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Emanuel Lasker vs Joseph Henry Blackburne
Lasker - Blackburne (1892), London ENG, rd 2, May-28
French Defense: Exchange Variation (C01)  ·  1/2-1/2

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-26-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher:


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Position after 33.Nb4 -- shouldn't Black have won this?

Feb-27-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <keypusher>
At first glance, 41...Rxe5 42. dxe5 d4 43. cxd4 cxb4 looks like it queens a pawn for Black. Am I missing something?
Feb-27-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <beatgiant> Good eye! White was losing anyway, but 40....c5 should have lost on the spot.

Hard to say when White finally blew the win. 51....f3+ would have won quickly. After 57...Rg1 it's a clear draw. 57....Kb6 is better, but then 58.a5+ Kxa5 59.Ke2 Rc1 60.f4 and if 60....gxf4 61.Nxf4 Rc5 62.h4 draws, apparently.

Wonder if Lasker thought of this game during the ending of Lasker vs Ed Lasker, 1924?

Feb-27-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Urgh, garbled post. I should have written: <41.b4 should have lost on the spot>. And of course it was Black who missed the win, not White.
Feb-27-13  JimNorCal: Well, we can blame Blackburne for weak moves but I prefer to chalk it up to "Lasker Endgame Magic".

Not everyone could find ways to coax the opponent down the wrong path and find optimal moves in a knife's-edge position.

Feb-27-13  RookFile: Well, there were at least two opportunties for ...Rxe5, and black wins easily.
Feb-27-13  RookFile: Somebody who does a good job of explaining this is Reuben Fine, in Basic Chess Endings. He says that whenever you have a chance to get a won king and pawn ending, take it. It's one of the easiest endgames to win.
Feb-27-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Looked briefly at the middlegame with Shredder. After Blackburne unaccountably failed to regain his pawn with 17....Rxb2, Lasker seemed to have matters well in hand. 25.Qe2 prevents ÖQg4 and threatens Re8+. Blackburne tried to keep hope alive with 25....Kh7


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...but in fact White can grab another pawn here with Rxd5, since 26....Rg6 27.g3 Qh3 28.f3 is fine for White. But after 26.g3? Qh3!, 27.f3 (or the better 27.f4) can be met with ...Rxb2!. Now White has only bad alternatives: 27.f4 Rxb2 and now: 28.Qxb2 Nf3+ 29.Kf2 Qxh2+ winning the queen, 28.Qd3+ g6 29.Re2 Nf3+! 30.Kf2 (30.Qxf3 Rb1+ 31.Kf2 Rf1+) 30....Rxe2+ 31.Qxe2 Nxh2 with a terrible position, or giving up the exchange as he did. Lasker should certainly have lost the ensuing ending. Given Blackburneís horrible blunder in game 1 of the match and his failure to win this game 2, he must have been quite disheartened.

<Not everyone could find ways to coax the opponent down the wrong path and find optimal moves in a knife's-edge position.>

<JimNorCal>

Iím sorry, but thatís absurd to say about this game, given that 41.b4 loses to a two-move combination that Blackburne would ordinarily spot instantly. Lasker was a great and resourceful player. But like everybody else, sometimes he got lucky. He rarely got as lucky as he did here.

Feb-27-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: One more useful tactical find from Shredder: after 46.Nf7, Black can play 46....axb5, since 47.Nxh6 f4+ 48.Kg4 bxa4 and the pawn queens. After something like 47.axb5 Rh5 48.Ne5 Rh4 49. Nf3 f4+ 50.Kg2 Rh5 and ...Kb6 followed by ...Kxb5, the ending would have been much easier for Black.
Jan-03-17  WorstPlayerEver: I think 41. b4 just shows what great player Lasker was; his position was difficult, so Lasker took the risk with this swindle.
Nov-07-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <WorstPlayerEver: I think 41. b4 just shows what great player Lasker was; his position was difficult, so Lasker took the risk with this swindle.>

41.b4 is not a swindle. First, White's position remains hopeless whether Blackburne finds the immediate win or not -- there is no trap. Second, 41....Rxe5 is so simple that a player of Blackburne's strength would normally find it instantly.

This isn't a Great Escape or an example of Lasker's resourceful defense or psychology or anything like that. As with Carlsen vs Anand, 2014, it's just a sad case of two great players exchanging blunders.

Nov-07-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <This isn't a Great Escape or an example of Lasker's resourceful defense or psychology or anything like that. >

By "this" I mean 41.b4, I should add. In the endgame as a whole, I think he showed the toughness, resilience, and the "I won't roll over for you" quality that allowed him to save so many bad games.

Aug-10-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  dernier loup de T: Unbelievable, but it seems Blackburne had still a last opportunity to win this game at move 54, by NOT taking the e4 pawn without preparation; instead of 54...Rxd4, Black has an beautiful manoeuvre: 54...Re4... should follow 55. Kxf3 Kb6!-+; or, if 55.Nf5, then 56...Ka5!-+
Aug-10-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  dernier loup de T: 54...Re4 would avoid White's following Ne6! after 54...Rxe4, which leads to a forced draw...

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