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Emanuel Lasker vs Aron Nimzowitsch
St. Petersburg (1914), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 2, Apr-22
Caro-Kann Defense: Bronstein-Larsen Variation (B16)  ·  1/2-1/2
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

Annotations by Raymond Keene.      [407 more games annotated by Keene]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-31-03  ughaibu: Lasker manages to draw with a nice combination in this one.
Mar-25-05  Knezh: This game displays what is considered to be Lasker's trademrark - defending a position which is strategically lost but contains hidden resources. Brilliant display from Lasker.
Mar-26-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Keres recommended 37...Qh8 as a likely winning move.
Mar-26-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <all> Which game came first, this one or Nimzowitsch vs Capablanca, 1914? Thx.
Mar-26-05  Swindler: Nimzowitsch vs Capablanca, 1914 came first, it was played in the first round. This game was played in the second round, all according to the tournament book.
Mar-26-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Swindler> Thank you. Intriguing that the games were even played immediately back-to-back.
Aug-15-05  Eric6312: <Chessgames.com> Keres and Kotov's book "The Art of the Middlegame" has the game going two moves further: 41...Bxe5 42. Qe8+ and then they agreed to a draw as after 42. .Kc7 43. Qxe5+, Black must accept the perpetual check.
Jan-08-07  Ulhumbrus: 15 Ng3 obstructs the defence of g2 by the White Q, and transforms the reply 15...Qd5 into a fork, attacking both the a2 pawn and the g2 pawn.
Jan-09-09  Korch: Annotation of this game:

http://korch.blogspot.com/2008/12/r...

Jun-06-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Thanks <korch>, very interesting. Somewhere I have Keres and Kotov's book, which analyzes this game at length.
Aug-17-09  birthtimes: "...if indeed the opponent is to be confronted by problems in realizing his material superiority, then one must try to make these problems as difficult as possible."

"With this in mind, Lasker courageously refrained from..."

Lasker had quite another conception of the problem posed by the position...Lasker therefore decided that his immediate task was to await events so as to see how his opponent's plans would develop. But this idea of waiting is tied up with the notion [ala Sun Tzu] of seizing the opportunity during a regrouping on the opponent's part of organizing an eventual and successful counter-attack, thereby extracating himself from the difficult straits [in] which he lies."

"As can be seen from these moves, Lasker has proved right with his...tactics."

"...Lasker cannot remain passive any longer and he therefore decides to...keep his opponent preoccupied..."

"It should be observed that [Lasker's opponent] still does not know what procedure to adopt so as to increase his advantage."

"With his next move he [Lasker] comes to the decision to harass his opponent...and in this manner to divert his attention...So he must be prepared to go through the hurly-burly of a hand-to-hand fight [i.e., STRUGGLE] without flinching."

Lasker "has perplexed [his opponent] and obviously caused him to lose the thread of the game."

"...one can again and again set the opponent difficult problems and this Lasker really has done with great skill. In actual practice it often occurs that the player with the advantage plunges for inadequate methods if the solution to the problem is made sufficiently difficult for him the whole time."

"Just one heedless move by the opponent and at once Lasker strikes!"

"Suddenly [Lasker's opponent] sees difficulties looming up (it is only too well-known that such difficulties have a most depressing effect when they suddenly appear in a superior position. It is then that there come the horrid mistakes and oversights)."

"This is what the wily old fox [Lasker] was waiting for! [Lasker's opponent] misses the fruits of his good play up to this point...So, suddenly, weaknesses appear in the facade of the good position and in such cases one seldom finds the best defense."

"A wonderful defensive achievement by Lasker. One could quote a host of examples like this in which Lasker rescued himself from desperate situations through a resourceful defense."

"Lasker was purely and simply a great fighter who could also put up a tough fight in inferior positions, in this way being able to save many a difficult position."

Paul Keres comments regarding Lasker-Nimzowitsch, St. Petersburg, 1914, from "How to Defend Difficult Positions" in "The Art of the Middle Game," 1989, pp. 86-93.

Aug-17-09  AnalyzeThis: Lasker almost got caught with his hand in the cookie jar here.
Aug-25-09  WhiteRook48: where's the draw?
Aug-26-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <WhiteRook48> Black cannot avoid repeated checks:

<42. Qe8+> Kc7 43. Qxe5+ Kc8 (or <43... Kb6> 44. Qc5+ Kc7 45. Qe5+ =) <44. Qe8+> Kc7 45. Qe5+ =

Feb-10-13  vinidivici: <birthtimes>

Nice Quotes!!!

