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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Viacheslav Ragozin
"Negative Space" (game of the day Apr-04-2020)
Moscow (1935), Moscow URS, rd 6, Feb-22
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Saemisch Variation. Accelerated (E24)  ·  1-0



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Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <keypusher> Thanks mate.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: It is interesting to read some comments from annotators regarding this game.

In Reinfeld's book, "The Immortal Games of Capablanca" he states regarding the move 10...Ne7: <A highly illogical move which condemns Black to permanent passivity. Correct was 10...Na5 to be followed by ...b6 and...Ba6: the text, on the other hand, leaves Black without counterplay.>

Golombek writes in, "Capablanca's 100 Best Games of Chess"; <Much too defensively played; Black must concentrate on White's weak spot with 10...Na5 followed by b6 and Ba6. After the text, White can build up his attack without any possibility of interference from Black>

In the tournament book, "Moscow 1935" it states; <This and the following knight manoeuvre is hard to understand. It would have been simpler, without further ado, to play the routine 10...Na5 followed by ...b6 and ...Ba6, creating play on the queen's flank.>

Reinfield and Golombek give the impression that Black's game is nearly lost after 10...Ne7, the tournament book is not as critical.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: After 13.f6, Reinfeld writes; <Losing his head completly. The text creates a target which makes it possible for White to open the KN file; which means that Black's king will be dangerously insecure. A much better plan was later indicated by Ragozin: 13...Bd7; 14.Ng3 (if 14.a4, Qe8; 15.a5, Nbc8 followed by ....b6), 14...Na4 followed by ...a6 and ...b5.>

Golombek makes no comment regarding 13...f6.

Regarding 13...f6, the tournament book states: <Black prepares a tiresome journey of his king to the queen's flank. However, the move 13...f6? is the decisive mistake; he should play 13...Bd7! 14.Ng3 (If 14.a4, then 14...Qe8 15.a5 Nbc8 followed by ...b6) 14...Na4, intending the counterattack ...a6 and ...b5.>

It now appears that after 13...f6, all agree that Black has a lost game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Interestingly, Fritz 9 evaluated the position as almost equal at move 13, White having just a slight advantage, Fritz agreed that Ragozin should have followed his own recommendation of 13...Bd7.

Even after 13...f6 14.Ng3 Kf7, it seems that Black has some defensive possibilities.

At this point, Fritz 9 evaluated the position to be in favor of White (.49) (17 ply), and considered that White should continue to increase the pressure on the king side by 15.h5 Kg8 16.Nf5, to be followed by Qg2.

Capablanca's move 15.g5 was given an exclamation point by both Reinfeld and the tournament book. Fritz, however, preferred 17.h5, and evaluated the position after 15.g5, as having a rather small advantage for White (.35) (18 ply), and suggested a continuation of 15...Kg8 16.Nf5 Nxf5 17.exf5 Bd7.

It would be interesting to make a deeper evaluation of Black's defensive possibilities after 15.g5 Kg8. Can Black hold this position?

According to Fritz, Black's move 15...Ng8, was a decisive error. I will need to check the remainder of the game score to determine if Black had any additional chances to save the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: As I indicated, after 15.g5, Fritz 9 considered Black's best chance to obtain a draw was to renounce the idea of playing the king to the queen side and instead play 15...Kg8.

Black's actual move of 15...Ng8, was considered to be very weak by Fritz. Interestingly, neither Golembek or the tournament book made any comment regarding 15...Ng8.

Reinfeld said: <There is little choice: if 15...fxg5 16.hxg5 Kg8 (with the idea of making the KR useful on the KB file); 17.Qh2 and wins.> Fritz agrees that Black is quickly lost in this variation by Reinfeld.

A deeper look by Fritz, in the position after 15...Kg8, gave an evaluation of (.43) (20 ply) and recommended the following continuation: 16.Nf5 Nxf5 17.exf5.

After 17.exf5, Fritz's evaluation was (.57) (19 ply), with a recommended continuation of: 17...Qe8 18.Rg1 fxg5.

The two main lines after 18...fxg5 are:

(.65) (20ply) 19.f6 e4 20.fxe4 g4 fxg7 Kxg7 Bg5 h6.

