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Akiba Rubinstein
Number of games in database: 1,034
Years covered: 1897 to 1948
Overall record: +474 -164 =294 (66.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      102 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Queen's Pawn Game (128) 
    D02 A46 D05 D00 A40
 Orthodox Defense (50) 
    D63 D61 D64 D53 D52
 Nimzo Indian (39) 
    E38 E34 E46 E44 E21
 Queen's Gambit Declined (37) 
    D37 D30 D31 D36 D35
 Tarrasch Defense (33) 
    D33 D32 D34
 King's Gambit Declined (23) 
    C30 C31 C32
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (101) 
    C79 C77 C98 C68 C88
 Orthodox Defense (51) 
    D63 D60 D52 D61 D55
 Four Knights (46) 
    C48 C49 C47
 Queen's Pawn Game (46) 
    D02 D00 D04 D05 A46
 French Defense (41) 
    C01 C11 C10 C00 C02
 Queen's Gambit Declined (35) 
    D31 D30 D37 D06
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Rotlewi vs Rubinstein, 1907 0-1
   Rubinstein vs Lasker, 1909 1-0
   Rubinstein vs Hromadka, 1923 1-0
   Rubinstein vs Salwe, 1908 1-0
   Rubinstein vs Capablanca, 1911 1-0
   Rubinstein vs Schlechter, 1912 1-0
   Alekhine vs Rubinstein, 1912 0-1
   Rubinstein vs Duras, 1908 1-0
   Rubinstein vs Janowski, 1925 1-0
   Rubinstein vs Alekhine, 1911 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Karlsbad (1907)
   18th DSB Kongress (1912)
   San Sebastian (1912)
   St Petersburg (1909)
   Bad Pistyan (1912)
   Vienna (1922)
   Marienbad (1925)
   Karlsbad (1911)
   Gothenburg (1920)
   Baden-Baden (1925)
   San Remo (1930)
   Prague (1908)
   Vienna (1908)
   London (1922)
   Moscow (1925)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Dry Rubinstein by Gottschalk
   Rubinstein's Chess Masterpieces by Karpova
   Rubinstein vs World Champions Decisive Games by visayanbraindoctor
   Akiba Rubinstein's Best Games by KingG
   The Unknown Rubinstein - Forgotten treasures by Karpova
   Rubinstein Rubies by chocobonbon
   Match Rubinstein! by amadeus
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1920-1939 (Part 2) by Anatoly21
   Rubinstein's Rook Endings by kiadd
   Learn from the great Rubinstein by timothee3331
   Akiba Rubinstein's Rook Endings by Knight Pawn
   annotated games & lis short brilliancys by gmlisowitz
   Akiva Rubinstein by Archives
   classicisme by Duveltje

   Spielmann vs Rubinstein, 1920
   Salwe vs Rubinstein, 1907
   O Bernstein vs Rubinstein, 1912
   Rubinstein vs Loman / Van Gelder, 1920

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(born Dec-01-1880, died Mar-15-1961, 80 years old) Poland (citizen of Belgium)

[what is this?]
Akiba (Akiva, Akiwa) Kiwelowicz Rubinstein (1) was born on 1 December 1880 (2) in Stawiski, Poland.(3) He was the youngest of 12 children of a family of rabbis and scholars living in extreme poverty.(4) Ten of his siblings died of tuberculosis in infancy, and his father also died a few weeks before Akiba was born.(4) Akiba was raised by his grandparents to become a rabbi and went to the Cheder,(UK, p. 15) where he got acquainted with chess at the age of 14.(5) At age 16, he became interested in chess theory (5) and decided to become a chess professional instead of a rabbi.(6) Around the turn of the century, Rubinstein moved to Bialystok, Poland and left his family.(7) He soon became too strong for G G Bartoszkiewicz, the best player of Bialystok and Rubinstein's first nemesis.(8)

Early Chess Career

Rubinstein moved to Lódz, Poland in 1902 (AS, page CV) where he faced Georg Salwe. They played a match in 1903 to qualify for the 3rd All-Russian Championship in Kiev, 1903 (UK, pp. 19-20) (TLY, p. 390). The match ended drawn at 7.0-7.0 (UK, p. 20) and both chessplayers competed in the Championship later that year.(9) In 1904, Rubinstein and Salwe played a second match and Rubinstein emerged as the winner (TLY, pp. 390-391). He crowned his international debut at the Barmen 1905 Hauptturnier by sharing first place with Oldrich Duras, and became recognized as a master.(10) In the fall of 1905, Rubinstein beat Jacques Mieses in a match by the score of 3.0-0.0 (included in Rubinstein - Mieses, May (1909)).

Rubinstein continued to improve in 1906, sharing second place at the 4th All-Russian Championship in St. Petersburg behind Salwe,(11) and winning Lódz 1906 ahead of Mikhail Chigorin. (12) At Ostende 1906, a 5-stage 36-player tournament won by Carl Schlechter, Rubinstein achieved an excellent third place (UK, pp. 58-73). He was also successful in local events in Lódz.

Ascending to the Top

Rubinstein shared first place together with Ossip Bernstein at Ostende B 1907,(13) before he had his final breakthrough by winning Karlsbad (1907). (14) Rubinstein was also successful in his last match against Salwe, winning 16.0-6.0 (TLY, pp. 395-402). The year 1907 concluded with Rubinstein's win at the 5th All-Russian Championship 1907-1908 in Lódz,(15) where he played probably his most famous game Rotlewi vs Rubinstein, 1907.

The year 1908 was a bit disappointing, as he managed only 4th place at both Vienna (1908) and Prague (1908). He won two matches, one against Richard Teichmann (16) and Rubinstein - Marshall (1908). He also won Lodz (1908).

A contender for the title

At St Petersburg (1909), Rubinstein shared first place with world champion Emanuel Lasker and beat him in their individual encounter. He went on to win Rubinstein - Mieses, May (1909) and was successful in smaller events. A match against Jose Raul Capablanca was planned in 1909, but never took place for reasons unknown (UK, pp. 207-208).

In 1910, a quiet year for the chess world, Rubinstein moved to Warsaw, Poland (AS, page CV). The Warsaw championship 1910 ended with a surprise, since Alexander Flamberg won ahead of Rubinstein (UK, p. 210). Soon afterwards, the two masters played a match which Rubinstein won 4.5-0.5 (UK, pp. 213-214). Rubinstein did not participate in Hamburg (1910) with respect to his health.(17) A planned match against Bernstein, which was to start in December 1910 and consist of 16 games, was postponed several times and, in the end, never took place (UK, pp. 215-216).

Rubinstein beat Capablanca in their individual encounter and remained unbeaten at San Sebastian (1911), but he still had to share second place behind the young Cuban. He also had to be content with a shared second place at Karlsbad (1911), Teichmann's great triumph. The year concluded with Rubinstein winning the strong Warsaw championship.(18)

The year 1912 was Rubinstein's magical year. He won four consecutive major tournaments: San Sebastian (1912), Bad Pistyan (1912), the 18th DSB Kongress (1912) and Vilnius All-Russian Masters (1912).

World Championship Challenger

During San Sebastian 1912, Rubinstein wrote to Lasker that he wanted to play a title match against him. Lasker was still bound by the ill-fated negotiations with Capablanca.(19) Rubinstein officially challenged Lasker in August 1912, and the world champion accepted. The negotiations and the arrangement of the world championship took place mainly in 1912 and 1913.(20) The match was to take place in autumn 1914 in Europe, mainly in Germany and Russia. Rubinstein doesn't seem to have played serious chess in 1913, but probably prepared for the match. He spend a few months in Bad Reichenhall, a popular health resort in Germany.(21)

1914 - The end of a dream, but not of all hopes

Rubinstein only scored 50% at St Petersburg (1914) and was eliminated in the preliminary tournament.(22) This had no influence on the planned world championship match, and Lasker went on with the arrangements for the match.(23) The outbreak of the First World War was the force majeure that forced the cancellation of the title match (UK, p. 304).

The First World War

From 1914 to 1917, Rubinstein was confined to Poland, a major battleground. He could only compete in events in Warsaw and Lódz and did so with success (UK, pp. 304-311). There were also good moments, as Akiba married Eugenie Lew in 1917 and their son Jonas Jacob was born on 24 January 1918 in Szczuczyn, Poland (AS, page Family Tree) (TLY, p. 26). He was able to travel to Berlin in early 1918 (UK, p. 311) and competed in several events. His play became uneven and very good performances took turns with very bad results. First, he won the Rubinstein - Schlechter (1918) match in January, and then came in last at Berlin Four Masters (1918). He followed up with a second place, unbeaten behind world champion Lasker, at Berlin Grandmasters (1918).

The post-war era

In late 1919, the Rubinstein family moved to Sweden where they lived until 1921 (UK, p. 323) (AS, page CV). He came in second in the Stockholm quadrangular tournament in December 1919 (behind Rudolf Spielmann, ahead of Efim Bogoljubov and Richard Reti) (UK, pp. 327-333). At the beginning of 1920, Rubinstein beat Bogoljubov in a match.(24) During a Simul tour through the Netherlands (20 March 1920), Rubinstein spoke about the world championship (UK, p. 370), since Capablanca had emerged as Lasker's main rival. He reminded the public of still having a contract with Lasker, yet did not deny Lasker's and Capablanca's right to play for the title. He thought that an official body should administer the world championship and also suggested a triangular match between Lasker, Capablanca and himself. However, Rubinstein had lost his financial basis in post-war Europe and couldn't raise the necessary funds. Capablanca met Lasker in The Hague in January 1920 and they drew up a draft agreement for a title match, not to begin before 1 January 1921.(25) Capablanca had already declared in August 1919 that Lasker, Rubinstein and he himself were considered the strongest chessplayers in the world and that he would accept a challenge from Rubinstein, if he won the title from Lasker.(26) Rubinstein ended the year with a good second place at Gothenburg (1920) and then won the small Göteborg Winter tournament, which extended from 1920 to 1921, in convincing fashion (TLY, pp. 29-34).

At The Hague (1921), Rubinstein came in third behind Alexander Alekhine and Savielly Tartakower. Rubinstein co-authored the Lärobok i Schack, one of the most important contemporaneous works on opening theory.(27) He went on to win the strong Triberg tournament, December 1921, ahead of Bogoljubov and Spielmann (TLY, pp. 44-52). Alekhine wanted to challenge the new world champion Capablanca already after The Hague (1921), but the Cuban granted Rubinstein the right of a first challenge. He had already accepted Rubinstein's challenge on 7 September 1921. Dutch chess officials suggested a candidates match between Rubinstein and Alekhine. Both masters agreed to the match. The winner would receive 1,000 Guilders, the loser 500 Guilders. The match was to take place not earlier than March 1922. In the end, Alekhine avoided the match.(28)

At London (1922), Rubinstein came in fourth and Capablanca drew up the London Rules.(29) Capablanca granted Rubinstein some time to meet the high financial demands, setting the deadline for 31 December 1923, but Rubinstein couldn't raise the funds.(30) After a second place at Hastings (1922), he came in fifth at Teplitz-Schönau, October 1922, but won 4 Brilliancy prizes (TLY, pp. 72-83). At the end of the year, he had one of his greatest successes at Vienna (1922). Rubinstein, who had to support his family and raise money for the title match, suffered a severe financial set-back when Austrian frontier officials impounded his prize money (TLY, p. 84). In 1922, the Rubinstein family moved to Germany, where they stayed until 1926 (AS, page CV). After winning Hastings 1922/1923 (TLY, pp. 96-100), Rubinstein had very disappointing performances at Karlsbad (1923) and Maehrisch - Ostrau (1923).

Although Rubinstein had to content himself with a third place in Meran, February 1924 he popularized the Meran variation of the Semi-Slav by beating the tournament winner in Gruenfeld vs Rubinstein, 1924. Rubinstein was willing to compete in New York (1924), but this was out of question for the organizers. Bernhard Kagan, responsible for contacting the European masters and trying to help Rubinstein, explained that the number of participants was limited and the Grandmasters who were already in New York had an influential word.(31) He competed in smaller events, before managing a good second place at Baden-Baden (1925). The year 1925 continued to be a successful one with a shared first place at Marienbad (1925). At Breslau (1925), he only shared third place and ended the year with a very disappointing performance in Moscow (1925), his first and only trip to the Soviet Union (TLY, p. 165). While his results improved in 1926, at Semmering (1926), Dresden (1926), Budapest, June-July 1926 (shared third to fifth place) (TLY, pp. 196-203), Hannover (1926) and Berlin (1926), they were not outstanding. The Rubinstein family moved to Belgium in 1926, where Akiba lived until the end of his life (AS, page CV). In the spring of 1927, Rubinstein visited Poland and won the Second Polish Championship in Lódz (TLY, pp. 212-221). On 19 March 1927, his son Samy Rubinstein was born in Antwerp, Belgium (AS, page Family Tree).

In early 1928, Rubinstein visited the USA, gave Simuls and played several exhibition games (TLY, pp. 348-362). An international tournament had originally been planned and then a match against Marshall was suggested in its stead, but neither took place. He shared third place with Max Euwe at Bad Kissingen (1928), but Berlin (1928) was a disappointment. Then came the year 1929, which was one of his best years and stands out among the post-World War I years. First, he scored +3 -0 =4 against the British players in the Scheveningen-style Ramsgate tournament, March-April 1929 (TLY, pp. 238-241). Then followed three large tournaments, where Rubinstein came in fourth at Karlsbad (1929), second at Budapest (1929) and won Rogaška Slatina (today Slovenia), September-October 1929, ahead of Salomon Flohr (TLY, pp. 265-273). Donaldson and Minev on these three tournaments: "Rubinstein's overall result, which included only three losses in forty-nine games, was 34 1/2 - 14 1/2 during the sixty-nine days span."(TLY, p. 238)

The end of his chess career

He reached third place at San Remo (1930). Rubinstein also competed in the Belgian Team Championship in March and beat Johannes Hendrik Otto van den Bosch (3.0-0.0) and Salo Landau (2.5-0.5) in short matches in June (TLY, pp. 282-286). After a third place at Scarborough (1930), Rubinstein played on first board for the Polish team at the Hamburg Chess Olympiad, scoring +13 -0 =4. Rubinstein, together with Savielly Tartakower, David Przepiorka, Kazimierz Makarczyk and Paulino Frydman won the Gold medal.(32) Possibly tired from the Olympiad, which took place in July, Rubinstein disappointed at Liege (1930) in August.

In the spring of 1931, Rubinstein conducted a Simul tour through Palestine. He was the first well-known chess master to do so and the visit had a great, positive and long-lasting influence on chess in Palestine.(33) Then came the Prague Olympiad, July 1931, and Rubinstein played on first board again for the Silver-medal winning Polish team.(34) He was invited to Bled (1931), (35) but did not participate. After a successful Scheveningen-style tournament in Antwerp, July-August 1931 (TLY, pp. 316-318), Rubinstein came in last at Rotterdam, December 1931 (TLY, pp. 318-321) which was followed in January 1932 by a consultation event, which also took place in Rotterdam. Rubinstein scored the most points (TLY, p. 322). This was the last serious chess event he participated in, ending his professional chess career in early 1932.

The later years

The Rubinstein family had moved to Brussels, Belgium in 1931, where his wife Eugenie operated a restaurant (TLY, p. 26). With Akiba retiring from chess in 1932, Eugenie had to feed the family (two children) and the situation became critical. An appeal for help was made in 1932 and the publishing house of the Wiener Schach-Zeitung tried to help by publishing the book Rubinstein gewinnt!, with an introduction by Jacques Hannak and annotations by Hans Kmoch. (36) Akiba stayed for some time in a sanatorium before being reunited with his family (TLY, p. 16). In 1936, Eugenie reported that Akiba's health at least hadn't declined compared to the years before and he still occupied himself with chess, having followed the Alekhine - Euwe World Championship Match (1935) also.(37)

The fact that the Rubinstein family survived the Holocaust seems like a miracle. Sammy spend 1943-1944 in prison but was released. Factors which helped them to survive: They were probably all Belgian citizens by 1940 living in Brussels, and the Germans had no clear plans for Belgium which affected its administration (about 44% of the Jewish population in Belgium perished in the Holocaust), in addition, Akiba hid in a sanatorium (TLY, pp. 18-19).

Rubinstein's last public appearance as a chess player was a Simul he gave in Liège, Belgium in March 1946, scoring +24 -2 =4 (TLY, p. 377). It was reported that he would participate in a tournament in Maastricht soon afterwards, but he withdrew (TLY, p. 19). The financial situation of the Rubinstein family became critical again, and an appeal to help him was made in 1948 (TLY, pp. 17-18). In 1950, FIDE awarded the Grandmaster title to Rubinstein.(38)

Akiba had two students, Paul Devos and the third correspondence chess world champion Alberic O'Kelly de Galway (TLY, p. 19). He was also visited by Daniel Abraham Yanofsky and Miguel Najdorf, who said that Rubinstein won two fantastic games against him, and possibly Euwe.(39)

After his wife Eugenie died in 1954, Akiba moved to a home for old people. Sammy and Jonas remember visiting him and analysing the games of the world championship matches between Mikhail Botvinnik and Vasily Smyslov together.(TLY, p. 21) On 15 March 1961, Akiba Rubinstein passed away in Antwerp, Belgium (TLY, p. 21).

Contributions to Opening Theory

Akiba Rubinstein invented and popularized many important opening variations, or turned innovations by others into fully-fledged opening systems. Many opening variations therefore bear his name. Among them are the Rubinstein variation of the Nimzo-Indian Defense (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3), the Rubinstein variation of the French Defense (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4), the Rubinstein variation of the Symmetrical English (1.c4 c5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Bg2 Nc7), an important variation in the Four Knights Game (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Nd4), the important system against the Tarrasch Defence of the Queen's Gambit Declined with 6.g3 (introduced by Schlechter), and the already mentioned Meran variation in the Semi-Slav.


Garry Kasparov: "Careful analysis shows that modern chess, proceeding from the Botvinnik era, is very strongly influenced by the games of Rubinstein, who was, essentially, one of the fathers of modern chess history." (40)

Vladimir Kramnik: Rubinstein was “ incredibly talented and fantastic chess player...Why didn't he become a World Champion? That's a mystery to me…” (41)

Boris Gelfand on the question if Rubinstein was his favorite player: "Yes, sure, definitely." (42)

Additional Information

An overview of Rubinstein's individual scores against the strongest players of his time: User: RubinsteinScores

An overview of Rubinstein's matches: User: RubinsteinMatches

An overview of Rubinstein's tournament career:

User: jessicafischerqueen 's documentary of Rubinstein can be found in three parts at and

Sources and Footnotes

The most important sources, apart from contemporaneous newspapers, were Donaldson's and Minev's two volumes on Rubinstein and Anita Sikora's website on Rubinstein with a lot of original research. In order to save space, these sources will simply be abbreviated in the text and don't get their own footnotes. The abbreviation "UK" stands for John William Donaldson and Nikolay Minev, The Life & Games of Akiva Rubinstein - Volume 1: Uncrowned King, 2nd edition, 2006, Russell Enterprises, Inc., Milford CT USA. The abbreviation "TLY" stands for John William Donaldson and Nikolay Minev, The Life & Games of Akiva Rubinstein - Volume 2: The Later Years, 2nd edition, 2011, Russell Enterprises, Inc., Milford CT USA. The abbreviation "AS" stands for Anita Sikora's (User: anyi) website

(1) His forename is usually written Akiba with b. In the Hebrew alphabet b, v and w are the same letter and v is the correct transliteration. See the discussion in AS (page CV). Rubinstein himself once used the German transliteration Akiwa (cover of KARL 3/2013). His name is spelled Akiba in the biography because it is the official spelling on Kiwelowicz is his patronym (other transliterations are Kivelovitch and Kiwelowitsch, see AS, page CV) according to Jeremy Gaige's Chess Personalia (p. 364 of the paperback edition, 2005, McFarland) since Poland was occupied by Russia at that time.

(2) Rubinstein's birthday was unclear for a long time, see the discussion on p. 384 of UK. The earliest sources gave 12 October 1882 (Gregorian calender, converted from 30 September 1882 of the Julian calender), while later sources gave 12 December 1882. It has lately been established that the birthdate on his gravestone, 1 December 1880, is correct, by Elzbieta Kusina and Jan Kusina of the Malopolska Chess Association, Krakow, Poland (19 April 2014, news of the Kenneth Whyld Foundation & Association,

(3) Tomasz Lissowski wrote a photo article on Stawiski, Irgendwo im Nirgendwo, KARL 3/2013, pp. 12-17.

(4) Ernst Strouhal, Alles Schöne war geistig..., KARL 3/2013, pp. 12-17. AS, page Family Tree. UK, p. 15. Strouhal notes that rabbis and Jewish scholars usually lived in great poverty in Eastern Europe at that time.

(5) Akiba Rubinstein, Wiener Schach-Zeitung, June 1926, pp. 164-165. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek". Rubinstein was answering Eugen Gömöri's question on how he became a chessmaster.

(6) Ernst Strouhal, Alles Schöne war geistig..., KARL 3/2013, pp. 12-17. Rubinstein's first chess book was Zosints' Instructor, written in Hebrew.

(7) Ernst Strouhal, Alles Schöne war geistig..., KARL 3/2013, pp. 12-17. This decision haunted him throughout his life, see for example TLY, p. 16 where the misunderstood story of the fly is explained. What pestered him was not an actual fly (it's a midrash) but the decision to leave behind his family and Jewish tradition to become a chess professional.

(8) Rubinstein vs G G Bartoszkiewicz, 1897 is Rubinstein's first recorded game. The date of the game is not clear: UK tentatively gives 1897 and played by correspondence (according to S. Postma, Jeugdpartijen van Beroemde Meesters), while Strouhal (see source (7)) has 1901 and played in Steins Café in Bialystok. Lissowski offers 1901 and 1902 as possible dates in Szachowa Vistula Chess Monthly,

(9) Rod Edwards,

(10) Rod Edwards, UK, pp. 33-40. A play-off between Rubinstein and Duras ended 1.0-1.0 (two draws).

(11) Rod Edwards, UK, pp. 43-50.

(12) Rod Edwards, UK, pp. 51-57.

(13) Rod Edwards, UK, pp. 79-88. Walter John criticized the Ostend (Championship) (1907) for not inviting Rubinstein instead of the two tail-enders (Generalanzeiger für Elberfeld-Barmen, 6 July 1907; reprinted in Wiener Schach-Zeitung, August-September 1907, p. 254. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek")

(14) Jacques Hannak called the Karlsbad 1907 tournament the "historical turning point of our chess history" (Der historische Wendepunkt unserer Schachgeschichte), because the youth triumphed over the established masters (Jacques Hannak, Wiener Schach-Zeitung, November-December 1907, p. 252. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek").

(15) Rod Edwards, UK, pp. 117-125.

(16) Game Collection: Rubinstein vs. Teichmann, Match (1908)

(17) Wiener Schach-Zeitung, October-November 1910, p. 354. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek".

(18) UK, pp. 244-245. Salwe of Lódz was a special guest. This championship, played in December 1911, counted as the 1912 city championship.

(19) Emanuel Lasker, Pester Lloyd, 31 March 1912, p. 10. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek". See Lasker - Capablanca World Championship Match (1921) for more information on the negotiations between Capablanca and Lasker.

(20) UK, pp. 290-295 provides extensive coverage, e. g. the conditions can be found there. Lasker announced the successful conclusion of the negotiations on 28 August 1913 (Emanuel Lasker, Pester Lloyd, 31 August 1913, p. 11. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek").

(21) Wiener Schach-Zeitung, July 1913, p. 200. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek".

(22) The artificial division into a preliminary and a final tournament, instead of a double round robin event, was criticised by many people according to the St. Petersburger Zeitung (Wiener Schach-Zeitung, May-June 1914, p. 96. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"). Rudolf Spielmann also criticised the format in the Münchner Neuesten Nachrichten, 31 May 1914 (Wiener Schach-Zeitung, May-June 1914, p. 97. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek").

(23) UK, p. 294 quotes the American Chess Bulletin (1914, p. 139): "Word comes from St. Petersburg that Dr. Lasker will go ahead with his arrangements to play the match for the championship with A. K. Rubinstein of Lodz." It's worth remembering that Carl Schlechter only scored 50% at St Petersburg (1909), before drawing the Lasker - Schlechter World Championship Match (1910).

(24) Game Collection: Bogoljubov-Rubinstein Match, Sweden 1920

(25) Edward G Winter, Capablanca: a compendium of games, notes, articles, correspondence, illustrations and other rare materials on the Cuban chess genius José Raúl Capablanca, 1888-1942, 1989, McFarland 1989, pp. 108-109 (originally from the American Chess Bulletin, March 1920, pp. 45-46). Edward Winter notes that it is unclear why Capablanca didn't want to play prior to 1921. The consequence was that clause 15 stated that Lasker had the right to play a title match against someone else before 1921. Despite the signed contract, Rubinstein could have played a title match against Lasker, if he had raised the necessary funds. Also telling is Winter's comment on Capablanca's My Chess Career, published in early 1920 on p. 105: "...he also had to convince the chess world of his right to a world title match with Lasker." defending Capablanca from critics accusing him of self-laudation in this book.

(26) Winter, Capablanca, pp. 97-98 (originally from The Observer, 24 August 1919, p. 9).

(27) This was the fourth edition, Stockholm 1921, by Gustaf Collijn and Ludvig Collijn, written by Rubinstein, Richard Reti and Rudolf Spielmann (Aron Nimzowitsch also contributed). Sources are TLY, p. 26; AS, page Mysteries; there are also online resources from libraries, but the fourth edition is not publicly available.

(28) Toni Preziuso, Amerika! Amerika!, KARL 3/2013, pp. 36-37.

(29) Edward G Winter, The London Rules, 2008,

(30) Toni Preziuso, Amerika! Amerika!, KARL 3/2013, pp. 37-38. In 1923, Rubinstein tried to finance a trip to the USA as a part of his title campaign, but couldn't raise the money.

(31) Toni Preziuso, Amerika! Amerika!, KARL 3/2013, pp. 38-39 (Kagan gave the explanation in his Neueste Schachnachrichten, 1924, p. 176). According to Preziuso, it is not clear why Rubinstein wasn't invited. He was never considered and financial reasons appear unlikely.

(32) TLY, pp. 289-299. Wojciech Bartelski & Co.,

(33) TLY, pp. 368-371. Avital Pilpel, Rubinsteins Abenteuer im Heiligen Land, KARL 3/2013, pp. 46-49. For Rubinstein, the trip was not a success as he suffered a financial set-back.

(34) TLY, pp. 307-315. Wojciech Bartelski & Co.,

(35) Wiener Schach-Zeitung, July 1931, p. 220. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"

(36) TLY, pp. 16-17. An advertisement for the book in the Wiener Schachzeitung can be seen here: (Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek").

(37) Wiener Schach-Zeitung, February 1936, p. 60 (originally from the British Chess Magazine). Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"

(38) Jeremy Gaige, Chess Personalia, 2005 (paperback edition), McFarland, p. 364.

(39) TLY, p. 19. Edward G Winter, Akiba Rubinstein’s Later Years,

(40) Garry Kasparov, On My Great Predecessors Part I, 2003, Everyman, p. 204)

(41) Interview with Vladimir Barsky, Kramnik Interview: From Steinitz to Kasparov, 15 May 2005,

(42) Interview on 5 June 2012, part 2,

 page 1 of 42; games 1-25 of 1,034  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Rubinstein vs G G Bartoszkiewicz 1-017 1897 CorrespondenceC55 Two Knights Defense
2. Rubinstein vs NN 1-018 1902 ?000 Chess variants
3. Rubinstein vs A Rabinovich 0-149 1903 Third All-Russian ChampionshipA84 Dutch
4. Rubinstein vs O Bernstein 0-125 1903 Third All-Russian ChampionshipC45 Scotch Game
5. Yurevich vs Rubinstein 0-164 1903 Third All-Russian ChampionshipA02 Bird's Opening
6. Rubinstein vs NN 1-022 1903 Handicap tournament ?000 Chess variants
7. Schiffers vs Rubinstein 0-121 1903 Third All-Russian ChampionshipC11 French
8. Rubinstein vs V Nikolaev 1-040 1903 Third All-Russian ChampionshipD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
9. Rubinstein vs Znosko-Borovsky ½-½24 1903 Kiev All-Russian chD53 Queen's Gambit Declined
10. Chojnacki vs Rubinstein 0-123 1903 Handicap tournament000 Chess variants
11. M Lowcki vs Rubinstein 1-029 1903 RUS-ch03D31 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. Chigorin vs Rubinstein 1-033 1903 KievC00 French Defense
13. Rubinstein vs S Levitsky ½-½38 1903 Third All-Russian ChampionshipD08 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit
14. Rubinstein vs Dus Chotimirsky 0-175 1903 RUS-ch03D05 Queen's Pawn Game
15. Rubinstein vs Salwe 1-032 1903 Lodz mD05 Queen's Pawn Game
16. Salwe vs Rubinstein 0-114 1903 LodzC50 Giuoco Piano
17. W Von Stamm vs Rubinstein 0-127 1903 Third All-Russian ChampionshipD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
18. Salwe vs Rubinstein 1-030 1903 Lodz mB57 Sicilian
19. Rubinstein vs P P Benko 1-018 1903 RUS-ch03A84 Dutch
20. Rubinstein vs V N Kulomzin 1-020 1903 Third All-Russian ChampionshipD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
21. S Izbinsky vs Rubinstein 0-136 1903 RUS-ch03C81 Ruy Lopez, Open, Howell Attack
22. Salwe vs Rubinstein 1-049 1903 ConsultationC55 Two Knights Defense
23. N E Kalinsky vs Rubinstein 0-139 1903 Third All-Russian ChampionshipC22 Center Game
24. Rubinstein vs S F Lebedev 1-059 1903 Third All-Russian ChampionshipC10 French
25. Salwe vs Rubinstein ½-½39 1903 RUS-ch03D02 Queen's Pawn Game
 page 1 of 42; games 1-25 of 1,034  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Rubinstein wins | Rubinstein loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 48 OF 48 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Information on the negotiations from Dr. Emanuel Lasker (Berlin, August 8, 1912):

