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Emanuel Lasker vs Jose Raul Capablanca
"Rage Against the Machine" (game of the day May-18-2014)
St. Petersburg (1914), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 7, May-18
Spanish Game: Exchange. Alekhine Variation (C68)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: <Poulsen> Lasker knew Capa from at least 1906, when Capa won a rapid chess tournament at the Manhattan CC ahead of the WCh himself.
May-20-14  john barleycorn: Capablanca who gave this game in his "Chess Fundamentals" did not mention psychology. In fact, he give lines where he could have played better and charges his loss too his weak play and at one point his ambition to win the game. Ever since Reti brought up the "psychological" aspect in Lasker's play it is repeated endlessly. Robert Hübner in an article would also claim that the saga of Lasker's psychological play is greatly exaggerated.
May-20-14  RedShield: Without psychology, chess writers would be faced with the taxing problem of having to write more about the game itself. If that fails, there's always the anecdotes.
May-20-14  Petrosianic: Writing about the game itself is easy. Just paste in a line out of Fritz or Crafty. Voila. Instant writing.
May-20-14  shallowred: There is no doubt that Lasker applied psychology... to himself! We all know the thoughts that go on in our head during a game. "I'm winning!" or "I'm done." I believe Lasker battled those conceptions as much as he fought his opponent OTB. I have been studying Lasker's annotations for the St. Petersburg 1909 tournament book for a couple of years. People say that Lasker was hard to learn from; but I am starting to believe that he told us everything we need to know.

After this game Lasker said: "thinking won out over feelings".

I think he was talking about himself.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Poulsen> Others may disagree, but I reckon your psychological reading of the game is accurate.
May-20-14  SimonWebbsTiger: shush Petrosianc...

<Writing about the game itself is easy. Just paste in a line out of Fritz or Crafty. Voila. Instant writing.>

You just told the World what AJ does for his web pages et al, ad naseum

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <poulsen>

<1. Lasker must have had virtually no knowledge of Capablanca before this tournament.>

Well, I would strongly disagree with that. Not only had he known him personally for nearly a decade, they'd engaged in failed negotiations for a title match (as a result, they were not on speaking terms when this game was played) and Lasker had annotated many of his games. Karpova has posted some of his writings about Capablanca. Generally world champions make it their business to know about their challengers.

<2. Before this famous game they had 2 hard fought draws. By this 3rd game Lasker knew, that Capa was a tough opponent - and that he had to be as carefull as ever. This would explain his use of a drawish opening.>

Lasker didn't play the EV all that often, but he had an unbelievable winning % with it. He'd beaten Steinitz, Tarrasch, Janowski, and Chigorin with it before this game. You're right, though, there's no way to describe the position after the queens came off as anything other than drawish.

<I find it hard to believe, that he could plan on using any psychological approach to his games against Capa.>

I agree with your conclusion, because I don't think he used a psychological approach in general.

<3. Lasker had much of his chess upbringing in cafes, where an error would mean no meal that day. This was - if any - his basic approach to the game in general - and certainly against strong opponents.>


Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Lasker was also familiar with his young rival from pre-war lightning events in New York, where Capa had no equal, as I recall.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: FSR is on the money here.

Take out the World Champiompship in which Lasker did not want to play and the score is 2-2.

Lasker resigned the title to Capa and only played it for financial reasons and because the Chess World wanted it. (if he won the match he intending giving the title back to Capablanca.)

And as for 'psychology'?

Lasker was an OTB problem setter - the best there was, backed with a sharp tactical brain and almost flawless end game technique.

This game was not the last round game.
After this game Tarrasch beat Capablanca. In the final round Capa was ½ point behind Lasker. In the last round Lasker beat Marshall, Capablanca beat Alekhine.

Tarrasch asked Lasker why he played the exchange variation, Lasker replied he could not find a good move for White when looking at a suggestion by Tarrasch in the 'Open Variation'.

Lasker was worried Capa might try it against him so he chopped on c6 to avoid the Open Variation of the Lopez.

Andrew Soltis - 'Why Lasker Matters' - an excellent book.

Andrew then adds this is possibly a 'smoke screen' Capa never played the Open Variation in his career.

And speaking of excellent books:

In the 'Unknown Capablana' by Hooper and Brandeth the note before game 17. Pavlov (and others) v Capablanca, Moscow 1914.

(It's not on here, cannot be jacked typing it out, have submitted a few corrections and additions - nothing has happened - given up.)

Capa was Black in an Exchange Lopez and Hooper and Brandeth state this game would have been known to Lasker and;

"...must have noted Black's uncertain play in the opening." (in that game Capa played 7...Bc5(?) and the game was drawn.

So out of the window goes all this guff about 'psychology' replace it with good old fashion pre-game preparation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Capa was Black in an Exchange Lopez and Hooper and Brandeth state this game would have been known to Lasker and;>

Very interesting, I did not know that.

Also, one more bit of backdrop: Capablanca later wrote that he should have sacrificed the exchange at some point with ...Rxe6. Probably he should have, but see Alekhine vs Lasker, 1914 from the previous round. Wouldn't make you eager to play an ending the exchange down against Lasker, would it?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Keypusher.

Here is the game I mentioned, not going to bother submitting it, it seems pointless.

Pavlov and Selesniev - Capablanca,
Consultation game, Moscow 1914.02.08

(I've added the exact date details to prove it was played before the St.Petersburg Congress.)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. d4 exd4 6. Qxd4 Qxd4 7. Nxd4 Bc5 8. Be3 Nf6 9. f3 O-O 10. Nd2 Re8 11. Kf2 Be6 12. Nxe6 Bxe3+ 13. Kxe3 Rxe6 14. Kf2 Ne8 15. Rhd1 Nd6 16. Nf1 Rae8 17. Re1 a5 18. Ne3 a4 19. c4 b5 20. Rac1 Rb8 21. cxb5 Rxb5 22. Re2 Kf8 23. Ke1 Rb6 24. Nc4 Ra6 25. e5 Nxc4 26. Rxc4 Ra5 27. f4 g5 28. g3 gxf4 29. gxf4 Ke7 30. Kf2 c5 31. Rec2 Rb6 32. Kf3 Ke6 33. Ke4 f5+ 34. exf6 Kxf6 35. f5 Rab5 36. Rxa4 Rxb2 37. Rac4 Rxc2 38. Rxc2 c6 39. Rxc5 Ra6 40. Rc4 Rxa2 41. Rxc6+ Kg5 1/2-1/2

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Sally S> -- Don't give up so easily. I understand that you've been frustrated by CG's failure to respond to previous corrections etc, but submitted games will eventually find their way to the database. In my experience, at any rate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Dom,

Not frustrated, disappointed, though I suppose they have to check these things (especially from me as I have a history of having a screw loose.)

But in terms of exact moves and who played what games and married players having two sets of DB's I'll play my part and do my bit. No nonsense from me there. The game is sacred. _______________________________________________


Do you want to know how the Giuoco Piano (the quiet game) got it's name?

(posted yesterday)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Sally> Heh, very nice. I played that Fegatello once, back in the 1970s. Never again. Haven't even played 1.e4 since then, in fact.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Dom.

"Haven't even played 1.e4 since then, in fact."


I had a brief flirtation with 1.d4 in the early 80's when the good players were trying to get me sorted out positionally and I although got on OK winning some nice games. (big Marshall fan who played 1.d4 so I had inkling of what to do.) Infact I can only recall losing one.

I went back to 1.e4 because 'It's best Test - Fischer sez.' and my f1 Bishop was moaning about that White pawn on c4.

(Now I play a delayed exchange on c6 in the Lopez and the f1 Bishop moans even more. I just cannot win.)

May-22-14  shallowred: <Sally... "I just cannot win.">

1st Law of Thermodynamics: You can't win.
but don't worry
2nd Law of Thermodynamics: You can't break even.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Thanks Shallowred,

Seems like I've been playing the 'Thermodynamic Opening' all my life.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: 37. N6c5!

Nice move...threatening consecutive forks. If black tries to save the rook, 38. Nxb7 Rxb7 39. Nd6+.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: 1st Law: You can't win.

2nd Law: You can't break even.

And don't forget the 3rd Law:

You can't quit the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Sally S.> -- < my f1 Bishop was moaning about that White pawn on c4. > Heh. My theory is that Bishops should learn to be patient -- even in the French, the c8 Bish eventually comes into its own.

BTW, I haven't played either 1.d4 *or* 1.e4 for years ... just 1.Nf3 and 1.c4, and occasional abominations like 1.e3. Fischer may have said 1.e4 was best by test - I say if it's good on the 1st move then it's even better on the 25th.

May-22-14  SirChrislov: From the <Sally S> link:

One day Giuoco sprang his opening on Bernardo and won a brilliant game “That was quite a game.” said Bernardo and so the name ‘The Quiet Game’ stuck.

Ha! Soooo untrue but very very funny. I much doubt they spoke to each other in English while playing chess. But if the story were true, then for centuries we've called the opening the wrong name. It's the "Bel Gioco".

che era un bel gioco=that was quite a game.

I'm calling it that from now on. Behold! I am SirChrislov! The chess opening name decider!

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: I have a simple solution to the decline of originality in chess:

Give the queen ability to move like a knight, in addition to her ability to move as all the other pieces do.

I always wondered why the queen couldn't move like knights can move.

Jun-02-14  Poulsen: <keypusher><Well, I would strongly disagree with that. Not only had he known him personally for nearly a decade, they'd engaged in failed negotiations for a title match (as a result, they were not on speaking terms when this game was played) and Lasker had annotated many of his games>

Thank you for pointing this out - something I overlooked. I also overlooked, that they already had meet before - in the 1906 rapid tournament.

So Lasker must have known quite a bit about Capablanca by their meeting. After all Capablanca was a guy, who was bound to make a lasting impression on anyone that meet him. Just like the present WCh he was a star long before actually becoming WCh.

Never the less I still do not think, that Lasker would be in a position to play psychological against Capa.

Jul-29-14  SpiritedReposte: The game looks cramped and stalemated with both sides unsure of what to do until the seemingly impossible 35. e5! decodes the position and black crumbles!
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