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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Antonio Fiol
Match-series (1901), Havana CUB, rd 1, Sep-22
Scotch Game: Classical Variation (C45)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
May-27-20  RookFile: Capa was getting crushed in this game but hangs in there and gets a draw.
Mar-04-21  Sergash: Capablanca was 12 years old at the time of this game. Little is known about Fiol, except that he was a Cuban player.

<3.d2-d4 e5xd4! 4.Nf3xd4 Bf8-c5> In a previous game, Capablanca had played the Ruy Lopez: 3.Bf1-b5 Ng8-f6 4.0-0 Nf6xe4 5.d2-d4 Bf8-e7?! 6.d4-d5 Ne4-d6! 7.Bb5-a4?! e5-e4! 8.d5xc6! e4xf3 9.c6xd7+ Bc8xd7 10.Ba4xd7+ Qd8xd7 11.Qd1xf3 0-0 12.Nb1-c3 = Capablanca vs E Corzo, 1901, 1-0.

<5.Nd4xc6> The main line goes: 5.Nd4-b3! Bc5-b6 6.Nb1-c3 ⩲ as in Blackburne vs G MacDonnell, 1876, 1-0.

<5...b7xc6?! 6.Bf1-d3> Main line: 5...Qd8-f6! 6.Qd1-f3! b7xc6! = Alberto Foguelman vs. Julio Mazzoleni, Buenos Aires LR (Argentina) 1959, round 6, 1-0.

<6...Qd8-f6? 7.0-0! Ng8-e7 ±> This is a serious mistake, as the timing that was present on the previous move is not there anymore! Better is 6...d7-d6 7.0-0 Ng8-f6 ⩲ a position which occurred in J W Baird vs A Ettlinger, 1893, draw.

<8.Qd1-e2? => 8.Nb1-c3! Ne7-g6! 9.Kg1-h1! ± Hartmut Schmid vs. Heinz Matthai, Kiel Open (West Germany) 1965, round 11, 1-0.

<8...d7-d6 ⩲> Better is 8...Ne7-g6! (Ja Sewina (1800) vs. M. Szymanwska (1800), Poland Team Ch. U18 1996 in Augustow, 1-0) 9.Nb1-c3N! ⩲ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<9.Nb1-c3 0-0 10.Kg1-h1> Immediately 9.Kg1-h1! ⩲ Jukka Taivainen (2265) vs. Olavi Niemi, Jyväskylä Open (Finland) 2003, round 1, 1-0.

<10...Ne7-g6?! 11.f2-f4! Qf6-h4! ±/ ⩲> 10...Qf6-h4! 11.Bc1-e2 (or 11.f2-f4 Bc8-g4! 12.Qe2-e1 Qh4xe1▢ 13.Rf1xe1 a7-a5 ⩲ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2) Rf8-e8 ⩲ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

The opening phase has turned in Capablanca's favor.

Mar-07-21  Sergash: <12.Nc3-a4?! Bc8-g4! ⩲> 12.Bc1-e3! Bc5-b6 13.Ra1-e1 ± Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<13.Qe2-d2 ⩲> More precise is 13.Qe2-e1! Qh4xe1▢ 14.Rf1xe1 ⩲ with a more significant advantage than in the game for White. Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<13...Bc5-b6?? +-> This apparently logical move is a losing one, as it loses a piece! 13...Bc5-d4▢ 14.Na4-c3! Ra8-e8 ⩲ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<White to play - position after 13...Bc5-b6??>

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<14.g2-g3?? Qh4-h5! 15.Na4xb6! c7xb6 => The classic "answering a blunder with a blunder"... White wins a piece with 14.f4-f5! Ng6-e5 15.h2-h3 but it is a little tricky still, for the following moves: 15...c6-c5 (Δ c5-c4) 16.b2-b3 Bg4-h5 17.Qd2-e3! +- Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<16.Bd3-a6?? -+> Three blunders in a row by the two players! What was the idea behind this move? To win a pawn with Ba6-b7 and then Bb7xc6... ? A better move would be 16.Kh1-g1 = Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<16...Bg4-f3+ 17.Kh1-g1 Bf3xe4 -+> Enough for the winning advantage, but better is 16...Ra8-e8 17.Rf1-e1 f7-f5! -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<18.Qd2xd6? Ra8-d8 -+> Greatly worsens White's situation. This move should have shattered any hope of a coming back in the game for White. Better are either 18.Ba6-e2 Qh5-f5 19.b2-b3 -+ Δ Bc1-b2 Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2; or 18.Rf1-f2 -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<19.Qd6-a3?> More precise is 19.Qd6-b4 Rf8-e8 20.Qb4-e1 b6-b5! -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<Position after 19.Qd6-a3? - Black plays and mates in 14 moves!>

