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Emanuel Lasker vs Carl Schlechter
"For Better or for Schlechter" (game of the day Oct-16-2008)
Lasker - Schlechter World Championship Match (1910), Berlin GER, rd 10, Feb-08
Slav Defense: Quiet Variation (D11)  ·  1-0


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Given 33 times; par: 124 [what's this?]

Annotations by Jose Raul Capablanca.      [26 more games annotated by Capablanca]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Bridgeburner chessforum



<1. d4> (=0.15) <1d5> (=0.15)

<2. c4> (=0.09) <2c6> (=0.20)

Capablanca: <2e6 is the usual move and I believe better than the text move.>


<3. Nf3> (=0.18) <3Nf6> (=0.18)

<4. e3> (=0.10) <4g6> (=0.12)

<5. Nc3> ( 0.12) <5Bg7> (=0.21)

<6. Bd3> ( 0.19) <60-0> (=0.22)

Capablanca: <A new and original defense to the Queens Gambit as far as I know.>

<7. Qc2> (=0.03)

<Main engine preference>: <7. 0-0> (=0.22)

Played for the first time by Lasker in this game (and never again by him), this move appears to dissipate most of Whites advantage of the first move. It appears only 8 times in the database (Opening Explorer) with a +1 =2 -5 result.


<7Na6> (=0.03) The most popular response, threatening <8Nb4>; with a +1 =2 -1 result.

<8. a3> (=0.03) <8dxc4> (=0.15)

Capablanca: <Schlechter here goes into a series of moves which finally leave him with a weak isolated c pawn, which cannot possibly be so very good.>

Black played <8c5> in Fine vs Tylor, 1937, and drew after 34 moves, after White played <9. 0-0>.

<8Nd7> was played twice: once in O Bernstein vs Alekhine, 1912 (won by Black in 44 moves) and once in Yates vs Maroczy, 1930 (drawn in 32 moves).

<Engine preference>: <8c5> (=0.03): <9. cxd5 cxd4 10. exd4 Nc7 11. 0-0 Ncxd5>:

click for larger view

Further notes by Visaya:

In spite of the controversy surrounding the match, the premise that there could have been a secret contract that allows Lasker to retain the Title if Schlechter wins only by a point, the fact that Lasker shifted openings from 1. e4 to 1. d4 follows the pattern of match players who often shift openings when placed in a do-or-die situation.

Does this exclude the above premise? No. Even if there was a secret clause that allows Lasker to retain the Title in the case of a 1 point lead by Schlechter, Lasker would have known that most of the Chess World would not have regarded him as a true Champion anymore. How could he be Champion if he just lost a classical World Championship Match to the Challenger? It would have been an empty 'title', a legal farce. As Alekhine said, Schlechter and Capablanca would probably have been fighting it out in a World Championship Match sometime in early 1914 (instead of a St. Petersburg Tournament being held); and certainly Alekhine, and every one else, would have regarded that as a real World Championship Match, had Schlechter drew or won this last game.

On the other hand, if there was such a secret contract, Schlechter would have felt obliged to win the last game at all costs. Was this the real reason why he played so uncharacteristically risky in this game?

Until today, controversy surrounds this issue. Capablanca's annotations to this game hypothesized:

<why Schlechter, who only needed a draw, should play such a wild game can only be explained by the fact that perhaps he was not satisfied to win the match by a mere fluke, which proved to be the case in the fifth game>

If that is true, Schlechter must be the most chivalrous chess player in the entire history of chess!

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: PART 3


<9. Bxc4> ( 0.15) <9b5> ( 0.56)

This move is neither played nor one of the engines top 3 choices. The <main engine preference>: is still <9c5> (=0.15), followed by <9Nc7> ( 0.32) and <9Nd5> ( 0.37).


<10. Bd3> ( 0.42)

Better is the <engines preference>: <10. Be2> ( 0.56) <10b4 11. Na4 bxa3 12. bxa3 c5 13. Bxa6 Bxa6 14. Nxc5 Rc8 15. Qa4 Rxc5 (forced) 16.Qxa6! (if 16. dxc5 Qd3 >) and White has an extra pawn. The point of the Be2 is that it is safer at e2 than at d3 in some of the possible continuations, and White can increase the pressure on the backward isolani on c6 without effort.


<10b4> ( 0.42): (if <10Qa4> then <11. Qb1> or <11. Rb1> protects the rook and prevents Black's <11Nb4>.

<11. Na4> ( 0.42) <11bxa3> ( 0.42) Any other move allows <e4> on the next move or soon after, with a much better centre and game. Schlechter has to be active.

<12. bxa3> ( 0.42) <12Bb7> ( 1.07)

<Main engine preference>: <12c5> (again and final chance to do so; the c-pawn is a liability) ( 0.42); <12Rb8> ( 0.84) and <12Nd7> ( 0.86) were also better.

