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Jose Raul Capablanca
Number of games in database: 1,217
Years covered: 1893 to 1941

Overall record: +379 -48 =267 (73.8%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 523 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (159) 
    C66 C78 C62 C84 C64
 Orthodox Defense (81) 
    D63 D51 D52 D50 D67
 Queen's Gambit Declined (68) 
    D30 D37 D31 D06 D38
 Queen's Pawn Game (55) 
    D02 D00 D05 A46 D04
 French Defense (52) 
    C12 C01 C11 C14 C10
 Four Knights (39) 
    C49 C48
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (54) 
    C72 C66 C68 C77 C73
 Orthodox Defense (53) 
    D63 D67 D53 D51 D64
 Queen's Pawn Game (39) 
    A46 D00 D02 D05 E10
 Nimzo Indian (20) 
    E34 E24 E40 E23 E37
 Caro-Kann (19) 
    B13 B18 B15 B12 B10
 French Defense (19) 
    C01 C12 C15 C10 C17
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Capablanca vs Tartakower, 1924 1-0
   Capablanca vs Marshall, 1918 1-0
   O Bernstein vs Capablanca, 1914 0-1
   Lasker vs Capablanca, 1921 0-1
   Nimzowitsch vs Capablanca, 1927 0-1
   Capablanca vs K Treybal, 1929 1-0
   Janowski vs Capablanca, 1916 0-1
   Capablanca vs M Fonaroff, 1918 1-0
   Marshall vs Capablanca, 1909 0-1
   Capablanca vs J Corzo, 1901 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Lasker - Capablanca World Championship Match (1921)
   Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   American National (1913)
   Capablanca - Marshall (1909)
   New York (1918)
   New York Masters (1915)
   Rice Memorial (1916)
   Hastings (1919)
   London (1922)
   New York (1927)
   Budapest (1929)
   Moscow (1936)
   New York Masters (1911)
   St. Petersburg (1914)
   New York (1924)
   Karlsbad (1929)
   Moscow (1925)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Capa.blanca by fredthebear
   Capablanca! by Sven W
   Capablanca! by chocobonbon
   Capablanca! by wvb933
   Match Capablanca! by amadeus
   Capablanca plays the world....(I) by MissScarlett
   Capablanca plays the world... (II) by MissScarlett
   Jose Raul Capablanca's Best Games by Okavango
   Jose Raul Capablanca's Best Games by KingG
   Jose Raul Capablanca's Best Games by dcruggeroli
   Jose Raul Capablanca's Best Games by alip
   Jose Raul Capablanca's Best Games by bjamin74
   Immortal Games of Capablanca, F. Reinfeld by mjk
   Immortal Games of Capablanca, F. Reinfeld by Sergio0106

   Lasker vs Capablanca, 1921
   Capablanca vs Lasker, 1921
   Lasker vs Schlechter, 1910
   Capablanca vs Lasker, 1921
   Nimzowitsch vs Capablanca, 1913

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Jose Raul Capablanca
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(born Nov-19-1888, died Mar-08-1942, 53 years old) Cuba

[what is this?]

José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera was the third World Champion, reigning from 1921 until 1927. Renowned for the simplicity of his play, his legendary endgame prowess, accuracy, and the speed of his play, he earned the nickname of the "Human Chess Machine".


Capablanca, the second son of a Spanish Army officer, was born in Havana. He learned to play at an early age by watching his father and defeated Cuban Champion Juan Corzo in an informal match in 1901 by 6.5-5.5 (+4 −3 =5), turning 13 years of age during the match. Despite this and despite taking 4th place in the first Cuban Championship in 1902, he did not focus on chess until 1908 when he left Columbia University where he had enrolled to study chemical engineering and play baseball. He did, however, join the Manhattan Chess Club in 1905, soon establishing his dominance in rapid chess. He won a rapid chess tournament in 1906 ahead of the World Champion Emanuel Lasker, and played many informal games against him. Within a year or two of dropping out of university and after playing simultaneous exhibitions in dozens of US cities, winning over 95% of his games, Capablanca had established himself as one of the top players in the world, especially after the Capablanca - Marshall (1909) New York match exhibition win 15-8 (+8 -1 =14).


