Wednesday, January 24, 2018


[Event "Moscow"][Date "1925.11.25"][Round "12"][Result "0-1"]

[White "Fyodor Ivanovich Dus Chotimirsky"][Black "Jose Raul Capablanca"][ECO "A48"]
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 g6 3.e3 Bg7 4.Bd3 O-O 5.O-O d6 6.e4 Nbd7 7.h3
c5 8.c3 e5 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.a4 Qc7 11.Na3 c4 12.Nxc4 Nc5 13.Qe2
Nxd3 14.Qxd3 Rd8 15.Qe2 Be6 16.Na3 h6 17.Re1 a6 18.Qc2 Bd7
19.Be3 Bc6 20.Nd2 b5 21.axb5 axb5 22.f3 Nh5 23.Rad1 Bf8
24.Nab1 Bd7 25.Nf1 Nf4 26.Ng3 b4 27.Ne2 g5 28.Nc1 Rdc8 29.c4
b3 30.Nxb3 Ba4 31.N1d2 Bb4 32.g3 Ne6 33.Qd3 Rd8 34.Qe2 Rab8
35.Rf1 Bxd2 36.Nxd2 Bxd1 37.Qxd1 Rxb2 38.Qc1 Ra2 39.Rf2 Rd3
40.Nf1 Raa3 41.f4 Rac3 42.Qe1 exf4 43.gxf4 Nxf4 44.Bxf4 gxf4
45.Qe2 f3 46.Qa2 Rc1 47.Rxf3 Rxf3 48.Qg2+ Rg3 0-1

 Capablanca offers a pawn on 11. . . . c4!
Why? to free up the c5 square for his N . . . 
12. . . . Nc5, hitting the B on d3 and a double
attack on white's pawn on e4 . . . nice!
[White plays Qe2, guarding both, but . . . ]
Capablanca grabs the initiative with the series of
moves: 13. . . . Nxd3; 14.Qxd3 Rd8; 15.Qe2 Be6;
putting a double attack on white's knight on c4!
Nice?  Yes.  So effortlessly: this is like ballet!
Capablanca re-deploys his queen-s bishop to c6
hitting White's pawn on e4, forcing White to play
20.Nd2 . . . and after 20. . . . b5:
The question is: can White play Bxf4?
If White gives up his queen's bishop, dark
squares around the White king will be weak and
black's king's bishop will spring to action with . . . Bc5+
and White's king is in a cross-fire leading to mate
or loss of material. [One might also, from visual
inspection question White's move 22.f3 weakening
White's king position. The point is, could White
stand not to make this move?]
Simple and powerful: Capablanca notices that
White's queen is not guarded on the c-file so
by playing 26. . . . b4 he secures a wedge into
White's queen-side position, at the same time
opening up the a4-e8 diagonal for his queen's
bishop on d7. [This kind of play is most instructive
for the beginner. Not really complicated or "deep"
it just takes total advantage of obvious White 
weaknesses in Dus Chotimirsky's position.
Go Capa! Keep the pressure on. Don't let up for
a moment. No wasted moves here.]
Now we see that after 27. . . . g5, if White had chosen
to capture Black's knight on f4 there would become
a black pawn on f4 controlling g3 and e3 squares,
squashing White's king into oblivion. So, white
played the rather passive and sad move 28. Nc1 . . . ;
Black now counters with 28. . . . Rc8; adding to the
pressure on the c-file with Black's pawn now becoming
most prominent in counter-attack. [Note, White's Queen
is still unprotected!]
After Black plays: 31. . . . Bb4; the game is quite
decided. White's piece are tied up in knots. 
Capablanca weaves a web of confusion.  White's
king seems "naked" of protection and Black's
pieces are optimally stationed; and notice that Black's 
king is totally safe. White has no counter-play 
in sight, against Black's king.
White runs but cannot hide and must lose material.
Note that White played 32.g3 to boot Black's knight 
back to e6 freeing up the e2 square for the queen.
No matter, White's pawns are weak and the position
is hopelessly lost.
Now Black's rook invades White's position with
tempo, attacking the bishop on e3.
40.  . . . Raa3; [Note that Black's rooks, doubled
on the 6th rank attack the g-pawn in front of White's
king, made week by 22.f3 move. Now everything
is hanging, so to speak. White is in zugzwang,
essentially running out of good moves because
all of his pieces are defending critical squares in
front of White's king and dare not move without
disastrous results.]
Now, 46. . . . Rc1 is the best move. Why? We note
the key weak spot in White's position is "g3" and
now we see that White's knight on f1 is pinned and
no longer covers this square. So Black threatens
. . . Qg3+ when the roof collapses in White's house.
White might have resigned here but played on just
for "fun" . . . 
Essentially, White has absolutely no moves
to forestall checkmate. So Fyodor resigned.
This game is another example of Capablanca's
"pure" play. Pure and simple, efficient and elegant.
Bravo Capa!
Final comment. I am convinced that, especially for the amateur
and the beginner, playing out master games plus playing tournament
games, writing down the moves and looking over the game for "missed
opportunities" are the correct combination of action to success.
Reliance on "super" computers like Stockfish, Kommodo, Rybka,
and other commercial software packages, though "deadly" accurate
really don't allow the human brain to acquire the simple chess techniques
which may produce wins, and more often draws, but fewer loses.
[I find, that without a chess computer, I must force my brain to
engage in the finding of a "good" move or understanding why
the players made such moves, good or bad. With a chess program,
I found I got lazy.  The computer move was fascinating, but my brain
did not find the move, a silaion chip did.  And,
note in the above game, we have a few basic chess techniques which
Capablanca used to secure his win: sacking a pawn for initiative; knight forks,
attacking opponent's Queen to gain positional penetration, noticing the
condition of pieces [like White's unguarded queen on the c-file for black's
move. . . b4]; and then more simple "tactical" conditions like invasion into
opponent's position with major pieces aiming at weakly guarded pawns
and finally the fatal pin on White's knight on f1.  Playing over this game,
as many times as one might, is so satisfying, like watching a ballet.
Each of Capa's moves has a simple and powerful purpose. All of his pieces
coordinate, working together to create threats on both sides of the board.
This is chess at its best: a learning experience and a beautiful journey
to victory. [Confession of a chess analyst: I got rid of my computer and
my Rybka chess program. Now I just have the printed games on the website to use, as well as Chess Informant  
and other printed material, especially gems like
to guide me. [No, this is not a promo for Mark Dvoretsky who I met over a 
decade ago in programs at Harvard and BCC lecture series in the '90s. Sadly, 
Mark died September 26, 2016, at the age of 68.]

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