<<The jump in engine evaluation of <0.66> signals this was a <dubious move> as defined by this project. It adds <<0.5>> to the games error weighting.>>

<GAME MOVES 13-14:

<13. Rb1> ( 1.07) <13Qc7> ( 1.07)

<14. Ne5> ( 0.95)

Capablanca: <If Lasker wanted to play a safe game he should have castled and if he intended a kingside attack he might have started with 14. h4 before playing Ne5.>

<Engine preference>: <14. 0-0> ( 1.07)


<14Nh5> ( 1.80)

<<Crossing the 1.40 threshold into a lost game, representing a <<blunder>>, and therefore adding <<2.0>> to the error weighting of the game, for a cumulative error weighting of <<2.5>>.>>

<Main engine preference>: <14Rab8 15. 0-0 c5> or by transposition <14c5 15. 0-0 Rab8> ( 0.95)

Further notes by Visaya:

It seems that both Lasker and Schlechter were not playing solid safe chess even at this point. Note Lasker's 14. Ne5 and Schlecter's 14... Nh5 practically inviting a pawn storm.

click for larger view

In this position Schlechter uncharacteristically played 14.. Nh5

click for larger view

practically begging Lasker to "please attack me, pawn storm my Kingside."

14...Nh5 in addition to being a blunder looks totally anti-positional.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Bridgeburner chessforum



<15. g4> ( 1.12)

Capablanca: <Starting an attack on the kingside which is justified in view of the score of the match. Laskers policy throughout the game is good, but why Schlechter, who only needed a draw, should play such a wild game can only be explained by the fact that perhaps he was not satisfied to win the match by a mere fluke, which proved to be the case in the fifth game.>

However, the move is premature at best; blundering the win. <<The evaluation drops below 1.40. The error weighting of this <<blunder>> is therefore <<2.0>>, increasing the cumulative error weighting of this game to <<4.50>>.>>

The <engines main preference> here is <15. f4> ( 1.81):

click for larger view

Black has several attempts, but none that will salvage the game:

<1.> <15...Bc8 16.0-0 Rb8 17. Bb2 Bxe5 18. fxe5 Qd7 19. e4> and White will steamroller Blacks uncoordinated position which is exacerbated (and to some extent caused) by the glaring weakness at c6. If <16Nb8 17.Bd2 Nf6> and White has a number of very pleasant choices such as <18. Rfc1> and <18. Nc5> with which to commence garroting Blacks game.

<2.> <15...c5> - an attempt to rid himself of the fatal weakness, and hope that pawn will be a worthwhile tradeoff: <16.0-0 Rab8 17.Qc4 (with multiple threats including 18. Rxb7 and 18. g4) 17cxd4 18.Qxc7 Nxc7 19.Nd7> and Black doesnt have enough compensation for the exchange>. If Black tries to pre-empt the knight fork with something like <16Rad8>, then White has <17. Qe2> directly threatening the Knight and further undermining Black tenuous hold on <c5>; if:

a. <17Nb8 18. Nxc5 Bd5 19. e4 will crush Black; if 18Bc6 19. Bc4 and f7 is indefensible>

b. <17Rd6 18.g4 Nf6 19. Nc3 and the threats to a6 and from the Knight fork are too much.>

Given the length and controversial nature of this game, it is ironic that Lasker could have wound up the match by winning the shortest game of the match.

Further notes by Visaya:

Lasker does pawn-storm Black, but in the wrong manner! After playing so well for 8 games both players, nervous and exhausted, seem ready for a blunderfest, in what is probably the most important and most tension-filled game of their lives. It reminds us that the best chess players in the world are all too human.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: PART 5


<15Bxe5> ( 1.12)

<16. gxh5> ( 0.91)

<Engine preference>: <16. dxe5> ( 1.12): <16Ng7 17. 0-0 c5 18. Qc4>


<16Bg7> ( 0.91)

<17. hxg6> ( 0.91) <17hxg6> ( 0.91)

<18. Qc4> ( 0.91) <18. Bc8> ( 1.18)

Despite the exclamation mark frequently awarded this move, it may not be the best. The threat of <19. Rxb7> is not so destructive if the zwischenzug <18c5> ( 0.91) is played: <19. Rg1 e6 20. Rxb7 Qxb7 21. Qxa6 Qxa6 22. Bxa6 cxd4>. The reduced material would make it difficult for White to cash in the advantage. Also if White takes the pawn with <19. Bxg6>, then after <19Be6 20. Qxa6 fxg6 21. Nc5 Bd5 22. Rb7 Qd6> and Blacks endgame is defensible ( 0.81).


