Sunday, July 31, 2005

Marshall-Capablanca, Lake Hopatcong 1926


Black to move after 18.Rc1.
Should Capablanca accept a draw by repetition with
18...Qa2 19.Ra1 Qc4 20.Rc1 or should he play for a
win (by 18....Qb4, for example)?

Continuing my focus on historical games from Lake Hopatcong with continued relevance to contemporary opening theory, here is the game Marshall-Capablanca, Lake Hopatcong 1926. It is considered by Karsten Muller and Martin Voigt in their book "Danish Dynamite" to be the stem game of the "Capablanca Defense" to the Danish Gambit, since it popularized the variation 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 d5 declining the gambit and seeking active counterplay in the center.

The game ended in an early draw by repetition. Of course, Capablanca was leading the tournament at that point and needed only a draw to practically assure first place. But those practical considerations aside, how would you evaluate the final position (depicted above)? Who has the edge? Should Black accept a draw or try for a win?

[Event "Lake Hopatcong"]
[Site "Lake Hopatcong, NJ USA"]
[Date "1926.07.17"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Marshall, Frank James"]
[Black "Capablanca, Jose Raul"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C44"]
[Annotator "Goeller"]
[PlyCount "135"]
[EventDate "1926.07.??"]
[Source "Tournament Book"]

1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 ({In 1910, Marshall played Capablanca a theme match with the Max Lange Attack, with all games commencing} 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Bc4 Bc5 5. O-O Nf6 6. e5) 3... d5 $5 {The best way to avoid the wilder complications that White's opening choice makes possible, and therefore typical of Capablanca's style. In their excellent book on the Danish Gambit titled "Danish Dynamite" (2003), Karsten Muller and Martin Voigt consider this the stem game of what they call "The Capablanca Defense"--though the line had been around for many years before Capablanca took it up. C.S. Howell, in his contemporary notes to the game, writes: "A safe way to avoid the Danish Gambit, which there is no particular reason to avoid. Black can safely play} (3... dxc3 4. Bc4 cxb2 5. Bxb2 d5 {(Schlechter's proposal)} 6. Bxd5 Nf6 {" and Howell offers the line 7. Nc3 Nbd7. But, according to Edward Winter, Marshall himself had noted that} 7. Bxf7+ Kxf7 8. Qxd8 Bb4+ 9. Qd2 Bxd2+ 10. Nxd2 Re8 {"would make things rather interesting" (American Chess Bulletin, November 1913) . Muller and Voigt suggest that this famous "equalizing" line against the Danish (which that great Danish proponent Marshall himself invented and not Schlechter) leads, at best, to positions with lots of play for both sides--as Marshall himself obviously felt. In any event, Howell's note attributing Marshall's idea to Schlechter may have been among the first to muddle the waters of history that Winter tries to clarify.}) 4. exd5 Qxd5 ({ According to Howell, contemporary opening books preferred} 4... Nf6 $5 { when perhaps might follow} 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Bc4 b5 $5 $13) 5. cxd4 Nc6 ({ Marshall had great success from this position, including the following two games: a)} 5... c5 $2 6. Nc3 $1 Qxd4 7. Bb5+ Bd7 8. Qe2+ Be7 9. Nf3 Qg4 10. Nd5 $1 Kd8 11. Bf4 Bxb5 12. Qxb5 Qe6+ 13. Be5 $1 Qc6 14. Qxc6 bxc6 15. Nc7 $18 { Marshall-Schroeder, New York 1915}) ({b)} 5... Nf6 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be2 Bf5 $5 8. Nc3 Bb4 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 O-O 11. c4 Qd7 12. d5 Ne7 13. Bb2 $14 Bg6 14. Ne5 Qd8 15. Bf3 Nf5 16. Qb3 $16 Nh4 17. Rfe1 Re8 18. Rac1 Nxf3+ 19. Qxf3 Nd7 20. Nxg6 hxg6 21. h3 Qh4 22. d6 cxd6 23. Qxb7 Nc5 (23... Nb6 $1 $11) 24. Qd5 Qf4 25. Re3 Qf5 26. Rce1 Qd7 $2 27. Ba3 $1 Ne6 28. c5 $5 (28. Bxd6 $16) 28... Qb5 29. Qxd6 Red8 30. Qe5 Nd4 31. Re4 f6 32. Qg3 g5 33. Qc3 Nf5 34. Rb4 Qd3 $2 35. Re8+ Kf7 36. Qxd3 Rxd3 37. Rxa8 Rxa3 38. Rb7+ Kg6 39. Raxa7 Rc3 40. g4 { 1-0 Marshall,F-Daly/Bath 1909 (40)}) 6. Nf3 Bb4+ { This move order gives White the fewest options.} ({The tactically sharp} 6... Bg4 {seems to play to Marshall's strengths after} 7. Nc3 $5 ({or} 7. Be2 Nf6 ( 7... Bb4+ 8. Nc3 Bxf3 9. Bxf3 Qc4 {transposes to the game}) 8. h3 Bb4+ 9. Nc3 Bxf3 10. Bxf3 Qc4 11. Bxc6+ bxc6 12. Qe2+ Qxe2+ 13. Kxe2 O-O 14. Be3 Rfe8 15. Rac1 c5 16. dxc5 Bxc5 17. Nb5 Bxe3 18. fxe3 Rab8 19. Nxc7 Rxb2+ 20. Kf3 Re5 21. Nd5 Rf5+ 22. Kg3 Rg5+ 23. Kf4 h6 24. Rc8+ Kh7 25. Nxf6+ gxf6 26. g4 Rxa2 27. Rd1 Ra4+ 28. Rd4 Raa5 29. Rdd8 Rg7 30. h4 h5 31. Rh8+ { 1-0 Marshall,F-Kupchik,A/Havana 1913 (31)}) 7... Bxf3 (7... Qa5 8. Be2 Nf6 9. O-O O-O-O 10. Be3 Be7 11. a3 $14) 8. Nxd5 Bxd1 9. Nxc7+ Kd7 10. Nxa8 Bh5 $13 { to which Muller and Voigt devote four pages of analysis without reaching a definitive conclusion. A game of Marshall'scontinued} 11. d5 Nd4 12. Bd3 Bb4+ $2 ({Muller and Voigt offer} 12... Bg6 13. Bxg6 hxg6 14. Kd1 $1 Nh6 15. Be3 Nhf5 16. Rf1 $1 Nxe3+ 17. fxe3 Nf5 18. Rf3 $14 { and Black has a number of choices here.