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Alexander Alekhine vs Jose Raul Capablanca
Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927), Buenos Aires ARG, rd 12, Oct-11
Queen's Gambit Declined: Orthodox Defense. Rubinstein Attack (D64)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-01-16  crwynn: After beatgiant's line 21...rxc5 22.b4 nxa3 23.qb3 qa4 24.qxa4 ba 25.bc g6 26.nf4 bc6 27.ra1 nc4 doesn't 28.h4 save the bishop? Both 28...rh8 and 28...bxh4 fail to 29.bxg6, and after 28...kd7 stepping out of the fork, 29.h5 saves the day.

Instead 26...kd7 27.ra1 nc4 28.rxa4 rh8 29.nxg6 fg (29...rxh7 loses to 30.nf8+ nor could you have put the king on d8 instead, as e6 would hang after bxg6) 30.bxg6 and white's rooks have a bit more scope, and of course there is 1 less a-pawn, seems drawish.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <crwynn>
After the suggested 21...Rxc5 22. b4 Nxa3 23. Qb3 Qa4 24. Qxa4 bxa4 25. bxc5 26. Nf4 Bc6 27. Ra1 Nc4 <28. h4>, Black replies <28...e5> and White's Bishop is still trapped.

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now 29. dxe5 Bxe5 30. h5 Bxf4 31. exf4 Kf6 etc.

Oct-01-16  crwynn: What if white plays 27.h4 instead? If 27...e5 still, then bxe5 29.h5 bxf4 30.ef kf6 31.rd3 nc4 (31...nc2 31.rc1) 32.rg3 and black cannot defend g6 twice.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <crwynn>
At move 27 in our hypothetical line, Black is threatening ...Bb5 winning back the exchange. So it might go something like:

21...Rxc5 22. b4 Nxa3 23. Qb3 Qa4 24. Qxa4 bxa4 25. bxc5 g6 26. Nf4 Bc6 27. h4 Bb5 28. h5 g5 29. Nh3 Bxf1 30. Kxf1 Rb8 31. Ra1 Rb3

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Black is up a doubled pawn with much better activity, but I'm not sure it's quite enough for a win. There are other variations in this long line, of course, but Black generally seems to keep at least a small advantage.

Oct-01-16  Calli: <beatgiant> I don't like that final position. Black pieces are in each other's way. 30.Nc4 followed by a3 looks nice. Note that White can't occupy the B-file because of the fork at d2, so Black can delay Rb8.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Calli>
I thought about that, but (in our long hypothetical line starting with 21...Rxc5) 30... Nc4 31. Ra1 a3 <32. Bd3> looked a little messy to me. What am I missing?
Oct-03-16  crwynn: Well i felt a bit silly adding my non-computer-aided-candidate-master bit of analysis with this h4 idea but as i recall your alternative line was just winning for black w/2 minors vs rook in closed-ish position, so if 27.h4 leads to the bad side of a draw for white (big if) then i guess it's the best answer after black gives the exchange.
Oct-07-16  Calli: <beatgiant> 32. Bd3 could be sufficient. I was thinking 32...Rb1, but it doesn't seem to be enough. Therefore, we are left with 32. Bd3 e5 as a way of opening it up while White's Knight is still on the rim, but I think you must right that the line is now entirely too long to trust.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <crwynn>,<Calli> I think we can agree on the following:
21...Rxc5 22. b4 Nxa3 23. Qb3 Qa4 24. Qxa4 bxa4 25. bxc5 g6 26. Nf4

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But now there are many branches. Besides 26...Bc6 as I suggested above, Black can also try simply 26...Kf8 to go for the bishop before White has a chance to rescue it with h4 mechanism discovered by <crwynn>. But in this case, Black is probably giving up his forward a-pawn.

Also, after 26...Bc6 <27. h4!> (<crwynn>), Black can try <27...h5> with some messy looking complications.

I'll post my analysis of these when time permits, unless <Calli> beats me to it (hint, hint).