<19. Rg1> ( 0.63)

<19.h4> seems to be nominally better with an engine evaluation of < 1.18> based on Blacks best defense: <19c5 20.d5 Nb8!> (forced everything else loses, eg: <20Rd8 21. h5 e6 22. hxg6 exd5 23. Qh4 > with a winning attack) <21. Nxc5 Nd7! 22. Nxd7 Qxc4 23. Bxc4 Bxd7> and White has a significant advantage with a clear pawn to the good in the endgame.


<19Qa5+> ( 1.26)

<Main engine preference>: <19e6> ( 0.63). If Schlechter had played <19e6>, Lasker probably had nothing better than <20. Be4> after which <20Rb8 21. Rxb8 Nxb8 22. Nc5 Qa4+ 23. Qb4 Qb6> might follow and Black has a much easier time of it.

<<The move actually played - <19Qa5+> - causes an evaluation shift of 0.63 and as such qualifies as a <<dubious move>> under the methods used in this Project, adding an error weighting to the game of <<0.5>> for a cumulative error weighting for the game of <<5.00>>.>>

Further notes by Visaya:

The fact that Schlechter played 19..Qa5+ is probably due to the human wish to develop the Queen into a more active position. The computer-recommended move 19.. e6 also blocks his Bishop on c8. However, it does look more solid and safe.

Even at this stage, Schlechter is not satisfied with safe solid moves. It seems that he wants to activate his Queen for a direct attack on the White king, and later on he swings it over to the center and Kingside.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: PART 6


<20. Bd2> ( 1.26) <20Qd5> ( 1.26)

<21. Rc1> ( 1.26) <21Bb7> ( 1.37)

<Engine preference>: <21Nb8> ( 1.26).


<22. Qc2> ( 1.13)

<Main engine preference>: <22. Qxd5> ( 1.37): <22cxd5 23. Ke2 Rab8 24. h4 e6 25. h5 gxh5 26. Rg5 f5 27. Nc3>

No doubt Lasker thought winning options were more likely with queens on the board.


<22Qh5> ( 1.30)

<Main engine preference>: <22e6> ( 1.13): <23. Rb1 c5 24. Nxc5 Nxc5 25. Qxc5 Qxc5 26. dxc5>. White has the extra pawn and a significant but probably not winning advantage. The sparse material will make it difficult to cash in the pawn. Black has no chance of complicating the game from this position and so he keeps the queens on the board, maintaining his best practical chances of complicating the game, and perhaps winning if White takes a misstep.


<23. Bxg6> (=-0.01)

Capablanca: <23. Qb3, I believe, was the right move here. The text move did not turn out so well.>

Indeed, this was a very poor move which concedes 130 centipawns of rating; ie; from a major, almost winning advantage to complete equality.

<As this an evaluation shift of greater than 1.20, it represents a <<blunder>> by Lasker, adding another <<2.0>> to the error weighting of this game, for a cumulative weighting of <<7.00>>.>

<Main engine preference>: <23. Qb3> ( 1.30) maintains the pressure on the diagonal with threats, making Blacks game very difficult. For example <23Qxh2 24. Rxg6 Rab8 25. Be4 Qh4 26. Bg2> and White has numerous powerful threats.


<23Qxh2> (=-0.01)

<24. Rf1> (=-0.01) <24fxg6> (=-0.01)

<25. Qb3+> (=-0.01) <25Rf7> (=-0.01)

<26. Qxb7> (=-0.01) <26Raf8> (=-0.01)

<27. Qb3> (=-0.13)

<Engine preference>: <27. f4> (=-0.01)


<27Kh8> (=-0.01)

<Engine preference> <27Kh7> (=-0.13)

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: PART 7


<28. f4> (=-0.02) <28g5> ( 0.63)

Perhaps Schlechter thought that <28e5> [engine preference, valued at =-0.02] was too drawish for his taste, hence the use of the g-pawn as the battering ram with which he possibly already envisaging the sacrifice at move 35. After <28e5>, play might have proceeded: <29. dxe5 Rd7 30. Qc2 Bxe5 31. Bb4 Qh3 32. Qe4 Nxb5 33. Qxe5+ Kg8 34. axb4>:

click for larger view

and all that is left for Black is to take the draw by perpetual with either <34...Qg3+ 35.Rf2> or <34...Qh4+ 35.Ke2> a result which would have resulted in Schlechter winning the Championship of the World.

<<Nevertheless, the text move is technically inferior and the evaluation shift of 0.64 signals that it was a <dubious move>. It therefore adds <<0.5>> to the games error weighting to lift the aggregate error weighting for the game to <<7.5>>.>>


<29. Qd3> ( 0.39)

<Main engine preference> <29.Kd1> ( 0.63): <29gxf4>


<29gxf4> ( 0.56)

<30. exf4> ( 0.61) <30Qh4+> ( 0.70)

<Main engine preference>: <30Bh6> ( 0.61); however <31. Rc3 Rf6 32. Qh3> forces the exchange of queens and any useful counter play Black might try and conjure. It is imperative for Blacks chances, real and psychological, for the queens to remain on the board.


