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Max Euwe vs Jose Raul Capablanca
Capablanca - Euwe (1931), Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Scheveningen NED, rd 10, Jul-30
Bogo-Indian Defense: Monticelli Trap (E11)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-26-06  Jack Sprat: So this started out as to whether Capa understood the concept of modern exchange sacrifice? Seems like overkill.
Oct-26-06  Plato: <Jack Sprat> Yes, it started out as a debate on whether or not modern knowledge of the exchange sacrifice has increased since Capablanca's era. Put another way, are there any things that modern Grandmasters understand about exchange sacrifices which weren't fully understood by <anyone> in Capablanca's time or before, simply because the relevant games and theory didn't exist yet.

It is overkill. I won't deny it. <RookFile> has never missed an opportunity to escalate things, even after I suggested that we both try to tone things down a little bit. And when he escalated, I admit that I responded in kind. At this point he is arguing out of spite rather than logic, though. I'm not even sure that he himself believes that Capablanca had a wholly modern understanding of the positional exchange sacrifice ... he has vacillated on this point <many> times already. He's just out to contradict me and to make me look stupid any way he can. It no longer even concerns him to examine the matter objectively; that's why he focuses on side topics like the semantics of "pawn and move odds" rather than the main issue we have been debating all along.

It does not matter to him whether he even believes what he is arguing, so long as he feels that he can make me look bad.

Oct-26-06  RookFile: <Plato: Wow. What a great game. You sure straightened him out with your vast understanding of the Dragon ... I see all those books you read really paid off, didn't they? ... losing with White in just 23 moves. Oh, and to follow your "logic" from this Capablanca game, Goldsby even gave you "exchange and move odds"! Yup, you sure straigtened him out alright. Poor guy.>

So, you misunderstood. Check the notes to the game Davidson vs. Goldsby, not the game itself. I'm not Davidson. You'll see 3 or 4 games of mine in the notes.

Oct-26-06  Plato: <RookFile> I see. Care to explain why you accepted his challenge to play games but are avoiding mine?
Oct-26-06  RookFile: I've already given you enough chess lessons and wasted enough of my time with you.
Oct-26-06  Plato: I posted this on the Jose Raul Capablanca thread, but I think I should post it here as well.

I would like to apologize to the frequenters of this thread for carrying on far too long on a point which most people probably recognize as self-evident. I also apologize to <RookFile> if I have offended him; we both have escalated things, we have both carried a negative tone too much of the time, and this is not conducive to a pleasant environment, which is what this site should be about. Chess is a game, after all.

There is no reason why it shouldn't be possible to have friendly disagreements.

Regarding the main point of this argument, I feel that I could not have made the case any more plain. It appears that what I thought was a disagreement with <paladin> was merely a misunderstanding. <RookFile> has indicated that he still disagrees with my main point, but I'm willing to let that go.

<RookFile>, I realize that I can't persuade everybody on everything, no matter how obvious something seems to me. You are entitled to your opinions.

I offer not a "draw," but a truce.

Let's move on.

Oct-26-06  RookFile: Truce agreed, Plato.
Oct-26-06  TrueFiendish: Ah, such is life. I remember an individual going by the handle of Benjamin Lau a few years back. Boy was he hard to shake!
Jan-29-08  paladin at large: 24....Nd4 - such a magnificent steed - it blocks the rooks on the otherwise open file, hems in the white king and plays a major role in executing a 3-fold repetition to draw the game. A maximized knight.
Jun-26-09  AnalyzeThis: This game must have been pretty humiliating for Euwe.
Jun-26-09  visayanbraindoctor: Although other GMs have played into the Monticelli trap, perhaps as an element of surprise, Capablanca must be the only one who walked into it in two successive Blacks, and in a match wherein he could expect his opponent to come in more well-prepared in the second game. Unusual behavior that has become the stuff of legends. Whatever Capablanca's real motive was, it must have had an emotional effect on Euwe.

(I could imagine poor Euwe thinking "Is this man trying to prove the Monticelli trap is playable, or is he just amusing himself at my expense?")

There have been discussions if the idea of the exchange sacrifice was well understood in the 1930s. Of course it was. So were such stuff as pawn sacrifices for the initiative and piece activity. Any perusal of the games of Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, and the rest of the chess masters of this era shows that they understood what they were doing when they were making these types of sacs. Perhaps they didn't word it too clearly, but they clearly knew what they were doing.

As for the concept of the sacrifice itself, Anderssen and the masters of his era were already pretty good at it.

Oct-19-09  WhiteRook48: 10 Ng5 starts interesting problems
Jan-22-10  paladin at large: <Plato><Apparently some world-class Grandmasters STILL don't know about the exact winning procedure! :P Read on:

This very line has been played for Black by such Grandmasters such as Kortchnoi, Andersson, Larsen, Azmaiparashvili, Seirawan, Christiansen and others ... including Postny, used it in his game at Aeroflot just last year against Aronian!>

You make some good points elsewhere, but your above commentary is somewhat misleading: Korchnoi, Christiansen and Postny all lost with Black!, at least in the games I could find here. Were any of the others you mention able to draw? It is fascinating that some GMs feel there is a fighting chance with Black, but if you only cite games where Black lost, then you are arguing that White knows the winning procedure. Certainly there is no GM, past or modern, who can match Capa's performance, twice - in a key match - with Black and the Monticelli Trap.

Jan-22-10  TheFocus: <paladin at large>< To my knowledge, Capablanca did not annotate any of his games from the Euwe match. Does anyone know if Euwe did?>

To my knowledge, Capablanca annotated both games 3 and 9 in A Primer of Chess. Euwe annotated game 9 in Bobby Fischer - The Greatest?

Premium Chessgames Member
Jan-24-10  paladin at large: <TheFocus> Thanks. It's a shame we don't have annotations by either Capa or Euwe of the two Monticelli Trap games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <paladin at large> Euwe annotated game 8, in considerable detail, in his book, "Dr. M. Euwe - From My Games 1920-1937".

Game 8 also has detailed annotations from "Tijdschrift KNSB 1931", in A. Munninghoff's, "Max Euwe, The Biography". These notes include comments from Capablanca on moves 35, (<35.Rd4 would have been stronger>), and on move 37, <37...Nh3 would have thrown up similar problems for White as the text move>.

In Euwe's book, he noted that Capablanca pointed out after the game, that 37...Nh3 would have given Black considerable drawing chances.

Jan-24-10  paladin at large: <Pawn and Two> Thanks very much, that is very helpful.
Jun-09-10  Wyatt Gwyon: This is just badass.
Jan-17-13  LIFE Master AJ: Interest in these lines ...
Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: Very good game especially if the match was already decided.
Jun-14-20  Albion 1959: This was just to prove that Capablanca did not fall into, or miss an opening trap. He deliberately allowed the same position to occur again - with improvements of course. However, this line should be avoided if black is trying to win. Once black enters this line, the best then the best that black can hope for is draw !
Jun-25-20  Howard: If I remember correctly, Chernev refers to this ‘opening trap’ matter in his TMIGOCEP.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: C.N. 11845 shows a letter from Euwe stating Capablanca did not know he was walking into the Monticelli Trap.

A Black win in this line from 2012 though it took a carefully played Rook ending to clinch it. (an ending I botched up in typical me fashion.)

E Cordova vs D E Cori Tello, 2012

Jan-06-22  paladin at large: Euwe could have added that he himself did not know that he was walking into his own trap - as White. Whether the trap was a surprise or not, the two draws sealed Capa's victory in the match.
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