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Jose Raul Capablanca vs George Wheatcroft
"Cream of Wheatcroft" (game of the day Jul-14-2022)
Margate (1939), Margate ENG, rd 1, Apr-12
Sicilian Defense: Chameleon (B20)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: 18...Rd8?? was a patzer blunder. However, it is easy to understand the psychological background. Wheatcroft was obsessed with the idea to simplify to increase his drawing prospects. But he simply miscalculated.
Dec-08-08  paladin at large: <Mateo> No doubt you are right; however, it appears Capa was threatening Rd6 followed by Bh3.
Feb-26-11  Ulhumbrus: After 12 Nb5 White is no less than three moves ahead in development. Capablanca manages to make this lead count partly by means of the manoeuvre Nb5-c7-d5
May-29-11  hibolife: 14. BxN is still equal with endgame chances for both sides. Kf8 is better than Ke6. Ke6 just uncoordinated everything.
Jul-25-15  thegoodanarchist: In US slang, a creaming is a severe beating. For example, the Jets got creamed by New England.

So I think a good pun for this game is "Cream of Wheatcroft"

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: In British slang, it has a related meaning.

<So I think a good pun for this game is "Cream of Wheatcroft">

A breakfast cereal brand is never the basis for a good pun.

Reti vs Lasker, 1908 Reti Break

P Kokol vs I Popov, 2009 Kokol Pops


Jul-26-15  thegoodanarchist: <MissScarlett>

We shall have to agree to disagree, although I agree that the 2 puns you give as examples are not good.

Apr-16-20  Granny O Doul: < MissScarlett: In British slang, it has a related meaning. <So I think a good pun for this game is "Cream of Wheatcroft">

A breakfast cereal brand is never the basis for a good pun.

Reti vs Lasker, 1908 Reti Break

P Kokol vs I Popov, 2009 Kokol Pops


For this game, "Shredded Wheatcroft" seems simpler. Then there are

Korn flakes. L Komarek vs A Korn, 1992

Rice checks. I Rice vs W Donisthorpe, 1892

Boo, Berry. S Berry vs S Samarian, 1982

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Ootes so simple: E Goudriaan vs L Ootes, 2012
Apr-16-20  Nasruddin Hodja: Hmm. I would have been even more embarrassed than Cream of Wheatcroft here, as looking over white's 17th move I fell for 17. … Bxe2?? 18. Re6+! Rxe6 19. Rxe6##. Should know better than to second guess Jose Raul "My opponent should have realized that a player of my experience could never allow such a move if it were good" Capablanca.
Apr-16-20  Granny O Doul: Golombek once wrote that this game showed Capablanca "could still produce models of severity against the lesser lights." After the early Q exchange I would certainly have bet on the "over" side of 20 moves for the game's duration.
Feb-27-21  Gaito: Position after 12.Nb5:

click for larger view

White has a lead in development, but aside from that, Black's position is reasonably good. He played 12...Bc4?, a move that looks OK, as both of White's knights are unprotected, but as it turned out it was a bad move. Worthy of consideration was perhaps 12...Rd7. A likely continuation might have been 13.Rxd7 Kxd7 14.Rd1+ Kc8 15.b4! cxb4 16.cxb4 Kb8 17.a3 Nge7. The position looks pretty balanced and drawish. Computer evaluation (SF13) is 0.00 (See diagram below):

click for larger view

Feb-27-21  Gaito: When playing against comparatively unknown opponents, Capablanca almost never tried to force the issue right from the opening; on the contrary, he just played normal moves and patiently waited for his opponent's mistakes to arrive. He probably felt that the mistakes (however tiny) would come sooner or later, and if they didn't appear, then he would test his opponent's skill in the endgame. In this particular game Wheatcroft's losing mistake finally arrived in the following position:

click for larger view

The pawn structure is pretty symmetrical and Black should have no difficulty in achieving a draw with correct play. Wheatcroft understandably wanted to simplify the game with more exchanges, and thus rushed to play 18...Rd8??, which turned out to be the losing mistake. He could have played, for example, 18...Nd8 aiming to place this knight on e6. For instance, 18...Nd8 19.f4 (19.Bh3 and 19.h4 are likewise worthy of consideration) 19...Nec6 20.b3 Be6 21.b4. Black has a worse position, but he is by no means lost yet. At any rate Capablanca would almost certainly have found a way to win this position against Wheatcroft, though it would have taken longer. (See diagram below):

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: The loss is easy to explain.

