NAME: Jose Raoul Capablanca
BIRTHDATE: November 19, 1888
CREDENTIALS: Did not lose a single game in international tournaments from 1916-1924. World Chess Champion from 1921 to 1927.
MODUS OPERANDI: Due to his uncanny accuracy and his seemingly effortless style, Capablanca earned the nickname The Chess Machine. Opponents knew that even one small error in a game against Capablanca was likely to result in a crushing defeat. Capablanca had the ability to analyze positions quickly, and was superb at blitz as well as classical chess.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: Learned the rules of the game at the age of four by watching his father play. It soon was clear that he was exceptionally talented, and when he was just five years old his family took him to the Havana Chess Club, where the leading players found it impossible to beat him even when he started a queen down and sat on a stack of books in order to see the board! At the age of 12, he defeated the reigning national champion Juan Corzo to become the top player in Cuba. His early brilliance at the game and his uncluttered, elegant style have led to comparisions with Mozart's accomplishments in music. Unlike nearly all players who are able to rise to the top of the chess world, Capablanca did not invest much time in studying chess theory or openings. His classic book aimed at beginners, Chess Fundamentals, is still regarded as one of the best books ever written about the game.