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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Andre Lilienthal
Moscow (1936), Moscow URS, rd 8, May-23
Reti Opening: Anglo-Slav. Bogoljubow Variation III (A12)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-03-05  PaulLovric: After Alekhine had taken the championship title from Capablanca, Capa apparently spent quite a bit of his spare time hanging out in a specific cafe in Paris. Friends, acquaintances, and others would often drop by, participating in games and libations with the former, charismatic, champion. One day, while Capa was having coffee and reading a newspaper, a stranger stopped at his table, motioned at the chess set and indicated he would like to play if Capa was interested. Capa's face lit up, he folded the newspaper away, reached for the board and proceeded to pocket his own queen. The opponent (who apparently had no idea who Capablanca was) reacted with slight anger. "Hey! You don't know me! I might beat you!", he said. Capablanca, smiling gently, said quietly, "Sir, if you could beat me, I would know you."

sorry to repeat this but it's one of my favorite chess stories

Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: At move 24th, Golombek says "Now was the right time to advance in the centre by 24... e5". But this loses a pawn: 25. cd cd 26. Bd5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: 33... Ra7? was bad. Better 33... Rb8. In the game, after 34. Rd1 white threatened 35. Rd8-b8, and black cannot impede this. That is why 33... Rb8, keeping an eye on d8 was better.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Mateo>
I think 33...Ra7 instead of ...Rb8 is motivated by the desire to prevent White's b5. For example, 33...Rb3 34. b5 cxb5 35. cxb5 Bc4 36. Nxc4 Nxc4 37. Rc1, etc. looks strong for White.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: <beatgiant: <Mateo> I think 33...Ra7 instead of ...Rb8 is motivated by the desire to prevent White's b5. For example, 33...Rb3 34. b5 cxb5 35. cxb5 Bc4 36. Nxc4 Nxc4 37. Rc1, etc. looks strong for White.> 33... Rb8 34. b5 cb 35. cb Bc4 is not possible! The Black Bishop is on h7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Mateo>
You are right, but it doesn't make b5 any less strong. Perhaps what would happen is 33...Rb8 34. b5 cxb5 35. cxb5 Nd5 36. Rc1 b6 37. Nc6 with a very nice advantage and probably winning a pawn in the near future.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: <beatgiant Perhaps what would happen is 33...Rb8 34. b5 cxb5 35. cxb5 Nd5 36. Rc1 b6 37. Nc6 with a very nice advantage and probably winning a pawn in the near future.>

35... Nd5? 36. Bd5 ed 37. Rd1 winning a pawn. So Black must try the more complicated 35... Na4 36. Rc1! (xc3) b6.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Mateo>
On the suggested 33...Rb8 34. b5 cxb5 35. cxb5 Na4, White can also try <36. Ra1> with the idea of going for a strong b-pawn.

For example, 33...Rb8 34. b5 cxb5 35. cxb5 Na4 36. Ra1 Nc3 37. b6 Nxe2+ 38. Kh1 Ke7 39. Ra4 etc. looks very strong for White.

There's also a nice tactical blow if Black varies in the above line with 37...Nd5 38. Bxd5 exd5 39. Nxb7! based on the strength of the b-pawn after 39...Rxb7 40. Ra8+ Ke7 41. Ra7 Rd7 42. b7, etc.

Nov-15-05  Professeur Y: <PaulLovric> I liked your little Capablanca anecdote: witty and aristocratic answer by the champion. How true is this story? Where do you know it from? (I'm sort of collecting such anecdotes for a book I'm working on)
Nov-15-05  paladin at large: On another thread, Ray Keene included this game as one of his top ten Capa favorites, and you can see why. It is extraordinary how Capa foresees and demonstrates that his rook will be superior to the black minor pieces in the ending.
Feb-09-06  Resignation Trap: I believe Capa had revenge on his mind after his earlier defeat by Lilienthal: Lilienthal vs Capablanca, 1935 .
Jul-02-07  sanyas: I believe Capablanca's mind was far more preoccupied with Reti vs Yates, 1924
Mar-21-08  norcist: does anyone know if this game is annotated anywhere?
Mar-21-08  MichAdams: Capa annotated the game in his usual style for the tournament bulletin (which appeared as a special edition of 64).

Winter reproduces the notes in his book.

Mar-21-08  Calli: "Winter reproduces the notes in his book."

Well, he translates them from Russian. Jimmy Adams provides another translation in the Caissa tournament book, IIRC. I wonder how this worked. Capablanca did not know enough Russian to annotate, so in what language were the '64' bulletins written?

Mar-21-08  norcist: <michadams>

i'm a bit new to chess do you mean edward winter?? If so is the book Capablanca: A Compendium of Games (ect)

Mar-21-08  MichAdams: <Well, he translates them from Russian. >

Well, he reproduces Ken Neat's Russian translations.

<norcist> Yes. I had a peak at and second-hand copies sell for between £30-40.

May-05-09  returnoftheking: "This is a plan known from the Réti Opening. But the most classic example of how White should play is not from Réti’s own games, but from the game Capablanca-Lilienthal, Moscow 1936. White only needs to do two things - seize space on the queenside and exchange off unnecessary pieces. And those pieces that are needed can be counted on the fingers of one hand - the light-squared bishop, a rook and a knight. The main thing is: do not, in any circumstances, exchange light-squared bishops! The one on h7, which so terrorized White in the c2-d3-e4 pawn structure, is much less effective against the structure c4-d3-e2. It has nothing to do, and if it continues to loaf around on the edge of the board, then with every exchange, it will become clearer that Black is effectively playing minus a piece. (…) So what White should do here is clear. And Black? Here is the main example - the game Botvinnik-Smyslov (World Championship match 1958)."

(around move 20)
Commentary is from the book play 1.b3!

Oct-13-09  mertangili: whats the continuation after 44...Kc6. As far as i can see, white has no way to stop the fall of the b6 pawn and eventually the c7 pawn. what am i missing? (after 45.b7 Kxc7 46. Rxc8+ Bxc8 47. bxc8=Q+ Kxc8 it appears a drawish king and pawn endgame)
Oct-13-09  mertangili: i see now:)

44...c6 45. b7 Kxc7 46. bxc8=Q+ Bxc8 and white has a rook for the bishop

Jun-11-10  Ulhumbrus: the exchange 26...Qxb4 draws White's isolated a pawn on to the b file and removes its isolation. 26...Qa6, 26...Qc7 or 26...Qa7 leaves White's a3 pawn isolated.
Oct-05-12  Wyatt Gwyon: This is one of those games where I find Capablanca's style almost creepy.
Oct-05-12  RookFile: In this particular game, I see a lot of similarites between Karpov and Capa.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: I've played the Reti opening many times - even this very line - but I would never just exchange off pieces as Capa does. Not because I'm an idiot ... it's more a stylistic thing. Both Botvinnik and Kasparov (among others) have demonstrated how to win in flank openings by keeping pieces on the board. Regroup if necessary, but keep those pieces.

Did Capa play like that because he could see a win, or was he just confident he could outplay anyone in an ending?

May-02-21  SymphonicKnight: All of the books and kibitzing, Kasparov's MGPv.1 included, miss that the real mistakes are not 33...Ra7 (although 33...g5! would have been better (by about 0.3)), but 34...Ke8? (34...g5! is best according to Stockfish by about 0.7), and 35...Rxb7? (35...Nxc4! is about 2.6).
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