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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Adrian Garcia Conde
"Conde Minimum" (game of the day May-20-2006)
Hastings (1919), Hastings ENG, rd 8, Aug-19
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Steinitz Deferred (C79)  ·  1-0



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May-20-06  EmperorAtahualpa: Whoa! 39...b4! is very least I think it is...

How do computers evaluate 39...b4?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: The endgame was better for White - with Black's doubled pawns and isolated a pawn being worse than White's pawns with the White king near them. This doesn't mean there wasnt defence but it was hard for Black.

I got into a similar endgame the other night - except Queens stayed on - realised that I had more space and my Queen was better placed than my opponent's - so I swapped down to nuetralise any attack he might have. He also played c5 and I played Nf5 (positon a bit diferrent of course but some similarities of method or structure)

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I have to agree that c6 sure looks better. And again, Nf6 looks like a bad idea, though I don't see many options for Black to get his Knight into the game. But to trade off pieces a pawn down, and take a double Pawn in the process has just got to be a bad idea. Maybe Nf8-d7-b6? Though slow, Black is already in a wait and see posture.
May-20-06  ReikiMaster: I agree with <Boomie>. Capa would not trade off pieces without seeing a clear benefit. I've seen an interesting article comparing old masters performance with current rating system - Capa was the only one who would have exceeded 2900!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: To paraphrase the song 16 tons:

One pawn of iron,
the other of steel
-if the right one don't get ya',
then the left one will.

The machine and thirteen pawns---any doubt on the winner? :)

May-20-06  makaveli52: I think Conda did not play c6, because it seems like he might be losing a pawn anyway, and he would rather lose the doubled pawn. Nf6 was obviously played with the perception that the pawn and king endgame is drawn, and it took capablanca's brilliance to win it
May-20-06  drnooo: Very interesting Capa comment. It includes so many more questions unanswered in it: namely the guy who whupped him, that Alexander the Great, uhh, Alekhine, would not have reached the 2900 pinnacle. It was Fischer who said that Capa simply outplayed everyone in the middlegame so well that he had , for him anyway capa, not bobby easy endgames. where is the article, Playchess, Chessville?.....tks anyway we all know that the fastest observed blitz player of all time was Capa. nobody before or since has been able to take on ALL his contemporaries at five minutes and spot them four. One to five? Unbelievable. But witness by Alekhine. Odd that Capa, Babe Ruth, Bobby Jones and Bill Tilden reigned supreme at the same time; and there are plenty who would argue that in each of their sports they are still the best of all time. That is if you want to consider chess a sport. And now with the advent of computers whipping us, guess we just may have to.
May-20-06  vizir: yeah easy game by Capablanca !! with the little trap 10...Nxe4?
Premium Chessgames Member
  crafty: 39. b4 axb4 40. ♔d3 b3 41. h5 ♔e7 42. a5   (eval 9.69; depth 21 ply; 500M nodes)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Spotting the error is difficult in many Capablanca games. Here I think 20...Qd7? giving up the e-file is wrong. Correct is 20...Qe5! and if 21.Nxc7 Rb8 22.Rb1 Nf6, Black has sufficient counterplay.
May-20-06  MaxxLange: Wow! Lots of endgame learnings here.
May-20-06  backyard pawn: 33.f4 completely seals out the Black king from penetrating. Black is lost.
May-20-06  blingice: I don't think 29. Nf6 was a good move...

I actually think it's an atrocious move.

May-21-06  dakgootje: < I don't think 29. Nf6 was a good move...> well the black knight had be played as it only watched the game on h7 instead of playing in it. but indeed f6 probably wasnt the right way. I tihnk i would've played Nf8 with the idea of Nd7, where it probably is way better (i know we have some fancy symbol for saying 'with the idea of', but i forgot which one ;-). and i think Ng5 is being met by f3, after which the black knight doesnt do anything either at g5, and probably has to return to h7, followed by f8 and d7. but thats just my opinion of course.
May-21-06  alexandrovm: impressive pawn endgame, white seems win this game easily without risks, end then pawn sacs starts coming from his side. Great endgame technique by Capa.
May-21-06  CapablancaFan: Proffessor Capablanca: How to conduct an endgame class 101. Please sign up here. X_______________________
May-21-06  alexandrovm: <CapablancaFan: Proffessor Capablanca: How to conduct an endgame class 101. ...> ;)
May-21-06  Andrew Chapman: <the little trap 10...Nxe4?>Am I correct in thinking that the trap is 11.Bxe7 Nxc3 12.Qf3 with multiple threats against c6?
May-21-06  RookFile: I don't think white plays it like that. (11. Bxe7 Nxc3 12. Qf3) because black can make the desparado move 12.... Ne2+ first, and then retake on e7, to relieve some pressure.

These lines are always tricky. There is an interesting possibility of 10... Nxe4 11. Nxe4 Bxg5 12. Nxg5 Qxg5 13. Re1+ Kf8, and although black has a pawn, white has a lot of pressure, and I think white is better.

But more typical of Capablanca might have been 10.... Nxe4 11. Bxe7 Nxc3 12. Bxd8 Nxd1 13. Bxc7 Nxb2 14. Re1+, and I think white has an advantage in the endgame to follow.

May-21-06  Andrew Chapman: OK, I saw those lines but didn't think they justify calling it a trap. Thanks for pointing out the flaw in my idea.
May-23-06  itz2000: 33. f4!
great played!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <Calli: *** This is Capablanca's "pawn island" theory at work. He swaps down because blacks pawns are in three groups and white only has two. According to Capa, this is a big advantage.>

<EmperorAtahualpa: Whoa! 39...b4! is very impressive ... at least I think it is... How do computers evaluate 39...b4?>

Considering the position after <32. … d4>:

click for larger view

... the first point to note is that the pawn ending is winning for White despite Black’s protected passed pawn on d4, but <White’s advantage has nothing to do with the respective number of pawn islands>. The Black passed pawn on d4 restrains the mobility of the White King, so (for example) the theoretical weakness of Black’s isolated pawn on a5 cannot be exploited by directly attacking it. Nevertheless, White is clearly winning in the position after <32…. d4>.

The basis for White’s winning advantage is a combination of two strengths (two weaknesses for Black), specifically that notwithstanding his doubled pawns on the K-side, White can generate a passed pawn on the g-file; and (2) with the <b3-b4> breakthrough, White can also generate a passed pawn on the Q-side (either on the a- or c-file, depending on how Black takes on b4; or on the b-file if Black declines to capture). With the <b3-b4> breakthrough, White will concede Black a pair of passers on the b- and d-files, but because they are separately by only one file, the White King can contain them both, whereas one of White’s two widely separated passers will be able to outrun the Black King.

With White’s winning plan being based on the Q-side breakthrough with <b3-b4>, that move is certainly strong, but not stunning. To answer the question of <EmperorAtahualpa>, computers evaluate the position after <39.b4> as < >, but my computer gives a much higher evaluation to the line in which White first plays <39. g5>. It hardly matters because either move order wins by force.

This game is annotated at pages 275-279 of "Capablanca: move by move", by Cyrus Lakdawala, Everyman Chess (c)2012.

May-19-13  RookFile: 39. b4 is a brilliant move. Not that it matters, but it may have come as a total surprise to black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fiercebadger: Far ahead capa saw that h4 g4-g5 would make him a passed h pawn , this controls black king, leaving b4 to make a second passer a or c
Sep-21-18  Brian.elkhoury: Why would you not play 26.. c6. If Ne3 then d5 ..
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