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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Jose Raul Capablanca
Moscow (1936), Moscow URS, rd 7, May-22
English Opening: Agincourt Defense. Catalan Defense (A14)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-05-09  M.D. Wilson: Hi, "Plato". Yours is a very literal reading. Capa displayed superior clock management and nerves which in itself can, but not always, display superior strategy and experience; ala Lasker and Korchnoi. Capa had vastly more experience than Botvinnik, and it showed here. Experience does count for something at least.
Nov-05-09  Plato: Indeed he had greater experience, which I guess you could say gave him better clock management, although Capablanca never got into time trouble even in his early days while Botvinnik was regularly in time trouble even when he was more experienced. As for Capablanca displaying superior strategy, that was simply not the case in this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Two of the greats, both with a conservative approach to chess, I would think. MB tied Capa 1-1, with 5 draws, in classical chess.

This one goes to "the wily Cuban".

May-11-11  BobCrisp: <Botvinnik> blamed his defeat on anti-Semitism.
Nov-11-11  AnalyzeThis: Capablanca was a crafty defender. I was playing over Reshevsky's win over Capa, and Reshevsky gives a terrific trap that Capa set for him that he avoided, that would have won the game for Capa. In this particular game, Capa swindles his way out of trouble and wins.
Oct-29-13  Nina Myers: <paladin at large> Thanks!
Oct-30-14  TheBish: I don't know how you can have a Guess the Move on this game, when the winning side was losing until a blunder occurs!
Oct-30-14  Sally Simpson: So have a guess the blunder competition!

I'll be good at those. All I'll have to do is say: "Now what would I play here."

Someone said this was Capablanca 15 years past his prime. You could say was also 15 years before Botvinnik was in his.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Someone said this was Capablanca 15 years past his prime. You could say was also 15 years before Botvinnik was in his.>

Botvinnik's prime was 1941-1948, according to Botvinnik.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Botvinnik's results during that period lend much weight to his self-assessment; he was the strongest player of the forties, even if he held the title only a small portion of that decade.
Oct-31-14  Sally Simpson: Hi Guys,

I did say, "You could say..."

But I agree Botvinnik was propably the strongest player going about at that time. His play in the 1948 W.C. tournament proved that. (and let's not open up another stupid unfounded debate about players throwing games.)

But his play (15 years after 1936) in the 50's was not too bad either. He started off and ended that decade as World Champion.

Dec-03-14  MarkBuckley: Clock management maybe. JRC was known, at least during his heyday, as an invincible blitz player. My advice, if you happen to play him: avoid time trouble. But Mischa never listened to me.
Oct-15-15  pedro99: Capablanca was a master of the Queens Indian as Black and, of course, knew main line QGD supremely well. I think it was his opening limitations that restricted him later on rather than any mysterious disease. Pretty sure Carlsen will have analysed him in depth.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: Botvinnik rightly was upset that he lost a winning position from what would have been his best game of the tourney. He doesn't mention that he was outplayed in the game he had Black, but Capa threw away the win. Capablanca vs Botvinnik, 1936
Sep-29-16  mathlover: position after 23 Nd2 was winning for white ...I so not understand how he mange to lose that ,,,,,,
Nov-20-16  Robyn Hode: He was playing Capablanca.
Sep-28-17  RookFile: 13....Rad8 is interesting. Isn't 13...d6 instead the most "natural" move on the board? Capa always prefered the natural move, but here he doesn't play it. After 13.....Rad8, what about 14. e5? I guess Capa wasn't worried about 14. e5 Ne8 15. Rad1 f6.

I think it shows Capa had ambitions of winning this game right from the start, not just drawing it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < RookFile: 13....Rad8 is interesting. Isn't 13...d6 instead the most "natural" move on the board? Capa always prefered the natural move, but here he doesn't play it. After 13.....Rad8, what about 14. e5? I guess Capa wasn't worried about 14. e5 Ne8 15. Rad1 f6. I think it shows Capa had ambitions of winning this game right from the start, not just drawing it.>

Makes sense. But by move 21 his position looks awful, and by move 25 even worse. So where did he go wrong?

Oct-15-17  RookFile: I don't know. Capa's play seemed provocative, all those dark squared bishop moves. I set things up in Stockfish after 25. h4 and it definitely doesn't like 25....b5 from black. White's advantage at least doubled after that. Stockfish says black has to hang tight with something like 25....Qa8.
Jun-26-18  ewan14: 1948 WC tournament was a joke !
An odd number of players ( Nadjorf not invited ) therefore an unequal no. of whites in the mini matches
Sep-03-18  N.O.F. NAJDORF: "28. Qa5 would have won immediately, since the knight cannot move because of Nxe6, and on 28....d5 there follows 29. exd6 Bxd6 (29...Rxd6 30. Qe5 Bg7 31. Qxd6) 30. Be5."

(Capablanca, quoted by Paladin)

I thought the knight could not move because it was pinned!

Sep-13-18  wtpy: I was not familiar with this game in which Botvinnik squanders a winning position not once but twice. The explanation that 37 Rd6 is a time scramble hallucination is the only one that makes any sense. Opportunities to beat Capablanca did not come around that often. Botvinnik had to be seriously chagrined.
Mar-18-19  Garech: Good fight!
Apr-04-20  ewan14: Botvinnik made sure Nadjorf was not invited to the 1948 W.C.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <ewan14>
Then you can post on that event's page FIDE World Championship Tournament (1948) your reasons for believing that.
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