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Carl Schlechter vs Emanuel Lasker
"Helter Schlechter" (game of the day Jan-07-2022)
Lasker - Schlechter World Championship Match (1910), Vienna AUH, rd 5, Jan-22
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. Closed Bernstein Variation (C66)  ·  1-0



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Given 29 times; par: 92 [what's this?]

Annotations by Jose Raul Capablanca.      [26 more games annotated by Capablanca]

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Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <thebribri8: I hate Capablanca's annotations.>

Some players aren't designed for annotations. They look at a position and they think, "It's pretty obvious what's going on here... There's no need to mention the alternatives here, it's obvious..." and they end up writing very little. I think that was Capablanca's problem. Things were so clear to him, he thought they were obvious to everyone and that there was no need to explain anything.

But he did do at least one very good set of notes, see F Alexander vs G A Thomas, 1919.

Mar-06-16  amaurobius: <AnalyzeThis> Reference your post of Jan-29-11, the book you are thinking of is Hans Kmoch's Rubinstein's Chess Masterpieces (Game 46).
Apr-13-17  Howard: Is anyone here aware that the ending to this remarkable game is very thoroughly analyzed in Nunn's book on Lasker's games?

You might want to take a look at it---personally, I've not had much time to do so, but I intend to!

Apr-13-17  morfishine: <Howard> The road to pure Nirvana and happy Karma is paved with solid bricks of well thought-out intentions


Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: The earlier posts of <visayanbraindoctor> seem incomprehensible nowadays owing to the absence of + and - signs, e.g.

<<44. Qb4> ( 1.68)

<First three engine preferences>: <44. Qc3> ( 0.78); <44. Rb2> ( 0.79); <44. Rc1> ( 0.89) White’s move crosses the 1.40 threshold into a lost game for White and is therefore classified as a blunder.>

Many of these evaluations should be preceded by a minus sign.

Without them the computer analysis becomes garbage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  manselton: Some of Stockfish-8 assessments are revised by Stockfish-10. Position after 47.Ra4

click for larger view

SF10 still gives 47...Kd7 as best move but 47...c4 is still just about winning! Black remains winning until the blunder on move 54...Qc5?? Position after 54.Kg2 (! Shereshevsky side-stepping the check on e5 so renewing the threat of 55.Qa6.)

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But SF10 now says 54...c3! introducing the resource of ...Qe4+ is still winning e.g. 55.Qa7+ Rb7 56.Qe3 Rb6 57.Ra7+? Kb8

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or 55.Re8 Kb6 56.Qa8 Kc5

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  manselton: After 47.Ra4 Kd7 (Instead of 47...c4 as played by Lasker)

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SF10 also gives an interesting line. 48.Qa1 Rxe4 49.Ra8 (If 49.Ra7+ Ke6 50.Rxg7 Rf4 Black looks safe and winning to me.) 49...Re2 50.Qa4+ Kc7 51.Ra7+ Kb6 Unbelievable! The King escapes to d5 by running toward the White heavy pieces. 52.Qa5+ Kc6 53.Rxg7 Kd5

click for larger view

Oct-21-20  saintdufus: <PizzatheHut: Could someone help here? The note after move 49 reads "Drawish position".>

I was about to say "there's no note after move 49," but then I read the comments and realized there must have been some weird bogus annotation thing going on, which eventually corrected over the years.

Dec-22-20  ColdSong: The main thing in this game is Lasker's choice to expose his king Imo.Interesting Idea...for strong computers.A mere human,even Lasker,risks instant disaster endlessly playing this way.And that's actually what happened.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: 57. Qxf6+ wins equally well: 57...Kc8 58. Qe6+ Kd8 59. Qd7# or 57...Ke8 58. Qf7+ Kd8 59. Qd7#.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Beatles themed puns? Hmm...I think we've seen <Day Tripper> here. Perhaps a Ringo themed pun is called for?
Jan-07-22  RookFile: <A mere human,even Lasker,risks instant disaster>

As Kirk said in Star Trek, risk is part of the game if you want to sit in the captain's chair. Computer says that with 54.....c3 Lasker is clearly better and it's white fighting to stay alive.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: This has always constituted one of the hardest games for me to understand. Of course, today we have the silicon monsters to do all of the work for us, but in the pre-computer era it amazed me that White, with only Q & R, could penetrate a defense that included Q, R, 2 pawns, and the King itself.
Jan-07-22  igiene: As far I know, " Day Tripper" is a song written by Paul & John, not by Ringo. Maybe " Whit a little help by my pieces".
Jan-07-22  goodevans: <An Englishman: [...] Of course, today we have the silicon monsters to do all of the work for us...>

A lot of the work but not all. Computers are always seeking the objectively best moves rather than the ones that give the best practical chances.

In this game Lasker, having cocked up on move 54 and finding himself in a sorry predicament, had the chance of making a bit of a fist of it next move with <55...c3>.

click for larger view

This allows White the opportunity to win Black's Q with <56.Rc8+> but after <56...Kd7 57.Rxc5 Rxc5> the R supporting the P's advance gives excellent drawing chances.

Of course Schlechter would probably have realised that and continued <56.Ra7+> as in the game but even then having the c-pawn one square nearer promotion would have given him a bit more to think about.

It's the fact that computers don't pick up on these practical considerations that makes it worth us humans continuing to exercise our own intellects.

Jan-07-22  nevetsjy: Whoever comes up with these 'puns', doesn't know what a pun is.
Jan-07-22  nevetsjy: Capablanca is a near pointless annotator.
Jan-07-22  Petrosianic: They know what a pun is, they just don't know what a rhyme is.
Jan-07-22  nevetsjy: Haha, you couldn't be more wrong. At least 'Helter' and 'Schlechter' rhyme, 'Schlecht' sounds nothing like 'Skelt' on the other hand.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Willber G: <al wazir: 57. Qxf6+ wins equally well>


Jul-19-23  generror: People complain a lot about Capa's annotations, and true, some seem to be plain wrong. I really don't see how <8...dxe5 9.Bxc6> should win a pawn, after <9...Bxc6 10.Nxe5 Bxe4> it's just as even as before as far as I'm concerned.