To be more exact, Keres first wrote these for the Shakhmaty v SSSR, 3rd and 4th issues, 1964, "Defending Difficult Positions". There are interesting quotations for Lasker moves at 27th (a3), 29th-31st (Ka2,Ka1,Ka2).

The Bronstein's isnt referring to this game in particular but just some paraphrase that the speaking author appointed to his own game/situation. And as follows:

Bronstein when asked about defending the difficult positions: "I just tried not to make my position worse, more importantly, did not try to make it better""

Colin Crouch in his book How to Defend in Chess:"There is always the danger for the defender that he will try to "refute" this passive play, and overpress, thereby creating weaknesses and accelerating defeat. Laskaer doesnt try to improve his position, his pieces are ideally placed for defense anyway."

Well we know that almost all the time in this game, Lasker had stood worse but howsoever managed to get a draw. Maybe that because he got a right plan how to defend.

Feb-12-13  vinidivici: I studied this game yesterday about 3 and a half hours of course with the help of the guiding book and engine. It's very engrossing, and head-spinning. This accounts beneath just a little drops of water compared to the inherent massive variations that contained in the actual game if you really interested to learn.

<Raymond Keene>
<Better 37...Kd8>
This words have the ambiguous meanings. Yes its better than 37...Nf6 but the best move BY FAR is 37...Qh8!.

After 37....Qh8 38.Qg2/Rg2

38.Qg2 Nf6! 39.h4 39 Ng4....now the rooks trapped..most likely 0-1

Its better 38.Rg2 Rg8! 39.Rxg8+ Qxg8 40.h4 (40.Nd2 Qh7 41.Nf3 f6 42.Bc1 Qh3...now black has a superb position) Qg4 41.Bg5 Nxg5 hxg5 42.Bf4....Now black would get the second pawn...0-1

So, with the 37...Qh8, even with the high skilled defense, Lasker wouldnt have a chance to save the game.

Keene suggested 37...Kd8, its worse than 38...Qh8.

37...Kd8 38.Ng5 Qxh2 (38...Nxg5 39.Bxg5+...even nearer to the equality) 39.Nxf7+ Kc8 (39...Ke8 40.Rg2 Qh7 41.Ng5...black just slightly better) 40.Qd3...now black just SLIGHTLY better.

In the actual game after 38.Bg5, the position is very complex, its likely impossible to mapping all the variations. Noted there are 38Nh5/Ne4/Nd7. For the wisdom of the imaginative mindsall the three deserves to try and of course would plunge to the oceans of variations. There is a semi-trap to get a better position. Aberration would bring to the disaster. 38...Ne4
39.Be7? (Be3 far better) Re8!

40.Rxf7 (now blacks better although its hard to harness the advantages) Qg4!

41.Bh4 (interestingly, I cant decide which better Bh4/Ba4) Qg8

42.Re7 Rf8
43.Ne5 Bd8

44.Nxc6 Qh8 (44bxc6 45.c5 threatening Qxa6+ only bring the draw)

45.Nxd8 Qxh4

46.Rxb6 Rxd8now black better with 3 pieces compared to white 2 pieces.

If 43Bd6?

44.Nxc6 Bc7= (now this is the point black now hasnt 44Qh8 because 45.c5 Bxe7 46.Nxe7+ Kd7 47.Ng6 would turn the table ) Of course not also 44bxc6 45.c5 threatening Qxa6+ or cxd6.

So, If 38Ne4, the response is 39.Be3! (not Be7?)

Apr-28-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Something that commentators might have missed--a comparison of this 2nd round game with Nimzowitsch's 1st round game vs. Capablanca. In that game, Nimzo won the pawn early but granted Black compensation on the a and b files. Here Lasker won the pawn early but granted Black compensation on the g and h files.

So we have Nimzowitsch taking concepts he learned the hard way in round one against one of the greatest players in history and using them in the next round against another of the greatest players in history! He learned quickly.

Aug-21-15  cunctatorg: I can NOT understand why this very variation of the Caro-Kann Defense is called (by certain authors) the ... Bronstein-Larsen variation!!

