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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Milan Vidmar
London (1922), London ENG, rd 13, Aug-16
Queen's Gambit Declined: Orthodox Defense. Main Line (D63)  ·  1-0



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Apr-10-06  who: <notsodeepthought> If indeed he had miscommunicated to Capablanca - leading Capa to think Vidmar was going to resign without continuing then there is something very wrong with winning on time. That's not comparable to a normal time scramble in a game.
Apr-10-06  Whitehat1963: What happens if 15...Qxb2?
Apr-10-06  CapablancaFan: <Whitehat1963: What happens if 15...Qxb2?> I can answer your question I believe. It is a difficult continuation to see with the naked eye, but it would go something like this...if 15...Qxb2? 16.Rb1!...Qxa3 17.Bb5!(threatening the knight with capture winning a piece) 17...Nf6 (the only move to save itself)18.Bc6! winning the exchange (Bishop for rook). Vidmar apparently decided his rook was worth more than the 2 pawns gained.
Apr-10-06  Whitehat1963: <Vidmar apparently decided his rook was worth more than the 2 pawns gained.> Wisely, to say the least. Thanks <Fan>.
Apr-11-06  Boomie: 8...dxc4 is dubious. One of the nuances in this position concerns the tempo white loses if the king bishop is developed before this pawn exchange. Either Ne4 or a6 are better.

Notice that after 8...Ne4 9. Bxe7 Qxe7 10. Nxe4 dxe4 11. Qxe4, black regains the pawn with 11...Qb4+. Curiously in the 14 games with this position in my database, white played 12. Nd2 with mediocre results. Rc3 seems better. Notice that after 11...Qb4+ 12. Rc3 Qxb2 13. Qc2 Qa1+? 12. Ke2!, black is in a world of hurt.

The harmless looking 13...h6 is probably the losing move. Nf6 is the only move although white's initiative is enduring.

13... Nf6 14. Ne5 Bd7 15. Ba6 Rad8 16. Qe2 Ne4 17. f3 Nd6 18. Rc7 Qe8 19. Rxa7 f6 20. Nxd7 Rxd7 21. Rxd7 Qxd7 22. Bd3 Ra8 1.29/14

Jun-29-06  McCool: Chess history contains a similiar sort of episode which may be viewed as a curiosity. In 1979 in the championship of Wyoming, two opponents, sitting at the board, spoke the words "I resign" in perfect unison. One of them did so because his position was hopeless, the other because of his pangs of conscience. His opponent was absent from the board and there was no controller nearby, so he took the opportunit to move his piece back.

May the supreme judicial bodies of all chessplaying countries give their verdict on what constituted the highest degree of gentlemanliness!

Jun-18-07  Karpova: <kostich in time: Supposedly,Capablanca patted Vidmar on the head after this game, saying"he always give me the chance for a brilliancy, he is my meat"..and Vidmar just smiled..this sounds like an odd anecdote, as Vidmar was not Capablancas "meat' before this game. Their only previous encountter was at SanSebastian, and thir game their was a draw..however, it must be said that Vidmar was Capas "meat" after this game was played..see capablancas wins at New York 1927 and Nottingham 1936>

True, it's quite unlikely that Capablanca said and did something like this given the facts. The originator of this quote must be Julius du Mont (in Golombek's book on Capa's 100 best games).

Dec-07-07  paladin at large: <keypusher><but he missed 20 Rb1!, winning a clear piece.>

Capablanca pointed out 20 Rb1 himself as an improvement in his article for The Times the day after the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Karpova> For some additional information regarding Capablanca's supposed remark to Vidmar, see my 09/06/06 posting for Capablanca vs Vidmar, 1929.
Dec-26-07  Alphastar: <Boomie: 8...dxc4 is dubious. One of the nuances in this position concerns the tempo white loses if the king bishop is developed before this pawn exchange. Either Ne4 or a6 are better.>

Actually 8. ..dxc4 is perfectly fine if followed up correctly. It is known as Capablanca's freeing manouvre in the orthodox defense. A famous game where he used this defense:

Marshall vs Capablanca, 1918

It is only after 11. ..b6? that black is in huge trouble. (Nxc3, as in the marshall game, is the way to go).

