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Aron Nimzowitsch vs Jose Raul Capablanca
New York (1927), New York, NY USA, rd 2, Feb-20
Indian Game: Anti-Nimzo-Indian (E10)  ·  0-1



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Feb-17-04  Resignation Trap: Sultan Khan in this game:
Sultan Khan vs Capablanca, 1930

and Boris Verlinsky in this game:
Capablanca vs Verlinsky, 1925

had the distinction of defeating Capablanca in their only encounters against the Cuban.

Jan-30-05  ArturoRivera: why does Nimzo Resigned, perhaps the passed kingside pawns at black's disponsal?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <stavrogin>, of people who played him multiple times, Keres was +1 -0 =7.
Apr-12-05  who: ArturoRivera maybe because of time. Can anyone post a winning line?
Apr-12-05  Hesam7: <who>, <ArturoRivera> White's position is completely hopeless, win is a matter of technique and a player of Capablanca's caliber would have won this easily.
Feb-16-06  meloncio: <who> Better late than never. After 15 minutes, Fritz8 points out this line as the best for black:

42.e4 ♕d7 43.♖a8 h4 44.♗b8 ♕b7 45.♖fa2 ♕xe4 46.♖8a7 ♕xb4 47.♖xf7 ♕e4 48.♖g2 b5 (eval -3.62; depth 17 ply; 955M nodes)

Aug-19-06  RookFile: Not many have a plus score against Capablanca. The guy lost 35 games in his professional career, spanning 3 decades. Pretty unbelievable when you think about it. Of all the men to beat, Capablanca was the hardest, or maybe Petrosian was equally hard.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Capa had Aron's number.
Aug-29-07  I3illieJoe: 26...e5! 27.Bxe5 Rdd2 and now if 28. Rf1?? Qxe3 !
Sep-07-08  notyetagm: Black to play: 26 ... ?

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Here Capablanca (Black) played the excellent <PAWN SACRIFICE> 26 ... e6-e5!, in order to double his rooks on the 7th rank (<PIGS ON THE 7TH>).

26 ... e6-e5!

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27 ♗d4xe5 ♖d8-d2 <pigs on 7th>

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Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: This is one of those games where Capa plays flawlessly and his winning seems determined by fate. Brilliant as his maneuvers are, let's us not fall into the spell, too. Nimzowitsch's 26.♕a6 leaves his second rank exposed. The saving clause was 26.♕d1 and if 26...e5 then 27.♖e2.

A player of Nimzowitsch's strength should have seen this defense, but probably he was too uptight. After this move Capa plays like a chess machine.

Oct-07-10  visayanbraindoctor: <maxi: This is one of those games where Capa plays flawlessly and his winning seems determined by fate.>

This game looks so simple, yet if a new prodigy were to suddenly rise and play such games regularly, I would gladly bet the content of one of my savings account that he would soon be knocking at the World Championship door.

In this position

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with two open files where all the major pieces can be exchanged, and White threatening b4 and Bb2, it's probably safe to say that 99% of chess games will end in a draw. What would you do as Black? Most players would probably embark on a plan of doubling rooks on one of the open files. In which case, White merely challenges Black's rooks with his own, and exchanges begin occurring. Or perhaps pawn storming the Kingside; which would probably be so slow that White would be able to exchange most of the pieces into a drawn endgame.

Capablanca however, did not think in a "I move this, he moves that' manner. He probably saw moving pictures of chess positions flashing in and out of his mind's eye at a phenomenally rapid rate. From here, he probably saw this position in his mind's eye.

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Suddenly everything is changed. Black has a massive advantage.

Capa must have also seen, as potential positions flashed in and out of his chess mind by the dozens per second, that even if Nimzo succeeded in his plan to play b4 and Bb2, a black Queen on a2 spells big trouble for White. Let's move the pieces around a bit.

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(Naturally Black in such a position will have to move his Bishop first, say to f8 thus defending the g7 pawn from an attack by a White Bishop at b2 and a white Queen at g4. In the game, Capa did move his Bishop to f8.)

Oct-07-10  visayanbraindoctor: So what does Capa do? He does little one-square jiggles with his Queen, to e5 and then to d5, and on to a2!

First Qe5

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Nimzo must have thought "Oh he is planing to attack my h2 pawn with Bd6".

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Typical of Nimzo, he plays the prophylactic move g3.

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But to Nimzo's chagrin, there suddenly comes Qd5.

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Suddenly, it's clear what the real target of the Black Queen is. It's not an attack on the Kingside. It's the a2-b3 weak square complex on the opposite side of the board!

For psychological reasons, IMO very few players playing what seems to be a routinely drawish game could even imagine of a plan of attacking apparently insignificant weak squares by his Queen on the opposite side of the board. Certainly from the first position above

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it's not so obvious that the a2 square, so far on the opposite edge of the board can be a decisive target of the strongest piece that 'normally' should be attacking the hostile King on the same side.

