(7) Capablanca,Jose Raul - Alekhine,Alexander [D65]
World Championship 13th Buenos Aires (27), 09.11.1927
[Llewellyn, Alan]

Rarely are the two contenders to the crown, both chess genuises, and at the heights of their powers. Such an event occured in 1927 between the then 'invincible' World Champion, Jose Capablanca and the man who would be King, the very much outsider to win, Alexander Alekhine. The clash of the Titans was repeated in the many battles between two equally powerfull (to their contemporaries) genuises in the Kasparov-Karpov matches, starting in 1984. Here as with Gary Kasparov, the unfancied challenger went on to win the match. Alexander Alekhine is marred in chess circles both for his unsportsmanship in not allowing the great Capablanca a return match(for an obvious reason, he thought he might lose) and for being a nazi colaborator, although he was Russian by birth he was in vichy France during the war sympathising and writing articles for the nazis. This did not detract from the genuis of the man at chess. He was probably the best World Champion of the pre-Soviet era. In this game is shown his resourcefullness, both players were tired it was after all the 27th game of the match, Capablanca brilliantly outplays his opponent and is ready to win to go into the lead- he does so later but his lapse in this game made him lose confidence in himself and led directly to his chess downfall we presume.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.e3
[The apparent win of a pawn leads to disaster... 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Nxd5?? (6.e3 h6 7.Bh4 Be7= ) 6...Nxd5 7.Bxd8 Bb4+ 8.Qd2 Kxd8 9.e3-+ ...and Black wins a piece.]

5...Be7 6.Nf3 0-0 7.Rc1 a6 8.cxd5 exd5 9.Bd3 c6 10.Qc2 h6
[10...Re8 11.0-0 Nf8 12.Ne5 Ng6 13.f4 Ng4 14.Bxe7 Qxe7 15.Rf3 N4xe5 (15...f6? 16.Nxg6+- ) 16.fxe5 Nh4 17.Rf2 Qg5 18.Re1 h6 19.e4+/- ]

11.Bh4 Ne8 12.Bg3 Bd6 13.0-0 Bxg3 14.hxg3 Nd6 15.Na4 Re8 16.Rfe1 Nf6 17.Ne5! Nfe4 18.Qb3 Be6 19.Nc5! Nxc5?!+/= 20.dxc5 Nb5?!+/=
[20...Bc8+/= best was the simple but passive Bc8.; 20...d4?! 21.Qc2 Nb5 22.a4 Nc7 23.Rcd1 Nd5 (23...dxe3?? 24.Bh7+ Kh8 25.Rxd8+- ) 24.exd4+/- ]

21.a4 Nc7 22.Bb1!
changing the side of the board to attack on brilliantly. ie from attacking the Queenside to going for the King on the Kingside. [22.Qxb7? Bc8 23.Nxc6 Bxb7 24.Nxd8 Rexd8 25.c6 Bc8 26.b4 Be6 27.b5 Rdb8 28.Rb1 axb5 29.axb5 Ra3 30.Bf1 Rb6 this is good technique when playing a piece ahead and for a few pawns, its called Blockading the pawns for obvious reasons, it entails moving pieces on the squares infront of posible attacking pawns, then targetting their downfall. This is because a moving pawn mass can be very difficult to cope with. 31.Ra1 Rb3 32.Reb1 Rxb1 33.Rxb1 Bc8 34.Bd3 Kf8 35.Kh2 Ke7 36.Kg1 Kd6 37.Kf1 g6 38.f3 Bf5 39.e4 dxe4 40.fxe4 Be6 41.Ke2 Kc5 42.Rc1+ Kd4 43.Rb1 f6 44.Kd2 f5 45.exf5 Bxf5 46.Bxf5 gxf5 47.Rh1 Rxb5 48.Rxh6 Ke5 49.Rh7 Kd6 50.Rh6+ Ne6 51.c7 Rd5+ 52.Ke3 Rc5 53.g4 f4+ 54.Ke4 Re5+ 55.Kf3 Re3+ 56.Kf2 Rc3 57.Rh3 Rxc7 58.g3 Rc3 59.Kg2 f3+ 60.Kf2 Ng5 61.Rh6+ Ke7 62.Rg6 Ne4+ 63.Kg1 Rc1+ 64.Kh2 Nf2 65.Rg7+ Kf8 66.Rg8+ Kxg8 67.g5 Rh1# ]

