Learn from the Classics Ep 01: Botvinnik vs Capablanca, 1938

by Sagar Shah
10/1/2020 – Chess Classics are an integral part for every young chess player's development. These are the building blocks which help you to develop your style of play. IM Sagar Shah has started a new series on the ChessBase India YouTube channel where he has taken on the challenging task of covering some of the most important classics in chess! The first one he begins with is his personal favourite - Botvinnik vs Capablanca AVRO tournament 1938. A young Botvinnik takes on an experienced Capablanca and outplays him both strategically as well as tactically. 10 positions to solve, an hour long video and detailed game analysis for you to understand this duel.

Learn from the Classics Learn from the Classics

Sagar Shah shows you on this DVD how you can use typical patterns used by the Master of the past in your own games. From opening play to middlegame themes.


What are Chess Classics? These are games by some of the best players in the world which have been accepted as model encounters. Studying them help you to understand certain concepts which are essential for your growth as a chess player. Just like how when you want to become a good musician, you must know certain songs of the great musicians of the past, to become a good chess player knowing these classics is essential. With this in mind, I have decided to launch a new series on ChessBase India YouTube channel called "Chess Classics you should know". The idea is to finish each session in one hour. Three fourth of the time (i.e 45 minutes) is spent on discussing the game with the viewers and in the last 15 minutes I show the viewers how to analyze using ChessBase 15.

Episode 1 of Chess Classics you must know - Botvinnik vs Capablanca 1938

Today, 28th of September 2020 is the first day of this series and I begin with one of my favourite classics - Botvinnik vs Capablanca from the AVRO tournament in 1938. Here are 10 questions for you to try your hand at and after that you can check the game analysis to get the answers.

In 1938 Botvinnik was on the rise, while Capablanca was the former World Champion, still quite sharp but nowhere close to what he was in his prime


While ...d5 is a very respectable move in this position, sometimes I feel that it is not in the same spirit that Nimzowitsch would have liked someone to play Nimzo Indian in! White to play.


You need to come up with a strategical concept of how you would like to develop your bishop on f1 and the knight on g1 in this position. Which are the best squares for those two pieces?


Would you like to place your f-rook on e1 or the a-rook on e1?


Black to play. How should Capablanca have put a stop to Botvinnik's plan in this position?


The natural move seems to be to push on with f4 here. But Botvinnik did something better. Can you find the move?


Time to find a great move for White.


Botvinnik played the natural Qe5 here. But he missed something much better. What is that move?


The move that made this game immortal. White to play and stun the former World Champion.


When you say A, you must say B. White to play.


Black has checks coming up on c1. Is it a perpetual check on hand? A lot of doubts would have gone through young Botvinnik's mind before making his next move. Should you play e7 here?

The game is so famous that the position was also converted into a postal stamp

Master Class Vol.4: José Raúl Capablanca

He was a child prodigy and he is surrounded by legends. In his best times he was considered to be unbeatable and by many he was reckoned to be the greatest chess talent of all time: Jose Raul Capablanca, born 1888 in Havana.

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Our experts show, using the games of Botvinnik, how to employ specific openings successfully, which model strategies are present in specific structures, how to find tactical solutions and rules for how to bring endings to a successful conclusion


The answers to all the questions above are found in the game analysis below which is done by Sagar along with the people present during the liveshow:



Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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