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<19...b6-b5?!> Missing the immediate win. Mate in 14 moves beginning with 19...Qh5-h3! 20.Kg1-f2 Rf8-e8 23.Bc1-e3 Qh3xh2+ 24.Kf2-e1 Qh2xg3+ 25.Rf1-f2 Ng6-h4 26.Ba6-e2 Nh4-g2+ 27.Ke1-f1 Ng2xe3+ 28.Qa3xe3 Qg3xe3 and mate 6 moves later. Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<20.Bc1-e3?!> The lesser evil here is 20.g3-g4 Qh5xg4+ 21.Qa3-g3 Qg4-h5 -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

Fiol first gave Capablanca a winning advantage with his 13th move, which Capablanca declined on his 14th one, before giving up the game on his 16th move... but the story did not end there, as <Rookfile> pointed out above...

Mar-09-21  Sergash: <20...Qh5-e2? 21.Rf1-f2▢ Rd8-d1+ 22.Ra1xd1 Qe2xd1 23.Rf2-f1 Qd1xc2 -+> Still winning for Black, but Fiol missed a strong TACTICS: 20...Ng6-h4! 21.Be3-d4 (or 21.g3xh4?! Qh5-g4+ 22.Kg1-f2 Rf8-e8 and mate 10 moves later. Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2) Nh4-f3+ 22.Rf1xf3 Be4xf3 -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<24.Rf1-f2?! Qc2-d1+! 25.Rf2-f1 Qd1-g4! -+> Better is 24.Be3-f2 Be4-d5! 25.Qa3-e3 -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<26.Be3xa7?! -+> Better is 26.Qa3-d6 -+ or 26.Qa3-c5 -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<26...Rf8-d8?! 27.Qa3-e3 -+> 26...Qg4-h3! 27.Rf1-f2 Rf8-d8! 28.Qa3-b3 (to protect d1) Rd8-d3 -+ game over! Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<27...Be4-d5?! -+> 27...f7-f5! 28.Ba7-d4 Ng6-h4! -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<28.Rf1-e1 h7-h5! -+> (emergency exit for the King... and more!) Better is 28.a2-a4 Qg4-h3! 29.Qe3-f2 (or 29.Rf1-f2 Bd5-c4! (Δ Rd8-d1+) 30.Qe3-e1 h7-h5! -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2) Rd8-a8! 30.a4xb5 Ra8xa7 -+ the white Queen cannot recapture on a7, having to protect against the mate on g2. Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<29.b2-b3?! Ng6-h4! -+> Better is 29.Qe3-e2 Bd5-f3 30.Qe2-e3 h5-h4 -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<30.Re1-e2 -+> Better: 30.Qe3-e7 Nh4-f3+! 31.Kg1-f2 Rd8-a8! 32.Qe7-b7 Ra8-f8 -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<30...Bd5-f3?! 31.Re2-d2 -+> 30...Nh4-f3+! 31.Kg1-f2 Qg4-h3! 32.Qe3-e7 Rd8-d7! 33.Qe7-e8+ Kg8-h7 34.Ba6-c8 Qh3xh2+ 35.Kf2-e3 (not walking into a mate in 2 moves: 35.Kf2-f1 Qh2-h1+ 36.Kf1-f2 Qh1-g1 #) Qh2-g1+ 36.Ke3-d3 Rd7xa7 -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

Mar-11-21  Sergash: <31...Bf3-d5?!> Why not 31...Rd8xd2! 32.Qe3xd2 and then 32...Bf3-d5! (Δ Nh4-f3+) 33.Qd2-d3 Nh4-f3+! 34.Kg1-f2 Nf3xh2 -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<32.Rd2-f2?! -+> Better is 32.Kg1-f2 Nh4-f3! 33.Rd2xd5 Rd8xd5 -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<Position after 32.Rd2-f2?! - Black plays and mates in 16 moves!>

