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Emanuel Lasker vs Mikhail Chigorin
London (1899), London ENG, rd 14, Jun-17
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Morphy Attack (C78)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-17-06  Maynard5: After a quiet openining, in which Laster does not seem to possess any advantage, the attack on the king side gathers surprising force. Note the use of the square f5, followed by the invasion on the e-file.
Jun-17-06  WhoKeres: A typical Lasker game. He got little pressure form the opening, but his tactical skill in the middlegame and knowledge that Chigorin was a weak defensive player led to Lasker's winning attack.
Oct-18-07  RookFile: I think the idea leading up to 20. f3 is the star idea of this game. Kasparov used a similar idea against Karpov in one of their games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: Knowing Chigorin's prowess with the Knight pair Lasker employs a bit of psychology in obtaining it himself. Obstructing the light-squares with protected pawns, Lasker gives Chigorin no way to play for a win. Hence he overpresses the QS pawns and White gets on top.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: As Hoffer pointed out in the tournament book, 36....Bd7 was probably based on an oversight: 37. Qxb3 Bxf5 38. exf5 Qd7 (forking bishop and f-pawn) 39. Ba5 and now ...Qxf5 is unplayable. But Black's position was bad before that, because of the self-inflicted injuries pointed out by IMlday.
Feb-08-09  veigaman: what about 31.. ra8 for blacks?
Feb-08-09  laskereshevsky: <IMlday: Knowing Chigorin's prowess with the Knight pair.......>

oohhh yes!!...he does,... EMMANUEL know it veeeery weeeell!!!....

Lasker vs Chigorin, 1895

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <veigaman: what about 31.. ra8 for blacks?>

32. Rxa4 Bxa4 33. Nd5 looks at least as good as the game for White.


Nice game, but Lasker had scored five wins and two draws against Chigorin since then. I don't think there was any minor-piece lineup that scared him. Later in this same tournament he scored a brilliancy against Chigorin with two bishops against B+N.

Chigorin vs Lasker, 1899

Feb-09-09  veigaman: <keypusher> i see but it seems to me that the blacks has more activity
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <veigaman: <keypusher> i see but it seems to me that the blacks has more activity>

Shredder does not agree but thinks you are on the right track: 31....Qa6 32. Rxa4 Qxa4 with the queen actively placed is stronger than either 31....Rba8 or Chigorin's 31....Nc7.

Feb-17-09  veigaman: Thanks so much <keypusher> for the information. Certainly, your suggestions seems to be stronger than my idea and also it seems to be better than shirov´decision.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Annother triumph for Lasker's psychology.

On the face of it, and contrary to what others have said on this site, Lasker's handling of the White side of this Ruy Lopez was--at least on a theoretical basis--very weak. His 17. Bc1, 18. Kh1, 19. Ng1, 20. f3, 21. Nf5, and 22. Nh3 were all condemned by Fritz, and appear to be more like one of Steinitz' hedgehog openings than the typically precise play of Lasker. Lasker didn't get around to playing the thematic c4 until move 23.

But Lasker knew his opponent, and it is obvious that Tchigorin was uncomfortable in this game in which he had traded off one of his beloved Knights and had to attack through pawn play on the Queen's side. Had someone like Karpov had Tchigorin's position, he would have put it to Lasker with, for example, 20...a4 (instead of Tchigorin's 20...b4), 21...bxc3 (instead of Tchigorin's 21...Qe6), 22...a4 (instead of Tchigorin's 22...Bc6), and 23...d4 (instead of Tchigorin's 23...dxe4).

Here's an interesting statistic, Fritz condemns six consecutive moves by Lasker (moves 17 through 22), but from move 23 through the end of the game, Lasker with one exception (Move 36) plays EXACTLY the moves suggested by Fritz.

As I said, Lasker knew his opponent. Once he got the edge in the game, there was no more psychology, and Lasker--literally--played like a computer. And Tchigorin, in a position in which he had to play tight defense, fell apart.

I agree that Tchigorin's 36...Bd7 was an oversight for the reasons identified by the Tournament Book and by keypusher. Indeed, Lasker's one and only mistake from move 23 through move 49 was his 36. Qe3 (36. Qa5 was much better). This move gave Tchigorin an opportunity, and he should have played 36...Qf7. But even with this move, Lasker would have had a significant edge, Tchigorin would have been on the defensive, and my money would have been on Lasker to win.

One clue to Lasker's strength is that 26 of his last 27 moves (over 96 percent) were the very same moves Fritz would have played.

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