José Raúl Capablanca

A Chess Biography

Paperback Edition


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SKU: 9781476694221 Categories: , Tags: ,

About the Book

This is the most complete and thorough biography of José Raúl Capablanca, one of the greatest players in the history of chess. Beginning with his family background, birth, childhood and introduction to the game in Cuba, it examines his life and play as a young man; follows his evolution as a player and rise to prominence, first as challenger and then world champion; his loss of the title to Alekhine and his efforts to recapture the championship in the last years of his too-short life. What emerges is a portrait of a complex man with far-ranging interests and concerns, in stark contrast to his robotic reputation as “the chess machine.”
Meticulously researched, utilizing many sources available only in Capablanca’s home country, it puts truth to legend regarding a man who stood astride the chess world in of its most dynamic and dramatic eras. Numerous games and diagrams complement the text, as do a wealth of photographs.

About the Author(s)

Miguel A. Sánchez, a journalist and historian in Cuba, also wrote several other books about Cuban contemporary history. In 2022 he was elevated to the Hall of Fame of Chess of the Americas in Mexico, which recognizes chess personalities from the three parts of the American continent, North, Central and South America. He lives in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Miguel A. Sánchez
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 568
Bibliographic Info: 195 annotated games, 55 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, indexes
Copyright Date: 2023 [2015]
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9422-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by Andy Soltis 1
Preface 3
1. Havana the Eldorado of Chess 7
2. Tadeo’s Saga 50
3. The Boy Prodigy 62
4. Champion of the Americas 104
5. The Prodigal Son 123
6. The New Conquistador 152
7. In Morphy’s Footsteps 186
8. A King in Waiting 208
9. The World Chess Championship, 1921 233
10. The Crowned King 255
11. Slipups at the Summit 275
12. More Challenges, New Triumphs 300
13. The World Chess Championship, 1927 322
14. The Eternal Challenger 351
15. Twilight Intermezzo 390
16. Smiling Again 416
17. The Silent Killer 433
18. His Last Bow 450
Epilogue 477
Capablanca’s Matches 480
Appendix I: Capablanca on Four Great Predecessors 481
(Articulos sobre sus predecesores en Crítica, 1927) 486
Appendix II: “The Illness and Death of José Raúl Capablanca,” by Dr. Orlando ­Hernández-­Meilán, Neurologist 490
Chapter Notes 497
Bibliography 535
Index of Images 537
Index of Opponents 538
Index of Openings (by Traditional Name) 539
Index of Openings (by ECO Code) 540
General Index 541

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Even the most ardent Capa fan will learn something new from Sanchez’s very readable book”—Chess Life
  • “Meticulously researched…a welcome addition…first rate…highly recommended”—IM John Donaldson (
  • “Amazing…substantial research…a nice addition to any chess library”—Huffington Post
  • “A luxurious work and a true labor of love…remarkable and well-researched”—Chess News
  • “The first major biographical study of Capablanca in over 25 years”—Mind’s Eye Press
  • “The elegant volume is both a biography, a manual of history and an excellent collection of annotated games”—Que Pasa en Venezuela