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Akiba Rubinstein vs Carl Schlechter
San Sebastian (1912)  ·  Queen's Gambit Declined: Semi-Tarrasch Defense. Exchange Variation (D41)  ·  1-0
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-31-06  Jole: just to complete the brilliancy of 1...f5 it must be followed immediately up by 2...g5 regardless of what white plays :)
Jan-23-07  Archives: Just wondering, if anyone has "Uncrowned King" by Donaldson, is there anything written about this game?

'Tis my favourite game.

Jan-24-07  Kean: my jaw is on the floor. didn't knew this one of Rubinstein, and it was Schlecter on the other side
Jan-24-07  whatthefat: Absolutely clinical from start to finish. The game is almost brutal, despite the lack of flamboyance.
Jan-25-07  Archives: I was checking another database and the game up until move 10 had been played before. The game is not in this database but here is the PGN

[Event "Stockholm"]
[Site "Stockholm"]
[Date "1906.02.??"]
[Round "10"]
[White "Bernstein,Ossip"]
[Black "Schlechter,Carl"]
[Result "1/2"]
[Eco "D41"]
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 Nf6 4.Nc3 c5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 cxd4 8.cxd4 Bb4+ 9.Bd2 Qa5 10.Rb1 Bxd2+ 11.Nxd2 0-0 12.Bc4 Nc6 13.d5 exd5 14.Bxd5 Ne7 15.Bc4 a6 16.0-0 b5 17.Bb3 Bb7 18.Qe2 Ng6 19.f4 Rad8 20.Rbd1 Rd4 21.e5 Rxf4 22.Qe3 Rxf1+ 23.Rxf1 Nxe5 24.Qxe5 Qxd2 25.Bxf7+ Kh8 26.Rf2 Qd1+ 27.Rf1 Qd2 1/2

When Rubinstein reached the same position instead of playing the weaker passive move 11.Nxd2 he played the more correct continuation 11.Qxd2 followed by 12.Kxd2 instead of the weaker 12.Nxd2

Whether Rubinstein found this devastating plan against 9...Qa5 during the actual OTB game or while analyzing the aforementioned game, it was the death blow to 9...Qa5 idea.

Jan-26-07  paladin at large: <Archives> Off hand, and without looking through Winter, I believe Capablanca did not annotate the game. The quotes provided from him earlier in the thread are all there is. I agree with you and <what the fat >- this is quite a striking game.
Feb-25-07  Dr.Lecter: <archives> it was a rather nice game, but don't know why it's your favorite.
Feb-25-07  whithaw: This is a great game, and Chernev's book, "Most Instructive Games Ever Played" (something like that) annotate's it well. 10.Rb1 is a very strong move, and from this point white's king is very comfortable in the center. Many people wont understand the strength of Rubinstein's play in this game, because you have to look at what he is restricting at the same time he makes progress, kind of like Karpov or Kramnik.
Feb-25-07  Archives: <it was a rather nice game, but don't know why it's your favorite.>

It's my favourite game by my favourite player =)

Feb-26-07  Archives:

This is what Razuvaev says about 13.Bb5

<An astonishingly deep decision. It is important that now Black's pawns will be posted on white squares and the black squares will be at the disposal of White's better developed pieces. Now 13...b6 is bad, as after 14.Rhc1 Bb7 15.Ke3 Black has no good continuation>

Apr-23-07  Archives: 19...g5 20.h4 h6 21.hxg5 hxg5 22.f4 gxf4+ 23.Kxf4 Be8 24.g5 Nh7 25.Rh1

19...Be8 20.g5 Nh5 21.Be2 f6 22.gxf6 Nxf6 23.Rg1 g6 24.Bg4

In both variations, White has not only a positional superiority but a strong attack as well.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: <whithaw: Many people wont understand the strength of Rubinstein's play in this game, because you have to look at what he is restricting at the same time he makes progress, kind of like Karpov or Kramnik.> I completely agree with you! If you didn't know who played this game you could really think Kramnik had the white pieces. It's no surprise that Kramnik holds Rubinstein in highest regards (
Jul-15-07  Kublo: It's wounderful to look at Rubinstein's games.
Aug-07-07  sanyas: <Archives: <"For 38 moves the great Russian expert always played the exact move, the strongest!" - Capablanca> Aha! I knew 1.d4 is the strongest move in the starting position!>

He says 38 specifically, which indicates that he still prefers 1.e4. So according to Capablanca, barring 1.d4, the other 38 moves were perfect ;-)

Mar-25-08  Open Defence: Rubenstein could be said to have implemented some very modern looking and deep ideas in chess, his play seems to be ahead of the era he played in IMHO
Jul-11-08  Archives: A commentary on this game with a bit of help from Rybka, and other Kibitzers from

<Akiva Rubinstein vs. Carl Schlechter (San Sebastian 1912)>

<1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 c5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 cxd4 8.cxd4 Bb4+ 9.Bd2 Qa5>

A mistake, which leads to an ending that is favorable to White. Schlechter had previously played this move against Bernstein in Stockholm, 1906. After 10.Rb1 Bxd2+ Bernstein played 11.Nxd2 instead of the correct continuation 11.Qxd2 Qxd2 12.Kxd2 that Rubinstein plays here. This devastating plan of Rubinstein’s, whether found during the actual game or while analyzing the aforementioned game, was the death blow to 9...Qa5.