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: From the diagram above in my previous post (after 21...Rxc5 22. b4 Nxa3 23. Qb3 Qa4 24. Qxa4 bxa4 25. bxc5 g6 26. Nf4)

If Black goes for the bishop immediately:
26...Kf8 27. Ra1 Nc4 28. Rxa4 Kg7 29. Bxg6 fxg6. Again Black has two minor pieces for a rook and pawn with a good position and passed a-pawn, but now the forward a-pawn is gone, so White can throw in another exchange to remove the other a-pawn: 30. Rc1 a5 <31. R1xc4> dxc4 32. Rxa5

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Unless Black has some clever way to hold onto the c-pawn which I'm not seeing, I think White has good drawing chances.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: From the line above (which I don't claim is perfect), we see why Black would prefer to hang onto the advanced a-pawn if possible.

So, on to the next strategy. An example if Black goes into the messy looking complications: (after 21...Rxc5 22. b4 Nxa3 23. Qb3 Qa4 24. Qxa4 bxa4 25. bxc5 g6 26. Nf4 Bc6 27. h4)

27...h5 28. g4 hxg4 29. h5 g5 30. Ne2 Rh8 31. Bd3 Rxh5 32. Bxa6 Nc4

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Black has two pawns for the exchange, the advanced a-pawn, and nice piece activity. But I don't think it's absolutely clear he's winning.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Finally, back to the line I posted earlier:

21...Rxc5 22. b4 Nxa3 23. Qb3 Qa4 24. Qxa4 bxa4 25. bxc5 g6 26. Nf4 Bc6 27. h4 Bb5 28. h5 g5 29. Nh3 Bxf1 30. Kxf1 Rb8 31. Ra1 Rb3

click for larger view

My first impression was <pawn up and better activity> with a healthy plus for Black. Moreover, White's bishop is not out of the woods yet, with no retreat square against the threat of ...Kf8 and ...Kg7, and if White tries 32. Ke2 <Nb5> disentangles by fork (33. Rxa4? Nc3+).

But, as <Calli> posted, <I don't like that final position. Black pieces are in each other's way.> And long experience kibitzing has taught me it's better to pay attention to <Calli>'s ideas.

To defend against the threat of ...Kf8 and ...Kg7, White can either cover the bishop's retreat with 32. Ke1 Kf8 33. Kd1 Kg7 34. Bc2, or counterattack with <32. Ng1!> Kf8 33. Ne2 Kg7 34. Nc1 Rc3 35. Ne2. The latter is probably what <Calli> saw and I'm having a hard time finding a convincing way for Black to keep the advantage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Based on all that, I think Black should just go after the bishop immediately: as suggested above, 21...Rxc5 22. b4 Nxa3 23. Qb3 Qa4 24. Qxa4 bxa4 25. bxc5 g6 26. Nf4 Kf8 27. Ra1 Nc4 28. Rxa4 Kg7 29. Bxg6 fxg6 30. Rc1

click for larger view

Maybe now 30...a5 as I suggested above is premature, and Black could instead try 30...e5 or 30...Kf7 to keep the a-pawn. Or maybe 30...a5 31. R1xc4 dxc4 32. Rxa5 <e5> is good enough to preserve the c-pawn and the winning chances.

Dec-23-16  1971: Alekhine bullied Capa this match. This no nonsense, resolute, lack of superficiality style is difficult to play against.
Dec-23-16  ChessHigherCat: < 1971: Alekhine bullied Capa this match. This no nonsense, resolute, lack of superficiality style is difficult to play against.> That's true, if Alekhine had had a shred of good sportsmanship and bonhomie (like a "good homey") he would have played 37. f3 instead of f4, allowing Capa to win three pawns for the knight and escape from the bind with Nxc5, 28. bxc5, Qxe3+, and regardless whether white interposes the Q or R or moves the K, the c5 pawn would fall.
Jul-15-17  andrea volponi: 17Bxf6 gxf6 -Nf4 Bd6 -Bg6 f5 -Bxf5 exf5 -Qxf5 Na4 -Ng5 hxg5 -Qxg5 +Kf8 -Ng6 +fxg6 -Qf6+ draws
Aug-24-18  WorstPlayerEver: Another game where Capa seems to be struck by fear.