Capablanca won the 1910 New York State Championship by defeating co-leader Charles Jaffe in a tiebreaker match. In 1911, he placed second in the National Tournament in New York, with 9½ out of 12, half a point behind Marshall, and half a point ahead of Jaffe and Oscar Chajes. There followed Capablanca’s ground breaking win at San Sebastian (1911) with 9.5/14 (+6 -1 =7), ahead of Akiba Rubinstein and Milan Vidmar on 9, Marshall on 8.5, and other luminaries such as Carl Schlechter , Siegbert Tarrasch and Ossip Bernstein. Before the tournament, Aron Nimzowitsch protested the unknown Capablanca’s involvement in the event, but the latter demonstrated his credentials by defeating Nimzowitsch in in their game. Winning at San Sebastian was only the second time a player had won a major tournament at his first attempt since Harry Nelson Pillsbury ’s triumph at Hastings in 1895, and it provided a powerful boost to his credibility to challenge for the world title. He did so, but the match did not take place for another 10 years.

In early 1913, Capablanca won a tournament in New York with 11/13 (+10 -1 =2), half a point ahead of Marshall. Capablanca then finished second with 10/14 (+8 -2 =4), a half point behind Marshall in Havana, losing one of their individual games, rumour having it that he asked the mayor to clear the room so that no-one would see him resign. Returning to New York, Capablanca won all thirteen games at the New York tournament of 1913, played at the Rice Chess Club. 1914 saw the <"tournament of champions"> played at St. Petersburg. Capablanca, with 13/18 (+10 -2 =6), came second behind Lasker and well ahead of Alexander Alekhine on 10, Tarrasch on 8.5 and Marshall on 8.

After the outbreak of World War I, Capablanca stayed in New York and won tournaments held there in 1915 (13/14 (+12 -0 =2)), 1916 (14/17 (+12 -1 =4)) and 1918 (10.5/12 (+9 =3)). During the New York 1918 tournament, Marshall played his prepared Marshall Attack of the Ruy Lopez* against Capablanca, but Capablanca worked his way through the complications and won. Soon after the war, Capablanca crossed the Atlantic to decisively win the Hastings Victory tournament 1919 with 10.5/11, a point ahead of Borislav Kostic.

Capablanca did not play another tournament until 1922, the year after he won the title from Lasker. During his reign, he won London 1922 with 13/15 (no losses), 1.5 points ahead of Alekhine; placed second behind Lasker at New York 1924 (suffering his first loss in eight years – to Richard Reti – since his 1916 lost to Oscar Chajes); placed 3rd at Moscow in 1925 behind Efim Bogoljubov and Lasker respectively with +9 =9 -2; won at Lake Hopatcong (New York) 1926 with 6/8 (+4 =4), a point ahead of Abraham Kupchik; and won at New York in 1927 with 14/20 (+10 -1 =9), 2.5 points clear of Alekhine, his last tournament before his title match with Alekhine. During the latter tournament, Capablanca, Alekhine, Rudolf Spielmann, Milan Vidmar, Nimzowitsch and Marshall played a quadruple round robin, wherein Capablanca finished undefeated, winning the mini-matches with each of his rivals, 2½ points ahead of second-placed Alekhine, and won the "best game" prize for a win over Spielmann. This result, plus the fact that Alekhine had never defeated him in a game, made him a strong favourite to retain his title in the upcoming match against Alekhine. However, Alekhine's superior preparation prevailed against Capablanca's native talent.

