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Amos Burn vs Emanuel Lasker
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 4, May-22
Queen's Gambit Declined: Semi-Tarrasch Defense (D40)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-04-09  Travis Bickle: Burn gets busted by Lasker.
Jan-04-09  Emma: Terrible game by Burn
Jan-04-09  WhiteRook48: Burn was burned
Jan-19-10  WhiteRook48: too passive
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Part I

Not one of Burn's greatest games, perhaps, but an impressive effort from Lasker. Here are some notes adapted from Soltis' book. Comments by Shredder/me are in brackets.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c5 5.c4xd5 c5xd4 (TN) 6.Qxd4 Nxd5 7.e4 Nxc3 8.Qxd8+? (7.Qxc3 is now considered to give White a slight advantage after 7...Nc6 8.a3 or Bb5.) 8...Kxd8 9.b2xc3 Bc5

<Soltis writes that Black should prevent Be3. But 8...Nc6 9.Be3 Bd6 doesn't look bad for Black.>


Soltis: 10.Bg5+ f6 11.0-0-0+ Kc7 12.Bf4+ (12.Bh4 Nc6 13.Bg3+ e5 14.Nd4 Rd8) 12...e5 13.Bg3 Bg4 is not promising for White. But 10.Nd4 and Be3 would leave Black with tactical problems to solve: 10...Bd7 11.Be3 e5!? 12.Nf5 Bxf5 13.Rd1+.


10....Ke8 11.Bb5+ Nd7 12.Ke2 a6 13.Bxd7+ Bxd7 14.Nxd7 Kxd7 15.Be3 leaves too little material to make the c-pawn significant.


A good idea that drives the bishop off one of the diagonals. White stands better after 11...Bd6 12.e5 Bc7 13.Ba3+ and 11...Nd7 12.Nxc5 Nxc5 13.Ba3.

11....Bb6 12.Ba3+ Ke8 13. Ne5 Nd7 14.Bb5

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<Now if 15.Nc4 (Schlechter), Soltis gives 15...a6 16.Bxd7+ Kxd7 (Reinfeld/Fine) 17.0-0-0+ Kc6 18.Nd6 f6 19.Rd4 b5! 20.Rhd1 e5!, and if 21.Rd5 Be6 22.Rc5+? then 22...Kb6. But Shredder thinks White is a little better after 17.Rd1+ Kc6 18.Nd6 f6 19.e5. Instead 16...Bxd7 17.0-0-0 (17.e5 Bb5 18.Nd6+ Bxd6 19.exd6 Rc8 20.Kd2 Kd7 21. Rab1 Rc4 22. Rb4) 17...Rd8 18.Nd6+ Bxd6 19.Bxd6 Bc6 is drawish.

Soltis, following some old analysis by Spielman, also tries to prove that White has a good game after 14...a6 15.Bxd7+ Bxd7 16.Nxd7 Kxd7 17.Rd1+ Kc8 18.Ke2 Rd8 19.Rb1! . But Shredder thinks it's even after 17...Kc7. After Lasker's ...Bc7, similar to this line is 15.Bxd7+ Bxd7 16.Nxd7 Kxd7 17.0-0-0+ Kc6. White would have good chances to draw after 18.Rd4 Rhc8 19.Rc4+ Kd7 20.Rd1+ Ke8 21.Kb2 (Shredder).

Either 15.Bxd7+ or Schlechter's 15.Nc4 definitely seem better for Burn than what follows in the game.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Part II

15.Nd3<?> a6 16.Ba4 b5 17.Bb3 Bb7 18.f3 Rc8 19.Kd2 <19.Ke2 looks better; 19.c4? bxc4 20.Bxc4 Ba5+ (Soltis)> 19...a5!

This serves two purposes: Black can meet c3-c4 with ...b4 and he prepares to drive the bishop off its diagonal (...a4) so he can continue ...f6/...Kf7.

