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Capablanca, Jose

Cuban-born, Jose Capablanca (1888-1942) was American-educated and sent to a private school (Woodycliff School of South Orange) in New Jersey when he was 16 in 1904.  He joined the Manhattan Chess Club at that time and impressed many of the players.  In 1906 he went to Columbia University in New York to study chemical  engineering, he spent most of his time at the Manhattan Chess Club.  Two years later he dropped out of Columbia University and dedicated most of his time to chess.  In 1908-09 he toured the U.S. and lost only one game in hundreds of games played during simultaneous exhibitions, winning all the others. He won the New York state chess championship in 1910.  In 1913 Capablanca obtained a post in the Cuban Foreign Office with the title of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary General from the Government of Cuba to the World at Large.  After his divorce from his first wife, her family had him demoted to the post of Commercial Attaché.   He once had the mayor of Havana clear a tournament room so that no one would see him resign a game (against Marshall in 1913).  In 1921, he defeated Lasker for the World Championship title.  He won 4 games and drew 10 games without a loss.  In 1927, he lost the title to Alexander Alekhine.  Alekhne won 3, lost 6, and drew 25.  He once refused to pose with a beautiful film star, saying, "Why should I give her publicity?"  Capablanca lost only 36 games out of 567 in his whole life.  He did not lose a single game from 1916 to 1924.  Capablanca never had a chess set at home.  On March 7, 1942, he was seated at a chess board at the Manhattan Chess Club, watching a skittles game, when he suddenly toppled backwards from his char.  He had suffered a massive stroke (cerebral hemorrhage) and died later that night in a New York hospital.  At the time of his death, he was the commercial attaché of the Cuban Embassy in New York.  General Batista, President of Cuba, took personal charge of the funeral arrangements.  Capablanca may be the youngest player of a published game.  In 1893, at the age of 4 years and 10 months, Capablanca (receiving queen odds) defeated a chess player in Havana.  This game was recorded and published.

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