Capablanca became the third world champion (1921-1927) in the history of chess. He was also a diplomat, and the author of several chess books. Chess literary man.
He was first acquainted with chess at the age of 4 by watching his father playing. In 1901, when he was 13, he defeated the Cuban champion, Juan Corzo, in a match 7-6 (+4 –3 =6). His play at that time was already remarkable for its deep positional understanding and efficiency in calculating.
In 1911, he went to Europe for the first time where he took part in a top international tournament in the town of San Sebastian, Spain.Â In 1913, Capablanca appeared in no less than 3 tournaments, arriving in 1st place in both the New York events and 2nd place in Havana.
In the spring of 1914, he participated in the international tournament in St. Petersburg, coming 2nd, just half a point behind Lasker, and 3 points ahead of 3rd place holder Alekhine.
During World War I Capablanca played 3 tournaments held in New York (1915, 1916, and 1918) andÂ triumphed in all three. Shortly after the Great War, in 1919, he won the classic Hastings event in England. The match Lasker - Capablanca took place in Havana in the spring of 1921, and after 14 games, towards the end of April, Jose Raul Capablanca gained a persuasive victory and was declared the 3rd World Champion.
He was said to be a chess-playing machine, a chess technique virtuoso, making use of the tiniest advantages in a position. In fact, he went undefeated for 8 whole years, until up New York 1924 in a famous game against Reti (his only defeat). Since winning his title he had been challenged by many of the top masters of the time (Rubinstein, Nimzowitsch, Alekhine and so on), and as such he had created a full set of rules to govern world championship matches, which was presented at the London tournament in 1922 and signed by the contenders.Â In 1927, Capablanca played a very strong New York tournament, which every player played each other 4 times, and featuring the world’s best players, including Alekhine. The Cuban scored a resounding victory with 8 victories and 12 draws, and a mini-match victory over Alekhine. This perhaps led him to underestimate Alekhine, whom he lost his title to later that year in Buenos Aires with a score of 15.5 – 18.5 (+3, - 6, =25).
From 1928 to 1931, Capablanca took part in no less than 10 tournaments taking first place in Berlin (1928), Ramsgate (1929), Budapest (1928 and 1929), Barcelona (1929), Hastings (1929/30), New York (1931) and 2nd place in the other 3 (Bad Kissingen (1928), Carlsbad (1929), Hastings (1930/31)), not to mention winning a 10-game match against Euwe in 1931 (+2, =8). During this period he played no less than 116 games, losing only 4.
In 1936, Capablanca once more achieved impressive results coming 1st in Moscow, ahead of Botvinnik, and 1st/2nd in Nottingham (tied with Botvinnik), leaving Euwe, Alekhine and Lasker behind.
Jose Raul Capablanca continued to be one of the world’s strongest chess players until his death.
Here is what other champions have said about Capablanca:
“I have known other great masters, but only one genius: Capablanca.” (Emanuel Lasker – 1922/3)
“I think Capablanca had the greatest natural talent. When a pianist plays, we don’t hear separate notes, but we hear a musical picture. Capablanca as well didn’t make separate moves – he was creating a chess picture. Nobody could compare with him in this.” (Mikhail Botvinnik – 1984)
“Capablanca was possibly the greatest player in the entire history of chess.” (Bobby Fischer – 1961)
“Personally, I think the best chessplayer of all times was Capablanca […]” (Boris Spassky – 1983)
Here is a collection of 630 commented games played by the 3rd World Champion Jose Raul Capablanca, spanning his entire career. All the games are deeply annotated by GM Khalifman and St. Petersburg IMs. Includes also a biography, the tournament and match records, and a number of rare photos.
A special interactive tutorial section, “Play as Capablanca”, contains 220 selected quiz positions taken from Capablanca’s games, in which you can try to find both strong and beautiful moves played by Capablanca. While solving, you are provided with refutations for your wrong moves and hints to help you. Your rating is calculated according to your success and is adjusted after each example.
It comes supplied with Chess Assistant abridged version, and the built-in chess playing program Crafty, so that
No additional software is required.
English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian versions are available.
Essential: IBM-compatible PC, 32 Mb RAM, Hard Disk 60 Mb of free disk space, Windows 95/98/NT/2000/ME/XP, CD-ROM.