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Jose Raul Capablanca vs George Alan Thomas
Hastings (1934/35), Hastings ENG, rd 2, Dec-28
Queen's Gambit Declined: Modern. Knight Defense (D51)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-17-04  Whitehat1963: It looks to me like Capablanca just gets outplayed here, not that he blundered badly, but rather, Thomas just plays brilliantly. I especially like 24 ... Rxd2 followed by 25 ... Qa5! I'm frankly surprised that Capa decides to hang on after 50. Rxe4.
Feb-17-04  Resignation Trap: 20. d5? is inferior to 20. dxc5!

24. Nd2? just drops material. 24. Ng5 was better.

Not a good tournament for Capablanca. Four days later he lost this game: Lilienthal vs Capablanca, 1935

May-14-04  Whitehat1963: <Resignation Trap> In what way is 20. d5? inferior to 20. dxc5? What does Crafty think of 20. dxc5?
Aug-22-10  Highlander18: 20.d5 allows the undermining ...b5, as exactly happened in the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: At his 18th move, Capablanca held the advantage and had the choice of several good moves:

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Fritz 12 prefers: (.97) (20 ply) 18.e5! Nd5 19.Ne4 c5, (1.10) (20 ply) 20.Nd6 Rc7 21.dxc5 bxc5 22.g3 Bc6 23.Bd3, or (1.09) (20 ply) 20.Nd6 Rxd6 21.exd6 Qxd6 22.Qe4 Nd7 23.dxc5 Nxc5 24.Qh4.

The tournament book, "Hastings 1934-1935", by Luis Eceizabarrena Gaba and Y Ricardo Alvarez Cela, recommended the move 18.b4. Fritz indicates this move is also in favor of White: (.62) (20 ply) 18.b4 Ne8 19.Bb3 c5 20.bxc5 bxc5 21.d5.

Capablanca's 18.Qb3, also favored White: 18.Qb3 Rc7 19.e5, (.57) (20 ply) 19...Nd5 20.Ne4 c5 21.g3 Bc6 22.Nd6, or 18.Qb3 Rc7 (.68) (20 ply), 19.h3 Ng6 20.e5 Nd5 21.Ne4.

Thomas's reply, 18...Qc7?, allowed Capablanca the chance to play: 19.e5! (.86) (20 ply) 19...Ne8 20.Ne4 c5 21.dxc5 bxc5 22.Qe3, or (1.10) (20 ply) 19...Nd5 20.Ne4 Ng6 21.Nd6 Rxd6 22.exd6 Qxd6 23.g3.

Capablanca's 19.Qa2?, allowed Thomas the chance to gain a slight edge with 19...b5!: (-.23) (20 ply) 20.Bf1 c5 21.Rc1 Qb6 22.Qb3 a6 23.dxc5 Rxc5.

Thomas missed 19...b5!, and his 19...c5 allowed Capablanca to obtain an equal position with: 20.d5!. Fritz indicates the following continuation as equal: 20...b5 21.dxe6 bxc4 22.exf7+ Qxf7 23.Ng5 Qg6 24.Qxc4+ Bd5 25.Rxd5 Nxd5 26.h4.

Others have recommended the move 20.dxc5?, but this move would have been an error, allowing Black to gain the advantage: 20.dxc5? (-.60) (20 ply) 20...Qxc5! 21.Rxd8 Rxd8 22,b4 Qc7 23.Qe2 Ng6.

Premium Chessgames Member
  profK: From a space perspective alone 18.e5 is a no brainer...most correspondence players would do it out of reaction and expand gradually..
Premium Chessgames Member
  NM JRousselle: Thomas was a pretty good end game player. He drew Vidmar in Nottingham 1936 while a pawn down for most of the ending. He won a prize for his defense.
Aug-03-11  asiduodiego: Even if Capablanca was out of shape in this particular tournament, this is a great game of Thomas.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: < Resignation Trap:....Not a good tournament for Capablanca....>

Indeed not, especially by his august standards; then again it had been over three years since his last serious chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: < profK: From a space perspective alone 18.e5 is a no brainer....>

There's little doubt in my mind Capablanca would have given the most serious consideration to this idea, as well as thematic play with 18.b4, as mentioned in <Pawn and Two>'s analysis per Fritz 12. We should remember that the Cuban genius spent the last several months of 1927 fighting a determined challenger in these types of positions, and presumably understood them a mite better than players such as ourselves. It's one thing to sit in comfort at home and proclaim this move or that one a 'no brainer', quite another to be at the board and have to come up with ideas.

<....most correspondence players would do it out of reaction and expand gradually.. >

One rather suspects that most any strong player would give this idea greater consideration than that-18.e5 brings about a fundamental change in the character of play, thus is not a decision to be taken lightly.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Is Thomas underestimated ?!
Jun-14-18  morfishine: <kingscrusher> I don't think so, he also beat some guy named Botvinnik

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