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Akiba Rubinstein vs Jose Raul Capablanca
"If You c1 You've Seen Them All" (game of the day Jun-22-2015)
San Sebastian (1911), San Sebastian ESP, rd 13, Mar-13
Tarrasch Defense: Rubinstein System (D33)  ·  1-0



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Given 63 times; par: 70 [what's this?]

Annotations by Jacques Mieses.      [4 more games annotated by J Mieses]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <CharlesSullivan> Some very nice analysis, particularly the discovery that preserving the connected passed pawns is the key for White's victory.

I do not see any flaw in your analysis. For example, Houdini 3 at first,

after 38...Rxa2 39.Rh8 b3 40.h5 Rc2 41.h6 Rc5 42.Bf3 b2 43.h7 b1=Q 44.Rc8 Qa1 45.h8=Q Qxh8 46.Rxh8 Na7 47.d4

prefers 47...Rc7 to 47...Ra5

click for larger view

However, after long analysis, it finds the two pawns unstoppable.

48 g4 a3 49 Be4 Rc4 50 Rb8+ Ka5 51 Bb1 Rxd4 52Kh3 Rd5 53 f4 Rd1 54 f5 Nb5 55 Ba2 Ra1 56 Bd5 Nc7 57 Bf7 Rh1+ 58 Kg3 2.53/26

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Feb-09-14  Howard: Anyone care to contribute any additional analysis to this landmark game ?! It's a bit hard to sort through all the analysis here, but the "last word" seems to be that 38...Rxa2 would NOT have held the draw for Capablanca after all.

Anyone wanna contest that ?

Mar-03-14  Boomie: -

Re: 13. Bg5

<Mieses: A good move but not the best. Beyond any doubt, with 13.e4! White achieves an advantage; for example, 13...d4 14.Nd5 exd5 15.Bxc8 dxe4 16.Qb3! or 13...dxe4 14.Bg5 O-O 15.Nxe4, etc.>

Mieses misses some subtleties in the ugly but effective 13...dxe4.

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13. e4 dxe4 14. Bg5 Rd8 15. Qa4 h6 16. Bxf6 gxf6 17. Nxe4 Bb6=

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13. e4 dxe4 14. Qa4 Bd4 15. Bg5 h6 16. Bxf6 gxf6 17. Nb5 Be5 18. Qxe4 a6 19. Nc3 f5 20. Qe2=

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May-31-14  YourMajesty: Am I the only one that sees that both of these players gave away this game right at the end ? 40. Bc6 gives the game to Capablanca if he takes the Bishop with his King. But instead he plays 40.Rb3 ? Rubinstein has the game well in hand, but then makes a HUGE mistake by taking the Knight with his Bishop (Bc6). Capablanca returns the favor by making a HUGE mistake of his own and takes the Pawn instead of the Bishop (40.Rb3). Capablanca doesn't move 40.Kb6 which is the only way he can now win, and so, gives the game right back to Rubinstein. I've played this out dozens of times from this point. The connected pawns cannot come to fruition. Capablanca's King will get chased down near the a1 corner by Rubinstein's Rook, but can run from corner to corner and stop the connected pawns once that Rook is swapped for the Pawn. If Capablanca moves 40.Kc6 and takes the Bishop, Rubinstein cannot even draw the game. It is a clear victory for Capablanca. Such a shame that 2 Magnificent players ended such an epic game in this way.
May-31-14  Karpova: <YourMajesty: If Capablanca moves 40.Kc6 and takes the Bishop, Rubinstein cannot even draw the game. It is a clear victory for Capablanca.>

Can you please show the winning line for Black after 40.Bxc6 Kxc6 41.Ra5?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Now that's a pretty clever pun -- especially if you're familiar with Rubinstein vs Lasker, 1909
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: I thought this pun sounded familiar, and it turns out it was recently used on Nov/23/2014. :)

Svidler vs D Andreikin, 2014

Jun-22-15  andrewjsacks: CG, thank you for using my pun. I was unaware of any previous use of it, but of course it applies perfectly here, not to say to no other game. Thank you.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <andrewjsacks> Just for the record, there is a list of puns that have been used:

Game Collection: Game of the Day Pun Index (I-L)

But when it fits as perfectly as the one today, it doesn't matter if it's a repeat.

Jun-22-15  andrewjsacks: <PB> Thank you.
Jun-22-15  samikd: I must be one of one of the dumbest people here. first of all, I didnt get the pun. Second, I dont see why White is winning by 42.Rh6. Can somebody explain please ?
Jun-22-15  Amarande: <samikd> As noted by Edward Lasker in Chess Strategy (game no. 40), Black cannot prevent the White Rook from holding the Black passed pawn.


a) 42 ... Ka5 43 Bc4!

b) 42 ... Ka7 43 Rh8!

