Capablanca's Favorite Rubinstein Masterpiece? - Best Of The 1910s - Rubinstein vs. Schlechter, 1912

Capablanca's Favorite Rubinstein Masterpiece? - Best Of The 1910s - Rubinstein vs. Schlechter, 1912

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Akiba Rubinstein may have been the best player in the world in the late 1900s and early 1910s prior to World War I. While his mental health and chess play deteriorated far too early in his life, he left behind a tremendous legacy of tournament successes and incredibly beautiful positional and tactical masterpieces. To my mind, Rubinstein played more brilliancies from 1905-1915 than anyone else in the world, and it's not even close. Suffice to say that I won't be surprising anyone with my #1 game from the 1900s.

My pick for this list may be surprising as Rubinstein also had fine wins over Lasker and Capablanca in the decade, but I find his win against Carl Schlechter to be one of the most beautiful, instructive, and harmonious victories. The future world champion, Jose Capablanca, had this to say about the game: "There are no doubt many people whose attention is not attracted by this game; for my part, I confess that there are few games that have so impressed me. To my mind, it is a complete masterpiece, a monument of magnificent precision. For 38 moves, the great Russian expert always played the exact move, the strongest! The game is a classic example, always to be conserved, of how chess should be played."

Top 10 Games of the 1910s

The game opens with a Semi-Tarrasch which resembles a Gruenfeld. In a later decade, we covered a masterpiece in which White's king proved unsafe in the center in a similar structure and was masterfully hunted down: Portisch vs. Pinter, 1984. This game demonstrates the opposite case. Schlechter too quickly exchanges the queens to pull White's king into the center. He has no pieces to attack it and allow Rubinstein a delightful endgame with the strong center. Rubinstein perfectly, pokes, prods, and squeezes the position, ever improving his pieces without allowing a sniff of counterplay. Ultimately, it his invading king that poetically finishes the job.

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