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Juan Corzo vs Jose Raul Capablanca
Capablanca - Corzo (1901), Havana CUB, rd 2, Nov-19
Italian Game: Evans Gambit. Waller Attack (C52)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-06-04  InspiredByMorphy: This is a beautiflly played gamed by Corzo!
Mar-06-04  Catholic Bishop: Capa: "Where's Kramnik when u neet him!"
Mar-27-04  ArturoRivera: I think this game is one of my favorites that were played by corzo. capablanca: this kind of games serve the purpose of reminding you when you became a champion (after beating lasker) that you were somehow actually human...
Dec-15-04  DanielBryant: <Arturo>

That's a rather bold statement by Capa, but I suppose he earned the right to say it...

Aug-27-05  LeSwamp: A)9.e5!? : 9.cxd4 Bb6 10.Bb5 could be better than the text move.

B)10.Ba3!?/?! : I would prefer 10.Re1 Bb6! 11.Ba3 Qf6 12.Nxe5 Nxe5 13.Bxf7+! Kd8 (only move) 14.Qd5+! Bd7 (only move, as 14...Nd7?? 15.Re8#) 15.Rxe5 Kc8 (only move to pary the threat Re8#!) 16.Be8 Qd8 17.Bxd7+ followed by the trade of the queens with a good game. Also, 10.Bd5!? looks interesting.

C)11...Bb6?! : The general principle which recommends to avoid moving twice the same piece in the opening applies here. 11...Nge7 12.Ne4! Qf4! 13.cxd4 (13.Bxe7 Nxe7 14.cxd4 0-0! 15.Neg5 Nc6 Black's advantage) exd4! 14.Bxe7 (14.Neg5 0-0! 15.Bxe7 (or 15.Bxf7+ Rxf7 16.Bxe7 Nxe7! 17.Ne5 c6! with the idea of Nd5 with a clear advantage for Black) Nxe7 16.Nxf7 (16.Bxf7+ Kh8 to White's advantage) Rxf7! 17.Qb5 Nc6 18.Ng5 a6 19.Qd5 Qf5! 20.Qxf7+ (20.Nxf7 Qxd5 21.Bxd5 Ne7 with the idea Kf8 and 2 pawns ahead) Qxf7 with idea Kf8 and a clear advantage to Black) Nxe7 15.Qa4+ Nc6! 16.Nxd4! 0-0! 17.Nxc6 (only move) bxc6 18.Qxa5 Qxe4 with a small advantage for Black (two pawns ahead, but they are doubled).

D)12...Nge7? 13.Ne4 (only move) - Corzo ha a clear advantage now : Now that is a mistake! Capablanca had to play 12...Be6! 13.cxd4 (13.Bxe6 Qxe6= (taking back with the pawn is also worthy of consideration) ; 13.Ne4 Qf5 with idea of 0-0-0=) 0-0-0! 14.dxe5 Qg6=

E)13...Qg6? 14.Bxe7! Kxe7 15.Neg5! an incredibly powerful move which wins against all Black's defenses! Clearly not 13...Qf5?? 14.Ng3! Qf6 15.Nh5! Qg6 (only move) 16.Nxe5! Nxe5 17.Rxe5 winning, but 13...Qf4! 14.Neg5! 0-0 (at last!) 15.Bxe7! Nxe7 16.Nxf7! Nc6! 17.N7xe5 disc.+ Kh8 18.Nf7+! Kg8 19.Bd5! Qf6! with an impressive advantage for White, but Black is still holding.

F)16...Nb4?? Realizing that he is losing his Queen (e.g. 16...Ke8 17.cxd4! and Bf7+), Capablanca apparently panicked. Apparently, the best play was 16...Kd7! 17.cxd4! Bxd4! 18.Be6+! Ke8 19.Bf7+ Qxf7 20.Nxf7 Kxf7 with a long and difficult agony... unless Corzo would go wrong.

G)20.g3?! Superior was 20.Nh4! Qg4 21.cxd4! Qxh4 22.Nxh8 (threatening to win the Black Queen by Ng6+) Rxh8 23.gxh3! Qxd4 24.Bg8! winning.

H)22...Qf7? 22...d3 to restreint the white bishop.

I)23.Nxe5? Too eager to sacrifice! 23.Bc4! Qe8 (23...Qh5 24.cxd4! cxd4 25.Nxd4! Kd8 (25...Bxd4? 26.Qxb7+ etc.) 26.Nb5! ; 23...Qg6?! 24.cxd4! cxd4 25.Nh4! Qe8 26.Bb5 with idea of Qa3+ winning easily) 24.Nxe5 fxe5 25.Rxe5+ Kd6 26.Rxe8 Rxe8 27.Bd5 clearly winning.

J)23...fxe5. Capablanca missed 23...Qxb3! 24.Ng6 double+ (or 24.Nc4 disc.+ Kd7 with the idea dxc3 and White win is not so clear) Kd6 25.axb3 Rd8 and White has some work to do to pocket the win.

K)25...Qc7?! 25.Qd7 was better.