<31. Ke2> (=0.00)

<Main engine preference>: <31. Kd1> ( 0.70), mainly because of the bolt hole at <c2>.

<The evaluation shift of <<0.70>> signals a <dubious move> and adds <<0.5>> error weighting to the game, for a cumulative total of <<8.0>>.>


<31Qh2+> ( 0.70)

<Engine preference>: <31Qh5> (=0.00)

Returning the favor. <<The evaluation shift of <0.70> adds another <0.5> error weighting to the game for a cumulative total of <8.5>.>>


<32. Rf2> (=0.00)

And again. This mysterious dance adds to the mystery of this game. Why did Lasker play the most drawish options, when a draw would have conceded the World Championship especially as the preferred (and clearly visible) option would have actually provided him with some advantage - and why did Schlechter consistently avoid the drawing options so helpfully being supplied by the World Champion?

<Engine preference>: <32. Kd1> ( 0.70): <32Qh5+ 33. Kc2>

<This <<dubious move>> adds another <<0.5>> to the games error weighting for a cumulative weighting of <<9.0>>.>

Further notes by Visaya:

Now it is pretty clear that Schlechter is playing for a win, as though he were in a do-or die situation. What for? He could easily draw by perpetual, and there is no doubt he saw this. He could have won the match very easily at this point.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: PART 8


<32Qh5+> (=0.00)

<33. Rf3> ( 0.00) <33Nc7> ( 0.35)

The sacrifice that Schlechter plays on the move after next would more correctly (technically) have been prepared with the <engines preference>: <33Bh6> There might follow <34. Nc5 Rxf4 35.Bxf4 Rxf4 36.Rg1 e5 37.Rgg3 Nxc5 38. dxc5 Qh2+ 39. Ke1 Qh4 40. Qg6 Bg5=0.00> and White has a choice of a perpetual starting with <41. Qe8+> or to simplify to a completely drawn ending with <41. Qxg5>.

Alternatively if (after <33Bh6>) <34. Kd1>, then <34...Bxf4 35. Kc2 Bxd2 36. Rh3 Qxh3 37. Qxh3+ Rh7=0.00> and White can take the rook on h7 and capture the bishop, remaining a pawn down in a dead drawn ending, or allow Black to keep two rooks for the queen, with no prospects apart from a perpetual. This is a forcing line and Schlechter probably saw it and avoided it as a draw clearly did not suit his purposes.


<34. Rxc6> (=-0.03)

<Engine preference>: to trade the white rooks for the black queen with <34. Rh1 Qxh1 35. Rh3+ Qxh3 36. Qxh3 Kg8>. Play might continue with <37.Nc5 Rd8 38.Be3 Nd5 39.Qg4 Nc3+ 40.Kf3 Nd5 41.Bd2 Rb8 42.a4 Rb2 43.Qc8+ Kh7 44.Qxc6 Rxd2 45.Qxd5> and White maintains a small advantage. Again these drawish variations suited neither player.


<34Nb5> (=-0.03)

Capablanca: <34. ..Nd5 looks like a might strong move.>

NB: Not as strong as the text move. If <34. ..Nd5>, then <35. Qg6 Qh2+ 36. Rf2 Qh4 37. Qe4> forces multiple exchanges on f4 as follows: <37Nxf4+ 38. Bxf4 Rxf4 39. Rxf4 Qxf4 40. Qxf4 Rxf4 41. Rc7 Bxd4 42. Rxe7>, leaving the position so simplified and balanced, not to mention sterile of chances, that there is no realistic chance of a result.


<35. Rc4> (=-0.22) Defending the d-pawn and awaiting Blacks next move. This is the high water mark of Schlechters game, the only time in the whole game that he came close to gaining any type of advantage. The following exchange sac is probably a desperate attempt to break the gridlock Lasker has established. Lasker could not but have known that Schlechter was playing for a win at all costs, and that he would not settle for a draw.

<Engine preference>: <35. Ke1> (=-0.03) (threatening <36. Rh3>): <35Qh1+ 36. Qf1>

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: PART 9:


<35Rxf4> (=0.11)

Capablanca: <A bad sacrifice. 35e5! Looks like the right move. It seems as though Black could always draw.>

<35e5> gets nowhere quickly: <36. dxe5 Bxe5 37. Qd5> or <37. Rb4> or even <37. Ke1> all hold the fort without effort. In his attempt to win the game, Schlechter needed to inject some dynamic imbalance into the game, and this move achieved that objective, albeit without the result he was seeking. It should be clear however that the sac is easily sound enough to draw, and in fact complete equality, and was therefore <not> responsible for Schlechters loss.

