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Vera Menchik vs Jose Raul Capablanca
Hastings (1930/31), Hastings ENG, rd 9, Jan-07
Indian Game: Capablanca Variation (A47)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-28-04  Lawrence: eval -10.30 (Junior 8)
Oct-24-04  aw1988: <Lawrence> No kidding! Black has all the key squares. It should be much more than 10.30, in fact.
May-12-05  fgh: Maybe #32 is more exact..
Sep-19-05  Averageguy: This is probably the most beautiful Bishop Endgame I ever ever had the good fortune to witness. The 36...f5!! move is one of my favourites: White is in zugzwang, as 37.Bb8 allows the pretty 37...Bc5#, 37.exf6 loses a pawn to the bishop skewer 37...Bxf6+ and 37.Ke3 allows black to exchange into a Pawn Endgame a pawn up with 37...Bc5+. This is one of my favourite capa games, the other is probably his game with Tarkatower.
Sep-19-05  RookFile: I have no doubt that 36... f5 wins,
but isn't 36.... Bd8 the same
Sep-19-05  Averageguy: <RookFile>36...Bd8 allows 37.Bc5. Black could still force a pawn endgame with 37...Bb6, but after 38.Bxb6 Kxb6 it is different from the variation 36...f5 37.Ke3 Bc5+ 38.Bxe5 Kxe5 in that in the given variation, the f-pawn has already advanced, the white king has been forced to retreat and blacks king is centralised on c5. In the first variation blacks king is further back and whites king is well posted, and hard to drive away. White even maybe able to hold a draw in this line. Bear in mind that this is not the analysis of a computer, it is all my own and thus may have flaws.
Sep-19-05  RookFile: I think this brings up an impressive
aspect of 31... a6, by Capablanca.
I'm sure he wanted to also leave open
this possibility. Namely, after
36... Bd8 37. Bc5 Bb6 38. Bxb6 Kxb6
39. f4 Capa can play 39... Ka5 and
run over and eat the a pawn. There isn't really a whole lot white can do about that, except play her king up to b6, which loses instantaneously to ....b4!, or play 39. a4 Ka5 40. axb5 Kxb5, which resembles the game. And, of course, such operations on the rook file are near and dear to my heart.
Sep-20-05  Averageguy: <RookFile> A fair point. I think we can agree that they both win, but IMO 36...f5 is certainly much nicer.
Nov-19-07  Knight13: Too many subleties that an amateur won't see.
Nov-19-07  Kaspablanca: Capablanca and Alekhine were if i`m not wrong the only two strong male players of that time that didnt lose a game to Menchik
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Kaspablanca>
I'm not sure. For example, I'm not aware of any Menchik win over Nimzowitsch.
Dec-20-07  amuralid: Youtube video starting from Black's 30th move:
Dec-10-08  Karpova: Irving Chernev: <“Don’t simplify against Capablanca!”, I keep telling them at the office.>

From page 169 of Chernev's "Capablanca’s Best Chess Endings". Found in Edward Winter's feature article "Capablanca Goes Algebraic" from 1997:

(I don't know which game Chernev referred to but the quote is quite fitting.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  sleepyirv: <Karpova> This game would seem to be the ultimate proof for Chernev's assertion. Menchik's main goal appears to be to simplify early by breaking all the rules of the opening. A better player might be able to explain moves 7, 8, 10, and 11 because I certainly don't understand them.
Jul-25-09  Karpova: Most often it seems to be forgotten easily but one of the most important aspects of chess is not to "find moves" but to assess the position correctly. There should be a clearer differentiation between those two aspects though they are closely related. In this case, Capablanca assessed the resulting position much better than his opponent (and this was quite often the case and probably the reason why he didn't fear trading down). Menchik saw that the trades would result in a simplified position where she wasn't down in material and probably drawn.

The position after 20.h6

click for larger view

doesn't look too bad for White with rooks and queens being traded also (so the d-file is of no use to Black). But Capablanca looked further and correctly assessed the weak white queenside pawn formation. Now, after all the trades White was hoping for she enters a lost ending.

That's Capablanca's magic: You enter a path that seems to be perfectly fine and the Cuban cooperates. But the longer you follow the path the more you realize that it was the wrong one but it's already too late...

Dec-22-09  jerseybob: Swapping the knight on moves 7 & 8 was bad enough but 10.Bb5? takes the cake. 10.f3 or maybe e4 right away were certainly better.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Interesting bishop ending, since Black's bishop doesn't do anything. It just sits on e7 for over 30 moves until it's time to be traded off.

Reminds me os Schlechter's rook in this game: Schlechter vs A Kaufmann, 1916

Dec-23-09  jerseybob: Phony: Just because a piece doesn't move doesn't mean it's doing nothing. It's guarding its area and that's plenty.
Jul-29-12  Ghuzultyy: One does not simply exchange all pieces and get a draw against Capablanca.

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