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Vladimir Alatortsev vs Jose Raul Capablanca
"Not His Capa Tea" (game of the day May-04-2008)
Moscow (1935), Moscow URS, rd 3, Feb-17
Queen's Gambit Declined: Modern Variation (D50)  ·  0-1



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Given 27 times; par: 39 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Nice shot(22...Rxf2) if white takes the rook, the other rook checks and in conjunction with the Queen polish White off.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: White moves between 6-th and 16-th move do not add up to a coherent plan (except, it seems, for a plan to exchange things).

<6.cxd5> Steinitz's 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.cxd5 puts Black under quite a presure.

<8.Nf3?!> This inacuracy seems even more serious; 8.Nxd5 would have kept ballance.

<8...Nxc3(!) 9.bxc3 b6> Black now has a better piece play and an outline of a Q-side majority.

<10.Be2> Oposing the bishop, 10.g3 Bb7 11.Bg2, could have been a a bit better, but Black pressure would remined.

<11...c5!> Gives Black the Q-side majority.

<17...Rc6> The game is now probably objectively lost for White -- Q-side majority, weak a8-g2 diagonal, and a tempo or two in organization of piecess -- those are all Black assets. It is phenomenal, however, how easy Capablanca makes it all look. In the early stage, I like especially the quiet <18...Qb7!>.

<20.h3> If 20.a5 then 20...b5, as 21.Rxb5?? Rc1+ 22.Rxc1 Rxc1+ ... clearly backfires.

<22.Qd6> It seems that Alatorcev was so focused on the ab-pawns that he did not even consider the softness of g2.

<22...Rxf2!!> Simple and grand.

<23...Re2> White could have played on with 24.Rc1, however he shows good judgement to resign.

Dec-17-06  notyetagm: Capablanca's 22 ... ♖xf2! 23 ♔xf2? ♖c2+ with a <SKEWER> against the loose g2-square is just like Inarkiev's 34 ♖xg7+! ♔xg7 35 ♖g1+ with a <SKEWER> against the loose g8-square in E Inarkiev vs I Nepomniachtchi, 2006.
Jan-22-07  samikd: Again, thanks for the reference about the Inarkiev game, <notyetagm>. You are a very helpful and intructive kibitzer, indeed
Aug-31-07  CapablancaFan: The entire game looks like a draw...22...Rxf2!! shatters that illusion. LOL.
Dec-10-07  notyetagm: Alatortsev completely misses Capablanca's wicked 22 ... ♖c2xf2! because he totally underestimates the danger posed to his White g1-king by the nearby <LOOSE> g2-square, attacked by the Black b7-queen while defended -only- by the White g1-king.
May-04-08  parmetd: the game was a draw until Qd6?? Which is shattered by the beautiful Rxf2!
Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: Nice shot indeed- I remember first seeing this game in Reinfeld's book on Capa.

Incidentally I don't think the game was drawn at all- 22.Rc1 Rxc1+ 23 Rxc1 Rxc1+ 24 Qxc1 b5 and black's passed pawn gives him a considerable advantage.

May-04-08  sfm: <Gypsy: 17...Rxc6 : The game is now probably objectively lost for White> No way! I agree with parmetd.
I can't understand why White never opposes Black on the c-file. Rc1 in time seems natural?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: After 22 Rb2, it looks pretty much even.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: I don't agree it "looks" drawn after 22.♖b2. It looks bad for White. Black has control of the column and he also has the distant passed pawn. But some time ago I when I went over this game couldn't find a win. Time for some work.
May-04-08  xrt999: <sfm: <Gypsy: 17...Rxc6 : The game is now probably objectively lost for White> No way! I agree with parmetd. I can't understand why White never opposes Black on the c-file. Rc1 in time seems natural?>

Its interesting that no one pointed out 19.Rfb1 as the losing move, since white can play 19.Rfc1 and maintain control of the open file. Unless I am missing something.

White's play was very passive starting with 10.Be2 then with 14.Bf3; I would have preferred a more active role for the bishop with 10.Bc4.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Did Capa ever lose? I just checked and in this database,he lost 45 games (six to Alekhine in the 1927 title match).

No only that,but he could play the brilliant move now and then.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <sfm: <Gypsy: 17...Rxc6 : The game is now probably objectively lost for White> No way! I agree with parmetd. I can't understand why White never opposes Black on the c-file. Rc1 in time seems natural?>

That explains why your evaluation differs from mine. Exchange those rooks and the endgame is all but won for Black.

