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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Siegbert Tarrasch
"Misfortune Seldom Comes Alone" (game of the day Jun-24-2022)
St. Petersburg (1914), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 8, May-19
Four Knights Game: Spanish Variation (C49)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-22-08  Karpova: <Joshka: So it looks like THIS is the last game Capa lost, before starting a string of 8 straight years without a loss, until the Reti game in New York 1924!??>

No, it's this one
O Chajes vs Capablanca, 1916

Btw, this game is from 1914 so it would have been 10 years until 1924.

Jun-16-09  stanleys: 13.Rad1 was correct - in this case black don't have the shot 15...Qd2! (there is no mate)
Jan-24-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <beatgiant: <Gypsy> I actually thought that your line (I) is not worthy of consideration because Black's king is cut off, so White's mobile king is as good as an extra piece. However, at the moment I don't have enough time to publish a high-quality in-depth analysis of this, so I'll just show a rough sample.

Varying from the actual game with 14.Rxd6 Bxf3 15.Rxf6 gxf6 16.Bxe5 Bxg2 17.Kxg2 fxe5 18.Rb1 Rd8 19.Rb7 Rd2 20.Rxc7 Rxc2 21.Rxc6 Rxa2 22.Rc5:

<22...f6?!> 23. Rc7 a5 24. Kf3 a4 25. h4 h5 26. Ke3 Rc2 27. Kd3 Rxf2 28. Kc4 Rf4 29. Kd5 Rxh5 30. Ra7, and White is ready to run the c-pawn.>

But black can run the h pawn it still seems to be a draw with best play.

Dec-18-11  fetonzio: wow terrible opening by capa
Dec-18-11  King Death: If I remember right, Capa was supposed to have showed up for this game by coming straight from the bed of the mistress of the Grand Duke. Can anybody confirm this?
Dec-18-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <King Death> Sorry, I'm not quite old enough to remember that. As stanleys said previously, Capablanca should have played 13.Rad1! when Capablanca would not have had the shot 15...Qd2! (threatening mate) that he had in the game continuation. Capablanca was probably still in shock, having been annihilated the round before. Lasker vs Capablanca, 1914 His loss in the present game completed the miracle - Lasker, having been 1.5 points behind Capablanca before their game, ended up winning the tournament by half a point.

Lasker also finished ahead of Capablanca at New York 1924, Moscow 1925, and Moscow 1935. But Capablanca did finally finish ahead of him at Moscow 1936 and Nottingham 1936, when Lasker was 67 years old. Bravo, Capablanca, you're the greatest! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Dec-19-11  King Death: <FSR> You don't remember? What good are you then?

What <stanleys> said looks like a case of The Wrong Rook. Capa's mind was still fogged from his long nightmare of Lasker followed by trying to forget about it.

Dec-19-11  AnalyzeThis: A rare Capablanca loss.
Aug-19-16  zanzibar: From <CSM 1914-06-15 p16> coverage of the match:

<The keen interest of the last fortnight centered in t h e race between Lasker and
Capablanca. The latter started on the
final with a lead of 1% points—would he
keep it to the finish? His game with
Lasker in the preliminary had been a
draw, so was his first game with Lasker
in the final. Lasker picked up half a
point by beating Alechin, and when the
remaining games numbered but four,
Capablanca had s t i l l a point in hand.
Lasker Won in Seventh Round
In the seventh round they met again,
and, for the first time, Lasker had the
move. Somehow, the experts are still
trying to find out how it was, but none
of them can point to the losing move—
somehow Lasker got his opponent in an
iron grip wThich never relaxed, move after
move remorselessly tightened the pressure,
until the Cuban saw no further
hope and resigned. Scores were equal,
w i t h three games to play. Then came
the tragi-comedy of the tournament.
Playing Tarrasch, with position superior
and material gain in sight, Capablanca
moved the wrong Rook! Instead
of winning a Pawn, by that unfortunate
incident he lost a piece, and though he
struggled against odds for 83 moves, the
burden was too great, and the game
was scored against him. But for that,
Lasker would have been, not first, but
second, for winning his remaining games
while Lasker drew one, Capablanca made
up still another half point of his deficit.
But the moral needs no pointing; m
the public eye, these two great experts
come out of the long ordeal on the same
high pinnacle, and the question of priori
t y ought to be settled once for all.>

Yeah, I could spend some time typing in all the corrections, and better format it. But I'm not in the mood at the moment, tant pis.

Nov-21-16  Fanacas: This must have ben quite shattering for Capablanca losing two games after each other and not getting first in the tournament.
Nov-22-16  RookFile: Great game by a past his prime Tarrasch. Brave middle game play, and he hung on doggedly in the endgame against Capa giving out of this world resistance.
Aug-08-19  estrick: The chess engine says that Capa's mistake was not moving the wrong rook on his 13th move, but the blunder he made on move 14. Instead of 14. Qg3?

