José Raul Capablanca y Graupera


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Cuban chess player who dominated world chess in the 1920s. He made a considerable impact on the game, particularly opening theory.

Taught chess at the age of four by his father, Capablanca played very successfully in Havana before going to Columbia University, New York. In 1911 he caused a surprise by defeating Bernstein and Nimzowitch, two of the world's top players. After graduating, Capablanca joined the diplomatic corps as a commercial attaché, which enabled him to travel extensively. His career reached a peak in 1914, when he came second to the reigning world champion, Emanuel Lasker.

Over the next six years Capablanca played and beat many of the top masters. In 1921 he won the world championship from Lasker, who had held it for twenty-seven years, and was himself champion for six years before losing the title to Alexander Alekhine (1892–1946) who, contrary to practice, did not allow Capablanca a re-match.

Capablanca died in the Manhattan Chess Club in March 1942. He was so highly thought of by the world's chess community that a memorial tournament was inaugurated in 1962 in Havana, Cuba.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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