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Jose Raul Capablanca
Number of games in database: 1,024
Years covered: 1893 to 1941
Overall record: +374 -45 =262 (74.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      343 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (124) 
    C66 C78 C62 C64 C88
 Orthodox Defense (73) 
    D63 D51 D52 D50 D64
 Queen's Gambit Declined (58) 
    D30 D31 D37 D38
 Queen's Pawn Game (41) 
    D02 D00 D05 D04 A50
 French Defense (40) 
    C12 C01 C11 C14 C10
 Four Knights (28) 
    C49 C48 C47
With the Black pieces:
 Orthodox Defense (54) 
    D67 D53 D64 D63 D51
 Ruy Lopez (47) 
    C66 C77 C72 C68 C73
 Queen's Pawn Game (38) 
    A46 D02 D00 D05 E10
 Nimzo Indian (19) 
    E24 E34 E23 E40 E37
 Queen's Indian (18) 
    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
   Capablanca vs M Fonaroff, 1918 1-0
   Lasker vs Capablanca, 1921 0-1
   Capablanca vs J Corzo, 1901 1-0
   Capablanca vs NN, 1918 1-0
   Capablanca vs Spielmann, 1927 1-0

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)
   New York Masters (1915)
   American National (1913)
   New York (1918)
   Hastings (1919)
   London (1922)
   New York (1927)
   Moscow (1936)
   New York Masters (1911)
   St Petersburg (1914)
   Havana (1913)
   New York (1924)
   Karlsbad (1929)
   Moscow (1925)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Capablanca plays the world.... by MissScarlett
   Capablanca! by chocobonbon
   Match Capablanca! by amadeus
   Jose Raul Capablanca's Best Games by KingG
   Delicatessen by Gottschalk
   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
   Capa, Rubinstein & Schlecter Games by fredthebear
   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
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1920-1939 (Part 2) by Anatoly21

   Lasker vs Capablanca, 1921
   Capablanca vs Lasker, 1921
   Lasker vs Schlechter, 1910
   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 41; games 1-25 of 1,024  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. R Iglesias vs Capablanca 0-138 1893 Odds game000 Chess variants
2. Capablanca vs E Corzo 1-042 1901 Havana casualC40 King's Knight Opening
3. J Corzo vs Capablanca ½-½41 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC42 Petrov Defense
4. Capablanca vs J Corzo 0-146 1901 Capablanca - CorzoA80 Dutch
5. Capablanca vs J Corzo 1-060 1901 Capablanca - CorzoD02 Queen's Pawn Game
6. J Corzo vs Capablanca 1-041 1901 Havana casualB01 Scandinavian
7. J Corzo vs Capablanca 0-126 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC25 Vienna
8. Capablanca vs J Corzo 0-129 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC47 Four Knights
9. J Corzo vs Capablanca ½-½40 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC67 Ruy Lopez
10. Capablanca vs J Corzo 0-160 1901 Havana casualC45 Scotch Game
11. Capablanca vs E Corzo 0-130 1901 Havana casualC40 King's Knight Opening
12. J A Blanco vs Capablanca 0-177 1901 Habana (Cuba)C55 Two Knights Defense
13. J Corzo vs Capablanca ½-½20 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC25 Vienna
14. A Ettlinger vs Capablanca 0-153 1901 Havana casualC45 Scotch Game
15. Capablanca vs J Corzo ½-½61 1901 Capablanca - CorzoA80 Dutch
16. A Fiol vs Capablanca 0-136 1901 Habana (Cuba)C55 Two Knights Defense
17. Capablanca vs J Corzo ½-½49 1901 Capablanca - CorzoD00 Queen's Pawn Game
18. Capablanca vs J Corzo 1-059 1901 Capablanca - CorzoA83 Dutch, Staunton Gambit
19. Capablanca vs M Sterling 1-030 1901 HavanaC01 French, Exchange
20. J Corzo vs Capablanca 1-027 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC52 Evans Gambit
21. J Corzo vs Capablanca 0-168 1901 Capablanca - CorzoC49 Four Knights
22. Capablanca vs J Corzo ½-½28 1901 Capablanca - CorzoA83 Dutch, Staunton Gambit
23. M Sterling vs Capablanca ½-½50 1901 HavanaC77 Ruy Lopez
24. Capablanca vs E Corzo 1-033 1902 HavanaC60 Ruy Lopez
25. M Sterling vs Capablanca ½-½36 1902 HavanaA83 Dutch, Staunton Gambit
 page 1 of 41; games 1-25 of 1,024  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 246 OF 246 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <A recorded game of chess is a story in symbols, relating in cipher the struggle of two intellects; a story with a real plot, a beginning, a middle, and an end, in which the harmonies of time and place are scrupulously observed; the fickleness of fortune is illustrated; the smiles of the prosperous, the struggles of adversity, the change that comes over the two; the plans suggested by one, spoiled by the tactics of the other - the lures, the wiles, the fierce onset, the final victory. An hour's history of two minds is well told in a game of chess> - Jose Capablanca.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Chess was Capablanca’s mother tongue> - Richard Reti.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <The outcome of [Nimzowitch's] discourteous remark was a series of quick games for a side bet, which I won with ridiculous ease, and ended by his retracting the statement he had previously made. Many more of these games were played, until all the masters agreed that I had no equal at this kind of chess. >

--- Capablanca

What was the discourteous remark referenced in today's QOTD?

