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Aron Nimzowitsch vs Jose Raul Capablanca
San Sebastian (1911), San Sebastian ESP, rd 8, Mar-03
French Defense: King's Indian Attack (C00)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-24-09  Whitehat1963: Love the finish. It's like Nimzo had NO idea what was happening.
Dec-24-09  theagenbiteofinwit: This game is a great illustration of how Capablanca could always take Nimzowitsch beyond his depth. After 24...Qxf2, Capablanca uses Nimz's rook to help him execute his own plan. Nimzowitsch tries to attack with the piece and then move it to safety, and all he really accomplishes is a clear path for the bishop to sit on the deadly f2 square.

Oblivious to the deeper plan, Nimz just marches his pawns toward black's queenside.

Dec-24-09  waustad: I'm surprised that it is called a KI Attack when no K-side fianchetto happened. It seems more like an Old Indian Reversed, though I don't recall anybody else calling something that.
Dec-24-09  Cibator: A K-side fianchetto would certainly have prevented that strike along the d6-h2 diagonal at Black's 17th!

American directness has often tended to deal it to European convolutions.

All the same, it's odd that someone of Nimzo's stature was never able to take even one game off Capablanca.

Jan-06-10  ChessMasta2000: white's king at wronng place allthetime rooks nnot developed while opponent's pieces kikass!
Jan-06-10  ChessMasta2000: 'American directness has often tended to deal it to European convolutions.' This makes no sense, in america theres mixture of all sorts of bs, europe isnt muchbetter
Jan-07-10  AnalyzeThis: Capablanca sat down, played with his natural style, and outcalculated Nimzo, who was preoccupied with positional gobbly gook.
Jan-07-10  M.D. Wilson: Your appraisal, AnalyzeThis, could not be more accurate! No offense to Nimzo, but Capa owned him OTB. Sure, Nimzo certainly contributed more to chess theory, but practically, where it matters most, Capa beat him silly.
Jan-07-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  AgentRgent: Nimzo goes in for a dubious sacrifice on move 15, yet even so, only a few moves later, he could still have evened things up with 23. g3. Yes, Nimzowitsch lost, but not really any worse than most who faced Capablanca.

Some people just look for any excuse to besmirch the reputation of one of the great masters of Chess.

Jan-07-10  Shams: <Sure, Nimzo certainly contributed more to chess theory>

bold statement given that all rook endgame theory is essentially footnotes to Capablanca.

Jan-07-10  TheFocus: <waustad>< I'm surprised that it is called a KI Attack when no K-side fianchetto happened. It seems more like an Old Indian Reversed, though I don't recall anybody else calling something that.>

I have played it several times and it is called the Old Indian Attack. I used to also play the Grunfeld Attack and the King's Indian Attack. Interchangeable with OI Reversed, KI Reversed, etc. Attack sounds better than Reversed, don't you think?

Jan-07-10  AnalyzeThis: There are a multitude of players who think Chess Fundamentals is the best book for learning chess there is.
Jan-08-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  gezafan: Chess Fundamentals is definitely a good book.

Karpov said it was the first chess book he ever read cover to cover. That's a good start!

Capablanca said that Nimzovich's weakness was the endgame, relatively speaking. He proved this over the board.

Nimzovich was, of course, a very good endgame player but not compared to his peers at the top of the chess world.

Nimzovich was an outstanding chess player. But Capa was one of the all time greats!

Jan-08-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Shams: <Sure, Nimzo certainly contributed more to chess theory>

bold statement given that all rook endgame theory is essentially footnotes to Capablanca.>

Yes I see what you mean. :-)

Alekhine vs Capablanca, 1927

Jan-08-10  AnalyzeThis: Fischer and others said that Capa was actually overrated in the endgame. According to Fischer, Capa's real strength was the ability to play super sharp moves in the middlegame, and visualize the coming endgame, so that the game was actually over before the endgame began, even if the opponent didn't always realize it.
Jan-08-10  maxi: <AnalyzeThis>, would you please show me where Fischer says that Capa was not so good in the endgame?
Jan-08-10  TheFocus: <maxi> In his 1964 article THE TEN GREATEST MASTERS IN HISTORY, Fischer wrote:

<The glamour boy of world chess, Capablanca, had been champion of Cuba at the age of 12, and from that time to his death in 1942, he had the totally undeserved reputation (as Petrosian does today) of being the greatest living endgame player. I recall a game Capablanca played against Vera Menchik in which he made three colossals blunders in the endgame, and that instance, while not quite typical, is representative of the fact that Capablanca didn’t know the simplest Rook and Pawn endings. The story is that he played over thousands of Rook and Pawn endings, but I cannot believe this to be true. Capablanca was among the greatest of chess players, but not because of his endgame. His trick was to keep his openings simple, and then play with such brilliance in the middlegame that the game was decided – even though his opponent didn’t always know it – before they arrived at the ending. Capablanca never really devoted himself to chess, seldom made preparations for a match. His simplicity is a myth. His almost complete lack of book knowledge forced him to push harder to try to squeeze the utmost out of every position. Every move he made had to be sharp so as to make something out of nothing. He had to try harder than anybody else because he had so little to begin with. He matured early, and played his best games in his twenties. He was the only great Latin player ever to emerge on the world scene.>

Quite frankly, I disagree, as do many others, with Fischer's assessments.

Jan-08-10  maxi: <TheFocus> Yes, thank you. Oh my. I also recall the horrible statement about Lasker Fischer made, the one about the world champ of so many years being a coffeehouse player. There are supposed to be seven types of intelligence (eight with chess, I guess). Fischer did not have all of them for sure.
Jan-08-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  gezafan: I agree with one statement Fischer made about Capablanca. He was a very sharp player.

Later in his career his style may have changed somewhat but in his heyday he played very sharply.

I looked at some of his games. He must have been a nightmare to play.

Jan-08-10  AnalyzeThis: This is one obvious example, there are others. Mind you, it's all relative. Capablanca was an excellent endgame player, of course.

Capablanca vs Menchik, 1929

I think there are 3 or 4 outright errors on Capa's part, in this endgame, that gave Menchik several chances to make a draw.

Jan-08-10  AnalyzeThis: <bold statement given that all rook endgame theory is essentially footnotes to Capablanca >

That would be news to Rubinstein and Lasker.

Jan-08-10  TheFocus: <AnalyzeThis> <bold statement given that all rook endgame theory is essentially footnotes to Capablanca >

<That would be news to Rubinstein and Lasker.>

Excellent!! Even Capablanca proclaimed Lasker as the greatest endgame player ever. As good as an endgame player as Capablanca was, he never reached Rubinstein's level in Rook endgames, or Maroczy's skill in Queen endings, nor Lasker's level in overall endgame play.

Jan-08-10  TheFocus: <AnalyzeThis>< There are a multitude of players who think Chess Fundamentals is the best book for learning chess there is.>

Actually, I think you could include Capablanca's other books: A Primer of Chess, Last Lectures, and My Chess Career with Chess Fundamentals and have a great basis for success.

I know that Last Lectures was an eye-opener for me. After that, at 15 years old, I began studying the endgame.

Jan-08-10  visayanbraindoctor: <gezafan: I agree with one statement Fischer made about Capablanca. He was a very sharp player.

Later in his career his style may have changed somewhat but in his heyday he played very sharply.

I looked at some of his games. He must have been a nightmare to play.>

I totally agree. It's a total myth that Capablanca (if we take his youthful chess from 1909 to 1922) played for simple positions. For starters, one can look at the games from his 1909 match with Marshall. They were slugging it out in the most tempestuous lightning-and-thunder games of practically any match between world-class players. Another set of Capablanca tactical slugfests was his 1913 to 1914 European tour games.

Capablanca was also one of the best endgame players of all time. After seeing many live on-line endgames in the internet where a top present-day GM would often blunder away a won ending or lose a drawn one, I can't help but think - oh gee, Lasker, Rubinstein, and Capa hardly made those kinds of endgame mistakes and it's probably a sign that present-day chess masters should also put some effort into studying endgames. As for who was better among these three in endgames, I would opine that in the 'simplest' ones, Rubinstein probably excelled more, while in the endings where a lot of calculations had to be done, Capa was tops, with Lasker somewhere in between.

As for the middlegame and middlegame-to-endgame transitions, I totally agree with Fischer. I have never seen any one who could play such complicated and difficult middlegames as though he were almost like a computer as the Capablanca of the 1909 to 1922 era. This achievement is all the more extraordinary if we consider that for nearly all of these games Capa was getting into the middlegame without maximizing his opening preps; and so he was clearly playing practically all of them by improvising over-the-board; unlike most cases of opening-to-middlegame transitions beginning in the mid-1930s when theoreticians such as Botvinnik and Euwe began a systematic approach to openings and the opening-to-middlegame transitions. It would indeed have been a nightmare to play someone who you know beforehand, and confirmed as your game went along, who hardly ever made any mistakes at all.

Jan-08-10  maxi: I looked at Capa's endgame against Vera Menchik (Hastings 1929), and he really is unrecognizable. He is clearly playing distractedly, and seems more to be trying to draw than to win. Perhaps he was being chivalrous. I cannot see how it is possible to draw dramatic conclusions about Capa's endgame ability on the basis of this peculiar example, when, on the other hand, you have so many other precisely and beautifully played endgames.
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