July 11, 1926
Geza Maroczy - Jose Raul Capablanca [B13]
Lake Hopatcong/Lake Hopatcong, NJ USA (5) 1926
4. c4 is the Panov-Botvinnik Attack and quite a different game from the Classical Exchange Variation.
Black has two common alternatives:
b) 5... Qc7!? (preventing Bf4) 6. Ne2 Bg4 7. Qa4 (7. Bf4 Qxf4 8. Nxf4 Bxd1 9. Kxd1 e6=) 7... Nf6 8. Bf4 Qd7 (White's kingside Knight is now developed more passively than usual.) 9. Nd2 e6 10.
O-OBe7 11. Rfe1 O-O12. Bg5 Bh5 13. Nf4 Bg6 14. Nxg6 hxg6 15. Qd1 Rab8 16. Re3 Nh5 17. Bxe7 Qxe7 18. a4 a6 19. Qg4 Nf6 20. Qh3 Qc7 21. Qh4 Nh5 22. Be2 Qf4 23. Qh3 Nf6 24. Qg3 1/2-1/2 Yudasin,L-Benjamin,J/New York 2005 (24) - once the Queens are off, Black can pursue the typical minority attack with ... b5-b4xc3 and has good long-term chances.
Black's alternative ways of protecting the b-pawn allow White a straightforward development edge:
b) 7... Qd7 8. Nd2 e6 9. Ngf3 Bxf3 10. Nxf3 Bd6 11. Bxd6 Qxd6 12.
O-O O-O13. Rae1 Nd7 14. Qc2 g6 15. Re3 Qf4 16. Rfe1 Rab8 17. Qe2 Rfc8 18. h3 Rc7 19. Nh2 Ne7 20. Ng4 Kg7 21. Rf3 Qg5 22. Bb5 Nc6 23. Rxf7+!! Kxf7 24. Qxe6+ Kg7 25. Qd6 Qd8 26. Bxc6 Rxc6 27. Qe7+ Kh8 (27... Qxe7 28. Rxe7+ Kh8 29. Rxd7 followed by Rxd5 leaves White with three pawns for the Exchange) 28. Qf7 Rc7 29. Re7 Qg8 30. Qf4 Qf8 31. Rf7 Qg8 32. Nh6 Qd8 33. Qe3! Rbc8 (33... Rc6 34. Re7!+-) 34. Re7 Qf8 35. Nf7+ Kg8 36. Qe6 Rc6 37. Nd6+ Kh8 38. Rxd7 1-0 Yudasin,L-Benjamin,J/Minneapolis 2005 (38)
Fischer demonstrated the improvement on Maroczy's play in his famous game
with Petrosian, where he kept the Black Bishop out of the b5-square by playing
11. a4! Rc8 12. Nbd2 Nc6 13. Qb1 Nh5 14. Be3 h6 15. Ne5 Nf6 16. h3 Bd6 17.
Exchanging Black's "bad bishop" for White's "good bishop."
The idea is to provide a retreat square for the Bishop along the h2-b8 diagonal that helps to control e5. But this move is too slow. White's most natural move is 15. Ne5 laying claim to the important e5 square as a permanent base of operations. Reinfeld points out that Ph3 also has the drawback of depriving White of attacking ideas based on the Rook lift Rfe1-e3-h3.
Again, the more natural recapture 20... Bxf6= would be equal but drawish. By taking with the pawn, Capablanca unbalances the position and drives White's Knight out of e5.
Black must prevent Pf5 for White.
All of Black's pieces are prepared to join a kingside attack.
It is always difficult to play a passive defense, but that may be White's best option here. Howell writes: "at a disadvantage on the K-side, [White] now evolves a plan to break through on the Queen side. However, as he can hardly hope to win such a game, it would be better for him to simply keep his pieces ready to shift to whichever side Black attacks and hold the draw in hand. With only the heavy pieces left Black probably could not break through."
White has achieved his break on the queenside, but his pieces are now distracted from kingside defense.
A safe gamble on Capablanca's part, especially considering that slower methods of developing the attack are far from clear:
Howell writes: "there were four chances for White to lose and only one way to draw--sufficient to justify the surprise move on Black's part." Based on the different amounts of time used by the competitors, we can also speculate that Capablanca wished to take advantage of Maroczy's time pressure. And, given that alternative plans were not obviously better, the Champion risked little in allowing a drawing line.
Black is up a pawn, has fewer pawn islands, and controls the initiative.
The alternatives may have put up more resistance:
Preventing counterplay by Pd5.
White resigned. Reinfeld sums up Black's winning plan nicely: "If [White's] Rook remains on the [a-file] Black's King goes to [b3]. If White's Rook is planted on the [e-file], then .. .[a5] followed by ..[b4] forces the issue." Maroczy must have figured that if he could see it, so could the World Champion (especially having more time on the clock).
Maroczy used three hours, Capa half that at one and a half hours.
Game in PGN