[22...d4 23.Qd3 g6 (23...dxe3 24.Qh7+ Kf8 25.Rxe3 Qd2 26.Rf1 Nd5 27.Rf3 Nf6 28.Qh8+ Ke7 29.Qxg7 Qg5 30.Ng6+ Kd8 31.Rxf6 fxg6 32.Rd1+ Kc8 33.Rf8 Rxf8 34.Qxf8+ Kc7 35.Qd6+ Kc8 36.Qxe6+ Kb8 37.Rd7 Qc1+ 38.Kh2 Qxb1 39.Qb3 Ra7 40.Qg8# ) 24.Nxg6?? dxe3 (24...fxg6?? 25.Qxg6+ Kf8 26.Qxh6+ Ke7 27.Qg7+ Bf7 28.exd4+ Ne6 29.Rxe6+ Kxe6 30.Re1+ Kd7 31.Qxf7+ Kc8 32.Rxe8 Qxe8 33.Qxe8+ Kc7 34.Qxa8+- ) 25.Nf4 Qxd3 ]

Notice how the c5 pawn obstructs Blacks position totally.

[23...Bg4! this is a posible root to equality. 24.Nh2 Bh5 25.g4 Bg6 26.Bxg6 fxg6= 27.Qxb7??-+ Rb8 28.Qxc6 Re6 and where does the Queen go.]

opening up the position opens the chances of a win for Jose.

24...dxe4 25.Rxe4 Re7?! 26.Rce1 Bd7
[26...Qa5!! this was Black's best bet in this position. 27.Qc2 Kf8 28.Ne5 Nd4 29.Rxd4?? Qxe1+ ]

27.Qc2 g6 28.Ba2 Qf8 29.Ne5 Qg7 30.Nxd7 Rxd7 31.Bxe6 fxe6 32.Rg4 Kh7?!
[32...g5 no better was g5... 33.Rxe6 Qh7 34.Rge4+- ]

33.Rxe6 Rg8 34.Qe4 Rf7 35.f4 Qf8 36.Rgxg6?
a case of the wrong Rook the point being the g4 Rook blocks the d1 to h5 diagonal which would otherwise provide a draw. [36.Rexg6 Qxc5+ 37.Kf1 Qc1+ 38.Kf2 Qd2+ 39.Kg1 Qd1+ 40.Kh2 Qxg4 41.Rxg4+ Kh8 42.Rxg8+ Kxg8+- ]

36...Qxc5+ 37.Kf1 Qc1+ 38.Kf2??
[38.Ke2!! this was the only winning move, the point is the perpetual draw is now not on. 38...Qxb2+ 39.Kf3 Qb3+ (39...Qc3+ 40.Kg4 Kh8 41.Rxg8+ Kxg8 42.Qg6+ (42.Kh3 Qa1 43.Kh2 Qg7 (43...Qc3 44.Rg6+ Kf8 45.Qe6 Rg7 (45...Qd4 46.Qc8+ Ke7 47.Re6# ) 46.Rf6+ Qxf6 47.Qxf6++- ) 44.Rg6+- ) 42...Qg7 43.Re8+ Rf8 44.Qxg7+ Kxg7 45.Rxf8 Kxf8 46.a5 is a won endgame for White.) 40.Kf2 Qb2+ 41.Kg1 Qc1+ 42.Kh2+- ]

now perpetual check cannot be avoided leading to a draw, never give up was Alexanders moto and in chess it is often the case that even down material or position, a lapse move by your opponent can lead to an unexpected course of events. In modern games it is often the case that players resign when down only a piece but with the number of surprises when players do play on being high enough for players to often play on in actual tournament play they rarely do. note- if the queen comes back to defend the White King he loses a Rook on g6 and an attempt at going to the h2 square is covered by the moves 39.Kg1 Qd1+ 40.Kh2 Qh5+(see the note to the 36th move). 1/2-1/2