Chess articlesChess BooksChess for Children'Chess LegendGreat Chess-Players

J.R. Capablanca – Third World Chess Champ

J.R. Capablanca


Hello boys and girls my name is Jose Raul Capablanca and I was the 3rd World Chess Champion.

People nicknamed me the “Human Chess Machine”. Well maybe I was worthy of calling that. I was born in Cuba, an island of the coast of Florida.  My reign world chess was from champion from 1921 to 1927.

Early Life

I was the second surviving son of a Spanish army officer and I was born in Havana on November 19, 1888.  The rules of the game I learned at the age of four by watching my father play. I   pointed out an illegal move by my father and then beat him twice. At the age of eight I was taken to Havana Chess Club, which had hosted many important contests, but on the advice of a doctor, I was not allowed to play frequently.

If you would like to read an article I wrote on how I learned to play chess you can see that here.
According to Columbia University, I enrolled at Columbia’s School of Mines, Engineering and Chemistry in September, 1910, to study chemical engineering. Later, my financial support was withdrawn because I preferred playing chess without studying engineering. I left Columbia after one semester to devote myself to chess full-time.

 Capablanca Chess Career

My skill in rapid chess lent itself to simultaneous exhibitions, and my increasing reputation in these events led to a USA-wide tour in 1909. This performance gained me an exhibition match that year against Marshall, the United States champion, who had won the 1904 Cambridge Springs tournament ahead of the World Champion Emanuel Lasker and David Janowski. I beat Marshall (8 wins, no losses, and 7 draws) and won the 1907 World Chess Championship match. After this match, I never opened a book on chess openings.
In September 1913, I accepted a job in the Cuban Foreign Office, which made me financially secure for life. I was considered one of the greatest players of all time, and I was renowned for my exceptional end game skill and speed of play.

World Championship

I became the World Chess Champion in 1921 by beating Emanuel Lasker but I lost the title in 1927 to Alexander Alekhine

Alekhine never granted me a rematch and as a result we became mortal enemies . We never competed again.

 My book Chess Fundamentals is still consider a classic and if you would like a PDF copy of it you can click here.

I think that you will have to lose hundreds of games before becoming a good player.


J.R. Capablanca brought to you bu Chess for Children
J.R Capablanca
Capablanca as a youngster
Capablanca as a youngster
Capablanca was a baseball player at 19
Capablanca was a baseball player at 19
Alekhine Capablanca World Championship 1927
Alekhine Capablanca World Championship 1927

Capablanca Games

[pgn height=400 initialHalfmove=0 autoplayMode=none] [Event "New York"] [Site "New York, NY USA"] [Date "1924.03.23"] [Round "6"] [White "Jose Raul Capablanca"] [Black "Savielly Tartakower"] [Result "1-0"] 1.d4 {Notes by Alekhine and Reti.} 1...e6 2.Nf3 f5 3.c4 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nc3 O-O 6.e3 b6 7.Bd3 Bb7 8.O-O Qe8 9.Qe2 Ne4 10.Bxe7 Nxc3 11.bxc3 Qxe7 12.a4 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Nc6 14.Rfb1 Rae8 15.Qh3 Rf6 16.f4 Na5 17.Qf3 d6 18.Re1 Qd7 19.e4 fxe4 20.Qxe4 g6 21.g3 Kf8 22.Kg2 Rf7 23.h4 d5 24.cxd5 exd5 25.Qxe8+ Qxe8 26.Rxe8+ Kxe8 27.h5 {! This is the calamity--the Rook now enters the hostile camp. -- Alekhine} 27...Rf6 28.hxg6 hxg6 29.Rh1 {White plays logically to utilize his advantage on the K-side and very properly does not concern himself with the weakness of the Q-side. Black, on the other hand, makes a defensive move which he could perhaps have omitted. -- Reti} 29...Kf8 30.Rh7 Rc6 31.g4 {Anxious nature might have moved the King towards the queenside, but Capablanca adheres to the principle of aggression that governs rook endings. -- Reti} 31...Nc4 32.g5 {He gives his opponent the opportunity of winning a pawn. But Capablanca has confidence in the passed pawn which he obtains. -- Reti } 32...Ne3+ 33.Kf3 Nf5 34.Bxf5 {Simple and compelling. -- Alekhine} 34...gxf5 35.Kg3 {Decisive! White sacrifices material in order to obtain the classical position with King on f6, pawn on g6, and Rook on h7, whereupon the black pawns tumble like ripe apples. -- Alekhine} 35...Rxc3+ {It is extremely instructive to see how Capablanca is no longer in the least concerned about material equality, but thinks only of supporting his passed pawn. -- Reti} 36.Kh4 Rf3 37.g6 Rxf4+ 38.Kg5 Re4 39.Kf6 {It is a frequently available finesse in such positions not to capture hostile pawns, but to pass them by in order to be protected in the rear against checks by the rook. -- Reti} 39...Kg8 40.Rg7+ Kh8 41.Rxc7 Re8 42.Kxf5 {Again the simplest. Kf7 would not yet have been disastrous because of Rd8, etc. -- Alekhine} 42...Re4 43.Kf6 Rf4+ 44.Ke5 Rg4 45.g7+ Kg8 {After exchanging rooks, White would win still more easily. -- Alekhine} 46.Rxa7 Rg1 47.Kxd5 Rc1 48.Kd6 Rc2 49.d5 Rc1 50.Rc7 Ra1 51.Kc6 Rxa4 52.d6 {Capablanca's management of the endgame gives the impression of being so natural that one easily forgets the difficulty of such precise play. The difficulty is chiefly psychological. In chess, as in life, one is so accustomed to place value on the material factors that it is not easy to conceive the idea of indulging in pawn sacrifices when there is so little available material. --Reti} 1-0 [/pgn] [pgn height=400 initialHalfmove=0 autoplayMode=none][Event "New York"] [Site "New York, NY USA"] [Date "1918.10.23"] [Round "1"] [White "Jose Raul Capablanca"] [Black "Frank James Marshall"] [Result "1-0"] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 Nf6 12.Re1 Bd6 13.h3 Ng4 14.Qf3 Qh4 15.d4 Nxf2 16.Re2 Bg4 17.hxg4 Bh2+ 18.Kf1 Bg3 19.Rxf2 Qh1+ 20.Ke2 Bxf2 21.Bd2 Bh4 22.Qh3 Rae8+ 23.Kd3 Qf1+ 24.Kc2 Bf2 25.Qf3 Qg1 26.Bd5 c5 27.dxc5 Bxc5 28.b4 Bd6 29.a4 a5 30.axb5 axb4 31.Ra6 bxc3 32.Nxc3 Bb4 33.b6 Bxc3 34.Bxc3 h6 35.b7 Re3 36.Bxf7+ 1-0 [/pgn] [pgn height=400 initialHalfmove=0 autoplayMode=none] [Event "Moscow"] [Site "Moscow RUE"] [Date "1914.02.04"] [Round "1"] [White "Ossip Bernstein"] [Black "Jose Raul Capablanca"] 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Be7 5.Bg5 O-O 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Rc1 b6 8.cxd5 exd5 9.Qa4 Bb7 10.Ba6 Bxa6 11.Qxa6 c5 12.Bxf6 Nxf6 13.dxc5 bxc5 14.O-O Qb6 15.Qe2 c4 16.Rfd1 Rfd8 17.Nd4 Bb4 18.b3 Rac8 19.bxc4 dxc4 20.Rc2 Bxc3 21. Rxc3 Nd5 22.Rc2 c3 23.Rdc1 Rc5 24.Nb3 Rc6 25.Nd4 Rc7 26.Nb5 Rc5 27.Nxc3 Nxc3 28.Rxc3 Rxc3 29.Rxc3 Qb2 0-1 [/pgn]

2 thoughts on “J.R. Capablanca – Third World Chess Champ

Comments are closed.