Posts Tagged ‘chess questions’

Reader Submitted Question on Spielmann – Capablanca (1928)

May 1, 2016
Rudolf Spielmann

Rudolf Spielmann

Chris,

(Child’s name) and I were playing this game and couldn’t figure out why Spielmann won the game (Jose Raul Capablanca vs Rudolf Spielmann 1928) , since it’s not forced mate.

Thank you.

Best regards,
(Parent)

 

 

Answer:

 

Good question! Capablanca is one of my heroes but Spielmann is possibly the most overlooked chess genius in history. Unfortunate for Mr. Spielmann, he reached his peak in a very difficult time (the 1930’s) for chess players. In this period, sponsors for major events were hard to find and Europe was racing down the road toward WWII. Even still, Spielmann obtained a lifetime even record against the great Capablanca which modern chess players constantly marvel in envy at.

Now for the specifics of your question… The final position of Capablanca – Spielmann, Bad Kissingen 1928 looked like this:

 

Final position of Capablanca - Spielmann, Bad Kissingen 1928

Final position of Capablanca – Spielmann, Bad Kissingen 1928

 

The first thing we notice is that Rudolf Spielmann is threatening a mate in one with Qxg2#. To avoid mate, Capablanca could play (a)Qf3 or (b)pawn to f3. If Q f3:

After 40. Qf3.

After (a)40. Qf3.

Black responds with Qe1+ and Capablanca will aslo lose his queen.

White is in check and will lose his queen.

White is in check and will lose his queen.

 

So now for option (b):

Position after 40. f3.

Position after (b)40. f3.

This is a much better alternative to choice (a) but Capablanca would still lose. Immediately, I spot a nice fork that will win an additional pawn for black.

Position after 40... Qb1+.

Position after 40… Qb1+.

After 41. Kh2 Qxb5 42. Kg3 Qc4 black is ahead by a solid three points of material in an endgame and will eventually be able to convert his material advantage into a win.

Position after 42... Qc4.

Position after 42… Qc4.

Here, Capablanca would avoid trading queens and play something like:

43. Qd2 Qc5 44. Kh2 Be6 45. Kg3 g5 46. Kh2 Kg7 47. Qb2+ Kg6 48. Qd2 Qd5 49. Qc3 Qc4 50. Qe1
Qd4 51. Qb1+ Kg7 52. Kg3 Qe5+ 53. Kf2 Qc5+ 54. Kg3 Qxa5 and black should be able to use his extra force to win the endgame.

Position after 54... Qxa5.

Position after 54… Qxa5.

Capablanca respected Spielmann enough not to waste any extra energy on a forgone conclusion. Even still, I would be very disappointed if one of my students resigned as white where Capablanca did. Queen endgames are notoriously difficult to play properly and resigning in positions like these result in far fewer miraculous comebacks and more importantly the resigning player misses out entirely on important learning opportunities.

 

For those interested in learning more about this incredible chess battle, the entire game is pasted below. Enjoy…

[Event “Bad Kissingen”]
[Site “Bad Kissingen GER”]
[Date “1928.08.17”]
[Round “6”]
[White “Jose Raul Capablanca”]
[WhiteElo “?”]
[Black “Rudolf Spielmann”]
[BlackElo “?”]
[Result “0-1”]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 dxc4 5.e3 b5 6.a4 b4 7.Na2 e6 8.Bxc4 Be7 9.O-O
O-O 10.b3 c5 11.Bb2 Bb7 12.Nc1 Nc6 13.dxc5 Na5 14.Ne5 Nxc4 15.Nxc4 Bxc5 16.Nd3
Qd5 17.Nf4 Qg5 18.Bxf6 Qxf6 19.Rc1 Rfd8 20.Qh5 Rac8 21.Rfd1 g6 22.Rxd8+ Qxd8
23.Qe5 Be7 24.h3 Rc5 25.Qa1 Bf6 26.Rd1 Rd5 27.Rxd5 exd5 28.Ne5 Qd6 29.Nfd3 Ba6
30.Qe1 Bxe5 31.Nxe5 Qxe5 32.Qxb4 Bd3 33.Qc5 Qb8 34.b4 Qb7 35.b5 h5 36.Qc3 Bc4
37.e4 Qe7 38.exd5 Bxd5 39.a5 Qe4 0-1

 

If you have a question about chess, feel free to email me at chesslessons@aol.com

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My answer to Would Paul Morphy in his short prime be competitive with the Grandmasters of today?

