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Jose Raul Capablanca
Number of games in database: 818
Years covered: 1893 to 1940
Overall record: +375 -47 =265 (73.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      131 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (69) 
    C66 C88 C83 C62 C63
 Orthodox Defense (58) 
    D63 D51 D52 D64 D61
 Queen's Gambit Declined (45) 
    D30 D31 D37 D38
 Queen's Pawn Game (32) 
    D02 D00 D04 D05 A50
 French Defense (28) 
    C12 C01 C11 C14 C00
 Nimzo Indian (22) 
    E34 E38 E22 E33 E35
With the Black pieces:
 Orthodox Defense (52) 
    D67 D53 D64 D63 D51
 Ruy Lopez (44) 
    C66 C77 C73 C88 C72
 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)
   New York Masters (1915)
   Rice Memorial (1916)
   American National (1913)
   New York (1918)
   Hastings (1919)
   New York (1927)
   London (1922)
   Moscow (1936)
   Havana (1913)
   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
   "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
   Chess World Champion Nr. 3: Capablanca by Olanovich
   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) 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, Liden, Middleburg, Hauge, 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 33; games 1-25 of 818  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. R Iglesias vs Capablanca 0-138 1893 Odds game000 Chess variants
2. Capablanca vs J Corzo 0-129 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC47 Four Knights
3. J Corzo vs Capablanca 1-041 1901 Havana casualB01 Scandinavian
4. J Corzo vs Capablanca ½-½40 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC67 Ruy Lopez
5. Capablanca vs J Corzo 0-160 1901 Havana casualC45 Scotch Game
6. Capablanca vs E Corzo 0-130 1901 Havana casualC40 King's Knight Opening
7. J A Blanco vs Capablanca 0-177 1901 Habana (Cuba)C55 Two Knights Defense
8. J Corzo vs Capablanca ½-½20 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC25 Vienna
9. Capablanca vs J Corzo ½-½61 1901 Capablanca - CorzoA80 Dutch
10. A Ettlinger vs Capablanca 0-153 1901 Havana casualC45 Scotch Game
11. A Fiol vs Capablanca 0-136 1901 Habana (Cuba)C55 Two Knights Defense
12. Capablanca vs J Corzo ½-½49 1901 Capablanca - CorzoD00 Queen's Pawn Game
13. Capablanca vs J Corzo 1-059 1901 Capablanca - CorzoA83 Dutch, Staunton Gambit
14. Capablanca vs M Sterling  1-030 1901 HavanaC01 French, Exchange
15. J Corzo vs Capablanca 1-027 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC52 Evans Gambit
16. J Corzo vs Capablanca 0-168 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC49 Four Knights
17. Capablanca vs J Corzo ½-½28 1901 Capablanca - CorzoA83 Dutch, Staunton Gambit
18. M Sterling vs Capablanca  ½-½50 1901 HavanaC77 Ruy Lopez
19. J Corzo vs Capablanca ½-½41 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC42 Petrov Defense
20. Capablanca vs E Corzo 1-042 1901 Havana casualC40 King's Knight Opening
21. Capablanca vs J Corzo 1-060 1901 Capablanca - CorzoD02 Queen's Pawn Game
22. Capablanca vs J Corzo 0-146 1901 Capablanca - CorzoA80 Dutch
23. J Corzo vs Capablanca 0-126 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC25 Vienna
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 33; games 1-25 of 818  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Capablanca wins | Capablanca loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 235 OF 235 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-02-14  tzar: <devere:> The problem is that before this strait wins Fischer had been more than 10 years playing with no real superiority over the best (and even with very bad results against some of them i.e. Spassky). Meanwhile, Capa was at least until 1927 a super genius thousands of miles ahead of everybody in classical and in blitz (I think only Lasker was in his league but with a severe age difference handicap). Anyway, I prefer Fischer than Capablanca as a player, because I enjoy more his games and style.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Dr. Emanuel Lasker, Berlin, January 8, 1912:

<Der Brief Capablancas ist ein Dokument für die Bewertung seines Charakters. Der Kubaner ist grob und er kämpft erbittert für seine Interessen, ohne in Rechnung zu ziehen, was er dem Gegner schuldig sein mag. Man findet in dem Briefe mancherlei Anzeichen, daß er dem Unparteiischen, dem Schatzmeister, dem Turnierleiter von vornherein mißtraut. Dagegen findet sich keine Spur einer liebenswürdigen Schwäche noch eines ideellen Strebens.>

(Capablanca's letter is a document for the evaluation of his character. The Cuban is abrasive, and sometimes insulting in his wording, and he fights acrimoniously for his interests, without taking into account what he may be owing to the opponent. One can find in the letter various signs that he mistrusts the arbiter, the treasurer, the tournament director from the outset. On the other hand, there is neither a sign of an amicable weakness, nor of an ideational aspiration.)

Source: 'Pester Lloyd', 1912.01.14, page 9

Mar-05-14  RedShield: Capa met three future opponents in simuls BTWF (before they were famous): Reti, Botvinnik and Fine (albeit as part of a 4-man team), drawing the first and losing the other two.

