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Jose Raul Capablanca vs West Side YMCA
"It's Fun to Play at the YMCA" (game of the day Jul-15-2007)
Simul, 50b (1931) (exhibition), 7th Regiment Armory, New York, NY USA, Feb-12
Queen's Gambit Declined: Cambridge Springs Variation (D52)  ·  1-0



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Given 17 times; par: 97 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-15-07  Strongest Force: This happened in NYC right? The problem for me is there was/is/are two different YMCA's known as "west-side". There's the one on 23rd st which is close to the Marshall Chess Club and the one in the mid-60s which might have (in those days) been close to the Manhattan Chess Club.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: An interesting observation is that after 28. … ♔xe6 (which eliminated the last minor piece and brought about a Double Rook endgame), White’s King was on its first rank and Black’s King was on its third rank. By the end of the game, the White King was on the sixth rank (on the magnificent square e6), and the Black King had been driven to its back rank. Capablanca unquestionably used his Rooks more actively than did Black during this endgame, but the main theme was King activation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Peligroso Patzer> Nice observation!

To visualise it:

After <28... Kxe6>

click for larger view

and after <51. Ke6>

click for larger view


A white king on the 6th rank reminds me of Capablanca vs Tartakower, 1924

Jul-15-07  Marmot PFL: 38...Rd5 seems to force the draw. White can't lose b5 so Rc6+ Rd6 Rc7 Rd5 etc.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bishoprick: Reply to Whiteshark: Could you explain, what you mean by stating this ? Cut and dried power chess against weak opposition, leads to the unavoidable. I would have fallen asleep while playing such a game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: It seems to me that the game is completely lost after white's 15 move. Black's c pawn is a permanent liability and his bishops are so bad he has to exchange them (or he gets killed). Then he will lose to the minority attack/king centralization theme.
Jul-15-07  OneArmedScissor: Last but not least.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Bishoprick:>
So you were looking from the white side. o.k. I was looking from the black side.

I guess the youngsters of the YMCA were happy and thrilled playing against the former World Champion.

And I like watching Capa's technique.

Jul-15-07  Timex: The king often very valuable in Rook endings...

Capa used his king well, but YMCA... they are better off with basketball.

Jul-15-07  Jack Kerouac: I thought the Young Mens Chess Association played well.
Jul-15-07  schnarre: Maybe the Village People should be playing this, eh!?
Jul-15-07  chessmoron: <schnarre> I don't think LMAJ will approve of this.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: You can't beat Capablanca in the middle game nor in the end game so one can only hope for some initiative in the opening!
Jul-15-07  CapablancaFan: <fm avari viraf><You can't beat Capablanca in the middle game nor in the end game so one can only hope for some initiative in the opening!> Yeah, if you manage to make it to an endgame with Capa, then it's already too late, LOL!
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  norami: <schnarre> When the Village People sang "It's fun to stay at the YMCA", they weren't referring to chess.
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  butcher 4: good team effert
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I wonder if Capablanca worked out with the exercise equipment while he was there--or did he just flex his chess muscles?
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: This simul was organised by Herman Helms. Here is some more information, taken from the chesslinks worldwide website (

Helms was justifiably proud of the exhibitions by Alekhine and Capablanca that he organized at the Seventh Regiment Armory in New York in 1931 and 1932. With a brass band on hand for each exhibition, the invited grandmaster on each occasion met two hundred opponents, on fifty boards. These spectacular affairs set records for chess event attendance.

Mar-10-09  WhiteRook48: the YMCA??
Mar-10-09  Dredge Rivers: <WhiteRook48>
Mar-10-09  blacksburg: westside is the best side.

Jun-08-15  zanzibar: Capablanca vs West Side YMCA, 1931 (kibitz #13)

Yes, <Strongest Force> Capablanca played two YMCA's in the 1931-simul, tables 17 and 33:

<17. West Side YMCA -- H. A. Herisse, Joseph Hassialis, Joseph Huszar, Julius Weiss>

<33. Yonkers YMCA -- J. K. Theise, A. M. Sanborn, J. Platt, William M. Finger>

<MissScarlett> is doing the tournament, but one can also consult here:

West Side YMCA (kibitz #4)

and also here:

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: In case you haven't already noticed, you made a copying error from the <NY Herald Tribune>: <M. D. Hassialis>
Jun-08-15  zanzibar: Thanks <MissScarlett>.

I blanked and copied Joseph twice in a row, skipping the M. D. ( = Menelaos Dimitri ) for Hassialis.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: From a simultaneous exhibition in New York, New York on February 12, 1931.

Capablanca scored +28=16-6.

Source is New York newspapers.

West Side YMCA was Herisse, Hassialis, hussar and Weiss.

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Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
"It's Fun to Play at the YMCA"
from Games of the day 3 by Herkus
July 15: It's Fun to Play at the YMCA
from Game of the Day 2007 by Phony Benoni
Harry A. Herisse, Menelaos Hassialis, J. Huszar, Weiss
from Capablanca plays 200 at the Armory by Calli
(BDE, 05.03.1931, p.26)
from 1931 Capablanca NYC Armory simul by MissScarlett
1931 Capablanca NYC Armory simul
by gauer
New York, NY (+28 -6 =16) 12.02.1931
from Capablanca plays the world... (IV) by MissScarlett

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