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Jose Antonio Blanco vs Jose Raul Capablanca
Havana (1901), Havana CUB, rd 2, Oct-21
Italian Game: Two Knights Defense (C55)  ·  0-1



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sac: 20...c6 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Aug-30-04  pawnQueenblack: 66.Ke4?
For draw: 66.Kxf6 Ng4+
67.Kf5 Nh6+
68.Kg6 Ng4
69.Kg5 Ne5
70.Kf5 Nf7
71.Kf6 Nh6
Aug-30-04  acirce: Doesn't 72.Ke7 hold as well? Keep the king close to the queenside pawns from the beginning instead of committing suicide by having to go there later when the black king has replaced the knight as guard of h8 so that the N can defend the last pawn from a3.
Aug-30-04  pawnQueenblack: Ok, acirce
For win Capa would try:
63.Kf5 Nh6+
64.Kg6 f5!
65.Kxh6 f4
66.Kg5 f3
67.h6 f2
68.h7 f1Q
Aug-30-04  acirce: <pawnQueenblack> Yes, that is winning - so mutual mistakes in this endgame then. Maybe it was not that well-played after all.
Feb-08-05  Whitehat1963: An excellent example of the opening of the day. And a great endgame.
Aug-01-05  gambitfan: very boring counterplay !
Nov-23-05  Chopin: A beautiful display of Capablanca's endgame skills.
May-15-06  CapablancaFan: One of the most amazing endings I have ever seen. Capa goes down an exchange, but not in skill. After turning his horse into a "SUPER KNIGHT" ( this knight was worth it's weight in gold) he goes into a superior endgame. It's true, Blanco has to give up his rook to keep the pawn from queening, but Blanco has an ace up his sleeve (or so he thinks) a passed pawn on the h-file. Capa plants his knight in front of it and only when the white king is upon the white knight he realizes he can't take it because if 57.Kxh8?? ...Kf7! and Capa wins!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: As said above, <63...Kb3?> is an error -- it lets out the win after the 63...Kxa3 64.Kf5 Nh6+ ... and either 65.Kxf6 Kxb4 66.Kg6 a5! 67.Kxh6 a4... or 65.Kg6 f5! 66.Kxh6 f4... In both cases, Black promotes 'just in time'.

In turn, the endgame was lost only by <72.Kg7?>. White 72.Ke7 or 72.Kf5 would have readily held the game. In order to collect the h7 pawn, Black would have had to surrender both of his own remaining pawns.

I personally have a hard time viewing <66.Ke4> as an error. Some of the possible variations after 66.Kxf6 just transpose back into the essentially the same positions as those played in the game. And even after the game 66.Ke4, the encounter would have been easily drawn were it not for the misguided pursuit (72.Kg7?) of the 'attractive nuisance' at h8.

Despite of the two technical inacuracies, to me, this is an exquisite endgame on the conceptual level. The key trap is based on a rather sparklingly clever idea.

Oct-25-06  Karpova: <Gypsy: As said above, <63...Kb3?> is an error>

There's no 63...Kb3 in this game.
The only time the black king gets to b3 is on move 51

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Karpova> I think I was trying to say that Black had a win after 62...Kxa3 63.Kf5 Nh6 64.Kxf6 Kxb4 65.Kg6 a5 66.Kxh6 a4... and/or ...64.Kg6 f5! 65.Kxh6 f4...

(The error was <62...Kc3>.)

Oct-26-06  RookFile: As always, Capablanca, displays a modern understanding of material imbalances.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Compare the position (after 48. ... Ke8) from Shirov vs Aronian, 2006, played yesterday in Moscow.
Feb-09-08  veigaman: Incredible calculating abilities for a 13 years old boy
Feb-09-08  veigaman: good game!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Would 59...♘g6 60.h5 ♘f4 followed by 61...♘xh5 have been a quicker win? The Black King then just gobbles up the White Q-side pawns.
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: An incredible game with few comments. (my second comment in 6 years). Of course flaws can be found with analysis or computers but it still is a good game to replay. Does anyone know if this was just a casual game?
Mar-05-10  paladin at large: <technical draw> It was not a casual game. This game with José Antonio Blanco was on 21 October, four weeks before the start of Capa's match with Juan Corzo. JAB was the last in a series of strong Cuban players Capa played before the Corzo match started, according to surviving records. Two of Capa's ten opponents in this series played him once only. Clocks were used; Capa's average rate of play was 140 moves per hour. (Source - Hooper & Brandreth).
Mar-05-10  Gilmoy: <tayer: With 22.Nxa8+, Blanco wins the exchange with no material compensation for Capablanca ...> Too shallow. Black does have some compensation "in the bag" because of an unanswerable double on weak f4. Hence:

- <20.Qc3> forks c7 and g7, so Black is losing a pawn('s worth) regardless.

- If Black allows Qxc7, White probably eats a few more pawns (or mates).

- If Black allows Qxg7, it "forces" Raf8. Then Black is stuck playing defense against White's <AWACS in the throat> Nd5.

- <20..c6!> offers R for N+P, which is also about a 1-pawn deficit. But it snuffs all White counterplay. Then White's RR is an awful piece mix to face Black's mobile pawn chain.

Black didn't have to calculate <20..c6> to a win; he only needed to calculated <20..other> to a probable loss. Probably the real feat was that he saw all this around 16, and still assessed that <16..Qh4> was a viable tactical shot.

Mar-05-10  paladin at large: <veigaman> Capa was still 12 when this was played.
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: <paladin at large> Thanks for that info. That adds excitement to this game.
Apr-04-10  Chess Network: Kf8...oh no!!
Jul-17-14  Albion 1959: This game appears on Page 123 in The Unknown Capablanca by Hooper and Brandreth (Batsford 1974). It is one Capablanca's earliest endgame efforts, he was only twelve years old at the time. Yes it was played in Havana on 21/10/1901:
Feb-12-16  visayanbraindoctor: A super GM endgame. Played by a 12 year old!

Capablanca demonstrates how to handle the N side in a N vs R game. He exploits the holes in his opponents' position where his Knight can't be dislodged by his opponent's Rook.

In such positions, the chess principle

<There are holes in the R side which the N side can exploit favorably with the Knight, on which the N can't be challenged by an opposing B or N (because they have been exchanged off with a R). This is usually can happen because the position retains a semi closed character just after the sac is made, in which the interlocked pawn structures allows for such holes.>

may act as a guideline in order to judge if an exchange sac offers adequate compensation for the N side.

Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: 45.Kg3? is probably the losing move, allowing Black to play 45...Ke4 and the White king is too far away from the queenside. White should have tried 45.Ke2 Ke4 46.Rxc3, and if 46...Kxf4, then 47.Re3 might hold for White.

Capa had an earlier win with 51...Kc3! (51...Kb3 should have drawn after 52.Kd3!) to prevent 52.Kd3 and aiming for 52...Kb2. After 52.Rf1 (52.Ke4 Kb2 wins) 52...Kb2 53.Kd2 Nd4 54.Kd3 Nf3! 55.Ke2 Nxh4 56.Kd2 Nf3+!, threatening 57...Nxe5 or 57...c1=Q, and Black wins.

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