After losing the title, Capablanca settled in Paris and engaged in a flurry of tournament competition aimed at improving his chances for a rematch with Alekhine. However the latter dodged him, refusing to finalise negotiations for a rematch, boycotting events that included Capablanca, and insisting that Capablanca not be invited to tournaments in which he participated. In 1928, Capablanca won at Budapest with 7/9 (+5 =4), a point ahead of Marshall, and at Berlin with 8.5/12 (+5 =7), 1.5 points ahead of Nimzowitsch; he also came second at Bad Kissingen with 7/11 (+4 -1 =6), after Bogoljubov. In 1929, Capablanca won at Ramsgate with 5.5/7 (+4 =3) ahead of Vera Menchik and Rubinstein, at Budapest with 10.5/13 (+8 =5), and at Barcelona with 13.5/14, two points clear of Savielly Tartakower; he also came equal second with Spielmann and behind Nimzowitsch at Carlsbad with 14.5/21 (+10 -2 =9). He won at the 1929-30 Hastings tournament and came second at Hastings in 1930-31, behind Max Euwe, his only loss being to Mir Sultan Khan. Several months later he won New York for the last time, this time with a score of 10/11 (+9 =2) ahead of Isaac Kashdan.

Perhaps discouraged by his inability to secure a rematch with Alekhine, there followed a hiatus for over three years before he reentered the fray with a fourth placing at Hastings in 1934-35 with 5.5/9 (+4 -2 =3), behind Sir George Alan Thomas, Euwe and Salomon Flohr but ahead of Mikhail Botvinnik and Andre Lilienthal. In 1935, he secured 4th place in Moscow with 12/19 (+7 -2 =10), a point behind Botvinnik and Flohr, and a half point behind the evergreen Lasker. Also in 1935, he came second at Margate with 7/9 (+6 -1 =2), half a point behind Samuel Reshevsky. 1936 was a very successful year, coming 2nd at Margate with 7/9 (+5 =4), a half point behind Flohr, but then he moved up a gear to take Moscow with 13/18 (+8 =10), a point ahead of Botvinnik who in turn was 2.5 points ahead of Flohr, and then came =1st with Botvinnik at the famous Nottingham tournament, with 10/14 (+7 -1 =6) ahead of Euwe, Reuben Fine and Reshevsky on 9.5, and Flohr and Lasker on 8.5. These latter two results were the only tournaments in which he finished ahead of Lasker, which enhanced his chances of challenging for the title, but a challenge to World Champion Euwe was out of the question until after the Euwe - Alekhine World Championship Rematch (1937) , which was won by Alekhine. In 1937, Capablanca came =3rd with Reshevsky at Semmering with 7.5/14 (+2 -1 =11) behind Paul Keres and Fine and in 1938 he won the Paris tournament with 8/10 (+6 =4) ahead of Nicolas Rossolimo. The worst result of his career occurred at the AVRO tournament which was played in several cities in the Netherlands in 1938, placing 7th out of 8 players with 6/14 (+2 -4 =8), the only time he ever had a negative score in a tournament. His health in this tournament was fragile as he had suffered severe hypertension, which affected his concentration towards the end of his games; he may have also suffered a slight stroke halfway through the tournament. Traveling between the numerous cities in which the tournament was played was also hard on the ageing master. In 1939 he played his last tournament at Margate, placing =2nd with Flohr on 6.5/9 (+4 =5) a point behind Keres. Shortly afterwards, he finished his playing career – albeit unknowingly - in a blaze of glory by winning gold with +7 =9 on board one for Cuba at the 8th Olympiad in Buenos Aires.


In addition to the informal match against Corzo in 1901 and the exhibition match against Marshall in 1909 (see above), Capablanca played a three game match against Charles Jaffe in New York in 1912, winning two and drawing one, and won the first game of a match against Chajes before the latter withdrew from the match. In 1914, he defeated Ossip Bernstein 1.5-0.5, Tartakower by 1.5-0.5 and Andre Aurbach by 2-0. On his way to the 1914 tournament in St Petersburg, he played two-game matches against Richard Teichmann and Jacques Mieses in Berlin, winning all his games. Once he reached Saint Petersburg, he played similar matches against Alexander Alekhine, Eugene Aleksandrovich Znosko-Borovsky and Fyodor Ivanovich Dus Chotimirsky, losing one game to Znosko-Borovsky and winning the rest. In 1919, Capablanca accepted a challenge to a match from Borislav Kostić who had come second at New York in 1918 without dropping a game. The match was to go to the first player to win eight games, but Kostić resigned the match, played in Havana, after losing five straight games. In late 1931, just before his temporary retirement from top level chess, Capablanca also won a match (+2 −0 =8) against Euwe.