The much vaunted <35Rd8> is also the engines first preference, but after <36. Ke1> (threatening <37. Rh3>), White can defend easily, eg: <36Qh4+ 37. Kd1 Qg4 38. Qf1>:

click for larger view

If <38Rxd4> then <39. Qh3+> forces considerable simplification, starting off with an immediate exchange of queens. Given that both players were playing for the win, perhaps <39. Rxd4> would have been played. However, after <39Nxd4 40. Qh3+> is forced. If instead <39Bxd4>, then the prospects are evenly balanced. White has the immediate option of exchanging queens with <40. Qh3+>, but as this produces not only even chances but a drawish game, Lasker would probably have avoided it, probably with <40. Qe2> as <40. Kc2>, which also unpins the rook at f3 starts to leave the King dangerously exposed, and most importantly, without counter play, eg: if <40. Kc2>, then <40Qf5+ 41. Qd3 Nxa3+>:

click for larger view

hands the initiative to Black on a plate, although the game is quite defensible, it is not winnable for White.

If however, White plays <40. Qe2>, rather than forcing a queen exchange with the objectively strongest moves of <40Rg7> or <40Rh7>, Black would probably have tried to mix it up with <40Qd7>:

click for larger view

However, there are too many likely collision points where simplification quickly reduces both players winning hopes, eg:

If < 41.Rg3 Qf5 42.Nc3 Bxc3 43.Bxc3+ Nxc3+ 44.Rxc3 Qb1+> and the game is drawn.

If White tries a little harder with <41.Rb3>, then after <41a6> Whites options tend to involve exchanges of heavy pieces, simplifying the game, eg: <42.Qf3 Rg7 43.Qh3+ Qxh3 44.Rxh3+>.

This would have been an interesting alternative game, as both players would have danced around the queen exchange options that would have presented themselves at every turn, when there was still considerable material on the board.

Further notes by Visaya:

Lasker has been defending well. Schlechter has never attained a clearly winning position, and he must know it; yet here he is still playing <wildly> as Capablanca notes. He plays like a man possessed, spurning numerous obvious drawing lines.

The same applies for the rest of the game until Schlechter commits suicide.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Bridgeburner chessforum

PART 10:


<36. Bxf4> (=0.11) <36Rxf4> (=0.11)

<37. Rc8+> (=0.11) <37Bf8> (=0.11)

<38. Kf2> (=0.00)

<Engine preference>: <38. Rd8> (=0.11): <38Nd6 39. Nc5>


<38Qh2+> (=0.00) (and not <38Qh4+?? 39. Kg2 Rg4+ 40. Rg3 >

<39. Ke1> (=0.00) <39Qh1+> ( 1.45)

<Main engine preference>: <39Qh4+> (=0.00) and an easy draw by perpetual (if the king flees to the queen side, White picks up the rook on f3).

<This blunder adds <<2.0>> to the games error weighting for an aggregate weighting of <<11.0>>.>

It is a simple mistake, allowing simplification when it was least needed. Again Schlechter refuses to take the easy draw, and one can only speculate as to the reasons. This move is frequently considered to be Schlechters losing move, although the outcome as far along as move 65 was far from a certain win by Lasker. Moreover, Lasker concedes a technically won position twice more in the game, and Schlechter obligingly reciprocates by conceding a defensible game twice in subsequent moves (and not even counting Schlechter's suicidal 64th).

Black has a pawn for the exchange, and the wide open board which needs some of the sparse resources of each side to protect their kings and this will make it extremely difficult for White to make headway, notwithstanding the weak a-pawn, and the pinned bishop.


<40. Rf1> ( 1.45) <40Qh4+> ( 1.45)

<41. Kd2> ( 1.45) <41Rxf1> ( 1.45)

<42. Qxf1> ( 1.45) <42Qd4+> ( 1.45)

<43. Qd3> ( 1.45) <43Qf2+> ( 1.50)

<Engine preference> <43Qf4+> ( 1.45)

<44. Kd1> ( 1.51) <44Nd6> ( 1.56)

<Engine preference>: <44Qf4> ( 1.51)

<45. Rc5> ( 1.06)

Releasing the pin on the bishop considerably frees up Blacks game, and drops the engine evaluation below the 1.40 threshold. Lasker may well have considered that he needed to bring the Rook into more active play if he were to gain a realistic chance of winning the game.

<<This move therefore represents a <<blunder>>, with an error weighting of <<2.0>>, raising the aggregate error weighting for the game to <<13.0>>. >>

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Bridgeburner chessforum


<Main engine preferences>: <45. Rd8> ( 1.56).


<45Bh6> ( 1.35)

<Main engine preference>: <45Bg7> ( 1.06): <46. Rc7 Bf6 47. Nc3 Nf5 48. Ne2 Kg7 49. Rc6 a5 50. Rc8 Ne3+>:

click for larger view

Black would appear to be safe. However, safe wasnt in Schlechters vocabulary during this game. <45...Bh6> was likely an aggressive riposte aimed at Whites king. Lasker could have reimposed the pin with <46. Rh5>.

