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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Alexander Ilyin-Zhenevsky
"Ilyin Invasion" (game of the day Feb-27-2010)
Moscow (1925), Moscow URS, rd 7, Nov-18
Formation: King's Indian Attack (A07)  ·  0-1



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Given 26 times; par: 58 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-21-06  Maynard5: The critical mistake here is 27. d4? which permits a series of exchanges. Surprisingly, the Kotov analysis omits both any discussion of this move, and fails to point out White's winning line. Ironically, this game is included in the Kotov-Keres book as an example of defensive play. Nevertheles, White can win easily by 27. Bf3, threatening Kg2 and Rh1. In the book Soviet Chess by Nikolai Grekov, published in 1944, it was readily acknowledged that this line would lead to a forced win for White. Several lines were analyzed, and no defense was found. It is therefore rather surprising that Kotov was unfamiliar with this analysis.
Sep-06-06  euripides: In Fischer vs Gligoric, 1962 Gligoric meets the same kind of attack by playing fxg6 and defending along the second rank. Black might have been able to organise somthing like that here.
Sep-06-06  tud: 27 Bh3 seems a good move
Nov-17-06  Maynard5: In an earlier post, I cited an analysis by a Russian player demonstrating that 27. Bf3 would have won for White. As it happens, there is an even simpler win for Capablanca at this point in the game, 27. Bd2. The reasoning is as follows. In this position, White threatens to set up a mating net on the h-file, by for instance Kg2, Rh1, Qh3. Since Black has no direct defense against this threat, his only chance is to obtain counterplay by opening the center. This of course is why the actual move 27. d4? converts a winning position into a loss. With 27. Bd2, White protects the pawn on c3, and threatens 28. Bh3, winning the knight on g4, or 28. Bf3, clearing the square g2 so that White can follow up with Kg2, Rh1 immediately. In sum, 27. Bd2 appears to win by force.

Nov-17-06  syracrophy: <<31...exf4? Trying the same defence as in the game.>>

That move was forced since the threat was 32.♖h3, mating on h8, but anyways, Black obtained a huge advantage for the ♕

Dec-22-06  who: <An englishman> Yes Kotov says (showing the diagram after black's 12th)

Since the center is not closed the oppertunity exists for some very brisk skirmishes in the central squares. Capablanca sets into motion a pawn attack on the King's wing. 'Where does that leave us then?' the surprised reader may perhaps ask. 'Doesn't the World Champion, with his marvelous intuition of chess strategy, understand the elementary principles?'

Naturally Capablanca is acquainted with these precepts; but here he manifestly underestimates an unknown chess-master. 'For me everything is possible' - this idea surely must have dominated the Cuban when he embarked on his pawn attack.

Feb-25-07  shalgo: <Maynard5> Pachman, in his Complete Chess Strategy, agrees that 27.Bd2 is White's best move, although he is not convinced that it wins.

He gives 27...Rdb8 28.Bh3 Rb2 29.Nxb2 Rxb2 30.Bxg4 Rxd2 31.Qe1 Rc2 or 31...Rxa2, when White has won the exchange "but exposed his position," when "a very difficult position arises, which could only be evaluated after thorough analysis."

Pachman considers 27.d4? to be the losing move, but he also identifies some mistakes earlier in the game by both sides. In particular, for Black he considers 8...a6 and 11...Rc8 to be losses of time (8...Rb8 and 11...b5 are better). For White, 14.f4 is not as good as 14.g5, which would have forced the knight back to e8 instead of d7, and 19.Nf2 loses time compared to 19.h4.

Dec-17-07  Ulhumbrus: Inatead of 10...Re8, 10...Ne8 makes possible ..Nd4 with possibly ..Bc6 and ...d5 to follow , as in the game H Wolf vs Lasker, 1923
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <shalgo: Pachman, in his Complete Chess Strategy, agrees that 27.Bd2 is White's best move, although he is not convinced it wins.>

Pachman gives: 27.Bd2 Rdb8 28.Bh3 Rb2 29.Nxb2 Rxb2 30.Bxg4 Rxd2 31.Qe1? Rc2 or 31...Rxa2. However, Pachman's 31.Qe1? is a serious error.

Romanovsky analyzed, that if 27.Bd2, threatening 28.Bh3, Black could then successfully repluse the attack by 27...Rdb1 28.Bh3 Rb2 29.Nxb2 Rxb2 30.Bc1? Nh2. In this variation, 30.Bc1? is a serious error.

A review by Fritz shows that White is clearly winning after 27.Bd2!. Fritz agrees with Pachman that after 27.Bd2!, 27...Rdb8 28.Bh3 Rb2 29.Nxb2 Rxb2 30.Bxg4 Rxd2, is the best line for both sides.

White's position is now winning after 30.Bxg4 Rxd2 31.Rab1!, or 30.Qe1.

Here is Fritz's analysis: (2.13) (23 ply) 30.Bxg4 Rxd2 31.Rab1! Qxc3 32.Rb8 Qxd4+ 33.Kh1 Qa4 34.Nxe6 Nxg4 35.Qxg4 Qd7 36.Rfb1 Rxd3 37.Rd8 wins for White.

