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Alexander Alekhine vs Jose Raul Capablanca
"Beat A Hasty Retreat" (game of the day Feb-24-2021)
AVRO (1938), The Netherlands, rd 9, Nov-19
French Defense: Tarrasch. Closed Variation (C05)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <OhioChessFan> Isn't it just "How Knot to Play Chess" as <Phony Benoni> suggested above?
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Kotov and Keres both study this game in depth in The Art of the Middle Game without offering any ideas for improving Black's play. After 9...Bb4+?!, both 10.Bd2 and 10.Kf1 have proven very successful in the database; 10.Bd2,Bxd2+; 11.Qxd2,Qb4; 12.Rc1,Qxd2+; 13.Kxd2 has never lost in the DB.

Black has to play 9...Nf6, accept the backwards e6 pawn and hope he can generate counterplay.

Feb-24-21  V Geriakov: What really surprised me is that this game had not been a GOTD yet.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: at age 50 Capa was no longer the same player who had gone ten years without losing a game. Still, a great demonstration of talent by AAA.

Was 10. K-f1 a <relatively> new move at GM level chess? I'm thinking that Capa was very familiar with the endgames that ensue after 10.B-d2 and was probably disappointed to see Alekhine simply move his King out of check.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Alas, I thought they might actually run with mine.
Feb-24-21  Brenin: After 27 f4, Nf3 (as in the game) leaves the N stranded in enemy territory, and eventually captured, while 27 ... Ne4 loses the exchange to 28 Bxe4 dxe4 29 Ng6, but what about 27 ... Nf7, e.g. 28 Bd3 Nf8 to counter a possible Ng6? After Qe2 and Qxg4 White has a big spatial advantage, but is he winning?
Feb-24-21  goodevans:

click for larger view

"A knight on the rim is dim"!

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <goodevans>, whilst Black's proud beast at e4 accomplishes precisely nothing.
Premium Chessgames Member

click for larger view

The move that gets me, looking at this game again for the first time in many years, is 21.h5 giving up g5. Especially since Capa has just played 20....Nh7. But you've got to give squares to get squares, a wise man said. As perfidious noted, Capa's a knight to e4 looks good but doesn't accomplish much. Kind of like Spassky's knight in this game.

click for larger view

Karpov vs Spassky, 1974

Alekhine also pointed out that 21.h5 also put an end to any prospect of a Capa counterattack on the kingside.

<OhioChessFan: Alas, I thought they might actually run with mine.>

They honored it in spirit!

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <keypusher>, in the early 1980s, I won a game in this line in which my opponent (roughly 2100) also managed to get his knight to e4--not an easy thing to do and I never did, though I would go on to play Black in this variation numerous times through the 1990s.
Feb-24-21  BwanaVa: This may have been discussed, but why 27...Ng5-f3? Is it reasonable to think that Capa did not realize the knight would be trapped? Why not 27...Ng5 to either f7 or e4? Granted, Black has a bad game anyway...
Feb-24-21  Brenin: <BwanaVa>: I queried Black's 27 ... Nf3 earlier today, wondering why he didn't play Nf7 (Ne4 loses the exchange to 28 Be4 dxe4 29 Ng6). For what it's worth, the Engine gives 27 ... Nf3 +2.85 (preferring 28 Nxf3 gxf3+ 29 Kxf3 to the game line), 27 ... Ne4 28 Bxe4 +2.21, and 27 ... Nf7 28 Bd3 Nf8 29 Qe2 +4.15.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: One remembers good chess quotes. In Bobby Fischer's M60MG in the notes for one game an opponent gets a deeply posted Knight, I think at f6 during the endgame.

In the game notes it reads (my paraphrasing) "A deeply posted Knight has much less scope after both pair of Rooks have been exchanged and is not always to be feared."

So, if not part of a coordinated attack, the posted knight is not always a big asset.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sargon: <keypusher:


<OhioChessFan: Alas, I thought they might actually run with [my pun].>

They honored it in spirit!>

OCF had suggested <"A Great Game That Doesn't Lend Itself to a Good Pun">.

