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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Philip W Sergeant
Simul, 28b (1913) (exhibition), City of London CC, London ENG, Oct-13
Spanish Game: Closed. Balla Variation (C88)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-21-10  markbstephenson: Capa (at a simul) opens up the game before his pieces can be deployed and Sergeant forces the win of the exchange and the game.
Dec-21-10  krippp: I am not so convinced that Capablanca's line-opening and pawn-winning combination (starting with <12.axb5>) is unsound. While White's pieces are rather undeveloped, so are Black's.

The real mistake, to my eyes, seems to be <16.f4>, which misses Sergeant's powerful continuation of <17..c4>, fully exploiting the exposed position of White's King. After this, White seems lost.

Instead, it seems the less active but solid <16.g3> works best for White, with <16..Qc7 17.Ra1 c4> bringing Black nothing substantial, whereas White now has <18.Bf4>, probably winning.

Thus, Black's most promising continuation after <16.g3> might be <16..Qh5 17.h4 Bxh4>,

click for larger view

which sets White some difficulties. A proper defense should nevertheless prevail:

<18.gxh4 Qxh4 19.Qf3 Qh2+ 20.Kf1 Ne5 21.Qg3 Bh3+ 22.Ke2 Bg4+ 23.Ke3>,

click for larger view

and here Black can either:

a) Trade Queens and capitalize on the impending Knight-fork. But this is losing after <23..Qxg3+ 24.fxg3 Nc4+ 25.Kf4 Nxa5 26.Kxg4>.

b) Try to continue the attack with <23..Qh6+>, but after <24.f4>, I fail to see how Black could be happy with the position.

As such, I conclude Capablanca's pawn-snatching sound, if not exactly safe.

Jan-01-11  markbstephenson: Thanks for your excellent in-depth response to my superficial comment on this very interesting game!
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Sergeant briefly annotated this game for the <The Times Literary Supplement> of 30th October.

<22.Qg1 up to this point the game is identical with one played between Mr. Beamish and myself in 1912. I there, as White, played 22.Qf1 and lost very quickly...>

As Edward Winter notes in his Capablanca book, the January 1921 <BCM> pointed out that Capa ventured the same line again in Capablanca vs C Piccardt, 1920 (note the transposition via move 13) but blundered terribly and lost. As mentioned above, 16.g3 is a better defence; one can only imagine that if Alekhine had lost this game, he wouldn't have suffered a similar fate.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: From a simultaneous exhibition in London, England on October 13, 1913 at the City of London Chess Club.

Capablanca scored +18=3-7.

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