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  WCC Overview
Lasker vs Janowski 1910

 Janowski vs Lasker, 1909 Exhibition
 Lasker-Janowski Exhibition Match, Paris 1909
David Janowski was born in Wołkowysk, Poland (today Vawkavysk, Belarus), but later relocated to France. From the end of the 19th century onward, he was a regular participant in strong international tournaments.[1] Among his successes were a win in the Janowski - Marshall Match 1 (1899) and a shared 1st with Geza Maroczy at the Barmen Meisterturnier A (1905). He became known for his strong combinational skills.[2] Janowski was described as "extremely ingenious, sometimes shifty, resourceful" and possessing first class education in chess technique.[3] He was also noted for his low percentage of draws.[3]

After London (1899), Janowski challenged world champion Emanuel Lasker to a match for £400 a side. Lasker accepted the challenge,[4] but the negotiations broke down when Janowski insisted on 10 games up and Lasker refused more than 8 games up.[5]

In May 1909, financed by his wealthy patron Leo Nardus, Janowski played an exhibition match against Lasker in Paris, which ended drawn (+2 -2 =0). Enthusiastic about the outcome of the match, Nardus proposed a match for the world championship. While Lasker had no objection in principle, he had to leave France before reaching a final decision.[6] In addition, he had already accepted Carl Schlechter's challenge in November 1908 to a title match,[7] which was finally played in early 1910. Lasker and Janowski played a second exhibition match[8] in Paris from October to November 1909, which saw Lasker emerge as the clear winner (+7 -1 =2).[9] On November 12, 1909 they signed an agreement for a title match in autumn 1910, provided that Lasker retained his title in his upcoming match against Schlechter.[10]

Lasker defended his crown in the drawn Lasker - Schlechter World Championship Match (1910) in January and February, and Janowski got his shot at the title. Janowski was eager to crush the champion,[11] and had prepared for the match for several weeks in Ostend.[12] He claimed to have studied hundreds of games by Lasker.[11] According to the challenger, Lasker had worse positions in most games and his opponents only lost because they played for a win prematurely. Janowski wanted to demonstrate to the world that "Lasker's game was not chess, but dominoes."[11] During their title match, Lasker characterized Janowski in the following way: "Independently he searches for the beautiful, ingenious, deep and hidden. Sadly, he goes too far therein. He pays not the slightest attention to ordinariness. In fact, this gives his play a special appeal, at the same time it is also his weak spot."[13]

The match for the world championship was held November 8 - December 8 in the Kerkau-Palast in Berlin.[14] Nardus donated a prize of 5,000 francs[14] for the first to score 8 victories, draws not counting.[10] Tournament director Alfred Ehrhardt Post let Janowski draw the lot to decide who would commence the match with the white pieces.[15] The match began at 4 pm with Lasker having the first move.[15] He won a 22 move miniature when Janowski blundered a piece on the 19th move. Janowski played for an attack in game 2,[16] which was adjourned after 33 moves. Playing time was set from 4 pm to 8 pm the next day,[16] and the game ended in a draw.[17] Game 3 was a marathon game which had to be adjourned four times and Janowski defended tenaciously to salvage half a point after 101 moves[18,19] and only to end up losing.[23,23] The world champion won the next two games, although he had a losing position after 11 moves in game 5.[20] Janowski defended stubbornly again in game 6 to split the point after two adjournments.[21] Lasker won game 7. In the twice-adjourned game 8, Janowski reached a favorable position and refused to take a draw by perpetual check, only to end up losing.[22,23] After losing game 9 following an adjournment, Janowski took a rest day.[24] Lasker also won games 10 and 11 and retained his title after only 11 games (+8 -0 =3).[25]

There was limited attention from the public since most people thought Janowski had little chance of winning, and it was the second title match in a short span of time.[14] Furthermore, the press gave limited coverage, because Lasker had secured the copyright for the games, so they couldn't be printed without charge.[26] A leading contemporaneous chess periodical criticized the quality of the games, claiming that Nardus' sponsorship was the only thing "grandmasterly" about the contest.[14]

click on a game number to replay game 1234567891011

FINAL SCORE:  Lasker 8;  Janowski 0 (3 draws)
Reference: game collection WCC Index [Lasker-Janowski 1910]

NOTABLE GAMES   [what is this?]
    · Game #5     Lasker vs Janowski, 1910     1-0
    · Game #10     Janowski vs Lasker, 1910     0-1
    · Game #9     Lasker vs Janowski, 1910     1-0