Apr-22-09  myschkin: . . .

from Vidmar's memoirs:

Apr-22-09  whiteshark: After all I'd have expected a black move as last move. :D
Jul-15-11  companys: <keypusher: Capablanca won the 1st brilliancy prize for this game, but he missed 20 Rb1!, winning a clear piece.> The first brilliancy prize actually went to Reti for his win over Znosko-Borovsky, while Capablanca got the 2nd...
Nov-06-11  bronkenstein: Few more details about the adjournment ┬┤incident┬┤ - <...Here Vidmar adjourned the game ( Capablanca vs Vidmar, 1922 ). During friendly chat with Capa after the adjournment he told the cuban that he will , most likely , resign the game without playing on. The continuation started @ 20:00 , the Central Hall was full. Vidmar walked around waiting for Capa so he could resign the game to him in person , but time was passing and clock was ticking... Tournament director came in saying that Capa`s flag will fall any second. There Vidmar recalled that Capa wasn`t speaking French too well , and they talked in French @ the time of the adjournment( in general, prior to WW2 chess elite was mostly communicating in German ). It became obvious that Capa misunderstood him , and Vidmar ran to the board and in the very last seconds managed to resign the game .

That gesture was , in Nottingham 1936 , declared as the most beautiful move of the English chess . It would be interesting to know how would our contemporaries react in such situation?>

PS re-posted from the Capa`s page , I just stumbled over it in (in Russian).

Aug-17-12  marljivi: In chess one has to be very precise: if 15...Qb2,then 16.Rb1Qa3 17.Bb5Nf6 (17...Qe7 18.Ne5Rd8 19.Nc6 )and now first 18.Ra1!...(18.Bc6?Ba6! 19.Ra1Rac8 20.Qc8Rc8! 21.Ra3Bf1 is less than nothing for white.) 18...Qb4 19.Bc6 (19...Ba6 20.Ra6Rfc8 21.Qb7Rab8 22.Qa7 ).
Aug-17-12  marljivi: Actually,I think 15.a3 is a mistake,since 15...Qb2 was possible after all: 16.Rb1Qa3 17.Bb5Rb8!! 18.Bd7Rb7 19.Qc8Rc8 20.Bc8Rc7 21.Ra1Qc3 22.Ba6-of course even here white is better,but it is very,very hard to win.After all,black has 2 connected passed pawns on the queenside.If white plays 18.Bc6!? instead(Trying to keep blacks pieces tight together;or 18.Ra1Qb4 19.Bc6...(19.Rfb1?Rb7!)19...a5 20.Rfb1Qc3-it is true that black will not develop his pieces easely,but it also ins't clear to me how white will improve position of his pieces!?),then 18...a5!(black should probably not allow invasion with Ra1-Ra7,since then Nd7 would have been lost) and similar,unclear position arises as in case of 18.Ra1.

The move 18...b5?!,instead of 18...a5!,is somewhat dobious: 19.Ra1Qc3 20.Ra7b4 21.Bd7Qc7 (21...Bd7? 22.Qd7b3 23.Ne5b2 24.Nf7 ;23...Rbd8 24.Qe7Rde8 25.Qa3Rb8 26.Nf7Rf7 27.Rf7Kf7 28.Qa7 ) 22.Rc7Bd7 23.Rd7b3 24.Rc7b2 25.Nd2Rfc8 26.Rc8Rc8 27.Nb1...(27.f4??Rc2 28.Nb1Re2,etc.) 27...Rc1 (27...g5?? 28.Re1 ;white will slowly,but surely improve position of his pieces.) 28.f4!?...(Another try is 28.f3!?-white doesn't want to exchange too many pawns,but on the other hand he needs square f3 for his king.After 28...g5! 29.g4Kg7(and if 30.Kf2,then 30...Rc2,etc.)I think the position is draw.) 28...g5 29.fg5hg5 30.Kf2...(Or 30.g4f5! 31.h3Kg7 32.Kf2Rc2 33.Kf3Rh2 34.Kg3Re2 35.Kf3Rh2 36.gf5ef5!? 37.Kg3Re2 38.Rf5Re1!,etc.)30...Rc2 31.Kf3g4! 32.Kg3Rc1! 33.Kf2Rc2 34.Kg1Rc1 and again the position seems to be drawish.So,even 18...b5?! was maybe enough for a draw,but 18...a5! is "safer".

