Sunday, August 16, 2015

Capablanca vs Euwe, Nottingham 1936

Today we will look at a simple game between two chess titans: Capablanca and Euwe. Although the game ended in a draw, it didn't end without a fight: Both sides fought actively for the advantage, making sure that every move they made had as much purpose as possible.

I have included some of Alekhine's annotations in this game:

Capablanca, Jose Raul vs Euwe, Max
Nottingham 1936

1. d4 d5
2. c4 c6
3. Nf3 Nf6
4. Nc3 dxc4
5. a4 Bf5
6. e3 e6
7. Bxc4 Bb4
8. O-O O-O
9. Ne5 (D)

Position after 9. Ne5

Alekhine: "If White hopes to get an advantage with this move, in conjunction with the following, he was mistaken. But also 9. Qe2 Ne4 (not 9... c5 10. Na2 Ba5 11. dxc5 Nc6 12. Rd1 Qe7 13. Nd4 Rfd8 14. b4! , as in Ragozin-Flohr, Moscow, 1936.) 10. Nxe4 Bxe4 11. Rd1 Nd7 as in the sixth round game Lasker-Capablanca, seems to give White no appreciable pull."

9... c5!

Alekhine: "This move had to be very carefully calculated (or analysed beforehand) as it involves a temporary pawn sacrifice."

10. Na2

After 10. dxc5? Bxc3 11. bxc3 White wins the pawn immediately but is left with a damaged pawn structure.

10... Ba5

Alekhine: "To allow this bishop to be exchanged would give White without a fight a distinct positional advantage."

11. dxc5 Qxd1
12. Rxd1 Bc2! (D)

Position after 12... Bc2

The key to Black's defence lies in piece activity. The two bishops are very strong in this position.

13. Rd4

Much better than 13. Rf1 Bc7 after which 14... Bxa4 follows.

13... Bc7
14. Nf3

Alekhine: " 14. f4 Bxe5 15. fxe5 Nfd7 16. Nb4 Bg6 would yield White no profit"

14... Nc6

Development with threat! Now 14... Bxa4? doesn't work because of 15. Bxe6 winning back the material.

15. Rd2 Bg6

Alekhine: "Black's minor pieces are now very harmoniously posted, and the recovery of the pawn can only
be a question of very little time."

16. b4! (D)

Position after 16. b4

A multipurpose move, freeing the dark-squared bishop and gaining space on the queenside.

16... a5
17. b5 Ne5
18. Nxe5 Bxe5
19. Bb2 Ne4

By now you should realize that every move counts. Both sides constantly improve their position while making threats at the same time.

20. Re2 Bxb2
21. Rxb2 Nxc5

Retaking the pawn. The postion is now equal.

22. Nc1 (D)

Position after 22. Nc1

Alekhine: "Black's positional advantage is only apparent, and would soon disappear after 22... Rfd8 23. Nb3 Nxb3 24. Bxb3 etc. "

What can we learn from this game?

  1. Make every move count: Develop and improve your pieces, while making threats at the same time to gain tempo.
  2. The two bishops are very effective in attacking enemy positions.
  3.  Sometimes it is worth giving up a pawn to damage the opponent's pawn structure, or disrupt his piece coordination.
All the best for your training! (:

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