He should have played
14. Rd6 Bxf3
15. Rxf6 gxf6
16. Bxe5 Bxe4
17. Bd4 Bxc2
18. f3
which would have given White a small advantage.

Oct-22-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: <stanleys (+ FSR)> "13.♖ad1 was correct"

A lot of annotators have said that, but computer analysis just doesn't support it. Sure, it rules out that 15... ♕d2 trick as in the game, but Black doesn't have to play the same way. After 13.♖ad1 ♗g4 14.♕g3, Black doesn't need to play 14... ♗xd1 but just plays 14...♕e6! 15.♗xe5 ♘xe4 16.♕f4 ♗xd1 17.♖xd1 f5 18.♗xc7 ♘xc3, and Black has whatever tiny advantage is there (-0.3). And even 14... ♗xd1 would not be that terrible for Black despite the lack of the 14... Qd2 trick, hardly winning for White, e.g. 14...♗xd1 15.♗xe5 ♘h5 16.♗xd6 ♘xg3 17.♗xg3 ♗xc2 ⩲ (+0.5).

As <estrick> says, there was nothing wrong with 13.♖fd1, just with combining it with 14.♕g3.

Dec-28-21  probabilitytheorist: 14. Qg3? was a rare lapse of judgement by Capablanca.
Jun-24-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: After the 18th move black was a piece up. And yet the game lasted another 45 moves.
Jun-24-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Anyone else play through it and just <know> with Black you'd forget about the wrong colored Bishop somewhere along the way?
Jun-24-22  newzild: <ProbabilityTheorist>

More like a rare lapse of calculation:

14.Rxd6 Bxf3
15.Rxf6 gxf6
16.Bxe5 fxe5
17.gxf3 Rb8

...is about equal.

Jun-24-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: The pun is evidently an oblique reference to the circumstances of this game. The tournament featured a race for first between Lasker and Capablanca. Capablanca had a huge lead in that race, since the tournament was played in two parts: the preliminary tournament, which determined the five finalists; and the tournament among the five finalists. The results of the preliminary tournament were counted in the point total, and Capablanca had scored 1.5 points more than Lasker in the preliminaries.

In Round 7 of the finals, on May 18, Lasker destroyed Capablanca in the immortal game Lasker vs Capablanca, 1914. But it was only Capablanca's loss to Tarrasch in this game, played the following day, that allowed Lasker to ultimately finish ahead of Capablanca. Those were Capa's only two losses in the entirety of St. Petersburg (1914). He surrendered only four draws in the preliminaries (Lasker had five draws, and a loss to Bernstein). In the final, he gave up these two losses and two draws, while Lasker allowed only two draws.

Jun-24-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <FSR>, see the 2007 kibitz of <Dr Siggy>, in which Tarrasch writes of the 'misfortune'.
Jun-24-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  LRLeighton: This reminds me of Larsen's comment that some games earn more than a point.
Jun-24-22  spingo: I was thinking of a much <MUCH> fruitier pun based on the name of Ruth Sheldon.
Jun-24-22  goodevans: Quite remarkable that Capa lasted nearly 70 moves a piece down.

<CapablancaFan: [...] Capa wasn't fighting for a win, he was fighting for a draw. He had hoped (maybe naively) that if he could eliminate blacks a pawn then somehow exchange rooks then it's an automatic draw.>

Eliminating the a-pawn wasn't necessary, just the exchange of rooks since Black's B was 'the wrong colour' which is why Black can't just take White's last pawn on move 65:


click for larger view

65...Rxc4? 66.Rc3 ½-½

Jun-24-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <probabilitytheorist: 14. Qg3? was a rare lapse of judgement by Capablanca.>

Capa apparently missed 15...Qd2 with threatening mate on the weak back rank. He was just a human after all.

Jun-24-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <FSR> <Lasker also finished ahead of Capablanca at New York 1924, Moscow 1925, and Moscow 1935. But Capablanca did finally finish ahead of him at Moscow 1936 and Nottingham 1936, when Lasker was 67 years old. Bravo, Capablanca, you're the greatest! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!>

Capa was a great pleayer but he was not for sure the most effective tournament player. Not only Lasker was regularly ahead of him but also Bogolyubov in Moscow 1925 and in Bad Kissingen in 1928 left him twice behind. But Capa's personal score in games with both of them shows quite clearly his predominance.

Jun-24-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Honza Cervenka> Capablanca's score against Lasker in classical games was +6 -2 =16. https://www.chessgames.com/perl/che... That +4 can be entirely blamed on their 1921 world championship match, which was a disaster for Lasker (10 draws, 4 losses).

With the exception of Alekhine (who thanks to WWII managed to die as champion), and Fischer (who quit), every champion eventually loses to a younger challenger. So what? No one claims that Kramnik is greater than Kasparov. One would have expected Capa, almost 20 years Lasker's junior, to thoroughly dominate him in their later years. He emphatically did not do so. By any sensible reckoning, Lasker is a much greater player.

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