In either case, queening is punished by an immediate skewer on the a-file, while if Black moves the King off the file then White moves the Rook there anyway, after which the pawn cannot be held as both B and R bear on a2.

If 42 ... Kb5, then simply 43 Bc4+ followed by 44 Ra6 and again the pawn is lost, while moving the King to c5 or c7 simply allows 43 Ra6 at once.

In each case White ends up a piece and at least three pawns up (or four in variations with Bc4), and it's all over but the shouting.

Jun-22-15  morfishine: It takes a Rubinstein to pull something off like this against Capablanca. At least for me, I have great admiration for Capablanca's fighting spirit when caught in an adverse situation
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White can force the rook to a6 and stop the pawn.White's 17 ♕c1!! is one of the most subtle and brilliant moves of all time.
Jun-22-15  visayanbraindoctor: One of the rare games where Capablanca got out-calculated. In this game Rubinstein saw more than him.

Capablanca typically does not go down without trying something concrete, and goes for an active defense. He attacks Rubinstein's Queenside and tries to force passed pawns of his own. The ending becomes asymmetrical, potentially a dangerous race of pawns. We lesser mortals can learn something from this. When down in material with no compensation, better go for an active defense, and aim for sharp asymmetrical positions.

A lesser player than Rubinstein might actually have let the slippery Cuban out of the hook. But this is the Akiba that we're talking about, and he reels the victory in.

Jun-22-15  john barleycorn: If I remember correctly Capablanca in his own annotations said that he overlooked 16.Kg2.
Jun-22-15  Howard: It was because of this game, by the way, that Rubinstein was actually one of the few players back in the day to have a plus score against Capablanca.

This was the first encounter between them, and by winning, Rubinstein thus had an instant plus score. Their next several encounters were all drawn.

Then, in 1928, Capa finally evened the score.

Jun-22-15  samikd: <amarande> Oh the skewer ! Thank you very much
Jun-22-15  RandomVisitor: 14.Nxd5! exd5 15.Bxc8 Rxc8 16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.Qxd5+ and black has problems.
Jun-23-15  RandomVisitor: After the curious improvement attempt 15...Bxf2+

"Capablanca typically does not go down without trying something concrete, and goes for an active defense."

click for larger view

Rybka 4.1 x64:

<[+0.24] d=28 16.Kh1> Qh6 17.Kg2 Rcd8 18.Qc1 Qg6 19.Nf4 Qe4+ 20.Kxf2 e5 21.Bg2 Qb4 22.Kg1 exf4 23.Rxf4 Rxf4 24.Qxf4 Qxb2 25.Qc4+ Kh8 26.Rf1 h6 27.Be4 Re8 28.Kh1 Qd4 29.Qxd4 Nxd4 30.Bxb7 Nxe2 31.Rf7

[+0.01] d=27 16.Kg2 Qe5 17.Rxf2 Rxf2+ 18.Kxf2 Rd8 19.Ne7+ Kh8 20.Qb3 Nxe7 21.Qxe6 Qd4+ 22.Kg2 Nd5 23.Kh1 Ne3 24.Rg1 h6 25.b3 Rf8 26.Bg2 Nxg2 27.Kxg2 Rf2+ 28.Kh3 Qc5 29.Qe8+ Kh7 30.Qe4+ Kg8 31.g4

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: A nice little spoonerism: "Mieses: Black cannot avoid the exchange of the queens: 20...Qxb2 loses a piece after 21.Rbf1" should read "...21.Rfb1"
May-11-17  User not found: From move 30 with Btp he must have thought he could see 15 moves ahead (GM's can calculate 15 moves, right?) but made a mistake. He was never going to sac his king side pawns and promote his a or b pawn before white could do the same with his f2,g2 or h2 pawns... White had a powerful bishop on the a2-g8 diagonal defending both c3 and a2, the blunder is missing 30..Re2 because if white checks with the rook on f7 you can play Re7 and offer the exchange.. Even If the offer wasn't taken black should have scraped a draw.

click for larger view

Dec-08-18  brimarern: Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL game! This is high level chess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 38.Rf5 was winning easily. If 38...Rxa2, then 39.Bxa2 b3 40.Rf4 Kb5 41.Bxb3 axb3 42.Re4 etc.
Sep-14-20  zenwabi: Capablanca annotates this game at p. 83 of his CHESS FUNDAMENTALS, Everyman Chess edition.
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