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David Janowski vs Emanuel Lasker
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 12, Jun-08
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Steinitz Deferred (C79)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: White had a slight advantage most of the way, and still would have had a more or less even game as late as move 30 with c2-c4. But after 30. Bh3? (probably the last move of the time control) 30....Rd8 with ...Bc5, ...e4 and ...Rd2 on tap White was lost. 31. Ra6 Bc5 32. c3 e4 33. b4 exf3! 34. bxc5 Rd1+ 35. Bf1 Ke5 and White has no moves: 36. Ra7 Nd5 37. Rxh7 Nxc3 with ...Ne2+ coming up.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: A typical Janowsky-Lasker game. Janowsky gets a reasonably good play and position from the start, manages to hold equal until he slowly begins to drift. Perhaps because of fatigue, perhaps in the lack of an operative plan. Around move 27 we see that Lasker takes over the steering wheel and he certainly knows how to deal with an indecive opponent. Janowsky was always one or two classes below Lasker.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Marco says that Lasker was "fortunate to get into a winning position." But luck had little to do with Lasker's victory in this game.

Lasker misplayed the opening, and was in a difficult--though probably not a losing--position after his faulty 11th move. But from that point on, Lasker outplayed Janowski with tenacious defense, slowly but surely worked his way back to equality and then to a superior position, and finally blowing Janowski off the board with ruthless precision after Janowski's very poor 30th move.

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 a6
4. Ba4 Nf6
5. 0-0 d6

The Modern Steinitz Defense to the Ruy Lopez.

6. d4

6. BxN+ was stronger. The text--with best play--should not lead to much more than equality for White.

6... b5

The position was now:

click for larger view

Janowski here played:

7. dxe5

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book suggests that 7. Bb3 [which is in fact best here] would lose a piece. Perhaps Janowski thought so too. But this analysis was flawed. After 7. Bb3 Rosenthal gives the following line: 7...exd4? 8. Nxd4?? NxN9. QxN c5, winning a piece with a Noah's Ark advance. But After 7...exd4? White could seize the advantage with 8. Ng5! (instead of losing a piece with 8. Nxd4?). Black, in turn, should avoid all this with 7...Bg4 or 7...Nxd4 (rather than the bad 7...exd4?).

After the text, Lasker should be fine, especially since he can now trade Queens. Lasker, as is well known, was a fabulous endgame player.

7... dxe5
8. Bb3 QxQ
9. RxQ Bd6

Too defensive. 9...Bb7 was better.

10. Bg5 Be6

Rosenthal claimed that 10...Ne7 would lead to "at least equality." But White would then be better after 11. a4. Best here was 10...Bg4 or 10...Rb8, though Lasker's move also seems fine.

11. Nc3 0-0

As Alapin noticed, this move by Lasker was a mistake that should have landed him in difficulties. Rosenthal's 10...Ne7 is an improvement, but still gives White an edge. Best was 11...Nd7

12. BxN gxB

The position was now:

click for larger view

This was the high point of the game for Janowski. As I will show in my next post, Janowski could have maintained a strong edge with 13. Nd5! His failure to find this move was the beginning of a steep decline in Janowski's chances in this contest, ultimately leading to his defeat.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Correction to first post. Janowski did indeed play 13. Nd5? and that was a mistake. He should have played 13. Bd5! That is the move that would have gotten him excellent chances, as I will show in my next post.

Sorry about the typo and any confusion it may have created.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

In the last diagrammed position in my first post, Janowski gave away most of his advantage with:

13. Nd5?

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book rightly called this move"weak," and correctly identified 13. Bd5! as the move to give Lasker serious problems. Had Lasker then played 13...BxB Janowski would have had a likely win after 14. NxB Kg7 (14...Rad8 was slightly better than Rosenthal's 14...Kg7 but likewise insufficient) 15. Nh4. Better for Black after 13. Bd5! would have been 13...Bd7 but White would still be much better after 14. BxN (but not Rosenthal's inferior 14. Nh4 Rad8 15. BxN BxB 16. Nd5 Bc5 [not Rosenthal's 16...BxN that would probably lose to 17. RxB c6 18. Rd3)

After the text, Lasker was very much back in the game.

