Understanding before Moving 141: Chess history in a nutshell (23)

by ChessBase
9/3/2023 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books about chess training and chess strategy. In the 141st instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman continues his series "Chess history in a nutshell" and takes a look at the ideas and legacy of José Raúl Capablanca. | Photo: Pascal Simon

Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2 Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2

In this two-part course the emphasis will be on typical pawn-structures.


José Raúl Capablanca (1)

In this episode we will talk about José Raúl Capablanca y Craupera (1888-1942), who was considered a natural talent. The gifted Cuban took over the world title in 1921 from Lasker, who had held it for no less than 27 years. The manner in which Capablanca won the title was impressive. He won four games, the remaining ten were draws, after which Lasker conceded the match.

In the years before, Capablanca had also shown his superiority in tournaments. In New York in 1913 and in St. Petersburg in 1914 he took the first prize with playful ease and in the intervening period he showed that he was unbeatable. His great strength lay in the endgame.

Capablanca was a bit lazy by nature, so he had no desire to study openings. By swapping a few pieces he created seemingly boring positions which he could turn to his advantage with his masterful sense of position.

He also seemed to have an eye for combinations. He was known for his ability to turn a strategic advantage into a position with more concrete advantages with a surprising 'petit combinaison'. Throughout his career Capablanca lost only 35 games. This even led him to say that the rules of the game should be changed, because otherwise it would suffer from too many draws (as almost happened in checkers).

In the position shown in the diagram from a Capablanca-Lilienthal game in 1936, Black has just misfired with ...Nf8-e8? Can you guess with which 'petit combinaison' the Cuban heavyweight manoeuvred himself into a winning endgame?

Master Class Vol. 12: Viswanathan Anand

This DVD allows you to learn from the example of one of the best players in the history of chess and from the explanations of the authors how to successfully organise your games strategically, and how to keep your opponent permanently under pressure.

This week’s show (for Premium Members only)


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Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.