Capa Gives Spielmann a Tactical Lesson

Oct 8, 2011, 1:55 PM |

In a recent blog article, I published part of the introduction to Rudolf Spielmann's wonderful book, The Art of Sacrifice.   Spielmann was recognized as one of the great tacticians of his day.  Capablanca was generally recognized as one of the great positional players of his day.  The idea that tactics flow from position is confirmed in the following game in which Capablanca had seen clearly into the position he engineered, one giving Spielmann an overworked Queen,  and proved himself to be a superlative tactician as well.

The position below arose after Black's  26. . .Qc7

White played the seemingly natural, but easily avoided threat of Bc1.  However, this move, actually a hinge in repositioning his Bishop, turned out to be the start of a deep and winning combination.

Black grabs a pawn with  Rxf2 and threatens Rf1 mate.

Here comes the repositioning of the Bishop with force.  Bf4 puts the Bishop on an important diagonal, answers the mating threat, attacks the Queen and, most importantly, cuts off the Rook from any defense.

...Qd8, hoping to defend the Bishop, is Black's only move.

But it isn't enough - Rxe7 anyway. White's Rook is taboo considering Qc8+ leads to mate.

. . . Qf8 - again forced since Black must defend against Qxg7#

Again, the move is insufficient and after Qxg7+, Black resigned.

Here is the mating net:

The game in it's entirety