However, I at least found a few really interesting. Mostly this one made me think:

<"If Black were satisfied with a draw, <42...Rb8> would have accomplished it.">

Hm, really, José? Gibing away a pawn and letting your king be driven in the corner with <43.Rxb8 Kxb8 44.Qxd6+> is a draw? So I asked Stockfish and it went on <44...Ka7 45.e5!>, and now the queen has a choice of checks and a further pawn to pick up. Although Stockfish said it's still only +0.3 instead of 0.0, i found this highly suspicious. My main line is <43.Rxb8 Kxb8 44.Qxd6+ Ka7 45.e5! fxe5 46.Qxe5 Qb7 47.Qa5+ Kb8 48.Qxg5 c5+ 49.Kg3 Qb3+! 50.Kg2 c4 51.Qd5 g6>, leading to the following position:

click for larger view

However I then realized that it's probably an elementary queen endgame where there are so few pawns on the board that both kings are naked, there's checks aplenty, and nobody will really be able to do anything except someone blunders. Which means that while I may be able to lose this with both sides, Capa and Lasker would probably be terminally bored having to play this childish pointless endgame.

Am I right with this assessment or do I miss something?

PS. The annotations formerly were mixed with some computer annotations, but those have thankfully been removed. (They were prefixed by a hyphen.)

Jul-19-23  generror: <<Willber G:> al wazir: 57. Qxf6+ wins equally well>


It does win alright. My favourite expert just didn't mention it was winning for Black.

Jul-19-23  generror: The first of the two decisive games during the only pre-war match that gave Lasker any problem. And like with many Lasker games, it's full of surprises. Here he plays his Berlin Defense and, as usual, manages to quickly exchange a lot of material and then build a little impenetrable fortress while restricting White's counterplay.

However, from then on, I must admit that I didn't really understand the game. Sure, Stockfish told me that Black was losing after <44.Qb4?>, but that Lasker then went on the quickly lose most of his advantage -- but why exactly? Also I left my laptop for a while while Stockfish computed the position after <54.Kg2>, and when I came back, I realized that its evaluation had dropped from -1.5 or -2 to close to 0.0. So I realized that even Stockfish isn't really helpful in these kind of positions.

With one or two exceptions, Capablanca's annotations are clearly written from his point of view and especially for his own point of view. Mere mortals like me just lack the understanding of knowing what he means. He definitively didn't seem to care much about other people, but anyways.

Then I saw that the game was included in Pachman's <Modern Chess Strategy> 1963 and I finally began to understand some of the shenanigans going on, why white needs to prevent a queen exchange, why the white queen does its little dance in front of the black queenside, why the black king moves over there, and I understood what went on after the pawn exchange on move 40 -- that White is simply fighting for the control of the a-file while Black is trying to prevent it. So it makes sense that after <48.Qa1>, the position is essentially a draw, and that Lasker misevaluated it by playing for a win.

So far, so good, although I must say I realized there are games where my understanding of chess is only enough to barely scratch the surface. But anyways, I think I learned a bit. Let's see if my brain manages to retain some of it. (However, my bloated ego finds some consolation in that even Lasker misevaluated this position. And Pachman says these kind of heavy piece endgames are the hardest for everyone.)

Anyways, what I did understand and find much more unusual is how Lasker completely misunderstands his predicament after <55.Qa6!>. Just like me, he thinks he's still having an attack when in reality, he should fight for survival. That usually only happened to his opponents.And three moves later, it's just a forced mate in three for him. It's not that unusual that Lasker blunders (see his Cambridge Springs disaster in Pillsbury vs Lasker, 1904), but that he blunders three times in a row must be pretty unique.

So for the first time in ages (or ever?), Lasker was behind in a match for the World Championship. The remaining games were drawn except the last one, which the old fox of course won. I'm looking forward to that one. But really, respect to Schlechter who seemed to get these positions way better than Lasker. Or maybe he was impervious to Lasker's "magic". He just knew he should get that a-file and he fought for it, not caring for anything else. Not sure.

Definitively a fascinating and incredibly complex game that I should revisit once when I have a some more understanding of this kind of positions.

Aug-21-23  andrea volponi: h54...Qc5?? (54...c3! -Qa6 Rb8 -Qa7+ Rb7 -Qe3 Qe4+ -Qxe4 dxe4 -Ra3 c2 -Rc3+ Kd6 -Rxc2 g6 = ; 54...Rb8 -Qa7+(Ra7 Rb7 -Ra8 tarrasch Qb5!=-Qa3 d4 -Qf8=)...Rb7 -Qa6= ;54...Rb7schlechter -55Qa6=; 55Qe2=.
Aug-21-23  andrea volponi: 55...c3!? -Ra7+(Rc8 Kd7 -Rxc5 Rxc5 .=) Kb8 (...56 Qxa7 -Qxa7+ Kc6 -Qxg7 Rc5 -Qxf6+ Kb5 -f4 c2 -Qb2+ Ka4 -Qc1 gxf4 -g5!+- ) -Rxg7 d4 -Rg8 Kg7 -Rc8+ Rc7 -Rxc5 Rxc5 -Qa4+ Kc7 -Qxd4 Rc6 -Qa7+ Kd6 -Qa3+ Kd7 -Qc1 c2 -h4 gxh4 -Kh3 Ke6 -Kxh4 Kf7 -Kg3! +- .
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