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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Alexander Alekhine
"First Blood" (game of the day Feb-21-2017)
Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927), Buenos Aires ARG, rd 1, Sep-16
French Defense: Winawer. Delayed Exchange Variation (C01)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: extreme power vs extreme precision.
Feb-21-17  morfishine: <AlicesKnight> UR correct my mistake


Feb-21-17  aliejin: "He simply relied on his innate genius."

Ivanchuck in a report said
That this was pure fantasy ....
I think the same. Capablanza worked
In chess like any other chess player.
Surely with very personal methods
Surely not with the intensity of
A Alekhine, lasker or Botvinik. But to say
he left everything relegated to his "genius"
Is childish by now

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <morfishine: Alekhine said while it was exciting to play this game, there were so many errors by both players, it became almost comical>

I believe that was this one, #11:

Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927

Courtesy of Peligroso Patzer:

<This is what Alekhine himself had to say about this game: “In my opinion this game has been praised too much, the whole world over. It was doubtless very exciting both for the players – who were continuously short of time – and the public. But its final part [i.e., after adjournment at move 42] represents a true comedy of errors in which my opponent several times missed a draw and I missed about the same number of winning opportunities. In short, but for its outstanding sporting importance (it became, in fact, the crucial point of the match) I would hardly have included it in this collection [My Best Games of Chess, 1924-1937].”>

Feb-21-17  RookFile: Capa wasn't in the right frame of mind for this game. He could have played either 14. c3 or the more complex 14. Nxd5 Bxh2+ 15. Kxh2 Qxd5 and had no worries.
Feb-21-17  cunctatorg: When I had firstly studied (and a little-bit analyzed) this game, some thirty-five years ago (with the help of Kotov's book about Alexander Alekhine) I didn't know what to admire more; Capablanca's tremendous defensive resourcefulness (after move 14) or Alekhine's tremendous stamina to overcome the aforementioned defense!!...
Dec-19-17  Mazymetric: Why is 36.a4 such a bad move?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Mazymetric: Why is 36.a4 such a bad move?> As Bezlitosci explained, it allows Black to either win White's rook immediately or launch a winning attack on the king:

<Now black can either win white's rook by 36...Qe7, e.x. 37.Rc8 Qb7 with attack on the rook and mate threat of Re1 (white could prolonge the whole sequence by 37.Rb8 Qc7 38.Rf8 Kg7 39.Ra8 Qb7) or play more sophisticated idea, like Alekhine in the game, where black in few moves forces white to weaken his King's defence, and white with idle Rook cannot defend.>

That said, after Bezlitosci's recommended 36.Kg2 Qxa2 White's position should also be hopeless, but he won't lose so quickly.

Mar-22-18  Artemio: After winning the match Alekhine is more afraid of Capablanca and play only weaker opponents and avoid a rematch....
Mar-22-18  Howard: On the other hand, Chess Life ran an article circa 1993 arguing that Capa may have also played a role in the "who avoided who" matter. Some have pointed out that if Capa could have raised a sufficient prize purse, Alekhine probably would have played a rematch since he'd be guaranteed a decent payday even if he lost.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Artemio>,<Howard> A more appropriate place to debate this is a match page like Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927), where indeed such kind of historical judgement issues have been debated ad infinitum.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: 8. Nf4 g5 9. Nfxd5

click for larger view

Therefore, 8. Nf4 Bxd3 9. Nxd3 Bxc3 10. bxc3 O-O 11. Re1 Qd7 12. Nc5 Qc8=

click for larger view


9. Nf4 Nce7 10. Nh5 O-O 11. Qg4 g6 12. Ne2 c6 13. Bf4 Bd6 14. Rae1 Bxf4 15. Nexf4 Nc8=

click for larger view

Seems Capa did not like to play Nf4 in this variation (as <Plato> has mentioned before in this thread).

Premium Chessgames Member
  John Saunders: Someone was asking up-thread about the Dvoretsky book in which this game was discussed. It was 'Training for the Tournament Player' by Mark Dvoretsky & Artur Yusupov (Batsford 1993) and the article appears on pps 144-153. Dvoretsky was addressing an article by V.Goldin from Shakhmaty v SSSR (no. 12, 1984) about this game. Dvoretsky was highly critical of Goldin's article, agreeing with him only about White's move 33, when 33 Rd7 was a clear error and Dvoretsky concurred with Goldin that 33 Qf3! was much better. Dvoretsky called this "the only rational point in [Goldin's] whole article" (ouch!) His final summing up: "Goldin ostensibly points out two mistakes by White and four by Black. Fortunately, these great players of the past did not play quite so badly - in most cases it was not they but their critic who was at fault. Overall, though, I think the game we have examined could not be called a masterpiece."
Premium Chessgames Member
  OrangeTulip: Alekhine avoid playing only weaker opponents, yes alas indeed. Playing weaker opponents? Nonsens, Euwe just tackled him in the WCM of 1935 with his chess skills. See Kasparov OMGP.
Feb-05-20  Petrosianic: <OrangeTulip: Alekhine avoid playing only weaker opponents, yes alas indeed. Playing weaker opponents? Nonsens, Euwe just tackled him in the WCM of 1935 with his chess skills.>

That's what happened but it's not what anyone expected to happen. Euwe was much in demand in those days as a match opponent, because he played a lot of them, and always seemed to either lose or draw. Alekhine was so anxious to pick up some money on another match that he even offered to play a quick title match with Euwe on an ocean voyage, which Euwe turned down, thinking that nobody would take it seriously.