Capablanca has just played 17.Rad1

click for larger view

Black sees White has (suddenly) Rd6+ mating. After 17....Rxd2 18.Rxd2 the mate threat is still on. Black had made up his mind on move 17 he was going to play 18...Rhd8 to stop it. It was possibly the quickest move he made all game.

Sometimes when a Knight takes any fianchetto Bishop it cannot get alive. (here the pawns on f7 and g6 stop escape routes) but no problem here, the BK cannot get near it.

Sep-25-21  Gaito: Maybe 14...Kf8 instead of 14...Ke6? would have been safer. On e6 Black's King becomes clearly vulnerable and exposed even in this queenless position, with all the remaining pieces still on the board.
Sep-25-21  Gaito: Black was so intent on connecting his rooks that he neglected the safety of his own king. By playing 15...Nge7 Black's King was deprived from a flight square (e7) and had to be moved to a clumsy square on f6. In spite of the symmetrical pawn structure, White's pieces were well coordinated whereas Black's pieces lacked coordination and both of Black's knights as well as Black's King's bishop were almost devoid of useful squares.
Sep-25-21  Gaito: <Sally Simpson: The loss is easy to explain. Capablanca has just played 17.Rad1....Black sees White has (suddenly) Rd6+ mating. After 17....Rxd2 18.Rxd2 the mate threat is still on.>

Well, actually it was not a real mating threat, as Rd6+ could have been answered by ...Be6.

Sep-25-21  Gaito: After 18.Rxd2 Black was lost anyway, but White's task was made even easier with the move 18...Rd8? <Sally Simpson: Black had to play 18...Rhd8 to stop mate. It was possibly the quickest move he made all game.> Not quite: on 18...Nd8! 19.Rd6+? Ne6 there is no mate and the ending would be about equal. However, after 18...Nd8, Black would have almost no useful moves at his disposal, so Capablanca could have started attacking Black's King with a free hand, e.g. by h4, g4, etc.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Gaito,

It appears you has misread my post, though I admit it is not too clear what I am saying.

We agree 18 Rd8 was a blunder. You come in from the angle Black wanted to simplify, which makes perfect sense and is very possibly correct.

I'm saying Black 'suddenly' saw a mating threat and reacted too quickly. Panicked about a threat that was not there. When a player convinces himself a threat is on all other considerations are ignored.

It's obvious Black missed the one move trick 20. Ne8+ when going into this. Simplification and challenging the file is a very plausible explanation. I'd not be surprised if this was the reason 18...Rd8 was played.

However Black was a good player therefore not prone to one move blunders. This one (IMO) has all the hallmarks of a player thinking he has only one move to make. It is certainly a rushed move. Black has not even considered what happens after 19.Rxd8 Nxd8.

Was it the OTB jitters, or a relaxed player with his guard down seeking simplification. I go for the former, you make a very good case for the latter. Either way, both reasons induce they type of one move blunder that happened in the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Probably good for your bowels.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Browsing the Opening Explorer, it becomes clear that the 2.Ne2 Sicilian proves a venomous Chameleon indeed. White's winning percentage overall looks a little intimidating.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: This game surely wasn't the cream of Wheatcroft's chess output. But I guess the idea is that he got "creamed." I would have preferred <Shredded Wheatcroft>, as G O D suggested. Incidentally, the Wheatster is most famous for having lost, the year before, the immortal game F Parr vs G Wheatcroft, 1938.
Jul-14-22  goodevans: After 20...Ke6 21.Nxg7+ Kd7 it looks as though White's N is trapped but 22.Bh3+ frees it nicely.

Shame that pretty much no one outside the USA will get the pun. I make <Missy>, <Granny O Doul> and <FSR> all correct on that score.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: If this site was <> - which, one day, I trust it will be - this pun would not have been selected. But in deference to our colonial masters, I've overcome my prejudice.
Jul-14-22  Dionysius1: Hi <Gaito> You say <After 18.Rxd2 Black was lost anyway>. Why? Is there a tactic, or do you mean strategically? Since he's playing Capablanca he was probably lost strategically from about 1.e4. But otherwise?
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