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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Samuel Reshevsky
Nottingham (1936), Nottingham ENG, rd 9, Aug-20
Queen's Gambit Accepted: Mannheim Variation (D23)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-28-04  Kenkaku: Another masterful endgame from Capablanca.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: 27...exd5. Can anyone give a rational explanation of why Sammy - one of chess's greatest talents - played this totally bizarre patzer move? There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it; was it some sort of touch-piece situation?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: "A hardly credible move from a master of Reshevsky's experience! He isolates the central P, and at the same time practically kills his B without the slightest necessity. After 27...BxB a draw would be the only normal result". - Alekhine in the Tournament Book.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: It is hardly credible - but did Reshevsky see tactic that he later saw wouldn't work? He must have known this game: Flohr vs Capablanca, 1935 played a year earlier, in which Capa only barely survived a very similar ending as black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: This, to me, is one of the most baffling moves in chess history and I have never seen any explanation for it. Time trouble is definitely out because ANYONE in time-trouble would have played 27...Bxd5. Weird!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: My guess is that Sammy did not like the looks of 27...Bxd5 28.e4 Bb7 29.e5 and perhaps saw something in that line that wasn't there.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Calli> Thank you; that is by far the best suggestion I have heard so far!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: You are welcome. Its important to understand why Capa exchanges at all. Mainly, if he plays 27.e4 e5! is good for Black. Therefore, he plays 27.Bxd5 first.

BTW- Alekhine's Nottingham annotations are nowhere near his NY 1924 effort.

Nov-12-04  aw1988: <offramp: 27...exd5. Can anyone give a rational explanation of why Sammy - one of chess's greatest talents - played this totally bizarre patzer move?> It looks quite normal to me...


Nov-12-04  sourcerer: capa benefited from a mistake<capabanca vs alekhine '24"> shows why
Dec-06-04  who: Isn't 4.e3 more positionally sound?
Jun-29-06  acirce: Shereshevsky says in <Endgame Strategy> (the chapter "Centralization of the King") that the most accurate analysis published on this game is Bondarevsky's in Shakhmatny Bulletin No. 1 1973.

Among other things, Bondarevsky showed that White missed a win with 51.f6! instead of 51.Kd4?

51.f6 Kf3 52.Nf4 g3 53.Kf5 Bd7+ (or White just advances the e-pawn) 54.Kg5 Be6 55.Nxe6! g2 56.f7 g1=Q+ 57.Kf6

It's rather spectacular that White can allow Black to promote first and with check and still win. Not unique by any means, but always nice to see.

A few moves later Black returns the favour with 53..Kf4? when he could have drawn with 53..Bf7! (also found by Bondarevsky) 54.e6 Bg8 55.e7 (55.b4 Kf4!) 55..Bf7 56.f6 Kf4!

Alekhine had pointed out that White wins after 53..Bd7? 54.e6 Bc8 55.e7 Bd7 56.f6 Be8 57.Nf5 (for example 57..Kf4 58.Nxg3 Kxg3 59.Ke5 Bf7 60.Kd6 Kf4 61.Kd7 Ke5 62.e8=Q+ Bxe8+ 63.Kxe8 Kxf6 64.Kd7 and White is in time) but he didn't realize that 53..Bf7 wins a crucial tempo compared to this line.

Jul-03-06  Fast Gun: Fascinating B v Kt endgame that just shows the fine line between winning and drawing!! Chernev has done Capablanca a great service with this wonderful piece of chess literature: Could you imagine the interest in other books done like this? Say Fischer's 60 Best Chess Endings, Karpov or Kasparov's best Endings, what a rich harvest there would be any chess player who wants to improve:
Apr-10-07  shalgo: In commenting on Reshevsky's 27.exd5?, Tartakower and DuMont limit themselves to the laconic "Undoubtedly 27...Bxd5 would be wiser here." As others have noted, Reshevsky's choice is hard to understand.
May-12-07  paladin at large: In his annotation, Capablanca gave 27....exd5 ? and noted "on 27....Bxd5 there would have followed 28. Nd3 with an equal game, whereas now White has a certain advantage."

Capa was mildly critical of his own 5th and 9th moves, whereafter he came under pressure and was forced to play 19. Qd1 : "the only safe place for the white queen. After other moves White would have immediately ended up in a difficult position." But then Reshevsky played 19...Ba8 : "A dubious move. Of course, 19....Bd5 or 19. ....Be4 was better."

May-12-07  paladin at large: <acirce> <Among other things, Bondarevsky showed that White missed a win with 51.f6! >

Capablanca himself showed the win with 51. f6! Did Bondarevsky in 1973, or Shereshevsky in praise of Bondarevsky, cite Capablanca's annotations? Capablanca published them ten days after the game (Source - Winter, citing "64", of 30 August 1936, Moscow).

Capa: "51. f6 would have been more accurate, e.g. 51. ...Kf3 52. b4 g3 53. Nf4 Bf7 54. Kf5 and white wins".

May-13-07  acirce: <Did Bondarevsky in 1973, or Shereshevsky in praise of Bondarevsky, cite Capablanca's annotations?>

Don't know about Bondarevsky; Shereshevsky does not. Bondarevsky's analysis is, however, more convincing than Capablancas, at least if that short note is all he gives.

<Capa: "51. f6 would have been more accurate, e.g. 51. ...Kf3 52. b4 g3 53. Nf4 Bf7 54. Kf5 and white wins".>

What if, say, 54..Bg8 ? 55.e5 Bh7+ 56.Kg5 Bg8 seems to lead nowhere. So 55.Ng6 Bh7 56.f7 g2 57.f8=Q g1=Q 58.Ke5+ Ke2! 59.Nf4+ Ke1! 60.Qh6!? Qg8 and neither me nor the computer finds a clear win. You can check Black's king around forever but how to make progress while avoiding Black's queen checks etc? If it's possible we get no clue how from the laconic "and white wins", but Bondarevsky's line leaves no doubt.

May-13-07  newton296: capa regaining the pawn with the Q is lame and would never be played today but his middle game play was so good he survived having to move his q backwards and like 5 times!
May-13-07  RookFile: It's too bad, Reshevsky missed a draw in this endgame. It happens, though, you don't always see the 'miracle' defense.
May-14-07  paladin at large: <acirce> Interesting elaboration - thanks. I was also not able to reach a conclusion in your suggested line of 60. Qh6 Qg8 with 61. Qh1+ or with, instead, 60. Nd3+. I wonder if Capablanca considered 54.....Bg8 in his suggested variation, and what he had in mind - we'll never know. <newton296> Capablanca's comment on 5. Qxc4 was "5. Nc3 seems to me to be better."

I wonder if Reshevsky ever commented on this game.

May-15-07  paladin at large: I did some checking - Capa had six games between this game on 20 August and the appearance of his annotations for it in "64" on 30 August in Moscow so, I infer he did not put much time into his analysis.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: Whatever one can say about the unexpected 27...exd5, I would say this is not at all the losing move. The turning point is the strange 42...Kg6?. 42...Kf6 43.Kd3 Ke5 holds, as the White King cannot invade. Maybe 42...Kg6? was based on some miscalculation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <Mateo> Can White win the b pawn in your line? 44.Nc2 followed by Kc3-Kb4, Nd4
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: <Calli: <Mateo> Can White win the b pawn in your line? 44.Nc2 followed by Kc3-Kb4, Nd4> Yes, but Black gets counterplay on the other side. 44.Nc2 Bc6 (only move) 45.Nd4 Be8 46.Kc3 h5! 47.gxh5 Bxh5 48.Kb4 g4 49.fxg4 Bxg4 50.Kxb5 Ke4. It should be a draw, isn't it?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Mateo, yes that should be sufficient. Reshevsky probably did not see this way to draw which explains his move.
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