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Carl Schlechter vs Emanuel Lasker
Hastings (1895), Hastings ENG, rd 3, Aug-07
Sicilian Defense: Old Sicilian. Open (B32)  ·  0-1


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Given 49 times; par: 91 [what's this?]

Annotations by Harry Nelson Pillsbury.      [17 more games annotated by Pillsbury]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Lasker plays unconventionally, but effectively in this sicilian defense with 6. ..f6!?, an idea which he got, ironically, when he won from the white side of this position in Lasker vs Bird, 1892 Instead of 6. ..f6!?, Kasparov and Keene in BCO recommend 6. ..Nf6! 7. e5 Nd5 8. c4 Qb6 9. Qe4 Nc7 10. Nc3 Bg7 11. f4 0-0 12. Bd2 d5 as equal in Chestyakov-Veresov, 1953.

Of course it did not help that white played the relatively weaker 5. Nxc6, after which black wins 64% according to the Opening Explorer. Instead white should have considered 5. c4 (black wins only 18.5%) as in Bacrot vs Macieja, 2003 or 5. Nc3 (black wins only 28.6%) as in Anand vs Kasparov, 2003

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: 18.f4 would hold the center a bit better.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: The day before, Chigorin had defeated Lasker in a similar pawn battle. Lasker vs Chigorin, 1895
Interesting and typical of Lasker to test himself immediately with the black pieces while the wound was still fresh!
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Schlechter was a hard man to beat. But the central pawns give him no room to manoeuver. Looking at just one piece, the cramped queen's 20 moves show the downward spiral of his game, and the final desperation breakout. Qd4-d2-c3-d3 -d1-e1-a5-e1-d1-e1-d1-e1-d1-e1-d1 -e1-d1-d3-e4-e7+ 0-1
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <tamar> Lasker searched for a way to break through and finally found 48...Qg3! threatening Rf2. Schlechter cleverly plays 50.Qe4! with a perpetual Qe7+, but Lasker's point is that on 50...Qf4!, White can't exchange. The endgame would be lost because Black can bring the king to e4 and play d3. Instructive.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Lasker was in frail health and this was the only game he won in rounds 2-4. Schlechter was 21 in 1895 and perhaps was trying to draw this game, but his decision to agree to the huge pawn structure with 13 exf5 gxf5 puts his game under a cloud.

<calli> I like Pillsbury's suggestion 13 f3 d5 14 exd5 cxd5 15 Bb3 Ba6 Rfe1. It restrains e5 because of the pressure on d5, and he could then play f4 (which you mention as being necessary on move 18, but is never played) in a position where he could even hope for a slight advantage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: Ha ha! Look at the position after move 10 and it looks like Lasker had been studying Suttles' theory! Very deep chess indeed! :-)
Sep-23-04  Giancarlo: poor schelchter. If only he ahd drawn the last game of his WCC with Lasker, he would ahve been the champ. The greatest oppurtunity of his chess career there one moment, and gone the next. Poor guy.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <Tamar> Schlechter drew 10 of his first 11 games. This loss in round 3 being the exception. I don't think he was nearly the drawing master everybody thinks, but he was undoubtedly intimidated by the array of talent at Hastings.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: What if white does not play the weakening 42.h3 which allows Qg3. Instead, play g3 if h2 is threatened. Does Black have a sure fire winning method? Does he just open the A-file and bring the rook around?
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Calli> You pretty much outline the win in your post. Put the Queen on f3,exchange pawns axb3, King on e6, then rook on f7, then Ra7, then Qa8. I don't think it is necessary to put the King on g7 or somewhere further, because if White plays Rg2 and Qe2, it looks like Black could win easily by exchanging queens and playing King back to e4 and pushing d3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <What if white does not play the weakening 42.h3 which allows Qg3. Instead, play g3 if h2 is threatened. Does Black have a sure fire winning method? Does he just open the A-file and bring the rook around?>

On g3, Black's queen settles on f3. He can then push the pawn g6-g5-g4 paralyzing the Kingside pawns. After that, Black has another trump in that any exchange of queens and rooks would leave a won pawn ending for Black. If White continues to defend passively ♕e1-♕d1-♕e1 , Black maneuvers his rook to the a-file and his king out of range of checks (say to h5), and plays 1...ab 2. ab ♖a1 3. ♕xa1 ♕xe2 , threatening 4...♕f2+ and 5...e2 , winning. But active defense by White seems to lose even more quickly.

In short, I think the answer to the questions are yes and yes.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <tamar> <beatg> Thanks for the comments. I'll mess around with it a little more when time permits.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: There might be a quicker win without exchanging the a pawns. You might investigate those lines <Calli>

I say that because Schlechter had a chance to transpose into one of these lines with 46 g3 Qf3 But in this position White is almost out of moves because 47 Kh2 allows 47...Qf1 48 Qxf1 Rxf1 49 bxa4 Ra1 50 Kg2 c4 queening the d pawn (as Lasker has thoughtfully put his King on f6! away from Rxe3 checks)

<beatgiant> Ja'doube :-) I see from your line that the rook does not need the queen's support to threaten Ra1 because it deflects the guard on e2. My Qa8 in fact might be an error which makes the win longer because if White has played h3, tucked his King on h2, rook on g2, he could meet Qa8 by Qe2 or Qf1 when White is holding for the moment. It would be better to leave the queen on f3 and play Ra2 (threat d3 once Black King is off e6).

Feb-15-05  aw1988: Pillsbury's comments are unbelievably accurate!
Premium Chessgames Member
  James Demery: Excellent play of the Sicilian by the greatest player of all time.
Sep-16-07  amntony: This game by Lasker proved that 2...Nc6 works as it avoided the opponent's Queen on d4, what's more, even with 5.Nxc6, it still worked because eventually Lasker obtained a stronghold on the center with his pawns :-)
Jul-23-09  Knight13: <18.f4 would hold the center a bit better. > 18...e4 19. c3 yes I agree.
Dec-07-16  Saniyat24: Schlecter could have played g3 as his 48th move...but I guess they were playing on a higher and different level...!
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