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Akiba Rubinstein vs Emanuel Lasker
"By Rook or by Crook" (game of the day Aug-08-06)
St. Petersburg (1909)  ·  Queen's Gambit Declined: Traditional Variation (D30)  ·  1-0
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Last move:

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Given 59 times; par: 75 [what's this?]

Annotations by Emanuel Lasker.      [80 more games annotated by Lasker]

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Akiba Rubinstein vs Emanuel Lasker (1909)

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 7 OF 7 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-12-13  SirChrislov: This is the other Rubinstein classic rook endgame

Rubinstein vs Alekhine, 1911

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <SirChrislov: This is the other Rubinstein classic rook endgame

Rubinstein vs Alekhine, 1911>


Spielmann vs Rubinstein, 1909

Tarrasch vs Rubinstein, 1911

Janowski vs Rubinstein, 1907

H K Mattison vs Rubinstein, 1929

Game Collection: Akiba Rubinstein's Rook Endings

Feb-18-13  Diglot: 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Bg5 c5 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Nc3 cxd4 7.Nxd4 Nc6 8.e3 <Correct. Also playable is 8.Bxf6 after which play may continue with 8匭xf6 9.Ndb5 Bc5 (9匓b4? 10.Nc7+ Kf8 11.Nxd5) 10.Nc7+ Kf8 11.e3 d4 12.N3d5 Bb4+ 13.Nxb4 dxe3 14.fxe3 Qh4+ 15.g3 Qxb4+ 16.Qd2 Qxd2+ 17.Kxd2 Rb8 and the position looks about equal> 8匓e7 9.Bb5 Bd7 <Lasker offers up a Pawn in order to defend his position and launch an attack. The natural looking 900 drops two pawns to 10.Bxc6 bxc6 11.Nxc6 Qc7 12.Nxe7+ Qxe7 13.Nxd5>

10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.Nxd5 Bxd4 12.exd4 Qg5! <Simultaneously attacking the Knight and g-Pawn; a great attempt at counterplay from Lasker> 13.Bxc6 <Also possible is 13.Nc7+ Kd8, though not with the idea of 14.Nxa8 (as 14.Qxb5 leaves White in complete shambles), but rather followed with 14.Bxc6 to which Black can reply with either 14...Bxc6 15.d5 Kxc7 16.dxc6 Rhe8+ 17.Kf1 Rad8 giving a position with equal opportunities, or with the more unclear 14...Kxc7 which could then proceed with either 15.Bf3 Rhe8+ 16.Kf1 Qb5+ 17.Kg1 Rac8 18.Qd2 Kb8 19.h3 giving White an advantage, or perhaps with 15.Bxd7 Qxg2 16.Qc2+ Kxd7 17.Qf5+ Kd6 18.Qe5+ Kd7 19.0𢠢 which seems about equal>

13 Bxc6 <If 13卋xc6 then 14.Nc7+ Kd8 15.Nxa8 Qxg2 16.Kd2 Qxf2+ 17.Kc3 Qe3+ 18.Qd3 Qxd3+ 19.Kxd3 Bf5+ 20.Kc3 with White enjoying a comfortable advantage> 14.Ne3 <Also possible is 14.Qe2+ Kf8 15.Ne3 Bxg2 16.Rg1 Qa5+ 17.Qd2 Qxd2+ 18.Kxd2 Bc6 leading to equality> 140𢠢!? <A risky move by Lasker and probably an attempt to complicate things. Safer, and objectively better, is 14匓xg2, to which White can respond with 15.Rg1 Qa5+ 16.Qd2 Qxd2+ 17.Kxd2 Be4 18.Rg4 Bg6 19.Rc1 Rd8 with White maybe having a slight advantage, or possibly with 15.Nxg2!? though after 15匭xg2 16.Qa4+ Kd8 17.0𢠢 Qe4 18.b4 Rc8+ 19.Kb2 Black may have an advantage here>