Aron Nimzowitsch played the very first five or six games in chess history with the moves 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 de4 4. Nxe4 (so far so good...) and then 4... Nf6!?! which indicated that this move came as a thunder to a shocked chess world!!... Furthermore all these games included the natural continuation 5. Nxf6 and then ... 5... gf6!?! to a completely shocked chess world!!... That way, Nimzo defeated both Yates and Leonhardt, then some other players either got Aron's point or they tried to imitate him and then the famous Saint Petersburg 1914 super-tournament came; there Aron Nimzowitsch was bold enough to play this variation against the World Champion of that era and not as an innovation, Emmanuel Lasker was fully aware of Aron Nimzowitsch's five or six previous games... but he was hardly able to save the draw playing as White!... Furthermore Nimzowitsch played also the variation 5... ef6 against Asztalos in the famous Bled 1931 tournament and he came with a massacre in no more than 35 moves!... Gary Kasparov rightly has mentioned Nimzowitsch's contribution (BCO) but the name "Bronstein-Larsen variation" doesn't bring light to chess history...

Aug-21-15  cunctatorg: They could call it the gNBL variation and they could call the variation with the moves 4... Nf6 5. Nxf6 ef6 the eNxx variation or so...
Sep-06-15  ToTheDeath: This is indeed a remarkable case of tenacious defense in a lost position. I highly recommend Keres' analysis in Art of the Middle Game quoted in part above. His notes are lucid and surprisingly precise for someone annotating without the help of an engine. A truly great player he was.

Keene's reccomendation of 37...Kd8? is strange since 37.Ng5 is a good reply and Black has many better moves as discussed above. Even more strange he gives no comment on 38...Nh5? but as Keres correctly points out this throws away all advantage and only by admitting his mistake with 38...Ne4! could Black still retain great chances to win the game. A very instructive struggle.

Feb-28-16  cunctatorg: I come again and I repeat that even in this very database, the first six out of ten games with this variation, the so-called Bronstein-Larsen variation, have been played at the very beginning of the previous century having Aron Nimzowitsch as Black; granted, Nimzowitsch isn't in need of one more opening or variation bearing his name but this very variation is an extremely important theoretical innovation of his!! It is somehow a theoretical complement to the doubling of the White's pawns at some variations of the Nimzoindian Defense and therefore it speaks by itself for Nimzowitsch's wide and creative approach to chess theory: he had suggested to (possibly) double White's pawns there, here he had suggested to let Black's pawns get doubled!! Moreover you could pay a visit to the previous post of mine (at 8/21/2015) at this very thread: it's unfair and all to name this variation after Bronstein and Larsen, at least name it NBL variation of the CK...
Feb-28-16  morfishine: <cunctatorg> You used the word "theoretical" twice and "theory" once in your diatribe...there is either "theory" or facts; theory is the unknown, facts are known...for some reason, "theory" as it pertains to chess, is accepted as fact, which is just plain silly
Sep-06-16  cunctatorg: To <morfishine>: regarding the so-called "theory of openings" I just quote Aron Nimzowitsch's ingenious remark: "... theory, (that is) the praxis of the masters..." from his magnus opus. The point is that (at least before the PC era) there wasn't any valuable algorithm other than the calculations and the thought processes of the "masters", the Grandmasters of Nimzowitsch's era... I hope that this sheds certain light to the interrelation between facts, e.g. games (of the "masters") and ideas, the concepts of the most influential chess philosophers, that is certain authors who had developed a set of abstract and general enough concepts by means of some thought processes from concrete and special to abstract and general...

Regarding the theoretical and the chess theory, the point is that certain opening innovations -and particularly various Nimzowitsch's ones- could only be applied as consequences of a certain theory of the game, particularly of its middlegame, and that was the case with that very variation...

Sep-06-16  AlicesKnight: <birthtimes> - The Keres-Kotov book (I have it) is indeed a fascinating one and the examples given here are typical of the perceptive comments on various games - very much recommended.
Sep-07-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <AlicesKnight: <birthtimes> - The Keres-Kotov book (I have it) is indeed a fascinating one and the examples given here are typical of the perceptive comments on various games - very much recommended.>

Ill second that.And add that studying this game for say 4-5 hours will really pay off in the long run.

Put glue on the chair.

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