L)26...cxd4?! 26...g6 to free g7 for the king. After 26...cxd4?! 27.Qf3+ Qf7 28.Qxf7#

Nov-21-05  midknightblue: yes, beautiful Evans gambit game above between corzo and capablanca. It transposes into some lines that I have been studying... e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Ba4 6. Qb3 Qe7 7. d4 exd4 8. 0-0 d6 finally we have transposed to the position [8...Bb6 9cxd4 cxd4 10. Nxd4 Nxd4 11. Qg3 Nf6 (11...Nc2)(11...b5)] 9. e5! dxe5 10 Ba3 Qf6 (exact same position also reached in Fischer Janushkovsky )11. Nbd2 (cxd4 is another option) Bb6. Some interesting lines. Initially i was unclear about why Capablanca couldnt play 18 fxg5, but obviously 19 Nxe5 and the discovered check will be too powerful. white is crushing
Mar-08-10  SharpAttack: What many of the kibitzers here have conveniently forgotten is the fact that Capa was a 13 year old boy when this tournament..If Corzo would have played the adult Capablanca..I wouldn't be surprised if he was crushed royally!
Mar-08-10  TheFocus: <SharpAttack> Well, they did play also as adults and Capablanca came out the winner in both games at Havana 1913. But, be that as it may, overall Corzo had a plus score against Capablanca: 1901 +2=0-0 Exhibition match
1901 +3=6-4 Match
1902 +2=0-0 Cuba Chaampionship
1913 +0=0-2 Havana 1913

Corzo +7=6-6 This does not include two exhibition games in 1909 that were also drawn.

Mar-08-10  SharpAttack: <TheFocus> You do have a point but IMO if Corzo played more games with Capablanca in or after 1913, the score would have been very different! I think Capablanca might have simply outplayed Corzo! I do not doubt Corzo's brilliance in any way.
Mar-09-10  TheFocus: <SA> Absolutely right. Corzo was never more than the strength of an Expert, never at the strength of a Master. He would have been another punching bag for the adult Capablanca.

In the two exhibition games in 1909, I believe that the opening was pre-arranged, Capa had Black in both games, and a weak variation was played. I believe it was just to test out the opening, and I do not really consider them as "serious" games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Corzo played Capa in 1931, 1938, 1940. Beating Capa in one game, and drawing the other two. That's one strong expert.
Feb-06-12  Sho: 22. White to play. ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  senojes: This game was played on Capablanca's 13th birthday! According to Houdini Capablanca was doing fine against his 28 year-old Cuban champion opponent Juan Corzo, as Black in the tricky Evans' Gambit, when the inexperienced Capablanca played the natural but bad 12... Nge7 which was effectively the losing move [1.23]. Better was 12... Be6 with advantage to Black [-0.11].

Winning this second game left Corzo 2 games up in this first to 4 wins match. But after this game, Capablanca won game #4 (black), game #8 (black), game #9 (white) and game #11 (white), without losing another game from games #3 - #11, so winning the match. But it is incorrect to say that after this second game, Capablanca never lost another game in the match. They then played 2 more `dead rubber' games, drawing the 12th and Corzo won the 13th and last game.

I disagree that Corzo was just a `punching bag' for the adult Capablanca. Cuba was then a strong chess-playing nation and Corzo was its champion five times (in 1898, 1902, 1907, 1912, and 1918). After this match, Corzo won the 1902 Cuban Championship, beating Capablanca in both games. In the Havana 1913 tournament, although Corzo finished last in a strong field, losing to Capablanca twice, he drew one game with Marshall and Janowski, who were GM strength, and beat Jaffe, a top USA player. So Corzo must have been at least IM strength.

Also it should not be overlooked the important role that Corzo played in Capablanca's chess development. Far from being bitter at being beaten by a 13 year-old, Corzo unselfishly nurtured the young Capablanca and became his greatest Cuban fan, editing the chess magazine, "Capablanca".

Premium Chessgames Member
J Corzo vs Capablanca, 1901.
Your score: 51 (par = 41)
I find the Evans Gambit, despite its charm, stressful for White. I feel that I can barely maintain the attack, which is probably fundamentally unsound, and I would venture it only against weak opponents like Capablanca. rybka indicates that Black held a small ( half pawn ) advantage until approximately 13...Qg6. It would take deep machine analysis, probably beyond human, to find Black's decisive mistake. Although I scored well, most of my guessed moves differed from Corzo's but received 2 or 3 points anyway. Test your stress level as White in this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Diocletian: WE ARE NOW FOLLOWING J Corzo vs Capablanca, 1901.
Your score: 51 (par = 41)>

You make it sound like it's one of those books where you go backwards and forwards through the pages after making decisions.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OrangeTulip: Should be forbidden, playing the Evans Gambit against little kids
Aug-12-21  N.O.F. NAJDORF: I thought maybe black could have saved himself by playing 27 ... g6,

but after 28 Qd3, followed by 29 Qe4, black's position seems hopeless.

Mar-25-22  Stolzenberg: The young and inexperienced Capablanca probably underestimated the coming storm, otherwise he would have preferred 11. ... Nge7.
Dec-14-22  N.O.F. NAJDORF: <LeSwamp:

Realizing that he is losing his Queen (e.g. 16...Ke8 17.cxd4! and Bf7+), Capablanca apparently panicked.>

What would have been wrong with:

16...Ke8 17. cxd4 Nxd4 18. Bf7+ Qxf7 19. Nxf7 Kxf7

when black has two pieces and three pawns for a queen? Or even

16...Ke8 17. cxd4 Rf8

when black is still two paws up?

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