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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Ossip Bernstein
"Idle Ossip" (game of the day Apr-29-2007)
St. Petersburg (1914), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 7, Apr-30
Queen's Gambit Declined: Barmen Variation (D37)  ·  1-0

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-29-07  notyetagm: <Peligroso Patzer: When I saw that today's GotD was Capablanca vs. Bernstein from 1914, I automatically thought of this famous game with the brilliant tactic on move 29: O Bernstein vs Capablanca, 1914.>

Gee, that's what I thought, too. :-)

But this is still a simply brilliant game by Capablanca.

Apr-29-07  Themofro: <Plato> Obvious? Somewhat, granted. However, still doesn't take away from the acheivement. In memory serves, then Fred Reinfeld gives it two exclams btw.
Apr-29-07  acirce: If such a move deserves exclamation marks it's only because of its aesthetical value. There is certainly nothing that signifies "genius" about such a simple tactics. Should be able to separate those two.
Apr-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: No doubt that's right. But Capablanca's ...Qb2 reminds me of this old classic:

J Mason vs Winawer, 1882

After 39 moves, this is the position:


click for larger view

Mason continued 40. Rxg5! hg 41. Qh7+ Nd7 42. Bxd7 Qg8 43. Rb7+!! Kxb7 44. Bc8+!! Ka8 45. Qxg8, and White won.

It's a six-move combination with very few branches. Fritz 8 finds it very quickly, so you could say the double exclamations for 43rd and 44th moves are for aesthetics. But for a human to visualize those moves is almost impossible. Capablanca's combination is even simpler--the variations are all two moves long. But you have to see it! And Bernstein, a very strong player, did not.

I think computers lead us to under-value some of these short combinations.

Apr-29-07  Plato: In the case of the Capablanca combination, I do appreciate its aesthetic value but the back-rank theme is extremely well-known (and that was the case in 1914, too). I think most 2200+ players would spot a move like 29...Qb2 in a blitz game in a matter of seconds, so it appears to me that two exclamation marks are overkill for such a simple tactic. There *are* short combinations that I feel deserve "!!" for their originality, making them very difficult to spot in the first place, but 29...Qb2 is not one of them.

It's largely subjective, though.

Apr-29-07  Chess Classics: The pun is very accurate, given Ossip's play here...

Regards,
CC

Apr-30-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A good game with a comical king chase and then a very sharp finish. Capa wins again-Chess's version of Jeff Gordon.

As a whimsy,check out the name Ossip backwards-now stop the snickering.

Apr-30-07  acirce: <No doubt that's right.> <But you have to see it! And Bernstein, a very strong player, did not. I think computers lead us to under-value some of these short combinations.>

Now I'm not sure if you agree with me or not. And Mason-Winawer is much harder to see - it's not very relevant how quickly Fritz finds it. So I don't know if I agree with your point about computers this time. Pretty much every time I visit my club I see players around 2000-2200 find deeper tactics than ..Qb2 in blitz.

Sometimes computers have even got the opposite effect. Nowadays you hear the knee-jerk "you just say that's easy because you can use Fritz" so often that suddenly the best players in the world apparently aren't supposed to find simple combinations on their own.

Apr-30-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <acirce> On further reflection, my previous post was stupid.

<And Mason-Winawer is much harder to see - it's not very relevant how quickly Fritz finds it. So I don't know if I agree with your point about computers this time. Pretty much every time I visit my club I see players around 2000-2200 find deeper tactics than ..Qb2 in blitz.>

Right. At least I posted Mason-Winawer.

Apr-30-07  ganstaman: I hate you all. Do you know how long I spent looking at this game trying to find Capa playing his Q to b2? I thought maybe it was just a sideline or something.

For the other reading-comprehension-impaired people out there, it's in reference to the game <Peligroso Patzer> links to above.

Apr-30-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: Bernstein was actually a very strong player who should not be judge solely because he brought out the very best in Capa in three famous games.

The other game with ... Qb2! was remarkable not only for that combination (foreseen well in advance) but also for its strategy of playing with the hanging pawns, i.e. playing ... c4 despite the blockade with Nd4. Capa noted that this would shield the backward d-pawn from frontal assault. Nunn et al. note that later games M Bertok vs Fischer, 1962 and Timman vs Short, 1993 were largely modelled on O Bernstein vs Capablanca, 1914

Jan-05-08  Ulhumbrus: On 16...Bxb4 Edward Lasker gives 17 Nd4 and 18 Nd5 while Capablanca gives 17 Nd5 at once. Bernstein was indeed a first rank player, strong even when old, as in the game O Bernstein vs Najdorf, 1954 played when Bernstein was seventy-one or seventy-two years of age.
Nov-03-09  WhiteRook48: I don't see a 28...Qb2
Nov-29-09  MaczynskiPratten: <WhiteRook48> <I don't see a 29...Qb2>; it's because the kibitzers are referring to this other well-known game O Bernstein vs Capablanca, 1914. Rather confusing to have the two threads mixed!
Jan-31-10  KingG: <If such a move deserves exclamation marks it's only because of its aesthetical value. There is certainly nothing that signifies "genius" about such a simple tactics. Should be able to separate those two.> I agree with <acirce>, however no less of a player than Botvinnik called it a stroke of genius. Probably because it needed to be seen in advance. The move itself is rather simple.
Apr-09-11  Lil Swine: a few desperados at the end. loser moves, they sort of ruin the brilliancy.
Feb-28-14  LIFE Master AJ: One of Capablanca's best games over one of the better defensive players of all time.
Feb-28-14  LIFE Master AJ: Aron Nimzowitsch once said the following players were the six best defensive players of all time.

#1.) Wilhelm Steinitz

#2.) Louis Paulsen

#3.) Emanuel Lasker

#4.) Amos Burn

#5.) Oldrich Duras

#6.) Ossip Bernstein

To this list, I would definite have to add Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian and maybe even Kramnik.

Aug-21-14  john barleycorn: This game won the first brilliancy prize at St. Petersburg 1914.

Tarrasch in his comments gives:
(my translation)
<19.Rxc6 wins more easily. black has just 0-0. White will check with Qd5, drives the Ng4 out with h3 and takes it with the Rc6 and collects the rook on a8.>

Oct-31-14  kia0708: sensual harassment of the King :-)
Feb-12-17  edubueno: Capa brilla nuevamente contra Bernstein. Parece que hay un antiguo sentimiento que viene de un desprecio de Nimzowitsch y Bernstein en San Sebastián 1911.
Mar-09-18  amin79: It was fantastic and more beautiful if 32. f3
Mar-09-18  RookFile: Among great defensive players, you would have to put Capa and Lasker at the top of the list. There are other names of course.
Mar-09-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <amin79: It was fantastic and more beautiful if 32. f3>

The f-pawn cannot move as it is pinned.

Apr-25-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Plakkiecake: 10. ... e5? just invited Capablanca to unleash his attacking skills right from the start!
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