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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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Given 64 times; par: 79 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-26-03  drukenknight: Oh yeah! That's it. I knew I was forgetting something. Okay so same tactic, but out of the QGambit declined. Okay.

Yeah look at move 10; he moves the pawn twice that cannot be good. I put it on the computer and strangely enuf that move did not score out too bad. But maybe the problems created do not occur until deeper into the game?

I think in practical terms, these guys know intuitively that there is some problem in the formation and they attack on that basis. It would be of practical value to know just what Capa. saw in that position to make him go ballistic.

ANother thing: WOuld the queen be better on b6?

Jun-27-03  drunknight II: All this talk about openings! Bah. You know what? after thinking more about it, I'm confident I can hold this game against capablanca or you after

16. b4 Ne3 17. fxe3 Bxe3+ 18. Bf2 Bxc1 19 Qxc1 Qd6 20 Ne2 Bb7 21 Rd1 Qe6

YOu ready for this calli?

Okay think about what has happened in the game, bernstein has some positional problems yes. The K and the B is blocked okay. But so is white's B. what else? look at what has happened in the game, first black offered white a sacrifice which he declined and then white offers one to black!

RIght now the material is even, but black does not want this situation to last. Why? because if material is even there will be no attacks and the positional problems will kill you. The positional problems will stand out in sharp contrast when the material/attack dynamic is stable.

look what happens if black tries to play positionally:

say 20...h6 21 Bc2! oh great now I cant castle because of B forking K/Q if he it gets to b3. So I dont want to play positionally right off. white is waiting for one little slip up like this to kill me.

black needs to unbalance this situation in order solve positional problems.

Now lets see you want to start w/ 22 Bg3 first or Kh1 was it....?

Jun-02-04  mynameisrandy: Okay, that does it. Capablanca is the coolest player ever.
Apr-29-07  chessamateur: Wow sick game by Capa. Any know of the sac 's soundness?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Incredible game by Capablanca!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: It's sound becsye Capa won!

He gets three pawns for the piece and has lot of attacking forces ready to get at Black's weaknesses. But such attacks have psychogical factors also, as in Tal's attacks (many attacking situations relyon he "fear factor" in fact) in many cases - Bernstein did well to defend for so long.

Objectively - only computers don't make unsound sacs (or the best of them probably don't) - Capa was called the machine - but he was - while very great -also human.

But - the attack was sound because Capa won!

Apr-29-07  Themofro: For those questioning the opening played by black, it's known as the Capablanca freeing manuever he used it quite regularly all thorougout his career, although it wasn't abnormal to find his opponents use it against him, as in this game. In Reinfeld's classis book "The Immortal Games of Capablanca" it's full of this opening, wonderful book btw highly reccomended. The idea being to take dxc4, white takes back pawn, and play Nd5, then have the bishop on e7 traded off, and later usually aim for an e5 push. Like ...7 dxc4 8 Bxc4 Nd5 9 Bxe7 Qxe7 etc. You DO NOT play a b5 push as happened in this game, that was blacks mistake. I beleive that black was getting it confused with a different opening. You aim for an e5 push like a normal semislav, make white lose time, and trade off some peices, it's relatively drawish, but it's very solid and a good defense for black to know. It used to be what i would always play except that people nowadays don't play Bg5, they play e3 and keep the bishop inside the pawn, which decreases the openings effectiveness a bit, but it's still good to know.

Wonderful game by Capablanca.

Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
Apr-29-07  whithaw: Capablanca was said to have gone to the bathroom several times during this game. At the time, cell phones were still allowed in tournaments, and it is rumored that Capablanca had called the Turk (version 9.0) during critical stages. Of course, Ossip was probably relying on analysis from Turk 6.0, which had not been designed to use dual cams (like Turk 9.0.)
Apr-29-07  notyetagm: 29 ... ♕b6-b2!! What a genius Capablanca was.
Apr-29-07  Plato: I would never dispute that he was a genius, but 29...Qb6-b2 in that game was obvious, don't you think? Two exclamation marks for that move?
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.
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...


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.

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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  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.

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!
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