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<32...Nh4-f3+?!> Fiol misses an incredibly strong move here. Mate in 16 moves: 32...Bd5-g2! (threatening both Rd8-d1+ and Nh4-f3+) 33.Rf2-e2 Rd8-d1+ 34.Re2-e1 Nh4-f3+ 35.Kg1xg2 Nf3xe1+ 36.Kg2-f2 Ne1-d3+ 37.Kf2-g2 h5-h4! (Δ h4-h3+) 38.h2-h3 Qg4-f5 39.Kg2-h2 Qf5-d5 40.g3xh4 Rd1-e1! and mate 7 moves later Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<33.Kg1-f1?! -+> 33.Rf2xf3 Bd5xf3! 34.Kg1-f2 Bf3-h1! -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<Position after 33.Kg1-f1?! - Black plays and mates in 11 moves!>

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<33...Qg4-h3+?! 34.Kf1-e2 -+> Mate in 11 moves! 33...Bd5-c4+! 34.Rf2-e2 (or a quicker death after 34.b3xc4?! Rd8-d1+ 35.Qe3-e1 Rd1xe1+ 36.Kf1-g2 Nf3-h4 #) Qg4-h3+ 35.Kf1-f2 Qh3xh2+ 36.Kf2xf3 Bc4-d5+ 37.Qe3-e4 Bd5xe4+ and mate 6 moves later. Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<34...Ng4xh2?! -+> Planning on playing Nh2-g4 possibly. Much stronger is 34...Qh3-f5! 35.Rf2xf3 Qf5-c2+! 36.Ke2-f1 Bd5-e4! (Δ Rd8-d1+) 37.Ba7-d4 Be4xf3 -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<35.a2-a4?!> Better is 35.Ba7-b6 Rd8-a8! -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<35...Nh2-g4 36.Qe3-e7 Rd8-a8 37.a4xb5 -+> Inviting but better is 35...Bd5-e6! (Δ Be6-g4+) 36.Ba7-d4 c6-c5! -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<37...Ra8xa7? 38.Qe7xa7 -+> Still winning but... 37...Qh3xg3! 38.b5xc6 Qg3xb3 39.c6-c7 Qb3-a2+! 40.Ke2-e1 Qa2-a1+ 41.Ke1-d2 Qa1-a5+ -+ etc. followed with Ng4xf2. Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

Mar-13-21  Sergash: <Position after 39.Qa7xf2>

click for larger view

<39...c6xb5?? 40.Ba6xb5▢ Bd5xb3 41.Qf2-e3 Qh3-g2+ 42.Ke2-e1▢ Qg2-h1+ ⩱> Here is where Fiol lost his winning advantage... after missing several forced mates... Maybe he was short on time? Black is still winning after 39...h5-h4▢ 40.b5-b6 (or 40.g3xh4 Qh3xb3▢ 41.Qf2-e3 Bd5-c4+! -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2) h4xg3▢ 41.Qf2-e3 Qh3-h2+! 42.Ke2-d3 g3-g2 43.b6-b7 g2-g1Q 44.b7-b8Q+ Kg8-h7 45.Qe3xg1 Qh2xg1 -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<43.Ke1-d2?! Qh1-d1+! 44.Kd2-c3 ∓> Better to play 43.Ke1-f2 ⩱ or 43.Ke1-e2 ⩱ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<44...Bb3-e6 45.Bb5-d3▢ ⩱> 44...Qd1-c2+!? 45.Kc3-d4▢ (45.Kc3-b4?? Bb3-a2 -+ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2) Bb3-e6! 46.Qe3-e2 ∓ / ⩱ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<45...Qd1-b3+ => 45...g7-g6! ⩱ Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

<46.Kc3-d2▢ => Not 46.Kc3-d4?? and now it is a mate in 20 moves: 46...Qb3-b6+ 47.Kd4-e4 Be6-d5+ 48.Ke4xd5 Qb6xe3 and mate 17 moves later. Stockfish 13 - 64 bits BMI2.

At 12 years old, Capablanca was good in quiet and calm positions. But it seems he was lacking at tactics and precise calculation...

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