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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Salomon Flohr
AVRO (1938), The Netherlands, rd 8, Nov-17
Gruenfeld Defense: Brinckmann Attack. Grünfeld Gambit (D83)  ·  1-0

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-28-05  Whitehat1963: Actually, <ughaibu>, (though I suspect you're probably well aware of it) if this is the AVRO tournament, it was Capablanca who had the attack, a stroke, to be precise. I wonder if this was before or after.
Aug-28-05  RookFile: Capa was partial to placing his bishop on f4 against the gruenfeld, and had good results with it. It's really old school chess, white is saying, "If black plays ... d5 instead of d6, I will own the e5 square."
Aug-28-05  ughaibu: Whitehat1963: What makes you think Capablanca had a stroke during the AVRO tournament?
Aug-28-05  RookFile: Reshevsky showed a better way of handling this defence:

Capablanca vs Reshevsky, 1938

Aug-29-05  Whitehat1963: Why not play 30. Rxg7, getting the bishop pretty much for free?
Aug-29-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Because white is in check. And see J.R.C.'s page for an interminable discussion on whether Capa had a stroke or not at AVRO. There isn't much evidence that he did.
Aug-29-05  Whitehat1963: Ah, yes, CHECK! Eternal blindness! As for the stroke, what about these opinions, which, by the way, all say about the same thing, using almost the same exact phrasing:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jose_R...

http://www.geocities.com/aiccf/feb0...

http://www.chessclub.demon.co.uk/cu...

http://www.chesscorner.com/worldcha...

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/en...

http://www3.sympatico.ca/g.giffen/p...

http://waterloochess.mysite.wanadoo...

http://www.chess-dictionary-chesmay...

http://profiles.incredible-people.c...

http://www.gothicchess.org/long_ans...

Aug-30-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: It probably means that they all copied each other. Weight of authority doesn't count for much in chess history, I find. Think of all the unsound analysis that gets copied in book after book . . . one of the good things about computers is that they have practically forced us to take a fresh look at the old classic games.

To figure out whether Capa really had a stroke at AVRO, you have to go back to the evidence, which appears to amount to a claim by Olga Capablanca. A doctor like <tpstar> can also provide perspective. But the fact that a lot of books and websites say he had one counts for very little.

Oct-23-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: After 8. dc, Golombek states that "White's position is now very difficult". I don't know why. It looks like a balanced game. He says also that Flohr's 10... Nba6 is "not the strongest way of continuing the attack" and suggests the inferior 10... b6. He shows the variation 11. Nd4 Ba6 12. b4 Bc4 13. ba Bf1 14. Kf1 ba, "with the better game for Black." It is difficult to agree with him. On the contrary, White seems to have a better ending, after 15. Ke2. In fact, 10... Nba6 seems to be natural and better than 11... Ba6.
Oct-23-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: "Not 17... Rc1 18. Kd2 Qb4 19. Rb4 Rh1 20. Bb7 Re8 21. Bc6 and White wins." (Golombek) Well... Let's see this mysterious statement. 21... Rd8 22. Bc7 (22. Bd7 Bd4) Rc8 23. Rb7 Be8 24. Ra7 Bd4 25. ed Rg1 26. g3 Rg2, and I do not see any white win here.
Oct-23-05  Petrocephalon: <mateo> An enigmatic annotation indeed. In the variation you provide, however, 24.Bxe8 Rxe8 25.Nc6 may be winning...
Oct-24-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: About 19... Rc5: "A final mistake, after which the game is not to be saved." (Golombek) I cannot agree at all to this fanciful statement. This move is perfectly sound and at least equal for black.
Oct-24-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: 20... h6? gives white the advantage. Here is, in my opinion,Flohr's first error, not where Golombek see it, at move 19th. Better seems 20... Re8 21. e4 with a slight advantage for black.
Oct-24-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: 22... R5c7 looks solid for black with only a slight advantage for white.

22... Ra5 ?! looks dangerous for black as he does not keep an eye on his seventh rank. Golombek says 22... Bd4 followed by Rc2 is "somewhat better". Let's see: 22... Bd4 23. Rd4 Rc2 24. Rd2 (24. Kf3!?) and white has the advantage (xa7, h6, pawn majority, better king position), despite the opposite colour bishops. In my opinion, White's advantage his bigger than after 22... R5c7.