  1. Rod Edwards, Edochess
  2. Wiener Schachzeitung, July-August 1910, p. 252. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
  3. Theodor Gerbec, Wiener Schachzeitung, February 1927, pp. 29-30. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. Transl. by Karpova.
  4. British Chess Magazine, September 1899, p. 373
  5. British Chess Magazine, December 1899, p. 509
  6. Wiener Schachzeitung, August 1909, pp. 234-236. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
  7. Wiener Schachzeitung, December 1908, p. 376. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
  8. Edward Winter, Lasker v Janowsky, Paris, 1909
  9. Wiener Schachzeitung, December 1909, pp. 410-413. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
  10. La Stratégie, February 1910, pp. 60-61. In Edward Winter, Lasker v Janowsky, Paris, 1909
  11. Algemeen Handelsblad, 3 June 1910, p. 9. In Delpher. Transl. by Karpova.
  12. Emanuel Lasker, Pester Lloyd, 9 November 1910, p. 9. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
  13. Emanuel Lasker, Ost und West, December 1910, p. 825. In Compact Memory. Transl. by Karpova.
  14. Wiener Schachzeitung, January 1911, pp. 32-33. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. Transl. by Karpova.
  15. Emanuel Lasker, Pester Loyd, 10 November 1910, p. 10. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
  16. Emanuel Lasker, Pester Loyd, 12 November 1910, p. 7. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
  17. Emanuel Lasker, Pester Loyd, 13 November 1910, p. 11. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
  18. Emanuel Lasker, Pester Loyd, 14 November 1910, p. 4. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
  19. Emanuel Lasker, Pester Loyd, 16 November 1910, p. 6. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
  20. Emanuel Lasker, Pester Loyd, 25 November 1910, pp. 8-9. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
  21. Emanuel Lasker, Pester Loyd, 23 November 1910, p. 9. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
  22. Emanuel Lasker, Pester Loyd, 1 December 1910, p. 9. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
  23. Emanuel Lasker, Pester Loyd, 3 December 1910, pp. 8-9. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
  24. Emanuel Lasker, Pester Loyd, 6 December 1910, p. 7. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
  25. Emanuel Lasker, Pester Loyd, 11 December 1910, p. 13. In ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
  26. Bohemia, 27 November 1910, p. 34. In Kramerius (a project of the National Library of the Czech Republic).

 page 1 of 1; 11 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Lasker vs Janowski 1-0221910Lasker - Janowski World Championship MatchD40 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
2. Janowski vs Lasker ½-½451910Lasker - Janowski World Championship MatchD05 Queen's Pawn Game
3. Lasker vs Janowski ½-½1011910Lasker - Janowski World Championship MatchD60 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
4. Janowski vs Lasker 0-1311910Lasker - Janowski World Championship MatchD04 Queen's Pawn Game
5. Lasker vs Janowski 1-0291910Lasker - Janowski World Championship MatchD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
6. Janowski vs Lasker ½-½671910Lasker - Janowski World Championship MatchD02 Queen's Pawn Game
7. Lasker vs Janowski 1-0461910Lasker - Janowski World Championship MatchD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
8. Janowski vs Lasker 0-1871910Lasker - Janowski World Championship MatchD04 Queen's Pawn Game
9. Lasker vs Janowski 1-0431910Lasker - Janowski World Championship MatchC78 Ruy Lopez
10. Janowski vs Lasker 0-1521910Lasker - Janowski World Championship MatchB07 Pirc
11. Lasker vs Janowski 1-0301910Lasker - Janowski World Championship MatchC30 King's Gambit Declined
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-25-08  talisman: Lasker dons an eye-patch and agrees to play Janowski with only "one eye open.".
Sep-25-08  FHBradley: Why was Lasker wearing an eye-patch at that time? Did he have a lazy eye? Did he think he was Teichmann? Did he want to scare the *something* out of Janowski?
Sep-25-08  James Demery: Lasker could beat Janowski with one eye tied behind his back.
Sep-25-08  Marmot PFL: It's hard to believe that anyone stupid enough to think that roulette could be beaten could ever rise to world championship level (maybe Lasker had the story wrong).Roulette has been beaten by people with fast concealed computers but I'm sue that's illegal.
Sep-25-08  RookFile: I'm sure that Robert Huebner wishes roulette could be beaten. He tied his match with Smyslov in the early 1980's - the winner to play Kasparov. Under the terms of the agreement, the match was decided by a spin of the roulette wheel.

