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Savielly Tartakower vs Emanuel Lasker
New York (1924), New York, NY USA, rd 21, Apr-15
English Opening: King's English Variation. General (A20)  ·  0-1



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Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: White is okay after 14.f4!? The mistake is 23.Qf2? instead of 23.Nf5!
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: This opening could have arisen from the English Four Knights (1.c4,e5; 2.Nc3,Nf6; 3.Nf3,Nc6; 4.e3,Be7). The restrained ...Be7 grants White an edge in space, not that Lasker would ever care about such things. Tartakower could have kept his edge with 8.h3, to restrain the Black QB. Afterwards, Lasker's shifting of pieces in such a small space reminds me of the fictional Murphy vs. Endon game in Samuel Beckett's novel Murphy (the game and the annotations are a hoot--the "game" belongs on this site). I don't blame White for playing to the bitter end--one slip by Lasker grants at least the chance of a perpetual check. Furthermore, note that this is a Round 21 game, where every salvaged half-point is worth a lot of money.
Jun-13-04  Tigran Petrosian: <calli> But considering that Lasker was a genius of outplaying people in an equal position, I reccomend that white keeps his "perscribed" opening advantage. So one must also consider the practical circumstances.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: In his best games collection Tartakower gives copious analysis, which to be honest I have never played through, in an effort to show that 19 Rxf6 Bxf6 20 Rxf6 would have given him a dangerous attack, although if I remember right black could still escape with a draw. As he proudly recounts, Tartakower managed to execute a similar double exchange sacrifice successfully 22 years later in Tartakower vs R Broadbent, 1946 . Chess masters are cursed by their prodigious memories, I think.
Apr-24-06  apawnandafool: 39...e4! then it's over. He's not gonna trade queens into a lost endgame. HA! Lasker got him!

The Art of the Trade
by Lasker and Tartakower

Lasker 39: "Trade queens?"
Tartakower[moves queen away]40: "NO"

Lasker[moves]40: "Trade Queens?"
Tartakower[moves queen away]41: "NO!"

Lasker41,42: Ok...Check Check.
Lasker[moves]43: "Last Chance, Trade Queens?"
Tartakower[moves queen away AGAIN!!!]44: "NO!!!!"

Lasker (44): Fine!!! Check.

And the rest of the game was beautifully finished.

Some alternative lines for the rest of the moves:

<45...e3! 46.Ke2<46.Kf3 Rf1+<46...Qb2+ 47.Kd3 Qd2+ 48.Ke4 Qxg2+ 49.Kd4 0-0> 47.Ke2 <47.Kf1 e2+ 48.Bxe2 Qxe2+ 49.Kg1 Qxg2# 0-1> Rf2+ 48.Ke1 Qc3+ 49.Kd1 Qd2# 0-1> 46...Rb2+ 47.Ke1 Qc3+ 48.Kf1 Qc1+ <49.Bd1 Qxd1#>>

Great game, all around!

Aug-14-08  TheaN: <apawnandafool>

Nice idea there but it misses a slight fact that White has no longer the option to trade Queens on move 44, and is actually already losing in only a few moves.

Mar-10-09  JG27Pyth: This is an impossible game, a monstrosity -- if I were Tartakower I'd probably murder Lasker just prior to resigning.

Dr. Lasker's perverse and peculiar genius for winning from bad positions has never been more evident. Look at the position at the 21st move. Lasker has ONE piece beyond his second rank -- a pawn on d6! Meanwhile Tartakower's pieces have nary a problem (his N on h2 isn't perfect, but why quibble?)... his rooks are in a battery against f7 -- his control of the center is ridiculous... this looks like a simul and Black is a C player.

So, for Black to ultimately <win> not draw, win -- from that position -- and win without benefit of a gross blunder from White -- seriously calls into question everything I've ever learned about chess.

Lasker is amazing. One of a kind. No one has played chess quite like him before or since.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <JG27Pyth>

Nah, look at that huge e5 outpost, and consider all those white pawns on white squares with no dark-square bishop. I dream of positions like that for Black.

Tartakower had missed his chance to make his advantage in development tell with 19. Rxf6. Even then (as discussed at enormous length in Soltis' Lasker book and Tartakower's own writings) White has a lot of pressure, but no clear win.

Mar-11-09  AnalyzeThis: <marcus13: What is then purpose of 2. a3 is seem bad since it lose time and weaken the b3 square. >

Had Lasker played an early ...d5 Tartakower would essentially be playing one of the best Sicilian systems, with an extra move thrown in for good measure. Lasker didn't take the bait.

Mar-22-09  JG27Pyth: Keypusher:<Nah, look at that huge e5 outpost, and consider all those white pawns on white squares with no dark-square bishop. I dream of positions like that for Black.>

Well, you (and Lasker) see deeper and clearer than I.... but that still calls everything I know about chess into question! You, Lasker, and also a strong engine doesn't hate Black's game nearly as much as I do... A quick pass from Toga calls this basically even. What an eye-opener for me.

