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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Vera Menchik
Hastings (1929/30), Hastings ENG, rd 3, Dec-29
English Opening: Agincourt Defense. Keres Defense (A14)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
May-02-04  acirce: A famous cavalcade of grave errors. 55...Ra6?? 56. Rd7?? Ra8 57. Re7 Ra6?? 58. Kf8+! Kg6 59. f7 Ra8+ 60. Re8 Ra7 61. Re6+ Kh7 62. Ke8?? Ra8+ 63. Ke7 Ra7?? 64. Kf6 1-0

55...Rb8 =, 55...Rb1 =
56. Kf8+
62. Re1 , 62. Rf6+-
63...Kg7 =

Oct-26-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: Perhaps 46...Rg3+ 47.Kf5 e3 48.b5 Rh3 49.Kg4 Kf7 draws.

Does 50...Rf1 draw? If 51.f5 Re1 52.b5 Rb1 53.Rxe3 Rxb5 54.Re5 Rb2 55.Kf7 Ra2 56.f6 Ra7+ 57.Re7 Ra1, can White win?

Perhaps 52...Rf4 is better. If 53.Rd3. then 53...Kg8 54.Rd8+ Kh7 looks like a draw.

55...Rb8 56.Rd7 Rb2 57.Rd1 Rb7+ 58.Ke6 Rb6+ should draw.

56.Kf8 Kg6 57.f7 Ra8+ 58.Re8 Ra7 59.Re6+ Kh7 60.Re3 or 60.Rf6 should wins.

Perhaps better is 62.Re3 (does 62.Rf6 also win?) 62...Ra8+ 63.Ke7 Ra7+ 64.Kf6 Ra6 65.Re6 Ra8 66.Rd6 Kh6 67.Rd2 Ra6+ 68.Ke7 Ra7+ 69.Ke8 Ra8+ 70.Rd8, and White win.

63...Kg7 64.Ra6 Rb8 65.Rb6 Ra8 66.Rb7 Rf8 draws.

Feb-08-06  CapablancaFan: Nice fight Ms.Menchik put up against Capablanca, but you can't whittle the came down to an ending with Capa even having a ONE pawn material advantage. If you do, you're as good as dead.
Apr-22-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: <<... you can't whittle the came down to an ending with Capa even having a ONE pawn material advantage. If you do, you're as good as dead.>>

Considering that the above game features Capablanca twice throwing away the win in a basic ending, this is perhaps not the best game to make such a comment.

Apr-22-06  Whitehat1963: Can black get a draw by repetition or perpetual check via 64...Ra8? I'm thinking: 65. Re8 Ra6+ etc.
Apr-22-06  Karpova: <Can black get a draw by repetition or perpetual check via 64...Ra8?>

no, black can't. 65.Rd6

Apr-22-06  CapablancaFan: <Whitehat1963> <Can black get a draw by repetition or perpetual check via 64...Ra8? I'm thinking: 65. Re8 Ra6+ etc.> <Karpova> is quite correct 65.Rd6 ends that dream. <Eggman> <Considering that the above game features Capablanca twice throwing away the win in a basic ending, this is perhaps not the best game to make such a comment> Actually, I agree with you. If you know anything about Capa, he wasn't known for finding the "quickest way to win", but rather the "surest way to win". He had a habit of analyzing positions, and when he found a winning line then that was it. He almost never looked further to see if there were any better lines as long as the line he found was sound and winning. It sometimes meant Capa took the long way around to a point instead of shortcuts, but that was his playing style.
Apr-23-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: <<It sometimes meant Capa took the long way around to a point instead of shortcuts, but that was his playing style.>>

OK, perhaps, but this game features Capablanca twice throwing away the win. He triumphed only because Menchik returned the favour by throwing away the draw.

