Capablanca question

  • #1

    Did Capablanca play more safe/defensive than Andersson, Leko, Petrosian, Karpov or Kramnik? Was he more drawish?

  • #2

    Why are you obsessed with being drawish/cautious/boring etc?

  • #3

    yes, he had a really limited repetoire

  • #4

    Oh, boy, it's really getting annoying...

    Petrosian was a superb tactician. His blitz games were invariably a bloodshed, all the pieces hanging.

    Andersson became world's highest rated player at correspondence chess by playing the opposite of his OTB chess: wild tactical lines.

    Karpov has made some of the deepest sacrificial combinations ever. And Kramnik is a superb all-round master, he can play either very aggressively, or cautiously, if the position demands so. Being a teen, Kramnik made a lot of contributions to the Dragon theory, pointing at lines so sharp that noone had dared to touch.

    Just forget about the "defensive" and "offensive" crap, and enjoy their great chess.

  • #5

    Capablanca played wild against weak opponents.

    He just won against strong opponents.

    Strong GMs was out of book in move 8 main lines in 1920

  • #6

    Define "more safe/defensive" 

    It's tough comparing players of different eras. The 2 links below attempt to do so using different criterion.

    BUT to try and answer your question I don't think Capa was as drawish (stylewise, I don't have any stats here)  as Petrosian, Karpov or Anderson, who strike me as being "safety first" players whose prime directive isn't to win but to never lose, and only win if and when the opportunity arises. 

    Here's some interesting facts courtesy of NM Reb in another forum

    I have been checking the career percentages of the world chess champions and those who came very close, but didnt make it. My most interesting findings so far is that only 4 of the great chess players scored over 70% : Alekhine-72.9 , Fischer-72.6, Capablanca-72.2 and Keres-70.2 ! Kasparov has 69.4% and Topalov is the lowest at 57.4% ! Korchnoi, Bronstein,Rubinstein and Fine all have over 61% which makes one wonder about Topalov. 

    http://www.chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/PeakList.asp?Params=

    http://www.edochess.ca/

  • #7

    All i can say is...Capablanca made chess look simple but elegant.

  • #8
    ViktorHNielsen wrote:

    Capablanca played wild against weak opponents.

    He just won against strong opponents.

    Strong GMs was out of book in move 8 main lines in 1920

    Book lines were plenty longer than that. MCO-2 (1914).

  • #9

    I disagree with the comment that strong GMs in 1920 played book move for up to 8 moves only. We have the infamous Marshall Attack, and also Nimzo-Capa game where Capa felled into Nimzo prepared lines and got his queenside structure crippled. Many books written around this period also shows opening lines exceeding 8 moves. This period is the golden age of chess theory, where chess knowledge was abundant and advanced very rapidly. In fact, Capa complained how much people were paying too much attention to openings in those days. Much of the E4 openings that we know today were already worked out before this period, and they were moving to d4 with more and more top players playing d4 in this era.

    Capa was not as "defensive" as Petrosian and Andersson. His play had more dimensions than Karpov's boa-restrictive style. Capa attacked when required, defended when needed, and made sacrifices when necessary (yes, he made sacrifices too). The only difference is that he did not make speculative sacrifices. I suppose he just knew what to do and therefore he did not need to guess or bluff his way through. He had limited opening repertoire. I don't think that he prepared his openings at all. He just came and played.

    His play might appear to be "defensive" and "cautious" to the people in those era. Remember that positional chess was only recently being introduced. To many people in those period, romantic chess era seemed only like yesterday. So it is natural for them to view Capa's play as being "cautious" and Lasker's as being "psychological". However, in comparison to today's standard, I think Capa's play is leaning more towards universal style, albeit in a crude kind of way.

  • #10

    I ask this question because Capablanca drew 25 out of 34 games with Alekhine in the 1927 World Chess Championship.

  • #11
    Kramposian wrote:

    I ask this question because Capablanca drew 25 out of 34 games with Alekhine in the 1927 World Chess Championship.

    Conversely, Alekhine drew 25 out of 34 with Capablanca....

  • #12
    Kramposian wrote:

    I ask this question because Capablanca drew 25 out of 34 games with Alekhine in the 1927 World Chess Championship.

    This is typical world chess championship match. It is normal that most of the games played by the world's No.1 and No.2 to end in draw. Perfect plays by both players would have a draw result.

  • #13

    @OP: Kasparov's first WCC match against Karpov had 40 draws, including one stretch of 17 draws in a row, and another stretch of 14 draws in a row.

    Are you going to claim that Kasparov had a passive, defensive style?

  • #14
    pfren wrote:
    Karpov has made some of the deepest sacrificial combinations ever.

    Here's a nice game for people who consider Karpov to be a boring, defensive player.

    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1038842

    His opponent in this game is a former FIDE World Chess Champion.

    Just sayin'.

  • #15
    Who is the best "safety first" GM?
  • #16

    How can Karpov be considered drawish, when he won the most tournaments BY FAR? I mean, unlike matches, you cannot win tournaments by drawing most of the games.

  • #17
    honinbo_shusaku wrote:

    I disagree with the comment that strong GMs in 1920 played book move for up to 8 moves only. We have the infamous Marshall Attack, and also Nimzo-Capa game where Capa felled into Nimzo prepared lines and got his queenside structure crippled. Many books written around this period also shows opening lines exceeding 8 moves. This period is the golden age of chess theory, where chess knowledge was abundant and advanced very rapidly. In fact, Capa complained how much people were paying too much attention to openings in those days. Much of the E4 openings that we know today were already worked out before this period, and they were moving to d4 with more and more top players playing d4 in this era.

     

     

    When was this Nimzo-Capa game played, I want to see it. Could you give me a link about this game.

  • #18
    ajmeroski wrote:

    How can Karpov be considered drawish, when he won the most tournaments BY FAR? I mean, unlike matches, you cannot win tournaments by drawing most of the games.

    Sure you can, if you lose even fewer than you do win.

  • #19
    paulgottlieb wrote:

    I agree completely that all these great players were capable of brilliant attacks and subtle positional chess. But there were style differences. I do have the impression that as Capablaca got older he put a greater priority on not losing, as opposed to winning

    I agree, Lakadwala mentiond this in his book.

  • #20
    paulgottlieb wrote:

    This is just a random thought about Capablanca, but as I learn more about his life, I am firmly convinced that ill health played a bigger role in his career than people realize. 

    First of all, he really died quite young, only 53. He dies of a massive stroke brought on by Hypertension. He had previously suffered a mild stroke during the 1938 AVRO tournament in Holland.

    Reading some interviews with Olga Capablanca, his second wife and his widow, it became clear that he had been treated for severe hypertension for many years. 

    Based on this, I think the fact that Capa's play lost some of vigor later in his career might be due to a deteriorating physical condition. This might explain why his results became a bit more erratic as he got older. He would have indifferent results in a tournament and then turn around and totally dominate a very strong tournament just as he had in his youth.

    These are just my own speculations.

    I think as we grow older our mental capabilities weakens too specially when we are suffering from illnesses. In Capas situation, i think old age plus illness plus the rise of theoretically ready new GMs (Fine,Botvinnik, Smyslov,Keres, Euwe) made chess competition stiffer than before (not to mention Resehvsky and Kashdan, Horowitz, Stahlberg).Im a Capa fan and you can read that from my posts, but at 53 Capa was already not as superior as he was. I saw it while playing over his games in "The Unknown Capablanca", and "Capablancas 100 best games" not to mention lakdawalas' book too. And Paul...you are correct in your assesment.

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