World Championship

Capablanca’s win at San Sebastian in 1911 provided the results and the impetus for Capablanca to negotiate with Lasker for a title match, but some of Lasker’s conditions were unacceptable to Capablanca, especially one requiring the challenger to win by two points to take the title, while the advent of World War I delayed the match. In 1920, Lasker and Capablanca agreed to play the title match in 1921, but a few months later, former was ready to surrender the title without a contest, saying, "You have earned the title not by the formality of a challenge, but by your brilliant mastery." A significant stake ($25,000, $13,000 guaranteed to Lasker) was raised that induced Lasker to play in Havana where Capablanca won the Lasker - Capablanca World Championship Match (1921) - without losing a game - after Lasker resigned from the match when trailing by 4 games, the first time a World Champion had lost his title without winning a game until the victory by Vladimir Kramnik in the Kasparov - Kramnik World Championship Match (2000). From 1921 to 1923, Alekhine, Rubinstein and Nimzowitsch all challenged Capablanca, but only Alekhine could raise the money stipulated in the so-called “London Rules”, which these players had signed in 1921. A group of Argentinean businessmen, backed by a guarantee from the president of Argentina, promised the funds for a World Championship match between Capablanca and Alekhine, and once the deadline for Nimzowitsch to lodge a deposit for a title match had passed, the title match was agreed to, beginning in September 1927. Capablanca lost the Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927) at Buenos Aires in 1927 by +3 -6 =25 in the longest title match ever, until it was surpassed by the legendary Karpov - Kasparov World Championship Match (1984). The match lasted over ten weeks, taking place behind closed doors, thus precluding spectators and photographers. All but two of the 34 games opened with the Queen's Gambit Declined. Before Capablanca and Alekhine left Buenos Aires after the match, they agreed in principle to stage a rematch, with Alekhine essentially sticking with the conditions initially imposed by Capablanca. Despite on-again off-again negotiations over the next 13 years, the rematch never materialised, with Alekhine playing two title matches each against Bogolyubov and Euwe in the subsequent decade. While Capablanca and Alekhine were both representing their countries at the Buenos Aires Olympiad in 1939, an attempt was made by Augusto de Muro, the President of the Argentine Chess Federation, to arrange a World Championship match between the two. Alekhine declined, saying he was obliged to be available to defend his adopted homeland, France, as World War II had just broken out. A couple of days prior to this, Capablanca had declined to play when his Cuban team played France, headed by Alekhine, in the Olympiad.

Simultaneous exhibitions

Capablanca’s legendary speed of play lent itself to the rigours of simultaneous play, and he achieved great success in his exhibitions. From December 1908 through February 1909, Capablanca toured the USA and in 10 exhibitions he won 168 games in a row before losing a game in Minneapolis; his final tally for that tour was 734 games, winning 96.7% (+703 =19 -12). In March and April 1911, Capablanca toured Europe for the first time, giving exhibitions in France and Germany scoring +234=33-19. Once completed, he proceeded to San Sebastian and his historic victory before again touring Europe via its cities of Rotterdam, Leiden, Middelburg, The Hague, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Berlin, Breslau, Allenstein, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Stuttgart, Mannheim, Frankfurt, Paris, London and Birmingham at the end of which his tally was +532=66-54. After he received his job as a roving ambassador-at-large from the Cuban Foreign Office, Capablanca played a series of simuls in London, Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, Riga, Moscow, Kiev, and Vienna on his way to St Petersburg in 1914, tallying +769=91-86. In 1922, Capablanca gave a simultaneous exhibition in Cleveland against 103 opponents, the largest in history up to that time, winning 102 and drawing one – setting a record for the best winning percentage ever – 99.5% - in a large simultaneous exhibition. In 1925 Capablanca gave a simultaneous exhibition in Leningrad and won every game but one, a loss against 12 year old Mikhail Botvinnik, whom he predicted would one day be champion. Capablanca still holds the record for the most games ever completed in simultaneous exhibitions, playing and completing 13545 games between 1901-1940.**

Legacy, testimonials and life

Soon after gaining the title, Capablanca married Gloria Simoni Betancourt in Havana. They had a son, José Raúl Jr., in 1923 and a daughter, Gloria, in 1925. His father died in 1923 and mother in 1926. In 1937 he divorced Gloria and in 1938 married Olga Chagodayev, a Russian princess.