<46. Rd5> ( 1.20)

<Engine preference>: <46. Rh5> ( 1.35)


<46Kg8> ( 1.24)

<Engine preference> <46Kg7> ( 1.20)


<47. Nc5> ( 1.04)

Capablanca: <Lasker has fought his battle and obtained an advantage without having moved this knight for thirty-six moves. From the 37th move, on to the finish, Lasker plays with remarkable precision and the fact that Schlechter held on so well shows the stirling qualities of the Austrian master.>

<Engine preference>: <47.Nc3> ( 1.24) <47Kf7 48.Rh5 Bg7 49. Nb5>


<47Qg1+> ( 1.46)

<Main engine preference>: <47Qg2> ( 1.04): <48. Re5 Qg1+ 49. Kc2 Qc1+ 50. Kb3 Bg7 51. Rh5 Kf7>

<<Black has slipped back into a lost game with this inaccuracy, which adds another <<2.0>> to the games error weighting for a progressive aggregate of <<15.0>>.>>


<48. Kc2> ( 1.46) <48Qf2+> ( 1.54)

<Engine preference>: <48Qc1+> ( 1.46)


<49. Kb3> ( 1.63) <49Bg7> ( 1.62)

<50. Ne6+> ( 0.97)

<Engine preference>: <50. Rd5> ( 1.62) threatening <51. Qd5+>: <if 50Qf7+ 51. Qd5> forces the exchange of queens into a difficult but winning endgame for White. If <50Qb2+>, then <51. Ka4 Qb6 52. Qb3+> forces the queen exchange.

Lasker fumbles the ball with this move, again conceding his winning position. <<This technical blunder adds another <<2.0>> to the games error weighting, raising the aggregate error weighting for the game to <<17.0>>.>>

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Bridgeburner chessforum



<50Qb2+> ( 1.52)

Missing the best chance to wrest some sort of initiative back from White by driving the White king over to the King side where Blacks forces, such as they are, are amassed. It also validates Whites Knight move on move 50.

<50Qb6+> (<engine preference>) (gaining a tempo on the text move) was vital. There might follow: <51. Kc2 Qb2+ 52. Kd1 Qa1+ 53. Ke2 Qb2+ 54. Kf3 Qf6+ 55. Nf4 Nf7 (threatening <56Ne4+>) 56. Kg3 e5 57. Ne2 Ng5 58. Kg2 e4 59. Qe3 Bh6>:

click for larger view

which looks to have considerably more play than the way the game actually unfolded. In this variation where the loss of the a-pawn is inevitable, sooner rather than later, Whites king could of course stay on the queen side, but not without escaping a non-stop barrage of checks.

<<In any case, this is a blunder and adds <<2.00>> to the error weighting of the game to accumulate a game weighting of <<19.0>>.>>


<51. Ka4> ( 1.52) (threatening <52. Rg5> and <52. Qg6>)

<51Kf7> ( 1.72)

Probably the best move. More active was <51Qb7> threatening <52Qd7+>. If <52. Rg5 Qd7+> wins the Knight, while <52. Qg6 Qc4+> gains the rook with check. However, Whites best move would be to take exchange the bishop for his Knight, and then park his Queen on f3 cutting Blacks king off from shelter:


<52. Nxg7> ( 1.72) <52Qxg7> ( 1.87). If <52. ..Kxg7 53. Qd4+> exchanges queens and wins.

<53. Qb3> ( 1.72) Now Blacks a-pawn must fall.

<53Ke8> ( 1.79)

<54. Qb8+> ( 1.79) <54Kf7> ( 1.79)

<55. Qxa7> ( 1.79) <55Qg4+> ( 2.34)

<Engine preference>: <55Qg2> ( 1.79

<56. Qd4> ( 2.34) <56Qd7+> ( 2.49)

<Engine preferences>: <56Qf3> and <56Qh3> ( 2.34)

<57. Kb3> ( 2.53) <57Qb7+> ( 2.53)

<58. Ka2> ( 2.53) <58Qc6> ( 2.66)

<59. Qd3> ( 2.51)

<Main engine preference>: <59. Qc5> ( 2.66). Lasker seems to lose his way about here, as <59. Qc5> would have severely limited Whites movements and options. It takes a suicidal move by Schlechter to enable Lasker to make any further progress.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: PART 13

<59Ke6> ( 2.52)

<60. Rg5> ( 2.49) <60Kd7> ( 2.54)

<61. Re5> ( 2.62) <61Qg2+> ( 2.64)

<62. Re2> ( 2.63) <62Qg4> ( 2.63)