By 1935 Euwe had simply gotten a lot stronger than anyone realized. The "official" explanation was that Alekhine was drunk during the match, but according to Euwe, he didn't drink any more then than he did any other time. Euwe also said that people often asumed Alekhine was drunk when he wasn't, because he didn't like to wear his glasses, but his walk was a little unsteady without them.

Feb-05-20  Petrosianic: <Howard: On the other hand, Chess Life ran an article circa 1993 arguing that Capa may have also played a role in the "who avoided who" matter. Some have pointed out that if Capa could have raised a sufficient prize purse, Alekhine probably would have played a rematch since he'd be guaranteed a decent payday even if he lost.>

As I understand it, what happened is that the London Rules set an amount that the challenger had to raise, that was reasonable before the Stock Market crash, but very difficult afterwards. Alekhine would only play Capa for the amount specified in the London Rules, but agreed to play others for less.

As for who avoided who, that may have changed over time. At first, it was clearly Alekhine doing the dodging. But it's possible that after results like San Remo 1930, Capa might have been less confident in victory, and might have been more okay with the situation as long as the blame was on Alekhine for the lack of a match.

Which it was. Imagine playing Bogolubov a second time after wiping him out the first time. Alekhine-Bogo II was one of the least anticipated matches in history.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Petrosianic>
Here is a quote from a letter by Capablanca to the FIDE president Reub written in 1928 (cited by

<Of course, I realize that in Europe at the present moment (largely because of the after-war conditions) it would be difficult to raise a purse of that size, but you must consider that such a thing is only temporary...>

I will respond to any further comment on the Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927) page.

Mar-07-20  N.O.F. NAJDORF: It is hard to believe that the loser of this game had some six years earlier had a book published, called 'Chess Fundamentals,' in which he emphasised the importance of the 'co-ordination of the pieces.'

The first time I played through this game, I too had the idea of playing Nd1, but not only with the intention of playing Ne3, but c3 too. If Capablanca had played c3 - a fairly typical Capablanca move - he could never have got into the difficulties he did later. The pawn on c2, bishop blocked in on e3, and knight misplaced on f4, provide Alekhine with the opportunity to win the very first game of the match, with the black pieces! Perhaps the most humiliating aspect of Capa's defeat is that the main variation contains a back-row mate - his specialty.

Mar-08-20  RookFile: Nice to see admiration for Euwe's strength going into his match against Alekhine. However, one small detail is that Capa put a match victory up on the board against Euwe.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Entering the 1935 match with Alekhine, Euwe's reputation was founded, above all, on narrow losses to top players, amongst those being the aforementioned match with Capablanca in 1931 as well as to Alekhine in 1925-26. Euwe's tournament record in no way resembled those of the titans who preceded him.
Apr-28-20  joddon: Alekhine locked one dark square in his mind, Capa had no idea about the square....and all of a sudden chess has changed from playing general positions, and now instead execute a combinative attack on dark squares, this became the new revolution of chess that continued for rest of chess games ever played.....the TURNING point of every chess game is this game!!
May-13-20  yurikvelo:

deep multiPV

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <yurikvelo:>

These analyses say that Capablanca missed draws with 30. & 33. Qf3.

Here is the second one:

click for larger view

33...Rf5 34. Qd3 c4 35. Qd4 Qe6 36. Rb7 Rf6 37. Rb8 Qe1+....

click for larger view

Are these really Black's best moves?

May-21-20  yurikvelo: <Are these really Black's best moves?>

Out of 32 legal moves for black - at least 17 moves are dead draw. 33. .. Rf5 is just one of 17 identically drawn moves.

Not all draw moves are best against weak player. For some lines there is more expectation for blunder and winning otherwise drawn game. Engines are not trained to play specifically against weak players.

Rather they have Contempt factor to avoid simplifications (avoid "easy draws"). With very high Contempt for black (press for win as hard as possible, assuming white is weak opponent) 33. .. Rf5 or .. Kg8 are best moves (two moves which aren't dead draw even against weak)

Premium Chessgames Member
  PhillyCheapskate: I.A.Horowitz on the first move e4: The first and last time this reckless move was played in this match.
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