Notwithstanding that assertion, when reviewing the game before appointing it as GOTD (which I generally try to do) I immediately noticed that Black moved several minor pieces more than once in the opening (<11...Nf8> & <13...Nd8>, for example). As a rule of thumb, of course, this is inadvisable. Additionally, the computer analysis seems to suggest that <15...Bxa4> for Black is preferable to retreating the Queen with <15...Qa7>.

Therefore, in summary, many of Black's moves in the opening were <excessively> defensive—which ceded even <greater> initiative to White. As a result, White "beat" Black's "hasty retreat"—in less than 35 moves.

So I thought my pun was at least <marginally> apropos!

But then again, what do <I> know?

Dec-11-21  Mathematicar: Alekhine just outplayed Capa in this one, but part of the defeat is probably Capablanca's deteriorating health.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: ate his homework...
Dec-11-21  Mathematicar: Capablanca suffered mild stroke during AVRO 1938 turnament. I would say this is fine excuse for black. We all know that, overall, Capablanca was better player than Alekhine.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Mathematicar: Capablanca suffered mild stroke during AVRO 1938 turnament. >

Nobody ever beat a healthy Capablanca. Jose Raul Capablanca (kibitz #3375)

<We all know that, overall, Capablanca was better player than Alekhine.>

We don't know that. At least I don't. They played a match for the World Championship and Alekhine won. That I know.

Dec-11-21  Mathematicar: He is probably the greatest player if we just look natural talent. Of course, he can't be compared with modern Super GM's because of all that theory and computer preparation, etc. That aside, I think Rubinstein defeated him in 1911, and he had two losses, from Lasker and Tarrasch, in 1914, and of course he had more lost games when in best shape, I am not denying this.

I always "cheered" for Lasker and other players, but Capa just played this clear chess that still glows in my eyes and that's why he is what he is: Capablanca.

P.S. How to quote comments here?

Feb-14-22  Margetic D: <Mathematicar: We all know that, overall, Capablanca was better player than Alekhine.>

No. What we all know for sure, is that Alekhine defeated 1927 Capablaca in World Championship. What we also know , is that Capablanca congrated Alekhine in a letter.

What i personally think is that both players were kings in their best years, no doubt.

Feb-14-22  George Wallace: <Mathematicar: He is probably the greatest player if we just look natural talent.>

What does this <really> mean? How does one look only at natural talent?

To me, this sounds like someone gushing about Capablanca and repeating cliches written about him from Chernev and other old authors. Is there any real substance to it?

Explain the process of exactly how one excludes other aspects of a game so as to arrive at the perception of only the <natural talent> involved.

Why wasn't Morphy, Reshevsky, Fischer or Steinitz considered just as, or more endowed with natural talent?

How do you know Alekhine wasn't gifted with more <natural talent>, and how can you show this?

I love Capablanca, but sometimes I think people gush because they've been taught to gush.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Williebob: <George Wallace: <Mathematicar: He is probably the greatest player if we just look natural talent.> What does this <really> mean? How does one look only at natural talent?>

I like these questions!

Children who beat experienced adult players at chess are obvious examples of talent, but qualifying talent as part of an older professional's game is dodgy. All professional chess players must work hard to succeed. Perhaps some get by with less prep and more over-the-board ability (as we're taught to believe about Capa)? I guess that requires the same stuff that made you good when you were young.

Maybe the way Carlsen wins games is an example of being just a bit more talented than everybody else.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Talent, by its inherently amorphous nature, in no way lends itself to easy classification.

The man who beat Capablanca obviously possessed great talent, but only hard work brought Alekhine to the pinnacle, just as Kasparov was tremendously gifted, but had to work very hard to raise his game to its zenith.

Feb-15-22  FM David H. Levin: <Mathematicar: [...snip...] P.S. How to quote comments here?>

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