<63. Rd2> ( 2.63)

click for larger view

It is not entirely clear that White can actually win this game at this point. The engine has produced a long sequence of identical evaluations which is a reliable indicator that the game is dead drawn, eg:

1. (2.63): 63...Qf4 64.Qd5 Qa4 65.Qf5+ Kd8 66.Qe6 Qb5 67.Re2 Qg5

2. (2.63): 63...Qa4 64.Qf5+ Kd8 65.Qe6 Qb5 66.Re2 Qg5

3. (2.63): 63...Qe6+ 64.Qd5 Qf6 65.Rc2 Qh4 66.Qc6+ Ke6 67.Re2+ Kf7 68.Qd5+ Ke8 69.Qg8+ Kd7 70.Qe6+ Kd8 71.Rc2 Qg3 72.Qb3 Qe5 73.Qb8+ Kd7 74.a4 Qd5+ 75.Ka3 Qf3+ 76.Qb3 Qf4 77.Qc3

4. (2.63): 63...Qg5 64.Qd5 Qf4 65.Re2 Qf6 66.a4 Qh4 67.Qe6+ Kd8 68.Kb3 Qh7 69.Qd5 Qh3+ 70.Ka2 Qc3

5. (2.63): 63...Qh4 64.Qd5 Qf6 65.Rc2 Qh4 66.Qc6+ Ke6 67.Re2+ Kf7 68.Qd5+ Ke8 69.Qg8+ Kd7 70.Qe6+ Kd8 71.Rc2 Qg3 72.Qb3

6. (2.63): 63...Qh5 64.Qd5 Qh4 65.Rb2 Qa4 66.Rb7+ Kc8 67.Rb4 Qc2+ 68.Rb2 Qc1 69.Qa8+ Kd7

In none of these variations does the a-pawn get beyond a4, sometimes not even this far, and it is unclear how White makes progress.

Further notes by Visaya:

If Schlechter and Lasker were playing this game in an ordinary tournament, or earlier in the match, this game would probably end in a draw at this point. From a human point of view, it is very difficult to win the game, if it is winnable at all.

However, Schlechter decides to shoot himself.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Bridgeburner chessforum



<63Qa4> ( 2.63)

The same with this move:

click for larger view

1. (2.63): 64.Qf3 Qc4+ 65.Qb3 Qc6 66.Qd5 Qc1 67.Re2 Kd8 68.Qa8+ Kd7 69.Qa7+ Kc8 70.Qa6+ Kd7 71.Qa4+

2. (2.63): 64.Qb3 Qc6 65.Qd5 Qc1 66.Re2 Kd8 67.Qa8+ Kd7 68.Qa7+ Kc8 69.Qa6+ Kd7 70.Qa4+

3. (2.63): 64.Qh3+ Kd8 65.Qe6 Qb5 66.Re2 Qg5

4. (2.63): 64.Qf5+ Kd8 65.Qe6 Qb5 66.Re2 Qg5

5. (2.63): 64.Qd5 Qa6 65.Rc2 Qa4 66.Re2 Qg4 67.Rd2 Qa4 68.Qf5+ Kd8 69.Qe6 Qb5 70.Re2 Qg5

6. (2.62): 64.Re2 Qa5 65.Rd2 Qe5 66.Kb3 Qf6 67.Qh3+ Kd8 68.a4 Qf7+ 69.Kb2 Qf4 70.Qh8+ Kd7 71.Qd4 Qf3 72.Qc3 Qh1 73.Rc2

7. (2.62): 64.Qb1 Qa5 65.Qb2 Kc6 66.Qc2+ Kd7 67.Qd3 Qe5 68.Kb3 Qf6 69.Qh3+ Kd8 70.a4 Qf7+ 71.Kb2 Qf4 72.Qh8+ Kd7 73.Qd4 Qf3 74.Qc3 Qh1 75.Rc2

8. (2.62): 64.Qe3 Qa5 65.Qd3 Qe5 66.Kb3 Qf6 67.Qh3+ Kd8 68.a4 Qf7+ 69.Kb2 Qf4 70.Qh8+ Kd7 71.Qd4 Qf3 72.Qc3 Qh1 73.Rc2

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Bridgeburner chessforum



<64. Qf5+> ( 2.63) <64Kc7> ( 3.72) (<64Kd8> was clearly better.). (At this stage of a game which is clearly lost by force, evaluations are generally related to the engines exposure to the move, so the following evaluations are all based on 16-18 ply exposures.)

Capablanca: <An oversight, I suppose. Had not Schlechter not allowed Lasker to exchange queens, the doctor would have had a merry time forcing a win.>

More like hara kiri. Without any prospect of winning, I suspect Schlechter simply threw himself on his sword to put everyone out of their misery. This is a game blunder but not a technical blunder for the purposes of this project, as technically, Black already had a lost game, if the engine evaluations are to be believed. It does <not> therefore add any error weighting to this game. However, Capablancas point is highly relevantif there is a win, it must be extremely difficult and time consuming.

