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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Ossip Bernstein
"Fluent in Spanish" (game of the day Sep-16-2020)
San Sebastian (1911), San Sebastian ESP, rd 1, Feb-20
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Aug-21-06  capablancakarpov: According to Rogelio Caparros, the score of this game is incomplete. The final moves were:

34...Kh4 35.Qg3+ 1-0

Oct-08-06  syracrophy: 34...Kh4 35.Qg3+ Kg5 36.h4#

Charming! Bernstein just lost brilliantly to the player that he just said that shouldn't be accepted in the tournament! :-D

Oct-08-06  CapablancaFan: <syracrophy> It was actually Bernstein AND Nimzowitsch that tried to keep Capablanca out of the tournament because he hadn't met "previous tournament" requirements. It was Frank Marshall that successfully lobbied to allow Capa to participate. (Capa defeated Frank soundly in their previous encounter).
Oct-08-06  syracrophy: <CapablancaFan> Yes, I know. I have a book where comes some of chess history. And there appears that Capa won his entrance to the tournament by crushing Marshall 8-1 or something like that
Nov-24-07  Ulhumbrus: If Nimzovich objected to Capablanca "interfering" in his game, he gave the wrong reason, namely that Capablanca was not a master.If the real reason was that he objected to any outside comments at all, he could have said so. One commentator- possibly B H Wood -said that Capablanca "should have known" that he should not have interfered in Nimzovich's game, but that was wrong for two reasons (1) If there was no requirement of sllence, Capablanca's freedom of speech gave him a right to speak and (2) Capablanca had won against Marshall in a match. As for the idea of Capablanca relinquishing any part of his right to speak to Nimzovich, I suppose this could be a case of "give a man an inch of your civil liberty and he will take an ell". The move 22 Ne2 offers what may be an unsound sacrifice, as on move 24 instead of 25..Rh8 Black can turn the tables by 25..g5!. Capablanca said in his book "my chess career" that "there was nothing better" than 25...Rh8 but on later years he appeared to have changed his opinion and suggested 25..g5! Instead of 22 Ne2, 22 c4! setting up a Maroczy bind may be better
Feb-26-08  frank124c: After going over a few of Capa's games, would I be wrong to assume that Capa's style seems to be primarily an attack on the castled King?
Feb-26-08  euripides: <frank> early in his career he mainly played 1.e4, and this generated some very fine attacking games. Later he often played 1.d4 and some of the greatest games are attacks on a weakened queen's side. For this reason he is often called a 'positional' player, though his 'positional' games can be very sharp and incisive. See

Capablanca vs Spielmann, 1927

for one classic example.

Jul-12-08  Ulhumbrus: Capablanca's comment on 28...Nc5 is " Evidently an error which made the winning easier for White, as he took the Rook with the Knight and kept up the attack . Black should have played 28...Nxg7. Then would have followed: 29 Nf6+ Kg6 30 Nxd7 f6 (best) 31 e5 Kf7 31 Nxf6 Re7 33 Ne4 and Black should lose." (Capablanca) Taking this variation, can anyone provide the analysis which Fritz or Rybka give of the position after the move 33 Ne4?
Sep-15-10  Russian Grandmasters: This game won the tournament "Beauty Prize."
<Capablanca's> reception at <San Sebastian 1911>:

"The Europeans regarded Capablanca to be a "Greenhorn", the product of a heavy advertising campaign by American newspapers. When the Cuban arrived in the Basque resort, several participants in the tournament doubted whether the 22-year-old "cub" was sufficiently strong to compete with the world's leading players. The loudest protests came from Ossip Bernstein and Aron Nimzowitsch, sending a written objection to the organizers. The organizers, however, insisted that Capablanca play in the tournament. Not only that, Capablanca came "clean" first, and his game with Bernstein received the prize for beauty."

--Tomasz Lissowski
Chess Vistula

Jan-29-11  Eduardo Bermudez: from time to time one american chessplayer go to europe and won a big tournement, for instance: morphy,, fine, fischer, dominguez, nakamura !!
Jan-29-11  CapablancaFan: 22..Qxa2? 23...Qxc2? This is what happens when you're more concerned about pawn grabbing than what's going on around your king.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: This is a video annotation of the game by <Kingscrusher>- part of his evolution of style series:


<Evolution of Style> playlist:

Jan-31-13  Llawdogg: Don't gossip, Ossip.
Feb-21-16  peterh99: One of the commenters says Capa was probably lost near the end but gives no variations. Hmm.... Since many readers by now have engines, was Capa lost near the end, in the 'opinion' of these engines?
Feb-21-16  offramp: <peterh99: One of the commenters says Capa was probably lost near the end but gives no variations. Hmm.... Since many readers by now have engines, was Capa lost near the end, in the 'opinion' of these engines?>

Do mean this kibitz? It's the first one on this game.

