Jump to Breyer newspaper clips: link
Another side project while researching, this time involving Edward Winter and <FSR>, one of CG’s own:
6153. Lasker v Capablanca tenth match-game
Frederick S. Rhine (Park Ridge, IL, USA) notes that on page 61 of our Capablanca chapter in World Chess Champions (Oxford, 1981) we wrote regarding the 1921 match for the world crown:
‘Despite the valiant efforts of the man who had held the title for 27 years, the Cuban could, and did, claim that, far from losing a game in the whole match, not once had he actually been in a markedly inferior position.’
However, Capablanca’s notes to the tenth game, given on pages 59-60, included an observation that in this position (after his 16th move, …Nb6-d5) …
… the line 17 Bxf6 Bxf6 18 Bxd5 exd5 19 Qf5 would have left him ‘with a very hard game to defend’.
Some sematic discussion follows, turning on Capablanca’s claim that “not once did he [i.e. Lasker] have a won game”. Of course, what constitutes a “won game” is very much subjective – e.g. in blitz most players blithely play on down a minor piece. Position matters a great deal, and sometimes trumps even engine evals, but consider the guidance offered by Informant and SCID (at least, my versions of values for SCID):
(Found in Options -> Game Information -> Configure informant values)
This suggests that eval = 3.0 or better translates into a won game (if decisive is considered just as good as “won”, which makes for a good practical working definition). But for GM-level play one might also consider a moderate advantage a win, as GM technique is usually sufficient to shepherd even small, but definitive advantages into a win.
However, I would be hard-pressed to accept that only a “slight advantage” translates into a win. Certainly, the defender would often have the less pleasant role in the game, but unless you’re sitting across from AlphaZero not even a strong GM will be able to convert such a slim advantage against a peer (I might be speculating a little here, not being a GM, but I have played though many GM games with an engine, and seen some evidence to support this conjecture – moreover, use an engine to probe many well-accepted openings, and you can sometimes see evals approaching this fine-tuned difference).
I mention all this with the idea of returning to the original topic, Lasker–Capablanca G10, where Breyer rather famously found an improvement on Lasker’s 16th move, suggesting 16.Bh4xNf6 rather than the game’s 16.Bb3xNd5. Winter outlines the various contemporaneous, and not so contemporaneous subsequent, analysis of the game at this point – including Breyer’s, and how Capablanca’s comments evolved between 1921 (no comment) and 1935 (where he notes that 16.Bxf6 would have left him with a very hard game to defend). Winter quotes Chernev:
Breyer proposed the illogical-looking 17 Bxf6 as offering White winning chances, but Bogoljubow’s analysis showed that Black had a draw in all variations, and vindicated Capablanca’s claim of never having been in a losing position in his match with Lasker.
And does include a screenshot of Bojo’s analysis (sans translation). Winter finishes the note with this plead:
We hope that a master analyst will go into the matter in depth, so that it can be established exactly how strong Lasker’s winning chances would have been after 17 Bxf6.
Of course, anyone with SF8 has a “master analyst” sitting on their desk, and can see that 17.Bxf6 can be defended, at least in terms of eval. But Black will be hard-pressed to find the right moves, and White has several inspiring attacking variations – as first mentioned by Breyer. It does put into question Capablanca’s sweeping claim about all the match games, at least to the final detail. And it’s fun to realize how quickly Black could enter into swift waters in what looked to be a fairly placid position.
Finally, we move to the real reason for this post. Winter, in his CN, fails to find the original sources from Breyer, and instead quotes secondary sources:
G. Breyer: chess column in Bécsi Magyar Újság, 11 May and 18 June 1921. We have not seen the original columns, but the analysis was reproduced, in Hungarian, on pages 276-277 of volume three of Magyar Sakktörténet (Budapest, 1989). A German version appeared on pages 140-142 of Gyula Breyer Sein Leben, Werk und Schaffen für die Erneuerung des Schachs by Iván Bottlik (Unterhaching, 1999).
During my researches I found the original newspaper articles in the Austrian Anno archives. Seeing how Winter shows Lasker and Bojo original copy, I thought it only fitting to do the same for the originator of the entire discussion, Breyer. Winter’s info above made finding the copy easy, much easier than preparing the pitiful google translations below (this is difficult because the Hungarian OCR must be laboriously corrected by hand)
The newspaper clippings have been slightly “edited”, e.g. to get the title line info in 2-column display form, etc.
