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Akiba Rubinstein vs Jose Raul Capablanca
London (1922), London ENG, rd 14, Aug-17
Formation: Queen Pawn Game: London System (D02)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-19-05  Autoreparaturwerkbau: Thanks, Geza, for your extensive analysis.
Aug-19-05  aw1988: <Formerly Rubinstein never played so anxiously.> No one knew the great Akiba was about to fall.
Aug-19-05  RookFile: Yeah, world war I really screwed Rubinstein up. Also, Schlechter, who basically starved to death.
Aug-19-05  Koster: The problem is two players with similar styles - safety first and accumulate small advantages with the plan of attaining a favorable ending. Besides there was no animosity between tham that I know of. No surprise that almost all their games were drawn.
Aug-19-05  aw1988: Being too lazy to check my history sources, I think the war had far less to do with Schlechter and Rubinstein than we imagine. Rubinstein was always strange, and Schlechter was not a rich man to begin with...
Aug-20-05  RookFile: Well, Rubinstein's Chess Masterpieces, by Kmoch, gives a biography of Rubinstein, and talks about how world war I shattered him.

My understanding is: Schlechter died of a combination of malnutrition and also disease, which swept across Europe as a consequence of World War I. Disease happens when you've got dead bodies all over the place, standing water, destroyed buildings, lack of shelter, etc.

Nov-24-05  Neurotic Patzer: Anyone know who asked for the draw?
Nov-24-05  ughaibu: Presumably Rubinstein as it's Capablanca's turn.
Nov-24-05  szunzein: I heard once that at this moment Rubinstein started to feel dizzy (it seems he had a colon trouble, it is indeed surprising that he outlived Capablanca for 20 years) and left the table, then it was Capa who "magnanimously" offered a draw (although he later admited that he "never thought of winning that game" with black)
Nov-21-07  paladin at large: <Anyone know who asked for the draw?> Capablanca asked for the draw. This was the next to last game of the tournament and Capa had first place assured with a draw. Rubinstein could do no better than third, even if he had won here, whereas he could have slipped to fourth or fifth if he had lost here. Not a credit to either, but more blame should go to Rubinstein, with the white pieces, and a chance to try to knock off the champion. Maybe Rubinstein really was not feeling well; he had those spells, too, where he could not be around people.

In any event, Capablanca finished 11+ 4= 0-

May-08-08  Karpova: "The Times", Aug-18, 1922, page 9

Jose Raul Capablanca: <Yesterday I had Rubinstein for an opponent, and, in accordance with my score, I had only to draw the game to be practically sure of the first prize. Under the circumstances it depended upon my opponent, who had the white pieces, to decide what course to take. When I offered a draw on the thirteenth move, right after the opening, he accepted. Some of the spectators were evidently displeased, and therefore, in order to avoid a misunderstanding, I explained the situation to them.

In view of the scores, the most reasonable thing was for us to draw. It made me practically certain of being first, and it assured Rubinstein being third, or third and fourth with Dr. Vidmar. Had he tried to win, and lost, he would have been fourth, while if he had won he would never have been able to catch up with Alekhine, except by a most improbable reversal of form on the latter's part. From our own point of view we had nothing to gain by a win and everything to lose by a defeat. We could not be expected to play against our own interests. The fact is, as I tried to make clear in my previous article, the tournament, so far as the leaders were concerned, was practically finished after Wednesdays's play.>

Source: Winter, Edward: "Capablanca: a compendium of games, notes, articles, correspondence, illustrations and other rare archival materials on the Cuban chess genius Jose Raul Capablanca, 1888-1942.", page 149

May-30-09  Calli: The column heading in the NY Times on August 18, 1922 blared


"Farcical Game in International Chess Tournament Provokes Adverse Comment"

May-30-09  WhiteRook48: what a weird headline
May-30-09  Gambyt: The most interesting comment is that after white's first move; I found it very helpful in understanding the game.
Feb-18-10  whatthefat: Here's the article:


Farcical Game in International Chess Tournament Provokes Adverse Comment

LONDON, Aug. 17 (Associated Press)

- Today's game between Jose R. Capablanca, the chess champion, and A. Rubinstein, the Polish player, in the fourteenth round of the international chess tournament, was drawn by agreement after thirteen hurried moves of a farcical character, it being stated that neither was desirous of winning.

This game provoked much adverse comment, the suggestion being made that in future tournaments something should be done to prevent such "playing to score" - either that the players meet in the earlier rounds or that a drawn game should count one-third of a point instead of a half point.

It was argued that the public desires not to see Capablanca overwhelm Dr. Davide Marotti, the Italian, but to see him in a serious struggle with such masters as A. Alechine of Russia or Rubinstein.>

Feb-18-10  Petrosianic: Hey, thanks. I hadn't seen the actual article, I'd just seen Harold Schonberg refer to it in <Grandmasters of Chess>. I was just thinking about trying to find it and not knowing what date to search. I was sure that Schonberg said something about "borderline cheating", but maybe he was paraphrasing, or referring to a different article. It's still pretty wild seeing the AP run a story about a Grandmaster Draw.

Hard to believe they weren't interested in this barnburner, though.

Capablanca vs D Marotti, 1922

As a result of their endorsement, I'd like to dub it <"The Immortal Who Cares Game">.

Feb-18-10  Petrosianic: (Conversation carried over from

Capablanca vs Maroczy, 1926

, incidentally)

According to Schonberg, this game...

Alekhine vs Capablanca, 1922

though I don't know if it made the papers, was a big disappointment, also. The Rubinstein game wasn't an isolated incident.

Mar-26-11  meppi: no farcical game here it is a draw, one continuation could be:

13. Qxf2
14. Kxf2 Ng4+
15. Kf3 Ngxe5+
16. Ke3 Nc4+
17. Kf3 Nxd2+
18. Ke3 Nxf1+
19. Kf2 Nxh2
20. Rh1 Ng4+
21. Kf3 Ne3
22. Qg2 Nxg2
23. Bxh7+ with perpetual
can someone with a rybka check for mistakes

Oct-21-13  talisman: I could have annotated this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: The lower classes of the audience became very agitated and a piece of cheese hit Capablanca on the neck. Apparently some football match had been cancelled. As a consequence chess was the main sporting attraction in London that day.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Calli: The column heading in the NY Times on August 18, 1922 blared


"Farcical Game in International Chess Tournament Provokes Adverse Comment">

Such an event nowadays would scarcely attract notice except, of course, in occasional instances such as Eljanov vs W So, 2013.

Premium Chessgames Member

I once ate a chili during a minor earthquake in Santiago. This humdrum story was turned into quite an exciting book:

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