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Lasker vs Tarrasch 1908
Düsseldorf / Munich

Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch, after several major tournament successes in the 1890s, was widely considered the most likely successor to Steinitz. At one point, Lasker had challenged him to a match and been curtly brushed off. Because of Tarrasch's earlier snub, the two were not on speaking terms for years, which delayed any chance Tarrasch might have of playing for the title.[1]

Tarrasch and Lasker In 1908, Tarrasch challenged Emanuel Lasker for the World Chess Championship. Lasker accepted, but was convinced that Tarrasch had hypnotic powers and therefore suggested to play the match from a different room. The match took place in Germany between August 17 and September 20, 1908. It was considered by many to be the most exciting chess match in history up to that date.

An attempted reconciliation before the match came to nothing, when Tarrasch refused to shake hands, made a stiff little bow, and said: "To you, Herr Lasker, I have only three words to say: Check and mate!"[1]

Lasker won the first game. It appeared to be an uneventful game at first, but slowly Tarrasch fell into an indefensible position and he was defeated. The second game was a brilliant one for Lasker. At the outset, Tarrasch earned what he thought was a superior position when Lasker made his fourteenth move. Tarrasch, in his own notes on the game, said of that move that it was "evidently an oversight, such as is apt to occur in inferior positions."[2] In the complications that ensued, Tarrasch lost his way: a fine example of Lasker's ability to play psychological chess, with the aim of unsettling his opponents.

Hypnotism notwithstanding, Lasker defended his title with a score of +8 -3 =5.

click on a game number to replay game 12345678910111213141516
Lasker11011½1½½0101½½1
Tarrasch00100½0½½1010½½0

FINAL SCORE:  Lasker 8;  Tarrasch 3 (5 draws)
Reference: game collection WCC Index [Lasker-Tarrasch 1908]

NOTABLE GAMES   [what is this?]
    · Game #2     Tarrasch vs Lasker, 1908     0-1
    · Game #4     Tarrasch vs Lasker, 1908     0-1
    · Game #1     Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1908     1-0

FOOTNOTES

  1. World Chess Championship by Graeme Cree
    2 The Great Jewish Chess Champions, by Ribalow and Ribalow

 page 1 of 1; 16 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Lasker vs Tarrasch 1-055 1908 Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship MatchC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
2. Tarrasch vs Lasker 0-141 1908 Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship MatchC66 Ruy Lopez
3. Lasker vs Tarrasch 0-144 1908 Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship MatchC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
4. Tarrasch vs Lasker 0-141 1908 Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship MatchC66 Ruy Lopez
5. Lasker vs Tarrasch 1-038 1908 Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship MatchC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
6. Tarrasch vs Lasker ½-½53 1908 Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship MatchC10 French
7. Lasker vs Tarrasch 1-076 1908 Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship MatchC12 French, McCutcheon
8. Tarrasch vs Lasker ½-½48 1908 Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship MatchC67 Ruy Lopez
9. Lasker vs Tarrasch ½-½71 1908 Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship MatchC12 French, McCutcheon
10. Tarrasch vs Lasker 1-032 1908 Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship MatchC67 Ruy Lopez
11. Lasker vs Tarrasch 1-028 1908 Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship MatchC12 French, McCutcheon
12. Tarrasch vs Lasker 1-065 1908 Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship MatchC49 Four Knights
13. Lasker vs Tarrasch 1-044 1908 Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship MatchD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
14. Tarrasch vs Lasker ½-½119 1908 Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship MatchC67 Ruy Lopez
15. Lasker vs Tarrasch ½-½52 1908 Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship MatchD02 Queen's Pawn Game
16. Tarrasch vs Lasker 0-126 1908 Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship MatchC49 Four Knights
 page 1 of 1; 16 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  
 

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Petrosianic>

Right you are. In my chess dreams, I have often wondered what would have happened had Lasker in his prime met Capablanca in his prime in a WC match!

