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Frank Marshall vs Jose Raul Capablanca
"Cuban b-File Crisis" (game of the day Sep-22-2014)
Capablanca - Marshall (1909), New York, NY USA, rd 23, Jun-23
Tarrasch Defense: Rubinstein System (D33)  ·  0-1



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Premium Chessgames Member
  sleepyirv: I like 24...Qe5 a lot. Chernev in "Capablanca's Best Chess Endings" says it let's Black trade queens without having to waste a tempo defending the b-pawn after 24...Qxc6 25.Bxc6. As the sort of person who can be four pieces up and still give my opponent oodles of counterplay, I respect that precision.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <32...Rxb2! 33.Rxb2 c3> ... looks immediately resignable.
Feb-03-10  Boomie: <Gypsy: <32...Rxb2! 33.Rxb2 c3> ... looks immediately resignable.>

34. Bd3 may pose more problems than the text. I trust Capa's instincts in the endgame.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Boomie: <Gypsy: <32...Rxb2! 33.Rxb2 c3> ... looks immediately resignable.>

34. Bd3 may pose more problems than the text. I trust Capa's instincts in the endgame.>

<32...Rxb2 33.Rxb2 c3 34.Bd3 cxb2>

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All in all, if there is a stiff defense, I don't see it.

(1) <35.Kf1 Bc4 ...>

(2) <35.f3 Bc4 36.Bb1 Be2 37.~Bd1 38.~Bc2 ...>

(3) <35.Kf3 f5 ...> ... and the threat Be5-d5-e4 is decisive

(4) <35.e4 Bc4 36.Bb1 Be2 37.~Bd1 38.~Bc2 ...>

Feb-03-10  Aspirador: Gypsy: of course white would play 32...Rxb2 33.Rxb2 c3 34.Rb1! c2 35.Bd3!, not sure if Black can win this then.
Feb-03-10  Boomie: <Aspirador: Gypsy: of course white would play 32...Rxb2 33.Rxb2 c3 34.Rb1! c2 35.Bd3!, not sure if Black can win this then.>

But of course. I felt Bd3 played a part but didn't work on the details. Capa rules the endgame.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Aspirador: Gypsy: of course white would play 32...Rxb2 33.Rxb2 c3 34.Rb1! c2 35.Bd3!, not sure if Black can win this then.>


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This was the position I looked at first. It seems a routine endgame win. Black has the outside, passed, far advanced pawn. White bishop is offside for any K-side action and is also a tactical liability because of the promotion threats.

Feb-03-10  Aspirador: <Gypsy> Maybe but this is definitely not easier to win than Capa's continuation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Ok, I have looked what "Guess the Move" training feature thinks of the <32...Rxb2> alternative. The move is judged +3. In other words, at least roughly equivalent with the continuation of the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  sisyphus: IM Bill Hartston features this game in his "Kings of Chess." After 16. Rfc1, he writes

<Capablanca's depth of understanding of the game is well illustrated by his annotation to this move: "He should have advanced his King side pawns at once to counterbalance the advance of Black on the Queen's side. White's inactivity on his stronger wing took away all the chances he had of drawing the game."

In fact, this should not be read as a criticism of 16 Rfc1 as the "losing move." rather as the first sympton that Marshall did not understand the simple position which has arisen. What happens in the rest of the game is that Black methodically advances his three-to-two majority of pawns while White does nothing with his four-to-three majority on the other wing. Only too late does White seem to appreciate that he is in danger of losing.>

May-17-10  timothee3331: I'd like to offer you my insight of this memorable endgame and its subtleties. First of all, 15...0-0! is a very good move coordinating the pieces, you shouldn't play moves like Rb8 when you're not compelled to. 16...Rb8! of course now it's not the same story.
17...Qc7!! a very good prophylactic move, avoiding Bh3! and placing a heavy piece behind one of the pawns. 18....b5! 19...c4! 20...Rfd8! the control of the d-file is essential in this kind of positions, it's more important than the pawns majorities of either side 24...Qe5! agreeing an exchange only under the best conditions.
Jul-07-10  sirGeoff: Other sources say the move played was 16.Rfc1 - anyone care to confirm this?
Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: In Fred Wilson's book Classical Chess Matches: 1907-1913 he shows 16.KR-B1, i.e. , Rfc1 in algebraic. Paul Albert
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: In addition to the book, "Classical Chess Matches: 1907-1913", as noted by <paulalbert>, the move 16.Rfc1 was given in several other sources that I located.

