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Akiba Rubinstein vs Jose Raul Capablanca
Karlsbad (1929), Karlsbad CSR, rd 3, Aug-02
Indian Game: Yusupov-Rubinstein System (A46)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-22-06  russs: this be no draw,
play, MacDuff
Jan-06-07  Caissanist: What could Capablanca have been afraid of here? After he takes the pawn, the win is, as best as I can tell, essentially a matter of technique. Capablanca ultimately finished tied for second in this tournament, half a point behind Nimzowitsch. Why would he accept a draw in a won position?
Jan-06-07  Plato: I don't think this the final position is won for Black. It looks dynamically equal to me, because Black's kingside is busted and White can easily organize counterplay. It would have been nice to see the game played out, but it's far from clear that Black is better here, let alone winning.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Probably it starts with 35...Qxa3 36. Bb7 Qe7 37. Be4, and White aims to kick the knight with f4 followed by Rd7. If Black tries 37...Rf7 to defend the second rank, then 38. Bd5 and now 38...Rf8 39. Be4 is a repetition.

But it is hard for Black to play for a win. For example, after 35...Qxa3 36. Bb7 Qe7 37. Be4 Rf7 38. Bd5 <Qd7> instead might lead to 39. Qh5 Rf8 40. Be4 Qg7 41. Bf5, when White's again threatening to kick the knight followed by Rd7. Either 41...a5 or 41...b5 look like they'd soon drop one of the queenside pawns, or 41...Rf7 42. Be6 Rf8 43. Bf5 is another repetition, or 41...Ng6 42. Rd7 Rf7 43. Rd8+ Nf8 44. Rb8, and Black's completely tied up and I hardly see any active winning plan there.

So I agree with <Plato> that a draw looks like a fair result here.

Jan-08-09  Aguirre DZG: Actually 35...Qxa3 would be a mistake because of 36.f4! Now 36...Ng6 is met by 37.Rd7! Qxa6 38.Qh5, and 36...Qxa6 37.fxe5 Qc8 38.e6; in both cases with a decisive attack. Black's king position is so exposed that he can ill afford such caprices as pawn-grabbing on the other battle front. Obviously both players saw this, and I suppose Capablanca intended 35...Rd8 after which the position is equal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Aguirre DZG>

Thanks for the interesting lines. What did you find after 36...Ng6 37. Rd7 <Qxg3> instead?

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Aguirre DZG>

Also, what did you find after 35...Qxa3 36. f4 Qxa6 37. fxe5 <Qe2> instead? Black then can defend the kingside with ...Qe3+ followed by Qh6 and I haven't found any decisive attack for White.

Jun-23-09  Bridgeburner: I'll throw in that after <35...Qxa3 36.f4 Ng6 37.Rd7> Black doesn't have to take the bishop with <37...Bxa6>, but can sortie over to the King side and play <37...Qxg3> instead:

click for larger view

After <38.Rxa7 Qxf4> followed by <38...Qh6> (White wouldn't exchange queens here) and if anything it's Black that's ahead.

It's hard to say why Rubinstein played <35.Qf5>, as it so plainly lead nowhere as evidenced by his draw offer. He might have tried something like <35.Qh6> and if <35...Qxa3> then <36.Bc8!> followed by <37.Bf5>, but Black can defend by bringing the Queen back to the second rank.

Black's queen side pawns will never move on as all the pieces are needed to defend the king. After <35.Qh6 Qxa3 36.Bc8 Qe7 37.Bf5> Black has to watch out for <f4>, which fortunately for him, is easily done with <37...Re8> or <37...Rg8> or <37...Qf7>: every other move loses!

It's interesting to see that even in his twilight years, Rubinstein was more than capable of holding his own with Capablanca (his only loss to Capablanca in 1928 was tragic and needless). His gutsy performance in this game is a testament to his ability well into the stage of his life when he was battling the demons that ultimately destroyed his career.

More than most, you wonder sometimes what might have been with this man had the world been a kinder place.

Jun-23-09  AnalyzeThis: I think that Rubinstein was hoping Capa would decline his draw offer and take the pawn.
Jun-19-16  edubueno: In fact Rubinstein was in a better position all over the game.

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