I definitelt agree with you. A Capablanca of 1912 would have probably lost to Lasker. Capa was after all born and bred in a far flung provincial colony of the old Spanish Empire, and only started playing in Europe, the center of international chess, in his 20s. Many chess fans and players today tend to forget this fact. However, a two or three year exposure to European masters would have been sufficient to prepare him for Lasker the Great.

Lasker in 1914 was around 46 years old, around the age of Karpov when he was still beating everyone in sight in matches except for Kasparov. (If Kaspy had not arrived in the chessworld like an exploding nova, I believe that Karpov would still have been undisputed World Champion at that age.) IMO Lasker would still have been in his prime or close to it. More importantly, that version of Lasker would not have had the psychological and financial trauma of a WW1 hanging on his neck.)

While Capablanca is Capablanca. What else to call him but what his fellows called him, an invincible chess machine.

A match only in my dreams...

Jul-23-08  Red October: <A defeat then might have been embarrassing and stigmatizing.> yes, which also speaks a lot for Spassky, most remember him as a kind of weak sister but he overcame a very painful loss to Petrosyan and came back to beat him in the next match (not a mean feat considering Petrosyan's strength in matches and tough to beat style)

Kasparov also benefited from the lessons of the 1984 match which put the finishing touches on some aspect of his game

Jul-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <cannibal> Chessmetrics drops your rating if you don't play. Since Lasker was inactive for long periods, this hurts his rating.

<gogulko> <visayanbraindoctor>

<He had the flu at Hastings>

He was very sick earlier in 1895, indeed so ill that his brother Berthold, a doctor, came over to England to take care of him. Was he sick during the tournament? I don't know. The tournament took just over a month. Lasker started badly and (very uncharacteristically) ended badly. But in between he won almost every game for nearly 3 weeks. So if he was ill, I doubt he was ill the entire time. Overall, he won 14 and lost 4 at Hastings, compared to 12 wins and 3 losses at Nuremberg against a similar field the following year. Certainly not a very different performance, though at Nuremberg he finished first and at Hastings he finished third.

<and hadn't played a serious tournament in 4 years before Cambridge Springs.>

He didn't play in a serious tournament for five years before St. Petersburg 1909 (1st place) or five years before St. Petersburg 1914 (1st place) or four years before Berlin 1918 (1st place) or 5 years Maerisch Ostrau 1923 (1st place). He didn't play in tournaments often, period. Nor did he do that badly at Cambridge Springs -- +8-2=5. Marshall had an otherworldly result -- +11-0=4 -- and won.

<In Moscow 1925 he lost a crucial - and oft-anthologized game against Torre that he was actually winning. According to Lasker's biography (Hannak), he received a telegram telling his verse play would be performed and got distracted.>

Anything is possible, I guess. But these stories seem to crop up just about every time a famous player loses a game. Color me extremely skeptical. Torre-Lasker certainly had a lot of mistakes by both sides -- maybe both men were being handed telegrams during the game?

Also Lasker's performance overall was quite strong -- +10-2=8, not as extraordinary as +13-1=6 at New York the year before, but still good enough for second place.

<As far as the Capablanca match, he was financially and psychologically destitute after WWI, and played only because he needed the money. >

For what it's worth, Capablanca claimed that Lasker played better in Havana 1921 than he did at New York 1924 -- the difference, Capablanca modestly asserted, was in the quality of his opposition. I find Capa's assertion a bit strong, but Kramnik also commented that Lasker played very well in the match; Capablanca just played better.

Game Collection: New York 1924

Game Collection: Moscow 1925

Game Collection: Cambridge Springs 1904

Game Collection: Nürnberg/Nuernberg/Nuremberg 1896

Game Collection: Hastings 1895

This is probably Lasker's best tournament, though St. Petersburg 1914 and New York 1924 surely run it close:

Game Collection: London 1899

Jul-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <As far as the Capablanca match, he... played only because he needed the money. >

That was true of probably just about every event Lasker ever played in.

Jul-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <keypusher>
Thanks for all the interesting info! Those were indeed fascinating facts.
Jul-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Not sure where this belongs, but this seems as good a place as any, since it concerns both Lasker and Tarrasch. From the <Moskauer Deutschen Zeitung>, October 12, 1907, a Dr. Falk comments on the Carlsbad 1907 tournament:

<From the beginning it was a most difficult tournament, for all of the players were well known and felt called upon to enter into the arena of suitors for the prizes. The past two to three years have altogether revealed many skilled players: Duras, Nimzovich, Rubinstein, Salwe, Tartakower, Vidmar. In this last tournament the name Dus-Chotmirsky was added to the list who, after early defeats, won game after game. The old gods must come down from Olympus and find a new seat. We see already how entirely mistaken was the idea of the grandmasters' tournament at Ostende. Schlechter, Marshall, Janowsky, Chigorin, who participated there, had a woeful tournament -- with the exception of Schlechter, but even he achieved only a relative success.

We are currently living in a brilliant era in chess. Thanks to numerous tournaments, which follow closely upon one another, it is becoming possible for a chess player, when he is successful, to make a living for himself as a result of his exertions. Thus encouraged, a new school of masters is forming that threatens to put the old, most distinguished notables quite in the shade. Tarrasch has solemnly declared that the Ostende tournament is the last in which he would participate. It is understandable -- the exertions that today's tournaments require is too much for a man in his riper years. Only younger powers can join in, players in their twenties. Lasker long ago renounced his participation in tournaments under the pretext that the outcome of a game, around which so many individual forces are at work, is uncertain, that the strength of the individual player is by no means the decisive factor. We permit ourselves to entertain some doubt about the last statement.>

Jul-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <keypusher>

That's a fascinating article! If you were to change the names of then rising stars Duras, Nimzovich, Rubinstein, Salwe, Tartakower, Vidmar, Dus-Chotmirsky to Carlsen, Karjakin, Radjabov, Mamedyarov, Aronian, and so on; and the names of then veterans Schlechter, Marshall, Janowsky, Chigorin, Tarrasch, Lasker to Anand, Ivanchuk, Kamsky, Kramnik, Morozevich, Leko and so on, and place that in the internet today, it's possible that no one would notice that the article was written in 1907.

And what would the chess world say if a new Capablanca were to pop up in 4 more years (as he did in San Sebastian 1911) and an Alekhine were to appear in 7 more years (as he did in St. Petersburg 1914)?

I could imagine the internet flooding with more agog wows of amazement.

Jul-26-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: From <keypusher>, quoting from the <Moskauer Deutschen Zeitung>, October 12, 1907, an article by a Dr. Falk :

<From the beginning it was a most difficult tournament, for all of the players were well known and felt called upon to enter into the arena of suitors for the prizes. The past two to three years have altogether revealed many skilled players: Duras, Nimzovich, Rubinstein, Salwe, Tartakower, Vidmar. In this last tournament the name Dus-Chotmirsky was added to the list who, after early defeats, won game after game. The old gods must come down from Olympus and find a new seat. We see already how entirely mistaken was the idea of the grandmasters' tournament at Ostende. Schlechter, Marshall, Janowsky, Chigorin, who participated there, had a woeful tournament -- with the exception of Schlechter, but even he achieved only a relative success.

