Capablanca's titanic overstatement blunder

  • #1

    "Sir, if you could beat me, I would know you" – Jose Raul Capablanca (to an unknown player who had rejected Capablanca's offer of queen odds, on the grounds that Capablanca didn't know him, and might lose)

    I mean, come on! I'm a player of probably hardly even an average OTB playing strength, but I'm sure I can beat ANYONE who gives me the odds of a whole Queen, given it's not a bullet game or a blitz with under 5 minutes per side... and I'd often win even then! So... Capa knew all the average players... apparently? Laughing

  • #2

    Besides, that story's just a story, right?

  • #3

    No one should not lose to anyone who has been granted queen odds.

  • #4

    I think the point of the quote is that the only way to make it a fair fight was to give odds. His statement was that nobody he had not heard of could beat him in regular chess. At least this is how I read it.

  • #5

    Of course, NM ozzie_c_cobblepot! But it's still a little thing to think about, isn't it? Wink And yes, paulgottlieb, human or machine, I'd beat them. I mean, wouldn't you? All you need to do is just open up the position (if you need to, make small sacrifices to achieve that), play reasonably, and trade down to an extra Queen, or even just an extra Rook endgame! And if his/her King is not incredibly well protected, you can sac even more material than usually to destroy its shelter and attack it comfortably, still remaining with an easily winning position even if your epic mating assault happens to burn out! Heck, you'll often sac your Queen and win! Need I say more? If anybody wants to prove me wrong in a 5min. blitz or a longer game, then challenge accepted!

  • #6

    I think the point Capa was making, if the story is true of course, is his opponent was going to NEED that extra queen to stand a chance against him! Does anyone disagree with that? ;-)

  • #7

    I think I could beat Capablanca if he gave me rook odds, I don't know about minor piece odd.  I once beat someone giving queen odds.

  • #8

    One of my favorite Capablanca quotes was something along the lines of "If the move had been as good as you thought it was I wouldn't have allowed you to play it".

  • #9

    These quotes remind me of the following:

    "Son, when you pitch a strike, Mr. Hornsby will let you know it." -- Umpire Bill Klem, to a rookie pitcher who was complaining about the strike zone.

  • #10

    I'm sure he didn't answer anything!

  • #11

    Btw, I don't have FIDE rating, but I've been said it could be around 1500 in standard chess. I don't know about stronger players, but I think any GM could give me queen odds and still crush me.

  • #12

    One game seems awfully volatile. If you play a GM 10 times with queen odds, how many points do you get out of 10?

  • #13

    Who knows? But maybe zero.

  • #14
    Dimitrije_Mandic wrote:

    "Sir, if you could beat me, I would know you" – Jose Raul Capablanca (to an unknown player who had rejected Capablanca's offer of queen odds, on the grounds that Capablanca didn't know him, and might lose)

    I mean, come on! I'm a player of probably hardly even an average OTB playing strength, but I'm sure I can beat ANYONE who gives me the odds of a whole Queen, given it's not a bullet game or a blitz with under 5 minutes per side... and I'd often win even then! So... Capa knew all the average players... apparently? 


    Sounds like the Alekhine story on a ship.  Some guy has beaten everyone onboard, and Alekhine sits down to play him and removes one of his Rooks.  This infuriates the guy and asks Alekhine how he can remove a Rook when he doesnt even know him?  Alekhines responded with Its because i dont know you, that i can give you Rook odds.

  • #15

    I always heard the story as being rook odds, which would be entirely sensible.

  • #16
    ozzie_c_cobblepot wrote:

    One game seems awfully volatile. If you play a GM 10 times with queen odds, how many points do you get out of 10?

    One way to find out is to set your chess program to max and then give yourself queen odds against it. This will at least give you a ballpark idea.

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