- On his travel to Vilnius, Rubinstein stayed for a few days at the Hiddensee to recover. He visited Dr. Lasker there and they talked about the world championship match conditions.

- They agreed on the main points and there was disagreement over one condition only.


- 8 games up, draws not counting

- If this goal wasn't reached after 30 games, the player with most points wins.

- The only exception is, if a contestant is only one point ahead, in this case, the match will proceed until another decisive game is played, but only for 4 games at maximum

- If the match is not yet decided after those 4 additional games, a difference of 1 point shall not decide the match (<Nach Erledigung dieser Anzahl von Partien solle eine Differenz von einem Point nicht entscheiden.>)

- 5 playing days per week

- 12 moves per hour

- Every day either 4 consecutive hours, or 2 sessions of 2.5 hours with a 2 hour break

- Disagreement about the playing time: Dr. Lasker suggests play between 1400 and 2200 (e. g. 1400 to 1800, or 1500 to 1730 and 1930 to 2200), but Rubinstein doesn't want to play in the evening, suggesting to start at 1100. Dr. Lasker cannot accept Rubinstein's proposal as he is not used to intellectual work in the morning and he believes that there would not be enough spectators.

Source: 'Pester Lloyd', 1912.08.11, p. 8

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Dr. Emanuel Lasker: <Rubinstein ist ein Leu.> (Rubinstein is a lion.)

Source: 'Pester Lloyd', 1912.09.22, p. 8 (written by Lasker in Berlin, on September 19th)

For the context, see Vilnius All-Russian Masters (1912)

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I think that the best chess book that has not yet been written is <The Collected Chess Journalism of Akiva Rubinstein>.

Someone would have to translate it from the Yiddish.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Dr. Emanuel Lasker reports (Berlin, November 7), that Rubinstein would participate in the New York-Havana tournament. Geza Maroczy also accepted the invitation (<Von Newyork kommt die Nachricht, daß Rubinstein an dem Turniere teilnehmen wird. Auch Maroczy hat zugesagt.>).

Source: 'Pester Lloyd', 1912.11.10, p. 9

The tournament was never arranged. In the 'Pester Lloyd' of September 29, 1912 (p. 9), Dr. Lasker had voiced doubts that Rubinstein among others would participate (<Ich glaube, daß zumindesten Dr. Bernstein, ich selbst, Maroczy, Rubinstein, Dr. Tarrasch und Dr. Vidmar zweifelhaft sind.>, written in Berlin, on September 26).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Dr. Emanuel Lasker, Berlin, November 14:

<Von Newyork kommt die erstaunliche Nachricht, daß das geplante Turnier, dessen Anfang so zuversichtlich auf den 30. November festgesetzt war, aufgehoben ist. Eine lakonische Depesche meldete das Faktum ohne Angabe von Gründen dem europäischen Vertreter des Komitees Herrn Hoffer, der es lakonisch weitergab. [...] Für die Schachmeister, die sich zum Turniere gerüstet haben, hat der plötzliche Umschwung eine sehr bedauerliche Konsequenz. Sie hatten für vier oder fünf Monate ihrer nächsten Zukunft alle Dispositionen getroffen, um sich auf den Kampf vorzubereiten und eine geraume Zeit auf Reisen in fernen Landen zu verbringen. Nun stehen sie ohne Engagements da. Ihr einziger Fehler ist gewesen, daß sie den Worten des Komitees geglaubt haben. Augenscheinlich hat dies die Verpflichtung, den empfindlichen Schaden, den es angerichtet hat, soweit dies überhaupt geschehen kann, wieder gutzumachen.>

(The astonishing news arrives from New York, that the planned tournament, scheduled so confidently for November 30th, is cancelled. A laconic telegram reported the fact without a mention of the reasons to the European representative of the committee, Mr. Hoffer, who relayed it laconically. [...] For the chessmasters who prepared for the tournament, the sudden turnaround has a very regretful consequence. They had met for four to five months of their next future all dispositions, to prepare for the competition and to spend a lot of time on travelling in far away countries. Now they are left without engagements. Their sole mistake was to believe the words of the committee. Obviously the committee now has the duty to atone for the damage it has caused, as far as that is possible at all.)

Source: 'Pester Lloyd', 1912.11.17, p. 12

Dr. Lasker raises an important point. It should be noted, that in Berlin, on October 3rd ('Pester Lloyd', 1912.10.06, p. 9) he had written <Aber an dessen Zustandekommen braucht man nicht zu zweifeln.> (But one need not doubt it taking place.) So while it was not yet clear, how it would exactly be, Dr. Lasker was also sure that it would take place.

