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Emanuel Lasker
Number of games in database: 1,386
Years covered: 1888 to 1940

Overall record: +379 -80 =178 (73.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 749 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (213) 
    C68 C62 C66 C64 C67
 French Defense (101) 
    C11 C12 C13 C01 C10
 French (71) 
    C11 C12 C13 C10 C00
 King's Gambit Accepted (66) 
    C39 C33 C38 C37 C34
 Sicilian (54) 
    B45 B32 B40 B30 B44
 King's Gambit Declined (53) 
    C30 C31 C32
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (121) 
    C65 C67 C66 C77 C68
 Orthodox Defense (49) 
    D50 D63 D52 D60 D53
 Giuoco Piano (36) 
    C50 C53 C54
 Queen's Pawn Game (31) 
    D00 D05 D02 A46 D04
 Sicilian (29) 
    B32 B73 B45 B30 B33
 Four Knights (18) 
    C49 C47 C48
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Lasker vs J Bauer, 1889 1-0
   Lasker vs Capablanca, 1914 1-0
   Pillsbury vs Lasker, 1896 0-1
   Marshall vs Lasker, 1907 0-1
   Lasker vs W Napier, 1904 1-0
   Euwe vs Lasker, 1934 0-1
   Lasker vs Schlechter, 1910 1-0
   Lasker vs Pirc, 1935 1-0
   Lasker vs Capablanca, 1935 1-0
   Reti vs Lasker, 1924 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Steinitz - Lasker World Championship Match (1894)
   Lasker - Steinitz World Championship Rematch (1896)
   Lasker - Marshall World Championship Match (1907)
   Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship Match (1908)
   Lasker - Schlechter World Championship Match (1910)
   Lasker - Janowski World Championship Match (1910)
   Lasker - Capablanca World Championship Match (1921)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Lasker - Bird (1890)
   Lasker - Blackburne (1892)
   St. Petersburg 1895/96 (1895)
   Nuremberg (1896)
   London (1899)
   Paris (1900)
   Lasker - Janowski (1909)
   St. Petersburg (1914)
   Maehrisch-Ostrau (1923)
   New York (1924)
   St. Petersburg (1909)
   Moscow (1925)
   Hastings (1895)
   Cambridge Springs (1904)
   Zurich (1934)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   -ER Lasker by fredthebear
   Emanuel Lasker Collection by hrannar
   Match Lasker! by amadeus
   Match Lasker! by docjan
   The Lion King by chocobonbon
   Why Lasker Matters by Andrew Soltis by Incremental
   Veliki majstori saha 7 LASKER (Petrovic) by Chessdreamer
   Why Lasker Matters by Andrew Soltis by wvb933
   Why Lasker Matters by Andrew Soltis by StoppedClock
   Why Lasker Matters (Soltis) by Qindarka
   lasker best games by brager
   Why Lasker Matters by Andrew Soltis by keypusher
   Why Lasker Matters by Andrew Soltis by Edwin Meijer
   Selected Lasker by LaBourdonnaisdeux

   Rubinstein vs Lasker, 1909
   Rubinstein vs Salwe, 1908
   Spielmann vs Rubinstein, 1909
   Lasker vs Teichmann, 1909
   Tartakower vs Schlechter, 1909

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(born Dec-24-1868, died Jan-11-1941, 72 years old) Germany

[what is this?]

Emanuel Lasker was the second official World Chess Champion, reigning for a record 27 years after he defeated the first World Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, in 1894.

Statistician Jeff Sonas of Chessmetrics writes, "if you look across players' entire careers, there is a significant amount of statistical evidence to support the claim that Emanuel Lasker was, in fact, the most dominant player of all time." By Sonas' reckoning, Lasker was the No. 1 player in the world for a total of 24.3 years between 1890 and 1926.


He was born in what was then Berlinchen (literally "little Berlin") in Prussia, and which is now Barlinek in Poland. In 1880, he went to school in Berlin, where he lived with his older brother Berthold Lasker, who was studying medicine, and who taught him how to play chess. By Chessmetrics' analysis, Berthold was one of the world's top ten players in the early 1890s.