September 29, 2013

From Quora

 

Without question, Paul Morphy was the greatest player of his time. His brief career in chess represents a golden age for our pastime and his four hundred or so games still serve as an instruction manual for the chess prodiogies of today. During his prime, Paul Morphy advanced the science of chess and captured the world’s attention by making it appear as art. Without the advancements made by Morphy, the modern era of chess understanding could have been delayed for, at best, decades and perhaps even as long as a century.

On today’s standards, Paul Morphy’s chess games feature old fashioned opening play that allow modern analysts ample opportunities to feel superior by reciting well known refutations. The middle games that resulted from Paul Morphy’s opening lines seem to lack the subtleties in strategy that are synonymous with modern Grandmaster chess.   However, despite these perceived flaws in his play, Paul Morphy won with astonishing regularity that is beyond compare to any top player record in the 21st century.

What if Paul Morphy had been reborn in the year 1993? At our current date, Paul Morphy would be in his prime but how good would he be on today’s standards?  The answer is seemingly very good if not the best.

As a child chess prodigy born in 1993, Paul Morphy would have had easy access to the greatest chess books written in the 20th century, computer databases such as chessbase , intuitive tactical training software  and regular practice on the Internet Chess Club. Having been born into a wealthy family, Paul Morphy would have had the best chess coaching available and mastered all of the contributions made by his great predecessors at an early age. Furthermore, the late 20th century saw many improvements to the structure and size of scholastic chess in the United States and Paul Morphy would have greatly benefitted from the regular opportunities to play championship chess that today’s top scholastic chess players attend.  The end result of all these factors would have made Paul Morphy much stronger much faster than in his previous life.

By the year 2013, I feel quite comfortable in stating that our modernized Morphy would definitely be one of the top Grandmasters in world. Indeed, if history were to repeat itself, Paul Morphy would become widely recognized as the best chess player in the world before ending his chess career to pursue greater challenges in the court room. Despite only having played top level chess for a couple years, Modern Morphy would leave the 21’st century chess enthusiasts with a body of work which would take us the remainder of the century to fully decode and learn from.

Paul Morphy’s talent and determination at chess would enable him to become the top chess player in the world of 1858 or 2013. In fact, it is my firm belief that regardless of what era Paul Morphy was born into, his destiny was to become the greatest chess player ever.

I leave the skeptical reader with some quotes on Morphy

from the greatest chess minds ever:

“[I play in] the style of Morphy, they say, and if it is true that the goddess of fortune has endowed me with his talent, the result [of the match with Emanuel Lasker] will not be in doubt. The magnificent American master had the most extraordinary brain that anybody has ever had for chess. Technique, strategy, tactics, knowledge which is inconceivable for us; all that was possessed by Morphy fifty-four years ago.” ~ Capablanca

“How much more vivid, more rich does the figure of Morphy appear before us, how much clearer does the secret of his success and charm become, if we transfer ourselves in our thoughts to that era when he lived and created, if we take the trouble to study, only a little, his contemporaries! Then…in London and in particular in Paris, where the traditions of Philidor were still alive, where the immortal creations of La Bourdonnais and McDonnell were still in the memory, at that time, finally, when Anderssen was alive, and with brilliance alone it was hardly possible to surprise anyone. The strength, the invincible strength of Morphy- this was the reason for his success and the guarantee of his immortality!” ~ Alekhine

“A popularly held theory about Paul Morphy is that if he returned to the chess world today and played our best contemporary players, he would come out the loser. Nothing is further from the truth. In a set match, Morphy would beat anybody alive today… Morphy was perhaps the most accurate chess player who ever lived. He had complete sight of the board and never blundered, in spite of the fact that he played quite rapidly, rarely taking more than five minutes to decide a move. Perhaps his only weakness was in closed games like the Dutch Defense. But even then, he was usually victorious because of his resourcefulness.” ~Fischer

 


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