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Jose Raul Capablanca
Number of games in database: 1,154
Years covered: 1893 to 1941

Overall record: +375 -46 =265 (74.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 468 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (147) 
    C66 C78 C84 C62 C64
 Orthodox Defense (79) 
    D63 D51 D52 D50 D67
 Queen's Gambit Declined (66) 
    D30 D37 D31 D06 D38
 Queen's Pawn Game (50) 
    D02 D00 D05 D04 A46
 French Defense (46) 
    C12 C01 C11 C14 C15
 Four Knights (35) 
    C49 C48
With the Black pieces:
 Orthodox Defense (53) 
    D63 D67 D53 D51 D64
 Ruy Lopez (52) 
    C72 C66 C77 C68 C73
 Queen's Pawn Game (39) 
    A46 D00 D02 D05 E10
 Nimzo Indian (19) 
    E34 E24 E40 E37 E23
 French Defense (19) 
    C01 C12 C15 C09 C11
 Caro-Kann (19) 
    B13 B18 B15 B12 B10
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 M Fonaroff, 1918 1-0
   Lasker vs Capablanca, 1921 0-1
   Capablanca vs K Treybal, 1929 1-0
   Capablanca vs J Corzo, 1901 1-0
   Marshall vs Capablanca, 1909 0-1
   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)
   New York Masters (1915)
   New York (1918)
   American National (1913)
   Hastings (1919)
   London (1922)
   New York (1927)
   Budapest (1929)
   New York Masters (1911)
   Havana (1913)
   St. Petersburg (1914)
   New York (1924)
   Karlsbad (1929)
   Moscow (1925)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Capablanca! by chocobonbon
   Capablanca! by Sven W
   Capa.blanca by fredthebear
   Match Capablanca! by amadeus
   Capablanca plays the world... (II) by MissScarlett
   Jose Raul Capablanca's Best Games by dcruggeroli
   Jose Raul Capablanca's Best Games by KingG
   Jose Raul Capablanca's Best Games by ADopeAlias
   Immortal Games of Capablanca, F. Reinfeld by demirchess
   Immortal Games of Capablanca, F. Reinfeld by Incremental
   Immortal Games of Capablanca, F. Reinfeld by mjk
   Delicatessen by Gottschalk
   Capablanca's Best Games (Golombek) by Chessdreamer
   Capablanca's Best Games (Golombek) by Incremental