Soon after Lasker obtained his abitur in Landsberg an der Warthe, now a Polish town named Gorzow Wielkopolski, the teenager's first tournament success came when he won the Café Kaiserhof's annual Winter tournament 1888/89, winning all 20 games. Soon afterwards, he tied with Emil von Feyerfeil with 12/15 (+11 -2 =2) at the second division tournament of the sixth DSB Congress in Breslau, defeating von Feyerfeil in the one game play-off.* Also in 1889, he came second with 6/8 (+5 -1 =2) behind Amos Burn at the Amsterdam "A" (stronger) tournament, ahead of James Mason and Isidor Gunsberg, two of the strongest players of that time. In 1890 he finished third in Graz behind Gyula Makovetz and Johann Hermann Bauer, then shared first prize with his brother Berthold in a tournament in Berlin. In spring 1892, he won two tournaments in London, the second and stronger of these without losing a game. At New York 1893, he won all thirteen games, one of a small number of significant tournaments in history in which a player achieved a perfect score. Wikipedia article: List of world records in chess#Perfect tournament and match scores

After Lasker won the title, he answered his critics who considered that the title match was by an unproven player against an aging champion by being on the leader board in every tournament before World War I, including wins at St Petersburg in 1895-96, Nurenberg 1896, London 1899, Paris 1900 ahead of Harry Nelson Pillsbury (by two points with a score of +14 −1 =1), Trenton Falls 1906, and St Petersburg in 1914. He also came 3rd at Hastings 1895 (this relatively poor result possibly occurring during convalescence after nearly dying from typhoid fever), 2nd at Cambridge Springs in 1904, and =1st at the Chigorin Memorial tournament in St Petersburg in 1909. In 1918, a few months after the war, Lasker won a quadrangular tournament in Berlin against Akiba Rubinstein, Carl Schlechter and Siegbert Tarrasch.

After he lost the title in 1921, Lasker remained in the top rank of players, winning at Maehrisch-Ostrau (1923) ahead of Richard Reti, Ernst Gruenfeld, Alexey Sergeevich Selezniev, Savielly Tartakower, and Max Euwe. His last tournament win was at New York 1924, where he scored 80% and finished 1.5 points ahead of Jose Raul Capablanca, followed by Alexander Alekhine and Frank James Marshall. In 1925, he came 2nd at Moscow behind Efim Bogoljubov and ahead of Capablanca, Marshall, Tartakower, and Carlos Torre Repetto. There followed a long hiatus from chess caused by his intention to retire from the game, but he re-emerged in top-class chess in 1934, placing 5th in Zurich behind Alekhine, Euwe, Salomon Flohr and Bogoljubow and ahead of Ossip Bernstein, Aron Nimzowitsch, and Gideon Stahlberg. In Moscow in 1935, Lasker finished in an undefeated third place, a half point behind Mikhail Botvinnik and Flohr and ahead of Capablanca, Rudolf Spielmann, Ilia Abramovich Kan, Grigory Levenfish, Andre Lilienthal, and Viacheslav Ragozin. Reuben Fine hailed the 66-year-old Lasker's performance as "a biological miracle". In 1936, Lasker placed 6th in Moscow and finished his career later that year at Nottingham when he came =7th with 8.5/14 (+6 -3 =5), his last-round game being the following stylish win: Lasker vs C H Alexander, 1936.


