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Juan Corzo vs Jose Raul Capablanca
"Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?" (game of the day Dec-13-2007)
Capablanca - Corzo (1901), Havana CUB, rd 8, Dec-06
Vienna Game: Vienna Gambit. Hamppe-Allgaier-Thorold Gambit (C25)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-28-11  TheFocus: Prior to the match with Juan Corzo, Capablanca played a match series against the strongest players in Cuba. His times were impressive in them also. From <The Unknown Capablanca>.

1 Capablanca – Delmonte (0:08 – 0:31)
2 Paredes – Capablanca (0:40 – 0:12)
3 Capablanca – Corzo, E. (0:10 – 0:45)
4 Capablanca – Fiol (0:20 – 0:25)
5 Corzo, J. – Capablanca (0:50 – 0:25)
6 Gavilan – Capablanca (0:20 – 0:12)
7 Ettlinger – Capablanca (1:42 – 0:26)
8 Capablanca – Marceau (0:12 – 0:40)
9 Sterling – Capablanca (1:05 – 0:16)
10 Capablanca – Blanco, J. (0:15 – 0:45)
11 Delmonte – Capablanca (1:15 – 0:20)
12 Capablanca – Paredes (0:12 – 0:30)
13 Corzo, E. – Capablanca (0:52 – 0:20)
14 Capablanca – Corzo, J. No times given.
15 Fiol – Capablanca (0:18 – 0:12)
16 Capablanca – Gavilan No times given.
17 Capablanca – Sterling (0:09 – 0:20)
18 Blanco, J. – Capablanca (1:20 – 0:38)

Dec-28-11  AlphaMale: <The times are from <The Unknown Capablanca> by Hooper & Brandreth. Originally from British Chess Magazine.>

Originally from <El Diario de la Marina>:

Given that 13...Qb6 was a prepared novelty and the tactical sequence that follows is entirely logical, I think it could be safely vouched that Capa needed to do practically no thinking at the board beyond checking his variations. As can be seen from the game times in the other Corzo match games and others from this period, Capa was an extremely rapid player which undoubtedly accounts for many of the mistakes that litter them.

Dec-28-11  TheFocus: <AlphaMale> <Originally from <El Diario de la Marina>:>

I believe that you would be correct. I am sure that BCM lists the original source, but I did not put it in my database and I don't have my library at hand.

Dec-28-11  TheFocus: Regarding the match series, another source would be:

<He seems to play by instinct…While his opponents take five or ten minutes over a move, Capablanca plays instantaneously, and his moves are to be counted not in minutes but in seconds – El Figaro, October 6, 1901.>

Dec-28-11  TheFocus: Capablanca first mentioned in British Chess Magazine:

<We much regret that we were misled by a paragraph in some contemporary magazine or chess column as to the present condition of the Havana Club, which led to our statement that it is now a small one; that is all we said. The editor of Ambos Mundos, however, controverts this, and reproaches us with representing the club as an insignificant one, which we did not say. It is natural to believe that the loss of three of its most prominent players, as well as the late Cuban war, would have an effect on the club in lessening its members; but we are very glad to find that this is not the case, and that in Senores Ponce, Paredes, Gavilan, Delmonte, Fiol, and the brothers Corzo, not to speak of the boy prodigy Capablanca, the club possesses still so many matadors of the first rank – British Chess Magazine, November 1901, pg 448 – 449.>

Mar-10-12  Beancounter: My favourite Capablanca game. The clarity, accuracy and force displayed by the 11 year old is simply staggering.
Sep-04-12  LoveThatJoker: What a tremendous game from the budding 3rd WC!

I wonder what kind of impression this game made on WC Petrosian the first time he saw it.


Dec-13-12  Wyatt Gwyon: 5 minutes of clock time. Just insane.
Premium Chessgames Member
  senojes: As a Capablanca admirer (I consider him to be the greatest chess player ever), nevertheless I feel I should point out:

1) Capablanca was not 12 when this game was played but he had just turned 13 (born 19 Nov 1888, game played 6 Dec 1901);

2) As Capablanca wrote in his "My Chess Career," much of the game was a prepared variation by him:

"We had played this variation in a previous game, and Corzo had answered B-K2 [10.Be2] to this check [9...Qe7+]. The game ended in a draw, but I should have won. Corzo analyzed the position and told someone that he should have played K-B2 [10.Kf2]. When I heard this I analyzed the situation myself and decided to play it again, as I thought that Black should win with the continuation which I put in practice in this game."

However, having said that, I consider it likely that even if Capablanca had not prepared this line at home, when the position arose again over the board he would have played his improvement: 9...Qe7+, 10.Kf2 g3+, 11.Kg1 Nxd4!, 12.Qxd4 Qc5; 13.Ne2 Qb6!

And given Capablanca's normal speed of play, he probably wouldn't have taken much longer than 5 minutes, given that once he embarked on the game continuation, most of the moves would have been obvious to him (Corzo himself only spent 40 minutes on the game).

