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Friedrich Saemisch vs Jose Raul Capablanca
"Do You Know the Way to Beat José?" (game of the day Apr-29-2014)
Karlsbad (1929), Karlsbad CSR, rd 16, Aug-19
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Saemisch Variation. Accelerated (E24)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-05-08  veigaman: Capablanca showed his inmense talent and why he was a champion.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: This games was played in round 16 (on Aug 19, 1929)

At 09:00 hour Sämisch made his 1st move.

Then he waited for Capablanca who wasn't there. nervousness began to grow more and more. 55 minutes later the dressy Capablanca arrived in the tournament hall, shake hands with Sämisch and went to the tounament director from whom he gets some post. Back to the board he looked vaguely to the clock and started reading the letter only to make his 1st move at the last second.

"This cold-bloodedness nearly drove me to desperation" ("Über diese Kaltblütigkeit war ich der Verzweiflung nahe") confessed Sämisch afterwards.

"During the seven hours I (Sämisch) went through scared stiff about not winning this game" ("durchlebte ich eine Höllenagst, die Partie nicht zu gewinnen").

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <whiteshark> thanks for info! Source?
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Calli>

Theodor Schuster
<Die großen Schachmeister der Zwanziger Jahre: Schicksale berühmter Schachmeister, wie sie kämpften, siegten und unterlagen; die Neuromatiker von Reti bis Nimzowitsch>, Franckh, Stuttgart 1976, Seite 54-55

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: A long title! Where did Sämisch did publish the story? I wondering because E. Winter gives only accounts from Esteban Canal and Hans Kmoch.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Calli> No further sources were given in the 'Schuster' book.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Must be the reason Winter did not include the Sämisch account. Anything from Fritz about "the mysterious woman"?
Apr-06-08  MichAdams: <Must be the reason Winter did not include the Sämisch account.>

It's also conceivable that Winter hasn't read every chess book ever printed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Hardly, it is the readers who quickly fill gaps in Mr. Winter's knowledge/library. It seems that most of the world's chess historians read Chess Notes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Calli: Must be the reason Winter did not include the Sämisch account. Anything from Fritz about "the mysterious woman"?>

No, nothing.

Just a thought:

Assuming Sämisch/Schuster are right, than Capablanca arrived late, moved quickly and blundered by oversight.

Apart from bad luck by own fault it's also unsportsmanlike.

The other story gives a reason why the infallible 'chessmaschine' Capablanca failed. Reasons aside the chessboard.

Sounds more like a myth to me. A bit Latin machismo to keep the secret of blundering.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <whiteshark> I agree. The public likes simple minded explanations. Alekhine blunders- he must be drunk. Capa loses - too many ladies.

Capablanca, putting his other behaviors aside for the moment, admitted the mistake to Mattison in the tournament book. He simply thought that he had already castled.

The only thing that remains is the source of Sämisch's account.

Dec-24-08  WhiteRook48: silly Capablanca
Mar-09-09  WhiteRook48: 9...Ba6??
9....Ne7 is relatively better
May-14-09  WhiteRook48: 63....b1=Q 64 Qga8+ Kb6 65 Qdc6#
Sep-23-10  morphy2010: It's fine to _say_ that Capa should have resigned, but look how tenaciously he fights it out. Something about the really great players -- if you made a mistake against them, you were toast, but they could blunder horribly and you still had to play many sharp moves to win. I think one of Morphy's contemporaries pointed this out about him.
Sep-23-10  ashvalkyrie: lol, capablanca got HUMILIATED.
Sep-24-10  morphy2010: Capa must have peed his pants after this howler!
Sep-20-11  brankat: There is another memorable game which Capablanca lost as Black when playing Saemisch variation of Nimzo Indian:

Lilienthal vs Capablanca, 1935

A beautiful win by Lilienthal!

Jan-13-12  LIFE Master AJ: Actually, this is a game every "resign early" pundit should study.

Saemisch played some magnificent defense ... to last 60+ moves after such a horrible blunder ... and against a player no less than Capablanca ... the average player (if he was playing White), would have eventually gone wrong somewhere ...

Jan-13-12  LIFE Master AJ: Botvinnik vs G Stepanov, 1930

<<Jan-12-12 kasparvez: Life Master AJ, here are two for your collection: Fischer vs Reshevsky, 1958
Saemisch vs Capablanca, 1929>

Thanks - noted & added. (Good job!!!)

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Kasparov in OMGP on Capablanca's blunder:

< '....The secret of this "blunder of the year" was revealed by the victim himself. It turns out that before Capa's ninth move a beautiful brunette appeared in the hall-his wife Gloria, who had turned up out of the blue from Havana. This "opening surprise" shocked the master: he was having an affair with a beautiful blonde....'>

Mar-16-13  hedgeh0g: Despite winning a piece in the opening, the fact that the position was locked and White had a lot of weak pawns made the win quite difficult.

Sämisch deserves just as much credit for his tenacious defense as Capablanca does for his attempts to save the game.

Sep-20-13  Mudphudder: I find it hard to believe that Capablance had blundered on the 9th move of the game LOL. 9...Ba6??? REALLY?!!!
Sep-20-13  RookFile: Not sure what difference it makes whether you blunder on move 9 or move 30. If you blunder, you blunder.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: A game famous for Capablanca's blunder in the opening and the salacious explanations for it. Was he distracted by his girlfriend's sudden appearance? His wife's? Saemisch's wife's? Vera Menchik's? We may never know for sure.

Saemisch never gets too excitied or impatient, adopting the Balance of Trade approach to exploiting his advantage There is one nice cheapo after <25...h4>:

click for larger view

<26.Nd4!> and the knight is immune due to 25...exd4 26.cxd4 trapping the queen. However, Capablanca had already used up his month's supply of blunder, so that possibility was too much to expect.

In short, anybody who planned to beat Capablanca by waiting for him to blunder a piece in the opening would lose on time a thousand times over before it happened again. Still, that was probably a legitimate strategy.

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