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Juan Corzo vs Jose Raul Capablanca
Capablanca - Corzo (1901), Havana CUB, rd 12, Dec-17
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. l'Hermet Variation (C67)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: On move 27, the ending looks like an easy win for White, but after perhaps some inaccuracies Black develops surprising activity.

The first thing that comes to mind is, why did White play 40. Rb8, giving up the valuable advanced a-pawn?

What I see is 40. b4 Ra3 (threatens mate in three) 41. Kg3 Bxf3 42. Kf2 (or 42. b5 Be2+ 43. Kf2 Bxb5 44. Rxb5 Rxa7 is drawish) 42...Kf5 43. b5 Kf4 44. b6 Ra2+ 45. Ke1 Ke3, etc. and Black is happy. So it seems we have to go further back to look for a White win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Here's another try for White showing how hard it is to contend with Black's activity.

28. Ra7 Bf5 29. Rxa6 Bd3 30. Rd6 Re1+ 31. Kf2 Re2+ 32. Kg3 Rxb2 33. Rxd5 Rxa2 34. h4 Bf1 35. h5+ Kg7 36. Kf4 Bxg2 37. Rb5 Rf2! 38. Kg3 Rxf3+ 39. Kxg2 Rxc3, which is drawish!

So maybe White first has to restrain Black's bishop from counterattacking, say 27. g4 f5 28. h3 Kf6 29. f4, etc. and with careful play, White still looks to be on top.

Jul-09-05  Calli: <beatgiant> 40.Rb8? is blunder. According to the "The Unknown Capablanca", Corso overlooked that 40.Rb8 Rxa7 41.Rg8+ fails to Rg7.

40.h4 should win. The idea is that if black threatens the f3 pawn with Ra3 and Be2 then white has h5+ Kxh5 and Kf5 winning.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Calli>
Thanks. I didn't pay much attention to 40. h4, and it must be the right idea for White to activate his own king while trying to keep Black's king in a box.

But even then, the win is not obvious to me after, say, 40. h4 Ra3 41. h5+ Kh6 - but admittedly I haven't spent much time on this.

Jul-10-05  Calli: <Beatgiant> On h5+ Kh6 just play Kf5 anyway. white's kingside pawns don' t matter at all. Just move the king so he can get to e6-d6 and the win is easy. I think this was originally David Hooper's analysis. Corso never did understand endgames. After losing the first two, Capablanca steered all the games into the endgame as the match went on. Probably did so on the advice of someone at the club (?).
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Calli>
Based on your comment, I assume Hooper's idea was something like 40. h4 Ra3 41. h5+ Kh6 42. Kf5 Bxf3 43. Ke6 Bg4+ 44. Kd6 Bc8 46. Rc7 Kxh5 47. b4 f5 48. b5, etc. and White is winning the race.

Of course, Black can also try ...Bh3 to block White's king march: 40. h4 Bh3. But then with 41. b4 Ra3 42. b5, White has a couple of tempi over the 40. b4 line, so Black is too late after 42...Bg2 43. Kg3 Bxf3 44. b6.

Thanks again, <Calli>, now I'm convinced that White was winning all along until 40. Rb8?

Jul-11-05  Calli: <beatgiant> On 40.h4 Ra3 then 41.Kg4 and h5. I don't think black can play Ra3 immediately, he must wait for b4. So Black loses a tempo? Maybe f5+, but then Kf4 and what then.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Calli>
You are right, 40. h4 Ra3 41. Kg4 wins similarly to the line I posted above after 41...Bf1 42. h5+ Kh6 43. Kf5. Moreover, White can avoid the race situation (either in my previous line or this one) by taking Kxf6 before the king march to the queenside.

This makes me think that 40. Kg4 probably also wins.

Aug-28-05  LeSwamp: A) 3.Bb5. Corzo choses to play the Ruy Lopez for the first time in the match!

B) 6...bxc6!?. The theory recommends 6...dxc6. But Capablanca doesn't know the opening theory well enough. So he relies on the principle which says to capture towards the center.

C) 11.Re3?!. Now the rook is protected by something else than the Queen only. So the knight on e5 threatens to leave! And the rook will be able to move on the third rank. Still, there were better moves : 11.Nd2 White advantage (development) ; 11.Nc3 (development) ; 11.c3 .

