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Emanuel Lasker's Best Games
Compiled by KingG

The best games of Lasker's career.

Chess is a contest between creative minds representative of their period. – Emanuel Lasker

I, who vanquished Steinitz, must see to it that his great achievement, his theories, should find justice, and I must avenge the wrongs he suffered. – Emanuel Lasker

I keep on fighting as long as my opponent can make a mistake. – Emanuel Lasker

Dr. Tarrasch is a thinker, fond of deep and complex speculation. He will accept the efficacy and usefulness of a move if at the same time he considers it beautiful and theoretically right. But I accept that sort of beauty only if and when it happens to be useful. He admires an idea for its depth, I admire it for its efficacy. My opponent believes in beauty, I believe in strength. I think that by being strong, a move is beautiful too. – Emanuel Lasker

Of my 57 years, I've applied at least 30 to forgetting most of what I learned or read, and since I succeeded in this I have acquired a certain ease and cheer which I should never again like to be without. If need be, I can increase my skill in chess, if need be I can do that of which I have no idea present. I have stored little in my memory, but I can apply that little, and it is of good use in many and varied emergencies. I keep it in order, but resist every attempt to increase its dead weight. – Emanuel Lasker

It is too beautiful to spend your life upon. Many times have I managed to break with chess, yet I have always fallen in love with it again. I was too captivated by the conflict between ideas and opinions, attack and defence, life and death. – Emanuel Lasker

I will not suffer liars in my house! – Emanuel Lasker (on throwing away an expensive mantel clock that kept time poorly)

Such was my play when I was still a youngster. The rest is history. – Emanuel Lasker (as an old man showing some of his games to someone who didn't realize who he was)

A King of chess. – Emanuel Lasker (his final words on his deathbed)

Tarrasch teaches knowledge, Lasker teaches wisdom. – Fred Reinfeld

As I pored over the games of the great masters, two styles appealed to me above all others: Lasker and Steinitz. In Lasker I saw, above all, the supreme tactical genius. Whether a game was won or lost mattered little to him; he fought on to get the most out of every position. And in Steinitz I saw the master of consistency; he had a plan from the beginning of the game, and would stick to it, regardless of the consequences. – Reuben Fine

Steinitz always looked for the objectively right move. Tarrasch always claimed to have found the objectively right move. Lasker did nothing of the kind. He never bothered about what might or might not be the objectively right move; all he cared for was to find whatever move was likely to be most embarrassing for the specific person sitting on the other side of the board. – Jacques Hannak

Although he had a great grasp and appreciation of Steinitz' theories, Lasker always played the man as well as the board. – Dave Regis

Lasker could make a mistake and smile, knowing that perfection is not granted to mortal man. – Reuben Fine

Lasker won so many games from bad positions that he was accused by at least one opponent of witchcraft, by another of hypnotism and by many more as being grossly over-endowed with good luck. In fact, he often deliberately courted difficult positions because he understood the mental stress that can be built up in the mind of an attacker when he meets with a resolute defense. By building up an opponent's hopes and then placing a trail of difficulties in his path, Lasker would induce feelings of doubt, confusion and finally panic. In his own terminology, Lasker was deliberately avoiding "eumachic" strategies because they tended to guide the opponent too easily towards "eumachic" replies. An "amachic" move here and there, however, may introduce just the "jont" needed to prompt your opponent to send his "stratoi" in the wrong direction. – Bill Hartston

While both Steinitz and Tarrasch had set themselves up as "macheeides", putting into practice a perfect strategy, playing only the best possible moves on every occasion, Lasker's approach to the game was certainly more flexible. For Lasker understood better than anyone that the true nature of the struggle in chess was not an objective search for the truth, but a psychological battle against both oneself and the opponent, in conditions of extreme uncertainty. – Bill Hartston

Lasker employed many of the techniques that have become common today. He violated general principles when he felt confident in doing so. He played "practical" moves. He focused on specifics, such as targets, rather than the theoretical. He didn't calculate what didn't need to be calculated. He realized the clock was the 33rd piece. He complicated before his position got bad. He took calculated risks. He sacrificed for purely positional compensation. He used tactics to advance positional goals. - Andrew Soltis

It used to be said that Lasker, unlike his contemporaries, formed no school of thought. But we're all his students. - Andrew Soltis

In life, as in chess, Lasker was a fighter. – Fred Reinfeld

Lasker's inexhaustible store of genius provided us with many hours of pleasure. – Fred Reinfeld

It is remarkable, and deserves special mention that the great masters, such as Pillsbury, Maroczy and Janowsky play against Lasker as though hypnotized. – George Marco

Nobody had such a fine feeling as Lasker for activating pieces. Often his opponents (and annotators too) would still be wondering long afterwards where the game had actually been lost. Advantages seemed to disappear mysteriously when facing Lasker! – Richard Forster

It is no easy matter to reply correctly to Lasker's bad moves. – William Pollock

Lasker's style is like limpid clear water - with a dash of poison in it! – Source Unknown