20.Rab1 (threatening Ba4) 20...Bc6

<Soltis writes that Black has three alternatives: ...Ne5; ...Ba6; and ...Bc6. 20...Ne5 is strongly met with 21.Nxe5 Bxe5 22.Ba4! Bxc3+ 23.Ke3. Soltis adds that Lasker prefers ...Bc6 to ...Ba6 so that the bishop doesn't hang after a later ...Nb6 Nc5. But Shredder thinks ...Ba6 is better because the text move allows 21.c4. Then after 21...b4 22.Bb2 f6 23.Rbc1 Black retains an advantage, but less of one than he gets after ...Ba6 (or in the game).>

21.Bc2<?> f6

<Soltis notes that that Lasker passes up the chance to maneuver the knight to ...c4 immediately because he is getting the upper hand with quiet moves.>

22.g3 (22.Nc5? Bd6) 22...Kf7 23.Ke2 g5!

Now that his development is complete, we get a glimpse of Black's plan. It's not the f-pawn he wants to push but ...g4, to undermine the e-pawn, or ...h5-h4, to target g3.

24.g4<?> 24...h5 25.h3 Bb8! (threatening ...Ba8! attacking the c-pawn; if then 27.Bb2 b4 or 27.Ke2 Ne5)

26.Bb2<?; Rhd1 is better> 26...Nb6 27.Nc5 Be8 28.Nb3 (28.Ba3 Bd6 29.Na4 Nxa4 30.Bxd6 Nxc3+) 28...Nc4

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Threatening ...Nxb2 and ...Rxc3. If 29.Ba1 Na3 30.Rbc1 Bf4 White's defenses give way (31.Nd2 hxg4 32.fxg4 Rd8 33.Bd3 Nc4).

29.Bc1 hxg4

"He does not attempt to capture the weakling on c3 but only utilizes it as a basis for further extensive weakening operations." (Spielmann)

30.fxg4 Be5! 31.Nd4 Bxd4

<Shredder liked 31...b4, but it's really just a matter of taste at this point. Lasker's handling of the rooks + opposite color bishops ending is very impressive.>

32.cxd4 Na3 33.Bxa3 Rxc2+ 34.Kd3 Rxa2 35.Bd6 b4 <note that the bishop is now out of play> 36.Rbc1Bb5+ 37.Ke3 Kg6

Black can meet e4-e5 with ...f5 and create a third passed pawn. He also prepares to meet 38.Rc7 with ...Rxh3+!. The immediate 37.Rxh3+ 38.Rxh3 Ra3+ 39.K-any Rxh3 40.Rc7+ Kg6 41.Bf8 Rh7 42.Rxh7 would make the win slightly more difficult.

38.Rc5 Ra3+ <38...Bf1 is more spectacular, but leads to much the same result after 39.h4) 39.Kf2 Bd3 40.Re1 <40.e5 loses a little more slowly> 40...Rxh3 41.Rc7 Ra2+ 42.Kg1 Rh4 43.e5<?> Rxg4+ <?;43...Rhh2 forces mate after a few spite checks> 44.Kh1 Be4+ and White resigns.

<A characteristic Lasker game with an early exchange of queens, powerful play over the whole board, and the creation of a late tactical flurry in a seemingly arid position. I think it's no accident that Spielmann, Schlechter, Reinfeld/Fine, and Soltis all chose to analyze it.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Cigar beats Pipe.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: A exceptionally fine win by Lasker, who overwhelmed Burn with many quiet moves.

This game has been extensively analyzed by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book, by Rudof Spielmann, by Schlechter, by Reinfeld/Fine in their book on Lasker's games, by Soltis in his recent book, and--in the best annotations of all--by keypusher on this site back in 2010.

In light of the fabulous work keypusher has already done in summarizing earlier commentary and in analyzing the game, I initially questioned whether there was any need to add to what keypusher has already done so well. However, I so enjoyed playing over and analyzing the game, and since in a few places I disagree with keypusher and/or have supplements to his analysis, I decided to add my own posts on this wonderful game.