Non-title matches 1889 saw his long career in match play commence, one which only ceased upon relinquishing his title in 1921. He won nearly of his matches, apart from a few drawn mini-matches, including a drawn one-game play-off match against his brother Berthold in Berlin in 1890, losing only exhibition matches with Mikhail Chigorin, Carl Schlechter and Marshall, and a knight-odds match against Nellie Showalter, Jackson Showalter's wife. In 1889, he defeated Curt von Bardeleben (+1 =2) and in 1889-90 he beat Jacques Mieses (+5 =3). In 1890, he defeated Henry Edward Bird (+7 -2 =3) and Nicholas Theodore Miniati (+3 =2 -0), and in 1891 he beat Francis Joseph Lee (+1 =1) and Berthold Englisch (+2 =3). 1892 and 1893 saw Lasker getting into his stride into the lead up to his title match with Steinitz, beating Bird a second time (5-0) Lasker - Bird (1892) , Joseph Henry Blackburne (+6 =4), Jackson Whipps Showalter (+6 -2 =2) and Celso Golmayo Zupide (+2 =1). In 1892, Lasker toured and played a series of mini-matches against leading players in the Manhattan, Brooklyn and Franklin Chess Clubs. At the Manhattan Chess Club, he played a series of three-game matches, defeating James Moore Hanham, Gustave Simonson, David Graham Baird, Charles B Isaacson, Albert Hodges, Eugene Delmar, John S Ryan and John Washington Baird of the 24 games he played against these players he won 21, losing one to Hodges and drawing one each with Simonson and Delmar. At the Brooklyn Chess Club, Lasker played two mini-matches of two games each, winning each game against Abel Edward Blackmar and William M De Visser, and drew the first game of an unfinished match against Philip Richardson. Lasker finished 1892 at the Franklin Chess Club by playing 5 mini-matches of two games each against its leading players, winning every game against Dionisio M Martinez, Alfred K Robinson, Gustavus Charles Reichhelm and Hermann G Voigt and drawing a match (+1 -1) with Walter Penn Shipley. Shipley offered cash bonuses if he could stipulate the openings and taking up the challenge, Lasker played the Two Knight's Defense and won in 38 moves, while in the second game, Shipley won as Black in 24 moves against Lasker playing the White end of a Vienna Gambit, Steinitz variation (Opening Explorer). Shipley, who counted both Lasker and Steinitz as his friends, was instrumental in arranging the Philadelphia leg of the Lasker-Steinitz match, that being games 9, 10 and 11. 29 years later, Shipley was also the referee of Lasker’s title match with Capablanca. In 1892-3, Lasker also played and won some other matches against lesser players including Andres Clemente Vazquez (3-0), A Ponce (first name Albert) (2-0) and Alfred K Ettlinger (5-0). Also in 1893, Mrs. Nellie Showalter, wife of Jackson Showalter and one of the leading women players in the USA, defeated Lasker 5-2 in a match receiving Knight odds.

These matches pushed Lasker to the forefront of chess, and after being refused a match by Tarrasch, he defeated Steinitz for the world title in 1894 after spreadeagling the field at New York 1893. While he was World Champion, Lasker played some non-title matches, the earliest of which was a six-game exhibition match against Chigorin in 1903 which he lost 2.5-3.5 (+1 -2 =3); the match was intended as a rigorous test of the Rice Gambit, which was the stipulated opening in each game. In the midst of his four title defenses that were held between 1907 and 1910, Lasker played and won what appears to have been a short training match against Abraham Speijer (+2 =1) in 1908. Also in 1908, he played another Rice Gambit-testing match, this time against Schlechter, again losing, this time by 1-4 (+0 =2 -3), apparently prompting a rethink of the Rice Gambit as a viable weapon.** In 1909 he drew a short match (2 wins 2 losses) against David Janowski and several months later they played a longer match that Lasker easily won (7 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss). Lasker accepted a return match and they played a title match in 1910 (details below). In 1914, he drew a 2 game exhibition match against Bernstein (+1 -1) and in 1916, he defeated Tarrasch in another, clearly non-title, match by 5.5-0.5. After Lasker lost his title in 1921, he is not known to have played another match until he lost a two-game exhibition match (=1 -1) against Marshall in 1940, a few months before he died. A match between Dr. Lasker and Dr. Vidmar had been planned for 1925, but it did not eventuate.***

World Championship matches The Steinitz - Lasker World Championship Match (1894) was played in New York, Philadelphia, and Montreal. Lasker won with 10 wins, 5 losses and 4 draws. Lasker also won the Lasker - Steinitz World Championship Rematch (1896), played in Moscow, with 10 wins, 2 losses, and 5 draws. At one stage when Rudolf Rezso Charousek ‘s star was in the ascendant, Lasker was convinced he would eventually play a title match with the Hungarian master; unfortunately, Charousek died from tuberculosis in 1900, aged 26, before this could happen. As it turned out, he did not play another World Championship for 11 years until the Lasker - Marshall World Championship Match (1907), which was played in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Chicago, Memphis. Lasker won this easily, remaining undefeated with 8 wins and 7 draws.

