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Jose Raul Capablanca
Capablanca 
 
Number of games in database: 1,206
Years covered: 1893 to 1941

Overall record: +380 -49 =267 (73.8%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 510 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

MOST PLAYED OPENINGS
With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (156) 
    C66 C78 C62 C84 C83
 Orthodox Defense (80) 
    D63 D51 D52 D50 D67
 Queen's Gambit Declined (68) 
    D30 D37 D31 D06 D38
 Queen's Pawn Game (55) 
    D02 D00 D05 D04 A46
 French Defense (51) 
    C12 C01 C11 C14 C13
 Four Knights (38) 
    C49 C48
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (54) 
    C72 C66 C68 C77 C71
 Orthodox Defense (53) 
    D63 D67 D53 D51 D64
 Queen's Pawn Game (39) 
    A46 D00 D02 D05 E10
 Nimzo Indian (20) 
    E24 E34 E23 E37 E40
 French Defense (19) 
    C01 C12 C15 C11 C00
 Caro-Kann (19) 
    B13 B18 B15 B12 B10
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Capablanca vs Tartakower, 1924 1-0
   Capablanca vs Marshall, 1918 1-0
   O Bernstein vs Capablanca, 1914 0-1
   Lasker vs Capablanca, 1921 0-1
   Nimzowitsch vs Capablanca, 1927 0-1
   Capablanca vs K Treybal, 1929 1-0
   Capablanca vs M Fonaroff, 1918 1-0
   Marshall vs Capablanca, 1909 0-1
   Janowski vs Capablanca, 1916 0-1
   Capablanca vs J Corzo, 1901 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Lasker - Capablanca World Championship Match (1921)
   Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Capablanca - Marshall (1909)
   American National (1913)
   New York (1918)
   New York Masters (1915)
   Rice Memorial (1916)
   London (1922)
   Hastings (1919)
   New York (1927)
   Budapest (1929)
   Moscow (1936)
   New York Masters (1911)
   St. Petersburg (1914)
   New York (1924)
   Karlsbad (1929)
   Moscow (1925)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Capa.blanca by fredthebear
   Capablanca! by wvb933
   Capablanca! by chocobonbon
   Capablanca! by Sven W
   Match Capablanca! by amadeus
   Capablanca plays the world....(I) by MissScarlett
   Capablanca plays the world... (II) by MissScarlett
   Jose Raul Capablanca's Best Games by KingG
   Jose Raul Capablanca's Best Games by alip
   Jose Raul Capablanca's Best Games by bjamin74
   Jose Raul Capablanca's Best Games by dcruggeroli
   Immortal Games of Capablanca, F. Reinfeld by mjk
   Immortal Games of Capablanca, F. Reinfeld by fphaase
   Immortal Games of Capablanca, F. Reinfeld by Sergio0106

GAMES ANNOTATED BY CAPABLANCA: [what is this?]
   Lasker vs Capablanca, 1921
   Capablanca vs Lasker, 1921
   Lasker vs Schlechter, 1910
   Capablanca vs Lasker, 1921
   Nimzowitsch vs Capablanca, 1913
   >> 27 GAMES ANNOTATED BY CAPABLANCA


Search Sacrifice Explorer for Jose Raul Capablanca
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JOSE RAUL CAPABLANCA
(born Nov-19-1888, died Mar-08-1942, 53 years old) Cuba

[what is this?]

José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera was the third World Champion, reigning from 1921 until 1927. Renowned for the simplicity of his play, his legendary endgame prowess, accuracy, and the speed of his play, he earned the nickname of the "Human Chess Machine".

Background

Capablanca, the second son of a Spanish Army officer, was born in Havana. He learned to play at an early age by watching his father and defeated Cuban Champion Juan Corzo in an informal match in 1901 by 6.5-5.5 (+4 −3 =5), turning 13 years of age during the match. Despite this and despite taking 4th place in the first Cuban Championship in 1902, he did not focus on chess until 1908 when he left Columbia University where he had enrolled to study chemical engineering and play baseball. He did, however, join the Manhattan Chess Club in 1905, soon establishing his dominance in rapid chess. He won a rapid chess tournament in 1906 ahead of the World Champion Emanuel Lasker, and played many informal games against him. Within a year or two of dropping out of university and after playing simultaneous exhibitions in dozens of US cities, winning over 95% of his games, Capablanca had established himself as one of the top players in the world, especially after the Capablanca - Marshall (1909) New York match exhibition win 15-8 (+8 -1 =14).

Tournaments

Capablanca won the 1910 New York State Championship by defeating co-leader Charles Jaffe in a tiebreaker match. In 1911, he placed second in the National Tournament in New York, with 9½ out of 12, half a point behind Marshall, and half a point ahead of Jaffe and Oscar Chajes. There followed Capablanca’s ground breaking win at San Sebastian (1911) with 9.5/14 (+6 -1 =7), ahead of Akiba Rubinstein and Milan Vidmar on 9, Marshall on 8.5, and other luminaries such as Carl Schlechter , Siegbert Tarrasch and Ossip Bernstein. Before the tournament, Aron Nimzowitsch protested the unknown Capablanca’s involvement in the event, but the latter demonstrated his credentials by defeating Nimzowitsch in in their game. Winning at San Sebastian was only the second time a player had won a major tournament at his first attempt since Harry Nelson Pillsbury ’s triumph at Hastings in 1895, and it provided a powerful boost to his credibility to challenge for the world title. He did so, but the match did not take place for another 10 years.

