Famous Chess Game: Lasker vs. Capablanca 1914

Two of the greatest chess players in the early 1900’s did battle in what is considered by many to be Lasker’s finest performance. We discuss what made this game so great and why Capablanca was unable to make anything happen.

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50 Comments

  1. at 4:42
    Bc5 is met by 11 Be3 Rd8 12 Rad1 Bg4 13 Rd3 Rd7 14 h3 Rad8 15 hxg4 Bxd4 16 Rxd4 Rxd4 17 Rxd4 Rd1. This simplified white's majority.
    The best move was 11 f5! after 12 e5 Bc5 13 Be3 Bxd4! 14 Bxd4 b6 15 Be3 Be6 leaves white with a passed pawn but is comfortably blockaded with the bishop on e6.

  2. at 5:53
    f6 is slightly passive.
    11 Be6 was better. If 12 e5, Bb4 will do the job.

  3. at 9:17
    Bb7 obviousy wasn't the best.
    Better was 13… Bxf4 14 Rxf4 c5 15 Rd1 Bb7 16 Rf2 Rad8 17 Rxd8 Rxd8 18 Rd2 Rxd2 19 Nxd2. The pawn majority will be able to create a passed pawn

  4. at 22:13
    The alternatives weren't any better.
    a) 35… d5 36 exf6 Kf7 37 Nc5 wins at least the exchange.
    b) 35… fxe5 36 Ne4 Nd5 37 Rh8 Rxh8 38 Rxh8+ Ke7 39 N6xg5 Nf6 40 Nxf6 Kxf6 41 Rh6+ Ke7 ( 41… Kxg5 42 Rg6 is an immediate mate.) 42 f6+ Kd8 43 Rh8+ Kc7 44 f7

  5. Dude why are u second guessing the greatest natural chess talent who ever lived? You are a mere shit stain on his boxers.

  6. Kevin, there are just way too many "you know" and "White's gonna play", and "Black's gonna play" — for heavens sake the moves were already made a century ago! Your videos could be so instructive and interesting but your bad language habits spoils it for me every single time, to the point that I have begun to turn you mute and just watch the games shown as they unfold. You could do such great things with these videos — please mind your language!!!

  7. Also, why don't you take the time to explain exactly why Capablanca doesn't go for the pinning of the White Knight when he had the chance to do so? Also, why don''t you also explain why Black can't strike back in the center with d5 from early on in the game? So many loose ends and so few pertinent explanations… You're just content to state that Capablanca or Lasker decided to this instead of that. What we  want to know is WHY???

  8. The commenter says that it's "surprising" that Lasker moves quickly to the endgame, given that Capablanca is so strong in the endgame. No, that's exactly wrong: it's because Capablanca is so strong in the endgame that Lasker moves to the endgame. Lasker believed in playing the game his opponent most preferred—if the opponent liked having the two bishops (instead of a bishop and a knight), Lasker would give him the two bishops. Lasker's idea was that playing a game that the opponent liked would make the opponent come out and fight, whereupon Lasker could beat him.

  9. Videos are too looooonooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong man!

  10. why do people always insult and criticize the commentator for these videos? if you dont like him, dont watch the videos… im grateful that i can watch this and listen to commentary for free

  11.  This is an excellent video and explanation of the match. This is the first time I've seen games on youtube which has a visual, as well as, thorough analysis. I've read books on Lasker and Capablanca and trying to follow the games was very tedious and slow.

  12. Why the hell is all these sermons for ? Fuck u

  13. Please, please, please, don't say "Blacks gonna play" WHEN THE GAME WAS  PLAYED A CENTURY AGO!!!!! I like your comments but your way of speaking is kind of like all the freakin time!

  14. I thought Capablanca was unbeatable..

  15. When he Capablanca has the option of moving his rook or bishop to defend D6 why doesn't  he move knight to C8 defending D6 and allowing his rook to defend E6?

  16. I tend to think that controlling the center is generally a product of good play more than it is a strategy.  If your idea is to "control the center" as quickly as possible, then you need to focus on development, and gambits may be your friend.  The other thing is, there are two ways to influence the center; you can either do it with central pawns or you can do it from the flanks.  Both methods are perfectly acceptable.

  17. For everyone moaning about his commentary or length of videos, why don't you just fuck off? No ones making you watch them, and I for one very much enjoy his style of analysing games. I have learned a lot from them, and am very glad he puts a lot of time and effort into educating us. What a great free resource, thanks Kevin.

  18. Great game, great analysis but your statement @1:37 was kinda bothering so I wanted to make 3 points.

    1. Lasker himself was no slouch in the Endgame, in fact you can argue that he was just as good as Capa.
    2. Capa has lost endgames before. He's not like Magnus who pushes on in dry positions. If you've seen some of his games, and even Fischer has said this, Capa usually come into the endgame with an advantage because of his superb middlegame play so it isn't strange for Lasker to want to go right into the endgame if he wanted to avoid going into the middlegame with Capa.
    3. White has somewhat of an advantage in the Exchange Variation because of his healthy kingside pawn majority which Lasker utilized in this game.

  19. Lasker played him well, Capablanca just accepted all of Laskers tricks

  20. Yo, I just looked at the first four or so comments and everyone is complaining for some ridiculous reason about your videos. I just found your Youtube page and am enjoying your game commentary and lessons and reviews of different openings quite a bit; I'm really trying to take my game to the next level and your videos are helping a lot. Thanks so much for what you do!

  21. 4:43 the suggested Bc5 is met with Be3 unpinning or did I miss something?

  22. 17:00 He did it because If the second rook had of moved out, the knight could have moved to C7 threatening both the bishop and first rook. 

  23. Dont make your videos so long! They are good but check out MatoJelic, swift, quick, well paced, entertaining and very digestable. 

  24. Great analysis, Kevin! I definitely learned a lot from this game, in how it is not always necessary to develop all of your pieces if there is something that should be done beforehand, and how you should keep your pieces in the middle and your pawns on the outer edges as you enter the endgame. Thank you! 

  25. Is there a full notation of this somewhere?

  26. I am reading Lasker's 1907 essay "Struggle", at present, and wanted to watch some of his matches. I liked your vid very much. Glad to have given the 700th thumb up.

  27. What a game. Lasker's moves are scarily too accurate.

  28. Way too much commentary. You can go 4 to 5 moves without elaborate explanation, it loses the flow of the game and become quite annoying.

  29. Did you know David Lynch refers to this game in Twin Peaks? (original series).

  30. finally someone pronounces Ruy correctly.

  31. Lasker boxed Capa in like a turtle's pecker…

  32. I really learn a lot from you commentary, thank you.

  33. Excellent game choice by Kevin! This is one of the most famous games in chess history. It is called “Rage Against the Machine” as Capablanca was thought to be like a chess machine, and that was even his nickname. Lasker was know as the Chess Surgeon, being that he was a tactical and strategic titan. This was their third encounter and all three of their first encounters were in the 1914 St. Petersburg Tournament. The first two games Capablanca had white but the games were drawn. This game the dangerous Lasker has white and showed his dangerous ways.

    Lasker was a phenomenal player and even defeated future World Champion Max Euwe some twenty years after this game.

  34. A glorious victory for sure !!! 😁🖒♕♔

  35. There's a move at 17:53 that if it were played it would totally altered the direction of the rest of the game, it's so obvious that to any skilled chess player it can easily be spotted… I'm not going to be "that guy" that spoil the secret

  36. Capablanca is not a good player…he gets defeated and makes silly mistakes

  37. It's called flanking when you attack from sides

  38. besides that one bishop move capablanca played engine moves all the way through, pinning the knight on d4 was a move that woulda made him lose tempo, resp lasker woulda gotten out of it easily while bringing out the darksquare bishop.

  39. What it is very interesting in this game, it is how Lasker forces Capablanka to play reaction chess. Therefore not having Capablanka play what he really intends on playing

  40. If you would simply read what Capablanca wrote about this game in Chess Fundamentals (1921), you would be able to understand the potential tactics along the e-file behind Re8. Indeed, Capablanca’s annotations offer a lot of insight that is missing from this video. Disappointing. You can do better, Kevin.

  41. At 4:40, I don’t like Bishop->c5 at all. While you are pinning an unguarded piece to the king, the fact that it is unguarded just guarantees that white will respond with Bishop->e3 the next turn. This breaks the pin and develops another of white’s minor pieces, while black has already developed his dark-square bishop and achieved nothing with the initial attack.
    Furthermore, white’s center pawns block any attempt black has of removing the defending white bishop if it moves to e3, however since black’s bishop on c5 is unprotected at this point, then white could later in the game move his d4 knight away to attack a piece or check the king and have a discovered attack with the white bishop on e3 threatening the black bishop on c5.
    And also, if black ever wants to move a rook to d8 to add another attacker to this knight, then white can simply respond with rook->d1. Black would need to set up this play with something like bishop->g4 to prevent this, but white can kill the attack permanently in a number of ways if he has 2-3 turns to do it.
    So the way I see it, this move gains absolutely nothing, guarantees white will advance his development while black does not, and sets up for potential backfiring traps later.

  42. 9:08 I think Black should've taken on f4. That's what I would've done.

  43. Lasker had to win this game to have any chance to catch tournament leader and wunderkind (20 years Lasker's junior) Capablanca at the 1914 St Petersburg tournament.

    And whenever Lasker had to win, more often than not he did.

  44. I cant not belive that Capablanca played so bad here. He let Laskers knight doing a hurricane on E6 and it was all over. But I am a Capos fan and I know that he can play much better.

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