Game 4
July 8, 1926

Abraham Kupchik - Jose Raoul Capablanca [A47]

Lake Hopatcong/Lake Hopatcong, NJ USA (2) 1926

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. e3 b6 4. Bd3 Bb7

4... Ba6!? 5. O-O Bxd3 6. cxd3! d5 7. Nc3 Be7 8. e4


5. O-O

Better to hold the e4 square by 5. Nbd2 c5 6. O-O Be7 7. b3 cxd4 8. exd4 d6 (8... d5 9. Ne5! ) 9. Bb2 Nbd7 10. c4 O-O 11. Rc1 Re8 12. Re1 Qc7 13. Qe2 1-0 Colle,E-Gruenfeld,E/Berlin 1926 (27), though Black's position is quite dynamic.


5... Ne4!?

Kenilworth Lecturer Steve Stoyko's recommended set-up occurs after 5... c5 6. Nbd2 Be7 7. c3 cxd4 8. exd4 O-O followed by a hedgehog with ...d6 ...Nbd7, and ...Qc7.


6. Nbd2

6. c4 followed by Nc3, Qc2 and perhaps Nfd2 and f3 allows White to resecure the e4 square without trouble.


6... f5

Black thus transposes to a position that could have arisen from the Dutch Defense.


7. c3

The typical set-up of the Colle System.

a) Better is 7. Ne5! Qh4 8. f3! Nxd2 9. Bxd2 Nc6 10. Nxc6 Bxc6 11. Qe2 Bd6 12. g3 Qh5 13. c4 O-O 14. b4 g5?! (14... Rae8! 15. a4 e5 ) 15. Rae1 Be7 16. e4 fxe4 17. Bxe4 Bxe4 18. Qxe4 Rae8 19. d5 exd5 20. Qxd5+ Qf7 21. Qd3 Bf6 22. Kg2 Rxe1 23. Rxe1 Re8 24. Rxe8+ Qxe8 25. f4 gxf4?! (25... g4!? ) 26. Bxf4 d6 27. b5 Qe6 28. Qd5 Kf7 29. Kf3 Ke7 30. Qxe6+ Kxe6 31. Ke4 h5 32. h3 Be7 33. g4 hxg4 34. hxg4 Bd8 35. g5 Be7 36. Be3 Bd8 37. g6 Kf6 38. Bg5+ 1-0 Berg,K-Nielsen,J/Copenhagen 1991 (38)

b) 7. Bxe4!? fxe4 8. Ne5 Qg5 (8... Qh4 9. f3 ) 9. f4 Qf5 10. g4?! Qf6 11. g5 Qf5 and Black has clear long-term advantages, including the two Bishops and White's weak light squares and potentially exposed King.

7... Be7 8. Qc2 d5 9. Ne5 O-O 10. f3 Nxd2 11. Bxd2 Nd7 12. Nxd7 Qxd7 13. Rae1?!

This was probably White's best chance for 13. e4 though Black is fine after 13... c5 (13... dxe4!? 14. fxe4 c5! 15. exf5 Qd5! 16. Rf2 c4! 17. Bf1 exf5=) 14. exf5 c4! (14... exf5) 15. Be2 exf5=


13... c5! 14. Qd1

With the long-term plan of transferring the Queen to the Kingside. It may be that here Capablanca began to imagine his ingenious plan of diverting White's forces in order to attack on the Queenside.


14... Rf6 15. Qe2 Raf8 16. Bb5?

The Bishop s out to be badly misplaced here, where it actually aids Black in advancing his pawns to attack on that side. 16. f4 Reinfeld 16. c4!? Fritz 16. b3


16... Qc7 17. f4

Stopping Black from following with ...Pe5. 17. Bd3 e5


17... c4 18. Kh1 Bd6 19. Rf3 h5!?

19... Rh6 20. Rg3 Rff6 with the id ea of directly meeting White's piece pressure on the Kingside makes more sense on the surface, though it would likely lead to exchanges. Capablanca's plan is more subtle: he is creating a kingside diversion in order to be more effective in his queenside initiative.


20. Ref1 Rh6!?

21. Be1 g6!?

Writing of this move in the tournament book, C.S. Howell makes the following long commentary: "Capablanca's play hereabouts will puzzle some students. It appears somewhat bizarre, but actually this game very well illustrates an assertion frequently made by the annotator; viz, that chess is neither art nor science, but a contest. Black has an advantage on the Queenside because he can advance there at the expense of White's badly placed [Bishop at b5]. If he had started this advance while White's other pieces were more or less mobile in the center, White would have been able to swing his pieces to the left. Instead, the champion first makes his Kingside entirely safe against onslaught and shows his instinct for a contest and his recognition of the human element that exists in chess by doing so in such a manner as to attract White to K-side play." As Howell suggests, Black's Kingside play is bothfortress-building and a diversion. It certainly works.


22. Bh4 Kf7 23. Qe1 a6!

Howell notes : "And, now, when White's pieces are away from the Queenside and his own K position is quite safe, Capablanca starts his advance where White is weakest."


24. Ba4 b5 25. Bd1 Bc6 26. Rh3 a5 27. Bg5?! Rhh8 28. Qh4?!

Howell notes: "Of course, White's last two moves have merely taken two important pieces still further away from the point where the decisive action will take place."


28... b4! 29. Qe1

"Beginning the retreat," writes Reinfeld, "but the damage has been done."


29... Rb8 30. Rhf3 a4 31. R3f2

31. cxb4 Rxb4 and Black will win the pawn at b2 by piling up along the b-file with his heavy pieces.


31... a3 32. b3? Necessary is 32. bxa3 b3!


32... cxb3 33. Bxb3 Bb5 34. Rg1 Qxc3-/+ 35. Qxc3 bxc3 36. Rc2 Rhc8 37. Bh4

37. Rgc1 Bd3! (37... Bb4 38. Rd1 Bc4-+) 38. Rxc3 Rxc3 39. Rxc3 Bc4-+


37... Bd3 38. Rcc1

38... Rxb3 39. axb3 a2

Kupchik resigned here.


The time used was 2 hours and 20 minutes for Kupchik and 1 hour and 50 minutes for Capablanca. Howell notes that "39....Bb1 is threatened and if 40. Ra1 Bb1 41. Be1 or 41. Rgxb1 axb1=Q+ 42. Rxb1 c2 43. Rc1 Ba3-+ 41... Ba3-+ 0-1 [Goeller]

Game in PGN