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Emanuel Lasker vs Jackson Whipps Showalter
Nuremberg (1896), Nuremberg GER, rd 5, Jul-24
Russian Game: Classical Attack. Mason-Showalter Variation (C42)  ·  1-0



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Given 5 times; par: 123 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: They must have had either no repetition rule or a different one. Moves 56 to 60 are very clever by Lasker; he ponces around with his pieces and lets black's queen & rook invade; in fact they are being lured away from the defence of the king.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Showalter should have won this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: I'm sure that Lasker was told many times, "You should have lost this game!"
Apr-15-06  iron maiden: I think the rule they had at the time allowed a draw in the event of repeated moves, not repeated positions.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Tarrasch question marks Black's 60...Rb1??

"Black has a strategically won game, but makes a serious tactical error, and victory goes from his hand into his opponent's hand."

Instead 60...Qc1 prevents White's only plan which is to mate Black.

after 60...Qc1 61 Nf6 Qc2 freezes the White Queen to the defense of the f2 bishop and Black can plan at his leisure to land the final blow.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: The Kentucky Lion gets Kentucky Fried.


Apr-15-06  ganstaman: Isn't the rule that after the position occurs for the 3rd time, either player can claim a draw if they'd want? If neither player wants a draw, then the game is allowed to continue. Or at least that's my understanding of the current rule based on what others at this site have said before.
Apr-15-06  jamesmaskell: Yeah thats basically it <ganstaman>. Someone will quote the FIDE rukles, Im sure, but yeah, youve got it. Though the point that <iron maiden> is making is that it is repeated moves in those days. Of course today its position that counts.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Van der Wiel vs Karpov, 1989 is an example of a modern 4-fold repetition where no draw was claimed.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Some interesting discoveries from Shredder at the end of the game.

60....Qc1 would have kept a winning position for Black, but it isn't simple after 61. Nf6. After a natural move like 61....Rb1, White wins with 62. Qc6!! Qxf4+ 64. Kg2 Nf8 65. Qe8 Kg7 66. e6. The right way for Black to proceed is 61....h6! Then 62. gxh6 loses to the "computer variation" 62....Qc2 63. h5 g5! 64. hxg5 Nxg5 65. Qxf5 Rxb3!. Not so easy for mortal eyes to see.

One of the curious features of the position is that White's queen, because of the unblocked h1-a8 diagonal, White's queen can attack Black's king while still participating in her own king's defense, while Black's queen, because of her own passed pawn on d4 blocking the a1-h8 diagonal, can't do the same.

After 61. Nf6, Showalter could have tried to draw with 61....Rg1+. After 62. Bxg1 Qxg1+ 63. Kh3 (not 63. Qg2 Qxg2+ 64. Kxg2 Nxf4+), 63....Nxf4+ 65. Qxf4 Qh1+ is perpetual check.

But White could have tried to keep playing with 62. Kh2. Showalter then has 62....Rf1 63. Rd2 Qe1 64. Ra2 with a very complicated position. Shredder thinks White wins after 64....Nxf4 65. Bxe1 Rxf3 66. Ra7 (66. Ra8 Ne6 67. Ra6 Nf4 68. Ra8 etc. draws) Bxf6 67. exf6 Kg8 68. Bd2 Rf2+ 69. Kg3 Rxd2 70. Kf4. But I suspect a stronger engine could find multiple improvements for both sides.

In the game, after 62. Qb7, 62....Bxf6 is hopeless: 63. gxf6 Kg8 64. Qd5 Qa6 65. Qd7 Qb6 66. Qe7 and there is no defense to 67. f7+.

Aug-18-10  Dr. Siggy: The position after White's 25th move

click for larger view

is given in Tarrasch's great classic "The Game of Chess", english transl., London 1935, pages 213-216, to illustrate a <middle-game theme: - The point b3/b6 as a target for attack. Turning a flank>.

Please, allow me to quote the teachings of the "Magister Germaniae seu Mundi", first about that theme and afterwards about this game.


