He was born at the Havana-based Morro Castle. Being only four, he started to move the chess pieces, eight years later he gained the Cuban championship after defeating Alfredo Corzo in the final match. In 1921, he competed for the world championship with success, keeping the crown until 1927, when he was defeated by Dr. Enmanuel Lasker, who never conceded revenge to Capablanca. He became the first player in the world performing a simultaneous match with more than 100 opponents. At that time, he gained 102, stalemate one and lost another.