Many chess coaches and authors have recommended the aspiring player to choose a chess hero to make a study of. Perhaps you'll choose one with a style like you see as your own, or maybe a style that you wish you could engender in yourself. I'm starting my search for my chess hero with J.R. Capablanca, the third official world chess champion.
See the solution to the puzzle and more about Capablanca after the fold:
The future world champion previewed the tactical skills here that would serve him all the way to the title. Capablanca pressed his positional advantage home with Rxg2+. In the game, checkmate followed after White played Kf1 beginning with Black's Bc4+. But White could have avoided mate by yielding his queen.
Capablanca was born in Havana, Cuba and bested that country's champion in a match when just shy of being a teenager. But a chance to attend college in the United States (with the promise of playing on the college baseball team!) shifted his chess career to center on New York City and world tournaments, as attested by his many contests against Frank Marshall and other American players. Widely read and respected chess authors make comparisons to his play as the top standard to match. And the word genius seems almost synonymous with his own.
So why choose Capablanca as a hero? He has many qualities to recommend him. He was, after all, the world champion, by all accounts a title that was well deserved. He has often been considered one of the top few players ever in the world. He was legendary for the speed of his abilities, especially tactically. It is said that his positional judgement could rarely be argued with and his endings inspired Chernev. His talents were considerable at a very young age, and yet his decision to make chess his career didn't come until young adulthood when most of us make our choice of livelihood. He played the Ruy Lopez from both sides of the board, which of course would lead to some exciting play. We luckily have a large collection of his games available to study, and of course he has attracted many analysts and admirers to point us to the treasures that he has left us.
Do you have a chess hero? Do you have a favorite that you like to study? Do you see yourself in one of our great champions?
Here is the complete game from the diagram above as pgn text which you can copy and paste to Chessbase Light or Fritz to study:
[Event "Manhattan CC casual"]
[Site "New York"]
[White "Raubitschek, Rudolf"]
[Black "Capablanca, Jose Raul"]
1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. Bc4 Bg7 5. h4 h6 6. d4 Nc6 7. c3 d6 8. O-O Qe7 9. Qb3 Nd8 10. hxg5 hxg5 11. Qb5+ Bd7 12. Qxg5 Bf6 13. Qxf4 Ne6 14. Bxe6 Bxe6 15. e5 dxe5 16. Nxe5 O-O-O 17. Na3 Rh4 18. Qg3 Bxe5 19. Qxe5 Rd5 20. Qg7 Rg4 21. Qh7 Nf6 22. Qh8+ Rd8 23. Qxf6 Rdg8 24. Rf2 Rxg2+ 25. Kf1 Bc4+ 26. Nxc4 Rg1# 0-1