(.70) (20 ply) 19.Bxg5 e4 20.fxe4 Bxf5 21.0-0-0 Bg6.

I tried several continuations from these variations and also from earlier positions after 15...Kg8, but I could not find a winning line for White.

Perhaps someone else can improve on this analysis and determine if White is winning after 15...Kg8 or if Black can obtain a draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: 7 games from the 1935 Moscow tournament were selected and awarded a prize for being the best games of the tournament. This game was one of the seven selected.

According to the tournament book: <The jury considered games to be "the best" if they were "distinguished by pureness and internal logical beauty, and while elements of their outward effect do not play a decisive role, they are nonetheless desirable" >

1st-2nd prizes ex aequo (on an equal basis) - Lasker for his game against Capablanca and Botvinnik for his game against Riumin.

3rd prize - Spielmann for his game against Chekhover.

4th and 5th prizes ex aequo - Riumin for his game against Rabinovich and Ragozin for his game against Lilienthal.

6th and 7th prizes ex aequo - Capablanca for his game against Ragozin and Levenfish for his game against Bogatyrchuk.

Jan-10-09  WhiteRook48: 1. d4!! Capablanca makes this "less popular" opening move do the trick. amazing: Capa played 4. a3 right away.
Mar-17-09  WhiteRook48: total zugzwang
Jun-22-09  extremepleasure2: What's the white's wining plan if the black continue to move his queen back and forth instead of playing this weakening 38...b5?
Jun-22-09  AnalyzeThis: 38...b5 gives the queen some air. By way of contrast, play 38....Qf8 instead, and white can play 39. Ne6, forcing 39...Bxe6 40. dxe6.

White has multiple threats:

A) Qd3 and Qd5

B) Bf7, Rg7, and the h pawn drops

C) Double on the g file before the knight can get out and win the g8 knight.

The computer tells me that white doesn't need to rush and play Ne6 right away. He can play the calm Kc1 first. The point of this is to make it a little easier to double rooks on the g file, since black can't do anything other than shuffle the queen around.

Jun-22-09  WhiteRook48: knights freeze opponents on g7 (or g2)
Jul-22-13  Chessman1504: In the quotes, Botvinnik mentions a game where Capablanca initiated no active maneuvers and instead adopted a waiting game. Soon,Capablanca won a second pawn and soon the game. Was he talking about this game?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: <Chessman1504:> I think it was this game between the same players Capablanca vs Ragozin, 1936
Premium Chessgames Member
  fiercebadger: Capa never does put the knight on e6
the threat was stronger then its execution
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Ragozin deserved the Grandmaster title just for finding 48 legal moves in that position.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Save your brain power. This isn't a pun at all; just a game description.
Apr-04-20  jith1207: Timely Title for the current situation around the World!
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Lost in Space> would be my improvement.
Apr-04-20  thegoodanarchist: In space, no one can hear you scream!
Apr-04-20  petemccabe: Black made 7 of his first 26 moves with his king.
Apr-04-20  sfm: Having your back against the wall is rarely an advantage in a fight.

After 38.Qb1 we had

click for larger view

Stockfish says that White is completely winning with a score of +5.

Let's move White's queen and rooks one step forward, leaving row one free.

click for larger view

That is no big difference and Stockfish still says +5.

Since row one is free, we can push everything a row backwards:

click for larger view

Does the only difference of the extra row help Black?

Dramatically! Stockfish now deems the position slightly in Black's favor with -0.6

Apr-05-20  RandomVisitor: 10...Ne7 or 10...Na5? Both are kind of so-so.

click for larger view


<53/77 1:28:54 +0.40 10...Ne7 11.f3 Ng6> 12.h4 Nh5 13.g4 Nhf4 14.h5 Nxd3+ 15.Qxd3 Nh8 16.0-0 b6 17.Be3 f6 18.a4 Nf7 19.Ng3 Bd7 20.Ra3 Qc7 21.Ra2 Rfe8 22.Rfa1 Reb8 23.Qc2 h6 24.Kh2 Nd8 25.Rg1 Nf7 26.Qd1 Kh7 27.Ra1 Bc8 28.Qc2 Rb7 29.Qa2 Qd8