Capablanca's famous “invincible” streak extended from February 10, 1916, when he lost to Oscar Chajes in the New York 1916 tournament, to March 21, 1924, when he lost to Richard Réti in the New York International tournament. During this time he played 63 games, winning 40 and drawing 23, including his successful title match against Lasker. Between 1914 and his World Championship match against Alekhine, Capablanca had only lost four games of the 158 match and tournament games he had played. In match, team match, and tournament play from 1909 to 1939 he scored +318=249-34. Only Spielmann held his own (+2 −2 =8) against Capablanca, apart from Keres who had a narrow plus score against him (+1 −0 =5) due to his win at the AVRO 1938 tournament, during which the ailing Capablanca turned 50, while Keres was 22.

Capablanca played himself in Chess Fever, a short film shot by V. Pudovkin at the 1925 Moscow tournament. The film can be seen at

On 7 March 1942, Capablanca collapsed at the Manhattan Chess Club and he was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he died the next morning from "a cerebral haemorrhage provoked by hypertension". Emanuel Lasker had died in the same hospital the year before. Capablanca's body was given a public funeral in Havana's Colón Cemetery a week later, with President Batista taking personal charge of the funeral arrangements.

Capablanca proposed a new chess variant, played on a 10x10 board or a 10x8 board. He introduced two new pieces. The chancellor had the combined moves of a rook and knight (the piece could move like a rook or a knight). The other piece was the archbishop that had the combined moves of a bishop and knight.

Capablanca‘s style also heavily influenced the styles of later World Champions Botvinnik, Robert James Fischer and Anatoly Karpov. Botvinnik observed that Alekhine had received much schooling from Capablanca in positional play, before their fight for the world title made them bitter enemies. While not a theoretician as such, he wrote several books including A Primer of Chess, Chess Fundamentals and My Chess Career.

Alekhine: <…Capablanca was snatched from the chess world much too soon. With his death, we have lost a very great chess genius whose like we shall never see again.>

Lasker: <I have known many chess players, but only one chess genius: Capablanca.>


Capablanca occasionally played consultation on the team consisting of Reti / Capablanca.


Bill Wall's Chess Master Profiles -; Edward Winter's article A Question of Credibiity:; Chess Corner's article on Capablanca: and <kingcrusher>'s online article at A list of books about Capablanca can be found at