Also winning for White is: (1.92) (23 ply) 30.Qe1 c4 31.d4 Nh2 32.Kxh2 Qxc3 33.Ng2 Rxd2 34.Rd1 Rxg2+ (3.45) (23 ply) 35.Bxg2 Qxe1 36.Rdxe1 Nd3 37.Rb1 Bb5 38.Kg3 d5 39.a4 Be8 40.exd5 exd5 41.Bxd5.

Capablanca missed his chance for a brilliant win by failing to see the correct continuation that begins with the move 27.Bd2!.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Hey, it's turning into the Beat Up on Capa Series! At least it won't take too long.
Feb-27-10  AnalyzeThis: Interesting game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I never thought I would say this about Capa, but I think this shows the danger of playing on autopilot. The closed sicilian, especially the "modern" version with Be3 and Qd2, is aimed at a kingside attack.

But the kingside attack doesn't work if black can create enough pressure in the centre and queenside. White cannot just ignore what his opponent is doing and concentrate solely on the h file and the h6 square. Which is what Capa seems to do here.

And as a closed sicilian player myself it does seem a little odd to play the Be3/Qd2 line and not play Bh6 to exchange off black's Bg7. The idea of the classic closed sicilian pawn push with f4 and g4 doesn't seem to fit with Be3/Qd2.

But a nice game by black, all the same, and another of those interesting material imbalances. It's just a little disconcerting seeing a loss by both one of my favourite players and in one of my pet openings!

Feb-27-10  Dimitrije Mandic: Capa neglected the Open Sicilian, and the Sicilian in general - and lost. Also, he played a very fine attack, but this wouldn't be his first time to lose to a Queen exchange sac. Anyone remember Mir Sultan Khan? ;) P.S. One big weakness I can spot in Capa's play in general is the avoidance of complications. (But that was probably Alekhine's thing anyway.) Sure, his technique was superior at the time, but he'd probably be a drawish player nowadays, just like Lasker saw the humiliating drawing disease of the future.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Dimitrije Mandic: ...but this wouldn't be his first time to lose to a Queen exchange sac. Anyone remember Mir Sultan Khan?>

Or, for that matter, Capablanca vs Verlinsky, 1925 from this same tournaent two rounds later.

Feb-27-10  laskereshevsky: So!.. On summary:

Capablanca vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky, 1925

Capablanca vs Verlinsky, 1925

Sultan Khan vs Capablanca, 1930

Lilienthal vs Capablanca, 1935

Paradoxically, Looks like Capa had a sincracy toward to "WIN" the other men Queens (!)

At least on the board... rather, outside the board was well knew that ...:)

On the contrary his Younghood's main rival:

Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs Lasker, 1925

Euwe vs Lasker, 1934

"No Sex Please, We're Germans" (?!)

Feb-27-10  SugarDom: Another feather in the pirate's cap...

Drats...I'm beginning to resemble a Las Vegas showgirl or a Rio carnival dancer...

Feb-27-10  WhiteRook48: ladies' man
Feb-27-10  SugarDom: Alien Invasion?

Bwa haha

I'm laughing at my own joke. :(

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The queen sac looks almost like an exchange-black's ad was SO big.
Aug-03-10  elohah: I wanted to compare this game with Ye Jiangchuan-Zapata (Manila OL '92) since I remembered that Capablanca had conducted a similar attack here. It does look like a remarkable transposition back to a Schevengingen setup after 20...e6. But Black is well behind, never having been in a position to execute the needed central break - ...d5! Capablanca's 18 f6!! - absolutely brilliant tactically, tho simple after one sees it.

Yeah, 27 d4? is just a tactical mistake, turning a won game into a lost one. I guess I agree with 27 Bd2, tho I was even thinking that 27 Rc1 (with d4 unstoppable) is also winning.

Aug-03-10  elohah: And you really learn about Chess by doing comparisons like this. I think I've mentioned this many times now.
Oct-26-12  ForeverYoung: It is not surprising that White had better. the Golden Treasury of Chess also gives 27 Bd2. Looking that this game, I was thinking, my god, white looks great!
Dec-27-12  leka: I do not understand Capablanca the move 11. knight d1!?? there must be a better attacking plan
Dec-27-12  RandomVisitor: <Rybka4.1> [+1.53] d=19 27.Bd2 Rdb8 28.Bh3 Rb1 29.Rxb1 Rxb1 30.Bxg4 Qxa2 31.Be3 Nxg4 32.Qxg4 a5 33.c4 Qc2 34.Qe2 Qb3 35.Kg2 Ba4 36.Nf2 Bc6 37.Rxb1 Qxb1 38.Qg4 Qb7 39.Qh3 a4 40.Ng4 (0:05:46) 73769kN
Jun-08-14  Bruce Graham: Capablanca is quoted as saying he 'played like a lunatic.' Source: Isaak Maksovich Linder and Vladimir Linder, Kapablanka v Rossii [Capablanca in Russia] (Moscow: Sovetskaya Rossiya, 1988), 81.
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