09 May 2011

Capablanca's Positional Sense

Continuing with 1921 Capablanca - Lasker, Game 10, I've remarked several times on the lightweight nature of Capablanca's notes to his games. When he does add notes to a move, they are long on positional considerations and short on variations. Here is a good example of his notes to the critical turning point of the game, starting from the diagram.


Probably White's first mistake. He wants to take a good defensive position, but he should instead have counter-attacked with Na4 and Rc5.

23...Rd5 24.Rxd5 cxd5

Black has now the open file and his Queenside Pawn position is very solid, while White has a weak d-Pawn. The apparently weak Black a-Pawn is not actually weak because White has no way to attack it.

Note that White has three Pawn islands to Black's two.

Havana 1921 (g.10)
Capablanca, J.R.

Lasker, Em.
After 22...Rf8-d8

25.Qd2 Nf5 26.b3

In order to free the Queen from the defense of the b-Pawn and also to prevent Rc4 at any stage.


In order to prevent g4 at a later stage. Also to make a demonstration on the Kingside, prepatory to further operations on the other side.


Weak, but White wants to be ready to play g4.


To tie up White's King side. Later on it will be seen that White is compelled to play g4 and thus further weaken his game.

Why will White be compelled to play g4? The moves take us too far from the starting diagram, but once the Black Rook gets to its 8th rank, the White King on h2 will be excluded from the play. What long range vision Capablanca had!

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