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Akiba Rubinstein vs Emanuel Lasker
"First Meeting" (game of the day Jun-16-2016)
St. Petersburg (1909), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 3, Feb-18
Queen's Gambit Declined: Traditional Variation (D30)  ·  1-0



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Given 73 times; par: 75 [what's this?]

Annotations by Emanuel Lasker.      [80 more games annotated by Lasker]

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Akiba Rubinstein vs Emanuel Lasker (1909) First Meeting

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 8 OF 8 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 18.Qc1!! in this game and 17.Qc1!! in Rubinstein vs Capablanca, 1911 are two the most memorable twin moves made by Akiba the Great.
Jun-16-16  kevin86: Yet, another Rubenstein's gems.
Jun-16-16  ajile: I never liked 4..c5 in this opening. Seems too optimistic given Black is behind in development. And he gets an isolated d pawn to boot. White maintains the initiative from start to finish in this game which is just punishment IMO.
Jun-16-16  stst: Artist of the Chess Board! - Though short of the title, he could often pull off upsets against the top guys, incl. Capa!! It would be interesting to get a tally of Akiba vs Capa, Alek, Tal, and Lasker.
Jun-16-16  morfishine: Very nice photo, Rubinstein has a much bigger head than Lasker, which seems somewhat surprising, but could be due to the photo angles...I always thought Lasker had a big, rounded head, but perhaps I'm wrong


Jun-16-16  Calli: Lasker's name tag says he is playing for "Америка" - America in Cyrillic. I never realized a US rep won St. Petersburg 1909.
Jun-17-16  andrewjsacks: Of the greatest WC matches never played, a leading one is Lasker-Rubinstein 1913.
Oct-12-18  lame duck: <offramp> The last sign at the end of both player's families is Ъ - cyrillic letter "Hard sign". It still persists in some words in modern Russian, but it tzarist Russion Empire it was used much more often. The grammer reform made in 1918, soon after Bolsheviks Revolution, abolished the Ъ sign at the end of words, and also simplified the grammer.
Oct-20-18  thegoodanarchist: Apparently mustaches were in style in 1909, even though it was almost 70 years before the advent of The Village People.
Nov-22-19  Jambow: <Apparently mustaches were in style in 1909, even though it was almost 70 years before the advent of The Village People.>

Of Lasker's Mustache I am jealeous. Only Stalin could compete with him is this worthy category of what makes a man a man.

Nov-06-21  tbontb: A game doubly famous for White's 18th move and later exemplary endgame technique. Lasker attacks over-ambitiously but meets a subtle defence and is forced to bail out into a lost ending, after which Rubinstein makes no mistake.
Nov-12-21  Z truth 000000001: ???????
Nov-12-21  Z truth 000000001: Америка
Nov-12-21  sudoplatov: Some Rubinstein head-to-head data.
Lasker +1 -2 =3
Alekhine +4 -2 =2
Capablanca +1 -1 =7
Nimzovich +7 -6 =9
Spielmann +15 -11 =8
Tarrasch +8 -0 =12
Marshall +11 -9 =11
Bogolubov +13 -14 =10
Janowski +5 -3 =0
Maroczy +5 -1 =9
Reti +9 -4 =9
Duras +10 -2 =2
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: You might want to check the Alekhine numbers.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Z truth 000000001> At the risk of saying more than I should: when we change code to start supporting the former of your two Russian posts above, it will stop supporting the latter of them. And it's a ton of work going through and unifying data sets that were created by various different systems. Especially a huge one like our kibitzing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Rubinstein's ingenious coup 16.Rc1, culminating with 21.Rf4, made a striking impression on me as a 1200 player lo, those many years ago. Even today, the splendour of his conception is breathtaking.
Nov-24-21  Chessist: Rubinstein-Alekhine +3 -8 = 2 (without the exhibition game 1909, won by Rubinstein)
Jan-23-22  Eastofthevillage: I�ve always wondered about this famous photo of these two giants. In the photo Lasker has a pawn on the a6 square. In the game he never had a piece or pawn on that square. Thins was their first encounter and their next would be 5 years later with colors reversed. Was this posed at the 1909 tournament or was it possibly analysis after the game?
Jan-30-22  login:

Trivia (for now) leaving the pieces aside

source 'Ullstein Bild'

The at the time rapidly growing 'Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung [13/1909]' hired one a dazzling figure in the city and founder of Russian photo reportage a certain Карл Булла (Carl/Karl Bulla). Originally from Silesia he was already living and working in Staint Petersburg for almost one decade when he got the call to shoot a couple of match pictures on site. In all Petersburg Germans left a huge mark on the pre-revolutionary history of the city on the Neva. Immigrants were among the prominent architects, sculptors, engineers, educators, military leaders, bankers and patrons of the arts. Until 1917 they made up the largest percentage of the Petersburg population after the Russians.

Technique used 'Gelatin silver print' [on glass] with the following 'hardware'


About the 'Photo Studio'

Karl Bulla Historical Photography Foundation

(Museum, St. Petersburg)

Personal background

(in Russian)

(in German)

The late years

(in Russian)

Unrelated (wet plate, this isn't a quick process)

Jan-31-22  ndg2: Why not 19..♖d6 with protection of the c-pawn? Of course such "obvious" moves never get any mention by the commentators (which happens to be the doctor himself in this case).

Speaking of the 2nd world champ: I'm somewhat jealous of his 'Doc Holliday' moustache.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <ndg2: Why not 19..♖d6 with protection of the c-pawn? Of course such "obvious" moves never get any mention by the commentators (which happens to be the doctor himself in this case).>

The engine mentions it. Rxf7 is a strong reply.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: <MissScarlett> One should look behind the stats. It is fairly well known and agreed that Rubinstein's peak years were 1907-1914. He seemed traumatised by World War 1 and was not as strong after.

However Rubinstein is considered by many to be an "uncrowned king" of chess - someone who could have been World chess champion especially from his dominance in tournaments between 1907 and 1914. He destroyed Alekhine in those peak years.

In my view he is also a great "strategic chess" player as opposed to a "positional chess" player. Emphasising deeper plans and strategy rather than just slight improvements to a position and a lighter touch.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Rubinstein, though, failed to make the final in St Petersburg, even before the war; moreover, Alekhine booked his first win in their career encounters in that preliminary event.
Jul-19-23  generror: Call me an ignorant peasant, but I wasn't too impressed with Rubinstein's Immortal. And at first, I wasn't too impressed with his playing here either. Yes, he's incredibly accurate -- he gets full Stockfish approval except for <22.Qc5>; <22.Qb5> would have prevented the queen trade.

Maybe he just likes to put his queen on the c-file, but <18.Qc1> is really a great move. Instead of being a pawn down like after <18.fxe3>, this little sidestep wins a pawn -- and the game. And the follow-up <21.Rf4> is just as great -- again, it looks completely innocent, and it took me a while to understand why it's so strong, but it threatens to drive the black king into the center and harrass him with devious checks until White is able to win the rook (or trade its rook for the queen). Rubinstein's play looks innocent, but it sure is nasty.

Lasker's play, on the other hand, is -- as usual -- a bit weird, but -- as unusual -- here the few weird moves he does here are not just *looking* bad, here they *are* bad. But really, I mean, <14...0-0-0> -- really, Emanuel? Castling right into the open c-file, and then calling <15.Rc1> subtle? Dude, even I would have pinned your knight, and nobody ever called me subtle.

Maybe he gambled on Rubinstein playing an even worse move in response -- as usual with Lasker --, but I sure as hell have no idea what this might be. Also, this Rubinstein doesn't look gambleable to me. He seemed to own the chessboard.

And yes, it's a real pity that these two didn't play a match at this point. Rubinstein obviously wasn't much good at playing the money-raising game (I do suspect him to be deep in the autistic spectrum). Lasker has been called a greedy snitch, but I don't think you can blame him for trying to want an appropriate amount of money if he puts his title at stake. (Strange but true: Most people care a LOT about about money, but they keep complaining if others do the same. Psychologists call this projection, and for once they're right.)

Anyways, I really had fun going through this game, a deserved timeless classic.

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