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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
  thegoodanarchist: <offramp: <Ashperov1988: ...Kudus to Alekhine>

Aye! Kudus alekhina f'thagn!!>

Yes, I believe this was the only WC match in which the winner was paid with livestock:

Sep-26-16  Tomasito: I was not mate yet, was it? Nor it was inevitable, I think?
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Tomasito: I was not mate yet, was it? Nor it was inevitable, I think?>

First of welcome to! I really hope you enjoy your time here, as I have.

Here is the final position. Black has just played 43...Rf2.

click for larger view

Black is threatening the f3 pawn, 44...Rxf3+.

click for larger view

White could now play 45. Kh4, which would be met by 45...g5#, or he could play 45. Kg2, which would be met by 45...Qg3#. The only other move would be 45. Qxf3, but after 45...Qxf3+ 46. Kh2 Black's queen and passed pawns would win easily: they are too strong for the rook.

So after 42...Rf2 what can White do to stop 43...Rxf3+? He can try 43.hxg6+. Black will respond 43...Kg7 and now there is no sensible way to protect the pawn on f3.

click for larger view

Here is a possible continuation:
45. gxf7 Rxf3+ 46. Qxf3 Qxf3+ 47. Kh2 Kxf7 48. Rd7+ Ke8 49. Rg7 d3 50. Rg8+ Kf7 51. Rd8 Qxg4 52. Rxd3 Qe2+ 53. Kg1 Qxd3 54. Kg2 Kg6 55. b3 Kg5 56. a5 Kg4 57. axb6 Qe2+ 58. Kg1 Kg3 59. b7 Qe1#

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: "In the adjourned first game of the world chess championship series between Capablanca and Alekhine at Buenos Aires yesterday, Capablanca made one move, bringing the total number of moves for the game up to 43, and then resigned."

"Dundee Courier", Monday 19th September 1927, p.7.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Now I understand why the info page estimates Capablanca's rating to be somewhere in the range from 1893 to 1941 whereas Alekhine's ELO is thought to have been a bit higher, between 1903 and 1946. That shows not only that Alekhine was better but also how much stricter the ratings were back then.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GerMalaz: That looks like years active to me, not ELO (Capa died in 1942, Alekhine in 1946).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: The whole match is worth playing through. The picture emerges that Capablanca didn't do so badly. He was a bit demoralized by reversals. Then Alekhine avoided a rematch and played weaker opponents. Alekhine's main strength was his positional skills in this match, which he improved by annotating the Hastings tournament and studying Capablanca's games. That was most impressive side in the match, but Capablanca was a seemed a bit out of form.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Alekhine said while it was exciting to play this game, there were so many errors by both players, it became almost comical


Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <GerMalaz: That looks like years active to me, not ELO (Capa died in 1942, Alekhine in 1946).> It was supposed to be a joke
Feb-21-17  AlicesKnight: <morfishine: Alekhine said while it was exciting to play this game, there were so many errors by both players, it became almost comical> I thought it was the eleventh game that was the 'comedy of errors'. Apologies if I am wrong.
Feb-21-17  The Kings Domain: Clash of the Titans. Aside from Alekhine, only Lasker was able to send Capa reeling this badly towards the end of the game.
Feb-21-17  stst: < but Capablanca was a seemed a bit out of form>

Many commented that Capa was too lazy or relaxed, doing nothing to prepare. He simply relied on his innate genius. He may also did not consider this match to be an important one. Alek was completely the opposite - he was totally concentrated to get this crown, then, just wanted to keep it for ever, without agreeing to any re-match.

This is not acceptable in modern times.

I bought the Dover edition of the match, and still keep it today. The games are pretty "bored," but, that's a match - almost all games in matches are pretty bored. Yet still, of course, they provided a classic reference to how actually the top masters play.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: extreme power vs extreme precision.
Premium Chessgames Member
  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."
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