12... ab5

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16... Bf8

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17... Nbd7

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23... Kf8

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26... Kf8

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32... Qa5

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May-06-21  SymphonicKnight: A classic game that catapults Alekhine into the lead. After a tumultuous middlegame, after which the game is even, Capablanca makes 4 consecutive mistakes to lose this game: 33...Ne4?! (...Qa5! even)
34...Rc3? (...Nc3! +0.4)
35...Qc7?? (...Rc7! +0.8)
36...Bxc5?? is the mistake that everyone misses (Nxc5! +2.2) that leaves Alekhine at +4.3, and Alekhine finishes efficiently.
Feb-25-22  N.O.F. NAJDORF: I'm not saying that Capablanca could have saved the game after his blunder on move 34, but couldn't he have saved his rook by playing 35...Rc4?

For example

35...Rc4 36. Bd3 Nxc5 37. dxc5 Rg4 38. Qh8+ Kb7 39. Qxh6 Rh4 40. Qg7 Bd8 41. g3 Rh5 42. Be2 Rf5

I have a feeling that Alekhine would have recaptured the knight with the other pawn:

35...Rc4 36. Bd3 Nxc5 37. bxc5 Ra4 38. Bc2 Ra5 39. Qc3

after which it seems that Capablanca would have had to give up two pawns to free his rook.

Feb-25-22  N.O.F. NAJDORF: After

35...Rc4 36. Ba2 Nxc5 37. bxc5 Ra4 38. Bb3 Ra5 39. Ra1

black would have to give up two pawns by

39 ... b4

or else his rook is trapped:

39 ... Kb7 40. Qc3 Ka7 41. Qb4

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Alekhine had played 9 cxd in the 2nd game and the game had been quickly drawn. 11 Rd1!? was a new move the point of which was to respond to the routine 11..dxc?! with 12 Bxc4..b5 13 Bd3..c5 14 Bxf6!..gxf 15 dxc; 11 Bd3 is the main line. Both Capablanca and Uhlmann give White's 12th move as cxd while Kasparov has 11 cxb (agreeing with this site). 15..Bxa3 16 bxa (or 16 Bxb5) 16..Rxc3 17 a4! would not have helped Black. 16..Nb6? cut off the Black's queen retreat which White could have taken advantage of with 17 Bxf6!..gxf (17..Bxf6 18 b4 and the queen quickly gets into trouble) 18 Nf4 with promising attacking chances. Marin pointed out that Alekhine missed the opportunity to play 21 Nxf6 and if 21,,fxg (Kasparov stopped here) then 22 Bd3!..Nd2?! 23 Rxd2..Qxd2 24 b4!..Rc3 25 Nxc3!..Qxc3 26 Rc1..Qd2 27 Rc2!..Qxd3 28 Rc7+..Kd6 29 Qxd3..Kxc7 and the weakness of the h-pawn gives White a winning advantage. After missing this opportunity Alekhine played strongly though it would not have been enough to win had Capablanca defended better.
Mar-14-23  Petrosianic: This is his only win from the match that Alekhine didn't think worth including in My Best Games. Rc3 still looks totally crazy even at first glance.
Premium Chessgames Member
  boz: Capa seems uncharacteristically reckless in this game. Was he overconfident or did he need a win? Anybody know the match score when this was played?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <boz> You can track the match score here: Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927).

This was the 12th game. Alekhine had just won the 11th game Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927, and before this game the match score stood at 2 wins each.

Premium Chessgames Member
  boz: Ah, thanks <beatgiant>! No doubt a pivotal game.
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