   Lasker vs Capablanca, 1921
   Capablanca vs Lasker, 1921
   Capablanca vs Lasker, 1921
   Lasker vs Schlechter, 1910
   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 47; games 1-25 of 1,154  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. R Iglesias vs Capablanca 0-1381893Odds game000 Chess variants
2. Capablanca vs E Delmonte 1-0181901Match-seriesB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
3. Leon Paredes vs Capablanca 0-1451901Match-seriesC44 King's Pawn Game
4. Capablanca vs E Corzo 1-0351901Match-seriesC67 Ruy Lopez
5. Capablanca vs A Fiol  ½-½491901Match-seriesC45 Scotch Game
6. J Corzo vs Capablanca 1-0411901Havana casualB01 Scandinavian
7. A Gavilan vs Capablanca 0-1391901Match-seriesC45 Scotch Game
8. A Ettlinger vs Capablanca 0-1531901Havana casualC45 Scotch Game
9. Capablanca vs M Marceau 1-0311901Match-seriesC45 Scotch Game
10. M M Sterling vs Capablanca ½-½501901HavanaC77 Ruy Lopez
11. Capablanca vs J A Blanco 1-0491901Match-seriesC45 Scotch Game
12. E Delmonte vs Capablanca 0-1321901Match-seriesD00 Queen's Pawn Game
13. Capablanca vs Leon Paredes 1-0291901Match-seriesC02 French, Advance
14. E Corzo vs Capablanca 1-0321901Match-seriesC11 French
15. Capablanca vs J Corzo 0-1601901Havana casualC45 Scotch Game
16. A Fiol vs Capablanca 0-1361901Habana (Cuba)C55 Two Knights Defense
17. Capablanca vs A Gavilan 1-0771901Match-seriesC01 French, Exchange
18. Capablanca vs M M Sterling 1-0301901HavanaC01 French, Exchange
19. Capablanca vs E Corzo 0-1301901Havana casualC40 King's Knight Opening
20. Capablanca vs E Corzo 1-0421901Havana casualC40 King's Knight Opening
21. J A Blanco vs Capablanca 0-1771901Habana (Cuba)C55 Two Knights Defense
22. Capablanca vs C Echevarria 1-0491901Simul, 8bC44 King's Pawn Game
23. Capablanca vs J Corzo 0-1291901Capablanca - CorzoC45 Scotch Game
24. J Corzo vs Capablanca 1-0271901Capablanca - CorzoC52 Evans Gambit
25. Capablanca vs J Corzo ½-½611901Capablanca - CorzoA80 Dutch
 page 1 of 47; games 1-25 of 1,154  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 256 OF 260 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-19-17  Nosnibor: <OhioChessFan> The book you are referring to came out in 2004 and is riddled with factual errors which I got in touch with the publishers without receiving a response. Here are some of the errors that I wrote about :- page 10 Fisher won the Stockholm Interzonal in 1962 and not 1958. page 117 does not state what color Robert Byrne was. page 133 States that Fischer came first in the Capablanca Memorial Tournament ,1962 when in fact he was second equal behind Smyslov. page 166 In the notes to the game versus Stein the British master referred to was John Littlewood and not his son Paul ! page 181 (not actually inserted ) states that Fischer defeated Petrosian in their Candidates match by 5 wins ,3 draws and 1 loss when it shoud have read 3 wins and not 5. page 188 Petrosian defeated Bottvinnik to win the World title in 1963 and not 1966. (phew!) In my opinion one gets the impression that no proof reading or fact checks were carried out.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: Fischer did win 5 games in his match with Petrosian.
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Howard: This may be a somewhat picky point, but one would suspect that for the last four years Capa was alive, he may have had to struggle to beat Euwe in a match. After all, the Dutchman finished a point ahead of him at AVRO 1938, plus he was also more than ten years younger than the Cuban.>

I agree, for the year 1938. IMO Capablanca would have lost to Euwe in a match. Specifically I believe that he had a stroke during the AVRO tournament, based on the account he himself relates. Which also explains why he played so badly, even according to himself. (There are loads of discussions on this several scrolls up this player page.)

I've gone over his games in the 1939 Olympiad, and he seems to have recovered somewhat, although still prone to mind slips that rarely occurred during his heyday in the 1911 to 1922 period. See for example Capablanca vs T van Scheltinga, 1939

Capa himself says <In the opening......I had a moment of mental forgetfulness and omitted to play an elementary move; as a result, for a long time I was unable to mobilize my king's rook and knight or to castle> The manner in which he recovered to win though recalls his best days and games. (See my notes there.)

In the 1939 Olympiad, although Capablanca performed excellently, AAA still outdid him over-all. BTW Keres who was to beat Euwe in a proto Challenger's match Euwe - Keres (1939/40) later that year turned in what seems to have been the third best performance just behind Alekhine and Capablanca. Thus IMO Capa would probably have beaten Euwe had they played a match in 1939.

Yes Capa had somewhat recovered but IMO he would probably have still lost to Alekhine anytime after 1937. Being free of strokes, AAA actually began to play increasingly strong chess after 1938 and reached a second wind peak (which seems to be a common phenomenon among relatively healthy chess players) in 1942/1943. AAA's games in 1942-1943 are a marvel that recalls his first peak in the 1927-1934 period.

Nov-19-17  RookFile: Yeah, AVRO was a poorly organized tournament, and a lot of travel was involved, which hurt the older players like Capa and Alekhine. It's true that Capa's health was going. Speaking of those last 4 years of Capa's life, if it was just a 12 game match and Capa could get sufficient rest, I'd still favor Capa. A longer match might allow Euwe to take advantage of his greater physical strength.
Nov-20-17  Jean Defuse: ...

Ken Whyld Q&Q, No. 5371:

Jean Raoux, Swiss-born, moved to Brighton as a young man and won the Sussex championship in 1914, when in his mid-20s. In 1920 he was champion of Kent. His son, Maurice, has the score sheet of an informal game between his father and Capablanca.

