4 Kxb4 53. Kxh4 a5 54. g4 a4 55. g5 a3 56. g6 a2 57. g7 a1=Q 58. g8=Q Qh1+ 59. Kg5 Qg1+ 0-1

Dec-30-14  ljfyffe: An opening analysis by Capablanca: 1f4 d5 2e3 g6 3c4 Nf6 4Nc3 Bg7 5Nf3 0-0 6Qb3 dxc4 7Bxc4 Nc6 8Ne5 Nxe5 9fxe5 Nd7 10Bxf7+ Kh8; and if 11d4 e6 12Bxe6 Nxe5! 13dxe5 Bxe5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <The November 1922 <American Chess Bulletin> (page 166) reported that on 10 November Capablanca and his wife had arrived back in New York accompanied by "two genuine Persian kittens." The magazine also stated that "during his spare time Capablanca busies himself with the task of getting together material for his next book, which will contain a collection of 300 of the best games played by Dr. Emanuel Lasker." What a volume that would have been.> Edward Winter, <Capablanca>

I'm not surprised that Capa abandoned the project, if it was ever more than a whim. It sounds far too much like hard work, and I doubt Lasker would have taken kindly to its implicit message: I have beaten you, I now consign your career to history, as I patronise your games with praise, faint or otherwise. I fear if it had appeared, Alekhine might have spent the whole of 1928-29 on the 400 best games of Capablanca...

Mar-15-15  Granny O Doul: Similar to Kasparov's "My Great Predecessors" but with the added hazard of likelily having to face Lasker again.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Capablanca vs M Bain, 1933 is what I thought was Capa's only defeat by a woman, but here's another:

<Capablanca gave a simultaneous exhibition at the Manhattan Chess Club last week against 33 opponents, winning 30, drawing 2, and losing 1. The only winner against the youthful master was Senorita Lupe Requena, the daughter of the well known Mexican amateur who has been making his home in New York for the past two years.>

According to <The Unknown Capablanca>, this simul took place on the 11th January, 1916. I've submitted the score, but if you can't wait:

Was anyone aware of this game? Could it have been lost all this time? Did not the score appear in a better known publication than <The Chess Times>?

The defeat is mentioned in this chess column from the <New Zealand Herald> (; it cites the <Brooklyn Daily Eagle>, but I can't find any mention of such a report in that paper's online archives. But Miss Requena has one more surprise - she beat Boris Kostic, to boot:

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <> has 835 individual Capa games, whereas <> has 1194 (not far short of the reported 1200+ scores in Rogelio Caparros' 1991 collection).

Such a shortfall compares very unfavourably with both Alekhine (cg's 1961 vs. 365's 2007) and Lasker (cg's 1107 vs. 365's 1067).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karne: Miss Scarlett is not only an asset to society, but a benefit to many chessplaying men. On a side note, I would like to add that Capablanca is among the greatest natural talents to ever descend from the fictional heavens!
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The downside of such fame are the stalkers.
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