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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Efim Bogoljubov
London (1922), London ENG, rd 6, Aug-07
Spanish Game: Closed. Yates Variation (C91)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Coming from a person of your expertise, that is quite a compliment, rookfile.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Positional masterpiece, the Capablanca we all love.
Dec-25-08  RandomVisitor: following up on the line put forward by <maxi> 41...Nxe4 appears to lead to a draw so white must play something else earlier.

position after 39...Rb2

click for larger view

White has 40.Ne6! Nd7 [a 40...Ke7 41.Nxc5 dxc5 42.Ke3; b 40...Nb3 41.c5 dxc5 42.Nxc5 Nd4+ 43.Ke3] 41.Ne2 Bg8 42.Ke3 Ne5 43.c5 dxc5 44.Rxc5 Ke7 45.Rc7+! Kd6 46.Ra7 Rb3+ 47.Kd2 Nc4+ 48.Kc2 Re3 0.66/16 with significant pressure after 49.Nc1 or 49.Rxa6+.

It is now up to black to find a line that draws.

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: An interesting but difficult question, RandomVisitor. Incidentally, there are peculiar similarities in many of the variations that occur in this game and those in game Spassky vs Fischer, 1972, but you have to analyze the games to be able to see them. It is not surprising then that both are known as difficult games. Notice too that in both games Black has obtained a passed <a> pawn, and White has an attack along the central lines with Pawns against the Black King.
Jan-19-09  birthtimes: Another drawish line could go:

41. Ne6 Nxe4 42. Kxe4 Rxe2 43. Kd4 Rd2+ 44. Rd3 Rxd3+ 45. Kxd3 g6 46. Kc3 gxf4 47. gxf4 Bh7 48. Nd4 Ke8 49. Kb4 a3 50. Kxa3 Kd7 51. Ka4 Kc7 52. Ka5 Kb7 53. h4 h5 54. Kb4 Kb6 55. Kb3 a5 56. Kc3 a4 57. Nb5 Kc5 58. Nd4 Kb6 59. Nb5 Kc5 60. Nd4 Kb6

Premium Chessgames Member
  sleepyirv: I have a hard time believing that the knight's journey between 14 through 17 was any good.
May-23-09  paladin at large: <maxi><RookFile> In your line above, 43. Kf3 looks better for White than Kd4. The white rook is very important for destruction of the black a-pawns and threatening king and bishop on the back rank.

I don't think we should write Capa off lightly; he thought 41. Ne6 (a sealed move) was the very best move of the game!

May-31-09  Sebas88: Great macht
Jul-27-09  birthtimes: It's extremely interesting to note that Capablanca, in his book "A Primer of Chess," states that after 36. Nd4 "Black could not play 36...Qxc4 because of 37. Rc2 followed by Ne6, leaving him in a helpless situation."

However, it would be Capablanca, not Black, that could find himself in a helpless situation after 37...Qxd5!!!

It was this type of fast and extremely superficial analysis by Capablanca that cost him his match with Alekhine, for it has been said that one's greatest strength is also one's greatest weakness. Alekhine certainly proved it time and time again to Capablanca in that particular match.

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden used to tell his players, "Be quick, but for goodness sake, don't hurry!" Capablanca would have won that match with Alekhine if he would have followed coach's advice...

Oct-29-09  RandomVisitor: After the suggested improvement 39...Bg8:

1: Jose Raul Capablanca - Efim Bogoljubov, London (England) 1922

click for larger view

Analysis by Rybka 3 :

<[+0.20] d=26 40.Ne6> Nd7 41.Ke2 Rb4 42.Kd1 Ke7 43.Nxg7 Ne5 44.Ne6 Rxc4 45.Rxc4 Nxc4 46.Kc2 Bf7 47.Kc3 Ne5 48.Nf4 a5 49.Nf1 04:35:17 855303kN, tb=28

Oct-30-09  RandomVisitor: above position at 29-ply:

<[+0.15] d=29 40.Ne6> Nd7 41.Ke2 Ke7 42.Kd1 Bf7 43.Nxg7 Ne5 44.Kc2 Rb4 45.Ne2 a5 46.Nc1 a3 47.Rxa3 Rxc4+ 48.Kd2 Rd4+ 49.Ke3 Rxd5 50.exd5 Nc4+ 51.Kd3 Nxa3 52.Ne6 h5 53.Nb3 hxg4 54.hxg4 a4 55.Nbd4 27:18:55 1215477kN, tb=502

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Good point, <birthtimes>, the move 36...♕xc4 is a terrible blunder, and Capa gives it as excellent in A Chess Primer. The move I point out, 41...♘xe4, wins a Pawn but Capa does not mention it. Did he overlook the variation in his annotation?
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: With respect to the comment <RandomVisitor> makes, to the effect that 40.♘e6! is better than the move made in the game. Yes, it seems better. At this time I am not sure if Black can draw.