Oct-24-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: "If 24... Rd8 25. Ra7 followed by Rbb7 and wins." (Golombek). Simpler and more effective 25. Nc6 Bc6 26. dc Rc2 27. c7 Rc8 28. Rc1 Rc1 29. Bc1 Be5 30. Bf4 Bf4 31. Kf4 Kg7 32. Ke5 .
Oct-24-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: <Petrocephalon: <mateo> An enigmatic annotation indeed. In the variation you provide, however, 24.Bxe8 Rxe8 25.Nc6 may be winning...>

Interesting suggestion. But Golombek's variation is not forced. Instead of 20... Re8, 20... Rf8 desearves consideration. The difference is that after 21. Bc6 you have 21... Bc8. I do not say that on the long run, White does not have any compensation for the exchange, but it seems very categorical to write "White wins" (Golombek) without any explanation.

Oct-26-05  Petrocephalon: Agreed. It was the style of the time to write terse, dogmatic, puzzling and unhelpful annotations, for the pure cussedness of it.

Speaking of which, I've been tormented by the absence of an annotation to the 22nd move in Tarrasch vs Reti, 1922. Renfield (and by implication Tarrasch and Reti too, whose notes he consulted), disdains to comment on 22..Ne4 instead of 22..g6. No doubt I'm missing something obvious. Perhaps you could enlighten me?

Oct-27-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <Mateo> You are right. There is nothing wrong with 8.dc or 10...Nba6 or 12...Rfc1 which Golembek gives an undeserved "?".

Questionable is Capa's 8.Nge2?!

24...Ba4? Flohr's last chance is 24...e5! [Van Reek]

I have John Nunn's revised edition of the book. He makes no corrections to Golembek for this game. He must have fallen a asleep!

Oct-27-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: <Calli: 24...Ba4? Flohr's last chance is 24...e5! [Van Reek]>

I didn't know this suggestion from Van Reek. What did he wrote exactly? I would give this variation: 24... e5 25. de Be6 26. Ne6 fe 27. Re7 (winning the e6 pawn which is more valuable than the unuseful a7 pawn) with much the better ending for white in my opinion (better pawn structure, and more efficient rooks position). So, even if 24... e5 must be better than 24... Ba4, I am not sure that this pawn move could save black in the long terme.

The fact is that I see many errors in Golombek comments (see other games from Capablanca with my critics to Golombek suggestions, and I will continue to show this). I think Panov's book is much better.

Oct-27-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <Mateo> He gives only 24...e5! 25.Nf5!? Bxf5 26.exf5 gxf5 27.d6 e4+ 28.Kf4 Ra5! 29.Rd1 Be5+ 30.Kxf5 Bxd6+ 31.Kxe4 as a draw.

In your line, 24...e5 25.dxe6 Bxe6 26.Nxe6 fxe6 27.Re7 Ra3 28.Rxe6 Kf7 29.Rd6 Rc7 ahd White is better but there are reasonable drawing chances for Black. That's really the point. Its his last chance to try something. 24...Ba4? is dead lost.

Dec-25-05  CapablancaFan: Notice move 19. Ke2 instead of 0-0 by Capablanca. Already positioning his king for the endgame. Highly instructive.
Dec-24-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <ughaibu: I'm starting to think that Flohr had an attack of some kind during this game. ...>

You are right in a way. Flohr was a nervous wreck during AVRO -- it was his (and his wife's) very survival that was on his mind, not chess. Look at the dates: AVRO was played from Nov. 6 till Nov. 27, 1938. The 1938 Munich Accord, effectively dismantling and handing over Czechoslovakia to Hitler, was signed just about 6 weeks prior to that. Since Flohr was a Jew, his return home after the tournament would mean a certain death.

http://www.willy-brandt.org/bwbs_bi...

Jul-04-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Played in the 8th round; two rounds earlier Flohr played the White side of this line against Botvinnik. Ha accepted the gambit with 6 cxd, 7 Nxd5 and 8 Bxc7 and drew an interesting game. 7 dxc!? was new and extremely risky and has only been repeated once since then; 7 cxd and 7 Nf3 are usually played. 10 Qc4!? leaves the queen exposed 10 Qd1 looks stronger.