D) 11...Qf6?!. Strange ideas call for strange responses? 11...Bb7 12.Nc3! (12.Qg4 f5! 13.Qh5 (13.Qg3 Ne4! 14.Qf4! c5! with idea cxd4) f4! with idea c5 ; 12.Qh5 Qe6= ; 12.Nxc6?? Qg5 13.Rg3 Qh5!! captures the white knight because of the mate threat!) Nf5 13.Re4 (13.Re2 c5=) Nxd4! 14.Ng6 (14.Rxd4 Qxe5 15.Rxd7 Bc8= with idea Bg4! ; 14.Nxc6?! Qg5! 15.h4 (15.Rxd4 Bxc6 (threat = mate!) 16.Nd5! Re6= ; 15.Qxd4 Bxc6! 16.Rg4! Qe5! ) Qg6 (only move) 16.Qxd4! Rxe4! 17.Qxe4! (17.Nxe4?! Qxc6! 18.f3 Qxc2! clear advantage Black) Qxe4 18.Nxe4 Bxc6 ) Qg5 15.Rxd4! hxg6 16.Rxd7 c5! (threat = Qxg2#) 17.Qf1 Rab8=

E) 12...Nf5?. Good were : 12...Rb8 13.b3! Qf5 ; 12...Qf5 ; 12...Re6

F) 13.Ne4? Corzo, on his turn, plays a mistake. 13.Ng4! Qd8 (only move) 14.Nf6+!! gxf6 (only move) 15.Qg4+ (only move) Kh8 (only move) (15...Ng7?? 16.Rg3! leads to checkmate ; 15...Kf8 16.Qxf5 Rxe3 17.fxe3 ) 16.Qxf5 Rxe3! 17.fxe3 clear advantage White.

G) 13...Qe7?!. Correct was : 13...Qe6! 14.Re1! d6 15.Nxc6! Bd7 16.d5! Qg6! with idea Bxc6.

H) 26...Re8. Capablanca misses 26...Bf5! 27.Rd6! Rb8! 28.b4 a5 clear advantage White.

I) 27.Rc7. Better was 27.h4 clear advantage White.

J) 27...a6!?/?!. Clearly 27...a5! clear advantage White.

Aug-28-05  LeSwamp: K) 28.Rc6?! Corzo's confusion... Beatgiant seems to have felt that maybe this move was not the best. Again 28.h4 clear advantage White ; 28.Rc5 Rc8 (on 28...Rb8 29.b3 huge advantage White ; on 28...kf7 29.g4 huge advantage White) 29.Kf2 Clear advantage White.

L) 28...Bd7?? Loses the game... The ONLY move was 28...Bf5 29.h4 (29.Rxa6 Bd3 (only move) 30.Ra5 (30.Rd6 Re1+ would transpose) Re1+ (only move) 31.Kf2 Re2+ (only move) 32.Kg3 (32.Kg1 would only repeat the position) Rxb2 (only move) 33.Rxd5 (only move) Bf1 with idea Rxg2+ ; 29.g4 Bd3! 30.h4 transposes) Bd3! 30.g4! Re2 31.Rb6! Kg7 Clear advantage White.

M) 30...Re1+. Capablanca is losing anyway. Still, better were : 30...Bd3 31.h3! Kg5 ; or 30...Bc4 31.a4 (31.b3 Re1+ 32.Kf2 Re2+ 33.Kg3 Rb2 ) Re1+ 32.Kf2 Ra1

N) 33.b3?!. Why free the third rank for the black rook? 33.a4! Re1 34.h4!

O) 35...Rxc3?. 35...Bf1! 36.Rd6! Rxg2+ 37.Kf4 (only move) Rc2! 38.a6 (only move) Ra2 (only move) 39.Rxd5! Bxa6!

P) 36.a6. Better is 36.Kf4! Rc2 37.g4! Ra2 (37...Rxh2 38.g5 (only move) Rh4+ 39.Ke3 (only move) Bf1 40.f4! with idea Rxf6+) 38.g5! Rxa5 39.Rxf6+ (only move) Kg7 40.Rd6!

Q) 38...Bf1?. The best way to resist was : 38...Kf5! 39.Kh4! Bf1 40.g4+! Kf4 (only move) 41.Kh5! Bd3 but White still has a few obstacles and difficulties before pocketing the win.

R) 40.Rb8??. Erases all advantage! The win was to be obtained this way : 40.Kg4! Bh1 41.h4 Ra3 (41...Rg2+ 42.Kf4! Ra2 43.b4! Ra3 44.h5+! (only move!) Kxh5 45.Kf5!! Rxf3+ 46.Ke6 Ra3 47.b5! etc.) 42.h5+! Kh6 43.Rc7 Bg2 44.Rf7! Bf1 45.Kf5! Be2 46.Rxf6+ Kg7 47.h6+! Kg8 48.Rg6+! Kh7 49.Rg7+! Kxh6 50.Re7! Bxf3 51.b4! etc.

S) 41...Rxa7 (only move). Capablanca must have felt relieved to end up with half a point! Still, Black now has a clear advantage and he could have continued to play!

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