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Rudolf Spielmann vs Akiba Rubinstein
St. Petersburg (1909)  ·  Spanish Game: Closed Variations (C88)  ·  0-1
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Given 16 times; par: 155 [what's this?]

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

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-21-04  Whitehat1963: I especially love the last few moves.
Jan-21-04  ughaibu: Truth is that Spielmann missed a win in the late middle game.
Jan-21-04  Whitehat1963: Where?
Jan-21-04  ughaibu: Move 34. "white to play and win".
Jan-21-04  Whitehat1963: 34. Bxf7, right??
Jan-21-04  Whitehat1963: Whoops, didn't see the pin on the queen. So what's the answer?
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: If 34.Bxf7+ Bxf7, 35.Re5!
Jan-21-04  Whitehat1963: Great! I didn't see 35. Re5! Thanks.
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: "Rubinstein is a rook ending of a chess game that was started by God a thousand years ago." -- Tartakower, quoted i Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual.
May-25-04  Hinchliffe: <ughaibu> Did you spot the missed win yourself?
May-25-04  Everett: Technical Draw

What if 35.... g6? What's white's next?

May-26-04  Everett: Ahhh, now I see it, completely didn't see the hanging rook on e2. Nice find ughaibu.
May-26-04  Hinchliffe: < Technical draw> As always a pleasure to read your comments. But what if black refutes and plays K - h8 ? I know his position looks dire but I was interested to see what the continuation could be and I know you'll have done it. Once again always enjoy your comments and suggestions.
May-26-04  ughaibu: Hinchliffe: The first time I saw this game was in Lasker's book of the tournament, he pointed out 34.Bf7
May-26-04  drukenknight: are you sure there's a win there? Here's one try w/ the crappy computer, have no idea if I started black out right or not....

34. Bxf7+ Kh8
35. Bxg6 hxg6
36. b4 Rxf2+
37. Rg2 Rxg2+
38. Kxg2 Qxd4
39. Qxg6 Qd2+
40. Kg3 Qe3+
41. Kh2 Rb6
42. Qg3 Qd2+
43. Kh1 Qd1+
44. Kh2

Premium Chessgames Member
  sisyphus: <"Rubinstein is a rook ending of a chess game that was started by God a thousand years ago."> This is the rook ending analyzed by Danny Kopec on, starting with 41.... Ra8.
Dec-22-06  who: <drukenknight> 40.Kh1 is more accurate, but in your line 42.Rh5+ Kg8 43.Qc2 and the checks are almost over.
Jan-10-07  Karpova: This game is simply stunning!
First, Spielmann plays very forcefully and Rubinstein commits an error with 27...b4 (Reinfeld suggests 27...Qd6) but Spielmann misses 34.Bxf7+ as Lasker pointed out. And then, after the 40th move Rubinstein plays the rook ending perfectly.

He attacks the weak white pawns first and then moves his king forward. He rejects to win the d4-pawn at once but calmly improves his kingside position. 47...Kc4 (and if 48.Rb7 Rxa3+ 49.Ke4 d5+ 50.Kf5 Rxh3). Regrouping of the rook to the e-file is also nice and the d4-pawn is taken afterwards.

Too many pawn islands and a passive rook - there's no better example showing the disadvantages.

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Analysis of this endgame after White's 56th move can be found at:

Feb-07-12  Chessmaster9001: One of the most instructive endgames ever. Essential Rubinstein!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: In the position after <44. … Kd5>:

click for larger view

Spielmann set a clever trap with <45. Ke2!?> (instead of the obvious <45. Ke3>, routinely defending the d-pawn).

Although there was little or no chance that Rubinstein would fall for the trap, if Black now goes for the pawn grab (<45. … Rxd4?>), White’s reply would be <46. Ke3!>, forcing the exchange of Rooks. In the resulting pawn ending, although White has one pawn less, his outside passer on the a-file means it is White that is playing for a win.

Spielmann apparently learned well the painful lesson from this game: Spielmann vs Duras, 1907, in which a similar trick forced a pawn ending that (in the earlier game) was losing for Spielmann.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <Jan-21-04 ughaibu: Move 34. "[W]hite to play and win".>

<Jan-21-04 technical draw: If 34.Bxf7+ Bxf7, 35.Re5!>

<May-25-04 Hinchliffe: <ughaibu> Did you spot the missed win yourself? >

<May-26-04 ughaibu: Hinchliffe: The first time I saw this game was in Lasker's book of the tournament, he pointed out 34.Bf7 >

<May-26-04 drukenknight: are you sure there's a win there? *** >

Lasker’s comment in the tournament book reads as follows:

“With this move [<34. Qxd6>] White loses the fruit of the efforts he has made. The right move was <34. Bxf7><+>. If then <34. … Bxf7 35. Re5> makes the queen mobile and White mates or wins the rook. And if <34. … Kxf7 35. Rxc7<+> Ke6 36. d5<+> Qxd5 37. Qg4<+>> winning easily.”

<The International Chess Congress: St. Petersburg 1909>, by LASKER, Emanuel, Russell Enterprises, Inc. ©2008, at pp. 159-160.> [<Source note>: The title page and colophon of this edition omit to identify the translation; the Foreword (ibid., at p. 5) identifies it as one primarily done by Richard Teichmann originally published in New York in 1910, with the moves converted from descriptive to algebraic notation.]

To return to the World Champion’s analysis, it does not consider Black’s best defense (after <34. Bxf7><+>), which would have been <34. … Kh8> (as previously proposed by other kibitzers). White then would obtain a clear advantage and excellent winning chances with the simple <35. Bxg6>, creating an additional weakness in the already difficult Black position; but it seems to me it could not be conclusively stated that the position resulting from this continuation is outright winning for White.

Aug-12-12  Karpova: Another version of Dr. Emanuel Lasker's annotation on move 43: <The manner in which Rubinstein treats the following endgame is beyond all praise.>

From the St. Petersburg 1909 tournament book, translated by Richard Teichmann.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Naniwazu: If instead of 43. Kg3 White plays 43. d5 as Lasker suggests Black can play 43...g5 as mentioned by Dvoretsky in his 'Endgame Manual', 44. Kg2 Kf6 45. Rf3+ Kg6 (Δ Rd4) 46. Rd3 f6 Δ ...Kf5.
Oct-10-12  vinidivici: After the match the stunned-Spielmann shouted "Akiba, if u lived in the Middle Ages you would have been burned at the stake, what u do in rook endgames can only be called witchcraft!"
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