Rubinstein-Capablanca - San Sebastian 1911

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John Moore
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Rubinstein-Capablanca - San Sebastian 1911

Post by John Moore » Sat Jul 25, 2015 4:56 pm

Not long since I acquired Craig Pritchett's rather good book Heroes of Classical Chess. Game 3 is the famous Rubinstein-Capablanca game with Rubinstein playing 15 Nxd5 and 17 Qc1. What do you mean, you don't know it (at this point, I have to beg for help putting the game up on the site - but it is worth it if you don't already know the game).

I don't always bother running an engine in the background on more modern games but it is interesting to do so sometimes with the classics. After 15 Nd5 Junior (my engine of choice) insists on 15 .. Bf2+. Craig dismisses this with 16 Kg2 Qf7 17 Nf4 which is obviously winning but Junior wants to play 16 .. Qe5. V interesting.

Now I am not criticising Rubinstein or Capa - they still created a wonderful game which is well worth playing through even a hundred years later. Nor am I criticising Craig or anybody else who annotated the game. Kasparov in My Great Predecessors has no note at this point and there are no notes on my version of MegaBase - I can't be bothered to look further.

Would be interesting to know if 15 .. Bf2+ has been mentioned before.

John Moore
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Re: Rubinstein-Capablanca - San Sebastian 1911

Post by John Moore » Sat Jul 25, 2015 5:21 pm

Tartakower in 500 Master Games of Chess also dismisses 15 .. Bf2 with 16 Kg2 Qh6 17 Nf4. The Mammoth Book of the World's Great Chess Games doesn't include the game.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Rubinstein-Capablanca - San Sebastian 1911

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Jul 25, 2015 5:30 pm

John Moore wrote: Would be interesting to know if 15 .. Bf2+ has been mentioned before.
I've looked up the game and run an engine check. That also suggests 16. .. Qe5 as maintaining approximate equality. Play continues to be very sharp with 17. Nf4 being met with Rcd8 hitting the queen and then on 18. Qb3, the reply .. Nd4 hitting the Queen again and this time defending e6. The engines are seeing mutual tactical blows to justify their equality verdict.



Last edited by Roger de Coverly on Sat Jul 25, 2015 5:50 pm, edited 3 times in total.

John Moore
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Re: Rubinstein-Capablanca - San Sebastian 1911

Post by John Moore » Sat Jul 25, 2015 5:42 pm

Thanks Roger. I would encourage anyone who doesn't know the game to play through it.

Philip Adams
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Re: Rubinstein-Capablanca - San Sebastian 1911

Post by Philip Adams » Sat Jul 25, 2015 9:56 pm

Well spotted!

Now that this is "out of the bag", as it were, I can safely tell you that this was going to be one of the revelations in the forthcoming book by GM Zenón Franco on Rubinstein (in Everyman's "Move by Move" series), which I am currently translating from Spanish.

After analysing the tactical justification for 15...Bxf2+ 16 Kg2 Qe5!, Franco concludes "we can now say with certainty that Capablanca’s intuition was correct in allowing 15.Nxd5, and therefore 13...0-0 was not an error, as previous commentators have thought, including Capablanca himself."

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JustinHorton
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Re: Rubinstein-Capablanca - San Sebastian 1911

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Jul 25, 2015 10:10 pm

See analysis here, which suggests that Kasparov does mention the bishop check.

(Via here.)
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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John McKenna
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Re: Rubinstein-Capablanca - San Sebastian 1911

Post by John McKenna » Sat Jul 25, 2015 11:19 pm

John Moore wrote:Tartakower in 500 Master Games of Chess also dismisses 15 .. Bf2 with 16 Kg2 Qh6 17 Nf4. The Mammoth Book of the World's Great Chess Games doesn't include the game.
In Rubinstein Gewinnt! (pub. 1933) Kmoch gave - 15.Nxd5!! It is clear that 15... exd5 16.Qxd5+ followed by Bxc8, etc., as well as 15... Bxf2+ 16.Kg2 Qh6 17.Nf4 etc. would lead to speedy loss. After the text move 15... Qh6 the real combination begins.

There may, or may not, be something older about the move 15... Bxf2+ in the following two works -

Rubinstein: 100 du sus mejores partidas (J. Baca Arús; J R Lopez, 1922 Havana)

Internationales schach-turnier zu San Sebastian 1911 (J. Mieses & M. Lewitt, 1919)
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

John McKenna
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Re: Rubinstein-Capablanca - San Sebastian 1911

Post by John McKenna » Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:28 am

Good bit of delving by Justin, above. (But given below, too).

Going on to the final entry on page 7/7 of his first link, above & below, we find the following comment and engine output (dated: 23-Jun-2015) -

RandomVisitor: After the curious improvement attempt 15...Bxf2+

"Capablanca typically does not go down without trying something concrete, and goes for an active defense."

