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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Alexander Alekhine
Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927), Buenos Aires ARG, rd 17, Oct-18
Queen's Gambit Declined: Orthodox Defense. Henneberger Variation (D63)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-01-04  Ernesto7: It's amazing the overwhelming power of bishops in an open game.. I bet Capablaca was dissapointed since he couldn't make progress and was obviously playing for a win.
Dec-16-06  Gouki: alekhine unable to convert despite having the bishop pair at his disposal. but then again, he is playing against the great Capablanca! so its only natural :D
Aug-09-07  Dr. Siggy: As <Ernest7> writes, Capablanca was indeed playing for a win in this particular game!

Yet, according to Eugene Znosko-Borovsky, "How to Play Chess Endings", english translation, New York 1940, pages 218-9: "If anything, the Bishops are even more valuable in compromised positions, in which their defensive powers shine to advantage. In Diag. 119 [= after Black's 39th move], the black pawns are extremely weak, and the Bishops lack important diagonals, whereas the white Knights not only have good attacking positions, but they boast of admirable strong points. In addition, White has a distant passed pawn. Nevertheless, White does not succeed in winning the game, for the Knights are handicapped by the fact that, as soon as they move, the Bishops would instantly gain freedom of action, as their pawns would be able to move. To afford the Bishops open lines would be dangerous, and White must rest content with maintaining his present advantageous position, and, for want of anything better, undertake aimless manoeuvres."

The story is told that, right after this draw, Capablanca muttered: "If I couldn't win this game, I can't win this match..." By then, it was too late! Not only he didn't win this game but he even went to lose the match...

Mar-03-08  Knight13: 44...f5+! is a very nice move.
Nov-09-11  Calli: Advancing the k-side pawns did not work. What other plan did Capablanca have? One idea might be to play 31. Kf1 and transfer the King to c2 in order to guard b2. This would free his d2 rook. What do you think? Any other ideas for White in this game or are Black's bishops sufficient to defend all those weak pawns.
Mar-01-12  The Curious Emblem: 14. Bb1 looks good as well. The Bishop would seem more happy after moving to a2, putting pressure on the hanging pawns. White can then follow up with Rd2-Rcd1, piling up on d5 and indirectly weakening c4. But, unfortunately, Black has the ... a5-Ba6 countermeasure, as well as the ... c4-Nc5, ... a5-a4, Nc5-b3 plan that will put a bind on White's position. Thus, the c2 square is a better place for the Holy Man.
Nov-30-13  Owl: Despite having a passed h-pawn and opponent having a double pawns. The 2 knights cannot win against the 2 bishops. If this was reverse the the 2 Bishops would win
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: After 18...Bc6

click for larger view

A dynamic position from this very conservative match.

After 39...Kg4

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See the superb Aug-09-07 post by <Dr. Siggy>.

Dec-01-13  jdc2: Are there any mistakes in this game, even
minor ones? I just did a blunder check with Fritz on both sides (threshold 100) and couldn't find anything (using Stockfish 4 64 at 20 sec per). I know that some people like to claim that the older players weren't as good as today, but it sure seems like at least some of them were.
Oct-09-16  Allanur: 42. Nd6 could have been win for white. if you have engines, can you analyse it?

of if you have analysis you think to refute 42. Nd6, can you share?

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Allanur>
At first glance, 42. Nd6 <Bxc3> looks strong for Black, if then 43. bxc3 <d4+>. Could you post more details about your idea for White?
Aug-24-18  WorstPlayerEver: Again, Capa avoids a melee:

20. Nd4 Bb7 21. Bf5 b4 22. axb4 Bxb4 23. b3 Ne5 24. Bxf6 gxf6 25. Nce2

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Premium Chessgames Member
  gezafan: If I recall correctly a Russian IM did an extensive analysis of this game, concluding Capablanca should have won. I can't remember his name. Is anyone familiar with this?
Sep-10-19  smendel: The computer thinks 25. Ra1 was Capa's best chance.
Oct-09-20  Owl: According to Garry Kasparov, Capablanca let slip "an enormous positional advantage" in Game 17. On my Great Predecessors part 1 I would like to see Kasparov analysis and from position was he talking about?
Mar-25-21  Boomie: I don't have special K's book but this position is probably what he's talking about. Black is just a mess here.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: 8..b6 was new but seems to just lead to an inferior version of the Tartakover variation; Alekhine played 8..h6 in several other games in the match. Capablanca thought that 14 Rfd1 would have been an improvement. 19..c4!? was positionally dubious weakening d4; 19..Rb8 looks more solid.

White had the better endgame but there is nothing in his notes indicating that he thought he was winning.

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