Stephen E. Jones
Western Australia

Jan-08-13  notyetagm: J Corzo vs Capablanca, 1901

click for larger view

19 ... ♘g8-f6 <interpose: b2-h8@f6+f7>

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Jan-08-13  notyetagm: J Corzo vs Capablanca, 1901

Game Collection: INTERPOSE! INTERPOSE! INTERPOSE! INTERPOSE! 19 .. Ng8-f6 meets threat of Bc1-b2 skewer by shielding h8-rook

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: So far I can still beat all the fifth graders in the dojo chess club. So far...
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Capablanca's 13th game at <>. A cuban prime.
Mar-05-14  shepi13: No one has mentioned that 14. b4! Bxb4 15. Be3! fxe3 16. Qxh8 Bf8! 17. Qe5 Bd6! still gives black an enormous initiative for the exchange, and he is probably still winning, but I will agree that this was white's best chance.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <shepi13> Not true-this has noted by several posters on this page, going back to 2005.
Mar-05-14  visayanbraindoctor: <Wyatt Gwyon: 5 minutes of clock time. Just insane.>

<King Death: I doubt that I could come up with this in 5 hours. 5 minutes? Un frigging believable.>

This game never fails to astonish me everytime I play through it. If it had not been documented I would never believe a 12 to 13 year old had completed it in 5 minutes. Even if his name is Capablanca and he had prepped the opening.

<TheFocus: <visayanbraindoctor> Here are the times for all the games in the Capablanca - Corzo match.

The times are from <The Unknown Capablanca> by Hooper & Brandreth. Originally from British Chess Magazine.

1 Capablanca – Corzo (0:40 – 0:20)
2 Corzo – Capablanca (0:17 – 0:17)
3 Capablanca – Corzo (0:38 – 1:15)
4 Corzo – Capablanca No times given.
5 Capablanca – Corzo (0:45 – 1:10)
6 Corzo – Capablanca (0:21 – 0:10)
7 Capablanca – Corzo (0:20 – 0:40)
8 Corzo – Capablanca (0:40 – 0:05)
9 Capablanca – Corzo (0:24 – 0:43)
10 Corzo – Capablanca (0:55 – 0:35)
11 Capablanca – Corzo (0:42 – 1:35)
12 Corzo – Capablanca (1:02 – 0:19)
13 Capablanca – Corzo (0:28 – 0:40)>

Note game 11 above. Capablanca vs J Corzo, 1901

This 12 to 13 year old played a kind of game that even a super GM would be proud of; and more than that he sacked his Queen in a complicated middlegame and proceeded to play a freakishly precise 60 move ending, all in a freakishly unbelievable 42 minutes. That's less than a minute per move. How can any one play that well that fast? And this a mere kid?

Capablanca would be an unbeatable beast in the World Cup tiebreak quick games and the World Blitz championships.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <visayan> There was always Alekhine's testimony, a man who could play a little himself:

Jose Raul Capablanca

< "His real, incomparable gifts first began to make themselves known at the time of St. Petersburg, 1914, when I too came to know him personally. Neither before or afterwards have I seen, nor can I imagine as well such a flabbergasting quickness of chess comprehension as that possessed by the Capablanca of that epoch.">

May-01-14  capabull: Hello everybody, obviously as the user name suggests, I'm a Capablanca fan. It actually came from capable. If one is CAPAble of producing good chess, ... Moreover, Redbull-gives you wings-Capabull (develop the hints). Well, one can't play like him. He was gifted. This game is an example, but one can take something from him. And thanks Watching his games is such a pleasure.
Apr-07-16  Helios727: In the final position, after 27. Kd1 g2 28. Rg1 Nxe5 29. Ke1 Nd3+ 30. Kd1, how does black make progress? If 30... Rf1+ then 31. Kd2.
Nov-17-16  residencial master: Pure luck of capablanca, and with him the pieces seemed to be in the right place at the right time
Aug-25-18  romancitog: Go Jose!
Feb-07-20  BartolomeuJoao: The game starts from move 5.h4:it is a Mistake.

Props to Capablanca he is the guy.

Apr-25-20  dannygjk: BartolomeuJoao: The game starts from move 5.h4:it is a Mistake. Props to Capablanca he is the guy.
5.h4 was a known knight sac it was played a lot in the old days. It was often successful against inexperienced players.
Mar-17-22  FM David H. Levin: <Helios727: In the final position, after 27. Kd1 g2 28. Rg1 Nxe5 29. Ke1 Nd3+ 30. Kd1, how does black make progress? If 30... Rf1+ then 31. Kd2.>

29...Rb2 is clearer than 29...Nd3+, because the former would permit the knight to reach f3.

May-19-23  Mathematicar: Excellent game by Black. There are just a few moves that weren't first moves recommended by the engine, which tells me that this youngster was already at master strenght. (Capa writes that in 1906, after few years of not playing, he was "the first among best" players in the famous Manhattan Chess Club.) It seems that this Club skyrocket his career. He died in the same Club in 1942. It is one of those things that make you wonder.
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