52/75 1:28:54 +0.54 10...Na5 11.Ng3 Re8 12.0-0 b6 13.Re1 Nd7 14.Qd1 Nf8 15.Nf1 Ng6 16.g3 Rf8 17.Ne3 Qc7 18.Rb1 f6 19.h4 Ne7 20.Qc2 Kh8 21.Rb2 Qd7 22.Qd1 Qh3 23.Rd2 Ng8 24.Bf1 Qd7 25.f3 Nh6 26.g4 Qe8 27.Bd3 Bd7 28.Rg2 Rc8 29.Qe2 Nb3

Did black have anything better earlier? How about 5...b6:

click for larger view


<59/69 16:02:00 0.00 5...b6 6.f3 Nc6> 7.e4 Na5 8.c5 h6 9.cxb6 axb6 10.Bd3 Ba6 11.Bc2 d5 12.e5 Ng8 13.Ne2 Bxe2 14.Qxe2 Qh4+ 15.g3 Qh3 16.a4 Ne7 17.Kf2 0-0 18.Qd3 Ng6 19.Qd1 c5 20.Bd3 Ne7 21.Ba3 Rfc8 22.f4 Nec6 23.dxc5 bxc5 24.Bf1 Qf5 25.Bd3

...or 6...Nc6 or 6...e5:

click for larger view

<60/93 15:16:50 -0.28 6...e5 7.Bg5 Qe7> 8.e3 Nbd7 9.Bd3 h6 10.Bh4 0-0 11.f3 Re8 12.e4 Nf8 13.Ne2 Ng6 14.Bf2 Nh5 15.Be3 Rb8 16.0-0 Nhf4 17.Nxf4 Nxf4 18.Rfb1 Nxd3 19.Qxd3 a5 20.Bf2 Rd8 21.Qe3 Ra8 22.h3 b6 23.c5 bxc5 24.dxc5 Be6 25.cxd6 cxd6

52/80 2:36:36 -0.22 6...Nc6 7.Nf3 Qe7 8.e4 e5 9.d5 Nb8 10.c5 dxc5 11.Bd3 0-0 12.0-0 Ne8 13.Nd2 Nd6 14.c4 Nd7 15.Bb2 b6 16.f4 f6 17.Rae1 Re8 18.a4 Bb7 19.g3 c6 20.Qd1 Rac8 21.Kg2 Rcd8 22.Kg1 a5 23.Qg4 Rc8 24.Qh3 Qd8 25.Kg2 Re7 the time move 8 comes around, white is already starting to look better:

click for larger view

<54/85 6:42:59 +0.13 8...Nc6 9.Ne2 Nh5> 10.0-0 g5 11.Be3 b6 12.Rad1 Qe7 13.Ng3 Nf4 14.c5 dxc5 15.dxc5 Qf6 16.Bb5 h6 17.Rfe1 Na5 18.Bf1 Bg4 19.f3 Be6 20.c4 Nc6 21.cxb6 axb6 22.c5 Rfc8 23.cxb6 cxb6 24.Qb2 Nd4 25.Bxd4 exd4 26.Rxd4 Rxa3 27.Rd2 Qxb2

53/80 5:45:33 +0.43 8...c5 9.d5 Nh5 10.Ne2 Qf6 11.h4 Nf4 12.Bxf4 exf4 13.Qd2 Nd7 14.Qxf4 Qxf4 15.Nxf4 Ne5 16.f3 f5 17.exf5 Bxf5 18.Be2 Rae8 19.Kf2 Bd7 20.g3 g6 21.Kg2 h6 22.Ne6 Bxe6 23.dxe6 Rxe6 24.f4 Nf7 25.Bf3 Rfe8 26.Bxb7 Re2+ 27.Kh3 h5

Apr-05-20  tonsillolith: <<sfm> ... Does the only difference of the extra row help Black?

Dramatically! Stockfish now deems the position slightly in Black's favor with -0.6>

Thanks for this interesting observation.

I seem to remember some Karpov games where it seemed like he was moving his entire force up slowly, one rank at a time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <sfm> Agree with tonsillolith. Really cool and creative way to demonstrate the value of space!
Apr-12-20  jith1207: <thegoodanarchist: In space, no one can hear you scream!>

That got dark rather.

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