* Ruy Lopez, Marshall (C89) **

Wikipedia article: José Raúl Capablanca

 page 1 of 49; games 1-25 of 1,217  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. R Iglesias vs Capablanca 0-1381893Odds game000 Chess variants
2. Capablanca vs E Delmonte 1-0181901Match-seriesB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
3. L Paredes vs Capablanca 0-1451901Match-seriesC44 King's Pawn Game
4. Capablanca vs E Corzo 1-0351901Match-seriesC67 Ruy Lopez
5. Capablanca vs A Fiol ½-½491901Match-seriesC45 Scotch Game
6. J Corzo vs Capablanca 1-0411901Havana casualB01 Scandinavian
7. A Gavilan vs Capablanca 0-1391901Match-seriesC45 Scotch Game
8. A Ettlinger vs Capablanca 0-1531901Havana casualC45 Scotch Game
9. Capablanca vs M Marceau 1-0311901Match-seriesC45 Scotch Game
10. M M Sterling vs Capablanca ½-½501901HavanaC77 Ruy Lopez
11. Capablanca vs J A Blanco 1-0491901Match-seriesC45 Scotch Game
12. E Delmonte vs Capablanca 0-1321901Match-seriesD00 Queen's Pawn Game
13. Capablanca vs L Paredes 1-0291901Match-seriesC02 French, Advance
14. E Corzo vs Capablanca 1-0321901Match-seriesC11 French
15. Capablanca vs J Corzo 0-1601901Havana casualC45 Scotch Game
16. A Fiol vs Capablanca 0-1361901HavanaC55 Two Knights Defense
17. Capablanca vs A Gavilan 1-0771901Match-seriesC01 French, Exchange
18. Capablanca vs M M Sterling 1-0301901HavanaC01 French, Exchange
19. Capablanca vs E Corzo 0-1301901Havana casualC40 King's Knight Opening
20. Capablanca vs E Corzo 1-0421901Havana casualC40 King's Knight Opening
21. J A Blanco vs Capablanca 0-1771901HavanaC55 Two Knights Defense
22. Capablanca vs C Echevarria 1-0491901Simul, 8bC44 King's Pawn Game
23. Capablanca vs J Corzo 0-1291901Capablanca - CorzoC45 Scotch Game
24. J Corzo vs Capablanca 1-0271901Capablanca - CorzoC52 Evans Gambit
25. Capablanca vs J Corzo ½-½611901Capablanca - CorzoA80 Dutch
 page 1 of 49; games 1-25 of 1,217  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Capablanca wins | Capablanca loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Capablanca in color.

Jun-04-20  CapablancaDisciple: The greatest player of all time. The veritable Mozart of Chess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: Photo of a simul on 9 November 1913 in the Berliner Schachgesellschaft (he also gave a simul there on November 14th):

Info in Dutch:

Jul-28-20  Chesgambit: accuracy too high
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Olimpiu G. Urcan

From February 8, 1916 to March 21, 1924 - a period of eight years, one month and 13 days or 2,964 days - Capablanca did not lose a single game out of the 109 tournament and match games he played. A novelist referred to him during this period as "a Mephisto in tuxedo."

1:25 PM · Oct 20, 2020>

Huh? What's the Capablanca expert on about? It's well-known that Capa's unbeaten run was *only* 63 games (+40 =23).

Actually, it was 66 games, if you include 3 games Capa played in 1916: Mario Schroeder vs Capablanca, 1916, S T Sharp vs Capablanca, 1916 and W P Shipley vs Capablanca, 1916. There's a case for omitting the Shipley game, but the match games for Manhattan CC were definitely serious and competitve affairs.

Does Urcan have a secret stash of over 40 unknown Capa games?

Oct-21-20  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi MissScarlett,

O.G. is usually spot on regarding his facts and figures. The number I have seen regarding the total of games differ slightly but always round about the mid 60's.

He may well have 40+ Capa games from this period but from where I have no idea as his life is quite well documented.

The reference to 'Mephisto' twigged something I saw in the past. (Think I wrote something somewhere about it.)

Gunsberg, he played in the automan Mephisto and O.G's reference to Mephisto in a Tuxedo. Has O.G. found the missing Capablanca - Gunsberg games? and in doing so unearthed others.

One is known Gunsberg vs Capablanca, 1914 Capa had Black but see: C.N. 5137 and C.N. 3785.


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Don't get the <O.G.> reference unless it means <Own Goal>.

Anyway, there's another tweet:

Oct-21-20  Sally Simpson: ***

He has corrected it. So no missing games. Pity, the world could do with 40+ undiscovered Capablanca masterpieces.

Guess it's up to me to find the Capablanca-Gunsberg games. I'll have them created and submitted on here by midnight including the Armageddon games.

( O.G. = Olimpiu G., or is that not two names, is Olimpiu G. one name. )


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Suffice to say, <Edward Winter> will be furious.
Oct-21-20  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi Miss Scarlett,

I wonder where the 109 games from, did he copy the wins twice. 66 the often number of quoted games, + 43 the often number of quoted wins = 109. That is a 'me' error.

I've checked the ECF forum Olimpiu signs of as O.G. Urcan so I guess O.G. was OK.