< Mateo: After 8. dc, Golombek states that "White's position is now very difficult". I don't know why. It looks like a balanced game. He says also that Flohr's 10... Nba6 is "not the strongest way of continuing the attack" and suggests the inferior 10... b6. >

Flohr recommends 10..e5! 11 Bg3..b6 12 b4 (12 Nc1..Ba6 13 Qh4..e4 looks great for Black)..Qxb4 with advantage to Black. Golembek mentions 10..e5 (prior to 10..b6) but does not give Flohr's supporting analysis. 12..Rfc8? was an error; Black could have maintained his advantage with 12..b5! 13 b4..bxc 14 bxa..e5 15 dxe..Nxe6 16 Bxc4..Nxf4 17 Bxa6..Nxg2+.

<Mateo: About 19... Rc5: "A final mistake, after which the game is not to be saved." (Golombek) I cannot agree at all to this fanciful statement. This move is perfectly sound and at least equal for black.>

Perhaps 19..Rc5?! doesn't lose but it certainly looks awfully slow.

<Mateo: 20... h6? gives white the advantage. Here is, in my opinion,Flohr's first error >

Clearly Flohr missed several opportunities earlier to take advantage of his strong opening. After missing these he did not defend well in the ending.

Oct-06-11  Hesam7: <plang: 12..Rfc8? was an error; Black could have maintained his advantage with 12..b5! 13 b4..bxc 14 bxa..e5 15 dxe..Nxe6 16 Bxc4..Nxf4 17 Bxa6..Nxg2+.>

Although I agree 12. ... Rfc8? was a big mistake I don't see any advantage for Black in the line you give. After:

12. ... b5 13. b4 bxc4 14. bxa5 e5 15. dxe6 Nxe6 16. Bxc4 Nxf4 17. Bxa6 Nxg2+ 18. Kd2 Rad8 19. Rb4 Nh4 20. Rd1 Nf5 21. Nce2 Rfe8 22. Ke1 Bf8 23. Rc4 Be6 24. Ra4


click for larger view

White has maintained equality. The way to obtain an advantage was to pounce on White's weakness: the knight on c3. After 12. ... Na4!


click for larger view

White is in big trouble, for example:

<A> 13. Be2? Nxb2! 14. Rxb2 Rac8 15. Qd3 Rxc3 16. Qd2 Rc1+ 17. Bd1 Rxd1 18. Kxd1 Qd5 19. f3 Ba4+ 20. Ke1 e5 it is time to resign.

<B> 13. Nde2? is even worse: 13. ... Rac8 14. Qd3 (14. b4 Qd8 15. Qb3 Nxc3 16. Nxc3 Bxc3+ Black is a piece up) 14. ... Nb4! 15. Qd2 Bf5! and White has to part with a lot of material not to get mated: 16. Rc1? Nd3+ 17. Kd1 Naxb2+.

So what options are left? Due to Black's threat of moving a rook to c8 White has to either move his Queen away from the c-file (to a square which still defends c3) or attack the Black Queen that gives me four moves:

<C> 13. Qd3? the worst among the four. Black plays 13. ... Nxc3 and then ... Qxa2 & ... Qxd5.

<D> 13. Qb3 Nxc3 14. bxc3 (14. Qxc3?! Qxa2 15. Rd1 Qxd5) 14. ... Nc5 15. Qb4 (15. Qb2 Ne4) 15. ... Qxa2 16. Be2 a5! 17. Qb6 Ne4 18. Qb2 Qxd5 and again Black is winning.

<E> 13. b4 Qb6 14. Nxa4 Bxa4 15. Bd3 Rfc8 16. Nc6! Bxc6 (16. ... bxc6? 17. Qxa6! =) 17. dxc6 Rxc6 18. Qb5 Bc3+ 19. Ke2 Nxb4 20. Qxb6 axb6!

<F> 13. Nb3 Bxc3+ 14. bxc3 Qxc3+ 15. Qxc3 Nxc3 16. Bxa6 (16. Rb2 Nxd5 ) 16. ... bxa6 (16. ... Nxb1? 17. Bxb7 =) 17. Rc1 Nxd5 b/c of the threat of ... Bb5+ White can't even prevent ... Nxf4.

Mar-30-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Gypsy....Flohr was a nervous wreck during AVRO -- it was his (and his wife's) very survival that was on his mind, not chess....>

Even top-class grandmasters are human, but Flohr displayed resilience in winning Leningrad/Moscow training (1939), which began less than six weeks after AVRO drew to a close, an event which saw Keres, who came first ex aequo at AVRO, finish minus.

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