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Samuel Reshevsky vs Jose Raul Capablanca
"Play It Again, Sam" (game of the day Mar-24-2012)
Margate (1935), Margate ENG, rd 4, Apr-27
Queen's Gambit Declined: Modern. Knight Defense (D51)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Could is be a fact that Capa was slipping a bit at the end of his chess career?
Mar-24-12  RookFile: Yeah, he really slipped in 1936, when he won everything.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: It seems like whenever an underdog has white against Capablanca, if the game had to decided, the underdog would win more than Capablanca.
Mar-24-12  bischopper: today , I have not comment Im sorry...
Apr-29-12  wordfunph: Reshevsky - Capablanca

after 35...b6

click for larger view

"Here Capablanca offered a draw, but since I had a clear initiative and pressure on black's weaknesses, I declined the offer. I thought I could win, and I could not hope to become a grandmaster by accepting draws in winning positions."

Source: Reshevsky's Best Games by Reshevsky
- Samuel Reshevsky

Mar-23-13  apexin: Can someone explain the pun,please?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <apexin> "Play It Again, Sam" is a line associated with the film "Casablanca" (though it was never actually said).

That makes it a natural for a game between "Sam" Reshevsky and Capablanca.

Mar-23-13  apexin: Thanks, Phony Benoni. Of course i seen that movie, some 20 years ago, but didnt know about this misquotation at all. It's a good one, Capablanca, died some 4 months after the premiere, guess he liked a name very alike his, used in a film. Well, i if hes seen it. I would have liked it.
Mar-23-13  Marmot PFL: < I thought I could win, and I could not hope to become a grandmaster by accepting draws in winning positions.">

Fortunately, these days players can meet the required norms without having to take unnecessary risks.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <kevin86: Could is be a fact that Capa was slipping a bit at the end of his chess career?>

No doubt about it. Compare his tournament results before and after 1930. From 1910 (the beginning of his tournament career) through 1929, he finished 1st 17 times, 2nd 5 times, 2nd-3rd once, and 3rd once. In the 1930s he finished 1st twice, 1st-2nd twice, 2nd 3 times, 2nd-3rd once, 3rd-4th once, 4th twice, and 7th once. As Reinfeld cruelly, but accurately put it, after Capablanca lost the world championship to Alekhine in 1937, "From this point on, the road is downward." <The Immortal Games of Capablanca>, p. 1.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Reshevsky when smaller:

This game is featured in his book "Great Chess Upsets". He indicates he was very determined to win even if it risked losing. By winning he got first prize.

Apr-22-16  Howard: Am a tad surprised that no one has noticed a certain computer-like defense that Kasparov points out in MGP IV, which occurs roughly around the 36th move. I don't have the book in front of me now.

Who DOES? It's in that book !

Jul-23-16  Ultra: Book and thread have yet to collide.

Stay tuned....

Jul-23-16  Marmot PFL: <"Here Capablanca offered a draw, but since I had a clear initiative and pressure on black's weaknesses, I declined the offer. I thought I could win, and I could not hope to become a grandmaster by accepting draws in winning positions.".>

Not to mention winning the tournament, which Reshevsky did by half a point over Capa.

Jul-15-18  Howard: There's a typo in the comment by FSR---Capa lost the title in 1927, not "1937".

As far as Capa's alleged slippage in form, I recall that Jude Acers stated in a letter to the late Larry Evans once, that NY 1927 was not Capa's last hurrah--contrary to what some people have stated. He went on to state that Capa continued to be in good form for many years afterwards.

He probably was indeed in good form after losing his title. But his days of being almost unbeatable were definitely over by that point.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Howard> You're right that Capablanca did well in tournaments from 1928 to 1931. He didn't play in 1932 and 1933. From 1934 on, he did pretty badly, although he finished first in the very strong Moscow 1936 and Nottingham 1936 tournaments.
Jul-16-18  Howard: Capa did "pretty badly" starting in 1934 ?!

Granted, he only finished 4th in a couple tournaments in '34---that's indisputable. But from that point on, he never finished lower than 3rd until, of course, his notorious performance at AVRO.

This may be a picky point, but I'd say he did mediocre, not "pretty badly". Plus, let's concede the point that in 1934, he was 46---definitely over-the-hill as far as chess ability would be concerned.

Incidentally, at Moscow 1935, he did rather well considering the tough caliber of the tournament. Granted, his much-older rival, Lasker, did a tad better, though.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Howard> OK, I'll give you "mediocre." But Capablanca's results in his 40s didn't hold a candle to Lasker's results in his 40s and 50s (e.g. first at St. Petersburg 1914 at age 45, ahead of Capablanca; first at New York 1924 at age 55 with an 80% score, 1.5 points ahead of Capablanca; second at Moscow 1925 at age 56, ahead of Capablanca. And yes, Lasker's astonishing undefeated third-place finish, just half a point behind the joint winners Botvinnik and Flohr, in the grueling 19-round Moscow 1935 at age 66!!, of course ahead of Capablanca, whom he beat in their individual game. Lasker was 20 years older than Capablanca! Chessmetrics rates Lasker No. 1 in the world as late as December 1926 - the month he celebrated his 58th birthday! Capablanca was a great player, but Lasker was far greater.
Jul-18-18  TheFocus: Lasker was the greatest player of all time to me.

I have been studying his career for a long time now, and am continually impressed with his play, his depth, his knowledge.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <TheFocus> Where's that "Like" button when you need it?
Premium Chessgames Member
  mreppert: In Kasparov's book, MGP IV, he says 24...f6 does not work because of 25 e4 dxe4 26 Qxe4. But why not 25 Nc7. I don't see a clear way for white to proceed. Help me out here!
Jan-18-20  Retireborn: <mreppert> 24...f6 25.e4 Nc7 26.Nxd5 Nxd5 27.Qxc4 Rc8 28.Qa2 & 29.exd5 should win.
Jun-05-23  Saul Goodman: On the issue of Casablanca’s supposed “decline,” it should be noted that, according to Jeff Sonas’ research, Capablanca returned to number 1 in the world in May, 1937, and stayed there for several months.
Jun-05-23  Sally Simpson: <'Capablanca returned to number 1 in the world in May, 1937, and stayed there for several months.>

That was May, June and July 1937.

The Jeff Sonas research fails in this respect (IMO) because Capablanca played in only one tournament in 1937 (held in September) Semmering/Baden (1937) winning 2 games, losing 1 and drawing 11.

Capablanca got the number one spot for three months not on merit but by not playing. His number one spot for three months in 1937 was due to his more active contemplates having a dip in form rather than anything Capablanca did. Which in May, June and July 1937 was nothing.

Jun-08-23  Albion 1959: Reshevsky said in his book - Great Chess Upsets, that twice Capablanca offered a draw and twice he turned him down. He was determined to beat Capablanca, even at the risk of losing !
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