Apr-23-06  Karpova: This shows that Capablanca was just not perfect, like very human being. He may have been tired, unconcentrated - who knows?
Apr-23-06  Open Defence: maybe he was trying to get Menchik to go out with him hehehehe
Apr-23-06  Karpova: do you think she would have refused to do so?
Apr-23-06  Open Defence: nope I dont think she would have refused, they say Jose Raul was quite the ladies man
Apr-23-06  Karpova: but he beat Menchik every time they met each other (9 times!). quite a rude and violent behaviour, don't you think?
Apr-23-06  Open Defence: unless Menchik liked it that way LOL!
Apr-23-06  Karpova: <Open Defence>, shouldn't you update your profile (the part about unification of the worldchampionship)?
Apr-24-06  Open Defence: <karpova> if it actually happens yes hehehe i hope the match happens
May-01-06  Karpova: You don't trust Ilhumzhinov?
Sep-06-09  birthtimes: Capa could have prevented a draw by saving his b-pawn rather than his f-pawn, since his b-pawn is further away from his opponent's king.

Thus, 47. f5! e3 48. Kf4 Rf1+ 49. Kxe3 Rxf5 50. Kd4 and wins...

Sep-06-09  anjyplayer: Silly pawn structures are a gift of english openings. Would kasparov, fischer would have allowed backward e pawn with bishop at e3. What kind of pawn structure is this ?
Sep-06-09  birthtimes: Actually, Fischer posted his bishop at e3 with pawn at e2 twice when he played the English Opening, one of them resulting in a win against Spassky in 72...
Apr-30-14  Howard: Andrew Soltis featured this ending back in 1984 in his monthly Chess Life column, showing the comedy of errors.

He made the interesting point that perhaps Capablanca was not the "fantastic" endgame player that most sources have made him out to be. Rather, in a lot of his best-known endgames, the deck was stacked in his favor before the endgame phase even arrived. In other words, he often wasn't taking dead-level endgames and transforming them into wins Rubinstein-style (!).

Fischer, in fact, once said that contrary to popular belief, Capablanca's main strength was in the middlegame, not (!) the endgame. He, too, said that in a lot of Capablanca's endgames the game had already been decided in the middlegame phase even if that wasn't really apparent to most players.

Jan-16-16  WorstPlayerEver: Fischer gave this game as example for Capa's 'bad endgame'. Which is ridiculous, obviously. People make mistakes. Speaking of 'mistakes'... do you see a better move than 55... Ta6? Well.. there isn't!!
Jul-01-22  newzild: <[Capablanca] had the totally undeserved reputation (as Petrosian does today) of being the greatest living endgame player.

I recall a game Capablanca played Vera Menchek in which he made three colossal blunders in the endgame ... Capablanca didn't know the simplest rook and pawn endings.>

- Robert James Fischer

Jul-01-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: <Andrew Soltis featured this ending back in 1984 in his monthly Chess Life column, showing the comedy of errors.

He made the interesting point that perhaps Capablanca was not the "fantastic" endgame player that most sources have made him out to be. Rather, in a lot of his best-known endgames, the deck was stacked in his favor before the endgame phase even arrived. In other words, he often wasn't taking dead-level endgames and transforming them into wins Rubinstein-style (!).

Fischer, in fact, once said that contrary to popular belief, Capablanca's main strength was in the middlegame, not (!) the endgame. He, too, said that in a lot of Capablanca's endgames the game had already been decided in the middlegame phase even if that wasn't really apparent to most players.>

Interesting comments by Soltis and Fischer. While I agree that Capablanca often won games in the middlegame, I disagree that he was not a great endgame player. I believe all the best players of their eras have been masters in this area relative to others. And it still takes proper technique to convert an advantage in the endgame into a win. Who was it that said something like a won game is the hardest to win (paraphrasing)?

Jul-01-22  SChesshevsky: Have to agree with 0ZeR0. Capa definitely great for his time. Plus likely he didn't spend much, if any, studying endgame play. And years before resources like Fine's BCE or Smyslov's writing.

I'd say you need to get out of the middle game with some sort of edge to typically win an endgame. That edge may be subtle and/or tiny. Otherwise it's usually up to the opponent to err.

Stated around these pages before that think many seemingly equal endgames Carlsen wins actually has him entering with a subtle edge.

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