Feb-18-13  Diglot: 15.00 Rhe8 16.Rc1!! <The beginning of Rubinstein抯 deep plan to leave the middlegame with an advantageous endgame. This move immediately threatens Rc5 and d5. Lasker called this move an 揺xtra-ordinarily subtle move> 16匯xe3 <Maybe a safer alternative for Black is 16匥b8 17.Rc5 Qxc5 18.dxc5 Rxd1 19.Rxd1 and Black has several ways to continue here, though White probably has an advantage> 17.Rxc6+ bxc6 18.Qc1!! <The point of 16.Rc1. Black抯 Rook is now pinned to the Queen, so whatever move Lasker now makes, Rubinstein wins a Pawn and enters a better endgame. Giving away White抯 advantage is 18.fxe3 Qxe3+ 19.Kh1 Qxd4> 18匯xd4 <Not much better is 18匭d5 19.fxe3 as after 19協5 or 19匯e8 White has the advantage. Worse is 18匯e5 due to 19.Qxc6+ Kb8 20.dxe5 Qxe5 21.Rc1 with a strong attack> 19.fxe3 <This is better than 19.Qxc6+ Kb8 20.Rc1 Rd8 21.Qc7+ Ka8 22.fxe3 Qxe3+ 23.Kh1> 19匯d7 <No better is 19匯d6 due to 20.Rxf7>

20.Qxc6+ Kd8 21.Rf4!! <揂 splendid conception (Lasker) which, after say 21匭a5, threatens 22.Qa8+ followed by either 22匥e7 23.Re4+ or 22匥c7 23.Rc4+. Thus Lasker is forced to exchange Queens and enter a lost endgame> 21協5 <Preventing White from using the e4 square> 22.Qc5 <Rubinstein threatens 23.Qf8+> 22匭e7 <Also possible is 22匭f6 23.Rd4. Not as good for Black is 22匯d1+ 23.Kf2. Losing for Black is 22匯b7 23.Qf8+> 23.Qxe7+ Kxe7 <Worse is 23匯xe7 due to 24.Rxf5 Rxe3 25.Rf7> 24.Rxf5 Rd1+ 25.Kf2! <Now is the time to get the King activated! The alternative 25.Rf1 Rd2 allows Black more chances to sneak a draw in> 25匯d2+ 26.Kf3 Rxb2 27.Ra5! <Protecting the a-Pawn and keeps Black抯 Rook on the seventh rank protecting his a-Pawn>

27匯b7 28.Ra6! <Confining Black抯 King to the back two ranks> 28匥f8 29.e4 Rc7 30.h4 Kf7 31.g4 Kf8 32.Kf4 Ke7 33.h5 h6 <Lasker has to create a hole at g6 for White抯 King to invade in order to prevent White抯 Pawn from getting to g6!> 34.Kf5 Kf7 35.e5 Rb7 36.Rd6 Ke7 37.Ra6 Kf7 <Rubinstein抯 little Roof shuffle on moves 36 and 37 may have been due to a time scramble. Time control for this game was 2.5 hours for 37 moves, 1.5 hours for the next 23 moves, and then 1 hour for every 15 moves after> 38.Rd6 Kf8 39.Rc6 <Another fine move (and possibly a quicker route to victory?) would have been 39.Rd8+, for after 39匥e7 White has 40.Rg8 Kf7 41.Rc8 Ke7 42.a4, and after 39匥f7 mate follows starting with 40.e6+> 39匥f7 <No better is 39匯f7+ due to 40.Kg6 Rf4 41.Rc8+ Ke7 42.Rc7+ Ke6 43.Rxg7 Rxg4+ 44.Kxh6>

Feb-18-13  Diglot: 40.a3! <This neat little move prevents 匯b4 and effectively puts Black in zugzwang. In a lot of the possible continuations here, White will win due to obtaining connected passed Pawns on the Kingside.

Play could continue with:

40卆5 41.Rc5 (41.Ra6 also good) 41匯b3 42.e6+ Ke7 43.Rc7+ Kd6 44.Rd7+ Kc6 45.Rxg7 Rxa3 46.e7 Kd7 47.g5 hxg5 48.h6

40匥e8 41.Kg6 Rb3 42.Kxg7 Rg3 43.Rc4 Rxa3 44.Kxh6

40匯e7 41.e6+ and the computer engine says this eventually leads to a forced mate. For example: (1) 41匯xe6 42.Rxe6 a6 43.Re4 g6+ 44.hxg6+ Kg7 45.Re7+ Kf8 46.Kf6 h5 47.g7+ Kg8 48.Re8+ Kh7 49.Rh8# ; (2) 41匥g8 42.Kg6 Kf8 43.Rc8+ Re8 44.Rxe8+ Kxe8 45.Kxg7 Ke7 46.Kxh6 and White has connected passed Pawns with mate on the horizon; (3) 41匥f8 42.Rc8+ Re8 43.Rxe8+ Kxe8 44.Kg6 Kf8 (44匥e7 45.Kxg7 Kxe6 46.Kxh6) 45.e7+ Kxe7 46.Kxg7 Kd6 47.Kxh6 and the connected passed Pawns win>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <ROO.BOOKAROO: No doubt about it. Graham Burgess offers the most thorough, complete and in-depth (5-page long) analysis, with all the possible variations, of this game in his famous book, "The World's Greatest Chess Games", Game #12, p. 68-72, on which all the above quotes are based.> [from Apr-05-09]