As Schlechter has noted, 6...exd5 is fine for Black, the text move by Lasker appears to be a mistake, since White could have gotten much the better game had he played correctly on move 8. I am surprised that none of the commentators has noted this error by Lasker.

7. e4

Spielmann was wrong in suggesting that 7. NxN would have been better. That would have led to only an even game while the text would have gotten Burn the best of the struggle had he not erred on his next move.

8. QxQ+

This move well deserves the ? it received from Soltis. As keypusher and others have pointed out, 8. QxN gives White much the better game. Moreover, after the text, Burn has a weak pawn on c3 that Lasker exploits throughout most of the balance of the game. If Burn thought he could draw the endgame with Lasker (since he still had a minimal advantage), his thinking was misguided for two reasons: (i) Lasker was a demon in the endgame; and (ii) in this tournament, a draw meant a replay with colors reversed. Thus, had Burn managed to draw this game, he would have had to face Lasker as Black. Better to have played 8. QxN and try his best with the clear middle-game edge he would have had.

10. Ne5

This forfeits even the small advantage Burn enjoyed. Also poor was 10. Nd4 as suggested by Reinfeld/Fine and Soltis. Lasker would have played 10...Ke7 and had equal chances (i.e., a likely win given his superior endgame play). 10...Bd7 suggested by Soltis and keypusher would also have left Lasker in decent shape after 11. Be3 (Soltis; move, I think 11. Nb3 would be better) 11...e5 (again Soltis' move, to which keypusher rightly appends "?!"--better is 11...Bb6) 12. Nf5 (Soltis---12. Nc2 would be better) BxN 13. Rd1+ (again Soltis' move, I think 13. 0-0-0+ or 13. BxB would be better).

Best for White here to maintain his advantage would have been Bf4.


A remarkable move by Lasker. As Reinfeld-Fine note, it appears to involve a loss of time since Black plays 12...Ke8 two moves later. But as Lasker recognized, the loss of time was less significant than the further weaknesses Burn's play created in his own position.


A slight inaccuracy by Lasker that no one seems to have noted. Best was 11...Nd7 since, contrary to what Soltis says, 12. NxB NxN 13. Ba3 yields no edge at all to White whereas now he could have obtained a small advantage with better play on move 13.


12...Kf6, dangerous though it appears, was more accurate. But the text is OK.

13. Ne5

Following a faulty plan to post his Knight on d6 which Lasker counters effortlessly. Better was the simple 13. Be2 with the (slightly) better game.

14. Bb5

14. Nc4 would have gotten White nowhere, and if 14...Bc5 15. Nd6? (15. Bb4 was better and would have led to equality) Ke7 16. BxB NxB 17. e5 (Spielmann's move, 17. 0-0-0 would have been relatively best) f6 (better than Spielmann's 17...Nd7) would have given Lasker much the better position.


As Spielmann so aptly states, "It is exactly such simple moves which show Lasker's uncanny precision." But I disagree with the suggestion by Spielmann and Soltis that Burn would have obtained a significant advantage had Lasker played 14...a6 here. Whilte the text is likely best, I see nothing wrong with 14...a6. The error in the analysis of Spielmann and Soltis is well demonstrated in keypusher's post.

(More to follow)

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II:

15. Nd3

keypusher rightly gives this a ? Best was 15. Nc4 aiming for an opposite color Bishop ending after 15...a6 16. BxN+ BxB 17. 0-0-0 Rc8 18. Kb2 e5 19. Nd6+


Inhibiting c4 by White (Reinfeld/Fine) and beginning an assault on the isolated c3 pawn.

19. Kd2

As only Rosenthal in the Tournament Book has previously noted, this is inferior to 19. Ke2. Even better would have been 19. Rb1.


A pretty move which both allows him to meet c4 with b5 and which prepares to drive off the b3 Bishop as Soltis and keypushed have noted. That being said, 19...Ne5 was probably even stronger.


As Soltis and keypusher have shown, 20...Ba6 would have been much better.

21. Bc2

As only keypusher has noted, this move was a mistake and 21. c4 would have been much better (see keypusher's analysis on this). According to Fritz, even better than 21. c4 would have been 21. Rbd1.

