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In "My Chess Career", Capablanca mentioned:
"Finally, late in May of 1918 I returned once more to New York. I had not played chess for one and a half years, but an event occurred which undoubtedly will have some influence on my future career. There was in Habana a young girl of from twelve to fourteen years of age who interested me a great deal. Not only was she intelligent and modest in every respect, but what is more to the point, she played chess quite well (I believe that today she probably is the strongest lady player in the world, though only fifteen or seventeen years old). I offered to give her a few lessons before I sailed. My offer was accepted, and I decided to teach her something of the openings and the middle-game along general principles and in accordance with certain theories which I had had in my mind for some time, but which I had never expounded to anybody. In order to explain and teach my theories I had to study, so it came about that, for the first time in my life, I devoted some time to the working of the openings. I had the great satisfaction of finding that my ideas were, as far as I could see, quite correct."
"Thus, it happened that I actually learned more myself than my pupil, though I hope that my young lady friend benefited by the dozen or so lessons that I gave her."
Does anybody know who this girl was? Did she become a famous chess player? I find it interesting that Capa had a pupil and actually passed on his knowledge to somebody.
(Now where is batgirl when you need her ... Lol)
Probably was Maria Teresa Mora, a Cuban WIM born in 1902. At least, her age would seem to fit (almost), and any title is nothing to sneeze at.
Edit: yeah, her wikipedia entry mentions lessons from Capa.
Thanks for the reply. I think you are right. Unfortunately, very little has been written about her. There wasn't even a photo of her. At chessgames.com, there are only very few games of her, but based on the quotes posted by the kibitzers there suggest that she was a pretty strong player.
In Edward Winter's excellent Capablanca, first published in 1989 and recently re-issued in paperback by McFarland in 2011, there is an interesting mention of her.
In an excerpt from Capa's correspondence for The Times newspaper of London, Published in the 20 December 1921 issue, he suggests that the organizers of the upcoming women's tournament in London, 1922,
" . . . leave open the possibility of the participation in that tournament of the young Cuban girl, senorita Maria Teresa Mora. The young lady is only some 17 years old [again, not an age that corresponds with the birth year given in Wikipedia. In a footnote, Winter gives her age as 14 at the time, and acknowledges that Capa also got it wrong in My Chess Career. I'm guessing Wikipedia has it wrong as well, surprise, surprise], and yet I believe her to be the equal of any woman player. Her participation would add enormous interest to the tournament and would cost the committee nothing, as I would obtain here [Capa was writing from Havana] the necessary funds for her journey."
Winter then points out that she did not play in London.
Thanks for bringing up chessgames.com, I'll have to check out what they've got from her. My database has 34 of her games, but all from between 1939 and 1950. It would be interesting to see something from a time nearer her tutelage to Capa.
It is interesting to see Capablanca would go all the way and even offered to pay for the expenses so that she could participate in the London tournament. She must be very dear to Capablanca.
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