In "Capablanca's 100 Best Games of Chess", by H. Golombek, 16.Rfc1 was given. Golombek indicated that instead of 16.Rfc1?, Marshall should have tried for a compensating counter-attack by 16.e4 followed by Qe3, f4, and f5.

In "Capablanca's Best Chess Endings", by I. Chernev, 16.Rfc1 is given. Chernev stated that Marshall avoided the line 16.Qxb7 Qxb7 17.Bxb7 Rab8 18.Be4 Rxb2, which would allow Black a passed pawn, and a Rook on the 7th.

In "The Immortal Games of Capablanca", by F. Reinfeld, 16.Rfc1 is given. Reinfeld stated that 16.Rfc1? was a wasted move at best, and recommended as White's best counter against Black's Queen-side majority, active counterplay in the form of 16.e4, to be followed by Qe3, f4 etc.

In, "My Chess Career", by J.R. Capablanca, Dover Edition 1966, 16.Rfc1. Capablanca's comment regarding this move, was noted by <sisyphus>. Note: Capablanca's comment is the first paragraph quoted by <sisyphus> - May 16, 2010.

In, "Jose Raul Capablanca - My Chess Career - Expanded Edition", Edited and revised by Lyndon Laird - 1994, the move 16.Rac1 is given. No explanation was given for using the move 16.Rac1, instead of 16.Rfc1.

As the 1966 Dover edition of, "My Chess Career", states that it is an unabridged and corrected republication of the work originally published by the Macmillan Company in 1920, and it is Capablanca's own book, I think the evidence indicates the correct move is 16.Rfc1.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: In his book, "OMGP - Part I", G. Kasparov also gives White's 16th move as 16.Rfc1.
Jul-15-10  sevenseaman: Seeing these wonderful games, Marshall must have been a great player. Just unlucky to have been Capablanca's contemporary.
Jul-15-10  Petrosianic: And Lasker's, and Tarrasch's and Rubinstein's, and Alekhine's...
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: I have video annotated this game which is a great demonstration of exploiting a pawn majority from the "Mozart of Chess" here:

Mar-01-11  Calli: A few points about this game:

Julius Finn pointed out that 14.Bxf3 exf3 15.Qa4+ Bd7 16.Nxd7 Qxd7 17.Qe4+ Qe7 18.Qxf3 should draw.

16.KR-B1 is also in ACM (July, 1909) which the earliest source I have.

Em. Lasker, annotating in the Evening Post, recommended 17.e4 followed by Qe3 as a way to get the pawns moving. It appears that Marshall's move deserves a question mark 17.Qe4?

ACM gives the time consumed as Marshall 2hr 17 min, Capablanca only 1hr 35 min.

This was the last game of the match, Capablanca finally ending it after nine draws in a row.

Jul-02-12  Zkid: <Gypsy> That position is definitely not a routine win. In fact I think it is quite likely drawn. Black cannot force either a kingside invasion or promotion; by combining threats he might invade but it's certainly not easy and probably not forced. The extra piece, on the other hand, is a definitely won position which proved to be simple technique for Capablanca.
Sep-22-13  rccomputacion: Parece muy poca ventaja un peón de mas en un flanco... yo pienso que Marshall jugo mal... bien jugado debería ser tabla... o no????
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: : < rccomputacion: Parece muy poca ventaja un peón de mas en un flanco... yo pienso que Marshall juego mal... bien jugado debería ser tabla... o no????>

Marshall didn't play very well but Capablanca did play well. It's a great example of making use of a pawn majority. But my favourite part is black's powerful bishop.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Shereshevsky's "Endgame Strategy" also gives <16.Rfc1>.

I wonder when will finally correct the score.

* submitted

Nov-04-13  RookFile: A perfectly modern game by Capa. One can easily see Karpov conducting this middlegame and endgame and getting the victory in exactly the same way.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: 48...Rxc3 47. Rd6+ Kf7 48. Rxg6 Kxg6? 1/2:1/2.
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