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Alexander Alekhine vs Emanuel Lasker
New York (1924), New York, NY USA, rd 3, Mar-18
Queen's Gambit Declined: Exchange. Saemisch Variation (D35)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-10-05  whiterook: What is wrong with 29 Nxg5?
Feb-10-05  Maroczy: It allows Qh2+ which I haven't followed up yet since I'm at work:).
May-09-05  Jamespawn: So in other words Maroczy you`re in a bind.
Jul-30-05  Boomie: Just when they thought Dr. Lasker was past his prime, he dominated the very strong 1924 New York tournament. Losing only one game to Capablanca, he won 13 out of the 20 played.

In this interesting game, Lasker builds on the advantage of the two bishops and a superior pawn formation. A couple of inaccuracies by Alekhine were enough for Lasker to claim the full point.

Lasker gained the advantage early when Alekhine errored on move 8. Giving up the minor exchange without first provoking weaknesses in black's position was unwise.

8. Bd3? (-0.54/13)
(8. Bg5 Ndf6 9. Bd3 (0.17/13)

10. g3 (-0.75/13)
(10. Qe2+ (-0.55/13))

I was surprised to discover that 12...Nf8 was better than 12...Nf6. I'm still not sure why but Dr. Lasker understood the difference. 12...Nf8 (-0.43/13)
(12... Nf6 13. Rfe1 Rxe1+ 14. Rxe1 Bg4 (-0.38/13))

Move 13 was unlucky for both players.

13. Nd1?
(13. Rae1 Re6 14. f5 Rxe1 15. Rxe1 (-0.41/13))

13...f6? (-0.23/13)
(13... Bg4 14. Ng5 g6 15. Ne3 Bh5 (-0.94/13))

15. Nh4
(15. f5 Bf7 16. Rab1 Bh5 17. Nd2 (-0.31/13))

15...Bc7 (-0.23/14)
(15...Qb6 16. Rfd1 Rac8 (-0.44/13))

21. Qb2
(21. a4 Rxc6 22. Qd1 Rc3 23. Bb5 Re4 24. f5 (-1.03/14))

Since 8. Bd3, the position has fluxuated between one half and one pawn advantage for black. It appears that white may be able to hold but I feel that white's disadvantage is chronic and he will succumb as his position steadily deteriorates. Alekhine found a quicker and perhaps more merciful end to his misery.

25. h3? (-1.64/12)
(25. g5 fxg5 26. Rac1 Nd7 27. Qb7 (-1.24/13))

<whiterook> Here's a sample of what can happen on 29. Nxg5.

29. Nxg5 Qh2+ 30. Kf1 fxg5 31. Ne3 Re8 32. Qc3 Qxh3+ 33. Ke2 Qxg4+ 34. Kf1 Qh3+ 35. Ke2 Bb6 36. Kd1 Qf3+ 37. Be2 Qxf2 38. Nc2 g4

Jul-30-05  ughaibu: Boomie: Lasker's plan requires bringing the bishop to h5, had he played Nf6 this would've been impossible.
Oct-21-05  Rene M. Pineda: sure I do
Jan-27-06  ughaibu: I wonder if Alekhine's decision at move 8 was connected to Alekhine vs Spielmann, 1923
Oct-18-06  Rama: Lasker had a bye in Rd 1. He faced Capablanca in Rd 2 and Alekhine in Rd 3, emerging 1.5 - 0.5. That is an excellent result out of a tough schedule.
Feb-04-07  Rubenus: Hans Bouwmeester gives 13...f6 an exclamation mark.
Jun-11-09  Lt.Surena: The game unwinds after moves 18.b5 and 19.g4 when Alekhine declares an all out assault.

Lasker is daring 'The Master of Attack' Alekhine, before unleashing an attack of his own. A classic Lasker !!

Lasker in his mid 50s finishes 4 points ahead of much younger Alekhine (Wow !!) and 1 1/2 points ahead of Capablanca.

Lasker wins the Chess 'Test-of-Time' hands down. A feat rarely repeated. We have had a lot of talented players over time. But IMHO Lasker is the Very Best Ever !!

