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Carl Schlechter vs Emanuel Lasker
Cambridge Springs (1904), Cambridge Springs, PA USA, rd 11, May-12
Queen's Gambit Declined: Pillsbury Attack (D55)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-18-04  CambridgeSprings1904: This game was awarded the First Brilliancy Prize at Cambridge Springs 1904. Lasker's 14...g5? and 15...f4? allows Schlechter to build a crushing attack.
Jan-18-04  ughaibu: According to Abrahams Lasker's mistake was to assume that Schlechter would exchange on f4 before playing Bh7, I cant say the distinction is clear to me but it's interesting to compare this game: Reti vs Lasker, 1923 in which Lasker again appears to make a strange assumption but on that ocassion he got away with it. Was Lasker gambling or did he have a psychological blind spot that caused these ocassional unjustified assumptions?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: In this game, Lasker missed a tactical point:

In the game, 15...f4? 16.Bxh7+ Kh8 17.Qg6! and Lasker suddenly realizes on 17...fxg3?? 18.Bg8! mates quickly. And if 17...Ng7 19.Qh6 will be mate.

On the other hand, if White exchanges pawns 16.exf4? gxf4 17.Bxh7+ Kh8 18.Qg6 Ng7 19.Qh6 then Black has the saving 19...Bg5.

In the Reti game, I think Lasker felt his position inferior and stirred up some complications that Reti didn't handle.

Jan-19-04  ughaibu: Calli: Thanks for that. Why do you think Lasker assumed that Schlechter would exchange on f4 freeing g5 for the bishop? If he'd seen the move Bg5 it would be natural to consider the immediate capture on h7 while black's pawn is still occupying g5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Don't know. Lack of practice? Lasker had not played in four years.

Mainly, I was just looking for the difference that Abrahams says is there and Bg5 is all I could see. I wonder if he was paraphrasing something Lasker had written. Actually, it doesn't look all that attractive even after the pawn exchange. Can't White just play 20.Qh3 in the second line?

Jan-19-04  ughaibu: Isn't black okay after Bc8?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Still looks bad 16.exf4 gxf4 17.Bxh7+ Kh8 18.Qg6 Ng7 19.Qh6 Bg5 20.Qh3 Bc8 21.Bf5+ Kg8 22.Qh7+ Kf7 23.Bg6+ Ke6 24.Qxg7 fxg3 25.fxg3
Jan-20-04  ughaibu: Yes, and in this line 23.e6 might be even more annoying. I wonder if Lasker annotated the game at the time?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Sounds like he did, but I don't have the tournament book. Also could be in Lasker's magazine which he had around that time. Anyone have Laskers's annotations to this game?
Jan-21-04  CambridgeSprings1904: The major book for this tournament was edited by Fred Reinfeld in 1935. Georg Marco's annotations are provided. 14...g5 is given a "?" and is called a fatal error. Marco recommends 14...g6 followed by 15...Ng7.

The move 15...f4 is not given a "?" but is called the "decisive mistake". Marco says Lasker only considered 16.exf4 gxf4 17.Bxh7+ Kh8 18.Qg6 Bc8! "rightly judging it to be in his favor, for 19.Qh6 is defeated by ...Bg5!" Keene & Divinsky recommend 15...Ng7 in their book "Warriors of the Mind". If you have an interest in this tournament, do a search on "Cambridge Springs 1904" and you'll be directed to my website. --SE

Jan-21-04  ughaibu: Thanks for that. A nice transposition. I take it there's no explanation for Lasker's assumption that Schlechter would exchange on f4 before Bh7(?)
Jan-21-04  ughaibu: Is this the site: ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <CambridgeSprings1904> Thanks you very much for original annotations. It appears to mistaken, however.

16.exf4 gxf4 17.Bxh7+ Kh8 18.Qg6 Bc8! "rightly judging it to be in his favor, for 19.Qh6 is defeated by ...Bg5!"

But White has 20.Qxf8+ at that point! If Ng7 is not played the rook is en prise.

Jan-21-04  ughaibu: This is very odd. Calli, of course you're right.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Right now, it sounds like a case of everybody copying Marco's original annotations and not checking them at all. Those lazy bums!
Jan-23-04  CambridgeSprings1904: <ughaibu and Calli> There is no further explanation in the book about Lasker's incorrect assumption. <everybody> Unfortunately, I mistakenly transcribed the last part of the quote... it should be "for 18.Qh6 is defeated by ...Bg5!". Sorry for the confusion. (My wife and daughter were trying to converse with me while I was typing, but that's another story.) <ughaibu> Yes, you have the correct link to my site in your comment above. Thanks -- I hope you liked it. <Calli> This is not the only instance of people blindly copying Marco's analysis of CS1904 games. The complicated Lasker-Napier game is the example that comes to mind.
Jan-23-04  ughaibu: I enjoyed your site very much, thank you. In the post above should it be 18.Qg6?
Jan-23-04  CambridgeSprings1904: <ughaibu> Thanks. The direct quote from the tournament books is "Dr. Lasker considered only the variation 16 PxP, PxP; 17 BxPch K-R; 18 Q-Kt6, B-B! rightly judging it to be in his favor, for 18 Q-R6 is defeated by ...B-Kt4!". I finally ran this through Fritz, and I conclude that the book has a typo, Marco was simply wrong, or Lasker's calculation was awful. In this variation, White has an advantage after 18.Qg6 and 18...Bc8? makes Black's situation much worse after 19.Qh6.

Interestingly, another CS1904 tournament book (J. Schroeder, Chess Digest, 1992) made the same "correction" to the annotation that I made in my 21-Jan post above, i.e., "19.Q-R6 B-Kt4". But, as Calli correctly points out, Black just loses a Rook in this line. If I find other sources with this game, I'll post the relevant info here.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: I would judge it to be a typo also. At that point, Marco is discussing the position after the 18th move and therefore must have meant 19.Qh6 or 19.Q-R6 in English descriptive notation. The thought occurs to me that the confusion over the apparent typo might have kept the error in the analysis obscured.
Jan-24-04  ughaibu: Cant he play 18.....Bg5 followed by Qe7?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <ughaibu> Great idea!

16.exf4 gxf4 17.Bxh7+ Kh8 18.Qg6 Bg5! 19.Bh4! (19.h4 is equal) Bxh4 20.Qh6

20...Qe7 21.Be4+ Kg8 22.Nxd5 wins;

But 20...Qg5! 21.Qxf8+ Kxh7 22.Qf7+ Qg7 23.Qxf4 Be7 and I don't know. Hard position to evaluate.


Mar-09-04  IngoBingo: Can't white (in the variation 16.exf4 gxf4 17.Bxh7+ Kh8 18.Qg6 Bg5) continue with 19.Qh5!? and after 19. - Ng7 play 20.Qh3 here too?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <IngoBingo> You are right! I forgot all about the h3 square. It transposes into a line given previously.

<ughaibu> back to the drawing board!

Mar-09-04  ughaibu: How about 19....Qe7? For example: 20.Be4 Kg8 21.Nd5 Qg7 22.Ne7 Be7 23.Bb7 g3 24.Ba8 Ra8 etc....
Mar-10-04  IngoBingo: Hm, nice try, but I think 22.Nxf4! cleans up everything in White's favour: 22. - Bxf4 (22. - Bxe4 23.Ne6!)23.Bxb7 Qxb7 24.Bxf4 and Black can't take the bishop with his rook because of Qg5+.
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