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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Enrique Corzo
Match-series (1901), Havana CUB, rd 1, Sep-21
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. Rio de Janeiro Variation (C67)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Given 8 times; par: 67 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-19-17  Whitehat1963: Don’t try to play an even endgame against Capablanca, even in 1901.

But surely there are improvements on both sides?

Nov-27-17  Whitehat1963: How close can black get to queening a pawn with best play?
Nov-27-17  NBZ: Interesting! Black had a straightforward draw with 19. ... Rxe1+ 20. Rxe1 Kf8. White's rook has no way to penetrate into Black's position now, and with Rd2 impending White has no choice but to play 21. Kf2 Rd2 22. Re2.

Later, 21. ... Kf8 would again draw. 21. ...f5? is a big error, because it means Black can never activate his king. If Black must create a luft, a better way is through g6 or h6 (though Kf8 is simpler). ...f5 is pretty much a no-no in these types of endings. After ... f5 22. Rd7 I think White is much better though perhaps Black can defend better (for example by 22. ... Rc2 right away).

Nov-27-17  NBZ: Okay on closer inspection, even after bungling up with f5, Black is not that much worse. The real bloomer is the pawn grab 30. Rb2 and 31. Rxb3, allowing White to get in Rc7 and a7. Instead Black needs to keep his rook on the a-file and push his b- and c-pawns, though Capa, being Capa, would I am sure find a way to grind Black down.
Nov-28-17  Valen521: from analysis on http://chess555.com :
29. ... ♔f6 30. ♖c7 bxa4 31. bxa4 ♖xa4 32. ♖xc6+ ♔e5 33. ♖c5+ ♔f6 34. ♖c6+

Eval: 0.0

Corzo had a better position earlier but messed up.

Feb-16-21  Sergash: Capablanca was 12 years old when he played this "casual game". He would become Champion of Cuba that same year. The Championship match against Juan Corzo y Prinzipe took place in November after Capa had turned 13, as I read he was 13 when he became champion?

Jose Raul Capablanca is possibly the most precocious champion of all times and he is not supposed to have been taught chess by his father, but to have learned to play simply by silently watching his father in his weekly chess games with a friend who was coming regularly to the family house to play. And once, when Capablanca was 4, his father is supposed to have made an illegal move and the little boy called the shot loudly! And when his father asked him how could he know, since he didn't know how to play? The boy said he could play and beat his father immediately in a game! Obviously, he father was quite a weak player, but still!

Then his father brought the boy to a chess club in Havana, where Capablanca, 4 years old, played one of the club's top players named Iglesias with the advantage of a queen and... won the game (see R Iglesias vs Capablanca, 1893)!

Thus goes the legend!

Enrique Corzo was the younger brother of the national Cuban champion Juan Corzo.

<1...e7-e5> Ah the "normal" move at the time, compared with the Sicilian Defense that occurred here : Capablanca vs E Delmonte, 1901, 1-0.

<5.d2-d4> The most played move, but stronger and maybe the way for White to retain some advantage could be 5.Rf1-e1! Ne4-d6! 6.Nf3xe5! Bf8-e7 (or 6...Nc6xe5 7.Re1xe5+ Bf8-e7 ▢ 8.Bb5-f1 transposes) 7.Bb5-f1! Nc6xe5 8.Re1xe5 0-0! ⩲ G Neumann vs Anderssen, 1866, 0-1.

<5...Bf8-e7> The main line goes like 5...Ne4-d6! 6.Bb5xc6 d7xc6! 7.d4xe5! Ng6-f5! 8.Qd1xd8+ Ke8xd8 ⩲ Wemmers vs F Riemann, 1880, 0-1.

<6.d4-d5 Ne4-d6!> Main line: 6.Qd1-e2! Ne4-d6 7.Bb5xc6! b7xc6▢ 8.d4xe5! Nd6-b7 ⩲ (S Rosenthal vs G Neumann, 1867, draw.

<7.Bb5-a4?! e5-e4! 8.d5xc6! e4xf3 9.c6xd7+ Bc8xd7 10.Ba4xd7+▢ Qd8xd7▢ 11.Qd1xf3▢ ⩱> Better is 7.Bb5-e2! e5-e4 8.d5xc6! e4xf3 9.c6xb7 Bc8xb7 10.Be2xf3 ⩲ Teemu Kilpi vs. Pekka Paldanius (2280), Finland Team Championship 1990, 1-0.