In early 1913, Capablanca won a tournament in New York with 11/13 (+10 -1 =2), half a point ahead of Marshall. Capablanca then finished second with 10/14 (+8 -2 =4), a half point behind Marshall in Havana, losing one of their individual games, rumour having it that he asked the mayor to clear the room so that no-one would see him resign. Returning to New York, Capablanca won all thirteen games at the New York tournament of 1913, played at the Rice Chess Club. 1914 saw the <"tournament of champions"> played at St. Petersburg. Capablanca, with 13/18 (+10 -2 =6), came second behind Lasker and well ahead of Alexander Alekhine on 10, Tarrasch on 8.5 and Marshall on 8.

After the outbreak of World War I, Capablanca stayed in New York and won tournaments held there in 1915 (13/14 (+12 -0 =2)), 1916 (14/17 (+12 -1 =4)) and 1918 (10.5/12 (+9 =3)). During the New York 1918 tournament, Marshall played his prepared Marshall Attack of the Ruy Lopez* against Capablanca, but Capablanca worked his way through the complications and won. Soon after the war, Capablanca crossed the Atlantic to decisively win the Hastings Victory tournament 1919 with 10.5/11, a point ahead of Borislav Kostic.

Capablanca did not play another tournament until 1922, the year after he won the title from Lasker. During his reign, he won London 1922 with 13/15 (no losses), 1.5 points ahead of Alekhine; placed second behind Lasker at New York 1924 (suffering his first loss in eight years – to Richard Reti – since his 1916 lost to Oscar Chajes); placed 3rd at Moscow in 1925 behind Efim Bogoljubov and Lasker respectively with +9 =9 -2; won at Lake Hopatcong (New York) 1926 with 6/8 (+4 =4), a point ahead of Abraham Kupchik; and won at New York in 1927 with 14/20 (+10 -1 =9), 2.5 points clear of Alekhine, his last tournament before his title match with Alekhine. During the latter tournament, Capablanca, Alekhine, Rudolf Spielmann, Milan Vidmar, Nimzowitsch and Marshall played a quadruple round robin, wherein Capablanca finished undefeated, winning the mini-matches with each of his rivals, 2½ points ahead of second-placed Alekhine, and won the "best game" prize for a win over Spielmann. This result, plus the fact that Alekhine had never defeated him in a game, made him a strong favourite to retain his title in the upcoming match against Alekhine. However, Alekhine's superior preparation prevailed against Capablanca's native talent.

After losing the title, Capablanca settled in Paris and engaged in a flurry of tournament competition aimed at improving his chances for a rematch with Alekhine. However the latter dodged him, refusing to finalise negotiations for a rematch, boycotting events that included Capablanca, and insisting that Capablanca not be invited to tournaments in which he participated. In 1928, Capablanca won at Budapest with 7/9 (+5 =4), a point ahead of Marshall, and at Berlin with 8.5/12 (+5 =7), 1.5 points ahead of Nimzowitsch; he also came second at Bad Kissingen with 7/11 (+4 -1 =6), after Bogoljubov. In 1929, Capablanca won at Ramsgate with 5.5/7 (+4 =3) ahead of Vera Menchik and Rubinstein, at Budapest with 10.5/13 (+8 =5), and at Barcelona with 13.5/14, two points clear of Savielly Tartakower; he also came equal second with Spielmann and behind Nimzowitsch at Carlsbad with 14.5/21 (+10 -2 =9). He won at the 1929-30 Hastings tournament and came second at Hastings in 1930-31, behind Max Euwe, his only loss being to Mir Sultan Khan. Several months later he won New York for the last time, this time with a score of 10/11 (+9 =2) ahead of Isaac Kashdan.

Perhaps discouraged by his inability to secure a rematch with Alekhine, there followed a hiatus for over three years before he reentered the fray with a fourth placing at Hastings in 1934-35 with 5.5/9 (+4 -2 =3), behind Sir George Alan Thomas, Euwe and Salomon Flohr but ahead of Mikhail Botvinnik and Andre Lilienthal. In 1935, he secured 4th place in Moscow with 12/19 (+7 -2 =10), a point behind Botvinnik and Flohr, and a half point behind the evergreen Lasker. Also in 1935, he came second at Margate with 7/9 (+6 -1 =2), half a point behind Samuel Reshevsky. 1936 was a very successful year, coming 2nd at Margate with 7/9 (+5 =4), a half point behind Flohr, but then he moved up a gear to take Moscow with 13/18 (+8 =10), a point ahead of Botvinnik who in turn was 2.5 points ahead of Flohr, and then came =1st with Botvinnik at the famous Nottingham tournament, with 10/14 (+7 -1 =6) ahead of Euwe, Reuben Fine and Reshevsky on 9.5, and Flohr and Lasker on 8.5. These latter two results were the only tournaments in which he finished ahead of Lasker, which enhanced his chances of challenging for the title, but a challenge to World Champion Euwe was out of the question until after the Euwe - Alekhine World Championship Rematch (1937) , which was won by Alekhine. In 1937, Capablanca came =3rd with Reshevsky at Semmering with 7.5/14 (+2 -1 =11) behind Paul Keres and Fine and in 1938 he won the Paris tournament with 8/10 (+6 =4) ahead of Nicolas Rossolimo. The worst result of his career occurred at the AVRO tournament which was played in several cities in the Netherlands in 1938, placing 7th out of 8 players with 6/14 (+2 -4 =8), the only time he ever had a negative score in a tournament. His health in this tournament was fragile as he had suffered severe hypertension, which affected his concentration towards the end of his games; he may have also suffered a slight stroke halfway through the tournament. Traveling between the numerous cities in which the tournament was played was also hard on the ageing master. In 1939 he played his last tournament at Margate, placing =2nd with Flohr on 6.5/9 (+4 =5) a point behind Keres. Shortly afterwards, he finished his playing career – albeit unknowingly - in a blaze of glory by winning gold with +7 =9 on board one for Cuba at the 8th Olympiad in Buenos Aires.

