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Milan Vidmar vs Jose Raul Capablanca
San Sebastian (1911), San Sebastian ESP, rd 15, Mar-16
Tarrasch Defense: Symmetrical Variation (D32)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-24-04  meloncio: <Kaspablanca> I think they used some currency equivalence because it was an international tournament. In Nimzovich's "My System" we can read the first prize in San Sebastian 1912, one year later, was also in francs.
Feb-24-04  capanegra: <Calli> <meloncio>: Thanks.
Feb-24-04  Calli: <capanegra> I wonder if I have an extra zero in the figure that I gave. $70,000 would be an enormous sum for 1911. Perhaps we must convert 5000 francs to dollars in 1911 first before applying an inflation factor.
Feb-24-04  meloncio: <capanegra> Muchas gracias también a usted :-))
Feb-24-04  capanegra: <Calli> Unfortunately, I don’t have the exchange rate of 1911. However, a sum of $70,000 –at constant prices of 1999- doesn’t look to me so unlikelihood. For instance, didn’t Alekhine demand a fund of $10,000 –at current prices of that time, and after the crisis of 1929- for a rematch with Capablanca in 1931? I know that Alekhine made that half conscious of the impossibility of raising that sum, but in comparison, $70,000 of 1999 is small compared with $10,000 of 1931. As I don’t follow today’s chess notices, could you tell me the normal amount of the first price of an international tournament of first level nowadays? I am aware that at constant prices today’s payments are larger than 80 years ago, but just to make a gross comparison.

<meloncio> ¡Un saludo para todos los españoles!

Feb-24-04  Calli: I found a conversion spreadsheet. 5000 FF was worth about 265 USD in 1911. 265 USD adjusted for inflation is about $4825 USD for the year 2002.

Legend has it that Janowsky gambled away everything during the tournament and the casino bought his train ticket back to Paris.

Feb-24-04  meloncio: You can see the old casino yet. Today is the City Hall, a splendid building in a wonderful place, La Concha Beach in San Sebastian. This beach was then the summer residence for the Spanish royal family and, of course, the aristocratic high class.
Feb-25-04  capanegra: I want to apologize for my gross miscalculation in estimating the French inflation. In fact it is much lower than what I cited above. On the other hand, Calli’s approximation of $4825 is the right one.
Feb-25-04  meloncio: <capanegra> Don't worry amigo, I make mistakes everyday. And by the way, ¿Peñarol or Nacional?
Feb-25-04  Ruylopez: I'm going to San Sebastian in May. I'll have all of the answers after I come back.
Feb-25-04  capanegra: Not very fund of football, but if I have to choose, it is Nacional. What about you, Real Madrid or Barcelona?
Feb-25-04  meloncio: <capanegra>: First, my local team SEVILLA F.C., then Real and never Barcelona. Chess is only my second passion.
Feb-25-04  capanegra: Oops, sorry, I didn’t read your profile carefully. Then I guess you may be glad to have Darío Silva in your team.
Feb-25-04  meloncio: <capanegra> Sure! Darío is a great fighter! A nightmare for the rival teams ... and sometimes for the referees. We also have Inti Podestá & Germán Hornos, and before had Nico Olivera & Marcelo Otero. Many "charrúas" in Sevilla!
Feb-25-04  Calli: Futbol? Ugh! When I am in europe, it dominates the sports. Don't they ever have an off season? Really, I am just making fun. I don't mind the game, there is just too much of it. Besides, Capablanca was a shortstop in baseball :-)
Jul-13-04  Lawrence: Strange that Vidmar didn't fight this one out. As <meloncio> mentions in the first posting, this was the last round. Capa won the tournament with 9.5 points. Tied for second were Rubinstein and Vidmar with 9 points each. i.e. if Vidmar had won this game he would have won the tournament.

Junior shows that 21.Bc7 was stronger than Vidmar's 21.Be2, but Vidmar has not lost the game by any means. eval -0.82 Time trouble?

Jul-13-04  acirce: Well, how would he have won it if he had kept on playing pawn down in a pretty uncomplicated endgame? Seems more sensible not to risk the 2nd place if there are no realistic winning chances.
Jul-13-04  Calli: Vidmar has no chance of a win, he is a pawn down and probably jumped at the chance to secure a share of second place money.

Capablanca running a fever in the late rounds of the tournament. Two short draws (Teichmann and Vidmar) and the loss to Rubinstein are in the last three games. Even the win against Spielmann (Rd 12) is a little shakey.

Jul-14-04  Lawrence: <acirce> and <Calli>, miracles happen. Look what Kósimjánof did yesterday.
Jul-14-04  acirce: That was nowhere near this, this is pawn down in a simple endgame with serious time controls, yesterday's was a complicated position in rapid AND Kasim had nothing to lose by going for the win.
Jul-28-04  meloncio: A note about the San Sebastian Casino (the place where this game was played) I read today: It was built and inaugurated in 1897 to improve the economy of the city. Closed in 1924 when the military dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera banned gambling. In 1947 it was reopened as the City Hall to make use of so splendid building. And still is as we can see today ...
Oct-23-10  paladin at large: Thanks for the interesting posts on the game and the tournament. Calli's and acirce's comments are convincing, I think, on why both agreed to a draw. Capa would have drawn, even if he had felt well, since this cinched first place for him. Vidmar was probably elated to share second place money, and saw no reason to risk it, especially being down against Capa.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Calli: ....Legend has it that Janowsky gambled away everything during the tournament and the casino bought his train ticket back to Paris.>

While I've no way to confirm or deny this tale, given Janowski's proclivities, it isn't at all difficult to believe, and Tartakower's name could easily be substituted for Janowski's.

Sep-12-15  ToTheDeath: An interesting anecdote in this 1935 portrait of Capa, except that it has him winning the game?!

<It was very chilly in Spain during the San Sebastian event and Capablanca caught himself a bad cold. However, he went through the early rounds easily enough. Now Capablanca is not, as we have hinted, the gray-bearded recluse that the word “chess master” brings up. He is a gay, happy-go-lucky caballero and he’ll take a drink or sing a song or sit up all night and talk about anything. He found kindred spirits in San Sebastian that year and, although he devoted his days to playing chess, he felt that the nights were his own. He saw, shall we say, the night life of Spain?

When the day dawned for his final match (it was with Dr. Vidmar, wizard of engineering and chess) Capa woke up with a temperature of 103. He felt like nothing on earth, but chess matches, unlike prize fights, cannot be postponed at the whim of a participant. He had to go through with it or forfeit. He led the tournament and to win all he needed was a draw with Vidmar. Vidmar on the other hand could win the tournament if he beat Capablanca. It was a tough spot. And the stuffy room where they were to play was crowded with spectators and filled with smoke and unbearably hot. The fever was killing Capablanca.

Capablanca suggested that the game be removed to a neighboring room which was larger. They moved. The room was encircled by windows which were closed. The Cuban though he’d burn up if those windows weren’t opened.

“A bit stuffy, isn’t it?” he suggested and he opened one window. They began the match and the fever mounted. Between moves Capablanca arose casually and strode to another window. Eventually he had every window in the place wide open and the breeze almost murdered the sun-loving Spaniards. But it kept that fever from mounting—and Capablanca won the game which he had only hoped to draw.>

Sep-07-18  Olavi: Of course 21.Be2 was not played, it ended in a draw after black's 20th, as it's normally given.
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