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Akiba Rubinstein vs Emanuel Lasker
Moscow (1925), Moscow URS, rd 6, Nov-16
Semi-Slav Defense: Meran Variation (D47)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-07-06  paladin at large: Beautiful endgame by Lasker, particularly from move 32 on, when Rubinstein allowed the exchange of queens. As an endgame, it surpasses Rubinstein's win over Lasker, which Rubinstein essentially had won in the transition to the endgame. One attractive feature here is the centralization of the black minor pieces and how the white king cannot even approach the black passed pawn, as the black king walks up the board.
Jun-07-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <paladin> Here's another great Lasker ending against Rubinstein.

Lasker vs Rubinstein, 1914

Apr-06-09  Ulhumbrus: 12 Ne5 is a mistake because the N is no weapon but a target. Instead of this, 12 a4 discourages ...c5.

13 Bf3 is a defensive move, for it does not threaten to attack the long diagonal but serves only to parry Black's attack on it. It is however a consequence of Ne5.

Instead of 14 Nxd7, 14 Nd3 aims at c5.

18 Bxd4 may lead to a draw and perhaps Rubinstein plays 18 exd4 in order to avoid it. After 18 exd4, with an isolated d5 pawn but greater space, it is White who is playing for the attack and Black who is playing to simplify. The result of the game suggests that Black is advised to offer exchanges of Rooks on the c file, and indeed an open file hinders a King side attack as the defence may try to occupy it with his Rooks. This suggests that exchanging the Rooks on the c file is a mistake on White's part. Instead of 21 Rxc8, 21 Rd1 avoids the first exchange of Rooks, while 22 Rd1 or 22 Re1 instead of 22 Rc1 avoids the second exchange of Rooks.

27 a3 makes a target of the pawn and following Qc3, the recapture Bxc3 displaces the bishop which defends the a3 pawn.

Apr-06-09  Archswindler: <Ulhumbrus: Instead of this, 12 a4 discourages ...c5.>

I'm not sure it does:

12. a4 b4 13. Na2 c5

Apr-08-09  Ulhumbrus: <Archswindler> Black can still play the move ...c5, but at a price: The reply ...b4 has weakened permanently Black's entire Queen side, exposing it to attack.
Apr-08-09  Archswindler: <The reply ...b4 has weakened permanently Black's entire Queen side, exposing it to attack.>

No it hasn't.

Jun-09-09  Bridgeburner: <paladin at large>

The queen exchange was definitely the losing move, at least in the proximate sense (White was probably lost in any case), as it made the <Pa3> indefensible. Lasker played the rest of the game very nicely but it was essentially an easy, somewhat routine endgame win for him.

Rubinstein was very much off his game here...he played the opening very conservatively, never getting around to <e4>, which would have been much more competitive than allowing the lame isolani he ended up with, which in turn allowed <d5> to be occupied as a staging point for Black's pieces.

Rubinstein's middle game was even worse, with lackluster placement of pieces allowing Lasker free rein for his.

I thought Lasker's <26...Nd5>, apart from being an excellent move in its own right, was also a psychological move aimed at provoking the weakening <27.a3>, the fate of which decided the game.

<Ulhumbrus: This suggests that exchanging the Rooks on the c file is a mistake on White's part. Instead of 21 Rxc8, 21 Rd1 avoids the first exchange of Rooks, while 22 Rd1 or 22 Re1 instead of 22 Rc1 avoids the second exchange of Rooks.>

I'm not sure.If <21.Rcd1>, then <21...Nf6> and the White isolani is fully blockaded. Moreover, <22.Re1> wouldn't be a good move as it becomes a target for Black's DSB if it reaches <b4> (there's the echo of that fateful <a3> again), eg: <21.Rcd1 Nf6 22.Rfe1 Nxe4 23.Bxe4 Bb4 24.Bxb7 Qxb7 25.Qe4 Qxe4 26.Rxe4 Rc2>:


click for larger view

Such a position wouldn't be defensible against Lasker.

Sep-29-13  YoGoSuN: Can anyone care to explain why Lasker went 57. Kd3 instead of 57. Kb1? I'm sure that 57. Kd3 wins as well, but isn't it 57. Kb1 more direct and obvious?
Dec-14-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: 10 b3 was a new idea that has been repeated only rarely; the sharper 10 e4 is the main line.

<Archswindler: <Ulhumbrus: Instead of this, 12 a4 discourages ...c5.> I'm not sure it does:
12. a4 b4 13. Na2 c5>

I would think that 13 Nb1 with the idea of Nbd2 and Nc4 should be considered.

After 18 exd a poor version of the Isolated Queenpawn middlegame occurred with the bishop passive on b2.

<Ulhumbrus:....
18 Bxd4 may lead to a draw and perhaps Rubinstein plays 18 exd4 in order to avoid it.>

After 18 Bxd4..e5 it looks like White is forced to play 19 Bc5 as 19 Bb2..f5 will cost White a piece.

34 Ba5..axb 35 Bxb6..Bg5! would have been winning for Black.

<YoGoSuN: Can anyone care to explain why Lasker went 57. Kd3 instead of 57. Kb1? I'm sure that 57. Kd3 wins as well, but isn't it 57. Kb1 more direct and obvious?>

57 Kb1 allows White to play Kh6,Kh7,Kg8 with dangerous counterplay. The idea behind Lasker's 57 Kd3! is to place the king on f5 when White plays Kxf7 at which point Black's knight can leisurely win the two rook pawns and then head to the queenside to force the win of the bishop.

