Saturday, January 19

New York tournament preview: Capablanca

Capablanca is, to us, a chess phenomenon, and the possessor of unlimited potential.  We confess to having been skeptical of his chances prior to his match vs. Marshall a few years ago, an opinion that we were forcefully and irrevocably compelled to alter as that contest wore on.  We then felt that the young Cuban had "come down to earth" a bit after his second place finish, behind the American Champion, at the National Tournament here in New York in 1911, yet his subsequent remarkable victory at San Sebastian, in his first tournament encounter with the world's elite Masters, again gave vivid evidence of his exceptional powers.

We would note that Capablanca's confidence and self-assurance stand on a par with his chessboard skill, as is well demonstrated by his issuing, some months after the San Sebastian tourney, a challenge to Dr. Lasker to contest a match for the supreme title.  Though that meeting did not take place (amid circumstances that we have no wish to rehearse here), we entertain no doubts that the day will come when Capablanca will indeed play a Championship match, as have Janowski and Marshall before him, and will thereby be accorded the opportunity to display his full strength.

To our knowledge, Capablanca played no serious chess in 1912, and thus we await with interest the opportunity to observe him in action once again.  To judge from his past performances, we shall soon be treated to more rare gems of chessboard art.

We give below the victory by Capablanca over Spielmann from San Sebastian; in the final position, the pretty variations 30...Qxg7 31.Re8+ Qg8 32.Be5+, and mates next move, or 30...Qxg7 31.Re8+ Qf8 32.Rxf8+ Kg7 33.Bh6+, winning Black's Rook, are most appealing.


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