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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Ilia Kan
"Jose-Kan You See" (game of the day Jun-16-2019)
Moscow (1935), Moscow URS, rd 8, Feb-24
Queen's Gambit Declined: Orthodox Defense. Main Line (D67)  ·  1-0



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Given 19 times; par: 59 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
May-20-07  paladin at large: 42. f5 is an extraordinary way to protect the white king.

Here is Capa's comment on the finish: "Here black overstepped the time limit. His game is lost, since on 52..... Rb8 there follows 53. Nc3 Nxc3 54. bxc3, when the black pawns are halted, whereas the white rooks can invade the opponent's position." (From Winter, citing Russian sources.)

May-19-14  Whitehat1963: To my chess-blind eyes, this game looks very slick on Capablanca's part. It seems as though he is constantly playing effective offense and defense at the same time.
Oct-14-18  goser: Capablanca achieved a winning position due to his brilliant strategic play. However, he lost almost all of his advantage by 38. Kf2? (instead of 38. Nf5). After the White's move 43, Stockfish's score is just +0.30. White managed to win the ending relatively easy due to the Black's planless play. 46...Rh8? was the crucial point, though in principle even the final position is not utterly hopeless.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Another example of Capablanca triumphing after the piece for 3 pawns swap. Capablanca vs Lasker, 1924
Jun-16-19  The Kings Domain: One of those situations where the pun is better than the game.:-)
Jan-19-20  maxi: The move 38.Kf2 has the threat of White occupying the h-file with his Rook and giving a mate, but actually it was a bad blunder by Capablanca and loses his decisive advantage. The idea behind the move was the variation 38.Kf2 Qg7 39.Qh4+ Kg8 40.QxR. But, as Capablanca himself tells us (this we know from Winter's <Capablanca> book, where Winter quotes from Russian sources of the time of the Moscow 1935 tournament) 40.QxR cannot be played because of 40...Qd4+ "with a draw". This last assertion is not true, Black's counterattack wins the game. At the last minute Capablanca realized the danger, exchanged Queens, and manage to win the endgame, as he so often did.

Since he nevertheless won the game, it is possible that Capablanca did not feel too bad about this incident. Except that I am pretty sure he still felt very bad about it. The reason is that it must have reminded him of one of the worst moments of his life, the draw he made with Alekhine in game 27 of the 1927 World Championship, Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927. That game was decisive for the result of that match. Capablanca had not been playing well, and he seemed very unsure of himself. In this game of the match he outplays Alekhine completely, and is carrying out a deadly attack against an Alekhine that had not understood the requirements of the position. At move 35, in a completely lost position, Alekhine plays a bad move, but one with swindling possibilities: 35...Qf8. He allows the taking of the g6 Pawn, that spells the immediate end of the game, but he is threatening the c5 Pawn with check. Well, in his book on Capablanca, V. N. Panov writes that, to Alekhine's amazement, Capablanca missed this threat. He played 36.Rgxg6, which is a good move, but then Alekhine played 36...Qxc5+, and he tells us that Capablanca was so rattled that he made a terrible blunder in his move after the next. After 36...Qxc5+ 37.Kf1 Qc1+ 39.Kf2? the game is a draw because of the variation 38.Kf2? Qd2+ and if White tries to find shelter from the Queen checks in h2 he loses after 39.Kg1 Qd8+ 40.Kh2? Qh5+ and it is Black who wins. So in this game of ill-memory for Capablanca, played eight years before Kan's game, he misses in his calculations a check by the Black Queen along the diagonal g1-a7, and also plays Kf2, which is a bad blunder, just as in Kan's game. Instead of inflicting a crushing defeat on the challenger, Capablanca verified Alekhine's claim that Capablance was not so exact. We all know what happened next.

So now we see why Capablanca would say that the move 40...Qd4+ would have given Kan a draw due to a perpetual check. It is because it gave Alekhine such a draw! However, in Kan's game it outright loses... Kan's game must have brought back to Capablanca's memory the position of the game with Alekhine, and the whole ugly episode.

Nov-10-20  offramp: Is it really worth doing all that just to win a pawn?

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