About the middle-game theme:

"Just as a pawn at c6(c3) is a target for an attack by the b-pawn, and a pawn at f6(f3) or h6(h3) for an attack by the g-pawn, so, in just the same way, a pawn at b6(b3) affords a target for an attack by the a-pawn. This, if nothing prevents it, advances to a5(a4). If the b-pawn captures it, then after the recapture the hostile a-pawn, being isolated in a file which is open for the opponent, is, therefore, very weak. If the b-pawn does not capture, then the attacker opens the a-file for his Rook, by playing axb6(b3), but only after he has made quite certain that he can obtain and maintin complete control of that file. To this end, if his opponent either threatens to oppose a Rook at a8(a1) or already has one there, the attacker must double Rooks on the file he is to open, occasionally even also to place the Queen in that file, before he plays axb6(b3). With this doubling or trebling one generally compels the enemy Rook, which is indirectly twice or three times attacked, to move away. Now the game proceeds according to the scheme of attack with a Rook along an open file [...]. The Rook penetrates to the seventh rank, thus establishing itself in the enemy camp. If then the other Rook or the Queen can come up in support, there can result a complete turning of the flank, which is extremely dangerous, since the attacker, if everything else is guarded, can generally find a welcome target for attack in the pawn at b6(b3). The only defense against this is a counter-attack on the other wing or in the centre."

Aug-18-10  Dr. Siggy: [2/2]

About the game:

"Here the play was:" <25... b5 26. b3?> "(this is a very obvious move but a decisive mistake for it permits the attack with the a-pawn. White should not move the b-pawn at all but, if and when necessary, guard his c-pawn with the Rook at present at d1. If Black ever exchanges the pawns, White must, if it is necessary, exchange his endangered Knight for the Bishop)" [...] <60. Bf2 Qc1> "(Rc1 would be bad. Not the ponderous Rook but the mobile Queen must lead the attack and operations must take place not on the eighth rank but on the seventh. At the same time White's cardinal weakness, the b-pawn, must be threatened continuously);" <61. Rd1> "(the defender is short of moves)," <61... Qc2 62. Rd3.>

click for larger view

"Now the flanking movement is completed and nearly all White's pieces are pinned. But also everything is defended. Against such a constricted position mating attacks will usually be possible. Here Black's simplest method of winning is to bring his Knight to a5 and so attack the b-pawn a third time. However, he must first bring his King up to White's passed pawn, for a passed pawn must always be blocked. It is, however, desirable to start by exchanging Queens so that the King may thus ventute out into the open. Black therefore plays Qe2 and exchanges Queens, if White does not make the exchange. If White exchanges, then Black immediately plays his Rook back to b2 so that White's Rook is tied to the defense of the b-pawn. Then Black plays his King to f7 and finally his Knight via f8, d7, b8 and c6 to a5 and against this White is helpless. If he plays his Knight to f6, Black captures it. The united passed pawns White obtains after gxf6 can accomplish nothing with Black's King posted at f7. Then White's b-pawn and finally his c-pawn are lost and with them the game. All the result of his" <26. b3?.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <60....Qc1 would have kept a winning position for Black, but it isn't simple after 61. Nf6.>

I was wrong; after 61....Qxf4+! it is pretty simple. 61....Qc2, which Tarrasch gave in the tournament book and in <The Game of Chess>, also seems to work, but 61....Rb1, as noted, does not.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: <Benzol> Yes if black had played like a supercomputer, black should have won!


It seems objectively Lasker's accuracy is at 16 average centipawn loss.

The winning method which seems to exist basically puts black on the brink of disaster and tries to hold the White queen with the black queen holding onto either f4 or d3 and then delivering Nxf4. So sure, a computer can pull this kind of stuff off to exploit Lasker's one major mistake which seems to be 58.Rd3 instead of h5

I think great scrutiny is being put on these games, given the importance of the tournament, and with that scrutiny comes a lack of empathy for the players being tired, etc. Objectively running this game through engine check, it seems Lasker at very high level of overall accuracy indeed.

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