We are currently living in a brilliant era in chess. Thanks to numerous tournaments, which follow closely upon one another, it is becoming possible for a chess player, when he is successful, to make a living for himself as a result of his exertions. Thus encouraged, a new school of masters is forming that threatens to put the old, most distinguished notables quite in the shade. Tarrasch has solemnly declared that the Ostende tournament is the last in which he would participate. It is understandable -- the exertions that today's tournaments require is too much for a man in his riper years. Only younger powers can join in, players in their twenties. Lasker long ago renounced his participation in tournaments under the pretext that the outcome of a game, around which so many individual forces are at work, is uncertain, that the strength of the individual player is by no means the decisive factor. We permit ourselves to entertain some doubt about the last statement.>

Just for fun:

"From the beginning it was a most difficult tournament, for all of the players were well known and felt called upon to enter into the arena of suitors for the prizes. The past two to three years have altogether revealed many skilled players: Karjakin, Radjabov, Mamedyarov, Aronian, Grischuk, Wang Yue, Wang Hao, Bu Xiangzhi, Gashimov. In this last tournament the name Carlsen was added to the list who, after early defeats, won game after game. The old gods must come down from Olympus and find a new seat. We see already how entirely mistaken was the idea of the grandmasters' tournament at Ostende. Anand, Gelfand, Ivanchuk, Kamsky, Topalov, Kramnik, Svidler, Leko, who participated there, had a woeful tournament -- with the exception of Morozevich, but even he achieved only a relative success.

We are currently living in a brilliant era in chess. Thanks to numerous tournaments, which follow closely upon one another, it is becoming possible for a chess player, when he is successful, to make a living for himself as a result of his exertions. Thus encouraged, a new school of masters is forming that threatens to put the old, most distinguished notables quite in the shade. Kamsky has solemnly declared that the Ostende tournament is the last in which he would participate. It is understandable -- the exertions that today's tournaments require is too much for a man in his riper years. Only younger powers can join in, players in their twenties. Kasparov long ago renounced his participation in tournaments under the pretext that the outcome of a game, around which so many individual forces are at work, is uncertain, that the strength of the individual player is by no means the decisive factor. We permit ourselves to entertain some doubt about the last statement."

(Again, before kibitzers start misconstruing, this is just for fun.)

If this were marketed today as a recent quote, people who were not able to examine the details of the quote to see some discrepancies might probably start asking what the heck is the Ostende tournament.

Aug-01-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  talisman: well ya gotta admire lasker's moxie. the 2 don't like each other, don't talk; so what does lasker do? makes his move and then picks up his chair and goes and sits by tarrasch?!
Aug-01-08  micartouse: <talisman> lol it is a great picture.
Aug-11-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Here, by the way, is a new Winter note on the "Check and Mate" story. See #5707 below.

http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

Sep-24-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  talisman: <keypusher> thanks!
Oct-25-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <...the ONLY serious competitions he didn't win were Hastings 1895 (3rd place), Cambridge Springs 1904 (2nd place), Moscow 1925 (2nd place at age 56, but ahead of Capablanca!), and of course the 1921 match against Capa. ... >

Lasker also drew w. Schlechter; that was a serious match ...

Jun-23-10  Petrosianic: <Okay, so your sources are "a lot of old books" and Irving Chernev.>

Right, as I say, I don't guarantee that the story is true, only that it used to float around a lot. Chernev is defintely one of the people who told it. But it also appears in the wikipedia entries for both Lasker and Tarrasch.

Wikipedia cites Harold Schonberg's book as a source for the story. I do have that book down in the garage, and am sure that's one of the places I've seen it. But Schonberg was a music critic for the New Zork Times, who dabbled in chess, and was inspired by Fischer-Spasky to research and write his own book. He's not a source of his own. I'd have to pull his book out to see if he has a citation for the story.

They also cite this story:

http://www.atlantic-times.com/archi...

<In August and September 1908, two Germans fought for the chess crown. Their highly publicized duel was divided between Düsseldorf and Munich. Emanuel Lasker and Siegbert Tarrasch were bound by a rivalry that the latter was able to sum up in one sentence. “Mr. Lasker, I have only three words to say to you: check and mate!”>

But again, that doesn't prove that the story is true, only that it's been knocking around so long that new publications often pick it up in their research.

Jun-23-10  Petrosianic: It's also possible that the story did happen at a nother time, but got retold as though it had happened in 1908.
Jun-23-10  Call me Ishmael: It's a pity these two didn't play 10 years earlier. Tarrasch was probably past his prime by 1908.
Jun-23-10  Petrosianic: Possibly, although he didn't seem to play especially badly. He got his attacking positions, Lasker just held them and counter-attacked. Still, it would have been interesting if they'd played 10 years earlier. Even if Tarrasch hadn't gone down in that time, Lasker probably went up.
Jun-23-10  Call me Ishmael: It's also interesting that this match featured the debut of the Chigorin variation of the Ruy Lopez. It had only been uncorked the year before and was Chigorin's last gift to the chess world.
May-22-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Adriano Saldanha: Just to add the dates and places of the games:
# White - Black
01 Las-Tar Duss 08-17-1908 C68 1-0
02 Tar-Las Duss 08-19-1908 C66 0-1
03 Las-Tar Duss 08-22-1908 C98 0-1
04 Tar-Las Duss 08-24-1908 C66 0-1
05 Las-Tar Mun 09-01-1908 C98 1-0
06 Tar-Las Mun 09-02-1908 C10 ½-½
07 Las-Tar Mun 09-05-1908 C12 1-0
08 Tar-Las Mun 09-09-1908 C67 ½-½
09 Las-Tar Mun 09-11-1908 C12 ½-½
10 Tar-Las Mun 09-14-1908 C67 1-0
11 Las-Tar Mun 09-15-1908 C12 1-0
12 Tar-Las Mun 09-16-1908 C49 1-0
13 Las-Tar Mun 09-23-1908 D40 1-0
14 Tar-Las Mun 09-24-1908 C67 ½-½
15 Las-Tar Mun 09-28-1908 D02 ½-½
16 Tar-Las Mun 09-30-1908 C49 0-1
source:
http://graeme.50webs.com/chesschamp...
Dec-27-11  AVRO38: The match ended on September 30th not the 20th, chessgames.com please change this.

Also, there is an actual photo of the match available:

http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

Can you please use this photo rather than the weird one currently on this page?

Aug-19-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Max Hofschläger: <Daß die Schachwelt diesen langersehnten grandiosen Zweikampf erlebt hat, verdankt sie neben der Opferwilligkeit des deutschen Schachbundes in erster Linie Dr. Tarrasch, der das in jeder Beziehung weitgehendste Entgegenkommen bewiesen hat, um den Wettkampf zu ermöglichen. Das sollte ihm nicht vergessen werden!>

From page 376 of the 1908 'Wiener Schachzeitung' (the article originally appeared in the 'Hamburger Nachrichten')

Aug-19-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: < keypusher: <As far as the Capablanca match, he... played only because he needed the money. > That was true of probably just about every event Lasker ever played in.>

Whatever the truth of Lasker's career prior to his intended retirement after Moscow 1925-and I'm neither agreeing nor disagreeing with <keypusher>'s statement-financial pressures were certainly what drove his return to the game in 1934.

Apr-12-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: This WC match stimulated the foundation of several (<einige>) Chess Clubs in Munich. No number is given, but it is said at the end that there were now (February 1909) 14 Chess Clubs in Munich.

Source: 'Wiener Schachzeitung', February 1909, p. 54

Apr-14-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Dr Lasker: I'm afraid today is just not your day, my friend.

Tarrasch: <[quickly stands up]> Oh, but it is! It is, my "friend" after three, long terrible years it is AT LAST my day! I will not permit, repeat not permit anything...repeat <anything> to spoil it. Now, I will walk you to the gate, to the car which should rightfully be mine, and then I will kiss you goodbye... <[Kisses Lasker's cheeks]> And then I will have my meeting with the sanity commission where I will be set free! And then... <[Gets hit in the head with a rubber arrow and turns to Lasker]> Tarrasch:...I will kill you!

Jul-23-14  Mr. V: <offramp> Um, is that a reference to the Pink Panther?
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