Not many other examples of this type spring to mind.

Steinitz vs Pillsbury, 1892 But this took place shortly after the two had played an odds match.

Alekhine vs Dake, 1929

Fischer vs C Garcia Palermo, 1970

As a Young Pioneer, in 1974 and 1975, Kasparov played several GMs in clock simuls, including Karpov, Tal and Korchnoi. Many other future Soviet GMs must have had similar experiences.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <RedShield> This was from a clock simul.

Reti vs Lasker, 1908

Mar-05-14  RedShield: Petrosian vs Flohr, 1942

These presumably were simuls:

Korchnoi vs Spassky, 1948

Korchnoi vs Spassky, 1949

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Say, how about

Petrosian vs Short, 1978

Some guy named WMD once posted

Korchnoi vs Short, 1976

Mar-07-14  SpiritedReposte: "Sir, if you could beat me I would know you."- Capablanca. BOSS quote.
Mar-08-14  Khapablanca: Karpov with flowers in Capablanca's Graveyard in Cuba.

Descansa en paz, Campeon.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Dr. Emanuel Lasker, Berlin, February 13, on American National (1913):

<Die Partien Capablancas gegen die schwächeren Konkurrenten geben Einblick in seinen Stil. Danach scheint er sich insbesondere durch praktische Erwägungen leiten zu lassen. Es scheint, daß er in einer guten Position nicht den stärksten Zug sucht, sondern den sichersten, vorausgesetzt, daß er dabei seinen Vorteil wahrt. Ob diese Strategie ihren Ursprung darin hat, daß er seine Gegner richtig einschätzt und demzufolge mühelos wie gefahrlos zu gewinnen versteht; oder ob sie auf einem innerlichen Bedürfnisse beruht, erst anzugreifen, nachdem alle Kraft methodisch ins Treffen gebracht worden ist; oder schließlich, ob er die Sicherheit über Gebühr einschätzt, sind Fragen, die man noch nicht beantworten kann. Er selbst vermutlich wäre am wenigsten geeignet, sie zu entscheiden.>

(The games of Capablanca against the weaker competitors deliver insight into his style. Accordingly he appears to let himself be guided particularly by practical considerations. It seems that in a good position, he doesn't look for the strongest move, but the safest one, provided that he keeps his advantage. If this strategy has its origin in him correctly assessing his opponents and hence knows how to win effortlessly and hazard-free; or if it is based on an inner need, to attack only, after all force has been methodically brought to the fore; or finally if he values the safety excessively, are questions one cannot answer yet. He himself would probably the least suited to decide them.)

Source: 'Pester Lloyd', 1913.02.16, p. 9

Capablanca vs H Liebenstein, 1913 is cited as an example.

Mar-09-14  RookFile: An interesting quote from Lasker. Maybe a little bit of psychological gamesmanship. In other words, Lasker may have been hoping to bait Capa into slugging it out tactically with him when they would play.
Mar-16-14  Everett: From the profile, I had not realized just how many simuls Capablanca gave. Great ambassador for the sport.
Mar-29-14  RedShield: Recent discovery reveals unknown talent of the Cuban master - ventriloquist:

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Lasker vs Capablanca, 1914

It looks unbelievable but as far as I can glean from CG games, this is the only Black loss of Capablanca in a classical game Ruy Lopez. And when playing White in a Ruy, Capablanca never lost a classical game at all in his entire career.

Does anyone know of any more Capablanca losses in the Ruy Lopez? (classical games only, not simuls or quick games)

Apr-22-14  RookFile: I think visayanbraindoctor has a terrific point. Looked at it from the black side, to the best of my knowledge the Lasker loss is the only time he lost with black in a Ruy in his career. (Under the criteria mentioned, a simul loss to Vasiliev does not count). Didn't check into the white side.
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <RookFile: to the best of my knowledge the Lasker loss is the only time he lost with black in a Ruy in his career.>

In his unbeaten run from 1916 to 1924, did Capa ever get himself into a lost position?

Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: @<visayanbraindoctor>

There is a little book by Görschen, Capablancas Verlustpartien. It lists 3 games as "almost" lost in the said time period. Of course, it is debatable but here are the games:

Capablanca vs B Kostic, 1919

J S Morrison vs Capablanca, 1922

Capablanca vs Tartakower, 1922

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <john barleycorn: book by Görschen, Capablancas Verlustpartien. It lists 3 games as "almost" lost in the said time period.>

Thanks for the info.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: It seems it me that Capa took some risks in those games.