Matches

In addition to the informal match against Corzo in 1901 and the exhibition match against Marshall in 1909 (see above), Capablanca played a three game match against Charles Jaffe in New York in 1912, winning two and drawing one, and won the first game of a match against Chajes before the latter withdrew from the match. In 1914, he defeated Ossip Bernstein 1.5-0.5, Tartakower by 1.5-0.5 and Andre Aurbach by 2-0. On his way to the 1914 tournament in St Petersburg, he played two-game matches against Richard Teichmann and Jacques Mieses in Berlin, winning all his games. Once he reached Saint Petersburg, he played similar matches against Alexander Alekhine, Eugene Aleksandrovich Znosko-Borovsky and Fyodor Ivanovich Dus Chotimirsky, losing one game to Znosko-Borovsky and winning the rest. In 1919, Capablanca accepted a challenge to a match from Borislav Kostić who had come second at New York in 1918 without dropping a game. The match was to go to the first player to win eight games, but Kostić resigned the match, played in Havana, after losing five straight games. In late 1931, just before his temporary retirement from top level chess, Capablanca also won a match (+2 −0 =8) against Euwe.

World Championship

Capablanca’s win at San Sebastian in 1911 provided the results and the impetus for Capablanca to negotiate with Lasker for a title match, but some of Lasker’s conditions were unacceptable to Capablanca, especially one requiring the challenger to win by two points to take the title, while the advent of World War I delayed the match. In 1920, Lasker and Capablanca agreed to play the title match in 1921, but a few months later, former was ready to surrender the title without a contest, saying, "You have earned the title not by the formality of a challenge, but by your brilliant mastery." A significant stake ($25,000, $13,000 guaranteed to Lasker) was raised that induced Lasker to play in Havana where Capablanca won the Lasker - Capablanca World Championship Match (1921) - without losing a game - after Lasker resigned from the match when trailing by 4 games, the first time a World Champion had lost his title without winning a game until the victory by Vladimir Kramnik in the Kasparov - Kramnik World Championship Match (2000). From 1921 to 1923, Alekhine, Rubinstein and Nimzowitsch all challenged Capablanca, but only Alekhine could raise the money stipulated in the so-called “London Rules”, which these players had signed in 1921. A group of Argentinean businessmen, backed by a guarantee from the president of Argentina, promised the funds for a World Championship match between Capablanca and Alekhine, and once the deadline for Nimzowitsch to lodge a deposit for a title match had passed, the title match was agreed to, beginning in September 1927. Capablanca lost the Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927) at Buenos Aires in 1927 by +3 -6 =25 in the longest title match ever, until it was surpassed by the legendary Karpov - Kasparov World Championship Match (1984). The match lasted over ten weeks, taking place behind closed doors, thus precluding spectators and photographers. All but two of the 34 games opened with the Queen's Gambit Declined. Before Capablanca and Alekhine left Buenos Aires after the match, they agreed in principle to stage a rematch, with Alekhine essentially sticking with the conditions initially imposed by Capablanca. Despite on-again off-again negotiations over the next 13 years, the rematch never materialised, with Alekhine playing two title matches each against Bogolyubov and Euwe in the subsequent decade. While Capablanca and Alekhine were both representing their countries at the Buenos Aires Olympiad in 1939, an attempt was made by Augusto de Muro, the President of the Argentine Chess Federation, to arrange a World Championship match between the two. Alekhine declined, saying he was obliged to be available to defend his adopted homeland, France, as World War II had just broken out. A couple of days prior to this, Capablanca had declined to play when his Cuban team played France, headed by Alekhine, in the Olympiad.

Simultaneous exhibitions

Capablanca’s legendary speed of play lent itself to the rigours of simultaneous play, and he achieved great success in his exhibitions. From December 1908 through February 1909, Capablanca toured the USA and in 10 exhibitions he won 168 games in a row before losing a game in Minneapolis; his final tally for that tour was 734 games, winning 96.7% (+703 =19 -12). In March and April 1911, Capablanca toured Europe for the first time, giving exhibitions in France and Germany scoring +234=33-19. Once completed, he proceeded to San Sebastian and his historic victory before again touring Europe via its cities of Rotterdam, Leiden, Middelburg, The Hague, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Berlin, Breslau, Allenstein, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Stuttgart, Mannheim, Frankfurt, Paris, London and Birmingham at the end of which his tally was +532=66-54. After he received his job as a roving ambassador-at-large from the Cuban Foreign Office, Capablanca played a series of simuls in London, Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, Riga, Moscow, Kiev, and Vienna on his way to St Petersburg in 1914, tallying +769=91-86. In 1922, Capablanca gave a simultaneous exhibition in Cleveland against 103 opponents, the largest in history up to that time, winning 102 and drawing one – setting a record for the best winning percentage ever – 99.5% - in a large simultaneous exhibition. In 1925 Capablanca gave a simultaneous exhibition in Leningrad and won every game but one, a loss against 12 year old Mikhail Botvinnik, whom he predicted would one day be champion. Capablanca still holds the record for the most games ever completed in simultaneous exhibitions, playing and completing 13545 games between 1901-1940.**

Legacy, testimonials and life

Soon after gaining the title, Capablanca married Gloria Simoni Betancourt in Havana. They had a son, José Raúl Jr., in 1923 and a daughter, Gloria, in 1925. His father died in 1923 and mother in 1926. In 1937 he divorced Gloria and in 1938 married Olga Chagodayev, a Russian princess.

