Monday, December 12, 2011

Capablanca vs. Alekhine (St. Petersburg 1913) Semi-Slav Defense

[Site "St Petersburg m (01)"]
[Date "1913.12.14"]
 [White "Jose Raul Capablanca"]
[Black "Alexander Alekhine"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 {One good advantage of the Slav is that it supports the d5
pawn without blocking the queen's bishop. But, at the same time denying the c6
square for the queen's knight.} 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nf3 e6 {Black now seen to have
developed a solid position. Yet, it blocked the queen's bishop.} 5. Nbd2
{Would this knight be better on the c3 square rather than here on d2?} 5...
Nbd7 6. Bd3 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. Qc2 dxc4 {Black waited for the queen to be on c2
before taking c4 pawn for purposes of gaining tempo.} 9. Nxc4 c5 {This is to
challenge white's control of the center. This is the common way of challenging
the pawn's control on the d4 and e4 squares.} 10. Nce5 cxd4 11. exd4 {White
now has a hanging pawn. A weakness that black should have tried to exploit.
But, of course it is easier said than done when facing Capablanca.} 11... Nb6
12. Ng5 {Threatening the h7 square.} 12... g6 {Black has no choice by the
weaken his kingside to prevent the attack on h7. White's pieces - queen,
bishop and knight are all in harmony for purposes of attacking the h7
square.} 13. Ngf3 {White withdraws his knight for purposes of giving that
Capablanca vs. Alekhine (after 12__g6)
space for the bishop showing Capa's recognition of which piece would be more effective in that particular square. } 13... Kg7 14. Bg5 {The bishop now puts
pressure on the knight at f6 which black tries to reinforce.} 14... Nbd5 15. Rac1 {Now white has complete control of the c file.} 15... Bd7 16. Qd2
{Threatening Bh6+ taking the rook at f8.} 16... Ng8 17. Bxe7 Qxe7 18. Be4 Bb5 {Black desperately tries to find counter-play.} 19. Rfe1 Qd6 20. Bxd5 exd5
21. Qa5 {Seemingly attacking the bishop but the main purpose is the control of the c7 square.} 21... a6 22. Qc7 Qxc7 23. Rxc7 {At this point, it is clear that Capa has gained the upperhand. He has complete control of the c file and with a rook on the 7th rank, this appears to be a matter of technique. Adding to black's predicament, his knight on g8 appears to be practically useless.} 23... h6 {Black tries to prevent Ng5 to protect the pawn on f7 but
as a consequence drops the pawn at b7.} 24. Rxb7 Rac8 25. b3 Rc2 {Black
desperately attempts to counter-attack. Here we see Capa uses pure technique
to win the game.} 26. a4 Be2 27. Nh4 {The threat is Nxg6. At this point, black
Capablanca vs. Alekhine (after 23. Rxc7)
is already lost. The knight at g8 has been frozen for eternity.} 27... h5 28. Nhxg6 Re8 29. Rxf7+ Kh6 30. f4 {White creates a mating net for the black king.} 30... a5 31. Nh4 {The threat is Nf5+ and mate. Thus, black is forced to take desperate measures.} 31... Rxe5 32. fxe5 Kg5 33. g3 Kg4 34. Rg7+ Kh3 35. Ng2 {Black is forced to resign as there is no defense to Nf4+ mate.} 1-0 

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