Therefore I would recommend the move 15.Rc2(15...Nf6 16.Ne5) instead of 15.a3?!

Aug-17-12  marljivi: I actually overlooked very important possibility for white in my previous analyses-after 15...Qb2 16.Rb1Qa3 17.Bb5Rb8 18.Ra1Qb4 19.Rfb1Rb7 white has 20.Qb7Qb1 (20...Qb5?! 21.Rb5Bb7 22.Ra7Bc6 23.Rb1 ) 21.Rb1Bb7 22.Bd7Bc8! (22...Rd8? 23.Ne5Kf8 24.Rc1 ) 23.Bb5Bb7 24.Rc1...(24.Ra1?!a6,etc.) 24...Rc8 25.Rc8Bc8-strictly speaking,white should win this endgame,so that 15.a3 was not a mistake.But anyway-15...Qb2 had offered to black some practical chances of saving the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <marljivi>
What if 15...Qxb2 16. Qa4... looks like Black has to reply 16...b5 17. Qa5, and Black's queen is almost trapped. The threat is then 18. Rb1 Qa2 19. Qb4, followed eventually by Rb2. Do you see a way for Black's queen to escape?
Aug-25-12  marljivi: You probably meant 15...Qb2 16.Qc6...(16.Qa4 is not possible,since white queen is still on c7.)16...Rb8 17.Qa4b5 18.Qa5,right? Well,white now has the threat of 19.Rb1Qa2 20.Ra1...(No need for 20.Qb4,since the queen hunt goes with tempo.)20...Qb2 21.Rfb1 .But fortunately it's blacks move after 18.Qa5 and he has the defence.Actually I see 2 options: first is 18...Rb6 19.Rb1Ra6 and now best what white has is 20.Qa6Qb1 21.Rb1Ba6 22.Bb5 with drawish endgame,and second(better)is 18...b4! 19.a4b3 and black queen will escape via a3 to d6 or e7,with clear edge for black.

Instead of 18.Qa5,somehow better looks 18.Qa7...(taking the pawn with the threat of Rc8Rc8,Qd7)18...b4 19.ab4...(Blacks passed pawn is too strong,and needs to be eliminated.19.a4?b3 20.Rc8Rbc8! 21.Qd7Rc1 ;19.Rc8?Rbc8! 20.Qd7ba3 .)19...Rb7!(19...Qb4? 20.Rc8Rbc8 21.Qd7 with clear edge for white.)20.Qa8Rb8 21.Qa4...(21.Qa7Rb7 is repetition of moves.)21...Qb4 22.Qb4Rb4 23.Rc7-white still has some pressure in this endgame,although I think that black should draw this position.For example: 23...Rb7 24.Rfc1Rc7 25.Rc7f6! (Taking the square e5 away from whites knight.)26.Bb5Nb6 27.h4Rf7 28.Rc6Rb7 29.Ba6Rb8 30.Rb6Rb6 31.Bc8Kf7 or 31...g5,etc.White is only slightly better in my opinion.Another try is to play immidiately 27.Rc6,but then comes the "ugly" 27...Na8(With the idea of Bd7 and subsequent exchange of bishops,activation of blacks king,blacks knight,and a draw.) 28.Rc5!?...(Preventing Bd7)28...Nb6! and again black will play Rf7,etc.Or 28.Rd6?!Kf7,etc.Position is very drawish.

Aug-25-12  marljivi: Ok,I have to be a little bit more precise: 15...Qb2 16.Qc6Rb8 17.Qa4b5 18.Qa5...(Whites threat is after all 19.Rb1Qa2 20.Qb4...(Not 20.Ra1?Qb3!,etc.)followed by Rb2,etc.) 18...b4 (18...Rb6 19.Rb1Ra6 is another defence.)19.a4 and now first 19...Qa3!(Not 19...b3?? because of 20.Ra1! ;there would be no good defence against Rfb1.) 20.Bb5b3,etc.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <marljivi>
Thanks for that enlightenment.