Here is a translation of the first article, and the relevant part of the second article:
========================= Becsi Hungarian Ujsag (Wiener Ungarische Zeitung) - 19210511 - Seite 7 c1-2 CHESS Tutor: Gyula Breyer XXII. game They played for the World Cup in contention April 1921 on 12th [sic, was April 8th] in Havana. Match X Match. Lasker-Capablanca. Queen's Gambit 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e3 O-O 6. Nf3 Nbd7 7. Qc2 Better Ra1-c1. The leader or the attacker for example, a4-en, b3, or in general on e2. 7. ... c5 Bold move; it's fun to be the best. Dark the leader is so ill that he is troubled good advice. 8. Rd1 The dark leader is uncomfortable immediately positioning step. It might have been better to put the castle on c line. The honey not necessarily necessary. The later you can see that the bastions are all over they would be well on d-e-lines, - if Lasker made a definite plan would be. 8. ... Qa5 9. Bd3? After dark hit c4, this is the move loss of pace. We were better 9) a2-a3, which step a little more It means. 9. ... h6 The purpose of this step is h7 pedestrian protection. 10. Bh4 This step is dark in isolating the light d4. This is left to clear disadvantage. But darkness has not yet unfolded out of the difficulties of opening and can be a clear advantage, even before that the disadvantage will indeed be a burden. 10. ... cxd4! 11. exd4 He is forced to hit the pedestrian, because Nxd4 is 11...Bb4 is unpleasant 8. Rd1 Qa5 9. Bd3 h6 10. Bh4 cxd4 11. exd4 dxc4 12. Bxc4 Nb6 13. Bb3 Bd7 14. O-O Rac8 15. Ne5 The compiler should have known, that darkness is still lacking in the difficulties of development. Dark figures do not stop in the right places, but just right where to go out of the eighth line they took them. A vigorous action proves he would have had the worthlessness of a dark place. 15.Qc2-e2 (threatened d4-d5) ...Rf8-e8, 16.Nf3-e5! The d7 runner can not go to Nxf7 for threats. d5 points clear! f2-f4-f5 and anyway Bh4-e1 threatens the dark leader uncomfortable situation. 15. ... Bb5 16. Rfe1 Nbd5 17. Bxd5?? This game is wonderful stuff happen. The last Lasker has a decisive advantage it is a sign of the dirty indisposition of that it fails. 17.Bxf6! Nxf6 -(Bxf6 18.Bxd5 ed5 19.Qf5! the Nxf7 or Ng4 is a strong threat and a good job at least he gets a penny) - 18.Ne5-g6 Re8 -(...f7xg6 18.Bxe6) 19.Nxe7+ Rxe7 20.d5!! e5 21.d6 Re8 22.Bf7+ Kf7 23.Qb3+ Bc4 24.Qb7+ etc and clear wins. 17. ... Nxd5 18. Bxe7 Nxe7 19. Qb3 Bc6 20. Nxc6 bxc6 21. Re5 Qb6 22. Qc2 Dark now has a strong advantage. The light leader is forced to flee replacing it and thus gradually getting down pressing the light camp. 22. ... Rfd8 23. Ne2 Rd5 24. Rxd5 cxd5 25. Qd2 Nf5 26. b3 h5 27. h3 h4 28. Qd3 Rc6 29. Kf1 g6 30. Qb1 Qb4 31. Kg1 a5 32. Qb2 a4 33. Qd2 Qxd2 34. Rxd2 axb3 35. axb3 Rb6 36. Rd3 Ra6 37. g4 hxg3 38. fxg3 Ra2 39. Nc3 Rc2 40. Nd1 Ne7 41. Nc3 Rc1+ 42. Kf2 Nc6 43. Nd1 Rb1 44. Ke2 Rxb3 The pedestrian was in any case lost Kf2-e3 was obtained by Nb4. 45. Ke3 Rb4 46. Nc3 Ne7 47. Ne2 Nf5+ 48. Kf2 g5 49. g4 Nd6 50. Ng1 Ne4+ 51. Kf1 Rb1+ 52. Kg2 Rb2+ 53. Kf1 Rf2+ 54. Ke1 Ra2 55. Kf1 Kg7 56. Re3 Kg6 57. Rd3 f6 58. Re3 Kf7 59. Rd3 Ke7 60. Re3 Kd6 61. Rd3 Rf2+ 62. Ke1 Rg2 63. Kf1 Ra2 64. Re3 e5 65. Rd3 exd4 66. Rxd4 Kc5 67. Rd1 d4 68. Rc1+ Kd5 Clearly gave up. 0-1
[Becsi Magyar Ujsag (Wiener Ungarische Zeitung) - 19210618 - Seite 7] 1921 June 18. CHESS. Tutor: Gyula Breyer Sakkinternacionálé We read in the days that the English Football Association boycotted the Swedes because they were not making troops with teams. The chess players did not know and did not know the boycott. Their spiritual relationship was strong during the war, stronger than any other rope. The chess pieces of neutral countries have come to the hostile world. So they learned about the fate of their "hostile" friends and their cheating. There is no boycott either! America is pleased to see the chaos of the countryside; the sensation of the German chess is the presence of Bogoljubov and Alechin in Germany. The Sakkin International is divided into countries and the development of chess culture by country is a foreign affair. Russia is the leading player, followed by Germany, Czechoslovakia, Sweden. Netherlands, Hungary, United States, England, Italy, France. The self-contained Slavic thief's thinking is the best thing to do with the chessboard. The polyhistoric German chess is also a discipline among many. In Sweden and the Netherlands, a card game is forbidden to be replaced by chess. Early Master Masters did not develop in these two countries. They have the severity of the chess, but the spiritual dispensation is missing. The choreography of the Hungarians is praisingly high. Chess narcissism, many of which escape until chess is prohibited, just like 65 years ago, because kings' lives are breaking yesterday. America can not play chess. In England, there are a lot of chess competitors. Quartet, wisth, bridge often substitute chess. The hot Italian does not sit beside the board. The French are lured by muziers from Caissa's chickens. If the chess player goes abroad, he always knows about it. Or, by common chess friends, "my boyfriend friend" welcomes any member of the World Federation of Chess players. Bismarck says chess players are good people because they do not politicize. Nowadays, when the "international" spread is a policy, the truth of the chancellor's rejection is over. Chess players also have their own policy: the community of their thoughts and human solidarity. News Brno. The Czechoslovak Chess Festival will begin on July 25th. The program includes a master course with 12 participants (for Czech masters). In addition, he is a fad, whose winner is the winner of the "Czechoslovak chess federation". Sign up for Julius 2 until Rud. Procházka, Brno-Královo Pole, Kollárova 8th floor. Berlin. Teichman and Alechin started to pair. The first game is a 15-step draw. Teichman is once again active and it is possible that the next games are played without remorse. Lasker-Capablanca is designed for labeling chess players. For this purpose 100,000 brands have come together. Pity for money! Rubinstein also challenged Capablanca through Kagan. Capablanca declares. Capablanca in London Observer says he is willing to work with anyone; acceptance of the challenge depends only on the fulfillment of the material conditions. Only! He also said he was proud of Lasker's defeat in a single game. It will show this in the analysis of the games to be released. Capablanca does not yet know the analyst who has come to the world press from the Viennese Hungarian Unity. Interesting analysis is recalled by our readers. [2r2rk1 / pp2bpp1 / 4pn1p / qb1nN3 / 3P3B / 1B2N3 / PPQ2PPP / 3RR1K1 w - - 0 17] After the 16th match of the tenth match, the Puppy Striker came to play. Lasker: Kg1 Qc2, Rd1 and e1. Bb3 and h4, Nc3 and e5, g a2, b2, d4, f2, g2 and h2. Capablanca: Kg8, Qa5, Rc8 and f8, Bb5 and e7, Nd5 and f6, a7, b7, e6, f7, g7 and h6. Lasker was a step and 17) Bb3xd5?. Instead, he wins the game 17) Bh4xf6! Nd5xf6 (if ...Bxf6 18) Bxd5 ed5 19) Ng4 with Q1f5 threats the important d5 foot and this game.) 18) Ne5-g6! Rf8 [Rf7] -e8 19) Re1xe6 !! and f7xe6 can not come up 20) Bb3xe6 + Kg8-h7 21) Ng6f8++ Kh7-h8 22) Qc2-h7 +! Nf6Xh7 23) Nf8-g6 + mat Bratsklava sakklub will be formed, which will call the town's chess players in a camp.
Postscript: Winter, quoting FSR, states
Given that ‘a markedly inferior position’ is more or less synonymous with ‘a very hard game to defend’,
I disagree with the assertion here. Over the chess board, one can be clearly winning but have a difficult game to defend. Perhaps we’re spoiled by engines, but I’ve enjoyed some otb games where my opponent has a blistering attack that I know (intuitively, maybe, but somehow) can be defended. The defense can involve navigating some very narrow pathways on sheer cliffs (i.e. sharp positions), but oh how satisfying it is to survive the onslaught and then launch the final winning attack! Really, leaving the flourish behind, I think it wrong to equate defending with an inferior position which is what the above statement seems to imply.