July 7, 1926
Jose Raul Capablanca - Edward Lasker [D52]
Lake Hopatcong/Lake Hopatcong, NJ USA (1) 1926
Annotator C. S. Howell writes: "This gives Black
a cramped game and, in my opinion, is inferior to 4... dxc4 " when today's "book" line
goes 5. a4 Bf5 6. e3 (6. Ne5!?)
6... e6 7. Bxc4 Bb4 8.
The Cambridge Springs Defense, popularized in the 1904 tournament in that Pennsylvania resort town.
10... Nxf6 though, as Howell suggests,
White would then be able to centralize his knight with 11. Ne5 (also
possible is 11. a3 Bd6 12. b4
or the similar)
(11. Re1 Bb4 12. Qc2
Now Black's pawns are permanently damaged--just the kind of long-term target that Capablanca liked to gain out of the opening. In compensation, Black controls e5, has an open g-file, and the two Bishops. But as Howell points out, "doubled and isolated pawns...lose more often than open files win."
Trying to gain the f5 square for his Queen, from which he can exploit Black's doubled pawns.
Trading one advantage for another. Now White opens the position favorably for his pieces while Black's pawns at e6 and f6 remain weak.
Howell notes that castling queenside is "Dangerous, of course, in view of the open b-file, but Black's game is shaky and his evident intention is to try for a King's side attack, utilizing his own open Knight file. Unfortunately White has both the center and the initiative and, as will be seen, his attack proceeds so rapidly [that] Black has not time to counter-attack."
Howell writes: "...this loses time and takes the B away from the defence of the K. However, Black may have wanted to prevent the posting of a white R on c1 or, forseeing e5, to be sure to keep the White Knight out of g5. A better resistance mighthavebeenmadewith" 17... dxc4 18. Qxc4 Qf7 19. e5 ( perhaps better 19. Rb3! Bc7 20. Rfb1 Bb6 21. a4->) 19... Bc7 20. Rb3 Rd5! 21. Rfb1 Bb6 unclear.
The Rook clears the way for its partner to double on the b-file while also gaining maximum mobility along the third rank.
Cutting off the Bishop's retreat so that the Black King is denuded of defenders.
Howell writes: "This looks like an oversight but probably was not. Black is in danger of being slowly but surely strangled to death and, therefore, plays desperately to exchange a piece or so in hopes of relieving the pressure." 22... Rc7 23. Ne1!? (23. g3 Rg8 24. Kh1 Bh6 25. Nd4 ) (23. a4) 23... Bxe5 24. Qc5 Qg7 25. Nf3 Rg8 26. g3 Bf6 27. Qxa7
27... >= Bh6
Simplification combined with material gain completes the game. "Of course, if 30...Rxb5 31.Rxb5+ K moves 32. Nxf5.
A good example of the champion's direct and forceful play against a cramped defence" writes Howell.
[C.S. Howell / M. J. Goeller / Fritz / Junior]
Game in PGN