At the end of your first line, 15...Qxb2 16. Qc6 Rb8 17. Qa4 b5 18. Qa5 b4 19. a4 Qa3 20. Bb5 b3 <21. Rc7>, White's piece activity and threats look pretty dangerous and close to a win to me. Let me know if you see a way to wriggle out.

click for larger view

As for your other defense with 15...Qxb2 16. Qc6 Rb8 17. Qa4 b5 18. Qa5 <Rb6>, again 19. Rc7 looks strong but I haven't had time to look at that in depth.

Sep-28-21  Canadian chesser: Gerald Abrahams in his "The Pan Book of Chess" has a wonderfully clear explanation of Capablanca's attack starting from Black's mistake of b6 in the opening. Abrahams first says obviously this is wrong as it forces Vidmar to capture on d5 with the Bishop pawn and not the King pawn. (If capture by the King pawn White attacks two pawns with Bd3, and wins.) But capture by the Bishop pawn opens the file to infiltration by the white queen, severely restricting Black's development, as Abrahams (hereafter G.A.) shows. So white begins attacking after the b6 error with Qc7. Here G.A. says Black could still defend desperately with Q-Q1, and this is the only saving move. So: if White responds 15. B-Kt5, then ... P-QR3 16. QxQ RxQ 17. B-B6 R-K2; if White responds 15. QxQ, then ... RxQ 16. R-B7 Kt-B3 (or Kt-B1, or Kt-Kt1), and the Black bishop moves clear of danger on the next move. But G.A. shows in detail that Vidmar makes a 2nd mistake by playing not 14 ... Qd8 but 14 ... Qb4, in a "bid for freedom" which "fails" (p. 124). Capablanca saw that after his a3 the b2 pawn is taboo. These sequences provided by G.A. show why: a) 15. ... QxKtP 16. R-QKt1 QxRP 17. B-Kt5 Q-K2 (not Kt-B3 as Black's Queen is then trapped with R-R1, followed by KR-Kt1 by White) 18. B-B6 R-Kt1 19. Kt-K5 Q-Q1 20. QxRP KtxKt 21 PxKt, "and Black has to lose his Rook or Bishop" (p. 125); b) 15 ... QxKtP 16. R-QKt1 QxRP 17. B-Kt5 Q-K2 18 B-B6 R-Kt1 19. Kt-K5 R-Q1 20. BxKt BxB 21. Kt-B6, "forking, and uncapturable because of the pin" (p. 125). Vidmar saw that b2 was taboo and moved his Queen to a4 to defend his Knight. At this point Capablanca is winning, says G.A. White exploited his advantage as in shown in the game score from moves 16 to 24, at which point G.A. stops his analysis saying simply that winning the exchange was enough for Capablanca to convert the advantage gained at move 15 into a win. As keypusher has already noted, Capablanca could have won a whole piece instead of just the exchange if he had played 20. Rb1 (... Q-R7 21. B-Kt3, and Black's Bishop is lost) instead of 20. Ktxd7. I didn't realize that Capablanca himself had pointed out this slight inaccuracy in his commentary after the game! Thanks paladin_at_large for posting that info. My question or 2 cents is, Why doesn't Black play 17 ... Ba6 instead of 17 ... Bd7? Would that not have allowed Vidmar to escape, and then work towards salvaging a draw in the endgame?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Canadian chesser> 17...Ba6 <18. b3> and Black will lose the bishop for 2 pawns, with a very strong looking position for White.
Sep-29-21  Canadian chesser: Thanks <beatgiant>! I see that my suggestion is not a way out for Black now! To any reading my original post: there is a typo at the tenth line. Instead of "then ... P-QR3 16. QxQ RxQ 17. B-B6 R-K2" it should read "then ... P-QR3 16. QxQ RxQ 17. B-B6 R-R2". Apologies!
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Canadian chesser> If Black wants to live until an endgame, probably 17...Qe8 is the way, but White would simply triple on the c-file with what looks like a huge advantage. For example, 17...Qe8 18. Rc3 Qd8 19. Rfc1 Qxc7 20. Rxc7, and White is threatening <21. Nxf7> now.
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