The lucky ball bounced Smyslov's way.

Sep-25-08  zoren: Wow rook file is that true? LOL, that is very unfortunate.
Sep-25-08  cannibal: <zoren>

Almost true, except the winner didn't get to play Kasparov, but Ribli, and only then Kasparov (in the candidate final).

Btw, they even had to repeat the roulette spin, because on first try they got a zero.

Sep-25-08  RookFile: cannibal is right. Of course, what everybody remembers is that Kasparov beat everybody on the way to facing Karpov.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: In all of his title defenses,Lasker lost only SIX games. In this match and the Marshall match,Lasker didn't lose a single game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Lasker had two - TWO - total whitewashings in WCC matches. Kudos to him for his convincing wins.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Georg Marco: <The match was full of reversals, one day White won, next day Black.>
Jun-01-12  RookFile: Pretty humorous comment!
Apr-15-14  zanzibar: I know not everybody recognizes the utility, but here is a fun graph of relative strengths of players circa 1910:

(Ignore the absolute rating, and compare relative positions).

Janowski doesn't even qualify as a top player over that period.

Although lossing his position to the fast rising Alekhine is nothing to be ashamed of!

Why the decline of play in 1905 for Janowski? Or equivalently, why the abrupt jump in 1895?

Apr-16-14  zanzibar: Thanks to <Karpova> for the link to Winter's article on the 1909 match. The picture in French has the terms and conditions of the 1910 match in it. I've translated it into English, viewable here:

Apr-16-14  Karpova: <zanzibar>

Interesting post, but regarding the 1909 status - something like this needs positive confirmation. In this case, the authors claiming that the 1909 match was for the WC match couldn't provide evidence. The lack of evidence itself is important here though, as the contemporaneous sources report the match, but do not call it a WC match. To prove that it was not a WC match is still much harder, but what you seem to have expected from Winter. If it is not for the WC, then the most usual way to go is to simply not claim it was, which in turn leads to evidence for a lack of a WC status being scarce (you would hardly expect Lasker and Janowski to take out ads declaring that the 1909 match was not for the title). It's the positive assertion that the title was at stake, which needs to be proven with evidence. So it appears naturally that Winter would first point out the lack of such evidence for the 1909 match, and only later he would find what is hard to find - evidence clearly stating that the title was not at stake.

Apr-16-14  zanzibar: <Karpova> yes, proving a negative is difficult.

But normally, Winter would handle it as follows:

"Writer <X> claims that the 1909 Janowski-Lasker Match was for the WCC, but on what evidence?"

Certainly, it's a little curious to devote an entire page to discussing the matter and not reference in the Janowski biography.

As for Writer <X>, does anybody know where I can find The Observer Review section of 19 April 1998, page 13 online?

Apr-16-14  Petrosianic: <Karpova>: <Interesting post, but regarding the 1909 status - something like this needs positive confirmation.>

Older books tend to regard the second Lasker-Janowski match as a world championship. (I've never seen anyone consider that the first one, a 4 game match that ended in a +2-2=0 tie was for the title).

Newer books tend to regard the first two matches as exhibition matches (the second match got "Plutoed" out of being a title match). I'm not sure why.

In Fred Wilson's book, "Classical Chess Matches", which reprints contemporary reports, the third match is specially identified as being "For the Championship of the World", while the first two aren't. That doesn't prove it, though.

The matter certainly needs more explanation that it's gotten. I'm not sure why M. Nardus would finance a second match with it NOT being for the title, when the results of the first short match were so satisfactory.

Apr-17-14  zanzibar: After that long introduction(*), a couple of questions.

Who was Dr. J. Hannak, and what is the general opinion about his Lasker biography?

Does the German edition have the same ambiguity about the significance of the Janowski-Lasker matches?

Note that Hannak only includes games from 1909, and none from the "real" 1910 WCC Match. Which is curious.

(*) I deemed the introduction too long for a forum post. It can be found here:

Apr-18-14  zanzibar: Following up my own post - finding information about Dr. J. Hannak seems to be rather harder than one might expect given how often his biography of Lasker is cited.

