The day the music died…
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Capablanca (November 19, 1888 – March 8, 1942)
I found at http://www.axbra.com.br/textos/mortecapa.htm some interesting information about the death of the legendary Jose Capablanca. Lincoln Lucena–an avid chessplayer–described a visit in 2003 to Havana and of the information that he was able to obtain on this matter. Below is a photo-copy of part of the autopsy performed on Capablanca at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where Capablanca died on the morning of the 8th of March, 1942 as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage the night before at the Manhattan Chess Club.
According to Mr. Lucena, Capablanca suffered all of his life from high blood pressure, apparently something he inherited from his parents. Not so surprisingly, I suppose, most of his family members also died in similar fashion (cerebral hemorrhage).
Capablanca, at age 4, playing chess with his father.
Capablanca’s hypertension became worse as he got older. The first recorded instance was at age 33, in 1921–the same year that Capablanca won the World Championship in Havana against Lasker.
During his match with Alekhine (Buenos Aires, 1927), Capablanca also suffered. He had gained weight and the weather in Buenos Aires worked against the Cuban. He often complained of headaches.
Alekhine defeated Capablanca in 1927, but was lucky
On the evening of Saturday March 7, 1942 (in New York) Capablanca complained of headaches and he told his wife that he was going for a brisk walk in the hope of getting some relief in the cool air. About 9 pm he walked into the Manhattan Chess Club.
While he was watching a game between two acquaintances, Capablanca suddenly stood up and asked for help in removing his overcoat. He then lost consciousness and fell, but was immediately grabbed and for this reason he did not hit the floor. Dr. Eli Moschkovitz , a member of the Club who was present that evening, had Capablanca sent to Mount Sinai Hospital.
Capablanca arrived at the hospital in a coma, with little that the doctors could do to save him. He was in critical state. His pupils were assymetrical, his left side paralyzed, with his face somewhat assymetrical. His blood pressure was recorded at 18/14. He was put into ward E-10 where he died at 6 am (and not 5:30 am ,as some sources give) .
The autopsy was performed that same morning. His body showed the usual signs of someone suffering all of his life from arterial hypertension, and it was likely that –had he not died that day–he would have not lived much longer. The cause of death was a cerebral hemorrhage provoked by hypertension. Capablanca was just 53 years old. (The whole story is in Portuguese at the above link)
Capablanca’s grave at the Colon Cemetery, HavanaLincoln Lucena, Beatriz Capablanca ( the great one’s grand-daughter) e Olga Capablanca (a cousin) standing in front of Capa’s grave. (March 8, 2001)
Lincoln Lucena (far right) with relatives of Capablanca, receiving a diploma establishing Capablanca as the Cuban sportsman of the century. (Havana, 2001)
Winter’s excellent site (http://www.chesshistory.com/) carries the following historic photo of some members of Capablanca’s family. http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/pics/cn6680_capablanca.jpg
The caption reads: ”Photo taken during a conference given by professor Alexander Sizonenko to the Cuban Academy of Sciences on the subject of Jose Raul Capablanca and his role in the Cultural relations between Cuba and the USSR. From left to right: Dr. Luis Gomez Wanguemert, of the Ministry of Exterior Relations, Zenalda Capablanca, sister of the maestro, Miguel Aleman, ex-champion of Cuba, professor Sizonenko; Dr. Jose R. Capablanca, son of the maestro, Maria Teresa Mora, IM and ex-champion of Cuba; Clemencia Capablanca, sister of the maestro, Ana Raynal, widow of professor Ramiro Capablanca, Carlos A. Palacio, assessor of chess of the Academy, and Dr. Angel de Albear, ex-president of the Chess Club of Havana.”
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS