José Raúl Capablanca facts for kids

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José Raúl Capablanca 1931.jpg
Capablanca in 1931
Full name José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera
Country Cuba
Born

World Champion 1921–1927

José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera (19 November 1888 – 8 March 1942) was a Cuban chess player who was world chess champion from 1921 to 1927. A chess prodigy, he is considered by many as one of the greatest players of all time, widely renowned for his exceptional endgame skill and speed of play.

Born in Havana, he beat Cuban champion Juan Corzo in a match on 17 November 1901, two days before his thirteenth birthday. His victory over Frank Marshall in a match in 1909 earned him an invitation to the 1911 San Sebastian tournament, which he won ahead of players such as Akiba Rubinstein, Aron Nimzowitsch and Siegbert Tarrasch.

Over the next several years, Capablanca had a strong series of tournament results. After several unsuccessful attempts to arrange a match with the then world champion Emanuel Lasker, Capablanca finally won the title from Lasker in 1921. Capablanca was undefeated for eight years from 10 February 1916 to 21 March 1924, a period which included the world championship match with Lasker.

Capablanca lost the title in 1927 to Alexander Alekhine, who had never beaten Capablanca before the match. Following unsuccessful attempts to arrange a return match over many years, relations between them became bitter. Capablanca continued his excellent tournament results in this period but withdrew from serious chess in 1931. He made a comeback in 1934, with some good results, but also showed symptoms of high blood pressure. He died in 1942 of "a cerebral hemorrhage provoked by hypertension".

Capablanca excelled in simple positions and endgames; Bobby Fischer described him as possessing a "real light touch". He could play tactical chess when necessary, and had good defensive technique. He wrote several chess books during his career, of which Chess Fundamentals was regarded by Mikhail Botvinnik as the best chess book ever written. Capablanca preferred not to present detailed analysis but focused on critical moments in a game. His style of chess was influential in the play of future world champions Bobby Fischer and Anatoly Karpov.

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