The annotations to which the foregoing refers are indeed excellent, but, for the record, they were written by John Emms, rather than Graham Burgess, according to the attribution in the Contents section. <The Mammoth Book of The World抯 Greatest Chess Games, (New Expanded Edition [2010])>, by Graham Burgess, Dr. John Nunn, and John Emms, Constable & Robinson Ltd. 1998, 2004, 2010, at p. 3.

Jul-18-13  Tigranny: It's not often you see a guy like Lasker annotate one of his losses accurately and honestly while giving credit to Rubinstein. I like the pun as well, and Rubinstein's technique to win that rook ending.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Lasker wrote the tournament book. He could hardly have ignored this game.
Jul-18-13  Wyatt Gwyon: Lasker's praise of Rubinstein's brilliant play and overall gracious tone are commendable.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Nightsurfer: Hi, dear folks of, thank you so much for uploading that very interesting photo featuring this game here <Akiba Rubinstein vs Emanuel Lasker (1909)>: the loser-to-be <Emanuel Lasker> (left) looking that alert ... and <Akiba Rubinstein> (right) looking that self-confident (and he has every reason in the world to be that confident ... as it has turned out later ... ;-) )!
Jan-22-14  JimNorCal: "What a chivalric thing for Lasker, to annotate this sad loss." Well said, also the others who have posted similar sentiments.

I think that Lasker was that high-minded, also it was part of the ethos of the time. Additionally, if you want to get to the top, you have to be willing for search for the truth, and not be daunted when the search leads you to places that are uncomfortable to your ego.

Jan-22-14  Karpova: These are basically (a bit condensed) the annotations from Dr. Lasker's tournament book, wherein he annotated all of the games. See pages 35-36 of Emanuel Lasker, 'The International Chess Congress St. Petersburg 1909', Russell Enterprises, 2008.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Lasker's book is also available from Google for free.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: That's a very good picture below the gamescore.

Lasker looks like a disconcerted Frank Zappa and Rubinstein looks like a ready-to-puke Mr Creosote.

It's a nice set. But it looks like the board is a folding one. There is not much difference in colour between white and black.

Neither player has a scoresheet or pen, so perhaps this was from a post-mortem.

Lasker country is given as America; Rubinstein's country looks to me like Poland (is it Polsk?).

There seems to be a post-name letter attached to both surnames. I believe this to be an <s>. I have often seen Tal's name given as <Tals>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Trying to decipher position on board. A King Pawn opening, Berlin Defense perhaps?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <offramp>

According to this the letter at the end of both men's names is silent and "prevents palatalization of the previous consonant," whatever that means.

<tamar> You're right, looks like a double KP opening -- clearly not from this game. Both castled queenside, which is pretty rare in the Ruy Lopez...

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <keypusher> Exchange Ruy is my best guess, if that is a bishop on g4
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: < JimNorCal: "What a chivalric thing for Lasker, to annotate this sad loss." Well said, also the others who have posted similar sentiments.>

He wrote the tournament book. It would have been odd to have two blank pages...

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <tamar> Right again, I would guess, and with "colors reversed." Would be fascinating to find out more. Dus-Chotmirsky said he played hundreds of exchange variation practice games with Lasker in a few months' time -- guess Emanuel was always glad to get a workout.
Jan-23-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: Lasker seems to have been a nice guy. At least, that's what my grandmother told me. She met him as a little girl, and played board games with him, specifically the German game Muehle.

This would have been in 1911 or so, I think.

May-31-14  grasser: Lasker Taught Dr. Joseph Platz and Platz taught me.
Premium Chessgames Member
  sfm: <Cheapo by the Dozen: Lasker seems to have been a nice guy. At least, that's what my grandmother told me. She met him as a little girl, and played board games with him, specifically the German game Muehle.> Far out, man! What a story. The chess world would be grateful for any memories that your GrandMom could provide about this legend.
Aug-06-15  lalla: Isn't something wrong with the photo? Both the players are playing the black pieces.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Most likely red and black, a popular combination before black and white became standardised.
Aug-06-15  denopac: <Lasker country is given as America; Rubinstein's country looks to me like Poland (is it Polsk?).>

It's the Cyrillic for Lodz, to where Rubinstein moved at age twenty-one.

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