Wednesday, December 18

Capablanca wins yet again, routs Dus-Chotimirsky in first exhibition game

Cuban phenomenon José R. Capablanca scored a crushing victory over Fyodor Dus-Chotimirsky in the first game of their exhibition match at St. Petersburg, shattering his opponent's carefully-constructed central edifice with a surprising Knight capture and gaining a winning position as early as the 15th move.  With this latest triumph Capablanca has now taken a 1-0 lead in each his two-game matches against Russian opponents Eugene Znosko-Borovsky, Alexander Alekhine, and Dus-Chotimirsky, and has thus progressed halfway toward winning the gold cup promised him as a special prize should he succeed in sweeping all six games of the series.  Capablanca's next test will come in his return encounter vs. Znosko-Borovsky on the 18th inst.

Dus-Chotimirsky, with the move, selected the Queen's Pawn Game, and to most eyes the position after White's 15.Nc5 seemed safe enough for the first player.  Capablanca's 15...Nxd4 thus came as quite a surprise, after which Dus-Chotimirsky was faced with a choice of losing continuations.  The path taken by White, 16.exd4 Bxc5 17.a3 Qxd4, left Black in possession of two extra pawns, after which all the Russian's desperate attempts to complicate matters - which included the sacrifice of his Queen - came to naught, and Capablanca scored the contest to his credit at the 34th move.  A glance at the final position will suggest that White perhaps prolonged the struggle somewhat beyond the usual Master custom.

We append the game below.


Miguel A Sanchez said...

Hi Steve,

What kind of games were? With the use of clock, or just like a oddgames? There are several accounts.
A Capa fan

-steve wrinn said...

Hi Miguel,

Thanks for writing. Capablanca's two-game matches vs. Alekhine, Znosko-Borovsky and Dus-Chotimirsky were serious games, played with a clock and for stake money. (Bachmann's Schachjahrbuch for 1914, vol. 1, p.64, reports that Capa received an honorarium for each game, no matter what the result, and that the winner of the game received an additional 25 rubles.) Altogether Capa played 24 such serious exhibition games in Europe in late 1913 and early 1914. Hooper and Brandreth's The Unknown Capablanca gives them all - as, in time, will I.
Best wishes,