Filatelium Capablanca

Filatelium Capablanca

Oct 25, 2011, 11:14 AM |

Filatelium Capablanca
 is not a scientific name of an insect or a flower. It is a way of mention Capablanca’s presents in the world of stamps. Stamps that tell us a little of his history. 

José Raúl Capablanca (Havana 1888 - New York 1942), also called “the Mozart of chess”, was one of the best players of all times. According to his results he was given a historic rating 2725, over other great players such us Botvínnik, Lasker, Tal, Alekhine or Morphy. 

He was the third official World Champion, a title that kept from 1925 (winning Lasker) to 1927 (losing against Alekine).

Capablanca has been recognised for his ability to play the endgames to perfection. He had a simple style open, efficient and also blunt. 

He took on Lasker firstly, in St. Petersburg 1914 chess tournament, where the German ended up winning by very little (Lasker–13,5 · Capablanca-13). Behind of Cuban there were important players like Alekhine, Tarrasch i Marshall.

Lasker – Capablanca game, St. Petersburg

  Position after 16...Rd7

In this stamp of the Republic of Chad we can see the position of the game of the seven round, won by Lasker after Capablanca played 16...Rd7.

In 1921 Lasker took on Capablanca again this time in Havana and Capablanca won without losing a single game and was proclaimed champion of the world.

Lasker- Capablanca game. World championship in Havana 1921 (round 10)

  Position after 43.Nd1

In the tenth game Capablanca won brilliantly. In the position in this stamp of Laos, Capablanca avoid a trap: If 43...Nb4?  44.Rd2 Rb1  45.Nb2 Rxb2  46.Rxb2 Nd3+  47.Ke2 Nxb2  48.Kd2 leads to draw, because the black knight is trapped. After 43...Rb1!44.Ke1 is better than the game that Lasker did (44.Kd2), but the black ones still wins a pound with 44...Na5

The game, with comments by Capablanca:

Capablanca - Lasker game. World championship in Havana 1921 (round 11) 

  Position after de 47...Qd6

In this stamp of the Republic of Niger we can see the position of the eleven game (played in the same championship) which was reached after Lasker played 47...Qd6.

The game, with comments by Capablanca: 

  Serie of stamps commemorative of 30 years Capablanca’s victory agains Lasker for the World  
  championship in 1921. Republic of Cuba,  1951

Three years later, Lasker won the tournament in New York, losing only one game against Capablanca, who was the second one being ahead of Alekine, a future World Champion.

Lasker – Capablanca game. New York 1924

  Position after 39...Kxf5

This game won the 3rd price of beauty. Lasker lost a golden opportunity with 37... Bf7! Instead of 37... Qe6?. Two moves later it reach the starting position that is in the stamp of the collection Chess Olympics in Dubrovnic, 1950, Yugoslavia.

From 1935, a new generation (Botvinnik, Keres, Fine, Reshevsky...) broke into the magistrate practice to stand for himself. In the AVRO 1938 chess tournament 1938, which Lasker declined to participate, Botvinnik was the 3rd ahead of Capablanca, Alekhine i Reshevsky.

Botvinnik – Capablanca game. AVRO, Nederlands, 1938

   Position after de 29...Qe7

As it can be seen in the stamp “les grands maitres des echecs”, of the Central African Republican, the Queen in e7 does the sad role of blockade of the pawn past of e6. The white ones will divert the black Queen with  30.Ba3!, the beginning of a beautiful sequence of 12 movements.

  Final position of the same game after 41.Kh5

In this Mongolia stamp is shown the position of the same game, after 41.Rh5, at the time Capablanca resigns the game.

Keres won the tournament. Capablanca was 7th, the worst final score of his Carrere.

Game Keres – Capablanca AVRO Nederland, 1938

  Position after 21…Rb6

In the stamp of Republic of Niger it can be seen the position of the game after Capablanca put the knight to g6. Shortly after Keres played 22.Ne6! with pressure, but Capablanca still resisted till played 38.

(Games taken from

More stamps of Capablanca:

 Chess fever
A Russian silent movie of the year 1925, where Capablanca appears in an anthological end.

You must protect the King with the minimum of pieces and attract adversary King with the maximum of pieces

You must eliminate the foliage of the chessboard

If you have thought of a proper plan you must do it rigorously

When you see a position you ask yourself what can it happen, what will happen. I know it

The line that Capablanca draw go in with Smyslov, Fischer y Karpov. He played chess the same way as the birds sing” 

His trick consisted in playing apertures the more simple way, and then he played with such brightness in the middle of the game, that the game was decided even thought his opponent not always knew it before reaching the endgame” 

I do not understand even now after years how I got to win to Capablanca in the matchn Capablanca, 1927″ 

It is impossible to understand the chess world without look it with the eyes of Capablanca” 

Capablanca was the best because he didn’t need worrier himself” 

 Capablanca when he was a child.              Capablanca older.

See too the excelent recopilation of stamps and Chess references in: 
ico_totsblocs.gif  Stamps and Chess, by billwall