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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Reuben Fine
Semmering/Baden (1937), Semmering/Baden AUT, rd 1, Sep-08
Slav Defense: Czech Variation. Classical System Main Line (D19)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: A slightly better try here seems to be 38. Rb7. Black must trade rooks (otherwise his king is cut off), but the resulting minor piece ending still has queenside pawns so White has something to play for.

Here's a sample line to get the idea of what White can do with an extra pawn, an acrobatic knight, and play left on the queenside.

38. Rb7 Rxb7 39. Nxb7 Kg7 40. f4 Kf6 41. Kf2 Ke6 42. Ke3 Kd5 43. g4! Be4 44. Na5 Bc2 45. g5 Bd1 46. Kd3 Bf3 47. Nb3! Be4+ 48. Ke3 Bc2 49. Nd2 Bd1 50. h4 Bg4 51. Nf3! Bh5 52. Nd4 Bg4 53. h5! Bxh5 54. Nxf5 c5 55. bxc5 Kxc5 56. Ke4 Kc6 57. Ne7+ Kd6 58. Ng8, and White wins the race to the kingside (the plan is f5, Nf6, Nxh7).

Dec-04-05  azi: The game was drawn at least 25 moves before they both gave 'up the ghosts.' Was it love or hate that drove them on? You call it!
Oct-09-10  ozmikey: I'm sure the Capa of the twenties would have won this ending in a canter! 38. Rc7 certainly looks an inexplicable decision, allowing Black to go into an ending with pawns on one side of the board only.
Dec-21-11  Ulhumbrus: An alternative to 20 Qf3 is 20 Re1 threatening potentially Bxd5 followed by Nf5
Dec-21-11  King Death: The line <beatgiant> suggests looks better for Capa than what was played. Normally getting the queenside pawns off should favor the knight, but Black's pawns are all weak. Even with the bishop on the open board, I think it would have been hard to hold this. If Fine doesn't play into 38.Rb7 Rb7 39.Nb7, then he's in trouble after 39...Ra8 40.Rb6. That weak c pawn is a killer.
Feb-07-18  RookFile: You look at this game somewhere around move 39 and predict lots of pain and suffering from black. It's very surprising it didn't work out that way.
Feb-07-18  JustAnotherMaster: another poorly played capa endgame
Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: Perhaps 38 Rb7 was better than 38 Rc7. There are some other curious features of this ending.

click for larger view

Here 50..f4 solves many of Black's problems. Instead, Fine opted for the trick 50..Bc2. Capa had the reply 51 g4 available when to avoid further material loss Fine has to go for 51..fxg4 52 Nxc2 Rd2+ 53 Kg3 Rxc2 54 hxg4. This position is a win if White has the move but a draw after 54..Rc7 or 54..Kf7 (though White can play on at zero risk). Given though that the variation is a draw, Capa's 51 f4 arguably shows remarkable insight.

click for larger view

Fine is in check and he could play 53..Kg7 when 54 g4 is impossible since 54..fxg4 55 hxg4 Bc4 wins the f-pawn. But he instead retreated 53..Kf7 which rendered 54 g4 playable as in the game White has Rf5+.

click for larger view

Capa put 58 Rd5 on the board. This looks a lazy move: fine gratefully acceded to the exchange of Rooks and the game might have been drawn on the spot. 58 Kg3 has some amusement value as well as being a valid means to keep the contest alive.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Retireborn: <woldsman> 50...f4 and 53...Kg7 are excellent suggestions, I think. The score we have here is wrong, I believe;

(1) Fine played 50...Be2 (not Bc2). Then 51.g4 f4 52.Nf5 Rd2 looks drawn, since f3 is likely to fall.

(2) Fine played 57...Re4 (not Bd3); obviously White can't reply Kg3 or Re5 then.

According to Euwe it's 46.Kg3 which lets the win slip - he recommends 46.f3 instead.

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