Tarrasch Unhorses Capablanca’s Wrong Rook Move

Tarrasch Unhorses Capablanca’s Wrong Rook Move

NM GreenLaser
Dec 11, 2010, 12:00 AM |
18 | Chess Players

The tournament at St. Petersburg in 1914 took place in two stages. The results of the first part, the preliminary, was reported at http://www.chess.com/article/view/tarrasch-sacs-two-bishops-and-nimzowitsch . The five players (with their scores) who qualified for the final were Capablanca (8), Lasker (6.5), Tarrasch (6.5), Alekhine (6), and Marshall (6). The result of the final, which was a double round robin, was Lasker 7, Capablanca 5,  Alekhine 4, Tarrasch 4, and Marshall 2. The scores from the preliminary were added to the scores in the final to produce the standings which showed Lasker 13.5, Capablanca 13, Tarrasch 10.5, Alekhine 10, and Marshall 8.
Lasker was undefeated in the final with six wins and two draws. Capablanca lost a game to Lasker and a game to Tarrasch. The loss to Lasker is famous. Perhaps, the loss to Tarrasch is infamous. With a draw Capablanca would have scored 13.5 overall. The Capablanca-Tarrasch game is presented with the reason why Capablanca lost and how he should have played. Also shown is why he kept playing while a knight behind. He was aiming for an ending that leaves Black ahead a bishop, but is a draw. Capablanca at the age of 25 was the future world champion. Tarrasch at the age of 52 had already been great for a generation and was very much aware of Capablanca‘s goal in the game and refused to react emotionally to Capablanca’s refusal to resign after losing a piece. Tarrasch retained his focus and did his job instead of being distracted by anger or nonchalance, which has been the trap players have fallen into. By not resigning, Capablanca reached a position that did elicit his surrender and we shall see why he gave up. I suggest that readers stop at the resignation to study the position before reading the subsequent moves in order to test themselves.

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