After a prolonged period of somewhat strained relations due to Tarrasch’s refusal of Lasker’s offer for a match, Lasker accepted Tarrasch’s challenge for the title, and the Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship Match (1908) was played in Düsseldorf and Munich, with Lasker winning with 8 wins 3 losses and five draws. In 1910, Lasker came close to losing his title when he was trailing by a full point at the tenth and last game of the Lasker - Schlechter World Championship Match (1910) (the match being played in Vienna and Berlin); Schlechter held the advantage and could have drawn the game with ease on several occasions, however, he pursued a win, ultimately blundering a Queen endgame to relinquish his match lead and allow Lasker to retain the title. Some months later, the Lasker - Janowski World Championship Match (1910) - played in Berlin - was Lasker’s final successful defense of his title, winning with 8 wins and 3 draws.

In 1912 Lasker and Rubinstein, agreed to play a World Championship match in the fall of 1914 but the match was cancelled when World War I broke out. The war delayed all further title match negotiations until Lasker finally relinquished his title upon resigning from the Lasker - Capablanca World Championship Match (1921) in Havana while trailing by four games.

Life, legacy and testimonials

Lasker’s extended absences from chess were due to his pursuit of other activities, including mathematics and philosophy. He spent the last years of the 19th century writing his doctorate. Between 1902 and 1907, he played only at Cambridge Springs, using his time in the US. It was during this period that he introduced the notion of a primary ideal, which corresponds to an irreducible variety and plays a role similar to prime powers in the prime decomposition of an integer. He proved the primary decomposition theorem for an ideal of a polynomial ring in terms of primary ideals in a paper Zur Theorie der Moduln und Ideale published in volume 60 of Mathematische Annalen in 1905. A commutative ring R is now called a 'Lasker ring' if every ideal of R can be represented as an intersection of a finite number of primary ideals. Lasker's results on the decomposition of ideals into primary ideals was the foundation on which Emmy Noether built an abstract theory which developed ring theory into a major mathematical topic and provided the foundations of modern algebraic geometry. Noether's Idealtheorie in Ringbereichen (1921) was of fundamental importance in the development of modern algebra, generalising Lasker's results by giving the decomposition of ideals into intersections of primary ideals in any commutative ring with ascending chain condition.****

After Lasker lost his title, he spent a considerable amount of time playing bridge and intended to retire. However, he returned to chess in the mid-thirties as he needed to raise money after the Nazis had confiscated his properties and life savings. After the tournament in Moscow in 1936, the Laskers were encouraged to stay on and Emanuel accepted an invitation to become a member of the Moscow Academy of Science to pursue his mathematical studies, with both he and his wife, Martha, taking up permanent residence in Moscow. At this time, he also renounced his German citizenship and took on Soviet citizenship. Although Stalin's purges prompted the Laskers to migrate to the USA in 1937, it is unclear whether they ever renounced their Soviet citizenship.

Lasker was friends with Albert Einstein who wrote the introduction to the posthumous biography Emanuel Lasker, The Life of a Chess Master by Dr. Jacques Hannak (1952), writing: Emanuel Lasker was undoubtedly one of the most interesting people I came to know in my later years. We must be thankful to those who have penned the story of his life for this and succeeding generations. For there are few men who have had a warm interest in all the great human problems and at the same time kept their personality so uniquely independent.

Lasker published several chess books but as he was also a mathematician, games theorist, philosopher and even playwright, he published books in all these fields, except for the play which was performed on only one occasion. As a youth, his parents had recognised his potential and sent him to study in Berlin where he first learned to play serious chess. After he graduated from high school, he studied mathematics and philosophy at the universities in Berlin, Göttingen and Heidelberg. Lasker died in the Mount Sinai Hospital, New York in 1941, aged 72, and was buried in the Beth Olom Cemetery in Queens. He was survived by his wife and his sister, Lotta. On May 6, 2008, Dr. Lasker was among the first 40 German sportsmen to be elected into the "Hall of Fame des Deutschen Sports".


"It is not possible to learn much from him. One can only stand and wonder." - <Max Euwe> Euwe lost all three of his games against Lasker, the most lopsided result between any two world champions.

"My chess hero" - <Viktor Korchnoi>

"The greatest of the champions was, of course, Emanuel Lasker" - <Mikhail Tal>

"Lies and hypocrisy do not survive for long on the chessboard. The creative combination lies bare the presumption of a lie, while the merciless fact, culminating in a checkmate, contradicts the hypocrite." – <Emanuel Lasker>


* E von Feyerfeil vs Lasker, 1889** *** User: Karpova: Emanuel Lasker (kibitz #1449)

Notes Lasker played on the following consultation chess teams Em. Lasker / MacDonnell, Lasker / Taubenhaus, Em. Lasker / Maroczy, Em. Lasker / I Rice, Em. Lasker / Barasz / Breyer, Lasker / Pillsbury, Lasker / Chigorin / Marshall / Teichmann, Emanuel Lasker / William Ward-Higgs, Emanuel Lasker / Heinrich Wolf, Emanuel Lasker / Hermann Keidanski & Emanual Lasker/ L Lasek.

Wikipedia article: Emanuel Lasker

Last updated: 2020-05-16 12:06:21

 page 1 of 56; games 1-25 of 1,400  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. NN vs Lasker  0-1331889SimulC41 Philidor Defense
2. A Reif vs Lasker 0-1131889Breslau Hauptturnier AA02 Bird's Opening
3. V Tietz vs Lasker 0-1401889Breslau Hauptturnier AC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
4. H Seger vs Lasker 0-1361889Hauptturnier Winners' GroupD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
5. L Mabillis vs Lasker 0-1241889Hauptturnier Winners' GroupC60 Ruy Lopez
6. Lasker vs Lipke 1-0471889Hauptturnier Winners' GroupA07 King's Indian Attack
7. E von Feyerfeil vs Lasker 1-0421889Hauptturnier Winners' GroupC30 King's Gambit Declined
8. E von Feyerfeil vs Lasker 0-1471889Hauptturnier play-offD00 Queen's Pawn Game
9. Lasker vs J Bauer 1-0381889AmsterdamA03 Bird's Opening
10. Lasker vs A van Foreest 1-0501889AmsterdamA04 Reti Opening
11. Loman vs Lasker 0-1221889AmsterdamC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
12. R Leather vs Lasker 0-1561889AmsterdamA07 King's Indian Attack
13. L Van Vliet vs Lasker 1-0241889AmsterdamC41 Philidor Defense
14. Gunsberg vs Lasker 0-1351889AmsterdamC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
15. Lasker vs J Mason ½-½381889AmsterdamC46 Three Knights
16. Lasker vs S Polner 0-1211889Casual gameC26 Vienna
17. Lasker vs Burn ½-½151889AmsterdamC01 French, Exchange
18. J Mieses vs Lasker 0-1281889Casual gameA07 King's Indian Attack
19. Von Bardeleben vs Lasker ½-½271889Lasker - Bardeleben mD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
20. Lasker vs Von Bardeleben 1-0471889Lasker - Bardeleben mB06 Robatsch
21. Von Bardeleben vs Lasker 1-0501889Lasker - Bardeleben mC26 Vienna
22. Lasker vs J Mieses 1-0371889Lasker - Mieses 1889/90A80 Dutch
23. J Mieses vs Lasker ½-½601889Lasker - Mieses 1889/90A07 King's Indian Attack
24. Lasker vs J Mieses ½-½701890Lasker - Mieses 1889/90D21 Queen's Gambit Accepted
25. J Mieses vs Lasker 0-1431890Lasker - Mieses 1889/90A07 King's Indian Attack
 page 1 of 56; games 1-25 of 1,400  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Lasker wins | Lasker loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: <FSR>

I'm curious to know what you think about a Capablanca vs Alekhine debate. Perhaps we could start a discussion on either one of their pages?

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <keypusher> He thanked me for my comment without trying to rebut it. I guess I'll consider that unconditional surrender.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <0ZeR0> Feel free. I'd go with Alekhine, but I probably won't participate in the debate. Lasker is my man. Capablanca fans will say that Alekhine was a jerk for never playing a rematch. Alekhine fans will rejoin that Alekhine just demanded the same terms from him that Capablanca had required Alekhine to satisfy. Capablanca fans will reply, "But it was the Great Depression! Give me a break!"
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <FSR: <keypusher> He thanked me for my comment without trying to rebut it. I guess I'll consider that unconditional surrender.>

As always, you make a very good case.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <keypusher> Some other guy "argued" in response to me that "To claim that Capablanca was a lesser player is absurd!" This after I'd spent hours explaining at length, with numerous links, why I thought Lasker was the greater player. I told the guy he must have been a debate champion.

To be fair, he did advance one argument: that Lasker should have been playing world championship matches in 1914 and the years immediately following. I suggested that World War I might have been a wee issue at that time, and asked if he'd heard of it. I also asked him to remind me how many title matches Alekhine played during World War II. I further noted that Lasker and Capablanca signed a match contract in late January 1920, which recited that "for reasons of weight" Capa was unable to play until 1921.

He asked if I'd always been obnoxious, or only since birth. I resisted remarking that I don't suffer fools gladly.

Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: <FSR>

For some reason there exist certain individuals who are so blinded by their admiration of their particular chess hero that they will refuse to see the forest for the trees. In these cases the individuals will often not hesitate to cut down to size other greats. <perfidious> had a post on the RJF page mentioning this very phenomena. While I can't say for sure that the guy you mentioned above falls in this category, it's possible. It would be one thing if he simply thought Capablanca was a greater player (and provided evidence to support his argument), but to say it's "absurd" to think otherwise is a bit much.

Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: I'll also add that I thought you did an excellent job supporting your argument for Lasker (not that I really needed much convincing).
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <jphamlore> wrote a nice post about Lasker's Manual of Chess.

My old Dover copy has black gorilla tape on its spine, but I keep getting drawn to it, reading and rereading it.

It is a great book.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < FSR: <keypusher> Some other guy "argued" in response to me that "To claim that Capablanca was a lesser player is absurd!" This after I'd spent hours explaining at length, with numerous links, why I thought Lasker was the greater player. >

Probably why the great man was so fond of combat over the board. <In mathematics, if I find a new approach to a problem, another mathematician might claim that he has a better, more elegant solution. In chess, if anybody claims he is better than I, I can checkmate him.">

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <keypusher> He also said, "On the chessboard, lies and hypocrisy do not survive long. The creative combination lays bare the presumption of a lie; the merciless fact, culminating in checkmate, contradicts the hypocrite."
Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: <keypusher> That?s a great quote that I hadn?t seen before.

<FSR> This one I?m very familiar with and I think it perhaps perfectly encapsulates Lasker as a chess player.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I have heard people claim that if only Tarrasch had played Lasker at the "right" time, whenever that was, he would have beaten him. Not bloody likely. Lasker had an extremely dominant record against Tarrasch: +18 =8 -4 in classical games. That would be 73.3%, just shy of 3/4. Other, more famous mismatches pale in comparison. Korchnoi was +13 =27 -4 against Tal (60.2%). Carlsen is +14 =25 -1 against Nakamura (66.25%).
Jul-01-21  Olavi: Perhaps a couple of years before 1894? Although Lasker was already stronger than contemporaneous players perhaps realized.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Tarrasch was offered a shot to play at Havana in 1892 for Steinitz's title, but he refused it because of his fledgling medical practice.

He would have had a great shot to defeat him, but he would have ended up losing to Lasker when the time came to face him in a match.

Lasker simply had his number.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Olavi> Lasker in fact offered Tarrasch a match in 1892, but Tarrasch declined, telling him that he should win an international tournament first. Lasker shrugged and challenged Steinitz to a match, which took place in 1894. The rest is history.

As <chancho> said, Tarrasch would have had an excellent chance of dethroning Steinitz had he played a title match against him before Lasker did. And yes, Lasker was already extremely strong. Chessmetrics considers him to have been the best player in the world by June 1890.

Tarrasch would have had a better chance against Steinitz in 1892 than against Lasker. See, for example, And obviously winning the world championship would have meant much more than beating Lasker. If you don't play, you can't win.

After acrimonious negotiations, Tarrasch and Lasker finally played a match in August and September 1908, for the world championship. Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship Match (1908) Tarrasch was still very strong, and according to Chessmetrics only a slight underdog, just 35 rating points below Lasker. But Lasker crushed him, winning by 5 points (+8 =5 -3). They played another (non-title) match in November-December 1916. By this time the gap between them had grown to 158 points by Chessmetrics' reckoning. Lasker annihilated Tarrasch by an almost Fischerian 5.5-.5. Lasker - Tarrasch (1916).

Jul-02-21  Lambda: I think it's fair to say Tarrasch was a little past his best by 1908. A match played five years before would probably be closer, Lasker is still big favourite to win it though.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Sergeant writes of negotiations for a Lasker-Tarrasch tilt in late 1903, only coming to a halt when Tarrasch suffered a serious skating accident during the winter of 1903-04.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <perfidious> Yes. See Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship Match (1908). As I recall, the recently published biography of Lasker expressed skepticism that Tarrasch's ice-skating accident required a one-year postponement of the match, as Tarrasch claimed. Tarrasch was a classic <whingeing Pom>. He was always complaining how lucky Lasker was and how unlucky he was, and published charts showing the "correct" number of points he and Lasker should each have received. After the 1908 match, he claimed to have suffered from breathing the sea air. A lame excuse to begin with, made even more lame by the venue being 100 miles or some such from the ocean.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jean Defuse: ...

End-Game No. 26

<Black to move:>

[Event "Simul, 15b"]
[Site "Hartford, USA"]
[Date "1906.04.20"]
[White "Emanuel Lasker"]
[Black "R G Oliver"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Source "ACB 08.1906, p.194 &196"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "

click for larger view


<In the position diagrammed, Black, having the move, played Kt-B5ch (Nf4+), and soon resigned; whereupon, recalling the above situation, Dr. Lasker made an amusing announcement, the purport of which we leave our readers to discover ...>


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <…Rg1+> wins.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Lasker-Vrbasic, from a simul in Yugoslavia in 1924 (not in the database). I don't have the game score.

click for larger view

White to play and win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Williebob: It looks like White can win Black's LSB with 1. a6 bxa6 (or other pawn move will also allow) 2. Kd7, forcing Bc6+ and KxB. From there it's just technique... for a player with technique. Black's king can't abandon e8=Q, anyway, and White's K will poke through to the kingside to clean up.

How'd I do?

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <WillieBob> Better than I did when I was given it as a puzzle!

Only thing I would say, and this doesn't matter in terms of solving the puzzle, is after Black is forced to give up the bishop, the W king doesn't even have to go after the kingside pawns. Soon the B king will have to let the W king return to support the e-pawn queening. Something like 1.a6! ba 2.Kd7 Bc6+ 3.Kxc6 Ke8 and White can either slide the king toward f6 or shuffle the bishop back and forth until the a-pawn runs out of moves.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Williebob: <keypusher>, thank you. There's that technique I keep hearing about!
Sep-27-21  Albertan: Visiting Steinitz and Lasker at their final resting places:

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