I see he has been having a wee 'you said 'this' but really meant 'this' type of row with T.D. (that is T.D. Harding) and others.

Reading on and it seems O.G. also wants something written 23 years ago corrected.

Think I'll join in.


Mar-11-21  Sally Simpson: ***

Found an odd piece about Capablanca losing what appears to an unknown game to a checkers/draughts champion.

(scroll down and read after the picture of the faded checkers board)

Here is copy of what it says.

"Henry [Shearer] and Richard Jordan, the world draughts champion were the only two members of the Scottish team to accept an invitation to play in America (1909 or prior).

They were hosted by the Manhattan Chess Club and various American and Canadian draughts clubs came to play them.

Jordan would take on the top man head to head, Henry would take on the rest simultaneously, himself blindfolded.

Now, what follows is according to a Canadian correspondent and draughts book purveyor I encountered, the grandson of one player present.

Marshall, a good draughts player and US Chess champion - finding that Jordan was a competent chess player (he played for Edinburgh), as well as Henry - offered the Scots a challenge.

Equal number of chess and draughts games to be played vs Marshall and partner, his protegé Raul Capablanca, a Cuban student.

Possibly to the first defeat of the masters at their own game, my correspondent did not know the terms.

A number of side bets at odds-on were placed on an American victory by members of the Manhattan Club. Henry took them all.

Given the equal number of games of draughts to chess, it made no sense to make the US chess players overwhelming favourites simply because they were champions of that game.

The draughts players were Jordan the world champion and Shearer, a man the world champion described as "the hardest man in the Kingdom to beat." Thus the odds-on were very tempting to Henry, an astute placer of wagers.

Eventually Capablanca took a risky gamble at chess, had an exchange of pieces, and left with a king and pawn ending was out-manouvered by Henry.

Much later Capablanca became the outstanding Chess world champion of all time. "


Although the article said he played for Edinburgh I am 99% sure Richard Jordan was not a member of the Edinburgh Chess Club. (the club has a record of all members dating back to 1822, no Richard Jordan.)

He played for the Edinburgh Working Men's Club on the 9th December 1909 against a Mr. C. McDonald of the Glasgow Club in the Spens Cup. Richard Jordan won. (I have not been able to trace the game but this info will help find the date of the Capablanca game.)


Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <A faded photo and the mystery

The lives of public figures are exposed to the curiosity, sometimes morbid, of others.

And Capablanca’s was no exception. That of the chess genius was accompanied by the poise of the man of “good looks,” and by the legend of being a true Don Juan.

His love “career” may, in quantitative terms, may have been less intense than that of any neighbor’s son today, but in the imagery of his time the figure of our champion was set in bronze letters in the book of great lovers.

Let’s take a quick tour of his sentimental biography, made up of testimonies from those who were lucky enough to have known him and by the almost always sloppy prose of the gossip columnists.

It is 1912. Capablanca is 24 years old and embarks on his first national tour. He had left Cuba in 1904, returned briefly in the summer of 1909, and left again for the United States and Europe.

On this occasion he was seen accompanied by an unidentified brunette lady, apparently his first “close” contact with a Cuban. It is known that they stayed together in a hotel in San Miguel de los Baños.

Only a faded photo and the mystery of the occasion remained.

That same year, when Capablanca was leaving New York for Havana to begin his tour of the interior of Cuba, the Brooklyn newspaper Daily Eagle inserted in its pages a piece of fake news that stated that the Cuban had married a lady whose identity was not specified, in the town of Summit, NJ.

This woman came to see him off at the dock from where the steamer Avangarez would set sail.

We only know about her from the notable Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev—friend of “el Capa” and very interested in chess—that she was a beautiful woman, with good manners, with very fine skin, and that the champion had ceased being interested in her.

We’re off to Saint Petersburg, 1914. A strong international chess tournament is played there. Cuban Capablanca finished second, half a point behind Emanuel Lasker, then world champion.

In his memoirs, Prokofiev refers to a conversation he had with Sosnitsky, vice president of the host club, in which he states that the performance of the Cuban in the tournament was conditioned by the intense affair he had with Madam Strakhovich, with whom he had spent sleepless nights.