There is nothing better for Nimzo to do save to proceed with his plan to develop his Bishop. 22. b4 Bf8 23. Bb2... but then comes Qa2, and White from a seemingly safe and sound position just a few moves earlier is now completely trussed up!

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Nimzo is such a great player, and so to see his position deteriorate so fast after a few apparently simple moves - no brilliancies, no sacrifices, no pawn storms - just a few one-square jiggles of the Queen, is frankly incredible.

Feb-11-11  jmboutiere: The new prodigy who plays such games regularly is called Magnus Carlsen, Kasparov said 6 month ago
Feb-11-11  maelith: Capablanca is an amazing players, he can win position that most GM will think as a draw position, such a great player.
Feb-13-11  Lennonfan: <jmboutiere> <the new prodigy who plays such games regularly is magnus carlsen,Kasparov said 6 month ago...>as much as i hate to admit it Kasparov has been wrong before..carlsens young,and seems destined for the world championship,yet he's no where near capa's,or for that matter Kasparov's league yet,and will never achieve half of what Kasparov did!
Mar-06-12  AnalyzeThis: This is a marvelous game of chess, that teaches the power of the initiative.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kerpa: Surprised no one has mentioned this, but Horowitz and Mott-Smith use this game as an example in their Development chapter of Point Count Chess, of White blundering as early as 10. cxd5 -trying to reach a draw by exchanges and instead falling too far behind in development, by 16..RFd8, when Capa controlled the Queen file, allowing the Rook invasion. Diagram. 132A,B in that great book (great for its discussions, not, I think, for trying to reduce Chess to a point system a la Bridge).
Jan-27-14  SeanAzarin: R. N. Coles has the game ending with Niemzowitsch resigning after Capablanca's 40th move, with this bit of analysis:

"He is reduced to an utterly negative position. One Rook must stay on the KB file to prevent ...P-KN4. The Bishop must stay on its present diagonal, otherwise ...B-K4 ch follows. And what of the remaining Rook? If 41 R/4-B4, Black has 41... B-K4 42 RxP BxB ch 43 KxB QxR 44 RxQ KxR with a won K and P ending. If White tries 41 R-K8 ch, Black plays 41.. K-R2 42 R-QB8 Q-K5 and more White pawns fall. So White resigns."

Jan-28-14  SChesshevsky: What I found interesting is that it seemed Nimzo often didn't follow his own ideas, which he laid out in his great "My System".

If I remember right, he stressed the need to exchange with advantage. In this middle game it seems all Capablanca does is exchange with advantage with Nimzo's help.

Jul-21-15  SpiritedReposte: 26. ...e5! Just a gem of a pawn sac.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <SpiritedReposte>26. ...e5! Just a gem of a pawn sac.

<SpiritedRepose>, The pawn sacrifice is a small price to pay to get absolute control of the 2nd rank with the doubled rooks.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Against Nimzovich's unambitious setup 6..c5 was a new move; 6..Nbd7 and 6..b6 had been played previously.

Capablanca (modestly) after 16..Rfd8:
"Black keeps on developing his pieces in the most logical way. Outside of the 7th move, there is not a single move of Black's that is not simple and logical. Anyone playing over the game would think that he would have done the same had he been playing the Black pieces."

Capablanca consistently played for a lead in development with 18..Nxe1 rather than gaining the two bishops but helping White to develop. 25 Bd4? made White's situation worse; 25 Rac1..a5 would have been an improvement though Black would still have had a clear advantage. After 26 Qa6? White was lost; 26 Qd1 (threatening 27 Re2) would have been a tougher defense. 30..Qg4? 31 Rf1 would have given White undeserved counterplay.

Capablanca's queen maneuvers in this game were quite striking.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: How Can Nimzo allow "Rook on the 7th" or "Two rooks on the 7th" to be used against him, when he documented it so well in "My system". Maybe it is possible that Nimzo's "My system" was significantly based on studying games of Capablanca :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: BEHOLD - a beautiful forced mate in 8 possibility behind the scenes!

As mentioned <I3illieJoe>

Deserves a diagram - if Rf1 had been played:

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Qxe3 !!

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Aron Nimzowitsch - Jose Raul Capablanca 0-1 2.0, New York New York, NY USA 1927

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Analysis by Stockfish 15 - 3 threads max:

1. -+ (-#7): 29.Bd4 Qxd4 30.Qe2 Rxe2 31.Ra2 Rxf2 32.Rxc2 Rxc2+ 33.Kh1 Qd5+ 34.Rf3 Qd1+ 35.Rf1 Qxf1#

Black mates

(Gavriel, 14.06.2022)

Now having studied Tigran Petrosian, a bit of Nimzovich and getting to know Capablanca - it seems that positional principles are nothing without the tactics to back them up. We know in theory that a rook on the 7th rank (or rank as opposed to file occupation), will create targets. But without the tactical skills, seeing Qxe3 would we be necessarily motivated to establish two rooks on the 7th.

The great positional players are also super tacticians! They have to be - guidance by principles needs the concrete proof on the board to back up the ideas. Qxe3 is a stunner!

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