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Emanuel Lasker vs Siegbert Tarrasch
St. Petersburg (1914), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 9, May-03
Spanish Game: Open Variations. Classical Defense (C83)  ·  1/2-1/2



Annotations by Siegbert Tarrasch.      [16 more games annotated by Tarrasch]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-12-12  Marmot PFL: To solve this for white is fairly easy, he is playing almost forced moves and hoping to draw. 40 h4 is the only active move, and since h5 is threatened black has only Kg4, then 41 Kg6 renews the h5 threat, so Kxh5, 42 Kf5 Kg3 and the ending is drawn. Since this clearly draws there is no need to delve into 41 Kf6 c4 42 bc bc 43 Ke5 c3 44 bc a4 45 Kd4 a3 when the pawn on c3 blocks its own king.
May-12-12  LoveThatJoker: Excellent! A Lasker puzzle!

<40. h4 Kg4>

(40...a4 41. bxa4 and now White is doing fine with with either a or h pawn)

<41. Kg6 Kxh4>

(White threatened 42. h5 with the promotion of the h-pawn in hand)

<42. Kf5> and now, at the very least, White cannot lose. For example,

42...a4 43. bxa4 bxa4 44. Ke4 c4 45. Kd4 and White at least draws.


42...c4 43. bxc4 b4 (43...bxc4 44. Ke4 c3 45. bxc3 a4 46. Kd3 and now, if there are any, White has all the winning chances) 44. Ke4 a4 45. Kd3 and again White at least holds.


May-12-12  LoveThatJoker: Yes! Full point for today! And I've guaranteed my pass for the week with a 5.60 out of 6 thus far!


Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Outside passed pawn! Black must take the h-pawn before it becomes a threat. Then white gobbles up the black pawns,but not before black can eat white's as well.


May-12-12  dumbgai: This endgame is very instructive. Pawn endgames can be very tricky even when they look simple.
May-12-12  mikmik777: White to play: 40. ?
Lasker vs Tarrasch

"Very Difficult"

Equal material but, Black has superior pawn formation and a more centralized king.

40.h4 Kg4
41.Kf7 c4
42.bxc4 bxc4
43.Ke7 c3
44.bxc3 a4
45.c4 a3
46.c5 a2
47.c6 a1[Q]

In this position, White can play for a draw by giving away his h-pawn. Black can't take the c-pawn otherwise it will be stalemate.

For example:

48. ...Qe5+
49.Kd7 Qd5+
50.Kc8 Kxh4
51.Kb8 Qb6+
52.Ka8 Qxc7 stalemate

At first I tried to look for a win for White but found these variations, all in Black's favor.

40.Kf7 c4

(41.Ke7 c3 42.bxc3 a4 43.bxa4 bxa4 44.c4 a3 45.c5 a2 46.c6 a1[Q] 47.c7 Qe5+ )

(41.bxc4 bxc4 42.h4 c3 43.bxc3 a4 44.c4 a3 45.c5 a2 46.c6 a1[Q] 47.c7 Qa8 )

Let's see happened.

May-12-12  RookFile: If you showed this to somebody today and told him Kramnik had played black, he might believe you. It looks like him.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Skirmish in true blue style Tarrasch saves the day cooperation 40.h4

kg4 41.kg6 kxh4 42.kf5 teaching Lasker not to trifle with on this

occassion chicken springs the coup fancy it bobble in creed and color

draw, da ace in effect kg6 in doffed his cap cub Lasker experienced to

know in general terms it equal i think again to handle the draws leave

in good form queens off tent early it hanging in g7 a5 tease the

pospect re twin bishop assualt in slow again denoument a keep

37...be6+ king posted for bed in 33...bxb2 you dont have to be a

genius for king goofed it alive in dead heat he drawing line bring a

step closer it hoof in charging across stop in down instrumental on a5

kit black in give boot off.

Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: White's position was not as bad as it looked. "Draw" immediately occurs to the observer.
May-12-12  mikmik777: Totally missed the line.. Very nice input <FSR>..:)
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: I would have played 40. h4! in blitz, but perhaps that's because I've played quite a few pawn endings out against the computer and in endgame book problems and this one just seemed instinctive.

Decoy the White King and using the tempo gained to chase down the Black pawns seemed to me to be the strategy for securing the draw. End games are often like that. You've got to give up something to gain something. In this case, a pawn for a critical tempo.

P.S.: Quickest I've ever found a Saturday solution.

May-12-12  James D Flynn: 40.h4 Kg4 41.Kg6 (The critical move, see below for Kf6) Kxh4 42.Kf5 c4 43.bxc4 bxc4 44.Ke4 c3 45.bxc3 a4 46.Kd3 a3 47.Kc2 Kg4 48.Kb2 Kf4 49.Ka3 Ke4 50.Kxa4 Kd3 51.Kb4 and the White K will escort the c pawn to queen. 41.Kf6 would be a mistake because c4 42.bxc4 bxc4 43.Ke5 c3 44.bxc3 a4 and the Black K does not arrive time o stop the White a pawn from queening. All attempts y black to advance th h pawn will be met by Kxh4 if Kg6 or Kxh5 is h5 and the Black h pawn will queen. Tarrasch may have been playing for the position because the fact that his pawn formation on the Q side enables him to create a passed pawn where the White K is far away Looks like a win. The resource Kg6 is difficult to see in advance,
May-12-12  BOSTER: <Jim> <White's king has to stay on the b1-g7 diagonal>.

