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Aron Nimzowitsch vs Jose Raul Capablanca
San Sebastian (1911), San Sebastian ESP, rd 8, Mar-03
French Defense: King's Indian Attack (C00)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-07-10  Shams: <Sure, Nimzo certainly contributed more to chess theory>

bold statement given that all rook endgame theory is essentially footnotes to Capablanca.

Jan-07-10  TheFocus: <waustad>< I'm surprised that it is called a KI Attack when no K-side fianchetto happened. It seems more like an Old Indian Reversed, though I don't recall anybody else calling something that.>

I have played it several times and it is called the Old Indian Attack. I used to also play the Grunfeld Attack and the King's Indian Attack. Interchangeable with OI Reversed, KI Reversed, etc. Attack sounds better than Reversed, don't you think?

Jan-07-10  AnalyzeThis: There are a multitude of players who think Chess Fundamentals is the best book for learning chess there is.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gezafan: Chess Fundamentals is definitely a good book.

Karpov said it was the first chess book he ever read cover to cover. That's a good start!

Capablanca said that Nimzovich's weakness was the endgame, relatively speaking. He proved this over the board.

Nimzovich was, of course, a very good endgame player but not compared to his peers at the top of the chess world.

Nimzovich was an outstanding chess player. But Capa was one of the all time greats!

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Shams: <Sure, Nimzo certainly contributed more to chess theory>

bold statement given that all rook endgame theory is essentially footnotes to Capablanca.>

Yes I see what you mean. :-)

Alekhine vs Capablanca, 1927

Jan-08-10  AnalyzeThis: Fischer and others said that Capa was actually overrated in the endgame. According to Fischer, Capa's real strength was the ability to play super sharp moves in the middlegame, and visualize the coming endgame, so that the game was actually over before the endgame began, even if the opponent didn't always realize it.
Jan-08-10  maxi: <AnalyzeThis>, would you please show me where Fischer says that Capa was not so good in the endgame?
Jan-08-10  TheFocus: <maxi> In his 1964 article THE TEN GREATEST MASTERS IN HISTORY, Fischer wrote:

<The glamour boy of world chess, Capablanca, had been champion of Cuba at the age of 12, and from that time to his death in 1942, he had the totally undeserved reputation (as Petrosian does today) of being the greatest living endgame player. I recall a game Capablanca played against Vera Menchik in which he made three colossals blunders in the endgame, and that instance, while not quite typical, is representative of the fact that Capablanca didn’t know the simplest Rook and Pawn endings. The story is that he played over thousands of Rook and Pawn endings, but I cannot believe this to be true. Capablanca was among the greatest of chess players, but not because of his endgame. His trick was to keep his openings simple, and then play with such brilliance in the middlegame that the game was decided – even though his opponent didn’t always know it – before they arrived at the ending. Capablanca never really devoted himself to chess, seldom made preparations for a match. His simplicity is a myth. His almost complete lack of book knowledge forced him to push harder to try to squeeze the utmost out of every position. Every move he made had to be sharp so as to make something out of nothing. He had to try harder than anybody else because he had so little to begin with. He matured early, and played his best games in his twenties. He was the only great Latin player ever to emerge on the world scene.>

Quite frankly, I disagree, as do many others, with Fischer's assessments.

Jan-08-10  maxi: <TheFocus> Yes, thank you. Oh my. I also recall the horrible statement about Lasker Fischer made, the one about the world champ of so many years being a coffeehouse player. There are supposed to be seven types of intelligence (eight with chess, I guess). Fischer did not have all of them for sure.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gezafan: I agree with one statement Fischer made about Capablanca. He was a very sharp player.

Later in his career his style may have changed somewhat but in his heyday he played very sharply.

I looked at some of his games. He must have been a nightmare to play.

Jan-08-10  AnalyzeThis: This is one obvious example, there are others. Mind you, it's all relative. Capablanca was an excellent endgame player, of course.

Capablanca vs Menchik, 1929

I think there are 3 or 4 outright errors on Capa's part, in this endgame, that gave Menchik several chances to make a draw.

Jan-08-10  AnalyzeThis: <bold statement given that all rook endgame theory is essentially footnotes to Capablanca >

That would be news to Rubinstein and Lasker.

Jan-08-10  TheFocus: <AnalyzeThis> <bold statement given that all rook endgame theory is essentially footnotes to Capablanca >

<That would be news to Rubinstein and Lasker.>

Excellent!! Even Capablanca proclaimed Lasker as the greatest endgame player ever. As good as an endgame player as Capablanca was, he never reached Rubinstein's level in Rook endgames, or Maroczy's skill in Queen endings, nor Lasker's level in overall endgame play.