If anyone can provide analysis that demonstrates how White can win from moves 61-64, please let me know so that I can add it as a corrigendum or addendum to this project.

<65. Qc2+> ( 3.92) <65 Qxc2> ( 3.96)

<66. Rxc2+> ( 3.98) <66...Kb7> ( 4.25)

Capablanca: <The game is over. Schlechter might just as well have resigned here.>

<67. Re2> (4.25) <67...Nc8> ( 4.32)

<68. Kb3> ( 4.49) <68...Kc6> ( 4.71)

<69. Rc2+> ( 4.71) <69Kb7> ( 4.71)

<70. Kb4> ( 4.71) <70Na7> ( 4.71)

<71. Kc5> ( 4.71)

Capablanca: <All in all, a great game, which will go down in the history of chess as a remarkable finish to the greatest struggle for the Chess Championship of the World.>

Schlechter resigned the game and the match. Lasker retained his title. Final position:

click for larger view

This game has a surreal feel to it. It would make a lot more sense if this game had been played with Schlechter as White and Lasker as Black. Blacks desperation to win would then make more sense.

There have been various attempted explanations for Schlechters conduct of this game, and the one that seems least nonsensical is Capablancas surmise that Schlechter didnt want to win the world championship on the back of a game won more or less by accident, a fluke. All other suggestions seem fanciful.

The aggregate error weighting for this game was <<19.0>> representing:

4 blunders (weighted at <2.0> each) by Schlechter at moves 14, 39, 47 and 50 = 8.0

4 blunders by Lasker at moves 15, 23, 45, 50 = 8.0

4 dubious moves by Schlechter (weighted at <0.5> each) at move 12, 19, 28, 31 = 2.0

2 dubious moves by Lasker at 31, 32 = 1.0

Further notes by Visaya:

Technically, from the point of view of a computer, this was a blunderfest; however, the way Schlechter played in this particular game very obviously contributed to the mistakes made.

As <Bridgeburner> says, the game looks surreal. In brief, Schlechter spurned numerous draws, played wildly for a win, and then threw himself on the sword. It almost does not make sense.

If Capablanca's explanation is correct

<why Schlechter, who only needed a draw, should play such a wild game can only be explained by the fact that perhaps he was not satisfied to win the match by a mere fluke, which proved to be the case in the fifth game>

Schlechter must be the most chivalrous chess player that the Chess World has ever seen!

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <nasmichael>I read in a Chess Life article that the game was adjourned twice, making for a 3 day game.

You are correct. The game started on the 8th of February, and was adjourned after 15 moves to the 9th of February. The game was adjourned again after White's 58th move, and finished on the 10th of February.

Jun-23-10  mistreaver: <keypusher: Of the people he did play, Marshall (1907) and Janowski (1910)> Didn't he play a match with Tarrasch as well in 1908 or so?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <mistreaver: <keypusher: Of the people he did play, Marshall (1907) and Janowski (1910)> Didn't he play a match with Tarrasch as well in 1908 or so?>

Yes, and I translated every damn word of Tarrasch's notes from his match book on the game pages.

Lasker-Tarrasch World Championship Match (1908)

Premium Chessgames Member
  talisman: <visayanbraindoctor>...thanks.
Sep-20-10  soothsayer8: Capablanca's comment on the 2...c6 is a little unusual, I notice that the Slav Defense wasn't played nearly as often in this time period, but I don't see why he felt like he needed to speak out against it, in fact, the Slav would benefit Schlechter, as it's a bit more drawish than e6.
Apr-07-11  bronkenstein: Congratulations , visayanbraindoctor , for remarkable job of deep , exact and very informative comments on the games of this match :)
Jan-20-13  Tigranny: I don't like Capa's saying that the Slav is worse than the QGD. I actually think the Slav is more popular and gives Black more chances.
Dec-15-13  Fanacas: 2..e6 is a little more populair then c6 with around 10000 games so its not that big of a margain. But in the time of capablanca 2.e6 was seen as the best move against the queens gambit.
Feb-01-14  parisattack: <bronkenstein: Congratulations , visayanbraindoctor , for remarkable job of deep , exact and very informative comments on the games of this match :)>

Yes, indeed. Quite useful, thank you.

What a titanic struggle!

Aug-16-15  SamAtoms1980: This game was featured in today's weekly chess column by Bill Cornwall in the L.A. Times. Like many others, he wonders why Schlechter did not take the "easy draw". According to the book "Grandmasters of Chess" by Harold Schonberg, Schlechter needed to win this match by two points in order to claim the title. That would explain his play in this game. Can anybody else confirm if this was true? If so, it appears to be a surprisingly little-known fact.
Aug-17-15  dusk: <visayanbraindoctor> thank you.
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