}) 13. Bd2 $2 ({ Muller and Voigt give instead} 13. Kf1 $1 $16 Ne7 14. Be3 Ndf5 15. Bb5+ Kd6 16. Bf4+ Kxd5 17. Nc7+ $16) 13... Bxd2+ 14. Kxd2 Ne7 15. Rac1 (15. Rhe1 $2 Nxd5 $1 16. Re5 Nf6 $15) 15... Rxa8 16. Rc4 Nef5 17. Rxd4 Nxd4 18. Ke3 Ne2 19. Bb5+ Kd6 20. f3 Kxd5 21. Kxe2 Bg6 22. Rc1 a6 23. Ba4 b5 24. Bb3+ Kd6 25. Rd1+ $11 { 1/2-1/2, Marshall-Leonhardt, Ostende 1905}) 7. Nc3 Bg4 8. Be2 (8. a3 Bxf3 $1 9. axb4 Qe6+ 10. Be2 Bxe2 11. Nxe2 Nf6 12. O-O O-O 13. b5 Nb4 $13 { Voigt-Chandler, Germany 2002}) 8... Bxf3 9. Bxf3 Qc4 $1 10. Be3 $6 {Muller and Voigt call this move "very risky," which means it's just the thing that Marshall would go for. But Howell is probably right that "There seems no good reason why White should thus forego the castling privelege."} ({Better is} 10. Bxc6+ $142 bxc6 $5 (10... Qxc6 11. O-O Ne7 12. Qb3 $14) 11. Qe2+ Qxe2+ 12. Kxe2 {when, according to Muller and Voigt, "By castling long and playing Ne7, Rhe8, Nd5/Nf5 Black finds valuable spots for his pieces, so he can face the near future fearlessly. White searches for a slight advantage by marching to c4 with his king and fixing the center with Be3 and Rd1-d3. Afterwards, he can proceed with b4 and Na4. Yet, in the end it isn't much, we must admit."} Ne7 ( 12... Nf6 $6 13. h3 $6 {would transpose to Marshall-Kupchik above}) 13. Be3 O-O-O 14. Kd3 $5 c5 15. Kc4 cxd4 16. Bxd4 Nc6 $11) ({Also possible is} 10. Qb3 $5 $13) 10... Bxc3+ {If Black does not play actively, White has surprising chances of developing an initiative thanks in part to his two strong Bishops.} ({a)} 10... O-O-O 11. Qb3 (11. Bxc6 $6 Bxc3+ $1 12. bxc3 Qxc3+ 13. Kf1 Qxc6 14. Rc1 Qa6+ $17) 11... Qxb3 12. axb3 Nxd4 $5 13. Bxd4 Rxd4 14. Rxa7 $13) ({b)} 10... Nge7 11. Rc1 (11. Be2 Bxc3+ 12. Kf1 Qb4 13. bxc3 Qxc3 14. Rb1 $5 $44) 11... Rd8 (11... O-O 12. a3 Bxc3+ 13. Rxc3 Qb5 14. b4 $5 $14) (11... Qxa2 12. O-O Qxb2 13. Nb5 $44) 12. a3 Bxc3+ 13. Rxc3 Qe6 14. O-O O-O 15. Re1 Qd6 16. Bg5 f6 17. Be3 Kh8 18. Qb3 Rfe8 19. Qxb7 Nxd4 20. Bxd4 Qxd4 21. Rce3 Qc5 22. b4 Qd6 23. Qxa7 Qd7 24. g3 Ng6 25. Rxe8+ Rxe8 26. Rxe8+ Qxe8 27. Qxc7 Ne5 28. Be4 g6 29. Kg2 Qe6 30. h4 Ng4 31. Qc6 { 1-0 Kovacs,L-Travnicek,P/Reggio Emilia 1971 (31)}) ({c)} 10... Rd8 11. Be2 Bxc3+ 12. Kf1 Qb4 13. bxc3 Qxc3 14. Rc1 Qa3 15. d5 Nge7 16. Bc5 Qa5 17. Bf3 Ne5 $6 18. Qe2 N5g6 19. h4 h5 20. Be4 Kd7 21. Qb2 Kc8 22. d6 Nc6 23. Rh3 Qa6+ 24. Bd3 Qa4 25. Bf5+ Kb8 26. Ra3 Qxh4 27. Bxa7+ Nxa7 28. dxc7+ Ka8 29. cxd8=Q+ Rxd8 30. Kg1 Kb8 31. Qb6 Nc6 32. Rb3 Qe7 33. Qxc6 { 1-0 Smolenskiy,Y-Berul/Ukraine 1979 (33)}) ({d)} 10... Nf6 11. Qb3 $5 (11. Qe2 $1 Qxe2+ 12. Kxe2 O-O-O 13. a3 $14) 11... Qxb3 12. axb3 a5 13. O-O O-O-O 14. Rfd1 h6 15. Na2 Nd5 16. Nxb4 Ndxb4 17. d5 Ne5 18. Rxa5 Nxf3+ 19. gxf3 b6 20. Ra4 c5 21. Ra7 g5 22. d6 Rh7 23. f4 Rd7 24. Ra8+ Kb7 25. Rf8 Nc2 26. fxg5 Nxe3 27. fxe3 hxg5 28. Rg8 f6 29. Rf8 Rh6 30. e4 Kc6 31. Rc8+ Kb7 32. Re8 Rh4 33. Re6 Kc6 34. Rd3 Rf4 35. Kg2 f5 36. e5 Rd4 37. Rf3 f4 38. Rg6 Rd5 39. Re6 Rd2+ 40. Rf2 