Does this diagonal exist?

May-12-12  Abdel Irada: White superficially appears to be in a bad way: His passed h-pawn can't get through; his queenside pawns are crippled and outnumbered, and his king is out of play. But the possession of pawns on both wings is a weapon that, if wielded featly, can wrest victory as follows: 40. h4, ♔g4 (40. ...c4?; 41. h5, and white's h-pawn is unstoppable); 41. ♔g6!, ♔xh4 (compulsory because white has renewed the threat of 42. h5, but now white has the opposition and will get his king to the queenside first); 42. ♔f5, c4 (I see nothing stronger for black); 43. ♔e4!, cxb3; 44. ♔d4, a4; 45. ♔c3. White wins because his king is now close enough to halt and pick off the black pawns while his own pawn on b2 makes its way to the eighth rank.

An interesting sidelight: This is one of those cases where after ...c4 (or ...a4), white need not capture, since black's capture on b3 does not gain him any time. More important is to bring the king to the critical c3 square with all possible dispatch.

May-12-12  Abdel Irada: Ah, the penalty for hubris: I completely overlooked Tarrasch's 42. ...♔g3, after which black's king gets back in time to save the day. Oh, well. I guess if Lasker had to settle for a half-point, I'll have to settle for half credit.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <BOSTER> <Jim> <White's king has to stay on the b1-g7 diagonal Does this diagonal exist?>

Yes it does, in another dimension on a subatomic level. Of course I meant b1-h7. Thanks for pointing out my error.

Gonzalez Mata – Sisniega (Mexico, 1991)

click for larger view

The above position is a forced win for black, with black to move. Can you find the correct continuation?

See link to solution below. (In Dutch).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: This position is in quite a few end games books so I knew the solution as soon as I saw it! Pays to do the study!

There are lot of these types of position when the geometrical motifs make the "obvious" moves deceptive.

It is instructive as they say.

May-12-12  Patriot: Material is even. Black has a 3:2 majority on the queenside and white has a passer on h2. Black threatens 40...a4 41.bxa4 bxa4 and 42...c4, 43...c3, 44...a3 etc. Black can continue with this plan after 40.Kf7, so I think 40.h4 is the only try.

40.h4 Kg4 41.Kf6 Kxh4 42.Ke5 should draw.

May-12-12  Patriot: Ah, I see! Nice problem! 41.Kg6 is the only way to draw.
May-12-12  Infohunter: <Jimfromprovidence> Nice exercise, thanks. Just out of curiosity, how did you find that site?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <Infohunter> <Nice exercise, thanks. Just out of curiosity, how did you find that site?>

The position is in Nunn's Chess Endings Volume 1. I could not find the game in CG's database, so I simply Googled it, looking for a link with some analysis. That site came up.

Oct-01-17  newzild: <jimfromprovidence> That link no longer works. I’m guessing the solution is 1...b3 2. Bc1 Kd5 etc, leading to a zugzwang in which White has to move his bishop away from c1?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <newzild> < I’m guessing the solution is 1...b3 2. Bc1 Kd5 etc, leading to a zugzwang in which White has to move his bishop away from c1?>

You have the first 3 game continuation moves down correctly.

click for larger view

At this point Nunn states" Black's strategy is eventually to force his king through to the c2 square by repeated zugzwangs. However, this plan is complicated by the additional need to keep the g pawn under control"

I will post the game continuation but there are many notes to side variations not included. The gist of it is that black wins by precisely moving his king and bishop.

3 g5 Bf5 4 Ke3 Bg6 5 Ke2 Ke4! 6 Kd2 Kd4 7 Ke2 Bh5+

click for larger view

It continues 8 Kd2 Be8 9 Ke2 Bb5+ 10 Kd2 Ba6

click for larger view

Now white must move the g pawn. Finally after 11 g6 Bb5 12 g7 Bc4 black reaches the key zugzwang and white resigns.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Position after 36...♗xf5+:

click for larger view

Unusual to see a double-bishop ending where all of the pieces are clustered so close together.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: White blundered with 36.Bxg7? giving thus black a chance to win with simple 37...Be6+ 38.Kf8 Bxg7+ 39.Kxg7 Bxb3. Of course, 36.Kf7 was correct move.

But black apparently missed a win in earlier phase of game. For example, it was much better to bring the King into the QS by 29...Kd7 with a plan a6-a5, Kc6, Bxb2, b5-b4, a5-a4 and (after bxa4) b4-b3, c5-c4 etc. There is not much what to do against it for white.

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