Bent Larsen selling 1927 portrait of Capablanca

9/10/2006 – Legendary grandmaster Bent Larsen, of the Bobby Fischer era, is selling an original signed photograph portrait of world champion José Raúl Capablanca. This picture is claimed to be the only existing portrait of the world champion from the period when he was challenged by Alekhine. In fact it was taken on the day before the start of the match. Starting bid: $22,000.

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On September 16, 1927 the World Championship Match between José Raúl Capablanca, the title holder, and the Russian Alexander Alekhine began in Buenos Aires. Capablanca was by far the favourite, with the following facts contributed to the odds:

1) A few months back, Capablanca had won a great tournament in New York, undefeated, 2.5 points ahead of Alekhine, who obtained 2nd place.

2) The individual score between both masters, immediately prior to the great match, was 5:0, with a few draws, in favour of the Cuban. The five wins over the Russian were two exhibition games in St. Petersburg 1913, two games from the great St. Petersburg 1914 tournament, and one game from the aforementioned New York 1927 tournament.

The day previous to the start of the fight for the title, this is to say, September 15, 1927, the draw for the piece colour for the first game took place in the Club Argentino de Ajedrez, the institution that hosted the match. The president of Argentina, Dr. Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear, was present. In that occasion, and for one time only, the press was allowed to take photos of the masters posing at the chessboard, in some cases with the arbiter of the match Dr.Carlos Augusto Querencio.

The autographed photo-portrait of Capablanca, was also taken on that day. Capablanca, at the pinnacle of his glory, appears serene and confident, ignorant to the fact that he is going to lose his title to the Russian.

The portrait is in immaculate condition. It is accompanied by a 12-page report by one of the most prestigious handwriting experts in Argentina, certifying that the signature on the back of the picture belongs to the Cuban star. There is also a CD with photographs of contrasting study material, such as original scoresheets from the Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship Match, an original 1911 autographed portrait of Capablanca, an original letter written by him, and diverse analyses of the signature using a specialized microscope, several lenses and lights.

The starting bid on Ebay is US $22,000, with another $50 for shipping costs. You have five days left to place your bids.


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