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Oldrich Duras vs Jose Raul Capablanca
Rice CC Masters (1913), New York, NY USA, rd 4, Jul-27
Queen's Gambit Declined: Vienna. Quiet Variation (D44)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: You can find this game in Chernev: Capablanka's Best Endings. To me, it seems that Duras somewhat outplayed Capablanka in the tense early middle game. Then, he blundered pawn on the move 30. (After Rd4 all is well for White.) The endgame is a Cablanka classic. The ending of Capablanka-Yates, Hastings 1930, is similar.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: In fact, there is no Capablanka-Yates, Hastings 1930 in this database!?
Mar-28-04  Lawrence: <Gypsy>, Capa's games against Michell, Winter and Tylor also missing. Source: "Chess Games"
Jun-30-05  aw1988: 1. Capablanca - 13/13.
2. Duras - 10.5/13.

Um... wow.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: In my career, I had this ending twice-once as a 1750 player against an expert who didn't understand the basic idea of playing ....h5, so I ground him down, then many years on,I faced a 1950 player who knew what to aim for, so managing to make the draw.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: I wonder whether, in view of today's understanding of this type of endgames, the simplest path to drawing this could have been the maneuver <37...Ra8+ 38.Ke7 Rh8 ...>. It gives White the necessary time to play g3 and h4; by consensus the best defensive setup. Simplest, not the last, of course. I understand that Levenfish and Smyslov found defensive resources as late as on the move 65.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: For a classic defense with the f2-g3-h4 pawn structure, see V Mikenas vs Alekhine, 1935.
Sep-05-05  bumpmobile: I looked for a long time for why Mr. Duras didn't play 17. h3 as it looks like the queen is trapped. What I found was 17...Bxf3 gives the queen a couple of flight squares and muddles up the kingside pawn protection no matter what White does.
Sep-06-05  Juan De Pisto: what a beautiful game, I like the most the moves 41 and 42, when the rook seems to hang elegantly from a pawn in the middle of the board
Jun-02-07  willyfly: <Gypsy> FYI Capablanca vs Yates, 1930 <Hastings> is now available in this database
Jun-02-07  CapablancaFan: This guy Duras went into a rook-pawn endgame with Capablanca? LOL!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <willyfly> Thanks for the prompt!
Jun-02-07  willyfly: also W Winter vs Capablanca, 1919 mentioned by <Lawrence> is now available
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <CapablancaFan: This guy Duras went into a rook-pawn endgame with Capablanca? LOL!>

… and (would you believe it?) the year before, he had gone into a Rook ending with Rubinstein: Rubinstein vs Duras, 1912.

Oh, but wait a minute! Duras actually won that 1912 game against Rubinstein (of whom Tartakower said: "Rubinstein is a rook ending of a chess game that was started by God a thousand years ago.").

Maybe Duras wasn’t such a bad player after all.

Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: Instead of 68...Rxe3, which might have drawn, stronger seems 68...Kxe3 69.Re8+ Kf4 70.Rg8 Rd2 and 71...Rg2+.

69.Re8+ looks like the losing move. It should draw after 69.Ra4+ Kf5 70.Kf2.

Nov-16-13  tonsillolith: Is it just me, or is <30. b4> a really bad move? It looks like <30. Rd4> would have been better.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <tonsillolith: Is it just me, or is <30. b4> a really bad move? ...>

The <30.b4?...> is indeed an error and has been labeled so in the original(?) annotations to the game in NY Tribune, 1913.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <wwall> It appears that <68...Rxe3> is a mistake in our game score, and that <68...Kxe3> was actually played. Sources:

<Brooklyn Daily Eagle>, July 31, 1913

<New York Sun>, August 3, 1913

<American Chess Bulletin>, September 1913, p.196.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sargon: <<wwall> It appears that <68...Rxe3> is a mistake in our game score, and that <68...Kxe3> was actually played.>

If that's true wouldn't some subsequent R moves for black be illegal? They would have occurred on the d file instead of the e file. The game would have gone something like 68...Kxe3 69.Re8+ Kf4 70.Rg8 Rd1+ 71.Kf2 Rd2+ 72.Kf1 Rh2 73.Kg1 Rxh3 74.Rg7 g4 75.Rg8 Kg3 0-1

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sargon: If someone could confirm the remaining moves after 68...Kxe3 the correction could be completed.
Jan-04-16  Howard: One thing about Chernev was that he often failed to point out where the loser went wrong in a game. If I remember right, in his generally well-written CBCE, he doesn't really tell us where Duras slipped up.

Was this endgame a draw all along, or did Capablanca have a won ending from the 38th move ?

Jan-04-16  Retireborn: <Howard> I used to own that book too, very attractively produced as I recall. It's true that Chernev tends to be much too admiring.

Anyway after 32...Nb6 I think most GMs would assess Black's position as won, as he is a pawn up for nothing. That suggests that the critical moment was 31.Rd3, and a more active rook move like 31.Rd7 or 31.Rd6 may just be enough to hold on.

I would bet that there were more mistakes by both players in the rest of the game, as it's very difficult to play this sort of rook endgame perfectly.

Jun-18-18  Omnipotent00001: 69...Kf4 mates in 22 moves.
Jan-02-21  tbontb: The ending is a classic but my engine suggests 22.Rxd8+ (instead of h3) actually wins for white!
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Howard....Was this endgame a draw all along, or did Capablanca have a won ending from the 38th move ?>

This ending is the textbook example of rook and four pawns vs rook and three, all on the same side, and contributed much to its understanding; it has long been known that with proper play, the weaker side can hold the draw.

The key idea for the defence is to get their rook pawn to the fourth rank, as I noted in the kibitz from sixteen years ago. While this is a very favourable version of the ending, as Capablanca was able to achieve the stronger side's aim of rook's pawn to the fifth rank without hindrance, even then the ending can be held, though it is more difficult.

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