In the article on Capablanca’s chess games, you have seen the apparent simplicity of his chess play built on good chess strategies . In the present article, you will see another chess game played by him that shows a beautiful example of mingling chess strategy with chess tactics. Capablanca was playing as White against Charles Jaffe (1874-1941) in a 1910 tournament in New York.
The following shows the position after both players have castled.
The position looks equal and near symmetrical, but I would think that White has a slight advantage because he has a more fluid position with greater space. (Were these two factors included in your chess strategies?) Most of his pieces appear ready to join in the fray whereas Black’s QB is still hemmed in. Capablanca now tries to take control in the center (chess strategy again).
Black of course realized the danger and started exchanges to thwart White from establishing his control. White switched to exerting pressure on h7. To prevent White KN to advance for attacking his King’s position, Black was obliged to advance the RP to h6, but as you know now from your chess strategies, this creates a weakness in Black’s castled position.
Do you also remember your chess strategies to identify the key defender for Black? Obviously the knight. But with White’s QB at b2, all White needed was to advance his QP to attack that defender, elimination of which would seriously jeopardize Black King’s position. Black had to consider that possibility When the White Queen joined the KB along b1-h2 diagonal, and thus advanced his KNP in an attempt to block that diagonal, at the cost of further weakness in his castle.
White immediately took control of the semi-open e-file by his rook (chess strategy again)! See how smoothly White keeps targeting different areas of Black’s Kingside and forcing him to weaken his position step-by-step. In order to open his Queen’s line and to create a counter pressure on White Q, Black started his knight maneuver to h5 with eye on f4. To still keep the knight in gun-sight if it came to f4, White took his QB to c1, simultaneously attacking the weak KRP. White is giving us a chess lesson on how to build up pressure one after another. It was putting Black so much on the defensive that Black was not able to work out any counter-attack!
As a desperate measure to tackle the threats, Black king then moved to g7 to keep his KR ready to occupy h8. Just see how quickly in a span of 9 moves, Black’s position was falling apart from a situation of near equality! Play through the moves 8-16 to see how all these happened.
After 16 moves, the position is shown below.
With all his pieces appropriately mobilized and set to attack Black’s King position, White now swoops down like a hawk by his move 17. Rxe6! Did you see this move? The rook is of course taboo because if 17. … fxe6, White forces mate by 18. Qxg6+ and then 19. Qh7+. But the text move helped only to delay the inevitable. Black also tried desperately to open his QB diagonal along a8-h1 to bring QB to e4. All he needed was one move but White was not giving him that chance!
|18.||Ne5||c5||For 18. … Rh8, refer Option A below
|19.||Bxh6+!||Kxh6||For 19. … Qd7, refer Option B below|
Didn’t this chess game look to be flowing on its own? Could a computer’s chess play improve on this one?
P.S. Jaffe had his revenge three years later when playing as Black, he defeated Capablanca in a tactical game in a New York tournament!