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Jose Raul Capablanca vs George Alan Thomas
"Draw a Blanca" (game of the day Sep-28-2007)
Karlsbad (1929), Karlsbad CSR, rd 2, Aug-01
Queen's Gambit Declined: Traditional Variation (D30)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-10-06  Autoreparaturwerkbau: "Eat me and you shall lose! Ha-ha-ha!"
Nov-23-06  aragorn69: Edward Winter asks whether the final position is indeed a draw, e.g. 47.-b2 48.Rd1 Kb4 49.Rb1 Kc3 50.f4.

Any suggestion?

Nov-23-06  Wolfgang01: <aragorn69>Only 47) Rd6! saves the draw, because Capablanca has no time, to keep the pawn from transforming to a queen. Why play the weak 47) b2?? ? A queen wins against the three pawns without problems.
Nov-24-06  Ryan49: Black doesn't need to save the draw. 47... b2 wins for black after he forces whites rook to sac for the pawn . I put this position on Fritz9 and its shows black winning after he wins the white rook.
Nov-24-06  syracrophy: <Ryan49> You need to learn more about endings. The position is drawing or it's winning for White. Now if 48.♖b7 ♔c4 White has enought time to way for the promotion and has the chance of advancing his ♙'s on the kingside, to obtain a huge counterattack. For a clear example of a win of ♔♙♙♙ VS ♔♖ see the game Carlos Torre vs N Whitaker, 1924.

When the Black ♙ promotes, the ♖ will sacrifice to capture it, then the ♔ will capture the ♖ and now the black ♔ is too far from the kingside, where the white ♙'s are moving

That's why Black needs to block the White ♖ on the b-file. After 48.♖b7 ♖b6! and White has to accept the draw

Nov-24-06  aragorn69: <wolfgang> <ryan> and <syra> : Thank your for the interest, but has any one of you really read the article I refered to?? If you did, you should read it again, more carefully. If not, I think you should! Cheers ;-)
Nov-24-06  Ryan49: <syracrophy> I understand what you are saying and I was thinking the same as you that the white pawns were too quick for black but when you try to win against a program (playing white) such as Fritz9 or let it play itself , there is not a win there for white. The black king gets back quicker then you expect. Also Yasser Seirawan seems to think its a win for black also. Go back and read what Yasser has to say. Black took the draw because he was playing Capablanca and most likely was unsure if he could win.
Nov-25-06  setebos: What is all this Fritz crap? Almost 90 years after this game no one can prove a win for black. A draw is a fair outcome.
Nov-25-06  Ryan49: The point is after 77 years we can prove a win or a draw using computers in most cases. Chess programs are a great tool to better understand the games of the past and today.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <aragorn69> As noted by Edward Winter, Alfred Brinckmann in the 1929 Carlsbad tournament book, gave the following analysis:

47...b2 48.Rd1 Kb4 49.Rb1 Kc3 50.f4 Kc2 51.Rf1 b1(Q) 52.Rxb1 Kxb1 53.f5 Kc2 54.Kf4 Kd3 55.Ke5 Kxe3 56.f6 Kf2 57.f7 Rc8 58.g4 Kg3 59.Kf6 Kxh3 60.g5.

Or 51...Rb6 52.f5 b1(Q) 53.Rxb1 Rxb1 54.Kf4 Kd3 55.Ke5 Kxe3 56.f6 Rf1 57.g4 Kf3 58.Kf5 Kg3+ 59.Kg6 Kh4 60.f7 Kxh3 61.Kxh6 Rxf7 62.g5.

Brinckmann indicates that in both lines, the position will be a draw.

In the first variation, after 53.f5, Fritz 9 at (25 ply) evaluated the position as being completely equal (.00).

In the second variation, after 57.g4, Fritz 9 at (22 ply), evaluated the position as being completely equal (.00).

However, Seirawan's analysis contained some improvements for Black: 47...b2 48.Rd1 Kb4 49.Rb1 Kb3 50.f4 Rc1 51.Rxb2+ Kxb2 52.Kh4 Rc6 53.g4 Kc3 54.Kh5 Kd3 55.g5 hxg5 56.fxg5 Ke4. Black is clearly winning in this final position.

But there are also some improvements available for White.

In Seirawan's line, a small improvement for White is 56.Kxg5. However, after 56...Ke4 57.h4 Kd5 58.f5 Kd6, White is clearly lost, (-6.00) (27 ply) 59.h5 Ke7, or (-6.00) (28 ply) 59.Kf6 Rc2.

The main improvement, per Fritz 9, is at White's 52nd move. Here is Fritz's line: 47...b2 48.Rd1 Kb4 49.Rb1 Kb3 50.f4 Rc1 51.Rxb2+ Kxb2 52.Kg4 (-1.36) (24 ply) Kb3 53.Kf5 (-.75) (24 ply) Kc4 54. Kg6 (-.29) (26 ply) Kd5 55.Kxh6 (.00) (22 ply).

At move 52, Fritz's 2nd choice for Black was 52...Rc6 (-.01) (24 ply. After 52...Rc6 53.Kf5 Kc3 54.g4 (.00) (22 ply) 54...Kd3 55.e4 Rc8 56.g5 Rf8+ 57.Ke5 Ke3 58.g6 Rxf4 59.g7, the position is a draw.

In Fritz's main line, after 55.Kxh6 Re1 56.g4 Rxe3 57.h4 (.00) (22 ply), Fritz is showing a clear draw. Here are two variations that would finalize the draw: 57...Ke6 58.Kg6 Re4 59.h5 Rxf4 60.g5 Rf8 61.Kh7 Rf5 62.Kg6 Rf8, or 57...Rg3 58.g5 Ke4 59.g6 Rg4 60.Kg7 Rxh4 61. f5 Kxf5 62. Kf7 Rd4 63.g7 Rd7+ 64.Kg8.

After this analysis, I believe the position after move 47 is a draw. Perhaps with a deeper search, someone may find an improvement to overturn this evaluation.

It would have been very interesting to see if Capablanca could have found a drawing line if Thomas had decided to play for a win.

Dec-29-06  aragorn69: <Pawn and Two> Thx! Interesting analysis. Might be a draw after all... ;-) Cheers.
Sep-28-07  Alphastar: What is so special about this game?
Sep-28-07  Marmot PFL: Didn't spend that much time on it but all the lines I did look at eventually reached drawn positions. With black against Capa I'm sure that was enough for Thomas.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I think a big point can be made on the complexity of the game of chess. Even with only 10 pieces,and nothing bigger than a pawn,how complex even a simple position like this could be.

We have some arguing how black can "salvage a draw" while others are saying that he had thrown away half of a won game.

Sep-28-07  paladin at large: <With black against Capa I'm sure that was enough for Thomas.> That's your answer in a nutshell.

This was not a dramatic game in terms of timing, the second game of a long tournament where Capa finished tied for second with 10+ 2- 9= and ahead of Rubinstein, Euwe and Bogo. Alekhine was a correspondent at the tournament and, as observed by Salo Flohr, avoided the presence of Capa. Alekhine no doubt added to the focus afterwards when he wrote: "Against Thomas he even drifted into a very tight corner; Thomas might have won." I suspect that if Alekhine had found a winning line for Thomas, he would have published it.

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  fm avari viraf: I would just rate this game as normal one because I don't find anything that is so special.
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  Richard Taylor: 47..Rb6 looks like a win for Black to me.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <47..Rb6 looks like a win for Black to me.> 48.Rd1 b2 49.Rb1... Do you think Black has the time to dislodge (and win) the white rook and then return in time to stop all those White pawns?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Richard Taylor: 47...Rb6 looks like a win for Black to me.>

Please provide your analysis showing a win for Black after 47...Rb6. Note Alfred Brinckmann's tournament book analysis (my post of 11/26/06), where he reviewed the move 51...Rb6, which may transpose with your suggestion of 47...Rb6. If you have an improvement in this line, I would be very interested in seeing it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: < Gypsy: <47..Rb6 looks like a win for Black to me.> 48.Rd1 b2 49.Rb1... Do you think Black has the time to dislodge (and win) the white rook and then return in time to stop all those White pawns?>

I played it over and over and kept finding a win for Black ... so I put it on my Chess Master which won against itself twice. But I am not a master or anything.

In any case Capablanca was in an inferior position and it was worth a try by Thomas - Capablanca played the whole game as if he was half asleep, or tired, ill, or uninterested - very dull chess by him - and I mean we all have such days - and Thomas was I believe pretty good player in those days.

But these endings as are extraordinarily difficult to evaluate OTB - in way that is how we should view it. I mean as if one was playing OTB - not according to long analysis - of course the analysis is interesting.

Capablanca's King is not well placed to win and his pawns come under fire by hetblack rook and King

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: < Pawn and Two: <Richard Taylor: 47...Rb6 looks like a win for Black to me.>

Please provide your analysis showing a win for Black after 47...Rb6. Note Alfred Brinckmann's tournament book analysis (my post of 11/26/06), where he reviewed the move 51...Rb6, which may transpose with your suggestion of 47...Rb6. If you have an improvement in this line, I would be very interested in seeing it.>

I'll study this later - I didn't see the idea of bringing the Black King down maybe it is a draw. These endings are are very difficult to judge -ultimately it boils down to judgement.

But Thomas was in no danger of losing so should have given it a go with 47 Rb6

But see my comment above.

Oct-01-07  eaglewing: <Pawn and Two>: Nicely summarized.

I seem to have something promising for Black following Seirawan's analysis 47...b2 48.Rd1 Kb4 49.Rb1 Kb3 50.f4. It is:

50. f4 Ka2 51.Rf1 Rc1 52.Rf2 Rg1

Note: 52.Rf2 Ka1 (or a3) 53.Rxb2+ Kxb2 only leads back to the line by Seirawan (and your improved Kg4, <Pawn and Two>). With Ka2/Rc1 the Ka1/Rxb2/Kxb2 maneuvre can be delayed and the rook can be repositioned on the first row.

First, I tried Re1, but this seems to lead after f5 to the Fritz-main line by <Pawn and Two>, same positions like after <55.Kxh6 Re1 56.g4 Rxe3 57.h4 (.00) (22 ply)> or to 52.Rf2 Re1 53. f5 Rxe3+ Kf4 with the problem for Black how to place the rook. It seems to be even "advantage White".

With 52.Rf2 Rg1 White seems to be in danger, however I played it only against my old Fritz 7 (got it for one Euro) and analyzed loosely with him. Fritz tried 53. e4 and I won it against him in Blitz game settings, so far from being well analyzed, maybe it is just a variant or even a bad idea. I looked at other options and 53. f5 Ka1 54.Rxb2+ Kxb2 does not yet allow f6. 53. forward King-Moves h4/g4 have disadvantages, too, because the g-pawn has to be moved immediately, after ...Kxb2 or it is lost. Comments?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Richard Taylor> I agree that Thomas should have tried to win this game. Black has the advantage and can play for a win with very little risk. The legitimate result may be a draw, but White has to walk the tightrope.

It is interesting to read Thomas's comments about this game. In the book, "Delights of Chess", by Assiac (Heinich Fraenkel), he noted that Thomas had added to the end of the score the following comment: <Draw agreed. A case of funk. Black should win the ending.>

Thomas certainly could produce some fine games, including wins over Botvinnik, Capablanca, Tartakower and Flohr. However, he had some draws against top players where he had a winning position, but could not score the full point.

Consider the games, Alekhine vs G A Thomas, 1926 and Flohr vs G A Thomas, 1933. In both of these games, Thomas had a winning position. Regarding the Alekhine game, Thomas commented; <Interesting game. Black missed a forced win in the endgame, but White should have won earlier.> On his missed win with Flohr, Thomas commented; <Draw agreed, but Black can win by Rg8+.>

If you provide additional analysis with the move 47...Rb6, please indicate the differences in your suggested line and Brinckmann's 2nd variation.

In reviewing the position after 47...Rb6, Fritz found another drawing line. After the moves 47...Rb6 48.Rd1 b2 49.Rb1 Kc4 50.Kh4 Kd3 51.g4 Kc2 52.Rf1 b1(Q) 53.Rxb1 Rxb1 (if 53...Kxb1 .00 17 ply) 54.Kh5 (.00) (18 ply).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <eaglewing> Your line is an interesting suggestion. This is certainly not a simple ending.

Your suggested line is: 47...b2 48.Rd1 Kb4 49.Rb1 Kb3 50.f4 Ka2 51.Rf1 Rc1 52.Rf2 Rg1.

Fritz now determined that White's best move is 53.Kh4!, with an evaluation of (.00) (20 ply). If 53.Ka3, then 54.Rxb2 Kxb2 55.g4, with an equal game.

Oct-02-07  eaglewing: <Pawn and Two>: I see, with 53. Kh4 it could be compared to the Seirawan line with the difference of the rooks (Rc6 Seirawan, Rg1 my) but it is weaker than it, because the pawn h6 is not defended. It remains to check if my line could be improved by 52. Rf2 Rh1. The idea: After g4+Kh5 Rxh3 is possible and after Pawns g2/h3 and Kh5 the move Rh2 gets a pawn immediately. And if Kf4 is played, the move g4 is answered immediately by Rxh3 as long as he does not need to got to f1/e1.
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