A better continuation is 9…Bxd2+ 10.Qxd2 0-0 11.Bc4 Nc6 12.0-0 b6 13.Rad1 Bb7=

<10.Rb1 Bxd2+>

10...Nc6 11.Rxb4 Nxb4 12.Qb1 Qxa2 13.Qxa2 Nxa2 14.Bc4

<11.Qxd2 Qxd2+ 12.Kxd2>

It is correct to capture with the King, as with the endgame approaching, the King belongs near the centre where he can take part in the action. Rubinstein was very familiar with Steinitz's concept of the “strong King.” One can imagine that Steinitz would have been particularly pleased with the strong initiative of the King at an early stage and marching up the board at the end to decide the issue.


With so much material off the board, the King is better posted in the centre with 12...Ke7, but White still has the much better game.


An astonishingly deep decision, whose purpose is twofold, to impede Black’s development and to provoke a weakness in his position.


13…b6 14.Rhc1 Bb7 15.Ke3±

13…Nd7 14.Rhc1 Nf6 15.Ke3±

13…Bd7 14.Bxd7 Nxd7 15.Rxb7

13…Nc6 14.Bxc6 bxc6 15.Rhc1

<14.Bd3 Rd8 15.Rhc1 b5 16.Rc7 Nd7 17.Ke3 Nf6 18.Ne5 Bd7 19.g4 h6>

The book of the tournament marks this move with a question mark and claims that the proper continuation was 19…g5 however White will have a fine advantage no matter what Black plays.

19...g5 20.f4 gxf4+ 21.Kxf4 Be8 22.g5 Nh5+ 23.Ke3±

19...Be8 20.g5 Nh5 21.Be2 f6 22.gxf6 Nxf6 23.Rg1 g6 24.Bg4 Rd6 25.Rg3±

<20.f4 Be8 21.g5 hxg5 22.fxg5 Nh7>

22…Nd7 23.Nc6

22…Nh5 23.Be2

<23.h4 Rdc8 24.Rbc1 Rxc7 25.Rxc7 Rd8>

As Capablanca noted, 25…f6 would put up a better resistance now instead of a move later.

<26.Ra7 f6 27.gxf6 gxf6 28.Ng4 Bh5 29.Nh6+ Kh8 30.Be2 Be8>

30…Bxe2 31.Nf7+

<31.Rxa6 Kg7 32.Ng4 f5 33.Ra7+ Kh8>

33...Kg6 34.Ne5+ Kh6 35.Bxb5

<34.Ne5 fxe4 35.Bxb5>

This echoes the earlier 30.Be2, again Black cannot take the Bishop or 36.Nf7+ follows.

<35…Nf6 36.Bxe8 Rxe8 37.Kf4 Kg8 38.Kg5 Rf8>

38…Nh7+ 39.Kh6

38…Nd5 39.Ng6 e3 40.Kh6

<39.Kg6 1-0>

39...e3 40.Rg7+ Kh8 41.Nf7+ Rxf7 42.Rxf7 e2 43.Rxf6 e1=Q 44.Rf8#

Nov-07-08  dwavechess: 32/39 Rubinstein's moves concur with rybka 3 w32 at 3 minutes per move.
Mar-20-09  kamalakanta: One of the greatest players of all time, well ahead of his time in technique and conception. It is indeed a master class to go through his games.
Mar-26-09  newzild: What I find most amusing about this game are the "twin" moves 30.Be2 and 35.Bxb5. In each case, if black captures the bishop then white has the fork Nf7+.
Aug-01-11  nolanryan: my idea for pun is akiba rubins carl by beating him
Sep-13-11  ToTheDeath: What a complete wipeout. Black never had a chance. Great game.
Dec-10-12  Chris1971: What a game by Rubinstein and yet against a player of Schlechter’s strength is testimony to Rubinstein’s ability. This is a personal favorite of mine. It is defiantly in my top 10 games ever played.
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: This perfect Rubinstein game reminds me of the way Kramnik sometimes treats similar pawn structures. (White Kingside 5 vs 4 pawn majority; Black with pawns on the a and b files vs a lone white pawn on the a file.)

Or perhaps its the other way around, Kramnik's positional games with a Kingside majority remind me of this game.

BTW, if this game were to be shown to a modern chess player who has never seen it before, I would bet he would never be able to figure out for sure it was played way back in 1912. It could have well been played yesterday in a super GM tournament. Just goes to show that the notion that the greatest of the pre-WW1 players can't play as well as present-day ones is false.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: One thing that comes through strongly from Kasparov's <Gary Kasparov On His Great Predecessors Volume 1> is his admiration for Rubinstein.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Cemoblanca: Schlechter wasn't schlechter at all, but Akiba was better. ;] Wonderful game.
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