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Oscar Chajes vs Jose Raul Capablanca
"de-Capa-tation" (game of the day Feb-26-2010)
Rice Memorial (1916), New York, NY USA, rd 2, Feb-07
French Defense: McCutcheon. Duras Variation (C12)  ·  1-0



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Given 19 times; par: 108 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-26-10  AnalyzeThis: <RandomVisitor: After 24.Rh3, black had a good move and a strong advantage, that was overlooked: 24.... Ne7 >

Very interesting. I did have the impression that Capa could have beaten this attack off.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: It appears 51 Qxg4+ wins easily, forcing the exchange of rook for bishop.

For example, 51...Kh7 52 Qh5 Rxf6 53 Bg5+.

click for larger view

Or 51...Kh8 52 Bg7+ Kg8 53 Qh5, etc.

click for larger view

White ends up ahead a queen vs. the loss of a bishop and a knight.

Feb-26-10  whiteshark: Don't mess with Chajes.
Feb-26-10  WhiteRook48: OMG that is the worst pun i have ever heard
Feb-26-10  hstevens129: What's up with 6...Bxc3 ? Seems like it just strengthens White's center. Would love to hear someone's opinion on that.
Feb-26-10  hstevens129: 8.Qg4! is really great [8...0-0? 9.Bxh6]. Black will now not only be incapable of castling, his King-side Rook is going to have a hard time getting out of there.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <hstevens> After 6.Bd2:

click for larger view

...Bxc3 is Black's usual move here, as it allows him to move his attacked knight to e4 on the next move. If 6...Ne4 immediately, then 7.Nxe4 wins a piece (7...dxe4 8.Bxb4, or 7...Bxd2+ 8.Nxd2).

If black doesn't play 6...Bxc3, his knight must go to d7 or g8, and in either case 7.Qg4 has worked much better than in the game.

Have you tried the Opening Explorer yet? Go to here: Opening Explorer You'll see that 6...Bxc3 has yielded good results for White, but 6...Nfd7 has given White overwhelming results. Also 6...Bxc3 has been played 40 times as much as 6...Nfd7.

Now, you can't use these statistics as "proof", but they do indicate that the vast majority of master players feel Black gets better chances with the knight in more active play on e4. If you feel differently, just study the games, develop some ideas on playing the resulting positions, then go out and shock the world! It won't be the first time established theory has been turned on its head.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: normally,this ending is a very hard win-especially since it involvwa one of the best ever. Here,it's child's play (without Chuckie).
Dec-18-11  fetonzio: Rxh6 is quite beautiful
Nov-29-15  kereru: After the sac/blunder 24...f5? Black's initiative doesn't give him enough for the Queen. 29...Bc6 (given by Capa) is only slightly more accurate than 29...Rcg8; the plan he gives (30.g3 Kh5, followed by 31..Kg4 and 32...Rh8) is too slow and White has time to defend. At best he can draw a worse endgame.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: Do you put the start date or the end date of a game here? Round 2 of the finals started on Feb 7, 1916. Capablanca adjourned his game on move 54. The game was resumed on February 10. Capa played 12 more moves after the adjourned position before resigning. By the way, Chajes was not supposed to play in the finals, reserved for the top 4 players in the main tournament. He did not qualify. He ended up in 5th place behind Capa (scoring 11 wins and 2 draws), Janowski, Kostic, and Kupchik. But the players agreed to allow Chajes to play. Capa would have had a longer winning record if Chajes had not been allowed to play.
Aug-21-17  The Kings Domain: Stellar play by Chajes, going toe to toe against the great and finally attaining victory.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: <Jimfromprovidence> The line you give as easily winning is mentioned by Capa in Chess Fundamentals. He wrote that he was hoping Chajes would play precisely that, 51.Qxg4+ Kh7 52. Qh5 Rxf6 53. Bg5+ Kg7 54. BxR KxB and the position, while won, is a very difficult one. I have gone over the position and, for what it's worth, fully agree with him. A top GM should win with no trouble, but it is a difficult position to play, especially with a clock at your side. It is difficult for white to make headway because black pieces defend each other and don't allow the white king to infiltrate. White's main weapon is Zugswang and he has to be precise.

The line played by Chajes 51.Bg7 wins (because of Zugswang) right away.

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: White's play for a win is to force black to move his pawns using Zugswang, thus weakening his position. If black resists the temptation to play his pawns eventually he has to allow the white king to penetrate to the advanced central squares. After this is achieved the mate threats make the position indefensible.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: My previous comment refers to the position after the line mentioned by Capa, 51.Qxg4+ Kh7 52. Qh5 Rxf6 53. Bg5+ Kg7 54. BxR KxB.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <Maxi> Thanks for pointing out my post from 7 1/2 year ago.

I completely agree with your assessment. In fact white might have passed up on another tempting move that could have led to similar difficulties, 52 Qh3, below, instead of the text 52 Kf2.

click for larger view

It's also cool to revisit a 100 year old gem of a game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: <Jimfromprovidence> One of my first two chess books was "Chess Fundamentals". I remember when I saw Capa's game with Chajes, and read his comment regarding Chajes fifty first move I thought "What the hell is he talking about". When I read your post I remembered Capa's comment and analyzed the position. I realized it hinged on the possibility of white creating a Zugzwang position (Capa omitted writing this). It was an interesting and complex game, from beginning to end.
Dec-14-17  Frenchdefense: Newzwild :"Ihave to say I fully sympathise with Capablanca's desire to play on in this position. In my opinion, far too many games end with premature draws and resignations.

This is perhaps the most famous example:

R Byrne vs Fischer, 1963"
Not at all. If you have read Fischer's 60 memorable games, you would have seen the resignation of Byrne was perfectly on time. Your example is the worst ever. In my opinion, the best ever is Von Popiel Marco 1902.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: “And the Oscar goes to...!”

<Frenchdefense> Fischer himself write of the early resignation in <Newzild>’s game example as, “A bitter disappointment. I’d hoped for...” and gives the denouement he had hoped for. I don’t see how that is the “worst [example] ever”.

Dec-14-17  newzild: <ughaibu>

Nobody ever drew a game by resigning.

Dec-14-17  sudoplatov: I always thought Byrne resigned to embarrass those analyzing the game in real time.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Darn it, I came here looking for a game I could title Oscar Du.
Sep-17-20  kereru: Capa sacced the queen the wrong way. If 24...Ne7!? White probably shouldn't take the queen but few would be able to resist it at the board.

If 25.hxg6+ Rxg6 26.Rxh6+ Kxh6 27.Nf5+ Nxf5 28.Qxb4 Bc6 29.g3 Kg7! 30.Kf1 Bf3! 31.Ke1 Rh6 wins for Black. (-4.7 stockfish)

This idea doesn't work after 24...f5? because if 29...Bc6 30.g3 Kg7 then 31.Qe7+. So Capa's queen sac wasn't really a blunder, it was a brilliant idea with a faulty execution.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zenwabi: This was the last game Capablanca lost before his 8-year unbeaten streak that ran from 1916 - 1924.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Chajes could have shorten Capa's misery here by quiet 49.Bc3! with deadly threat 50.Bb4+.
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