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <If that's not your answer, I give up, and I'd like to know who were the pair of close relatives with wins against Capablanca (besides the Corzos).>

Louis Jacob Wolff and his brother Charles A Wolff

Jun-05-15  beatgiant: <MissScarlett>
Thanks for clearing that up.

Not exactly <a pair of unknown amateurs in a simul> as I suggested above, but perhaps at least pair of <nearly forgotten club players> in <casual games>? Certainly on hearing this answer, I did not think <ah, of course, those games by the Wolff brothers!>

Also, notwithstanding the popular mythos of the 4-year-old Capablanca learning chess untaught and beating his father in his first game, I do find it hard to believe no two members of his own family ever beat him in the first few years since he started playing. If he were really so much better than them, wouldn't they start taking odds?

So if this were an exam at school, I'd be grubbing for partial credit now....

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: You got a credit for the <Corzos>. Don't beg!

Louis Wolff was a team-mate of Capa's at Columbia.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: A longer version of the QOTD:

<Nimzowitch, who considered himself very superior to me and others in the tournament, became very arrogant during the course of one of his lightning games against Bernstein, saying, because of a remark that I made, that I should not interfere in their game, as they were reputed masters and I had yet to become one. The outcome of his discourteous remark was a series of quick games for a side bet, which I won with ridiculous ease, and ended by his retracting the statement he had previously made. Many more of these games were played, until all the masters agreed that I had no equal at this kind of chess. >

This was prior to the San Sebastian (1911) tournament. The organizers of the tournament originally did not intend to invite Capablanca at all, but Marshall had campaigned to have him invited on the basis of Capablanca's victory in their 1909 match. Nimzowitsch and many other European masters thought this was bogus, and that Capablanca was not a "real" master.

Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Hope Nimzo enjoyed the 10 minutes where he thought he was stronger than Capa. For the rest of his career, Capa would routinely slap him around.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <Casissanist> Thank you!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: In 1912, Capablanca played two matches simultaneously against leading New York masters Charles Jaffe and Oscar Chajes

Chajes lost his first game and no further games were played. Jaffe achieved one draw and then lost the final two games.

Capablanca ½ 1 1 = 2½
Jaffe..........½ 0 0 = ½

"Delay for Capablanca.

Another delay in the series of exhibition match games to be played by Jose R. Capablattca against Charles Jaffe and Oscar Chajes has been necessitated through the postponement of the Cuban champion's return to New York. Capablanca, who had been expected back yesterday, is detained in Havana in connection with the business of the New York Havana tournament and will not reach here for another week. A cablegram to this effect was received yesterday by his manager, F. D. Rosebault, who forthwith gave out a new schedule of dates for the games in question, as follows:

October 18 — Capablanca vs. Jaffe, at the Cafe Monopol.

October 19 — Capablanca vs. Jaffe at the Rice Chess Club.

October 20 — Capablanca vs. Chajes at the Rice Chess Club.

October 21 — Capablanca vs. Chajes at the Brownsville Chess Club.

October 22 — Capablanca vs. Chajes at the Cafe Monopol.

October 23 — Capablanca vs. Jaffe (place to be announced)." [1]

The actual match dates appear to have been:

October 21 — Capablanca vs. Chajes

October 18 — Jaffe vs. Capablanca
October 23 — Capablanca vs. Jaffe
November 9 — Jaffe vs. Capablanca [2]

The Cafe Monopol was one of the locations for the Game Collection: New York 1913 (Quadrangular), and appears to have been on Second Avenue and 9th Street, New York.[3]

[1] "The Brooklyn Daily Eagle", 10th October 1912, p.3 [2] "Jose Raul Capablanca. Games 1901 - 1926"
[3] "American Showman: Samuel "Roxy" Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment", Ross Melnick, p.136. Columbia University Press.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Chessical: In 1912, Capablanca played two matches simultaneously against leading New York masters Charles Jaffe and Oscar Chajes...>

Incredible; as if these two chess twins, Chajes and Jaffe, were not inseperable enough - now I find that Capa played them simultaneously! Perhaps he thought it was one person?