With respect to the comment <paladin at large> makes, about 43.♔f3 being better than 43.♔e4 in the line I suggest, nope. In this case Black simply repeats with 43...♖b2 and he is fine.

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: It would seem that <RandomVisitor>'s move, 40.Ne6!, is still not enough to win. It has the serious drawback of giving Black's a-Pawns too much freedom. Perhaps 40.♘e6 ♘b3 41.c5 dxc 42.♘xc5 ♘d4+ 43.♔e3 ♘b5 and the position, while difficult, seems to be a likely draw.
Oct-09-10  maelith: reading birthtimes comment, below is an interesting quote by Botvinnik about Capablanca

(Capablanca's) phenomenal move-searching algorithm in those early years, when he possessed a wonderful ability for calculating variations very rapidly, made him invincible. - Mikhail Botvinnik

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: < caseyclyde: Bogoljubov happened to be an excellent player who had the misfortune of being around at the time of Capablanca and Alekhine. His genius was never truly recognized because those two giants of chess used him like a punching bag.>

In terms of career achievements, Bogo wasn't in the class of these greats, but the 'punching bag' comment is utterly silly.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Compare Kamsky vs Lenderman, 2006, in which White improves with <11. Nc3!>. Note that White does not have this option when Black plays the standard move order: <9. ... Bg4 10. Be3 cxd4 11. cxd4>.
Sep-09-13  rjsolcruz: In Cardoso Memorial Cup, Canonigo of Paralympics played 10 h3 vs Casiano of UP who replied with 10... BxNf3.
Jun-09-15  MindCtrol9: Great game.I like the maneuvers of the Knight in order to get the LB.There is no shame at all to lose to the best player like Capablanca was.I love games from the relativily old times where those players had something extra like in this game one can easily see.
Nov-24-16  knockster: It appears that 41...Ke7! also draws. This is actually a serious winning attempt. The threat is simply Bxe6 and White must do something about it.

42. Nxg7 this is why it was thought that Ke7 does not work. 42...Nb3 43. Ne6 Bxe6 44. fxe6 a5 45. Ng3 a3 46. Nf5+ Kf8 47. c5 only move a2 48. cxd6 Nd4+ 49. Kf4 Nxf5 50. Kxf5 a1Q 51. Rc8+ Kg7 52. Rc7+ perpetual.

42. Nxc5 dxc5 43. Nc1
there are several alternatives like Ke3, Ra3 and other knight moves. This looks like beeing the sharpest. The plan is Nd3 attacking c5 and controlling b4. 43...Kd6 (another good move is Bf7 with the options Be8, h5, g6) 44. Nd3 Rb3 45. Rxb3 axb3 46. Ke3 Bf7 47. Kd2 a5 48. Kc3 a4 49. h4 g6 50. e5+!? fxe5 51. Nf2 gxf5 52. gxf5 Bxd5! 53. cxd5 Kxd5 =

If 42. N2d4 Bxe6 43. dxe6 Rb1 It's difficult to see a win for Black but he certainly shouldn't lose.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: It seems Bogo is rated No.1 in the world in 1927:

Jun-06-22  RookFile: Which would make no sense, considering that either Capa or Alekhine or maybe even old Lasker would slap him around in a match.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <kingscrusher> <rookfile>

Bogo was #1 for exactly two months. As <RookFile> points out, he certainly wasn't the best player in the world at the time. But these anomalies crop up from time to time with a purely math-based rating system, especially back when top events were much rarer than they are now. Lasker didn't play an official game between 1925 and 1934, Capa was on the maybe-one-tournament-a-year plan, and Alekhine had the occasional inconsistent result.

Looking at the link, Bogo had terrific results at Moscow 1925 and Berlin 1926, then he is listed as having good results at three(!) tournaments in January 1927 (Bremen, Scarborough, and Bad Homburg). I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Bogo did not play in three tournaments in a month. I think Sonas assigned a tournament to January if he didn't know when it took place.

Checking cg, Bremen (1927) was in April, and Scarborough (1927) was in early June (and Bogo finished minus-1, but the players he lost to weren't rated on chessmetrics). We don't have a page for Bad Homburg.

So how did Bogo (briefly) become #1 in the world? Like many things, it was an accident.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <sleepy: I have a hard time believing that the knight's journey between 14 through 17 was any good.>

That stood out to me, too. But Stockfish is fine with it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: GM Sadler is a big fan it seems of Bogo in perpetual chess podcast Episode 258:

He mentions quite a few strengths of Bogo but acknowledges he was overshadowed by the great champions. Nevertheless it is interesting to study lesser known players sometimes.

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