13... f5

While Rosenthal liked this move, 13...Kg7 would have been much better. But after this move, Lasker played flawlessly, and slowly but surely took control.

14. exf5 Bxf5
15. Nf6+

15. Ne3 was better. The text set a fairly shallow trap that Lasker saw through and avoided.

15... Kg7!

As Rosenthal pointed out, 15...Kh8? would lose immediately to 16. Bd5!

16. Nh5+ Kh6
17. Ng3 Ne7

The position was now:

click for larger view

18. Re1

Missing the far better 18. c4. Janowski's "attack" on Lasker's e-pawn was pointless.

18... f6
19. NxB+ NxN
20. Be6 Ne7
21. a4 Kg7
22. g3

"White intends Bh3-g2 to displace the Rook on a8. But...Black can hand over the a-file." (Marco.

22... Rab8
23. axb5 axb5
24. Bh3 Ra8
25. Bg2

Continuing with the ill-conceived plan described by Marco. Better was 25. Bd7. With the text, Janowski has lost any shred of the major advantage he held twelve moves earlier.

25... RxR
26. RxR f5
27. Ra5 Rb8

The position was now:

click for larger view

User Sokrates says: "Around move 27 Lasker takes over the steering wheel." I'm not sure Lasker yet has any advantage here, but Sokrates is certainly correct that: (i) Janowski's advantage is long gone by this point; and (ii) Lasker is about to take control. How the game shifted beginning on move 28 from a roughly even game to a clear win for Lasker will be discussed in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

Beginning with move 28, Janowski moved from an equal position to an inferior position to a significantly inferior position to a lost position--all in just three moves.

28. Bf1

A useless move. 28. Ra6 was better. Janowski now has moved from an even position to an inferior one.

28... c6
29. Ra7

Another useless move. 29. c4 was much better. Janowski is clearly losing the thread of the game. 29. Ra6 was also much better.

29... Kf6

The King is an attacking piece in the endgame.

The position was now:

click for larger view

To quote "Sokrates" from an earlier post on thi site, Lasker has most definitely "taken over the sterring wheel." But Janowski now blounders away his chances.

30. Bh3?

keypusher has correctly identified this as the losing move (though I disagree with his assessment that Janoswki had a more or less equal game before this lemon). As Rosenthal said in the Tournament Book, "This is a loss of time and compromises his game." 30. Ra2 or 30. Nd2 would have avoided the catastrophe that follows.

It is astonishing to watch how quickly and easily Lasker finished off Janowski from this point.

30... Rd8!

Lasker's pieces spring into action and before long Janowski is in a mating net.

31. Ra6 Bc5

A glance at the position reveals the extent to which Janowski has been reduced to helplessness:

click for larger view

32. c3?

Tantamount to resignation. 32. Nh4 or 32. Kf1 were the only chances to prolong resistance.

32... e4


33. b4?

Rosenthal considered 33. Nh4, but that move--though better than the text--would lose immediately to 33...Rd2 as Rosenthal himself pointed out. The best chance--and it was not much of one--was 33. Nd4. The text was hopeless.

33... bxN
34. bxB Rd1+
35. Bf1 Ke5

As keypusher has correctly notes, "White has no moves." Even more devastating would have been 35...Rc1 or 35...Nd5

The position was now:

click for larger view

What a gruesome fate for Janowski!

36. c4?!

Despair. "On any other move Black plays 36...Nd5 and wins" (Rosenthal).

36... bxc4

There is now no escape from Lasker's mating net. The balance of the game required no comment.

37. Ra4 c3
38. Rc4 Nd5
39. h4 h5
40. g4 fxg4
41. Kh2 RxB


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