Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing
Jose Raul Capablanca vs Edward Guthlac Sergeant
"Sergeant Slaughter" (game of the day Jan-14-2016)
Ramsgate schev (1929), Ramsgate ENG, rd 3, Apr-02
Queen's Gambit Declined: Traditional Variation (D30)  ·  1-0



Click Here to play Guess-the-Move
Given 15 times; par: 33 [what's this?]

explore this opening
find similar games 4 more Capablanca/E G Sergeant games
PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: You can change the color of the light and dark squares by registering a free account then visiting your preferences page. Or, you can change it with the "SETTINGS" link in the lower right.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.


Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Jose Raul Capablanca.

(aka Mister Awesome.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: "Sergeant Slaughter" was an American entertainer back in the 1980s who played a professional wrestler. It may not have been culture, but it was popular.

Once Sergeant hangs a pawn, Capablanca's only problem is how to win the game elegantly. He does so.

Jan-14-16  patfoley: 27 Rh3 ch looks clearer to me.
Jan-14-16  patfoley: I missed that black can play Qxf2 ch even when the knight defends. Cap saw more deeply.
Jan-14-16  visayanbraindoctor: Instead of an open file, Capablanca uses an open rank.

<27 Rh3 ch looks clearer to me.> Black can interpose with his Knight.

<Once Sergeant hangs a pawn>

At 10... Bb7, Sergeant must have known he was giving up a pawn. White's next move Qc2 is an obvious double attack on the c7 and h7 pawn.

11. Qc2 c5 12. Bh7 Kh8 13. Be4 Nd5 14. O-O Rc8 15. Qa4 Bc6 16. Qa3 f5 17. Bd5 Bd5 18. Rfd1 c4 19. Re1 Qc7

I don't think Sergeant hung a pawn as much as he sacked one for this type of position. He has a B vs N advantage with his B already placed in the long h1-a8 diagonal. Perhaps he was entertaining ideas of a rook lift Rf6, Rg6, then Knight jumps such as Nf6, Ne4 or Ng4.

Capa beats him to the punch. What Capa does in the next two moves is to clear his third rank of pieces in order for his Queen to slide across the whole board from a3 to h3.

20. e4! fe4 21. Ng5

White not only blocks the h1-a8 diagonal making the Black LSB useless, he places his Knight in an attacking position.

Capablanca was an advocate of the strength of the Queen and Knight pair. He knew that a Knight and a Queen near an opposing King spells trouble for the King. He achieves this N + Q attacking combo with 22. Qh3, which he prepared beforehand by clearing his third rank as explained above.

After this, he recruits his QR into the final attack 26. Rc3 still planning to slide it along his open 3rd rank. His 3rd rank acts almost like an open file for his Q and R.

One possible end. 27...Rxe6 28. Rh3+ Qh6 (what else?) 29. Rxh6+ gxh6 30. Rxe6 and the hanging Knight suddenly survives, giving Capa a one piece advantage. The attacking g7 pawn has been deflected to h6, and his Rook by recapturing on e6 defends the Knight on f6.

Capablanca rarely ever missed these little petit combinations when his brain was at full throttle.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Just for folks who remember pro wrestling in the 1980s.



Wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota, a few years back.

Wrestler Baron Von Raschke was elected president of the student body at the huge Minneapolis campus (45,000 students) of the U of M, Minneapolis, back in the 1980s.



they also elected Al franken senator. Must be something in the Wobegone water, there.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Tactically perfect play by Capa but black played rather like an amateur in a simul than like a player of master level. Already 8...Nxd5 looks quite strange and dubious and 10...Bb7? dropping a Pawn for nothing just hurts. But well, everybody can have a bad day...
Jan-14-16  ajile: Winning is easier when your opponent gives you free pawns.
Jan-14-16  Sularus: Sergeant Slaughter is also a GI Joe character.
Jan-14-16  morfishine: Sorry, a 1-dimensional reference to either a professional wrestler or a kids doll does not constitute a 'pun'.
Jan-14-16  TheTamale: Sgt. Slaughter was almost singlehandedly responsible for getting me into pro wrestling. Saw a few of his bouts and interviews like these: I was hooked.

Several years ago I stumbled across him signing autographed photos for charity at a local minor league baseball game. I got a picture of him holding me in the dreaded Cobra Clutch... priceless. A great wrestler and a real stand-up guy, too.