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Has anyone seen <José Raúl Capablanca: A Chess Biography By Miguel A. Sánchez>? What are the reviews like?
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <A book just received, José Raúl Capablanca. A Chess Biography by Miguel A. Sánchez (Jefferson, 2015), provides a dramatic illustration of how chess scholarship has developed, in some fields, since the 1970s.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Apr-05-15
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).>

There are now 938 Capa games, 1981 for Alekhine and 1120 for Lasker. More importantly, though, is that the quality and accuracy of the game information is markedly superior and will only improve. Just think how furious Edward Winter's going to become over the next few years!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: You can read the first 54 pages of José Raúl Capablanca: A Chess Biography By Miguel A. Sánchez at Google:
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The Washington Herald, December 3rd 1911, Society Section, Page 12:

<Paris, Dec. 2 - Senor Capablanca, the young Cuban chess champion, accomplished a remarkable feat in simultaneous chess playing at the Automobile Club of France. Against him were pitted forty of the best players in Paris, and in the hollow square formed by their tables Senor Capablanca moved from one adversary to another, playing with a rapidity and a skill that were simply admirable.

In this extraordinary tournament Senor Capablanca lost only one game and won thirty-seven, two being drawn. The winner of the single game lost by the champion was M. Basile S. Samsonoff, a young law student.>

This simul took place on November 12th.

<Basile Samsonoff is a minor member of the Lausanne School of Economics, author of a dissertation entitled ‘Esquisse d'une théorie générale de la rente’ (1912). He was one of three students, the others being Marie Kolabinska and Pierre Boven, who obtained their doctoral degrees at the University of Lausanne under the supervision of Vilfredo Pareto. After obtaining his degree in Lausanne, Samsonoff went back home to Russia, where he continued his economic research and what already promised to be a brilliant academic career. In 1914, however, he was enrolled in World War I, and he died at the front in 1917, not yet 30 years old.


On Samsonoff's life in Lausanne, it is only known that he played chess. He was a regular member of the Club d'echecs de Lausanne. He won the tenth tournament of the club in 1910. And he was the organizer of the twenty-second Swiss Chess Championship, which was held in July 1912 in Lausanne. The Championship was 'well-organized', and Samsonoff arrived at the fourth rank ex-aqueo.>

Sep-22-15  gabriel25: beatgiant, I think i remember reading the story of his learning the game by watchin his father from his book "My Chess Carreer" and also remember his telling his father that his winning the game had been because he had cheated moving a knight, and then proceeding to beat him him in a game. Its many yeas since I read it, 73 to 75, so i may be wrong about the game but not about his learning.
Oct-02-15  machuelo: Mr Focus, from where is the quote of Capablanca about chess and science. It is also from the Charleston Gazette, or from Moscow 1925?
Oct-28-15  gabriel25: I have a strange and paradoxic anecdote about Capablanca.

I have friend who is a niece of Capablanca and acording the way of spanish names, it is her second last name and it used to get mentioned fairly often.

One day she comes and tells me, perhaps you know something abut this. Every time I say my name,it causes people to talk to each other, it not normal.

Don't you knw that Capablanca was Chess Champion of the World and that many people consider him the best player ever. This was 1963,64.

Then she says "Do you mean to tell me that that crazy uncle who played games (Capa used to play billiards and bridge) was somebody important?"

That is verbatim. It was told to me. Parentesis mine to clear a liitle.

Nov-19-15  Reyzorsharp: Happy Birthday to Jose Raul Capablanca! The Human Chess Machine!
Nov-19-15  Fiona Macleod: Something's off with the story. For it suggests that the niece's own close relatives (like his parents) had neglected to tell her how famous and important Capa was.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy Birthday, Chess Machine!
Nov-20-15  PJs Studio: Gabriel, who does she think she is calling her uncle crazy? I hope you put her in her place?
Nov-20-15  PJs Studio: Fiona does have a point. Capablanca was a darling in the NY social scene, certainly not crazy or even irreverent. He was beloved by his friends.
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  Jonathan Sarfati: <visayanbraindoctor>, I had a chance to read the appendix in the Sanchez bio about Capa's death, written by neurologist Dr Orlando Hernández-Meilán.This was based on reading the autopsy. I am no medical doctor, but it seems like your own analysis was right. I'll try to summarize the report:

Massive hemorrage in the right hemisphere that paralyzed his left face, left side, with the left pupil dilated and unresponsive to light. Right thalamus almost totally destroyed, with some pieces in the anterior horn of the right lateral ventricle. Where the thalamus was, there was a hematoma 5 cm wide and 5 cm high. The whole ventricular system was flooded with blood, as was the cisterna magna. On the brain surface, CSF was bloody, the gyri flattened, and sulci and fissures narrowed.

Enlarged heart, 575 g, including 3 cm hypertrophy of left ventricle wall, which had a number of subendiocardial hemorrages. Coronary arteries were sclerotic with a little mild narrowing.

A benign tumour and some cysts in kidney. "The other viscera and organs revealed marked arteriosclerrotic changes which included the small seminal vesicles." Leiomyoma on jejunum.

Dr Hernández-Meilán concludes that Capablanca's hemorragic stroke would have been lethal even if the best 21st-century medical treatments had been available.

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