[Event "Informal Game"]
[Date "1919.08.18"]
[White "Capablanca, Jose Raul"]
[Black "Raoux, Jean"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D53"]
[PlyCount "97"]
[EventDate "1919.??.??"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e3 c6 6. Nf3 Nbd7 7. Qc2 dxc4 8. Bxc4 Nd5 9. Bxe7 Qxe7 10. O-O O-O 11. e4 Nf4 12. e5 f5 13. exf6 Qxf6 14. Rfe1 Nb6 15. Bf1 Nbd5 16. Re5 Qh6 17. Rae1 Ng6 18. R5e4 e5 19. Qb3 Kh8 20. Nxe5 Bf5 21. Nxg6+ Qxg6 22. Re5 Nf4 23. Kh1 Bd3 24. g3 Bxf1 25. Rxf1 Nd3 26. Re2 Rae8 27. Rxe8 Qxe8 28. Qc2 Ne1 29. Qe2 Nf3 30. Qxe8 Rxe8 31. Rd1 Rd8 32. d5 c5 33. Kg2 Nd4 34. Re1 b5 35. Re7 Kg8 36. Rxa7 b4 37. Ne4 Rxd5 38. f4 Ne2 39. Kf3 Nc1 40. Ng5 g6 41. Ne6 Rd2 42. Kg4 Rxh2 43. Rg7+ Kh8 44. Rc7 Kg8 45. Nxc5 Rh5 46. Ne4 Rh1 47. Kg5 Nd3 48. Kf6 h6 49. Kxg6 1-0

Source: Raoux score sheets.


Nov-20-17  Howard: Alekhine "outdid" Capablanca at the 1939 Olympiad ?! Is that why he rather unsportingly left the playing hall when Capa was awarded the gold medal.

As for AVRO 1938, it's been said many times that the tournament's playing conditions were rather poor considering the importance of the event! I read the remark once that it resembled a "traveling circus". It probably did !

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Howard: Alekhine "outdid" Capablanca at the 1939 Olympiad ?! Is that why he rather unsportingly left the playing hall when Capa was awarded the gold medal.>

I have read somewhere that AAA scored better over-all, but that the preliminaries were not included in determining the medal winner.

I could be mistaken. Perhaps a kibitzer with an interest in chess history might clarify this.

In any case, AAA walking out of the medal ceremony was quite rude.

Nov-20-17  Magpye: <visayanbraindoctor: <Howard: Alekhine "outdid" Capablanca at the 1939 Olympiad ?! Is that why he rather unsportingly left the playing hall when Capa was awarded the gold medal.>

<I have read somewhere that AAA scored better over-all, but that the preliminaries were not included in determining the medal winner.>

That is correct. The story I have is that Alekhine laughed, not walked out, when Capablanca was presented with his award.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: The prelims were not counted, presumably because the motivation was different: all Capa wanted to do was get his team into the top final group. And in the final group, the prelim scores were not counted.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: It has been commented somewhere in CG that during the Olympiad the Argentinians were interested in organizing another World Championship Match between Capablanca and Alekhine, but the latter refused on the grounds that he had to go back to France and enlist in the French army. (The Second World War had began during the Chess Olympiad.) Hence my comment there that Alekhine would rather fight the Wehrmacht in the trenches than play another championship against Capablanca.
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  visayanbraindoctor: Beginning with Capablanca vs J D Redding, 1905 until his first international event in San Sebastian (1911) Capablanca has had a few games, some of which are labeled as <casual> but probably were classical games, that are recorded in this site.

I believe that it is almost a certainty that many of these were played in local events- club tournaments, intra-city tournaments, team tournaments, mini-matches for stakes. If so, we are probably missing out on quite a lot of <lost> Capablanca games, many of them classical (serious games played with time controls under a chess clock, and with the players writing down their moves in a score sheet). Hopefully the surviving scores of these games will eventually show up.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Casual> and <classical> are not mutually exclusive; casual/offhand should not be considered a value judgement on the quality/seriousness of the play, merely a way of denoting the game wasn't played in the formal setting of a match, tournament or (public) exhibition. Indeed, the game type for both the Redding and Eisenberg games is given as <classical>, although that itself is a formality, because there's no particular evidence to suggest what rate of play or conditions they took place under.
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  visayanbraindoctor: <MissScarlett: <Casual> and <classical> are not mutually exclusive; casual/offhand should not be considered a value judgement on the quality/seriousness of the play>

I very much agree.