Capablanca's famous “invincible” streak extended from February 10, 1916, when he lost to Oscar Chajes in the New York 1916 tournament, to March 21, 1924, when he lost to Richard Réti in the New York International tournament. During this time he played 63 games, winning 40 and drawing 23, including his successful title match against Lasker. Between 1914 and his World Championship match against Alekhine, Capablanca had only lost four games of the 158 match and tournament games he had played. In match, team match, and tournament play from 1909 to 1939 he scored +318=249-34. Only Spielmann held his own (+2 −2 =8) against Capablanca, apart from Keres who had a narrow plus score against him (+1 −0 =5) due to his win at the AVRO 1938 tournament, during which the ailing Capablanca turned 50, while Keres was 22.

Capablanca played himself in Chess Fever http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0015673/, a short film shot by V. Pudovkin at the 1925 Moscow tournament. The film can be seen at http://video.google.com/videoplay?d....

On 7 March 1942, Capablanca collapsed at the Manhattan Chess Club and he was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he died the next morning from "a cerebral haemorrhage provoked by hypertension". Emanuel Lasker had died in the same hospital the year before. Capablanca's body was given a public funeral in Havana's Colón Cemetery a week later, with President Batista taking personal charge of the funeral arrangements.

Capablanca proposed a new chess variant, played on a 10x10 board or a 10x8 board. He introduced two new pieces. The chancellor had the combined moves of a rook and knight (the piece could move like a rook or a knight). The other piece was the archbishop that had the combined moves of a bishop and knight.

Capablanca‘s style also heavily influenced the styles of later World Champions Botvinnik, Robert James Fischer and Anatoly Karpov. Botvinnik observed that Alekhine had received much schooling from Capablanca in positional play, before their fight for the world title made them bitter enemies. While not a theoretician as such, he wrote several books including A Primer of Chess, Chess Fundamentals and My Chess Career.

Alekhine: <…Capablanca was snatched from the chess world much too soon. With his death, we have lost a very great chess genius whose like we shall never see again.>

Lasker: <I have known many chess players, but only one chess genius: Capablanca.>

Notes

Capablanca occasionally played consultation on the team consisting of Reti / Capablanca.

Sources:

Bill Wall's Chess Master Profiles - http://billwall.phpwebhosting.com/a...; Edward Winter's article A Question of Credibiity: http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...; Chess Corner's article on Capablanca: http://www.chesscorner.com/worldcha... and <kingcrusher>'s online article at http://www.gtryfon.demon.co.uk/bcc/.... A list of books about Capablanca can be found at http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/....

* Ruy Lopez, Marshall (C89) ** http://www.fide.com/component/conte...

Wikipedia article: José Raúl Capablanca


 page 1 of 49; games 1-25 of 1,206  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. R Iglesias vs Capablanca 0-1381893Odds game000 Chess variants
2. Capablanca vs E Delmonte 1-0181901Match-seriesB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
3. Leon Paredes vs Capablanca 0-1451901Match-seriesC44 King's Pawn Game
4. Capablanca vs E Corzo 1-0351901Match-seriesC67 Ruy Lopez
5. Capablanca vs A Fiol ½-½491901Match-seriesC45 Scotch Game
6. J Corzo vs Capablanca 1-0411901Havana casualB01 Scandinavian
7. A Gavilan vs Capablanca 0-1391901Match-seriesC45 Scotch Game
8. A Ettlinger vs Capablanca 0-1531901Havana casualC45 Scotch Game
9. Capablanca vs M Marceau 1-0311901Match-seriesC45 Scotch Game
10. M M Sterling vs Capablanca ½-½501901HavanaC77 Ruy Lopez
11. Capablanca vs J A Blanco 1-0491901Match-seriesC45 Scotch Game
12. E Delmonte vs Capablanca 0-1321901Match-seriesD00 Queen's Pawn Game
13. Capablanca vs Leon Paredes 1-0291901Match-seriesC02 French, Advance
14. E Corzo vs Capablanca 1-0321901Match-seriesC11 French
15. Capablanca vs J Corzo 0-1601901Havana casualC45 Scotch Game
16. A Fiol vs Capablanca 0-1361901HavanaC55 Two Knights Defense
17. Capablanca vs A Gavilan 1-0771901Match-seriesC01 French, Exchange
18. Capablanca vs M M Sterling 1-0301901HavanaC01 French, Exchange
19. Capablanca vs E Corzo 0-1301901Havana casualC40 King's Knight Opening
20. Capablanca vs E Corzo 1-0421901Havana casualC40 King's Knight Opening
21. J A Blanco vs Capablanca 0-1771901HavanaC55 Two Knights Defense
22. Capablanca vs C Echevarria 1-0491901Simul, 8bC44 King's Pawn Game
23. Capablanca vs J Corzo 0-1291901Capablanca - CorzoC45 Scotch Game
24. J Corzo vs Capablanca 1-0271901Capablanca - CorzoC52 Evans Gambit
25. Capablanca vs J Corzo ½-½611901Capablanca - CorzoA80 Dutch
 page 1 of 49; games 1-25 of 1,206  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Capablanca wins | Capablanca loses  
 

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 248 OF 262 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-25-15  visayanbraindoctor: <maxi> As I have posted, I sometimes do the equivalent of cold water treatments on my comatose stroke patients, placing ice packs on their carotids and forehead. According to my old master, it decreases cerebral edema and lessens the chances for infarcts.
Dec-25-15  visayanbraindoctor: <Jonathan Sarfati> Thank you for the articles.

However, while they may be true, in Capa's case, the huge thalamic hemorrhage alone would have killed him quickly, with or without cardiac complications.

Coincidental but I operated on four hemorrhagic stroke cases just recently (see my forum). With the discussion here, I was thinking that if Capa's hemorrhage were more peripherally located and smaller, I could have successfully operated and taken it out. He would probably have survived but with hemiparesis, slight dysphasia. I do not think he could have successfully returned to his former chess strength.

