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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Max Euwe
"J.R. Euweing" (game of the day May-25-2009)
Capablanca - Euwe (1931), Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Scheveningen NED, rd 3, Jul-16
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Classical. Noa Variation (E34)  ·  1-0



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Given 32 times; par: 44 [what's this?]

Annotations by Jose Raul Capablanca.      [26 more games annotated by Capablanca]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-25-09  Samagonka: Very good notes by Capablanca. Free chess tution.
May-25-09  randomsac: I agree with everybody in saying that the annotations are very instructive.
May-25-09  WhiteRook48: sometimes I miss these knight forks myself
May-25-09  visayanbraindoctor: Capablanca’s notes make the game look so simple, yet it’s not. For example, Capablanca did not make any comment after 13. g4, yet there are probably many players who would not dare play this move, or go into a line that enters into this move, as it apparently weakens White’s Kingside at a moment when Black has a possibly dangerous attack coming. For example, after 13. g4, Black has a possible target which he can hit with an eventual f5. In the ensuing complications, Capa navigated his way through without an error until 30. Bc1 (which he himself pointed out) which not surprisingly was just two moves before time control, when many errors occur. In order to play 13. g4, Capa would have to seriously think ahead trying to calculate everything after both 13… Be6 (the move he recommended), and 13… Bd3, the move which Euwe actually played. IMO probably most players would choose 13… Bd3, like Euwe did, as it gives Black a dangerous attack and is not really a blunder.

A fascinating thought is that Capablanca could have seen the resource 19. Qb1 even before he entered into the 13. g4 line. Another interesting thought is to give the position after 13. g4 to two GMs who have never seen this game, and see how they would play it out. Would some such hypothetical games even end up in a Black victory, and how many would end in draws?

There are naturally reactions to Euwe’s blunder at the end. The blunder somewhat spoils the game’s aesthetic value, and we miss out on another Capablanca endgame lesson. Capablanca himself seems disappointed that Euwe blundered; his notes indicate he was eager to demonstrate a White win.

May-25-09  Chessmensch: Don't blast Euwe too much. Worse has happened, and not long ago. Remember Kramnik vs. Deep Fritz? Deep Fritz vs Kramnik, 2006
May-25-09  RandomVisitor: After 25.Nh5!

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[+2.09] d=14 25...Rb6 26.a5 Rxb5 27.Rxb5 c6 28.Rb7 Ra8 29.Rd7 Kf8

[+2.33] d=14 25...Rc6 26.Rg5 Rg6 27.Rb7 Rxg5 28.Bxg5 Ra8 29.Bf4 Na5 30.Rb5 Nc4 31.Bxc7 Nxc7 32.Rc5 Nd5 33.Rxc4 g6 34.Rc5 Nxc3 35.Rxc3 gxh5 36.gxh5 Rb8 37.Rc7 a6 38.d5 Rd8 39.Rc5 Kf8

[+2.86] d=14 25...Rfe6 26.Rb7

May-26-09  RandomVisitor: After 13...Be6

click for larger view

[+0.05] d=18 14.Ne2 Nd7 15.Bxd6 cxd6 16.Nf4 Qf6 17.Kf2 Nb6 18.Bd3 Rac8 19.Rab1 Qe7 20.Kg2 g5 21.Nh5 f5 22.h3 Qf7

May-26-09  kevin86: Euwe was to be champion in a few years-so better play is ahead for the Hollander.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: There are parallels to Capablanca vs Euwe, 1938, where Capa likewise gained a positional advantage, and hacked through the complications Euwe generated to score a good won.
Aug-13-11  positionalgenius: Rf5! Typical capablanca
Feb-06-12  RookFile: Capablancs calculates well, as usual.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Fun fact: Capablanca and Lasker both had a +3 score against Euwe. In Capablanca's case, that was +3 over 18 games (+4 =13 -1). In Lasker's case, it was +3 over <three games>. And Lasker had the disadvantage of being 20 years older than Capablanca. Did I mention that Lasker was a god?
Jul-15-13  veera0013: A blunder will never be excused
Max has done it and lost his match with opponent
Feb-21-14  dernier thylacine: Would it not be very usefull to indicate in the list of the games, by the usual way of a pencil, that this one is annotated?
Feb-22-14  capafischer1: FSR by the same analogy you use did you know that Capablanca had a 6 wins to only 2 losses against Lasker???? So who is the better player???
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <capafischer1> Geller had a plus score vs a passel of players who held the world title at various times, yet in numerous tries when facing the strongest players in the Candidates, finished equal second once, thus never getting to play a match with the champion.

For all the praise heaped upon Geller's head for his impressive achievement, how much should his failure on the latter score count against him; and was he really a stronger player than all those titans?