22. g3

This weakens the king-side and is bad, but nowhere nearly as bad as 22. Nc5 recommended by Reinfeld-Fine that gets crushed by 22...Bd6 as Soltis and keypusher have noted. While not pleasant choices, better would have been 22. h3 (which also weakens the king-side) or 22, Ke2.


I love this quiet move, which solves all of Black's problems and allows him to continue to gang up on White's weaknesses.


All the commentators praise this move to the hilt, but in fact it is a slight inaccuracy. White could and should have responded 24. Bc1. Best was 23...h5.

24. g4

As only keypusher has heretofore noted, this is an awful move (which Rosenthal wrongly states was "forced") and was in fact the losing move. Lasker never gave Burn a chance to recover after this mistake. As noted above, best for White--and the only saving move--was 24. Bc1.


Another gorgeous "quiet" move by Lasker that probably deserves the ! it has received from Soltis and keypusher. But 25...Bg3 also begins the process of clearly the c-file for the Black rook and was probably even stronger than the text.

26. Bb2

keypusher alone has realized that this move was a blunder. He gives 26. Rhd1 as best. I assume this was a typo and that keypusher meant 26. Rbd1, sice 26. Rhd1 loses a pawn to 26...hxg4.

27. Nc5

Another weak move by Burn, who by now seems to have been drained in trying to keep his head above water. Rosenthal's 27. Ba3 is even worse and gets crushed by 27...b4 (if then 28. cxb4 Bb5!). The best chance for Burn here would have been 27. gxh5.

28. Nb3

Burn is lost anyway, but this only throws wood on the fire. "Best" was 28. Nd3.


This universally praised move was in fact a mistake that momentarily put Lasker's win in jeopardy since White could have responded 29. Bd3. 28...Na4 was murder

29. Bc1

Now it's target practice for Lasker. The only chance was 29. Bd3.

29. Ba1 as suggested in the Tournament Book would have been even worse than the text, since 29...Na3 would be devastating. If then 30. Rbc1 then 30...hxg4 (rather than the Tournament Books's 30...NxB) is best--though White would be lost even on 30...NxB.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

After 29. Bc1? the only question was how--rather than whether--Lasker would finish off Burn.


This move receives an ! from nearly all the commentators. But 30...b4 is even more decisive. The text, however, is more than sufficient.

31. Nd4

If Burn wanted to play on, he needed to play 31. Nd2 here.


keypusher reports that Shredder prefers 31...b4. Fritz, like all of the other commentators, much prefers the text, though Shredder's move is undoubtably a win as well.


This, as most of the commentators have stated, is "decisive." Burn could have resigned.

33. BxN

Fritz here suggests sacrificing the exchange with 33. Bd3. This heroic sac may indeed be the only faint hope of offering resistance.


As keypusher has rightly noted, White's opposite color Bishop--in the event he hoped for salvation through Bishops of opposite colors--is now out of play.


As Soltis and keypusher have noted, 38...Bf1 is "more spectacular" (if 39. RxB Rxh3+). But the text is also a winning line.

39. Kf2

White could have survived a bit longer with 39. Kd2.

40. Re1

As Schlechter aptly put it, White's position now "collapses in a few moves, but there was no longer any hope."

keypusher correctly notes that 40. e5 "loses more slowly." 40. Rcc1 may prolong the game even longer. But at this stage it hardly matters.

41. Rc7

This effort at "attack" is hopeless. But the "best" move (41. Bg3) would not have changed the outcome.

43. e5

The ? keypusher assigns to this move is harsh. It does walk into a forced mate, but 43. Bg3, though avoiding immediate mate, would not have been much fun for Burn.


keypusher gives this a ? since 43...Rhh2 is mate in 5, but the text also is a forced mate (albeit three moves longer).


Lasker could have forced mate with 44...Rh4+, but the text elicited Burn's long overdue resignation, so the the difference is unimportant here.

A wonderful game by Lasker!

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