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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 1 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-21-03  sangfroid: 16. b4! Ba7 17. Bxb5!! A bishop for 3 pawns, leaving him with 2 pass pawns, and a very deadly attack. 2 moves of mastery.
Jun-21-03  sangfroid: 16. b4 is kind of questionable. Is it sound?

16. b4 Bxb4 17. Nd5 Qd6 (Qa5 18. Rxc6 and now white threatens Nc7+, and has grabed the attack) 18. Nxb4 (There is no other safe place for his knight) Qxb4 19. Rxc6 Bb7 20. Rc2 Bxe4 (Wait! I overlooked 20. Re6+ Kf7 21. Ng5+ Kf8 )

grabing a decent attack... Yeah, hmmm I think b4 is a good move. But there has to be something I'm overlooking. Else where did black go wrong? or was it poor placing of it's queen on c7? When I first saw it I thought it was an ugly move, I mean, I never like to pin my queen behine pieces, that just spells desaster, when your playing someone as strong as Capablanca. I love how he places his rook on the c file and exlpoits the indirect pin of black's queen even with 3 peices sitting in front of it. It surely wouldn't have been the first move I would've seen, but it surely makes me want to not think as loosely when it comes to files and diagonals. This game will make me analyze my posistion more differently, more accuratly and hopefully more strongly.

Jun-22-03  drukenknight: is there anything wrong w/ 16...Ne3?

if black is behind in material he needs to find a way to attack the K.

Jun-22-03  sangfroid: I dont think that would've been a bad move, black does lose material, but not by much, a Rook and a pawn for a Knight and a Bishop. But it also prevents Capablanca from doing his deadly little combo attacking the queen, this is what I came up with.

16. b4 Ne3 17. fxe3 Bxe3+ 18. Bf2 (or Kh8<-- i think this is the better move, and allow the bishop to apply the pressure on his e pawn) Bxc1 19. Qxc1 Bb7 (so if Nd5, black can place his queen is a safe spot, with out loosing the c-pawn)

Then his combo would be worthless with the absense of the control of the d-file to place his knight after Nxb5... for example

20. Bxb5?? axb5 21. Nxb5 Qb8, And now he must retreat his knight

So yeah, I think 16... Ne3 would've been a stronger move, and I totally overlooked that move. White still has the better of it afterwards, but It saves black from that nasty combo...

Jun-22-03  drukenknight: okay let's see, I dont think that black loses material on that deal. He will break up the e and f pawns, so I count that as two pts. R makes it, 7 pts. Two minors were 6, so 6 vs 7. He was done by one pt. so now I think it's pretty even.

Okay so then on move 19 maybe Bb7 or maybe just 00. I thought he should have castled earlier.

Jun-22-03  sangfroid: yeah, 19... Bb7 would be better than 0-0

19. Qxc1 0-0? 20. Nd5 Qb7(any thing else then simply Rxc6, with a stronly posted knight and attack, and if Qd8 or Qb8 white will have a change to threaten forking his king and queen after Ne7+, if he decides Kf7) 21. Ne7+ (it really starts getting difficult here, since I don't have a board or fritz to refer to) 22. Nf5 with a nicley posted knight.

22 ... g6 Qh6! which is an indirect way of preventing black for tring to push the night away... either way white has a very very strong game afterwards.

19 ... Bb7 and black prevents white moving his knight to f5 with the gain of 3 tempi.

Another thing, the breaking up of the e and f pawns isn't really that bad, actually it may be a plus for Capablanca's attack, opening up the f file for his rook. And its still 2v2 king side pawn structer and 1v1 hanging pawns on the e file... I think white actually benefits from pawn seperation.

Jun-22-03  drukenknight: what do you mean "anything else and Rxc6" You have a Q on a c1, yes?

Funny yes? hope to get back later tongiht with this.

Jun-22-03  sangfroid: Yeah, I made a typo, anything else, and Qxc6. I had Rxc6 from the analysis from if 16 ... Bxb4. Either way, I think 16. b4 was a good move. Damn Capablanca is good
Jun-23-03  drunknight II: I think you make some good pts there about 19...00 so let's go 19...Nf6 instead.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <Sangfroid> You are right. 13...Qc7 is a mistake, although is takes some brilliant moves by Capa to prove it. Why didn't Bernstein play Qe7? Capablanca wrote:

"Black does not play 13...Qe7 on account of 14.e6 when he would have to retake 14...fxe6 That was at any rate Dr. Bernstein's explanation at the time."

So he somewhat doubts Bernstein's explanation! Either Capa thought that 14. e6 fxe6 is okay for Black or that Bernstein wasn't revealing everything. Bernstein previously played the line against Capablanca and drew, so it was soemwhat of a pet opening for him.

The real gem in this game is 21.Bh4!! He could have just taken the e pawn, but goes in for a long and pretty combination.

Jun-23-03  drunknight II: I think I am doing fine w/ the 19..Nf6 line follow up to N3+. I hope you can play a few more moves of that line. Thanks
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: 19..Nf6 then 20.Nd5 Nxd5 21.exd5 and black is losing either the c or the e pawn. Black is in bad shape after Ne3 because he is giving up his developed pieces. He is undeveloped and uncastled with weaknesses at c6 and e5. White on the other hand has all his pieces ready to go.

19...Qd6 , attacking the Bishop on d3 might be his best.

Jun-23-03  drukenknight: Calli in the 19...Nf6 line doesnt 21...Bb7 follow it? (I dont have it set up, going from memory)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: White can play Nxe5 because if Qxe5 then Re1 pinning the Q.
Jun-24-03  drukenknight: Calli: in the line that begins w/ 16...Ne3 why not 19...Qd6? so like:

16. b4 Ne3 17. fxe3 Bxe3+ 18. Bf2 Bxc1 19 Qxc1 Qd6 20 Rd1 Qg6

I agree that black has not castled (obviously) however this may be survivable; by using the advantages of the pawns structure as it exists now. Namely the pawns on a6/b5/c6 can be used to block any diagonal attackers. The blocked pawns on e4/e5 are used to prevent the diagonal checks on the other side. Its not a classic situation, but blacks K at the moment is not under attack. Every formation breaks down in some way; it is getting the most out of these imperfections that allows us to survive.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Yes, Qd6 was mentioned previously and is best - I think. White may be able to ignore the threat of Qxd3. Black is so far behind in development you might invite him to waste time capturing pieces. For instance:

16.b4! Ne3 17.fxe3 Bxe3+ 18.Bf2 Bxc1 19.Qxc1 Qd6 20.Ne2!? (to capture on c6) Qxd3 21.Qxc6 Qxe2 22.Qe6+ etc

Of course, Black would do better with 20...Bb7 followed by castling. White would still having a winning game, IMHO, because his position is much better and of course he has two pieces vs a rook. Black's extra pawn is the backward c pawn which mainly serves to make his bishop bad :-(

Jun-24-03  drukenknight: well then dont put his Bishop back there behind the c pawn.

I think you are over emphasizing the need to castle at this pt in the game (or at least the 000 castle). Black has problems w/ development of his pieces. But you say his problem is castling. Assume both are problems, which problem needs immediate correction?

MOst of the time in chess there is only one logical response, black knows he cannot fix both problems at once, maybe he simply needs to address the most important one first.

But it is interesting that you emphassize that black has not castled etc, when many of the move that you propose are aimed at winning material and not at attacking blacks king. Most of the strategy driving your thinking appears to be white grabbing material.

So maybe black is okay from the stand pt of king safety then? So being obsessed w/ castling will mean that white can pursue an overwhelming advantage in development.

SInce black doest seem to have a problem w/ K safety, maybe black should consider threates to whites K along the f file?

Jun-24-03  drukenknight: 20 Ne3 hmm let me see. I have managed to keep your B from attacking my K, so maybe I dont have to castle immediately. You of course say that I must and that this is why I will lose the game.

Now you want me to take the Bishop, so that you can attack my King.

Sorry no thanks. I want your Bishop to live. I want your Bishop to spend the entire battle on a tranquil spot on the battlefield so that it will not risk its life and will not be able to stop passed pawns or whateve at the later stages.

20...h5. Show me your winning line.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Never said that White could force mate quickly, only that he has a winning game. Capablanca would win this position easily in 10 or 15 moves. As a general strategy, I would attack e5. 21. Rd1 Qe6 22.Qc3 followed eventually by Bg3 or ng3-f5 depending on how black plays it. Also improve the bishop with Bc2-Bb3 to command that diagonal.
Jun-26-03  drukenknight: You really think that capablanca could win this easily in 10 moves? Hardly.


ANd I did not say you have to force mate, only to show a line that is winning. it is not the same thing. A line could continue to gain material or push a passed pawn provided the other guy can do nothing. That would be winning.

Jun-26-03  drukenknight: Actually I think you are right. It can be kept alive for a while, but nearly every line seems to go nowhere. 21 Rd1 Qe6 22. bxa5 Rxa5 23 Qc3 Ra8 24 Bg3 00 25 Nxe5 seems to offer the best chance but it is hard to hold.
Jun-26-03  euripides: I'm wondering whether white can't play as follows: 16...Ne3 17 fxe3 Bxe3+ 18 Kh1 Bxc1 19 Nxe5. For instance 19...Nxe5 20 Qh5+ g6 21 Qxe5+ Qxe5 22 Bxe5 and both the B and the R are en prise so I don'tsee anything better for Black than 22...0-0 23 Rxc1 with two pieces for a rook and very active pieces.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Good point! Kh1 is better than Bf2 because it keeps the pressure on e5. I would just continue 16...Ne3 17 fxe3 Bxe3+ 18 Kh1 Bxc1 19. Qxc1 because White's position is so strong. For instance 19...0-0 20.Nd5 Qd6 21.Qxc6! with a knight fork at e7. Or 19...Bb7 20.Qg5 and the e pawn falls.
Jun-26-03  drukenknight: Yeah, what I dont understand, and what I think would help us more in practical terms, is HOW did whites position get this strong? You can try out different lines and they all seem go bad.

What I am confused about is, isnt this supposed to be a standard black defense? Isnt this based on the Meran defense that Rubinstein pioneered? NOt really sure but isnt that based on pushing the c pawn to hit the B and then pushing the b pawn?

Does this call that defense into question? Or is there something I am missing.

Jun-26-03  euripides: It's like a Meran butfrom an orthodiox rather than a Slav -the difference being thatthe white Black-squared biship is outside the pawn chain. Golombek'sbook suggests 10..e5 is bad. Generally Black isplaying very sharply in a position where he isslightly less well developed than white.
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