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Miklos Brody vs Emanuel Lasker
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 11, Jun-07
Sicilian Defense: Dragon. Classical Variation (B73)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Lasker prevailed in this game but only after a valiant effort by Brody.

Lasker played a Dragon Sicilian. The champion seemed less than comfortable in this less than familiar setting, and got outplayed in the opening by Brody, who emerged after 14 moves with much the better game.

But Brody failed to find the best line, and Lasker quickly clawed his way back into the game and then won a pawn. It looked for a moment as if Lasker would have a short day at the office.

However,when the game reduced to Queen, Rook, Bishop and pawns against Queen, Rook, and opposite color Bishop and pawns, Brody--exploiting the opposite color Bishops--set all kinds of tactical snares for his celebrated opponent. Suddenly the game became difficult, but Lasker was up to the task and eventually managed to trade Queens and later win a second pawn. The game was then no longer in doubt.

1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 Nc3
3. Nc3 g6
4. d4 cxd4
5. Nxd4 Bg7
6. Be3 d6
7. Be2 Nf6
8. 0-0 Bd7
9. h3 0-0
10. Qd2

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book prefers 10. f4, but Brody's move appears to be at least as good.

10... Rc8
11. Rad1 Ne5

11...Qc7 is more accurate, though the text is playable.

12. f4

Much better than 12. b3 Nc6 (and not Rosenthal's suggested 12...Qa5 which would allow White to get an excellent game with 13. Nd5).

12... Nc4

Lasker is trying to complicate, but this move allows Brody to seize the initiative. Better was 12...Nc6

13. BxN RxB
14. e5!

Well played by Brody. Lasker now must play with great care. The position was now:

click for larger view

As Rosenthal points out in the Tournament Book, 14...dxe5 loses to 15. fxe5 and if now 15...Ne8 [things are so bad for Black here that he might consider the desperate 15...Ng4?!] 16. Ndb5 (even better would be 16. Nf3, but the text--Rosenthal's move--also wins) a6 17. Na3 Rc7 18. Nd5 (even more crushing than Rosenthal's recommended 18. Bb6).

Lasker, however, avoided the above losing lines by playing the hyper-defensive but accurate:

14... Ne8

15. exd6

Up to this point, Brody has played excellently (and has outplayed Lasker!). But now he begins to falter and Lasker quickly takes control. Here Brody should have maintained his bind on the position with the Karpovian 15. Bf2!

After the text, Brody's advantage has all but evaporated, and Lasker is able to free his position at once.

15... Nxd6
16. Bdb5 Rc6

A comparison of the position now with that of only two-plus moves ago is revealing:

click for larger view

Lasker's pieces are entering action, and with his last move, he presented Brody with the question: should the a7 pawn be captured, and if so how?

As always, playing Lasker meant confronting thorny tactical problems. How Brody resolved the problem in the diagrammed position, and how the game developed from there, will be addressed in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

In the last diagrammed position from my last post, Brody played:

17. Rfe1

It was tempting to play 17. Nxa7, but that would have gotten White in difficulties (though Rosenthal's claim in the Tournament Book that the move loses is perhaps an overstatement. After 17. Nxa7 BxN 18. bxB [18. NxR? would be a disaster for White: 18...BxQ 19. NxQ BxB and Black has three minor pieces for the Rook] Ra6 does indeed give Black the edge, but not the winning advantage Rosenthal claims since White can play 19. c4 and then after 19...Nxc4 20. QxB QxQ 21. RxQ NxB 22. Re1 Nxg2 23. KxN RxN 24. Rexe7 Rxa2 25. Rc7 White is down a pawn--not a piece--in a double Rook ending which would at best be hard for Black to win.

In any case, 17. Nxa7 would have been a mistake.

17. Bxa7 is much better, but after 17...b6 (or perhaps 17...BxN first) White though temporarily a pawn to the good has a threatened Bishop on a7. Brody could not have expected to obtain any real advantage in this line, though it seems to offer better chances than the text.

Best is probably 17. Bd4 which, among other things, avoids the doubling of White's c-pawn.

In any event, let's get back to the game after Brody's actual move (17. Rfe1):

17... a6
18. NxN

Little by little, Brody is allowing Lasker to solve all his problems and get the better game. Rosenthal's proposed 18. Nd4 seems best here.

18... BxN
19. bxB RxN
20, Qf2 Be6

20...RxR seems better, but in these kinds of positions Lasker often went fishing for complications, and he probably fancied the chance to target White's pawn on a2 now that White had doubled c-pawns.

21. RxR QxR
22. Bc5 Qc7

Chances were now about even, the position being:

click for larger view

It was here that Brody began to show the strain of playing Lasker, and made errors that Lasker seized upon.

23. g4?

Brody's instincts were right, since King-side aggression is the best plan. But the execution was all wrong. 23. f5! immediately would have made the game double-edged with tactical chances for both sides. After the text, Lasker wins a pawn.

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book says that 23. a3 was "the correct move." It does avoid immediate loss of a pawn, but after 23...Re8 Lasker would be better. 23. f5 was much better than Rosenthal's idea.

23... Rc8
24. Bd4 Bxa2

The position was now:

click for larger view

Lasker has won a pawn, but--as will be seen in my next post--Brody still has tactical chances here. The game was most definitaly not over yet.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

Bishops of opposite colors can sometimes create drawish opportunities for a player a pawn down. In the present game after 24...Bxa2, however, the opposite color Bishops presented possibilities of attack---including all sorts of mating threats.

25. f5!

Brody should have played this two moves earlier, but it still gives him dangerous threats on the King-side.

25... f6
26. g5!

There is no time to lose if Brody is to stay in this game and his attack is to continue. Brody is up to the task, and suddenly Lasker faces real danger. Lasker, however, keeps his head.