The most extensive information I found was on a webpage devoted to the spelling of Nimzowitsch's name(!):

It contains the following biographical information on Hannak in a footnote (a footnote to a footnote!):

<[1] Hannak, Jacques,

b. Vienna, March 12, 1892,
d. Vienna, Nov. 14, 1973,

socialist author, journalist ("Arbeit und Wirtschaft", after 1946 "Arbeiterzeitung"), in 1938/39 interned in Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps, 1939 emigrated to Belgium and France, 1941 to the USA where he was employed by the Office of War Information (radio broadcasting department). In 1946 return to Vienna.

(Encyclopaedia of Austria).

Dr. Hannak is above all known for his comprehensive biography Emanuel Lasker - Biographie eines Schachweltmeisters (Berlin 1952), which also contains interesting information of other players of the time, among other things an account of the tragic relationship between Lasker and Aljechin during the Nazi period, which led up to a series of articles in 1941 in "Deutsche Schachzeitung", in which Aljechin described Lasker's game as a typical example of "Jewish decadence".>

I was also able to find a tournament book he did:

Semmering-Baden 1937. Sammlung sämtlicher Partien des Turniers mit einem einleitenden Aufsatz

(Semmering-Baden 1937. Collection of all games of the tournament with an introductory essay)

May-05-14  zanzibar: RE: Eye-patch

I found this from a 1909 NZ newspaper, care of the New Zealand Chess Assoc.:

<The match between Lasker and Janowski is in progress at the Grand Cercle, Paris, and so far is a long way in favour of Lasker, in spite of a painful eye trouble, which necessitated an operation during the early stages of the match. Lasker drew the first game and then won four in succession. He has pinned his faith to the Roy Lopez attack, with which he won the third and fifth games, while Janowski favours the "Four Knights" game. [...]>

New Zealand Herald, Volume XLVI, Issue 14247, 18 December 1909, Page 4

Premium Chessgames Member


<Who was Dr. J. Hannak, and what is the general opinion about his Lasker biography?>

I can't speak for the "general opinion" but I have this book and in my opinion it is close to worthless.

<Karpova> can tell you more about <Jacques Hannak's> chess reporting in journals and such, which appears to be quite valuable, since I believe he was at these events he reports on- but again, I don't know much about it.

I do know that his book on <Lasker> has no references, and it appears to be the source for the "check and mate" whopper that everybody "knows Tarrasch said" but did he, did he really.

I don't believe anything in that book on face value- all of it needs to be corroborated.

I suppose he's no worse than <Andy Soltis> in that respect- no wait he is significantly worse.

At least in his books on Soviet Chess History and Botvinnik, Andy does list the names of some actual original sources we can assume he actually looked at.

Too bad he's too lazy to use footnotes. It means everything he says has to be corroborated as well.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The <American Chess Bulletin>, November 1910, p.257: <The forthcoming match will be played in Germany, England and Austria. From Berlin we hear that the early games of the match will be played there at what is known as the Kerkau Palace, about the middle of November.>

The <American Chess Bulletin>, December 1910, p.281, reported, three games into the match, that the venue would switch to Vienna after ten games.

One can assume it must have been decided somewhat earlier than the tenth game, which Lasker won to go 7-0, that relocating to Vienna, let alone London, wasn't a viable option.

As for the Kerkau Palace:

<English: Hugo Kerkau, german carom billiards player from Berlin and world champion. He was founder of "Café Kerkau" (1901), which was located on the corner of Friedrichstraße and Leipziger Straße and the "Kerkau-Palast" (Kerkau-Palace) (1910) on Behrenstraße 48. Both were located in Berlin-Mitte. The "Kerkau-Palast" had 48 tables and was famous for chess playing also. in the first year the world-championship between Emanuel Lasker and Dawid Janowski took place here. The house has been demolished in 1994. In the basement a book was found which describes the legendary match between the chess-champions José Raúl Capablanca and Lasker in 1914 which has been believed lost.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: In the photo from the match, Janowski looks like Elaine Benes' psychiatrist from Seinfeld:

Nov-17-16  Open Defence: <... the press gave limited coverage, because Lasker had secured the copyright for the games, so they couldn't be printed without charge.[26]>

So it's being tried again now, but this time not by the players

Nov-17-16  ughaibu: "Game 3 was a marathon game which had to be adjourned four times and Janowski defended tenaciously to salvage half a point after 101 moves[18,19] and only to end up losing."

As it stands, this is makes no sense.

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