There is a chink in everyone's armour-one need only look long enough.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <capafischer1> Capablanca had a +6 =16 -2 score against Lasker. That's 58.3%. Good, but not overwhelming. If Lasker and Capablanca were contemporaries, it would be decent evidence for the proposition that Capablanca was the stronger player. But they were not; Lasker was 20 years older. All but their first three games (at St. Petersburg 1914, where Lasker scored +1 =2) were played when Lasker was 52 or older. A 52-year-old playing a 32-year old is at a huge disadvantage. (Compare how Anand, almost 44 at the time, just got mauled by Carlsen, then almost 23, +0 =7 -3.)* And the disadvantage only increases as time goes on, for example when you have a 67-year-old playing a 47-year-old. That would normally be a rout. I'm not a statistician, but I strongly suspect that if you factor in their respective ages, Lasker's result was considerably <better> than would be expected.

*Fun fact: Carlsen's 65% score in this match was very similar to Capablanca's 64.3% score in Lasker-Capablanca World Championship Match (1921).

Feb-22-14  visayanbraindoctor: Although it's imperfect, this is my favorite Capablanca vs Euwe game. I was amazed at Capa's 13. g4 and the follow up 19. Qb1. If Capa saw this resource when playing 13. g4, he has got to be the best calculator in chess history. It could have been a freak series of moves, but I have studied enough Capa games that indicate a similar see-it-all calculative ability extending to seemingly inhuman computer range depths, even in bizarre chaotic positions. (For example, see my notes in Capablanca vs Marshall, 1909). I have even speculated that Capa might have had a brain hard-wired in childhood that uses normally chess-silent portions.

At his best, in the 1916 to 1924 period, I believe that Capablanca was stronger than Lasker, and anybody else in chess history. IMO the only entity that could have defeated this unbeatable machine is the chess computer; and he would would have made the best score of all humans in human chess legends vs computer match-ups.

On the other hand, Lasker was stronger than Capablanca for a far longer stretch of time. He was playing at peak form even in his 50s, a biological miracle according to Fine who was a trained psychologist; but it seems to me it had more to do with health and motivation (also see the example of Korchnoi who had to retire at an advanced age only after a stroke). In this sense Lasker was a greater chess player than Capablanca.

Feb-22-14  RookFile: Euwe had the right idea in this game - to try to mix it up and get murky. I think that he had the wrong opening to do it with.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <visayanbraindoctor> In 1933, Lasker and his wife fled from Hitler's Germany. That must have been a shattering experience; a patriotic German, Lasker had lost his life savings in World War I investing in German war bonds. The following year, at the age of 65, not having played in <nine years>, he played at Zurich (1934). In his first game, he won as Black against Euwe, the man who would become World Champion the following year - Euwe's only loss in the tournament. Euwe vs Lasker, 1934 The following year, at age 66, he finished third at Moscow (1935), undefeated in the 19-round tournament, just half a point behind joint winners Botvinnik and Flohr. He crushed Capablanca in their individual game. Lasker vs Capablanca, 1935 This level of performance, at that age and under those circumstances, is almost superhuman! Lasker is the strongest 66-year-old in history,, and arguably the most dominant player of all time, An extraordinary genius.
Dec-03-14  Candy Man: Nobody made Chess look easy the way Capablanca did; just look at this game. Contrast Capablanca with the great Karpov. Does anyone think Karpov-for all his talent and awesome skill-made Chess seem so comparatively simple? YMMV.
Dec-03-14  ughaibu: I've been hearing about Capablanca making chess look easy for pretty much as long as I've been hearing about Capablanca, but I still have no idea of what it means. Particularly in the case of this game, we have a poster saying how bold and original Capablanca's play was, and what foresight it required, how does that marry up with looking easy?

Karpov, on the other hand, just attack anything attackable: P Sangla vs Karpov, 1968

Oct-19-19  RookFile: An interesting thing, ughaibu, is that Capa himself agrees with you. See his not from this game where he criticizes himself - "Instead of adopting the simple course White went in for complications: a policy not to be advised when there is a simple continuation in sight offering a definite advantage."
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

I think the Capablanca making chess looks easy stems from some of his games, especially his endings where you are wondering how is this going to be won.

Then you see, aided by Chernev or Reinfeld notes, what Capa did and you say to yourself; 'Of course...why did I not think of that? It 'now' looks so easy.' (till the next Capa game you play over when again your are presented with; '... how is this going to be won.')

In reality it's not easy, highlighted by the fact how hard it is to emulate.


Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: 13 g4 was a strong move. Capablanca’s notes omit the refutation of 13..Bxg4 14 fxg4 Qe4 15 Kf2 Qxh1 which is 16 Bxd6 cxd6 17 Nf3 Nd7 18 Rb1 Nf6 19 Bd3 Nxg4+ 20 Kg3

The later plan with Rf5 backfired though and it is hard to prove a win after 30 Bc1? Nc7!

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