May-20-08  Ulhumbrus: 8...Nxc3?! moves the N a third time to exchange itself for a N moved but once, and it strengthens White's centre as well, although White can play e4 and force the N away. Instead of 8...Nxc3, 8...Nc6 supports the advance ...e5 and on 9 e4 Black has 9...Nf4. 13 Nxc6? moves the N a third time to exchange itself for a N which has moved but once. Instead of this, 13 f4 re-inforces the N. Instead of 15 a4?!, 15 e4 invites 15...Rfd8 tying White's Q to the d file. This suggests preparing Rfd1 or Rad1 by 15 Qe2.

An imaginary interchange between player A and player B:

Player A:

Why does White's attack on b6 by 22 Qd6 fail against Black's attack on f2 by 21...Rc2.?

Player B:

One answer is that after 22...Rxf2! the attack upon f2 has given rise to an attack upon g2. If White carries out his attack on b6 by taking the b6 pawn, Black carries out his attack on g2 and takes White's King as well as the g2 pawn.

A second answer is that White attacks b6 one move too late. If in the position after 22 Qd6 it were White to move instead of Black, White could capture the b6 pawn. However it may not be by chance that White comes a move too late, for that is one of the standard ways in which the defence refutes an unsound attack: by arranging for all attacking threats to arrive at least one move too late.


Alatortsev vs Capablanca, 1935 22 ... Rc2xf2! destroys White f2-pawn interposer of loose g2-sq

Jan-28-12  notyetagm: Game Collection: LOOSE SQUARES NEAR THE ENEMY KING
Nov-19-12  Cemoblanca: 23.Qg3 There was nothing better! (Here's a 'very simple' Capa line after 23.Kxf2?? ;) 23...Rc2+! 24.Ke1 Qxg2 25.Qb8+ Kg7 26.Qe5+ f6! 27.Qc7+ The 1 and only! 27...Rxc7 28.Rc1 Rxc1! 29.Rxc1 Qg1+! Why not! ;) 30.Kd2 Qxc1! The (pawn) score is still 6:4! ;) 31.Kxc1 Kh6 32.Kd2 Kg5 33.Kc3 Kf5!, etc.) OK, it's not 23rd century chess, but extremely amusing! :)

23...Re2 24.Re1 Rec2! 25.Rf1 b5! 26.axb5 axb5 27.Qf3 Qxf3 28.Rxf3 or gxf3 doesn't matter, because after 28...b4! it's all over...soon!

Nov-05-14  jakc: "After 22 Rb2, it looks pretty much even."

Why not 22 . . . Rc1+?
If 23 Kh2 then Qc7+
24 g3 then Qb7 (aiming at Qh1#)
If 25 f3 Qxfe+, 25 Rg2 (blocking the check) and either Rc2 attacking the pinned rook or Qf1, aiming at h1# Trading rooks (23 RxR RxR+) leads to the same sequence

I've probably missed something but that's my thought.

Fascinating game. If you just described it at move 21 (Both have two rooks, the queen and six pawns, nothing hanging, no pawn ready to promote), it sounds like a draw, and yet in a couple of moves in the hands of Capablanca, the game is over. Capa probably saw that the game was already over, while a good player on the other side dreamed about drawing - or beating - the great Capablanca in a serious game

Feb-29-16  WorstPlayerEver: Hmm.. 20... Rc4 seems a better idea; creating a passer on the queen side.
Jul-18-19  sudoplatov: Maybe 22.Rf1 to defend. Still Black has a 2-1 Pawn Majority on the Queenside.
Apr-12-21  DouglasGomes: Alphazero saves Alortetsev from strategic destruction. This is the computer ultra-technical conception:

19. h4! Rfc8 (19... h5 20. Rfc1 Rfc8 21. Rxc6 Rxc6 22. Qb5 Kh7 (22... Kg7 23. Qe5+ Does not look that impressive for Black) 23. Qe5 a6 24. Rb1 Rc4 25. e4 Rxa4 [Black carrying out things as usual] 26. Rc1 Ra5 d5 [White is okay, note that Rc7 is looming - diag 1]) 20. h5 a6?! [Black ignores White] 21. h6 Rc2 22. Rab1 R8c3 23. Qd1 Kf8 [best to get out of danger] 24. d5 Qxd5 (24 ... exd5?? 25. Qd4 with impeding material loss and collapse of Black's position) 25. Qxd5 exd5 26. Rxb6 [Nothing for Black here]

click for larger view

White's counterplay with his kingside majority has NOT been annuled by his aimless play, thus Black cannot claim to be better in any variation.

Apr-13-21  sudoplatov: I tried whatever uses (I think Stockfish). SF here likes 19.h4 best but after the game continuation, 21.Rb3 is given as best and after 21.Qa3 Rc3, 22.Re1 is the best defence though Black is a half-Pawn up.

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