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Andre Lilienthal vs Jose Raul Capablanca
"Andre the Giant" (game of the day Oct-12-2007)
Hastings (1934/35), Hastings ENG, rd 5, Jan-01
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Saemisch Variation. Accelerated (E24)  ·  1-0



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Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: No doublt about that. But I shouldn't rely on what's left of my memory. Panno played in the 1st Piatigorsky Cup in 1963, but not 1966. The players at Santa Monica were:


Fischer, Larsen, Petrosian, Portisch, Spassky were elite players at the time; Reshevsky and Najdorf past their prime, but what primes!; Ivkov and Unzicker maybe just a bit short of the top. And Donner.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: Agreed.

And Reshevsky later tied for first at a U.S. Championship ...

My last memory of Reshevsky was around 1990 or 1991 ... he was playing in a tournament. Some young upstart was dragging the game on forever, probably in the hope that Reshevksy would tire and lose ...

Reshevsky has a hat on, a small sort of thing, like golfers in the 1930's wore ...

I have his autograph in one of my books, I believe.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: My close encounters with Reshevsky:

Bastrikov vs Shamkovich, 1958

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Just thinking. Outside of Candidates events, did Fischer ever play in what we would consider today a "Super" tournament, without rabbits?>

Even the candidates...I looked at Chessmetrics and saw that the 1959 event included Olafsson (#20) and Benko (#29). In 1962 Filip was #18 and Benko was #38.

Of the ten players at Santa Monica, three were in the top 10.

Like Eric Schiller, I think the modern practice of having only elite players in supertournaments is kind of a shame.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <keypusher> Well, they did have seven of the top 20, and the rest of the top 10 were Soviet players; Fischer was the only outsider in that group. Though I'm sure the players wouldn't have minded staging the USSR Championship in Santa Monica, the organizers must have wanted more diversity.

Najdorf's #12 at that stage surprises me. I wouldn't have thought him any stronger than Reshevsky, who was #27. Donner's #48 meant he was not a rabbit in the traditional sense.

Portisch, Ivkov, and Spassky are the only players still with us. 45 years is a long time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: Larsen passed away just a little while back ...


another chess legend has departed.

Feb-06-11  Eduardo Bermudez: e.f6 !!!!!!!!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ:
Jul-29-12  SeanAzarin: Capa's mistake was on the 19th move. If he plays 19... N/2xP, folowed by 20... O-O, he secures his position satisfactorily. Once he played 19... QxKP??? the K file opened up and the pins along it wiped him out in a hurry.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: < SeanAzarin: Capa's mistake was on the 19th move. If he plays 19... N/2xP, folowed by 20... O-O, he secures his position satisfactorily....>

This points up the need for White to keep the pressure on and not let his opponent settle. One idea which comes to mind off the top of my head is 20.Rad1.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ:

My web page ... on this game. (I had to re-do it, many of the links were broken, and none of the diagrams or the cross-table were showing up.)

Super-amazing. To beat the great Capa is one thing, to defeat him with a Q-sack ... in a near miniature is a whole 'nother ball of freakin' wax!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mar-15-14  wordfunph: "He smiled, held out his hand and congratulated me."

- GM Andre Lilienthal (on Capablanca after the game)

Source: Champion's Friend, Friendship's Champion - Lilienthal's Hundred Best Games by George Negyesi

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: I won't re-post the link, but someone e-mailed me ... they said the web page had "exploded." (It was too big to fit his screen.)

So I redid the page ... again.

Mar-16-14  offramp: When you look at a list of players in a tournament that you have entered, and you can't see who the rabbit is - it's YOU!
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <offramp> That's what we say at the poker table as well.
Mar-16-14  offramp: Here is one of my favourite chess stories.

Timman writes (in his book on Curaçao 1962, page 27):

<After Geller and Keres had agreed a lightning-fast draw in Geller vs Keres, 1962, Kortschnoi turns to Geller, who had played the white pieces, and asks him, "You make draws without playing. Who do you think to beat in this way?"

Whereupon Geller replies, "YOU!">

Very funny! Good old Geller!

Mar-16-14  Petrosianic: <Timman writes (in his book on Curaçao 1962, page 27):>

Timman got that story straight from Korchnoi's book, "Chess Is My Life".

May-05-14  Eduardo Bermudez: From 1951 until 1960 he was Tigran Petrosian's trainer. When Bobby Fischer noticed Lilienthal in the audience at his 1992 return match against Boris Spassky, Fischer greeted him with the remark "Pawn e5 takes f6
May-05-14  offramp: He is the auntie of the Australian player Lillienthomson.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Capa's 9...♗xc4 is a move unworthy of the younger Cuban genius. He forces a line that: 1. gives up his developed B for White's not developed ♗; 2. exchanges White's weak Pawn; 3. forces White to place his ♕ in a good square; 4. gives White a powerful center.

It is exactly the kind of moves he warns against in his books. He wasn't quite himself those latter days...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: The best game ever played on New Year's Day?
Mar-07-20  N.O.F. NAJDORF: Fischer was obviously very impressed by Lilienthal's play and referred to the queen sacrifice when he recognised Lilienthal at a press conference.

The game does bear similarities to this game by Fischer himself:

Fischer vs Tal, 1961

Apr-27-20  Albion 1959: I first saw this game back in 1980 and felt it was time to revisit this game. Lilienthal was one of the immortal few to win a top flight game against Capablanca! Approximately 20 other players did this, a very select few. To my knowledge only other player managed to do a queen sacrifice against Capablanca and win. The other was Iljin-Genevsky, who playing with black pieces sacrificed his queen for two rooks and went on to win! If I am wrong, then I stand to be corrected. As for this game, Capa clearly had an off day, or simply underestimated Lilenthal. I don't see the reason for 14: Rd8 and 15: a5? Why didn't Capa castle when he had the opportunity to do so? He could have done this up to move 18. Difficult to fathom how Capa (as world champion) could overlook the possibility of the queen sacrifice? Yet he did and history was made. The position was losing for Capa when he resigned, but maybe he could have played on to avoid losing "too short a game"? Go on until about 30, makes it look less damaging. One more thing - N.O.F Najdorf refers to Fischer v Tal 1961, there were similarities to this one by Lilienthal, but more akin was Tal v Hecht 1961, where a similar position occurred, though Hecht did not have to give back his queen as early as Capablanca did. Check it out !
Jul-01-20  N.O.F. NAJDORF: I've only just noticed this variation:

22 ... Qa4

23 Re1+ Ne5

24 Rxe5+ Kd7

25 Rd5+ Ke8

26 Re1 mate!

Jan-20-22  N.O.F. NAJDORF: <Albion 1959: ... more akin was Tal v Hecht 1961>

Tal vs Hecht, 1962

Thanks for reminding me!

I agree with you entirely that it is strange that Capablanca did not castle on move 14 or even moves 15 or 16.

His 17th move looks like an admission that his 14th had been a mistake.

His willingness to allow his kingside to be weakened - by having to play g5 in response to a possible e5, or by a possible Bxf6 on move 14 - are also uncharacteristic of his play. His oversight of the queen sacrifice reminds me of his fatal error in this game:

Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927

Here is a possible finish from the original game:

27. Re7+ Kd6 28. f6 Rg4 29. Bg3+ Kd5 30. Rxf7 c5 31. Rd7+ Ke4 32. Re7+ Kd5 33. Ne6

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