Rybka 4.1 x64:

<[+0.24] d=28 16.Kh1> Qh6 17.Kg2 Rcd8 18.Qc1 Qg6 19.Nf4 Qe4+ 20.Kxf2 e5 21.Bg2 Qb4 22.Kg1 exf4 23.Rxf4 Rxf4 24.Qxf4 Qxb2 25.Qc4+ Kh8 26.Rf1 h6 27.Be4 Re8 28.Kh1 Qd4 29.Qxd4 Nxd4 30.Bxb7 Nxe2 31.Rf7

[+0.01] d=27 16.Kg2 Qe5 17.Rxf2 Rxf2+ 18.Kxf2 Rd8 19.Ne7+ Kh8 20.Qb3 Nxe7 21.Qxe6 Qd4+ 22.Kg2 Nd5 23.Kh1 Ne3 24.Rg1 h6 25.b3 Rf8 26.Bg2 Nxg2 27.Kxg2 Rf2+ 28.Kh3 Qc5 29.Qe8+ Kh7 30.Qe4+ Kg8 31.g4


Note that in the 1st line the only other possible move after 15... Bxf2+, namely 16.Kh1, is analysed and evaluated at about a quarter of a pawn up for White.

And, in the 2nd line there is a divergence (at White's move 24) from Sorokhtin's analysis (see Justin's 2nd link, below) that goes - 24.Rd1 Qd2 25.Qe7 Rb8 26.Bg2 Qxe2 draw.

I mention these minor points for the sake of completeness and to restore Justin's post to rightful pre-eminence since it answers John Moore's original query about 16... Qe5.
JustinHorton wrote:See analysis here, which suggests that Kasparov does mention the bishop check.

(Via here.)
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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JustinHorton
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Re: Rubinstein-Capablanca - San Sebastian 1911

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:57 am

Though it doesn't resolve the confusion as to what Kasparov did or did not say!
"Do you play chess?"
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John Moore
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Re: Rubinstein-Capablanca - San Sebastian 1911

Post by John Moore » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:23 pm

Thanks for the responses - truly there is nothing new under the sun. I never thought to look on Chessgames.com - that's a reminder for the future. One further source. Euwe and Kramer in Book 2 of the Middle Game simply say 15 .. Bf2+ 16 Kg2 is out of the question.

Craig Pritchett
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Re: Rubinstein-Capablanca - San Sebastian 1911

Post by Craig Pritchett » Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:06 pm

Well spotted, John and thanks for your interest in Heroes of Classical Chess (written 2008-09).

I don't know why I didn't spot that after that Bxf2+ move (long known), followed by ...Qe5!, the truly new resource, which seems to have been first discovered by Sorokhtin + computer (see that 2004 Chessbase piece), White has nothing. I even recall reading that CB article when it appeared ... but that bit clearly didn't stick in the mind for the next four years!

Trouble with chess, of course, is that whoever makes the last significant error is likelier to lose. When I last wrote opening books (before Heroes), I was forcibly struck by the number of times that the guy with the opening 'plus' ended up losing it or even the full point. Chess is truly a game in which error-minimisation 'rules' over the very long-term and on virtually every move in hard-fought games between peers. Much the same goes for annotators. It's easy when you get a wholly one-sided game but that's rare in most great battles of the present and past and even Kasparov (plus computers) doesn't always get it right in all details.

Re Kasparov, I recall being rather impressed by his request to the wider chess community to scrutinise his analyses in the Predecessor series for corrections / improvements (which gave rise to the Sorokhtin + computer analyses/ corrections). That reveals a humility and respect for the considerable complexity of the game in a great annotator who can really cut to the quick in explaining how the ideas and variations in the most thrilling encounters actually flow, even if one or two details go astray en route in the telling.

Kasparov and all of his Predecessors, including Capablanca, Rubinstein, etc are all great models whose playing styles and games are well worth the effort of trying to understand if we want to improve.

Reg Clucas
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Re: Rubinstein-Capablanca - San Sebastian 1911

Post by Reg Clucas » Thu Aug 27, 2015 4:27 pm

I first came across this game many years ago in one of the first chess books I ever bought, "The Chess Mind" by Gerald Abrahams. I though I had lost it some time during my 26 year break from playing chess, so was delighted to find it a few weeks ago in the back of a forgotten cupboard (along with some other classics such as Fine's "Basic Chess Endings", Stean's "Simple Chess", Kotov's "Think like a Grandmaster", Krogius's "Psychology in Chess").

Abrahams uses the game to illustrate different thought processes for different levels of player, starting at the position following Black's 14th move.
Imagine several players, each with a different capacity, looking at this game. One sees that the Knight is in a position to capture the Queen's Pawn, but cannot do so for practical reasons because that pawn is guarded by a pawn. At that point mental habits operate to prevent him thinking further about the capture, if indeed they have not prevented him from thinking about it at all. A second player (less inhibited) sees that the Knight can capture the Pawn, because, on the recapture, the Queen can capture again, giving check, and at the same moment attacking a Bishop. That same player, or one more slightly advanced, may also see....etc
Despite the improvements to Black's play that have been discovered, it is interesting that engines still consider 15. Nxd5 to be White's best move.

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