Jul-15-17  iron john: why not 35 bb4
Jul-15-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <iron john>
<why not 35 bb4> 35. Bb4 Bxb4 36. axb4 Kf8. Black transfers his king to the queenside and eventually picks up White's b-pawn while White's pieces are tied down by Black's a-pawn. I believe that plan wins for Black.
Sep-19-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: A lovely game. Lasker’s winning strategy was to engineer the exchange of White’s strong Queen’s gambit Bishop, leaving him with the superior Bishop.

Reti includes this classic in the development of the Meran variation in his Masters of the Chess Board (1933) and gives two beautiful variations.


click for larger view

Lasker was ready to play 31..Bxf3+ with the tactical point that 32 Qxf3 is refuted by 32..Nd5!


click for larger view

Lasker was prepared to meet 34 Ba5 with 34..axb3 35 Bxb6 Bg5!

Sep-20-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: I made a video of this remarkable game:

https://studio.youtube.com/video/mm...

Dec-18-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  WilhelmThe2nd:

The Moscow newspaper 'Izvestia' (Nov. 17th, 1925, page 2) reported that after Rubinstein resigned this game, <"the whole enormous hall, overcrowded with spectators, responded with thunderous applause for this first truly great win in the tournament. Even Rubinstein himself could not resist applauding although, as is well known, there should not be any during play".>

Below are Akiba Rubinstein's own annotations to this game from 'Izvestia' (Nov. 21st, 1925, page 3). A few diagrams have been added; the original annotated game included none.

[There is a slight discrepancy in the game-score in that this database and Bogoljubow's tournament book both give Black's 48th move as 48. ...Ne3, whereas Rubinstein gives it here as 48. ...Nb6.]

<

Queen's Gambit
6th Round 16 November
Rubinstein-Lasker

1. d4 d5
2. c4 c6
3. e3 Nf6
4. Nc3 e6
5. Nf3 Nbd7
6. Bd3 dxc4
7. Bxc4 b5
8. Be2 ...

In this position the more aggressive move 8. Bd3 is also possible. I chose a passive but reliable continuation, since in this game I was striving not so much for a win as for a draw. However, the same law prevails in chess as in life: if you want peace, prepare for war!

8. ... a6
9. O-O Bb7
10. b3 Be7
11. Bb2 O-O
12. Ne5 c5


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Black's development is much more elastic than his opponent's. The White queen does not have a sufficiently good position, and the knight on c3 is much worse than the enemy knight on d7. It must be admitted that White's system of development is not worthy of imitation.

13. Bf3 Qc7
14. Nxd7 Nxd7
15. Ne4 Rad8
16. Rc1 ...

This move looks good, but in reality it is a gross positional error. Black is given the opportunity to isolate the White center pawn, and thus place White in a clearly worse position. I should have played 16. Qc2!

16. ... Qb8
17. Qe2 cxd4!
18. exd4 ...

Capturing with the bishop is impossible because of ...e6-e5 and ...f7-f5.> [WilhelmThe2nd: In the tournament book, Bogoljubow points out that after 18. Bxd4 e5 White can reply 19. Bc5 with equality.]<

18. ... Rc8
19. g3 Qa8!
20. Kg2 Rfd8
21. Rxc8 Rxc8
22. Rc1 Rxc1
23. Bxc1 h6

Tempting was ...e6-e5. However, 24. dxe5 Nxe5 25. Nd2 Nxf3 26. Nxf3 would have led to an exchange of pieces and simplification of the position. True, the pin would have been unpleasant for White but he would still have found a sufficient defense.

24. Bb2 Nb6
25. h3 Qc8
26. Qd3 Nd5!


click for larger view

27. a3? ...

There was no reason for this move yet. Meanwhile, it completely weakens White's entire position.

27. ... Nb6
28. Kh2 Bd5
29. Kg2 Qc6!
30. Nd2 a5
31. Qc3 ...

White's position is difficult, but not yet hopeless. Comparatively better here was the exchange of bishops in connection with Nf3. After the move in the text, White is already lost.

31. ... Bxf3+
32. Nxf3 ...

Forced. On 32. Qxf3 there follows ...Nd5! and it is impossible to prevent the decisive invasion of the Black queen on c2.

32. ... Qxc3
33. Bxc3 a4!
34. bxa4 bxa4


click for larger view

35. Kf1 ...

By means of Bb4 material loss could be avoided, but after the exchange Black still wins owing to the outside passed pawn.

35. ... Bxa3
36. Ke2 Kf8
37. Kd3 Nd5
38. Be1 Bd6
39. Kc4 Ke7
40. Ne5 Bxe5
41. dxe5 Kd7
42. Bd2 h5
43. Bc1 Kc6
44. Ba3 Nb6+!
45. Kd4 Kb5
46. Bf8 Nc4
47. Kc3 g6
48. f4 Nb6
49. Kd3 Nd5
50. Ba3 h4

The endgame is, of course, won for Black. But the skill with which Lasker conducts it is astonishing and worthy of admiration.

51. gxh4 Nxf4+
52. Ke4 Nh5
53. Kf3 Kc4
54. Bb2 Kb3
55. Ba1 a3
56. Kg4 Kc2
57. Kg5 Kd3

0-1

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