A Lesson from Nimzowitsch vs Capablanca, 1927

A rook on the 7th rank often gives you an initiative, but two rooks there is usually decisive. Here is a game of Capablanca against Nimzowitsch which illustrate this theme. And it is also quite interesting to see how Capa managed to get his both the rooks on 7th rank with couple of interesting moves and the bit of help from Nimzowitsch.

Position after 23. Bb2 (Nimzowitsch vs Capablanca 1927)


This move is really annoying. It creates an awkward pin and attacks a3.

24. Ra1

Computers might find some other cool defences but this is a human move. White sets his bishop free and protects the a3 pawn.

24…Qb3 25. Bd4

This improves the position of the bishop and blocks the d file, but might have failed to see Capa’s idea.


First rook arrives.


Looking for counter play but missing Black’s next move. 26. Qd1 might be better but after 26…Qc4 27. Rc1 Rc8 28. Rxc2 Qxc2 29. Qxc2 Rxc2 Black’s position is preferable as he already has one rook on the 7th rank.


This brings the second rook to the 7th rank.

27. Bxe5 Rdd2 28. Qb7 Rxf2 29. g4

Now the bishop protects h2 and the queen protects g2.

29…Qe6! 30. Bg3 Rxh2! 31. Qf3

And Black won after few more moves as Rxh2 fails to Qxg4+ followed by Qh3.

Ashvin Chauhan