While I am aware that his consults in New York 1924 were for colds as <paladin at large> recounts, IMO he might have had the beginnings of HPN even then. The patients often complain of vague symptoms of discomfort, which I think can be mistaken for run of the mill colds. Or maybe an ordinary cold could feel much worse if a patient has superimposed HPN, thus ncessitating medical consult.

While playing generally strongly, the errors that he made in New York 1924 and Moscow 1925 seem to be due to lack of concentration.

I agree that the sad misfortune of Capablanca being born into a family of hypertensives has significantly affected chess history. His games in the latter part of his career were sometimes marred by gross errors that bespeak of a loss of concentration that never seemed to happen in his early years before 1924.

(For example see my notes in Capablanca vs T van Scheltinga, 1939) and Capablanca vs Ragozin, 1937)

While Keres and Fine may have won the proto Candidates tournament AVRO 1938, I have little doubt that a younger non hypertensive Capablanca would have won it as easily as London 1922.

I also believe that if Capablanca were more healthy, he would have probably played in a lot more tournaments than he did in the 1930s, and would have played nearly as strongly as he did in the 1920s. The scoreboards of many of the stronger tournaments of the 1930s would have looked quite different.

Dec-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: <visayanbraindoctor>, I wonder if the lapses of concentration in the 1927 match were caused by HTN. I think that all his rivals needed the ‘odds’ of Capa's health to stand any chance, but even then, AVRO was the only time he finished below 50%.

I have seen your comments on
Capablanca vs T van Scheltinga, 1939 as I noted there, so did Sánchez who quoted them in his Capa bio!

Dec-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: <visayanbraindoctor>, I see from your forum that hypertensive hemorrhagic strokes in patients around Capa's age have very poor prognosis even now, despite your best efforts.

So is this high incidence due to poor management of HPN despite the availability of drugs that Capa would have given his right arm for?

Dec-25-15  visayanbraindoctor: <So is this high incidence due to poor management of HPN despite the availability of drugs that Capa would have given his right arm for?>

Yes. In my setting, few people take HPN seriously, and often don't know that they have it or if they do, comply poorly with anti HPN meds. Then the availability of junk foods is causing an increase in obesity rates.

In Capa's case, since it was familial, he did not have to be obese to get it. These patients may get it early in life even if they are thin.

A non hypertensive Capablanca without his right arm would have continued to dominate the chess world in the 1930s in my strong opinion. For those who have studied his games like myself, there is no question of his genius. I believe he saw more variations in a shorter amount of time compared to any one in chess history, before or since. He also had an unsurpassed ability to detect little 'petit' combinations and sudden tactical shots hidden in all position, which made him practically immune to gross tactical errors as long as his concentration was undisturbed. As a consequence, he did not make losing errors. This is the true secret of his unbeatability.

My theory on this has been posted several scrolls up, I believe that Capablanca did not analyze in a linear 'I move this, he moves that' manner. Instead he saw positions fly in and out of his chess mind rapidly like multiple moving pictures. He then chose which pictures he liked based on his positional understanding. This is why he had much difficulty in explaining how he played. For his awed opponents, it just seemed that he saw everything in just a few seconds, what with the rapidity and accuracy of his play.

I think that Alekhine and Bogolyubov were the only players not to be awed by him. Bogolyubov was never good enough to pose any threat to Capa, but the remarkable Alekhine was. Yet AAA was always realistic, and considered Capablanca to be better than him. So he worked on Capablanca's only weakness. Capa never had to face stiff opposition before 1927. AAA knew that an especially talented opponent who could also give Capablanca stiff resistance move after move, game after game while avoiding tactical disasters would have a chance.

Dec-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Capablanca gave signs of discomfort during the 1927 match.

"I am not doing as well as I expected,' he wrote after he fell behind 3-2 after the 12th game. "I believe, however, that should another match be arranged in New York, for, say, the beginning of 1929, I could do much better...Should the match here end in a draw, I suggest that the next match be limited to twenty games." OMGP V1 page 376

Two things stand out to me about this letter. Although he is down only 1 point, Capa is not confident about regaining his form and seems to fear the unlimited format.

Second, he is already thinking of a rematch, but not the next year but in 1929, as if admitting he needed a long recuperation.

Dec-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: <visayanbraindoctor>, what a waste of middle-aged life that so many people are not availing themselves of treatment Capa never had. Dr Orlando Hernández-Meilán warned in the Sánchez bio and in his 1988 article ‘Como murio Capablanca’: “Capablanca's case is a clear-cut example of what might await any hypertensive patient who cannot control his or her arterial hypertension.”

<Tamar>: The Sánchez bio at the end of the chapter on the Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927) has:

In his summary of the match, Hübner said that Capablanca was strategically superior in the understanding of new positions that emerged in the openings, such as in games 3, 7, 11, 17, 20, and 27. But “by accepting to continually reel off again and again the same variations, he deprived himself of his most important ches trump card,” which according to the German grandmaster was “his superirity over Alekhine in a bettern understanding of the strategic demands of the conduct of the game.” According to the analysis of Hübner, Capablanca shuold have obtained a score of three wins and three draws from game 27 through 32.

At the end of the match, Alekhine promised a rematch in preference to any other challenge, provided that it was played with the ame conditions as the one that had just ended. But the new world champion knew very well how close he had been to losing. It is not unreasonable to infer that his understanding of the danger he had encountered was the reason why he did not offer the Cuban the opportunity of a rematch. All his subseqent “fury” seems rather an elaborate charade.

Capablanca never received the opportunity he gave Alekhine. It was one of the most famous contexts never played. http://www.amazon.com/Jose-Raul-Cap...

Dec-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Jonathan Sarfati> Even an Alekhine partisan like Kasparov was surprised that Capablanca held the edge in most of the games.

After game 22 which Alekhine won, Kasparov wrote "In the next five games, Capablanca held the initiative. The fact that Alekhine capitulated only once appears simply miraculous!"

And after the 29th game, which Capa won, Kasparov found that even in the games where opinion was that he was fading, the actual moves were in Capa's favor.

"However, a careful study of the next few games shows the opinion of the 'expert' was a long way from reality. The match initiative was still with the Cuban!"

So Capablanca was still straining to win, while already having conceded that he could not take a long match.

Dec-25-15  visayanbraindoctor: <Jonathan Sarfati: Hübner said that Capablanca was strategically superior in the understanding of new positions that emerged in the openings, such as in games 3, 7, 11, 17, 20, and 27. But “by accepting to continually reel off again and again the same variations, he deprived himself of his most important ches trump card,” which according to the German grandmaster was “his superirity over Alekhine in a bettern understanding of the strategic demands of the conduct of the game.” According to the analysis of Hübner, Capablanca shuold have obtained a score of three wins and three draws from game 27 through 32.>

< tamar: <Jonathan Sarfati> Even an Alekhine partisan like Kasparov was surprised that Capablanca held the edge in most of the games.

After game 22 which Alekhine won, Kasparov wrote "In the next five games, Capablanca held the initiative. The fact that Alekhine capitulated only once appears simply miraculous!"

And after the 29th game, which Capa won, Kasparov found that even in the games where opinion was that he was fading, the actual moves were in Capa's favor.

"However, a careful study of the next few games shows the opinion of the 'expert' was a long way from reality. The match initiative was still with the Cuban!">

These are fascinating assessments of the match.

Huebner's assessment indicates that Capablanca's high level of play fell off toward the end of the match.

<tamar: Capablanca gave signs of discomfort during the 1927 match.

"I am not doing as well as I expected,' he wrote after he fell behind 3-2 after the 12th game. "I believe, however, that should another match be arranged in New York, for, say, the beginning of 1929, I could do much better...Should the match here end in a draw, I suggest that the next match be limited to twenty games." OMGP V1 page 376

Two things stand out to me about this letter. Although he is down only 1 point, Capa is not confident about regaining his form and seems to fear the unlimited format.

Second, he is already thinking of a rematch, but not the next year but in 1929, as if admitting he needed a long recuperation.>

I am nearly certain that Capablanca by 1927 already was suffering from HPN, but may not have known about it. He would have experienced a general uncomfortable 'heavy' feeling and headaches. Common sinusitis and colds however can result in the same discomforts to a patient. From my OPD clinic, it seems to me that the most common causes of headaches are 'tension headache', sinusitis/colds, and migraine.

I have already speculated before that Capablanca's HPN may have significantly affected his performance in the match. I think it slightly lowered his standard of play. Against such a high caliber of opposition as a fanatically motivated Alekhine, it was enough to bring him down.

<I wonder if the lapses of concentration in the 1927 match were caused by HTN. I think that all his rivals needed the ‘odds’ of Capa's health to stand any chance>

Even then, if the match had been played before 1924, AAA in spite of all his determination and motivation, would probably have lost to a non hypertensive Capablanca.

AAA owned quite a big ego, yet he was chessically honest enough to claim that Capablanca was better than him; and was famously noted to have announced that he was surprised to have beaten Capablanca.

<But the new world champion knew very well how close he had been to losing.>

Of course he did. Alekhine is one of the strongest chess players ever produced by humanity and thoroughly understood what chess is all about. He well knew that in the 1920s and 30s, he could well beat any one in a match except Capablanca. I you read my notes in the Alekhine page, I believe that even in 1942 and 1943, Alekhine was playing the best chess in the world, and IMO would have beaten either Keres or Botvinnik if a world championship match had been held at that point in time.

Dec-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: When comparing players across different eras, it's easy to overlook the life cycle factor. Alekhine's peak was 20 years after Lasker's peak, Keres's peak was 30 years after Alekhine's, Korchnoi's peak was 20 years after Keres's, etc.

So Lasker at his peak racks up a lot of wins against early Alekhine, Alekhine does the same against Keres, Keres does the same against Korchnoi etc. I don't think it's easy to make a convincing case about transitivity across generations from results like those.

Dec-26-15  visayanbraindoctor: <beatgiant> It's just my opinion but I think that Keres played his best chess in the latter 1930s and early 1940s. That was his peak. Yet he generally was outplayed and out tacticked by Alekhine. Rather than indicating a weak Keres, I believe it indicates that AAA was a real monster of a player, even in his chessic old age.

True, he reached Challenger level only in 1974, but even in his younger years no one else dominated the young Korchnoi. He was already very strong in the 1950s and 1960s, while Keres was already on the decline. Keres just played better than Korchnoi, even in his declining years. Had a 1938 Keres played a 1974 Korchnoi, all other things equal, I would place my bet on Keres.

Sometimes transitivity across the generations work. Some players were just intrinsically stronger than others. I believe that at their peaks, Alekhine was stronger than Keres, and Keres was stronger than Korchnoi.

Dec-26-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: AAA did indeed play powerful chess in the early war years. I'm not sure that he would have been a match for the Botvinnik of the pretentiously named USSR Absolute Championship (1941) or after, where Botvinnik was winning almost everything he played in, and seemed in a class by himself. But from about 1950, Botvinnik was primus inter pares.
Dec-26-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <visayanbraindoctor> Looks like most of this discussion is in the Qatar Masters (2015) page for some reason, so I'll reply there.
Dec-26-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: <beatgiant>: Well, let's agree on the best page for discussions so it's easier to follow.

I must wonder about how much favoritism Botvinnik really received. E.g. for the first USSR Olympiad appearance Game Collection: 1952 Men Chess Olympiad, the rest of the players pushed to drop Botvinnik, the reigning world champion, from the team for poor form, while Keres supposedly was showing very good form and had guaranteed a gold medal on Board 1. Botvinnik pointed out that "form" can be lost very quickly and Keres did not perform well. In subsequent Olympiads, they dared not drop the world champ.

Incidentally, this fiasco makes it implausible that Keres was told to throw games to Botvinnik in the FIDE World Championship Tournament (1948).

Dec-26-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: In my opinion, Botvinnik was clearly the strongest player of the 1940s; it is regrettable that, due to circumstances, he and Alekhine never met after 1938.

The results of Keres-Alekhine and Keres-Korchnoi have long intrigued me, as part of that age-old conundrum of the difficult opponent.

Some years ago, I began a thread elsewhere in which I posed the question: who was the greatest player to never win the supreme title?

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/1...

Dec-26-15  visayanbraindoctor: <beatgiant> If you don't mind, I would rather discuss general ideas here. I quickly lose the thread in tournament pages because of posts on the tournament itself.
Dec-26-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: Players with long careers can help us make comparisons across generations. Lasker, Botvinnik, Keres, and Korchnoi qualify. E.g. Botvinnik was already a top player when he was out-analysed, by his own admission, by the past-his-best hypertensive Capablanca, yet Botvinnik beat Spassky when Botvinnik was in his 50s and Spassky was first challenging for the world title. Later, Spassky still managed a level score with Kasparov. I think if Botvinnik were alive today, he would laugh uproariously at Watson's claim in "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy" that the best players of old were weaker and more dogmatic than the best players today.
Dec-26-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: I agree, if the major discussion is on Capa and his contemporaries, let's keep it here. Leave the Qatar Masters thread to the players concerned.
Dec-26-15  visayanbraindoctor: <Jonathan Sarfati, perfidious> My impression, when I replay their games in the 1940s, is that Alekhine was playing the more imaginative and beautiful chess. I have made some comments on these 1940s chess games of AAA's. I was quite surprised because from chess books I was told that AAA had significantly declined in the 1940s.

Until the USSR Absolute Championship (1941), Botvinnik and Keres had played in AVRO and the 1940 USSR Championship. Keres had always placed ahead of him. It's almost certain that Keres was affected by the Soviet annexation of Estonia, and could have been playing below par in USSR 1940, yet he was still good enough to place ahead of Botvinnik.

As for USSR 1941, as I have posted this tournament was organized on behalf of Botvinnik. The other players must have known it of course. This is one tournament where there might have been pressure on the others not to upstage the state authorities' favorite. Yes Keres only placed second, but if he had placed first, there was really no telling what harm the more fanatical ideologues of that time would have done to him (and war times produce more fanatical ideologues than usual). I have no doubt this possibility played in his mind.

When Estonia was 'freed' from the Soviet Union by ironically another invasion (by the Germans), there are historical accounts that many Estonians welcomed the Germans as liberators. Keres could well have been one of these Estonians. In any case, he played quite strongly in the German held tournaments. The main reason why his performance is generally disparaged is because he was playing in Nazi organized tournaments, and because AAA tended to come ahead of him.

If one peruses some of their games, both AAA and Keres were actually playing strong and imaginative chess in these German tournaments. I think it was in one of these tournaments that Keres invented the Keres attack. They both seemed to have been rejuvenated. Keres was feeling (even if mistakenly) that his country was free again. AAA must have been entertaining notions that Germany would win the war and he could return home in triumph to Russia.

If at this point in time, 1942 or 1943, either of them had played Botvinnik in a match, in a neutral country of course, it's still my opinion that either a hopeful (maybe I can return home to Russia!) Alekhine or an inspired Keres (my country is free at last!) would have beaten Botvinnik. I think they played better than Botvinnik, and Botvinnik had never clearly evinced superiority over these two in the past. Moreover, they seemed to have been quite motivated when playijng each other. After all was said and done, AAA was still World Champion, and Keres was still number one title contender after having won proto Candidate AVRO 1938 and beaten Euwe in a kind of proto Candidates Final match in 1940, and they were playing in the same tournaments and were feeling free.

I know the above speculation on my part goes against the popular notion that AAA was declining in the war years, and that Keres was being pressured by the Nazis to play badly. I now disagree with the above popular notions.

I think Botvinnik was quite lucky that Alekhine had left the Soviet Union. If AAA had never left, I believe he would have ended up totally dominating the USSR Championships of the 1920s, 1930s and early 1940s. A rising Botvinnik would have played under AAA's shadow, and he would not have been the giant that other Soviet players looked up to in the 1930s and 1940s. This is not to disparage Botvinnik. I am just imagining a scenario wherein Alekhine never left the USSR, continued to play as strongly as he did in 1942 and 1943, and somehow managed to maintain good relations with state authorities.

As it is, Botvinnik was never seriously challenged in the USSR until the 1950s, when a new generation of Soviet masters came to fore. True Keres was 'Sovietized' but under the circumstances of the state having an obvious favorite, there was no way he could have posed a threat to Botvinnik's dominance inside wartime USSR.

Dec-27-15  visayanbraindoctor: <Jonathan Sarfati: Players with long careers can help us make comparisons across generations. Lasker, Botvinnik, Keres, and Korchnoi qualify. E.g. Botvinnik was already a top player when he was out-analysed, by his own admission, by the past-his-best hypertensive Capablanca, yet Botvinnik beat Spassky when Botvinnik was in his 50s and Spassky was first challenging for the world title. Later, Spassky still managed a level score with Kasparov. I think if Botvinnik were alive today, he would laugh uproariously at Watson's claim in "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy" that the best players of old were weaker and more dogmatic than the best players today.>

I agree. 'Transitivity' does not always work. But then again 'transitivity' does not always fail to work. It's not an absolute proposition. Your post reads quite reasonable.