Feb-23-21  Sergash: Black to play:


click for larger view

Now, this is one of the most fascinating sides of Capablanca throughout his career. Look at the diagram above. Material is equal, each player having a bishop on dark squares, a knight, a queen and 2 rooks. Moreover, all the pawns are facing each other on de same columns. There is no backward or hanging pawns. Finally, BLACK has a small advantage in development. Still, Capablanca will win this game!

<11...0-0 12.Nb1-c3 Ra8-d8 => Better is 11...0-0-0! 12.Nb1-c3 Rh8-e8 13.Rf1-d1! Be7-f6! ⩱ Javier Martin Perez (2241) vs. Anthony C. Kosten (2517), 25th Andorra Open 2007, round 2, 0-1.

<13.Nc3-d5 Rf8-e8 14.Bc1-f4 => Why not develop the last minor piece and connect the rooks? 13.Bc1-f4N = / ⩲ Stockfish 12 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<14...c7-c6 15.Nd5xe7+ Qd7xe7+! 16.h2-h3 Qe7-e4 17.Qf3xe4! Re8xe4! => 14...Be7-f8!? = Δ c7-c6 Stockfish 12 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<18.Bf4xd6 Rd8xd6 19.Rf1-e1 => Personally, I would have preferred to keep the bishop on-board, as it is said that the bishop is considered superior to the knight with pawns on both sides of the board. The chess program Stockfish 12 - 64 bits POPCNT prefers 18.Bf4-e3, 18.Bf4-d2 or 18.g2-g3, though 18.Bf4xd6 also maintains equality.

<19...Rd6-e6 20.Re1xe4 Re6xe4 21.Ra1-d1 => As <NBZ> pointed above, 19...Re4xe1+ 20.Ra1xe1 Kg8-f8 also maintains equality. But doubling the rooks on the e-file is also good.

<21...f7-f5 22.Rd1-d7 b7-b5 23.Kg1-f1 a7-a5 24.b2-b3 Re4-e5▢ 25.Rd7-a7 Re5-c5 26.Ra7xa5 Rc5xc2 27.a2-a4 Rc2-a2 28.Ra5-a8+ Kg8-f7 29.Ra8-a7+ => I disagree with <NBZ> here: 21...f7-f5 is not a mistake and maintains equality, though in a subsequent post he admitted it wasn't a losing move. Black could also play 21...Kg8-f8 = Δ 22.Rd1-d7 Re4-e7 23.Rd7-d8+ Re7-e8 24.Rd8-d7 Re8-e7 etc. with complete equality. Stockfish 12 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<29...Kf7-f8?! 30.a4-a5! ⩲ / => This is the first "dubious" move by Corzo, though it is not that bad. As mentioned by <Valen521> 29...Kf7-f6 = Stockfish 12 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<30...Ra2-b2??> This is the losing move. As <NBZ> pointed out: "The real bloomer is the pawn grab 30. Rb2 and 31. Rxb3, allowing White to get in Rc7 and a7. Instead Black needs to keep his rook on the a-file and push his b- and c-pawns" 30...b5-b4! 31.a5-a6 f5-f4 = Stockfish 12 - 64 bits POPCNT.

Feb-23-21  Sergash: <31.a5-a6 -+> Even stronger is 31.Ra7-c7! Rb2-a2 32.b3-b4 -+ Stockfish 12 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<31...Rb2xb3? 32.Ra7-c7 b5-b4 33.a6-a7 Rb3-a3 34.Rc7-c8+ Kf8-e7 35.a7-a8Q 1-0> As noticed by <NBZ>, this is a mistake. Though also losing, Black would have offered a better resistance with 31...Rb2-a2 32.Ra7-a8+! Kf8-f7 (or 32...Kf8-e7 33.a6-a7▢ (any other move would lead to equality) Ke7-f7 34.b3-b4▢ +- any other move would lead to equality. Stockfish 12 - 64 bits POPCNT) 34.b3-b4 (any other move would lead to a drawn game) Kf7-g6 34.Kf1-e1! +- Stockfish 12 - 64 bits POPCNT.

What is there to be added about this game? It was pretty well played by the two players. Capablanca apparently committed only one error, on his 7th move, while Corzo had a flawless game before move 30, after which it all crumbled.

It was a quiet game, the kind Capablanca is known for. Wild and brutal tactical games that require long and precise variations to be calculated would tend to generate more mistakes and errors.

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