Nothing is known about Rubinstein playing serious chess in 1913. There are probably several possible reasons for that: He had to recover from the many chess tournaments in 1912, he arranged the match against Dr. Lasker and probably prepared for it. But the influence of such a failed tournament can also have a great impact, as Dr. Lasker makes clear. They had planned to invest about 4 to 5 months into it - and now nothing was left.

Another important point not mentioned yet is, that this not only influenced the plans of the chessplayers, but also other chess tournament organizers. See for example my post Georg Rotlewi for a tournament that was postponed due to other tournaments taking place, and finally never arranged.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: «Rubinstein told me that he could communicate with his housefly through her food, but I pooh-poohed the idea.»
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Dr. Emanuel Lasker, Berlin, January 30:

<Seit einigen Tagen findet in Newyork ein Turnier statt, das die amerikanische Schachwelt veranstaltet hat, um sich für den Ausfall des internationalen Turniers zu entschädigen. Auf diese Weise haben die Beteiligten, insbesondere Capablanca und Felix Cahn, ihren guten Willen an den Tag gelegt. Die europäischen Meister allerdings, die auf die Teilnahme am geplanten großen Turnier gerechnet und demgemäß ihre Arrangements getroffen hatten, bleiben ohne Kompensation.>

(A few days ago, a tournament commenced in New York, which was arranged by the American chess world to recoup themselves for the cancellation of the International tournament. This way, the involved parties, especially Capablanca and Felix Cahn, displayed their good will. The European masters however, who had counted on the participation in the planned great tournament, and made their arrangements accordingly, remain without compensation.)

Source: 'Pester Lloyd', 1913.02.02, p. 9

Among those masters was Rubinstein. Janowski travelled there nonetheless and played in the compensatory, national tournament.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Dr. Emanuel Lasker, Berlin, February 20:

<Das Komitee des amerikanischen Turniers hat die Verpflichtung, die es auf sich genommen hatte, anerkannt und einigen der Meister, die sich zur Teilnahme am Turnier vorbereitet hatten, eine Entschädigung gezahlt.>

(The committee of the American tournament has acknowledged the duty it had shouldered and paid compensation to some of the masters, who had prepared for the participation in the tournament.)

Source: 'Pester Lloyd', 1913.02.23, p. 11

Now further information, so it's not known whether Rubinstein was affected.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Dr. Emanuel Lasker, Berlin, August 21:

<Rubinstein ist heute hier angelangt. Die Besprechungen wegen eines Matches um die Weltmeisterschaft scheinen zum Ziele zu führen.>

(Rubinstein arrived here today. The discussions on a match for the world championship appear to achieve results.)

Source: 'Pester Lloyd', 1913.08.24, p. 7

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Dr. Emanuel Lasker (Berlin, August 28) announces that the negotiations for a world championship match against Rubinstein were finished.

- The match is to be played in the next year.

- Winner is he who has most points after 20 games.

- Time control is 2 hours for every 30 moves

- Playing time is 1500 to 1900

- They play on 5 days per week

- To be appointed are an arbiter, a treasurer, a tournament director and seconds; negotiations with chess clubs are necessary, and determination of the playing venues and the travel route.

- There's a novelty: No stake, but a match book with annotations by both masters. Chess friends shall subscribe to it and it will only be delivered to subscribers. The price of the book will be either 20 <Mark> or 24 <Kronen>, and they hope to gather enough money to substitute a stake.

<Ein solcher Wettkampf soll ja nicht der Eitelkeit der Spieler dienen oder eine Meinung über deren Stärkeverhältnis klären, sondern vor allem Tausenden von Schachfreunden Freude machen.>

(Such a match shall not serve the players' vanity or settle an opinion on their strength relation, but foremost bring joy to thousands of chess friends.)

<Ohne Zweifel wird das Match hohes Interesse erregen, und nicht bloß in Europa. Rubinstein hat einen glänzenden Aufstieg genommen. Er hat sich, man kann es wohl mit Bestimmtheit behaupten, allen seinen Turniergegnern überlegen gezeigt. Es erhebt sich daher naturgemäß die Frage, ob er auch der letzten Ehre, die die Schachwelt zu vergeben hat, des Titels der Weltmeisterschaft, würdig ist. Solche Fragen sind nicht a priori zu beantworten. Hier ist eine Rätselfrage, die dem Scharfsinn jedes Philosophen widerstehen würde; hier entscheidet einzig der Versuch, das Ergeignis, die Kampfesprobe.>

(Without a doubt, the match will cause great inerest, and not only in Europe. Rubinstein has taken a brilliant ascent. He has himself, one can probably state it with certainty, shown to be superior to all his tournament competitors. Naturally, the question arises whether he is worthy of the last honour the chess world has to offer, the title of world champion. Such questions cannot be answered a priori. Here is a puzzle, which would resist the acumen of every philosopher; here decides only the try, the event, the test in the struggle.)

Source: 'Pester Lloyd', 1913.08.31, p. 11

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Dr. Emanuel Lasker, Berlin, September 3:

<Die Nachricht von dem zwischen Rubinstein und mir geschlossenen Uebereinkommen hat gewaltiges Interesse erweckt. Ich habe bereits mehrere Briefe von Klubs erhalten, die einen Teil des Matches in ihren Räumen zu sehen wünschen. Ohne Zweifel erhofft die Schachwelt von dem Kampfe eine Bereicherung der Theorie und des Stils.>

(The news of the agreement between Rubinstein and me awoke enormous interest. I already received several letters from Clubs who want to see a part of the match taking place in their rooms. Without a doubt, the chess world hopes for an enrichment of theory and style.)

Source: 'Pester Lloyd', 1913.09.07, p. 9

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Dr. Emanuel Lasker, Berlin, September 11:

<Die Verhandlungen wegen der Partien des Matches Rubinstein-Lasker machen guten Fortschritt. Es ist zu hoffen, daß das Programm des Matches im Monat Oktober festgelegt werden kann. Wenn nun die Subskription auf das Buch des Matches einen günstigen Fortgang nimmt, wird der Kampf, für den sich allerorts großes Interesse kundgibt, im Frühjahr beginnen können.>

(The negotiations because of the games of the match Rubinstein-Lasker are making good progress. It is hoped that the program of the match can be determined in October. If now the subscription for the match book goes on favourably, the match, for which great interest is voiced everywhere, can begin in spring.)

Source: 'Pester Lloyd', 1913.09.14, p. 9

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: There was obviously a misunderstanding (although Dr. Lasker presumes it may have been intentional) to which the line quoted here Akiba Rubinstein gave rise:

<Ein solcher Wettkampf soll ja nicht der Eitelkeit der Spieler dienen oder eine Meinung über deren Stärkeverhältnis klären, sondern vor allem Tausenden von Schachfreunden Freude machen.>

(Such a match shall not serve the players' vanity or settle an opinion on their strength relation, but foremost bring joy to thousands of chess friends.)

The 'St. Petersburger Zeitung' now assumed the match would not be taken seriously, as the players played without inner solicitousness (as they didn't play because of vanity or relative strength) and the 'Wochenschach' adopted the misunderstanding without correcting it.

So Dr. Lasker makes clear how it was meant. <Wenn man sagt, der Mensch lebt nicht, um zu essen, heißt das etwa, daß der Mensch nicht esse?> (If you say that men don't live to eat, does that perhaps mean that men don't eat?). He merely wanted to stress that there are also completely different motifs for a world championship (not just those misconceptions (<Wir haben gegenüber falschen Auffassungen der Weltmeisterschaftskämpfe hervorheben wollen [...].>)). World championship matches are unlike private games, they are an ostantation and the personal has to take a back seat.

Source: 'Pester Lloyd', 1913.10.19, p. 9 (written in Berlin, October 16)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Dr. Emanuel Lasker, Barmen, November 6:

<Die Unterhandlungen mit den Klubs wegen Uebernahme der zwanzig Partien des Wettkampfes mit Rubinstein machen erfreulichen Fortschritt. Die Orte, wo vierzehn der Partien gespielt werden, sind bereits festgestellt. Es sind dies die Städte Berlin, Frankfurt, Moskau, Lodz, Warschau. Außerdem sind Verhandlungen im Gange mit Zürich und Malmö.>

(The negotiations with the clubs because of acceptance of the 20 games of the match against Rubinstein make pleasant progress. The venues where 14 games will be played, have already been determined. These are the cities Berlin, Frankfurt, Moscow, Lodz, Warsaw. Furthermore, negotiations are under way with Zürich and Malmö.)

Source: 'Pester Lloyd', 1913.11.09, p. 11

Apr-19-14  thomastonk: Recent news on his date of birth:
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: <thomas>

Thanks for the interesting news item! I updated the biography.

Apr-19-14  thomastonk: <Karpova> Thank you for the update! I wasn't completely sure (-> Editorial in "Karl", 3/2013), and so I left it to the expert.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: Should be updated here too:

User: RubinsteinLife

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Hermann Helms: <Rubinstein who is staying with his wife at the Hotel Majestic in Manhattan, smiled good-naturedly when told about Capablanca's latest whim. The Polish expert is on excellent terms with the former world champion.>

Source: 'Brooklyn Daily Eagle', 16 February 1928, p. 4A,

Found by Christian Sánchez (Rosario, Argentina) and posted in C.N. 8689,, as Rubinstein opposed Capablanca's proposed changes to chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Information on Rubinstein circumstances immediately after the Second World War from Chess Review. Mrs Genia Rubinstein "We are alive. Akiba is much better and he will give a simultaneous exhibition in February. We have lost everything and we haven't even a place to live. We are staying in the home of the famous Belgium painter Kurt Leiser at 44, Rue du Chateau d'Eau, (Uccle) Brussels. We need assistance".

<Chess Review page 12, March 1945>.

Isador Samuel Turover was shown Chairman of the Rubinstein Relief Committee. He was a wealthy patron who had lived in Belgium before emigrating to the United States

"His son writes. It gives me pleasure to inform you that my father, who was in an asylum during the occupation, is in a satisfactory condition, as is our entire family. He has even began to play in public (for 12 years he had refrained from playing in public) and on the second of this month (March) will give a simultaneous exhibition against the players of the first category of Brussels."

<Chess Review page 4, May 1945>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Regarding Akiva's participation in the 4th All-Russian Championship (1906) in St. Petersburg:

<Für Spieler, die dem israelitischen Kultus angehören, wurde das Aufenthaltsrecht in St. Petersburg während der Dauer des Turniers vom Ministerium des Innern erwirkt.> (For players, who are members of the israelite cult, the right of residence in St. Petersburg for the duration of the tournament was effected by the interior ministry.)

Source: 'Wiener Schachzeitung', May-June, p. 172

Dec-12-14  The17thPawn: There must have been a time when men were demi-gods - or they could not have invented chess. - Gustav Schenk I could not help but think this was true after seeing the 1907 masterpiece Rubinstein played against Rotlewi in my youth. Despite the many amazing games by the world champions, Rubinstein's best efforts always left me awed in a way I could never describe.
Dec-12-14  RookFile: There is something about an excellent Rubinstein game that makes all of us say: "This is what chess is supposed to be."
Apr-13-15  A.T PhoneHome: Akiba Rubinstein acknowledged the importance of strategical chess, but even then he did not avoid tactical twists. I consider him to be openings expert, strategical mastermind and endgame artist and his Rook endgames have taught us the importance of endgames in general.

While his stay at the very peak of the chess world wasn't as long as one might expect, he gave us principles that will be accepted for ages, maybe eternally!

Apr-14-15  Howard: Rubinstein had the best tournament record in the world from 1907-1912---no ands, buts, or ifs. In particular, the year 1912 has been nicknamed "the Rubinstein year" because he took first place in 4-5 events that year.

That, by the way, was a record at the time. I think it was Larsen who broke it in 1967.

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