Jose Capablanca - History Part 1b (The Making of a Grandmaster?)

Apr 14, 2008, 7:45 AM |


In 1909, at the age of 20, Capablanca won a match against US champion Frank Marshall by +8-1=14. This was a comparable margin to Marshall's World Championship loss (+8-0=7) to Emanuel Lasker in 1907.

Capablanca won the New York State Championship in 1910.[1] Then, in a tournament at New York 1911, Capablanca placed second, with 9½/12, half a point behind Marshall, and half a point ahead of Charles Jaffe and Oscar Chajes. Marshall insisted that Capablanca be allowed to play in a tournament at San Sebastián, Spain in 1911. It was one of the strongest tournaments of the time. All of the world's leading players except world champion Emanuel Lasker were in attendance. At the beginning of the tournament Ossip Bernstein and Aron Nimzowitsch objected to Capablanca's presence because he had not won a major tournament. But after Capablanca won his first round game against Bernstein, capturing the tournament's brilliancy prize,[2] Bernstein quickly acknowledged Capablanca's talent and said that he would not be surprised if Capablanca won the tournament. Nimzowitsch took offense when Capablanca made a comment while watching one of his blitz games, and remarked that unproven players should hold their tongue in the presence of their betters. Capablanca quickly challenged Nimzowitsch to a series of fast games, which he won "with ridiculous ease." The assembled masters soon concluded that Capablanca had no equal at fast chess, a distinction which was to remain his until virtually the end of his life. Capablanca went on to win his tournament game with Nimzowitsch as well, using an opening setup much admired by Mikhail Botvinnik.[3] By tournament's end, Capablanca had astounded the chess world by taking first place at San Sebastián, with a score of +6 -1 =7, ahead of Akiba Rubinstein, Carl Schlechter and Siegbert Tarrasch. The one game he lost was against Rubinstein, one of the most brilliant chess creations of the latter's career. This was a 2781 performance, according to