Jan-08-10  TheFocus: <AnalyzeThis>< There are a multitude of players who think Chess Fundamentals is the best book for learning chess there is.>

Actually, I think you could include Capablanca's other books: A Primer of Chess, Last Lectures, and My Chess Career with Chess Fundamentals and have a great basis for success.

I know that Last Lectures was an eye-opener for me. After that, at 15 years old, I began studying the endgame.

Jan-08-10  visayanbraindoctor: <gezafan: I agree with one statement Fischer made about Capablanca. He was a very sharp player.

Later in his career his style may have changed somewhat but in his heyday he played very sharply.

I looked at some of his games. He must have been a nightmare to play.>

I totally agree. It's a total myth that Capablanca (if we take his youthful chess from 1909 to 1922) played for simple positions. For starters, one can look at the games from his 1909 match with Marshall. They were slugging it out in the most tempestuous lightning-and-thunder games of practically any match between world-class players. Another set of Capablanca tactical slugfests was his 1913 to 1914 European tour games.

Capablanca was also one of the best endgame players of all time. After seeing many live on-line endgames in the internet where a top present-day GM would often blunder away a won ending or lose a drawn one, I can't help but think - oh gee, Lasker, Rubinstein, and Capa hardly made those kinds of endgame mistakes and it's probably a sign that present-day chess masters should also put some effort into studying endgames. As for who was better among these three in endgames, I would opine that in the 'simplest' ones, Rubinstein probably excelled more, while in the endings where a lot of calculations had to be done, Capa was tops, with Lasker somewhere in between.

As for the middlegame and middlegame-to-endgame transitions, I totally agree with Fischer. I have never seen any one who could play such complicated and difficult middlegames as though he were almost like a computer as the Capablanca of the 1909 to 1922 era. This achievement is all the more extraordinary if we consider that for nearly all of these games Capa was getting into the middlegame without maximizing his opening preps; and so he was clearly playing practically all of them by improvising over-the-board; unlike most cases of opening-to-middlegame transitions beginning in the mid-1930s when theoreticians such as Botvinnik and Euwe began a systematic approach to openings and the opening-to-middlegame transitions. It would indeed have been a nightmare to play someone who you know beforehand, and confirmed as your game went along, who hardly ever made any mistakes at all.

Jan-08-10  maxi: I looked at Capa's endgame against Vera Menchik (Hastings 1929), and he really is unrecognizable. He is clearly playing distractedly, and seems more to be trying to draw than to win. Perhaps he was being chivalrous. I cannot see how it is possible to draw dramatic conclusions about Capa's endgame ability on the basis of this peculiar example, when, on the other hand, you have so many other precisely and beautifully played endgames.
Sep-29-10  shakespeare: In this game everything seems to be o.k. for white until move 27 - c5 and the position of white starts to collapse, because the white B of black gets into play

27. d5 Nce7 28. Be5 Bh4 29 g3 Bg5 a.s.o.
doubling the R later on the e file

the problem is, that Nimzo was a little bit down in material and did not make a correct use of his main asset - the 2 central pawns

Jan-13-13  Ulhumbrus: The reason for the sacrifice 15 Nxc4 may begin to answer the question of why Capablanca wins the game. One answer is that if White does not offer this sacrifice he gets desperately cramped after Black plays ...f4 followed by ..Bf5
Jan-13-13  RookFile: In other words, white was already in trouble. Surely 11. exd5 was not the sort of move white should be compelled to play.
Jan-14-13  jerseybob: I'd call this the "Old Indian Attack", since just like in the Old Indian, there's no kingside fianchetto. And having to waste time getting the bishop out of the way costs white in the center, big time. 9.a3 looks like a wasted move, and anti-positional too. 9.Bf1 might've been better, but best to fianchetto in the first place!
Jan-14-13  RookFile: 9...... f5 might have been the best move of the game. Nimzo had no idea how to respond to it.
Jan-16-13  jerseybob: Looking back through earlier posts, I see Waustad made the same comment that I did three years ago. Sorry for the unintentional plagiarization. And meantime, my Nets getting blown out by the Hawks!(so far)
Mar-03-14  maxi: It may be possible for White to save the game after 14...c4, but it will certainly require a very careful defensive job.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <gezafan: I agree with one statement Fischer made about Capablanca. He was a very sharp player.


I looked at some of his games. He must have been a nightmare to play.>

An understatement, to be sure. Capa was called a chess genius by one world champ, and a chess machine by another. A third world champion named him in the top ten of all time.

And multiple world champions named him as one of the notable players who influenced them.

At one point in his career, Capa went about a decade without losing a single game.

So yes, he was a nightmare for sure!

May-22-20  SubSahara: Being new to chess, I have just had a look at Capa's record vs Lasker ( a world champion of 27yrs) - it's just a one-way traffic! How can this happen?
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