Lasker vs Schlechter 1910
Vienna and Berlin
Carl Schlechter was born in Vienna, Austria in 1874. He became one of the strongest chessplayers in the world in the late 1890s. Schlechter shared 1st with Harry Nelson Pillsbury at Munich (1900), won both Vienna (1904) and the huge Ostend (1906) tournament, and shared 1st at both Vienna (1908) and Prague (1908).
Theodor Gerbec wrote of Schlechter that "Apart from the reputation of being the greatest defensive player of all times, his attacking conduct was famous for an almost undefinable grace and method,"  and Richard Reti said "His games stand out through their breadth of scheme — just as in the forest the trunks of trees and their branches stretch themselves out on all sides wherever there are open spaces: thus did Schlechter develop his forces; forcibly and, like Nature as it were, objectless. No hidden places and traps were there, but only sound development. With him was no undue haste and no pinning himself down to one idea, but one harmonious evolution"  In 1906, world champion Emanuel Lasker acknowledged Schlechter's aptitude to play for the crown, but observed that Schlechter had "so little of the devil about him that he could not be moved to take anything coveted by somebody else."
| ||Schlechter and Lasker ready for game #1|
Following his tournament successes, Schlechter travelled to Berlin in November 1908 and challenged Lasker to a title match. The world champion accepted, and they issued a joint statement on December 3, stating that the match would last 30 games, the winner would need a +2 score and the match would take place at the end of 1909. Further negotiations led to an announcement on September 15, 1909, that the match would be played in December 1909 or January, February or March 1910 and would be public. Schlechter biographer Warren Goldman reports that "...conditions governing the truncated contest in 1910 were never published so far as the author has been able to determine as of 1994," but goes on to note that the "Deutsches Wochenschach put the matter thusly: the victor would be the one who scored the majority of the games, and if necessary the referee would decide the title." According to the Pester Lloyd, the conditions were as follows: ten games were to be played, five in Vienna and five in Berlin. Whoever won the most games would be the winner, with draws counting a ½ point. The size of the winner's prize would depend on the number of subscriptions. In addition, the Vienna Chess Club donated 3,000 Austro-Hungarian Kronen to the purse, and the Berlin Chess Society added another 2,000 Marks. Emanuel Lasker held the copyright for the game scores.
On January 7, 1910 the world championship match began in the Vienna Chess Club with many celebrities present. Georg Marco was the match director, and the seconds were Hugo Faehndrich, Siegmund Pollak and Eduard Stiaßny. Usually, the games began at 5 pm and lasted until 8 pm. After a break of 1 ½ hours, play was resumed until 11 pm and then adjourned if necessary. The time control was 15 moves per hour. On January 8, Lasker took a rest day. After the
third game, play was relocated to the Café Marienbrücke for games
4 and 5, with Faehndrich becoming the match director and Pollak and Nikolaus Doery von Jobahaza serving as seconds. Game 4 was played in public with a fee of two Kronen for a day ticket and 10 Kronen for booked seats. According to Lasker, this innovative event was a great success and drew many spectators. The 1st leg of the match ended after the 5th game, which the challenger won after four draws.
After four rest days, the 2nd leg began on January 29 in the Hotel de Rome in Berlin. Lasker was held to draws in games
6 and 7. He reported that about 400 spectators were present during the resumption of game 7, crowded around the masters' board or analyzing on their own boards. Additionally, Semion Alapin commented on the game in a separate room. Lasker was also held to draws in games
8 and 9, and had only one chance left to defend his title, having the white pieces in game 10. The game lasted 3 days and more than 11 hours. Although a draw would have sufficed for a match victory,[16,17] Schlechter played actively and got a promising position. But while playing for a win instead of a draw, he drifted into a worse position and Lasker finally converted his advantage after an arduous struggle. Lasker called the win in game 5 fortunate and said that Schlechter had wanted to add a second win in the final games of the match. Schlechter remarked that he hadn't wanted to "play for a draw" in the last game. Tournament director Alfred Ehrhardt Post declared the match drawn (+1 -1 =8), and rapturous applause ensued. Both contestants shook hands. Lasker retained his title, but Schlechter hadn't been beaten.