Wow I do not see it that way. So what am I missing? I guess the bad bishop aspect went by me. The e5 outpost? But White's Nh2 is ready to challenge that. To me, Black is cramped as hell... I'm not arguing that I'm right and everyone else is wrong... I'm saying -- crap, I must have a lot to learn.

Mar-22-09  Emma: There's an excellent annotation of this game in Kmock's book Pawn Power in Chess
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: There was a short story written using this game, though I can't remember its author or title. The plot had Lasker, Tartakower and some other masters sitting around a few days before this game was played. Lasker was talking about defensive play, and made the assertion that he thought it not impossible to give a fellow master the odds of six consecutive moves during a game. He put on some conditions, such as having the option to exchange any piece that was too threatening. He was of course scoffed at.

It's a few days later, and Tartakower is playing Lasker. Suddenly, after move 11:

click for larger view

Lasker whispers, "Take your six moves now." There's a couple of exchanges, and Lasker keeps making moves to keep up appearances, but here's the board after move 19:

click for larger view

Tartakower has finished his development and doubled rooks on a half-open file. Outside of trading a knight, Lasker has done nothing but shuffle his pieces around. And yet from this point Lasker takes over the game.

That was fiction, of course. Wasn't it?

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <PB> According to Soltis, it's <The Immortal Emanuel> by David Fidlow, published in the October 1961 <Chess Review>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <keypusher> Thanks, that sounds right. I think I read it in Al Horowitz's <The Best in Chess>, which was a compiliation of material from Chess Review from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Oct-10-13  Howard: A noteworthy thing about this game was that it clinched clear first place for Lasker with a round left to go.

Alekhine's suburb tournament book tells how the spectators applauded loudly when Lasker emerged from the playing area after the game was over.

This was one of two tournaments that both Capablanca and Lasker competed in together when the former was world champion, with the other being Moscow 1925. Lasker finished ahead of Capa in both of these events......Capa was probably none too happy about that.

Mar-16-17  Saniyat24: How rock solid was Lasker's defence...!
Mar-16-17  Saniyat24: Why didn't Tartakower play 36.Bf5...taking the Rook?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Retireborn: <Saniyat> He was emotionally attached to his queen, I expect.
Mar-20-17  Howard: Good response, retireborn!
Mar-20-17  Howard: This game, incidentally, is annotated in Nunn's book on Lasker. It contains a couple of points that Alekine apparently overlooked.
Mar-20-17  JimNorCal: <pb>, <kp> "According to Soltis, it's <The Immortal Emanuel> by David Fidlow, published in the October 1961 <Chess Review>."

Wasn't it Daniel, not David?
Quite an excellent story! Reprinted in one of the issues of "Lasker and His Contemporaries". Someone with a copy should put it online for future chess players' enjoyment.

Oct-24-18  Howard: Nunn's book points out that 36...Re5! would have won more quickly.
Oct-24-18  JimNorCal: See PB's comment from Oct 29, 2010 and read Fidlow's story if you ever come across it!
Oct-27-18  Howard: Don't have access to it I'm afraid.
May-25-20  Ulhumbrus: 14 f4?! concedes the bishop pair, contracts a backward e pawn and weakens the e4 square in return for gaining the semi open f file. If White is going to justify this choice he has to make the f file count before Black has time to make count White's backward e pawn, Black's e5 square and Black's bishop pair.

This suggests that White has to use his greater space to start an attack before Black has time to get enough of Black's men into play.

Tartakower says in his book that instead of 19 Qg3, some Berlin experts discovered later the double exchange sacrifice 19 Rxf6 Bxf6 20 Rxf6 gxf6 21 Ng4 starting an attack with his minor pieces before Black can develop Black's heavy pieces. 21...Qd8! is according to Tartakower <the only saving clause> and Tartakower quotes a forest of variations covering almost two columns of analysis in his book after which Tartakower says < as is the case in many another ferocious struggle - a peaceful draw is the result>

If Tartakower is right this suggests that 19 Qg3? is already a mistake and a losing mistake as it allows Black to develop Black's queen towards the defence by 19...Qd8! covering f6 and preventing the double exchange sacrifice.

The move 14 f4 concedes so much to Black that it suggests that White then has to play for something like this, as Tartakower suggests, the double exchange sacrifice before Black has time to develop his men.

However if after 14 f4?! White has to risk so much for no more than a draw with best play this suggests that it lets slip at least some of White's advantage and that Alekhine may have been right to call it anti-positional in his book of the tournament.

This suggests that the right course is to play for a queen side attack by b4 and c5.

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