The older the player, the greater the odds his idol is Lasker! – Lev Alburt

Ah, Dr. Lasker, I presume. – Unknown blind player after the first few moves of a game against Lasker

Emanuel Lasker was undoubtedly one of the most interesting people I came to know in my later life. – Albert Einstein

For me, this personality, notwithstanding his fundamentally optimistic attitude, had a tragic note. The enormous mental resilience, without which no chess player can exist, was so much taken up by chess that he could never free his mind of this game, even when he was occupied by philosophical and humanitarian questions. – Albert Einstein (about Lasker)

In my view, Lasker was a pioneer of modern chess. When you look through Steinitz's games you understand they were played in the century before last whereas Lasker had a lot of games that modern chess players could have had. - Vladimir Kramnik

Lasker was an impressive person. He managed to understand a lot in chess. I was looking through his games again some time ago and was astonished: his knowledge was incredibly extensive for his time! He was the first to understand the importance of psychological factors and started to pay attention to them. - Vladimir Kramnik

In my opinion, when Lasker was stripping Steinitz of his title, he was head and shoulders above all the others. Since that time chess history has not seen such a yawning gap. Lasker had surpassed everyone until a new generation grew up and his opponents, namely Tarrasch, got stronger. - Vladimir Kramnik

Lasker vs J Bauer, 1889 
(A03) Bird's Opening, 38 moves, 1-0

V Tietz vs Lasker, 1889 
(C79) Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred, 40 moves, 0-1

Lasker vs Lipke, 1889 
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 47 moves, 1-0

J Mieses vs Lasker, 1889 
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 28 moves, 0-1

Blackburne vs Lasker, 1892 
(C22) Center Game, 50 moves, 0-1

Bird vs Lasker, 1892 
(A02) Bird's Opening, 42 moves, 0-1

Lasker vs Steinitz, 1894 
(C62) Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense, 46 moves, 1-0

Pillsbury vs Lasker, 1896 
(D50) Queen's Gambit Declined, 30 moves, 0-1

Chigorin vs Lasker, 1895 
(C52) Evans Gambit, 26 moves, 0-1

Lasker vs Steinitz, 1895  
(C72) Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense, 5.O-O, 40 moves, 1-0

Steinitz vs Lasker, 1896 
(C54) Giuoco Piano, 39 moves, 0-1

Lasker vs W Napier, 1904 
(B25) Sicilian, Closed, 35 moves, 1-0

Marshall vs Lasker, 1907 
(C65) Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense, 50 moves, 0-1

Tarrasch vs Lasker, 1908 
(C66) Ruy Lopez, 41 moves, 0-1

Tarrasch vs Lasker, 1908 
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 119 moves, 1/2-1/2

Lasker vs Schlechter, 1910  
(D11) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 71 moves, 1-0

Lasker vs Capablanca, 1914 
(C68) Ruy Lopez, Exchange, 42 moves, 1-0

Lasker vs Rubinstein, 1914 
(C82) Ruy Lopez, Open, 66 moves, 1-0

Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1914 
(C83) Ruy Lopez, Open, 47 moves, 1/2-1/2

Lasker vs Marshall, 1914 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 29 moves, 1-0

Lasker vs Ed. Lasker, 1924 
(C99) Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,, 103 moves, 1/2-1/2

Reti vs Lasker, 1924 
(A12) English with b3, 45 moves, 0-1

Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs Lasker, 1925  
(B23) Sicilian, Closed, 38 moves, 0-1

Euwe vs Lasker, 1934 
(D51) Queen's Gambit Declined, 50 moves, 0-1

Lasker vs Capablanca, 1935 
(C15) French, Winawer, 64 moves, 1-0

Alekhine vs Lasker, 1924 
(D35) Queen's Gambit Declined, 36 moves, 0-1

T H Tylor vs Lasker, 1936 
(C49) Four Knights, 45 moves, 0-1

Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1908  
(C98) Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin, 38 moves, 1-0

Chigorin vs Lasker, 1899 
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 42 moves, 0-1

Lasker vs Pillsbury, 1893 
(C60) Ruy Lopez, 55 moves, 1-0

Lasker vs Maroczy, 1900 
(D44) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 30 moves, 1-0

Lasker vs Steinitz, 1894 
(C62) Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense, 49 moves, 1-0

Janowski vs Lasker, 1910 
(D04) Queen's Pawn Game, 31 moves, 0-1

Tartakower vs Lasker, 1909 
(A22) English, 53 moves, 0-1

Lasker vs Burn, 1909 
(C84) Ruy Lopez, Closed, 64 moves, 1-0

Tarrasch vs Lasker, 1908 
(C66) Ruy Lopez, 41 moves, 0-1

Lasker vs Janowski, 1909 
(C68) Ruy Lopez, Exchange, 37 moves, 1-0

Janowski vs Lasker, 1914 
(D30) Queen's Gambit Declined, 52 moves, 0-1

Lasker vs Pirc, 1935 
(B85) Sicilian, Scheveningen, Classical, 20 moves, 1-0

39 games

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