<Lawrence:... Kasparov however in OMGP vol. 1 points out that Capa's plan was not waterproof and if B. had played 25.....g5 or 25.....Rg8 then Capa should not have won the game, maybe even lost it. 28.....Nc5?? (time trouble?) throws the game away. Bernstein should have played 28.....Rd8 (Gazza). Junior 8 on the other hand comes up with both 28.....Nxg7 and 28.....Reg8.>

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White threatens Nxe8 followed by Nf6+. He also threatens ♙f5-f5. For example 29.f5 Nxg7 30.Nf6#!

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A very unusual mate!

Kasparov apparently reckons that 28...Rd8 would have been better:

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Play might then have gone

29. f5 Nf8 (Δ30...Qb6!=)

<(29... Nc5 30. g5 Nd3

<(30... hxg5 31. Qxg5 Qxe2 32. Nf6#)>

31. g6+ fxg6 32. fxg6+ Kg8 33. Rf1 Ne5 34. Ref2 Nxg6 35. Rg2 )>

30. Kh1 Kg8 31. g5 Nh7 32. g6 Ng5 33. h4 fxg6 34. hxg5 gxh5 35. gxh6 Kf7 36. Rg1

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I don't think Black has a draw at move 28. Perhaps 28...Ref8 is a better idea.

Sep-16-20  offramp: Capablanca was indeed "fluent in Spanish", although I believe he spoke Catalan to him Mum.
Sep-16-20  RandomVisitor: After 25...g5 others have suggested that black now has the advantage (25...Rg8 likely leads to perpetual check).

click for larger view


<53/72 3:13:03 -0.31 26.Rc3 f6 27.h4> Rf7 28.Rec1 Ref8 29.Qd3 Kh8 30.Qe3 Qa3 31.Nxh6 Rh7 32.hxg5 fxg5 33.Nf5 Qa5 34.b4 Qxb4 35.Qxa7 Qb2

<53/74 3:13:03 -0.37 26.e5 Nf4 27.Nxf4 Bxf5 28.Nd3> Bxd3 29.Qxd3+ Kg8 30.Rc2 Qa3 31.Rxc6 Qa5 32.Qc3 Qxc3 33.Rxc3 Rxe5 34.Rxe5 dxe5 35.Rxc7 Rb8

52/73 3:13:03 -1.22 26.h4 Qe5 27.b4 f6 28.Qd2 Rb8 29.Re2 a6 30.Rf2 a5 31.bxa5 Ra8 32.hxg5 fxg5 33.Rh2 Rxa5 34.Nhg3 Rf6 35.Nh5 Rg6

Sep-16-20  RandomVisitor: "Bernstein bared"
Sep-16-20  RandomVisitor: Maybe Capa should have tried 20.c3:

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NNUE evaluation using nn-03744f8d56d8.nnue enabled

<39/60 06:24 +1.75 20...Qa6 21.Qg3> Rg8 22.e5 d5 23.Qe3 Bxf5 24.Nxf5 Ne6 25.Qd2 Rge8 26.Re3 c5 27.Rh3 Nf8 28.f4 Qb6 29.Re1 Ng6

Sep-17-20  JimNorCal: "from time to time one american chessplayer go to europe and won a big tournement, for instance: morphy,, fine, fischer, dominguez, nakamura !!"

Don't forget Harry Nelson Pillsbury

Sep-17-20  JimNorCal: <offramp>: "I believe (Capablanca) spoke Catalan ..."

Really? Never heard that before.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Nor will you again.
Sep-17-20  offramp: < JimNorCal: <offramp>: "I believe (Capablanca) spoke Catalan ..." Really? Never heard that before.>

This was not my source, but it is <a> source:

<Descendia, per línia paterna, d'una família catalana arrelada a Cuba de feia molts anys, que s'hi havia enriquit fins a formar part de la més distingida burgesia de l'illa i, de part de mare, de catalans emigrats més recentment. José Raúl era el segon fill de José María Capablanca Fernández (oficial de l'exèrcit) i María Graupera Marín. <Des de la infantesa, parlà català amb la mare i els familiars de la línia materna.>>

I think anyone can translate that last sentence, but in any case google/trans gives:

<"From childhood, he spoke Catalan with his mother and his maternal relatives.">

That uses as a source "Fontrodona, Marià. Capablanca. Barcelona: Edicions Nou Art Thor (col. Gent Nostra), 1988."

There is also a string of kibitzes, starting at
Jose Raul Capablanca (kibitz #232) which is worth reading.

Sep-18-20  JimNorCal: Intriguing!
Thanks, offramp.
Sep-15-21  Ulhumbrus: After 28...Nxg7 29 Nf6+ Kg6 30 Nxd7 f6 31 e5 Kf7 31 Nxf6 Re7 33 Ne4 ( Capablanca) Stockfish gives 33...Qb6 34.Qxb6 axb6 35.exd6 cxd6 36.Nxd6+ Kf8 37.Rce1 Rd7 38.Nc4 Kg8 39.f5 h5 40.f6 hxg4 41.Ne5 Rc7 42.Re4 Nh5 43.f7+ Rxf7 44.Rxg4+ Kf8 45.Nxf7 +2.70
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