It is also said that the excellent dancer Mathilde Marie Feliksova Kashessinkaya, who had youthful love affairs with he who would later become Tsar Nicholas II, also received the attention of the son of José María Capablanca Fernández and Matilde María Graupera Marín.

Chess Fever, from 1925, is a silent short comedy directed by Russian Vsevolod Pudovkin, which has, as an added interest, the participation of Capablanca as an actor.

The film uses documentary images of the tournament that was being played at that time in the Metropol Hotel in Moscow.

We won’t go into the plot; suffice it to say that the character played by the Cuban expresses that, given the choice, women come before the game of thirty-two chess pieces.

Another biographer of the so-called “Mozart of chess” was the Russian Vassili Panov, who attests that during the Moscow tournament Capablanca was besieged by a multitude of admirers, including women.

They gave him flowers, chocolates, and the push from the fans was so great that the city’s mounted police had to intervene more than once to provide protection.

We now arrive in Buenos Aires. It is the year 1927 and Capablanca gives the scepter to Alexader Alekhine.

Two women are associated with this painful moment: actresses Gloria Guzmán, from Spain, and the Argentine Consuelo Velázquez.

As Guzmán revealed to the newspaper Crítica, Capablanca “had replaced Rudolph Valentino in her heart.”

Apparently, the most strident affair was with Velázquez, who used to pick up the star in her bright red Rambler convertible.2

The match for the crown was held in September 1927. That year “el Capa” had performed splendidly, and the stakes were unanimously in his favor.

The king was confident. He would act, true to his custom, improvising solutions on the board.

He surely thought that his uninhibited and spontaneous game would put an end to his opponent’s pretensions.

There were those who predicted that Alekine would not win a single game, while others declared that the Russian didn’t have the slightest chance against the Habanero.

The painful result is known, and there have been many who attribute the Cuban master’s poor performance to his excessive weakness for women’s beauty.>

Jun-13-21  m.okun: A. Sizonenko. Capablanca. Meetings with Russia. Moscow, 1988. (in Russian).
Nov-08-21  Sally Simpson: Thought the cost of a 1919 Capablanca simul may be of interest.

Minutes of the Edinburgh Chess Club dated 28th August 1919 say the club has received a letter (no date given when letter was sent) from J.H. White representing Capablanca who is offering to do a simultaneous display at 10 guineas a board.

(no date of the simul given in the minutes but Newcastle was on the 22nd and Glasgow on the 24th so it must be the 23rd September 1919)

If spectators are allowed in then 5 guineas is to be added. Also rail expenses were to be covered. (no details from where but assume from Newcastle.)

The club could not guarantee enough boards as most of it's members were on holiday. So they declined. The few Edinburgh players interested went to Glasgow and played on the 24th September.

Club visitors book has Capablanca's signature and date, 23rd September 1919 (date written by Capa himself also adding he came from 'Havana, Cuba.') so it would seem he visited the club but did not play.

Nov-19-21  Mathematicar: Happy 133th birthday, José!
Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: Happy birthday and rest in peace to the one and only chess machine, José Raúl Capablanca!
Nov-20-21  paladin at large: Why is Nottingham (1936) not among the Notable Tournaments?

IIANM, Capablanca once said it was his proudest achievement (sharing 1st place with Botvinnik), considering that he was not well at the time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Don't start. It's got something to do with algorithms or logarithms. All one can say is that it will be attended to in the fullness of time.
Jan-20-22  RookFile: Capa was not well known in 1936?
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: It’s known he wasn’t well in 1936.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Believe <paladin> meant what he said; not entirely clear on this, but the great man may already have displayed symptoms of the hypertension which would cause his death, a few years on.
Jan-22-22  Albertan: ‘’A hundred years of exactitude’’:

Feb-16-22  RookFile: Yeah, you're right, I read that too quickly. It was a statement on his health, not on whether he was well known.
Apr-16-22  Albertan: Capablanca,the chess machine:

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: José Raúl Capablanca 30 Interesting Facts:

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