Jul-13-09  Everett: I don't see 8.Bd3 as a mistake. If it was followed up with 10.Ne5 white would be comfortable and look toward the middle-game with optimism.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: 6 Bf4 is not played today; it leads to a hybrid of the Exchange and the Bf4 variations where Black has more choices. The maneuver 7..Nh5 and 8..Nxf4 resulted in Black saving a tempo with 9..Bd6 (as he had not played ..Be7 earlier). Also, after 8 Bd3?! the White d-pawn was weakened. If 10 Ne5 Crouch gives 10..0-0 11 0-0..g6 followed by ..Re8 and ..Nf8 with reasonable prospects (not 11..Re8? 12 Bxh7+..Kxf7 13 Nxf7..Qf6 14 Nxd6..Qxd5 15 Qh5+). Crouch after 14..Be6: "..This, strangely, is the first of six consecutive moves by the two Black bishops. The other bishop is going round to b6 ro add pressure to the b-pawn. What is remarkable in this game is the way in which the defender runs circles around the attacker just by maneuvering quietly in his own half. Possibly Alekhine did not appreciate the danger to his position until it was too late." Alekhine admitted that his attacking plans were overoptimistic recommending 15 Rhd1 followed by Bf5. Alekhine thought that 18 b5? was the losing move; 18 Bf5 or 18 Rfd1 were alternatives. Lasker could have taken the piece with 29..Nxh3+ 30 Kh1..fxe but may have been short of time and chose a simpler line.
Aug-23-10  Oceanlake: 27... Rb8 Lasker secures the queen's side and creates the possibility of a seventh-rank invasion. I wonder if Alekhine felt he was being vivisected.
Nov-11-11  Oceanlake: One way to see why allowing Nxf4 is bad is to look at the position should Alekhine trade queens (10 Qe2+). Black has a queen-side majority while White's king-side majority is devalued.
Feb-23-12  RookFile: It might be ok for white to play it this way if there was a scenario where he castled queenside. In those cases, somebody is usually dead in the middlegame, long before the endgame matters. That didn't happen here.
Mar-09-13  Ulhumbrus: As the move 13...f6 keeps White's knight out of e5, this suggests the question of what happens if White plays the move Ne5 earlier, before Black is able to play ...f6. One answer is that the d4 pawn can then come under attack after ...Qb6
Jul-23-13  jerseybob: One of my all-time faves, this game. Lasker wasn't much for fianchetto defenses; he had a special talent for deploying the bishops on the flanks that leaves me in awe. Lasker seems here to be almost playing with Alekhine; every flashy move by white meets with a drastic rebuttal. Just a beautiful harmonious performance.
Premium Chessgames Member
  lost in space: <I was surprised to discover that 12...Nf8 was better than 12...Nf6. I'm still not sure why but Dr. Lasker understood the difference. 12...Nf8 (-0.43/13) (12... Nf6 13. Rfe1 Rxe1+ 14. Rxe1 Bg4 (-0.38/13))>

12...Nf8 is played in such positon to be able to play ...f6, not allowing a white knight on e5. I don't think ...f6 deserves a ? (What ever comps say about it);

Not to be able to play Ne5 is elimiating most of whites options in a opening with d4 and a double f pawn (on f2 and f4)

It also allows Bc8-e6-f7-h5 - also known form the French defense (there it is the route c8-d7-e8-h5). After that Black often is better

Mar-24-14  Chris321: Knows about this game for a long time,but busy working on my openings and i remembered this game and the importance of it linked with the Queens Gambit in General.Lasker was capable to produce brilliant games even in todays standards!...wonder how many modern GM'S would have falen before Lasker in his best years?...pity we will never never know!.But i got a feeling the ratio would be something Like 3 or 2 1/2 wins/draws agains every loss,but its only based on a gutfeel!...yea yea rating etc etc,but Lasker would have been at least 2700 if he lived today in his strongest form i think.
Mar-24-14  Boomie: <Chris321>

Lasker would be a top player today. According to Chessmetrics, his peak rating was 2878

Notice the dips in rating caused by Lasker's many breaks from chess. Chessmetrics punishes inactivity. Using today's rating methods, Lasker's ratings would be even higher.

Carlsen's style is similar to Lasker's. They both play a variety of openings but are not openings specialists. They are both unbelievably tenacious. They have great endgame technique. I have no doubt that today, Lasker would be a top 5 player.

Mar-26-14  nimh: Lasker's level of play at his peak (1917-1919) would today be worth 2600-2650 elo. This is what I conclude from engine analysis. It is not definitive and using slightly different methods would probably yield a little different results, but this one is the best I have at the moment.

Had someone with Lasker's talent and character born 120 years later - 1988 - and started taking chess seriously as early as Carlsen and Karjakin, he would quite likely be in top 10 right now. His chess career and contributions to the game are a clear indication of his immense talent. It would be hard to imagine otherwise.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <Lasker's level of play at his peak (1917-1919) would today be worth 2600-2650 elo.>

And that's playing at a handicap, since you're describing a WWI-era Lasker playing against people armed with computers and modern analysis, and still scoring 2650.

The other Lasker, the one playing with those same modern advantages, is a hypothetical Lasker that never existed. How well the hypothetical Lasker would have done isn't really germane to judging the contributions of the real Lasker. Especially since there are probably many earlier champions (such as Morphy) who would probably never have begun playing the game at all as it exists today.

Mar-26-14  nimh: I should have mentioned that opening moves were excluded from analysis. So, if he played against players armed with modern theory and computer preparation, his results would presumably be weaker than his chess skills would suggest.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: No doubt about it. Lasker is absolutely one of the all-time greats and would be one of the world's top players in any era. Note that he had only a -1 score in four games against Botvinnink - a modern player - even though Lasker played those games at the end of his career, at ages 66 and 67. At Moscow (1935), a long (19-round) tournament, the 66-year-old Lasker was undefeated, and just half a point behind Flohr and Botvinnik (each about 40 years his junior), the tournament winners, and ahead of Capablanca. He had a plus score against Alekhine (+3 =4 -1 IIRC) and a perfect score (3-0) against Euwe. A giant.
Oct-13-16  RookFile: Lasker is modern because he was one of the first to understand dynamic chess.
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