I think Capablanca came closest to losing in Capablanca vs B Kostic, 1919. Yet he isn't definitively losing in any of the games. With best play, his opponents could have achieved a large advantage, but that's different from clearly winning positions.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: A thought. Chess achievements, like most achievements in any field, look most spectacular when they are freshest, closest to us in time, and especially when we are witnesses to them in real time. For that reason, Carlsen's recent triumphs are subjectively the most spectacular to most chess fans. Most chess fans today were also witness to Kasparov's conquests, but it's a little farther back in time, more faded in our memories. (If the reverse were true and Carlsen was active in the 1980s and 1990s, while GKK is active and walloping everyone today with his gloriously brilliant attacks, GKK's victories would look more spectacular.) Still farther back, fewer people remember Karpov steamrolling everyone in the 1970s and 1980s, in a quite similar style Carlsen evinces in beating everyone today. And I don't know how many chess fans today are witnesses to Fischer's machine-like run in 1970 to 1971. None are now alive to have personally seen Capablanca in his prime playing like a computer and with unsurpassed rapidity.

In my mind, all human chess achievements are in the realm of the reasonable and believable, including those recent ones of Karpov, Kasparov, and Carlsen. Yet there are only two chess events that I would personally find unbelievable, were they not well documented. One is Fischer's 20 consecutive wins in his 1970 - 1971 run, which included games from an Interzonal and three Candidates matches. The other is the rapidity of Capablanca's play (see notes in J Corzo vs Capablanca, 1901) and his 1916 to 1924 unbeaten run, which included a world championship match against one of the all time greats of chess history, and apparently done without incurring a single definitively losing position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: < visayanbraindoctor: It seems it me that Capa took some risks in those games.

I think Capablanca came closest to losing in Capablanca vs B Kostic, 1919>

Capablanca included that game against Kostic in his book "My Chess Career" as an example where he played a move that did not fit his opponents mental disposition and chess understanding but would have caused troubles to him (Capablanca) if Kostic had played the position objectively. Other examples where Capablanca exploited his opponents chessical limitations are some of his games with Nimzowitsch, imo.

Regarding achievements in chess and proper appreciation of those, I would like to give a couple of games to the "experts". No player name, year or result given, and no engine allowed. Thus thrown to their own resources I would bet that at least 80% of the analysis would be classified as "utter crap" in the words of Tony Miles.

May-16-14  Capacorn: <john barleycorn: Regarding achievements in chess and proper appreciation of those, I would like to give a couple of games to the "experts". No player name, year or result given, and no engine allowed. Thus thrown to their own resources I would bet that at least 80% of the analysis would be classified as "utter crap" in the words of Tony Miles.>

lmao Thanks for the laugh, john. I agree. Hindsight is 20/20, especially when aided by a computer. It's great to analyze for the sake of entertainment and learning, but it never ceases to amuse me how presumptuous the critics can be. Some people feel better about themselves when they find flaws in others. I wonder how the accuracy of Capa's play would compare to that of your garden variety 2014 GM, let alone that of your common patzer.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <visayanbraindoctor: A thought. Chess achievements, like most achievements in any field, look most spectacular when they are freshest, closest to us in time, and especially when we are witnesses to them in real time....>

This is why so many followers jump on the bandwagon and lionise the latest player to defeat Carlsen, proclaim him the next pretender to the throne, ad nauseam.

<Most chess fans today were also witness to Kasparov's conquests, but it's a little farther back in time, more faded in our memories. (If the reverse were true and Carlsen was active in the 1980s and 1990s, while GKK is active and walloping everyone today with his gloriously brilliant attacks, GKK's victories would look more spectacular.) Still farther back, fewer people remember Karpov steamrolling everyone in the 1970s and 1980s, in a quite similar style Carlsen evinces in beating everyone today....>

On this site, I have read innumerable posts which denigrate the merits of Karpov, for reasons not entirely dissimilar to those which lambaste Carlsen for lacking the éclat of Kasparov.

Karpov was the goods as world champion--he dominated tournament play as no titleholder had since the days of Alekhine.

<.....And I don't know how many chess fans today are witnesses to Fischer's machine-like run in 1970 to 1971.>

Learnt to play during this period, but only recall reading of all this after Reykjavik was in the books and he vanished into the mists of seclusion.

May-16-14  RedShield: Would it be presumptuous to enquire as to the identities of said critics?
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Don't know the validity of the following - but a good story for the folklore at the very least:

<I related one of the stories, well known in Russia about Capablanca. He was then the Champion of the World, but the king, as is known, is played not by the king, but by his retinue. In Russia, apart from a retinue, Capablanca had devoted subjects and enthusiastic female admirers. During the First International Tournament in Moscow in 1925 a pretty cigarette sales-girl bowed to him and he invited her to have dinner with him in his hotel room.

'There is no way I can do that', answered the girl, 'it is nearly the end of the day, and I have hardly sold anything.'

'In that case I will buy everything that you have!'

'What do you mean, everything?'

'The whole tray.'

The following morning the non-smoking Capablanca phoned the hotel porter. 'Take this stuff out of my room.' For a long time after that, the porter sold at a high price the cigarettes of Mr Capablanca...'>

Russian Silhouettes (3e 2009) p107

As you might guess, cigarettes, and ennui, are mentioned often in the book.

Jul-02-14  Wyatt Gwyon: Just saw this video of Capablanca and Euwe for the first time.

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