It's just that the term <casual/offhand> might give some people, especially those new to the site, the impression that there is an automatic lack of <quality/seriousness> in these games.

I believe that pre-WW2 masters were more prone to engage in these <<friendly>, or <casual>, or <offhand>, or <exhibition>, or <training> games> (I conjecture probably because of the relative lack of tournaments compared to post-WW2).

Capablanca seems to have engaged in many of these up until 1914. His <exhibition> games against Europe's finest chess players prior to 1914 are quite famous, but not those before 1911.

There are also several games in CG that Capablanca seemed to have played in local tournaments, of which we know nothing much about. For examples:

44. A W Fox vs Capablanca 0-1 35 1906 Manhattan CC - Columbia m C65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense

45. Capablanca vs H Helms ½-½ 57 1906 Columbia - Brooklyn CC m C87 Ruy Lopez

46. Capablanca vs Q Brackett 1-0 39 1906 C.H.Y.P. Tournament

Hopefully more info can be gotten on these events, and more <lost> Capablanca games can be recovered from them.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <C.H.Y.P. Tournament>


The Fox and Helms games were played in November. I believe they were training matches ahead of the CHYP event.

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  Sally Simpson: "casual/offhand should not be considered a value judgement on the quality/seriousness of the play..."

Yet it's strange that possibly the three most famous games of all time. The Immortal, The Evergreen and Morphy at the Opera were all casual/offhand games.

Also up there would be this famous offhand game.

Capablanca vs M Fonaroff, 1918

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: At Moscow (1936), Capablanca was still super-strong at blitz. Mikhail Botvinnik said he gave odds of one minute to five against “almost every Soviet master” (according to the biography by Andrew Soltis
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Jonathan Sarfati: At Moscow (1936), Capablanca was still super-strong at blitz. Mikhail Botvinnik said he gave odds of one minute to five>

I seriously doubt there were any clocks in 1936 that could be set for one minute. I smell BS.

Dec-29-17  john barleycorn: < Sally Simpson: ...

Also up there would be this famous offhand game.

Capablanca vs M Fonaroff, 1918>

Let us include this one as well:

Nimzowitsch vs Alapin, 1914

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: <TheFocus:> Come off it. Analog clocks with minute hands have been around for a long time now. I'm old enough to have given 1-5 odds before digital clocks.
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  Jonathan Sarfati: Ad for an alarm clock with minute hands from 1910
Dec-29-17  WorstPlayerEver: <TheFocus>

That was funny. What did you smoke?

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Jonathan Sarfati: Analog clocks with minute hands have been around for a long time now. I'm old enough to have given 1-5 odds before digital clocks.>

I've done the same thing myself. <1-5 odds before digital clocks> IS possible.

Any kibitzer can prove this. Get an analog chess clock (better yet an old pre WW2 chess clock), set it to 5 minutes each, and then play blitz. I assure you it's possible to do so without breaking the chess clock. (Unless your intention is to biasedly do so in the first place, in which case you could slam down on the clock every time you move. Then again if that is your intention why not just throw the chess clock down on the floor and smash it to smithereens?)

There is an argument here that pre-WW2 chess players have never played blitz because the old analog pre-WW2 chess clocks would have broken down.

Breaking down that statement, it's the same thing as saying:

1. It is possible to set up a chess clock with 5 minutes (or 1 or 3 or 15 or 30 or 60 minutes) for each player.

2. The players would refuse to do so because of the theoretical possibility that the chess clock would break down.

3. Therefore no one has ever attempted to do so for fear of breaking down the chess clock.

4. Therefore <pre-WW2 chess players have never played blitz>

I don't buy it at all. I think it is the most natural thing in the world for two players wanting to play a quick game to set up their chess clock with 5 minutes each. Someone must have attempted doing so way back to the time when analog chess clocks were invented, simply because it's possible to do so.

To prove that analog chess clocks were never used in blitz games before WW2, we would have to find:

1. written documents of cases wherein the analog chess clocks ALWAYS broke down during 5 + 5 minute blitz games such that it was impossible to play such games to completion.