<Watson's claim in "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy" that the best players of old were weaker and more dogmatic than the best players today.>

Keres vs J L Watson, 1975

Here is an old Keres crushing upstart Watson in a typical Keresian attack, just before Keres died of a heart attack.

Watson's statement in my honest opinion is ridiculous. Even an aged about to die Keres was much better than him.

Dec-27-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: <visayanbraindoctor>, that game is most amusing. Keres played an unpretentious opening but showed his great strength in the middlegame. That's what Capa did and what Carlson does now.

Yes, transitivity counts as a cumulative case, when there are top players who have played both the pre-WW2 world champs as well as Fischer and his generation. Even when these bridging players were past their best, they could still give a good account of themselves (Botvinnik, Keres, Reshevsky, Najdorf).

Dec-27-15  visayanbraindoctor: <Jonathan Sarfati> There is an issue revolving around the term 'modern'. Watson and many kibitzer followers of his conjure this word out of thin air, claim that today's players are modern, and from there conclude that <the best players of old were weaker and more dogmatic than the best players today>. The logic is so illogical that I find it hard to believe that many chess fans ascribe truth to it.

First let's agree to define what 'modern' is. According to Merriam-Webster, it is an adjective

<of or relating to the present time or the recent past : happening, existing, or developing at a time near the present time>

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dict...

So what is the common modern manner of playing chess among top masters nowadays?

You just described it above:

<that game is most amusing. Keres played an unpretentious opening but showed his great strength in the middlegame. That's what Capa did and what Carlson does now.>

Note that many of the sharp double edged opening variations that were so readily seen in top master play during the Kasparov era had been replaced by <unpretentious openings>. The present World Champion Carlsen seems to be spearheading this trend, which I find quite ironical because most of those who ascribe to Watson's false speculation in this site seem to be his fans. This is not to say that most of his fans are like that, I believe that many of Carlsen's fans find there is something wrong with what Watson is saying.

If we follow the strict definition of modern, then the modern way of playing top level chess nowadays is to employ an unpretentious opening in order to get into a playable middlegame, and from there let chessplaying skills rule further play.

Surprise! This is precisely the way the archaic Keres in Keres vs J L Watson, 1975 beat the 'modern' Watson. Yes Botvinnik would have laughed.

It is also precisely the way that Capablanca played most of his games. An unpretentious but sound opening that can get him into a playable middlegame, and then he outplayed his opponent with super accurate play. If that's not modern I don't know what is.

Botvinnik's high regard for Capa BTW surprised me. Several scrolls above, there is a discussion that recounts Botvinnik in the 1990s criticizing his pupil Kasparov for failing to play like Capablanca! Botvinnik from his perspective was probably just trying to give his star student good advise. What was he really saying? That a top chessplayer should always strive to find the best moves, even if they don't lead to tactical fireworks (fireworks which Kasparov naturally loved). If Botvinnik wanted Kasparov (and presumably his other students) to play like Capablanca, I realized then that all throughout his life, Botvinnik's gold standard of a chess player is Capablanca, and that his idea of the ideal chess style is that of Capablanca's. That is to play the board, always striving to find the best moves, regardless of who is playing in front of you.

This of course contrasts with the way Lasker and Alekhine played, and the way Kasparov did. Lasker was always out to make his opponent feel uncomfortable, and AAA and GKK were out to create tactical fireworks and directly attack the opponent's King. IMO it's not even the way Karpov played. Karpov seems to have tended to play to control every square of the board, and was not necessarily out to find the objectively best moves. Fischer IMO is probably the top player who played closest to Capa's style.

Dec-27-15  SugarDom: In my opinion, Capablanca would do even better in the computer age. Most probably he would be world champion too.

I think so because it would be easier for him to study the openings (which apparently he was lazy to do) and he would have the drugs for hypertension.

I think Carlsen style also resembles Capablanca.

Dec-27-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: <SugarDom>, <visayanbraindoctor> has argued cogently that both Capa and AAA would have been incredibly strong with modern computer assistance.

Carlsen is like Capa also because when younger, they played highly tactical games. Later, they were both famed for being able to outplay strong opponents in endgames, but their tactical skill was always in the background. Sometimes they come to the fore in real slugfests such as Carlsen vs Li Chao, 2015 and this game when Capa was the same age as Carlsen is now Capablanca vs Dus Chotimirsky, 1913

Dec-27-15  visayanbraindoctor: <Jonathan Sarfati, Sugardom>

Please take a look at these games.

Dus Chotimirsky vs Capablanca, 1913

Capablanca vs Dus Chotimirsky, 1913

Dus Chotimirsky vs Capablanca, 1925

I just realized that all of Capablanca's games with the Soviet master Dus Chotimirsky are quite instructive for their tactics and profundity. I have made some notes in all of them that you can look at.

In the second game above, I actually made a comment on the term 'modern' which I have forgotten all about.

<I actually cannot distinguish if a game is 'modern' or not even if it has been played in the early 20th century if I did not know that.

I tend to see a game as looking more 'modern' if it has an early fianchettoed bishop in the opening, I guess because these types of games hardly existed before WW1. By the 1920s however, early fianchettoes were coming into the vogue. The top players started adopting these openings; Capablanca himself for example started playing the Queen's Indian. Most of the games by top players in the 1920s and onwards look completely modern to me.>

A key point in my above statement is <if I did not know that>. If a random kibitzer did not know that all three games above were played by Capablanca and Dus Chotimirsky, and played in 1913 and 1925, there is no way that he would know that they are pre WW2. And if the kibitzer were a chess expert or master, he would be staggered by these games' tactical brilliance and profundity. If he were suffering from the 'narcissistic generation syndrome', the belief that everything here and now is axiomatically better than in the past, he would probably think that these games were played in some super GM tournament in the last decade and with the winner being one of the strongest active super GMs or even a World Champion.

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