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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Fred Dewhirst Yates
Hastings (1930/31), Hastings ENG, rd 2, Dec-30
Queen's Gambit Declined: Orthodox Defense. Main Line (D63)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-26-06  EricCartman: <chessslayer> This game also shows us, that Capablanca has perfect understanding of what's not important and what is important. The most important thing in chess is the pawnstructure, and that's why Capablanca won, he had a perfect pawnstructure during the whole game.
Jan-26-06  Ziggurat: <ericcartman> If pawn structure is the most important thing in chess, why did Capablanca allow 25...Bxf3? And why didn't Yates play it?
Jan-26-06  Whitehat1963: Capablanca, the great simplifyer of chess history. He steers everything into a theoretically superior endgame position, then drives it home with flawless technique. How well would that work today?
Jan-26-06  RookFile: Capa could calculate, too. That's why nobody, not Alekhine, not Lasker, not Reuben Fine, nobody, could touch Capa in blitz chess.
Jan-26-06  Whitehat1963: Yes, you're right, of course, <RookFile>. I'm just referring to his preference for clarity and simplification. I wonder how he would have dealt with Tal. Anyway, who do you think are the greatest blitz players of all time. Surely Tal, Fischer and Anand have to rank pretty high on the list. And Capa, too, of course.
Jan-26-06  euripides: Often Capablanca's positional wins depend on the pieces as much as the pawns. Here White's superior pawn structure in the opening is temporary. From move 15 to move 25 the pawn structure is effectively symmetrical. White's advantage depends on the placement of his pieces and is kept alive by tactical threats. 21 Ne4 and 22 Bf3 are elegant.

25...Bxf3 is critical; I think White keeps an advantage by 26 gxf3 Rc8 27 Rd6 g6 28 Ne4 Nxe4 (or Nd5 29 a3) 29 fxe4 Rc4 30 a3 Rxe4 31 Rxa6, leaving Black with the weak b5 pawn. Now if white puts the rook on a5 Black can try bringing his rook to c3 to defend the b pawn indirectly by the threat to the a3 pawn; however, if White brings his king to d2 the rook will be chased away (e.g. ...Rb3 Kc2). Otherwise he can try defending the pawn by keeping the rook on the 5th rank but it looks precarious.

Capablanca's neat 30 a4 ! (which might have been underrated or missed by Yates at move 25) keeps a pawn advantage, but with pawns on one side the ending should be drawn with best play by Black. At move 36 or so h5 and possibly f5 are now generally recommended in this kind of ending. I don't know how much was known about this in 1930.

Jan-26-06  Boomie: Black looks fine after 25...Bxf3.

25...Bxf3 26. gxf3 Rc8 27. Rd6 Ne8 28. Rd3=

Jan-27-06  EricCartman: <Boomie> Black will win the game after 25... ♗f3 against a normal player, but since Capablanca is so superior in these kind of positions, he'd have been able to hold a draw against Yates
Jan-27-06  Boomie: <Eric> I think the position is equal after 25...Bxf3 as indicated by the "=" after the line.
Jul-11-06  ChessDude33: <Ziggurat> In "Capablanca's Best Chess Endings" Chernev says 25...Bxf3 leads to an easy draw by 25...Bxf3 26. gxf3 Rc8 27. Rd6 Kf8. Maybe Yates was playing for the win at the time.
Jun-02-07  CapablancaFan: Allowing Capa even 1 pawn ahead in the endgame is almost enough to resign immediately.
Jun-02-07  paladin at large: <EricCartman> I believe <euripides> is correct. You will find many Capablanca games that he won where he placed greater emphasis on activity for his pieces over the strength of his pawn structure. Chernev noted that for Capablanca the most important thing about his pawns was the force that they exerted (or had the potential to exert) on the enemy position. It is true that Capa also liked positions where he had fewer pawn islands than his opponent, but such a consideration was usually subordinate to finding strong play for his pieces.
Jun-04-07  micartouse: <Allowing Capa even 1 pawn ahead in the endgame is almost enough to resign immediately.>

Yes, back in the day it was like that! :) But thanks to wins against Duras and Yates, the R+4P v. R+3P on one side is a well analyzed draw. Most modern GMs will almost certainly draw these positions even if they were playing Capa with Rybka's assistance.

Jul-24-08  randzo: after 35.moves it is clear draw
Sep-27-08  whiteshark: "He [Capablanca] always had the attitude of a man who considers himself above the affairs of ordinary mortals... He once appeared for a resumption after adjournment against Yates dressed in tennis flannels but to his great annoyance was kept playing until long after dark."

--Max Euwe

Was it this game?

Sep-28-08  Calli: I don't know. Game played 30 Dec 1930. Can you play tennis in December in Hastings?
Sep-30-08  whiteshark: <Calli> Other candidates are:

Capablanca vs Yates, 1924

Capablanca vs Yates, 1922

Capablanca vs Yates, 1919 (Hastings = unlikely)

Sep-30-08  sneaky pete: The first Christmas tournament was 1921/22. The 1919 Victory Congress was held in August. In round 1, August 11, JRC adjourned his game against Yates in a favourable position. During the next 5 rounds (and days) he won his games in one session. It's likely that on the scheduled free day, August 17, an excellent day for tennis I've been told, the adjourned game against Yates was resumed.
Sep-30-08  whiteshark: Thanks, <sneaky pete>! That suits.
Sep-30-08  Calli: I would eliminate the NY 1924 game because Euwe was not there. He played at London 1922, of course. Young Euwe also played in the "C" section at Hastings 1919, finishing 4-5th behind the forgotten W H Kirk .
Jun-28-09  esticles: The last part of this endgame is analyzed at
Jun-29-11  lost in space: Black missed to get a clear draw position between move 36 and 39; he just needs to play h7-h5 and there is no way to win this for white..

Never the less...nice win by Capa.

Aug-24-11  joelsontang: Yates has done so well to reduce the endgame to a Rook and 4 pawns vs Rook and 3 pawns with no pawn structure weaknesses for black. What a waste, I could have drawn the endgame myself.

As a rule of thumb, from my experience, do the following:

1) push the h-pawn to h5 to be able to swap pawns if white pushes his own (trade pawns when behind in material, not pieces) - and the h5 pawn would not create weaknesses unlike pushing the f-pawn.

2) Keep out the enemy king from crossing its 3rd rank, if not 4th rank by marking the rank with the Rook. When the enemy pawns have been pushed to about 4th or fifth rank, then bring the Rook to the enemy's 1st rank and harrass the enemy's king with checks.

I have never lost such an ending in my games.

Feb-11-18  Grandma Sturleigh: <<joelsontang> I have never lost such an ending in my games.>

Euwe Gligoric vs Euwe, 1953 and Kasparov Piket vs Kasparov, 2000 didn't find this endgame quite so easy.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Ziryab: Dvoretsky mentions analysis by Kopaev. Where can I find this analysis?
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