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Lasker - Bird Match

Emanuel Lasker5/5(+5 -0 =0)[games]
Henry Bird0/5(+0 -5 =0)[games] Chess Event Description
Lasker - Bird (1892)

This match was played in Newcastle upon Tyne, England from August 29 - September 2. The conditions: the winner of the match would be the first to win five games with draws not counting. The time limit was 20 moves per hour. (1) The match stake was for £50, (2) which would be about £5,000 in 2015.


1 2 3 4 5 Lasker 1 1 1 1 1 5 Bird 0 0 0 0 0 0

Lasker had White in games 1, 3 and 5.

Contemporary reactions

"Lasker's play throughout the match was of very high class, and fully maintained his high reputation. Of Bird's play much of it has been excellent, and merited a better score had it not been marred by serious lapses. Considerable interest has centred in this match, and Lasker's career will be closely followed during his projected tour in America, which he visits early next month." (3)

"As was generally anticipated, Herr Lasker has won his match with Mr. H. S. Bird. "Five games up" were to be played, and the youthful master secured an unbroken quintetta. Mr. Isidor Gunsberg, in referring to the match, writes: - Lasker won the five games straight off. Bird at tines played very well, but Lasker was too much for him altogether. As to Lasker's opponent, that is to some extent a matter of indifference, provided the object aimed at is merely to get him to play some interesting chess. Of course the opponent requires to be fairly strong and have a lively and pleasing style of play. We know of no player who answers to that description better than Bird, and a special interest, not unmixed with admiration, attaches to the play of one who has been so long before the chess public. The second game was a lively battle of four hours' duration, and was the most interesting game in the match. Bird, with the move, opened with his favourite pawn to king's bishop's fourth, to which Lasker replied with From's Gambit. An unusual variation was adopted, which resulted in the early exchange of queens, leaving Bird with a pawn to the good. At about the twenty-second move, however, it became clear that Bird could not keep his material advantage. Over-rating the strength of his own position, he neglected some necessary moves of development, and allowed his opponent, at move 25, to turn the tables completely by a double pawn sacrifice, as a result of which he secured a passed pawn on king's rook's seventh. Ten moves later, by the sacrifice of the exchange, Lasker succeeded in queening this pawn and winning his adversary's rook. The combination was a very beautiful one, and though not absolutely forcing, was quite sound. Bird continued the hopeless struggle until the sixty-fourth move, when he resigned." (4)

An eye witness

"A Berwick Player upon a Chess Match. - "G.L.M." writes: - As everybody knows last week there was played at Newcastle-on-Tyne a match between the renowned veteran of chess, H. E. Bird, and the young expert Emanuel Lasker, for £50. The match began on Monday and was to continue till 5 wins were recorded. Thus it was expected that the match would last eight or ten days, as only one game was played each day. Herr Lasker was fortunate in getting the first move on Monday, and, having captured a pawn at the 37th move, won the game after a keen contest of 6½ hours duration.

On the second day Bird led off with his favourite opening P to KB4. This was replied to by Lasker by the move known as From Gambit. By dint of superior play Lasker managed to get a pawn queened, and, as this involved the sacrifice of a piece, Bird resigned.

The third game played on Wednesday also fell to Lasker, as he managed to get his queen among his adversaries' persons, when they fell like Autumn leaves.

The fourth game proved by far the most interesting. This was commenced at 3 o'clock on Thursday, and was the one I had the privilege of seeing. I was a little late, as the rooms of the Newcastle Chess Club were not so easily found out. When I entered, the two players were seated at the chess board. Herr Lasker is young man only 24 years of age, and has a decided foreign appearance, slightly built, small face, with keen piercing eyes. Mr Bird, on the other hand, is over 60, and has won matches in almost every capital in Europe. He began the game, and his opponent adopted the two knights defence, but at the 8th move, by moving his knight to knight 5, took the game entirely out of Book moved. This bold attack of Lasker's was met with summoned skill by the English player, and the play was witnessed with the most intense interest by the onlookers, who were all eager that the Old Master should win. Victory was almost within his grasp when Lasker threatened perpetual check. In order to avoid this, Bird made a hasty move, and his astute opponent checked twice and won a rook, whereupon Bird resigned.

The fifth game was played on Friday, and this was also won by Lasker — and brought the match to a conclusion. The result shows that Lasker has sustained his reputation, and that Mr Bird has passed his best. I understand this match has given a great impetus to chess in Newcastle, and that several new clubs are springing up in Tyneside." (5)


(1) Edinburgh Evening News, Wednesday 31st August 1892, p. 4.
(2) Leeds Mercury, Saturday 3rd September 1892, p. 9.
(3) Dundee Courier, Saturday 3rd September 1892, p. 5.
(4) Belfast News-Letter, Thursday 8th September 1892, p. 2.
(5) Berwickshire News and General Advertiser, Tuesday 13th September 1892, p. 8.

Based on an original game collection by User: TheFocus. Additional contemporary newspaper material added by User: Chessical.

 page 1 of 1; 3 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Lasker vs Bird 1-0641892Lasker - BirdC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
2. Lasker vs Bird 1-0361892Lasker - BirdB32 Sicilian
3. Lasker vs Bird 1-0431892Lasker - BirdB32 Sicilian
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Copied from a game page:

<iron maiden: This game was part of a mini-match these two played consisting of five games. Lasker won every one of them. Next to Fischer's wins over Taimanov and Larsen and Steinitz's win over Blackburne, this match was probably the most impressive shutout in chess history. >

Bird anticipated Taimanov by dropping a rook in game 4: Bird vs Lasker, 1892

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