Jan-14-16  kevin86: Mate will come to black, if he takes the queen or not.
Jan-14-16  holy tramp: A better pun might be "No Time For Sergeants!"
Premium Chessgames Member
  scutigera: The Game of the Day page is just not complete without morfishine sneering at the pun; he's the Angostura in the cocktail that is
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <the Angostura in the cocktail>

Hmm, thought never occurred to me.

Jan-14-16  mikrohaus: I love Capa's logic on move 26. There is no answer.

Some of the fun (or pain) of Chess is winning/losing these games.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Vishy is correct this was a pawn sac by Black.

It is possible that Black missed here:

click for larger view

White playing 13.Be4 considering only 13.Bd3 when 13...cxd4 gives Black some play for the pawn.

Allowing Bxh7+ in such positions is a known tactic to buy time (one tempo but it can be enough to steal the iniative in the centre.)

It can also be followed up with g6 - Kg7 - Rh8 ideas v a White castled position.

click for larger view

Such pawn sacs are in the arsenal of every blitz player and as if on cue...

Karpov vs Shirov, 2003

...has the Bxh7+ and g6 and Kg7 and Rh8 idea working a treat.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Sally> It seems more than likely, as you say, that Black overlooked the tempo gain with 13.Be4 in his preliminary analysis, though it is an idea which should not have been missed by any strong player.
Jan-15-16  visayanbraindoctor: <Sally Simpson: Allowing Bxh7+ in such positions is a known tactic to buy time (one tempo but it can be enough to steal the iniative in the centre.)

It can also be followed up with g6 - Kg7 - Rh8 ideas v a White castled position. >

Good point. I have seen such positions in my blitz games, and in such cases the Bxh7 gambit is definitely a sac (which I myself have made).

<Sally Simpson, perfidious> I think Sergeant committed an error but not becasue he did not see 13. Be4. His very next move 13...Nd5 indicates that he was planning to force an exchange of White's B on e4 with that Knight on d5. All he had to do was to move f5 and White would either have to exchange his Bishop for the Knight or retreat his Bishop with loss of tempo. In either case, Sergent probably thought that the advantage of his Bishop already on the long h1-a8 diagonal and with the possibility of recruiting a Rook into attacking the White King gave him adequate compensation for the sacked pawn. It turned out to be an error alright, but more of a positional misjudgement rather than an oversight.

The manner by which Capablanca refuted Sergeant's play is interesting and a lesson for those willing to learn. He did not hunker down with defensive moves trying to maintain his pawn advantage into the endgame. Instead Capa played to exploit the weaknesses around Black's King resulting from the loss of the a7 pawn.

It's easy to criticize this game as mediocre because:

One, Sergeant blundered away a pawn. No he did not. He sacked it for what he thought were positional advantages. The manner by which he sacked it is thematic. Kibitzers who remember this theme can actually apply it on their own games (especially blitz and rapid).

Two, Capablanca won so quickly, thereby the pawn sac was just a terrible decision. However, it's not as if winning a pawn causes an automatic win. It's very interesting to learn from the way Capablanca actually won. He won the game not because of nursing his extra pawn into a long grinding endgame win, but because he concocted a tactically perfect attack based on the weaknesses around the Black King incurred from losing the h7 pawn.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: Compare this more famous game where Capa likewise didn't try to hang on to an extra P, but sacced it to launch a blazing heavy piece attack on the opened file. Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific game only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

This game is type: CLASSICAL. Please report incorrect or missing information by submitting a correction slip to help us improve the quality of our content.

<This page contains Editor Notes. Click here to read them.>

Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
Round 3
from Ramsgate 1929 team tournament by crawfb5
Queen's Gambit Declined: Traditional Var (D30) 1-0 Stockfish
from Capa.blanca by fredthebear
The Chess Champions (Romantic Era)
by Owl
evaluate for white's continuation.......
from jsteward's favorite games#2a by jsteward
Great tactics for 1929!
from rookchat9's favorite games by rookchat9
Queen's Gambit Declined: Traditional Var (D30) 1-0 Stockfish
from 1920s Roar by Fredthebear Phil Scot by fredthebear
January 14: Sergeant Slaughter
from Game of the Day 2016 by Phony Benoni
d4 : QGD : General
by ISeth
from Games of the day for 2016. by truepacifism
from Games of the day for 2016. by Jaredfchess
cappa yip yip
from f.alonso01's favorite games by f.alonso01
34 MiniMixer D4 C4 B4 A4 Crafty EG
by Littlejohn
0ZeR0's Favorite Games Volume 84
by 0ZeR0

Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC