15 September 2006

Double blunders can be instructive

The next game in this series on Capablanca's games 'to be studied' was played by the third World Champion against 'Dr. Kaufmann and Fähndrich'. Gaige's 'Chess Personalia' lists both Dr. Arthur Kaufmann (Romania, 1872-c.1940) and Hugo Fähndrich (Hungary, 1851-1930). Since the dates match on all counts, I suppose these are the players of the White pieces.

The diagram shows an example of of a rare occurrence in Capablanca's games, a double blunder. Capablanca played 23...Qf6, and remarked, '23...Kh7 was the right move. The text move exposed Black to a variation, which I thought at the time would win for Black without much trouble, but careful examination will prove this not to be the case. In fact, Black cannot win at all.

Vienna 1914
Capablanca, Jose Raul

(After 22.g2-h3(xP))
[FEN "r2q1rk1/pp6/7p/3pNp2/3Qb3/7P/PPP2R1P/4R1K1 b - - 0 23"]

The Allies replied, 24.Nf3. Capablanca gave the correct continuation as 24.Rxe4 dxe4 25.Rg2+ Kh8 26.Rg6 Rg8 27.Nf7+ Kh7 28.Qxf6 Rxg6+ 29.Ng5+ Rxg5+ 30.Kf2. The Rook is tied to the defense of the f-Pawn and Black cannot chase the Queen away.

After this double blunder, Black played 24...Kh7. Capablanca: 'White missed his chance as indicated in the previous note. From now each move should be studied with care as the coming endgame is very difficult. I consider it one of my very best.'

Many players would lose interest in analyzing the game any further, thinking that the double blunder removes all educational value. Capablanca considered that any position, regardless of its origin, was worth analysis. Here he considered the continuation 'one of my very best' endgames. His approach to chess is a lesson in itself.

Unfortunately, this game is not available on Chessgames.com.

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