2. written statements of pre-WW2 chess players saying that every one was so scared of possibility #1 above that no one had ever attempted to play a blitz game at all.

Feb-11-18  WilhelmThe2nd: Played in Capablanca’s simul at the Westmount Chess Club, Montreal, Canada on June 30th, 1909.

White: C. T. Anstey Black: J. R. Capablanca

1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. h4 g4 5. Ne5 Nf6 6. Bc4 d5 7. exd5 Bd6 8. d4 Nh5 9. O-O Qxh4 10. Rxf4 Nxf4 11. Bxf4 Nd7 12. g3 Qh3 13. Qxg4 Nxe5 14. Qxh3 Nf3+ 15. Kf2 Bxh3 16. Kxf3 Bxf4 17. Kxf4 Rg8 18. Be2 Kd7 19. Nd2 Rae8 20. Bf3 Rg6 21. Rh1 Rf6+ 22. Kg5 Rxf3 23. Nxf3 Bg2 24. Rxh7 Bxf3 25. Rxf7+ Kd6 26. Rxf3 Kxd5 27. Rf5+ Kd6 28. Rf2 Rg8+ 29. Kf4 Kd5 30. Ke3 Rxg3+ 31. Kf4 Draw. [Source: 'La Presse' (Montreal), July 17th, 1909, page 19]

Feb-11-18  WilhelmThe2nd: The text quoted below is partly inaccurate since it is known that Capablanca actually played two simuls in Montreal in June of 1909: June 29th (+12 =3 -0) & June 30th (+15 =2 -0). Wilson’s name does not appear in the list of Capablanca’s opponents in the June 29th simul. I have been unable to locate a list of names of his opponents in the June 30th simul. Wilson's name does appear in the list of people defeated by Capablanca in the Nov. 17th simul.

From the Canadian Supplement to CHESS, October, 1942 (with descriptive notation changed to algebraic notation):

<Our query of a few months ago as to reminiscences of Capablanca's visit to Canada in 1909 has brought the score of the following game played against him by Stanley B. Wilson, Westmount, Que. Capa came twice in that year and never again. In the June exhibit he played 24, winning 22, drawing 1 and losing 1. We have not been able to obtain the name of the latter. In the November simul he had 24 opponents again, most of exceptional strength and including Canadian champion Joseph Sawyer, who lost. Capa won 22 and drew 2. The future world champion was 20 years old then. He also visited Toronto in that year but we have not been able to obtain any data.

White: S. B. Wilson, Westmount, Que. Black: J. R. Capablanca

Giuoco Piano

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. Bg5 d6 7. Nbd2 Be6 8. O-O Ne7 9. Qc2 Ng6 10. Rae1 h6 11. Be3 Bb6 12. d4 Bxc4 13. Nxc4 d5 14. exd5 e4 15. Nfe5 Qxd5 16. b3 Nxe5 17. Nxe5 Qe6 18. f3 exf3 19. Rxf3 Nd5 20. Bd2? Rae8 21. Rg3 c5! 22. Bxh6? Qxh6 23. Rh3 cxd4! 24. Kh1 d3! 25. Nxd3 (a) Qg6 26. Qd2 Rxe1+ 27. Nxe1 Re8 [White] Resigns.

(a) Obviously forced, for is [sic] Qxd3 then simply Rxe5.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <it is known that Capablanca actually played two simuls in Montreal in June of 1909: June 29th (+12 =3 -0) & June 30th (+15 =2 -0).>

Are you sure? I know that's what <TUC> list says, but the <BDE> of July 4th in a report on a potential match challenge by Rubinstein, mentions that Capablanca has just returned from a trip to Montreal, where the two simuls results were +12 =3, and +15 -1 =2, respectively. <The Cuban said he would not shrink from a match with Rubinstein...> implying that Helms, presumably, had gotten the simul scores directly from Capablanca.

<Wilson's name does appear in the list of people defeated by Capablanca in the Nov. 17th simul.>

Yes, annoying that CHESS didn't make it clear which simul Wilson's game was from, but the accuracy of their information about the November one arguably supports it being the occasion of Wilson's game. I'll submit the games, on that assumption, but can you provide more detail about what this <Canadian supplement> entails?

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