Rd3 41. Rg6 Rd5 42. Re2 Rd3 43. Rf2 Rd5 44. Re6 Rf7 45. Re8 Kd7 46. Rb8 Rxe5 47. Rxb6 Rd5 48. h4 Rf6 49. hxg5 Rxg5+ 50. Kf3 Rg3+ { Belamaric,G-Potocnik,P/Skofja Loka 1998 (50)}) 11. bxc3 Qxc3+ 12. Kf1 { Marshall was never afraid to move his King to f1. The alternative is} (12. Bd2 Qd3 $1 (12... Qxd4 $6 13. O-O Nge7 14. Bxc6+ $1 bxc6 (14... Nxc6 15. Re1+ Kf8 16. Qb3 $44) 15. Re1 Rd8 16. Qe2 O-O 17. Bg5 f6 18. Rad1 Qc5 19. Qe6+ Kh8 20. Be3 $44) 13. Bxc6+ bxc6 14. Bb4 $5 Qxd1+ (14... Qc4 15. Bc5 Nf6 16. Rc1 Qe6+ 17. Kf1 $44) (14... Qe4+ 15. Kf1 $44) 15. Kxd1 $1 O-O-O 16. Bc5 $44 { and White's compensation for the pawn does not promise more than a draw.}) 12... Qc4+ (12... Nge7 13. Rc1 Qa5 (13... Qb4 $5 14. Qd3 O-O 15. Rb1 Qd6 16. Qe4 $6 (16. Rxb7 $11) 16... f5 17. Qf4 Rab8 $6 18. Qxd6 cxd6 { 1/2-1/2 Pietrusiak,B-Lundberg,O/Sweden 1992 (42)} 19. g3 $1 $44) 14. d5 $2 (14. Qb3 $1 $13) 14... O-O-O $1 15. Rc5 Qa6+ 16. Qe2 Nb4 $17 { 0-1 Sluka,R-Sosna,J/CZE 2001 (39)}) 13. Kg1 ({ If White is content with a draw, then possible is} 13. Be2 Qd5 (13... Qb4 $5 14. Rb1 Qd6 15. Rxb7 $13) 14. Bf3 $11 Qb5+ $5 15. Be2 Qf5 16. Rb1 $36) 13... Nge7 14. Rc1 Qxa2 (14... Qb4 15. Rb1 Qd6 16. Rxb7 O-O 17. g3 Nd5 { 0-1 Kappes,D-Bierwisch,B (41)} 18. Kg2 $11 {Muller and Voigt}) 15. Ra1 (15. d5 $2 Ne5 (15... Rd8 $5) 16. Be4 f5 17. Rc2 Qb3 18. d6 Rd8 19. Qh5+ g6 20. dxe7 gxh5 21. exd8=Q+ Kxd8 22. Rd2+ Kc8 23. Bxf5+ Kb8 24. Bc2 Qb5 25. h3 Rg8 26. Kh2 Nc4 27. Re2 Qe5+ 28. f4 Qg7 29. Bc1 Qg3+ 30. Kg1 h6 (30... a5 31. Bxh7 Rd8 32. Bc2 h4 33. Re4 Nd2 34. Re7 Qc3 35. Bxd2 Qxd2 { 0-1 Herzog,A-Flear,G/Graz 1984 (35)}) 31. Bh7 Rd8 32. Bc2 h4 33. Re4 Nd2 34. Re7 Qc3 35. Bxd2 Qxd2 {0-1 Herzog,A-Flear,G (35)}) 15... Qc4 16. Rc1 Qa2 17. Ra1 Qc4 18. Rc1 {1/2-1/2 Several commentators note that Black does not have to accept the draw, though Capablanca's safe lead in the tournament hardly encouraged him to try for more. And, of course, Marshall would be satisfied with a draw. As he had famously said, "Against Capablanca, the most you can hope for is a draw." Howell notes: "Black has two passed pawns plus, so White is content, and Black can get is Queen away from the attack of the rook only by giving back material or allowing White a strong attack." However, whether to accept a draw or play for a win is at Black's option in the position. At least one game has continued forward from here:} Qb4 $1 19. Rb1 Qd6 20. Rxb7 O-O $15 {Muller and Voigt} 21. g3 Nd5 22. Kg2 Rab8 23. Rxb8 Nxe3+ 24. fxe3 Rxb8 25. Qa1 g6 ({Fritz suggests} 25... Rb3) 26. Rc1 $1 Ne7 27. Qxa7 Rb2+ 28. Kg1 $2 (28. Kh1 $142 $11) 28... Qb4 $1 $15 29. Rd1 Qc3 30. Qa8+ Kg7 31. Qe4 Nf5 32. Qd3 Qb4 33. Bd5 h5 34. e4 Nh6 35. Qf3 c6 36. Bxc6 Qc4 37. Bd7 Qc2 38. h3 Qh2+ 39. Kf1 f5 40. exf5 Qxh3+ 41. Ke1 gxf5 42. Rd2 Rb1+ 43. Rd1 Rxd1+ 44. Kxd1 h4 45. Bxf5 Nxf5 46. Qb7+ Kf6 47. Qb6+ Kg5 48. gxh4+ Kf4 49. Qf6 Qd3+ 50. Kc1 Ke4 51. Qe6+ Kf3 52. Qc6+ Ke3 53. Qc2 Qa3+ 54. Qb2 Qa5 55. Qb3+ Kf4 56. Qb8+ Kg4 57. Qc8 Kxh4 58. d5 Qa1+ (58... Qxd5 $17 {saves time}) 59. Kc2 Qa4+ 60. Kb2 Qb4+ 61. Kc2 Qe4+ 62. Kb2 Ne3 63. Qh8+ Kg4 64. d6 Qb4+ 65. Kc1 Qxd6 { This position must be proven in the Nalimov tablebase.} 66. Qg7+ Kf3 67. Qc3 Ke4 $2 68. Qb4+ $1 $11 {Bryson-Flear, British Ch Edinburgh 1985} 1/2-1/2

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home