26... Rf8!

26...gxf5 would be bad, but it would not lose as mistakenly claimed by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book. After 26...gxf5 27. gxf6 exf6 28. Bxf6 Brody would be very much back in the game, the position then being:

click for larger view

Brody has excellent chances of counterplay here, but Rosenthal's claim that White has a won game is ridiculous.

Also bad for Black (i.e., giving Brody better chances) would have been 26...fxg5 27. fxg6 (Rosenthal's move, 27. Re5 is also good) hxg6 28. Re5 with chances for both sides.

Lasker's move is far better

27. fxg6 hxg6
28. gxf6

Rosenthal calls this "weak" and says that 28. Qh4 was "correct." But this analysis seems wrong. Black simply plays 28...Qd6 and White's attack would be in its last throes. If 29. gxf6 as recommended by Rosenthal (29. gxf6 or 29. Re3 or even 29. Qg4 are better, but also insufficient) 29...Bc4 and Lasker is far better than after Brody's actual move (and probably should win). Even after Rosenthal's inferior 29...f5 30. Re1 I fail to see how he can claim that White gets "an equal game."

Brody's move is better.

28... exf6

The position was now:

click for larger view

Here Brody erred and--exciting as some of the following play was--Lasker never let him off the ropes.

29. Bc5

Rosenthal claims that 29. Bxf6 would lose, but that is nonsense and in fact 29. Bxf6 would have been far better than the text and left Brody real chances. Rosenthal only considers 29...Qc6 (29...Qd6 was better but hardly anything close to a win for Black) 30. Rf1 Bc4 is a win for Black according to Rosenthal (since White appears to lose his Bishop, the position being:

click for larger view

But Rosenthal misses the saving move 31. Qh4! (Black could have kept a small edge with 30. Qe4.

29. Re4, like 29. Bxf6, would have given Brody real chances of survival. But his 29. Bc5? was a mistake, as Lasker proceeded to demonstrate and as will be discussed in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post IV

After Brody's 29. Bc5 the position was:

click for larger view

The game is still a tactical thicket and there are dangers lurking for both sides, but Lasker has a win here, and was very much up to the task of bringing home the point here.

29... Rf7
30. Re8+ Kg7
31. Bd4 Qd7
32. Qe3 Qf5
33. Re4

Brody's last move looks strong, but Lasker shrugs it off easily. Brody's best chances--insufficient as they likely would have been--lay with 33. Qg3 (or perhaps 33. Qe1).

33... g5!
34. Rg4 Kg6
35. Qe8 Qf3

35...Bd5 is simpler.

36. Qg8+ Kf5
37. Rg2

Theoretically, 37. Qc8+ or 37. Qd8 or 37. Qh8 were better, though holding little real chances of saving White. Brody's actual move has a fatal flaw, but it sets a nasty trap that might have turned the tables against a less astute opponent than Lasker.

The position after 37. Rg2 was:

click for larger view

37...Qxh3 looks OK at first sight, but it loses--as pointed out by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book--to 38. Qc8+ (38. Rf2+ is even more crushing, but Rosenthal's move does the trick also) 38...Be6 39. Rf2+ Ke4 (39...Ke4 was "best" but would lose to 40. Re2+) 40. Qg8+ Rg7 (40...Kh5 loses to 41. Rh2; and 40...Kh6--which is probably best--is also hopeless) 41. Rxf6+ Kh5 42. QxB (42. Qh8+ is simpler than Rosenthal's move, but both moves win).

But Lasker didn't fall for this and instead played the deadly:

37... Re7!
38. Qc8+

All of a sudden, Lasker has all sorts of threats. Had Brody played 38. Rf2 Lasker would have mate in three with 38...Re1+

38... Kg6

Brody, having to worry about his King, now has to permit the exchange of Queens. leaving Lasker a relatively easy task:

39. Qg4 QxQ
40. hxQ Re4

The position was now:

click for larger view

41, Kh2

41. Kf3 Be6 is no better. If then 42. Kf3 (Rosenthal's move) Bd5 wins, and if 42. Rg1 ("better" than Rosenthal's move) 42...RxB!

41... Be6

Simpler was 41...Bc4, but Lasker's move certainly does the trick.

42. Rf2

42. Kh3 would lose to 42...Rxg4! (since if now 43. RxR Kh5) as Rosenthal points out. But 42...a5 is even more decisive.

42... Rf4
43. RxR gxR

With the Rooks off the board, the position was now:

click for larger view

If Brody thought that the Bishops of opposite colors would give him drawing chances here, he was clearly wrong, as the finale of the game was to prove, and as I will cover in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post V

The Bishop and Pawn ending after 43...gxR was clearly won for Black, especially since White's g-pawn must fall, but Brody played on for a while.

44. Kg2

44. Kh3 was of course hopeless because of 44...Kg5, but tougher (but not successful) resistance would have been offered by 44. Bb6. The text is hopeless.

44... Bxg4 faster, but Lasker decides to get the g-pawn immediately.

45. c4

Brody refuses to go quietly and tries to create some threats, but the material just isn't there for this. 45. Bb6 at least slowing down the Black Queen-side pawns was "best."

45... Kf5

45...a5 was faster.

46. c3

Now Black's a-pawn marches to victory. Brody had to play 46. Bb6 or 46. Bc3.

The position was now:

click for larger view

Brody could safely have resigned here.

46... a5
47. c5 a4
48. Kf2 Bd1
49. Ke1 Bb3
50. Kd2 Bc4
51. Kc2 a3

If this were a fight it would have been stopped by now.

52. Kc1 a2
53. Kb2 f3
54. Ka1 Kg4


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