FINAL SCORE: Lasker 5; Schlechter 5
Reference: game collection WCC Index [Lasker-Schlechter 1910]
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
- Rod Edwards, Carl Schlechter
- Wiener Schachzeitung, December 1928, p. 370. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
- Richard Réti, Modern Ideas in Chess, Hardinge Simpole, 2002, pp. 82-83
- Emanuel Lasker, Lasker's Chess Magazine, January 1906, p. 126
- Wiener Schachzeitung, December 1908, p. 376. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
- Wiener Schachzeitung, September 1909, p. 315. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
- Warren Goldman, Carl Schlechter! Life and Times of the Austrian Chess Wizard, Caissa Editions, 1994, pp. 400-401
- Pester Lloyd, 8 January 1910, p. 6. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
- Our sources do not indicate who was whose second, and we assume that the seconds' role was restricted to administrative tasks mainly. Emanuel Lasker mentioned in the Pester Lloyd (see source 8) that the seconds drew the lot to decide who got the white pieces in game 1.
- Wiener Schachzeitung, January 1910, pp. 1-5. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
- Emanuel Lasker, Ost und West, March 1910, pp. 171-176. In Compact Memory - Organ der Deutschen Conferenz-Gemeinschaft der Alliance Israélite Universelle Organ der Alliance Israélite Universelle
- Wiener Schachzeitung, February-March 1910, pp. 58-78. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
- Emanuel Lasker, Pester Lloyd, 19 January 1910, p. 7. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
- Wiener Schachzeitung, February-March 1910, pp. 78-95. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
- Emanuel Lasker, Pester Lloyd, 4 February 1910, p. 6. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
- Wiener Schachzeitung, February-March 1910, pp. 92-94. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
- Since the final conditions for the match have never been published, there are rumors that Schlechter had to win the match by a score of +2 to become world champion. A +2 clause existed in the conditions issued by both players on 3 December 1908 (source 5). In addition, when communicating his terms to his challenger Jose Raul Capablanca in The Evening Post of 22 November 1911, the second clause determined that if the match ended with the scores 1:0, 2:1 or 3:2, the match was to be declared drawn (reproduced in 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 (McFarland 1989), p.56). After Capablanca's protest, Lasker explained that a difference of one point was very slight and that the rule was directed against the hopes of nursing a one point lead to match victory by drawing the rest of the games. A score of 4:3 with 23 draws would establish proof of severe fighting and suffice for a match win (clause 2, reproduced in Winter, Capablanca, p.60). In both cases, with explicit +2 clauses demanded, the matches could last up to 30 games. The present match consisted of 10 games only, which makes a comparison doubtful. We know of no contemporaneous source claiming that there was a +2 clause in effect in the actual world championship match, except for one: Richard Forster quoted a report in the Basler Nachrichten of 20 February 1910 in C.N. 4144 by Walter Preiswerk, who was in Leipzig at that time. Preiswerk claims that Schlechter, instead of becoming world champion by drawing the tenth game, would have had to play a rematch regardless of the financing in that case. Both chessplayers, also excellent businessmen, didn't like this prospect. Winter notes that it is difficult to know quite what to make of this commentary. In C.N.s 7109 and 8222, Winter shows examples of how the alleged +2 clause is usually introduced in books, by referring to the conditions without mentioning the sources and although the final conditions have so far not been found published anywhere (Winter). An example of this type of claim is given by Garry Kasparov, who simply states that However, to all appearances, one of the points stated that to win the title the challenger had to gain an advantage of two points, and that if Schlechter were to win by one point (5½-4½) the match would be declared... drawn. (Garry Kasparov, On My Great Predecessors Part I, 2003, Everyman, p.173) and presenting the speculation as an established fact later (Kasparov, p.177). Winter presents a list of items on this controversial question in C.N. 7109 for everyone who is further interested in the topic. When researching the matter, we found no indication that such a clause existed. Neither Schlechter, nor Lasker explain the challenger's enterprising play in game 10 by a +2 clause (sources 11 and 18). The annotators of game 10 also don't mention it (source 16), and source 8 noted that the winner would be he who scored the most points. Still, as long as the final conditions are not known, this matter remains open for debate.
- Carl Schlechter, Allgemeine Sport-Zeitung, 27 February 1910, p. 219. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
- Emanuel Lasker, Pester Lloyd, 12 February 1910, p. 20. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek