Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

Chessgames premium membership fee will increase to $39 per year effective June 15, 2023. Enroll Now!

Emanuel Lasker vs Wilhelm Steinitz
Steinitz - Lasker World Championship Match (1894), Montreal CAN, rd 3, Mar-21
Spanish Game: Steinitz Defense (C62)  ·  1-0



Click Here to play Guess-the-Move
Given 16 times; par: 84 [what's this?]

explore this opening
find similar games 45 more Lasker/Steinitz games
PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: You can get computer analysis by clicking the "ENGINE" button below the game.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.


Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-12-06  jamesmaskell: Emanuel Lasker (White) had a few things to say about this game.


<Now comes a very important manoeuvre, the key to White's defence>

31. b3

<If instead 31. Qe2, then Black replies 31...Qd5, when the entire queenside will be at his disposal>

31...Re8 32. Qe2 Qh3

<The first sign that Black's attack is gradually petering out. The queen would have stood better somewhere on the queenside, but 32...Qd5 cannot be played, however, for then 33. c4 forces the exchange of queens>

33. Kd1 Ra8 34. Rf2 Ra2

<Black's pieces are well placed but they are no longer threatening anything>


<on 37...c4 there would have followed 38. bxc4 or 37...Nd3+ 38. Kb1 with exchanges to follow>


<alas, this is insufficient>

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Thanks for the notes, <jamesmaskell>! A great example of Lasker's enormous will to win, expressed here in a patient, resourceful and stubborn defense. Also an early example of the e4-f5 pawn formation that Lasker used in a number of famous games.
Nov-12-06  Calli: <keypusher> Here is a collection of mainly Lasker games of backward e-pawn formation with e4 and f5. Game Collection: Lasker's Secret Weapon, the e4-f5 pawn formation
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Calli> What a great idea for a collection!
Feb-29-08  Knight13: That's like the strongest white knight ever.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Unfortunately, as computers confirm, Lasker could have saved himself and Steinitz a lot of trouble with 27. Nxd7. There is no perpetual check.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Looks like we may have a typo here. After <51.Bxc3>:

click for larger view

I've found a number of contemporary sources indicating that Black's next move was <51...Rg5>, not <51...Rc5>.

Steinitz-Lasker Match / H.E. Bird, p. 21

The games in the Steinitz-Lasker championship match (reprint from BCM). p. 20

Tijdschrift van de Koninklijke Nederland, May 1894, p. 87

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 3/23/94, p. 8 [warning: loads slowly}

Of course, both rooks moves lose; Black's only chance was 51...Kd7.

Any sources for 51...Rc5?

Dec-16-10  Calli: Ken Whyld also gives 51...Rg5 Source:New York Recorder, 22 March 1894.

Also, the date is wrong in the CG header. Should be 1894.03.20

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Phony Benoni> The 1894 Lasker - Steinitz match can also be found at In game 3, Black's 51st move is given as 51...Rg5. The sources for this game are listed as: "The Sun"; the "New-York Daily Tribune"; "The Brooklyn Daily Eagle"; and the "New York Recorder".

In addition to the games, notes to the games were provided by Lasker and Steinitz.

Regarding the move 51...Rg5, Steinitz commented, <An awful blunder. There was still some chance of a draw by 51...Kd7. After the text move the game is lost, for if 52...Rg1+ 53. K-moves Rf1 54.Ne6 wins.>

As Steinitz states that 52...Rg1+ is a possibility in one variation, it is clear the move actually played was 51...Rg5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Calli> Thanks for confirming the correct score. However, it seems like the correct beginning date was 1894.03.21.

Both the BCM and <Tijdschrift> sources mentioned above give March 21st. The Eagle, on March 23, said it finished on the previous day after an adjournment, which also seems to imply the 21st.

The New York Times, in an article on March 22, confirms that the game began "yesterday", and the adjournment session would be played "today" at 3 PM.

Dec-16-10  Calli: <The New York Times, in an article on March 22, confirms that the game began "yesterday", and the adjournment session would be played "today" at 3 PM.>

How then, could the Recorder have the complete score on the 22nd. My guess is 20th and 21st.

Dec-16-10  Calli: Well, maybe you are right. I looked up the game in the NY Herald Tribune of Mar 23 (Friday):

"W. Steinitz and Emanuel Lanker resumed play in the third game of the championship chess match at the Union Square Hotel yesterday afternoon. After six additional moves the champion had to resign. Lasker chose the shortest route to Victory by glving up the exchange at his forty-sixth turn. From the beginning of the play on Thursday the German expert had the best of the game and there was scarcely any hope left for Steinltz when the game was adjourned on Thursday, at 11 p.m."

The Thursday at 11 p.m., however, does not make sense. They may have meant Wednesday or maybe even Tuesday (the 20th).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Pawn and Two> Sorry, but I missed your message earlier. I had no idea Chess Archaeology had progressed to this extent.

The New York Recorder columns from March 22nd and 23rd can be accessed through this link:

Dec-17-10  Calli: Yes, the date is definitely the 21st and a six moves after adjournment on the 22nd. K. Whyld has it mixed up.
Aug-03-11  Skakalec: <keypusher><Unfortunately, as computers confirm, Lasker could have saved himself and Steinitz a lot of trouble with 27. Nxd7. There is no perpetual check.>

I would like to see that line.

Aug-03-11  trnbg: 27.Nxd7 ...Qb1+ 28.Ke2 ...Qd3+ 29.Kf2 ...Qc2+ 30.Kf1 ...Qb1+ 31.Qe1, and no perpetual check.
Aug-03-11  nummerzwei: <trnbg: 27.Nxd7 ...Qb1+ 28.Ke2 ...Qd3+ 29.Kf2 ...Qc2+ 30.Kf1 ...Qb1+ 31.Qe1, and no perpetual check.>

This is incorrect, viz. 30...Qd3+.

The actual winning line, discovered by Mason, goes like this:

28.Kd2! Qxb2+ 29.Kd1 Qb3+ 30.Ke2 Qc4+ 31.Ke1 Qxc3+ 32.Bd2 Qa1+ 33.Ke2

Black can deviate in various ways, but to no avail.

Aug-17-17  Saniyat24: Steinitz fought very hard, and tried his best, but Lasker was too strong in this game...!
May-22-20  njuguna: 22. Qb5 is such a bad move, allowing the rook to take the pawn and start attacking, surely Steinitz should have seen this, 22. c5 would have been ok closing the diagonal
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Lasker's iconic e4 f5 pawn chain which he used in later years in an exchange Ruy Lopez to beat Capablanca with - Lasker vs Capablanca, 1914

Lasker essentially makes the point about downsides not being downsides if they are not exploitable.

Feb-15-23  generror: Boy oh boy. The first game of this match already was an epic struggle, but it lacked some glamour; Lasker essentially swindled his way through, which is fine -- this one, however, was so intense that even Lasker lost his cool. This is a fight to the blood, the the bone, the marrow. As usual, I'll keep it short and sweet and thus will only scratch the surface, but you're invited to verify my findings for yourself which is extremely rewarding.

The opening is the same as in the first game, Steinitz deviates with <10...Be6?! 11.f4 Nc4?>, which wasn't his best opening idea ever. Lasker answers by building his patented e4-f5 pawn chain, and although Stockfish isn't a big fan of it, it gives Lasker a very solid +2 advantage. Steinitz then plays <17...f6?> in order to castle long, however this allows Lasker to get a lovely outpost on e6 which he promptly does.

After <21.Ne6>, Steinitz blunders a pawn and a piece, so that by move 26, Lasker is already winning. Interestingly, Stockfish would actually just have taken the pawn with the bishop, and indeed, its line after <23.Bxa7!> by move 30 results in a position evaluated to +6 that looks won to me too (D):

click for larger view

So far, so good, but now the real fun starts when Steinitz plays <26...Qd3!?>, threatening perpetual check if the knight takes the rook. Stockfish sees through it immediately, but Lasker doesn't and plays <27.Rf1??>, one of his rare pure blunders -- "played somewhat hastily", as he puts it. Lasker also mentions that Chigorin first found out that White can escape the perpetual for the cost of a few pawns with a completely winning position. (And yes, there are various variations and permutations and transpositions.)

But even if Lasker didn't find this over the board, virtually every other move would have been better than the text move, because Steinitz could now have won back his lost piece with <29...Nc4! 30.Bf4 g5> (D), after which White would just be a pawn up. I know Steinitz loved grabbing pawns, but it's still quite unusual that he missed that and played <29...Qxe4??> instead.

click for larger view

Now Lasker is again winning and tries to get rid of that pesky queen (which actually seems to be the main theme of the whole match), while Steinitz complicates things by bringing in the rook on the a-file, but even though Lasker, like Stockfish doesn't seem overly impressed (after <34...Ra2> (D): "Black's pieces are well placed, but they do not threaten anything") and defends with perfection, this perfection is absolutely required, and maybe even more so for Steinitz, who just doesn't let loose and keep harrassing White.

click for larger view

<37.Kc1!?> (D) is another typical Lasker moves. To Stockfish, it's a major mistake, because the simple <37.Ne8 Qh4 38.Rg2> would have allowed him to finally enter the Black position and ease the pressure on his king by doing a bit of harrassing himself. But according to Lasker, he wanted "to bring matters speedily to a climax", and indeed, the move forces Steinitz to -- you guessed it -- trade queens with <37...Qd3>. Stockfish initially preferred <37...Ra1+>, but after <38.Kc2!> this turns out to be much better for White because now Black can't trade queens on d3. So again, an objectively "bad" move, but it just makes Lasker's life easier and his opponent's harder.

click for larger view

Feb-15-23  generror: But even after the queen trade it's not quite over. Lasker simply says "and White won the ending" after <41.Rf3?!> (D), and while Stockfish still evalutes the position at about +3.5, with his king trapped in the corner (very much like in the first game, by the way) and with Black's active pieces and queenside pawn majority, it's still far from clear how to win this game to me.

click for larger view

Steinitz helps quite a bit with series of weak moves, allowing the king to escape. and <45...Nd3+ 46.Kc2 Rb2+ 47.Kd1> (D), neither me nor Stockfish see any more trouble for the king and White will be peacefully and easily be able to march his f-pawn to queendom.

click for larger view

However, instead of <46.Kc2>, Lasker plays <46.Rxd3!?> -- and yes, this is another true Lasker, but Stockfish is utterly horrified, and I am a little doubtful. I see that the resulting endgame should be winning for White (two pieces, including the right-colored bishop, should be able to escort the f-pawn against one rook). But at least to me this seems to require *much* more work and accuracy than the straightforward way. Maybe Lasker could do this kind of endgames in his sleep, but I actually suspect that even Lasker's nerves were kinda frazzled at this point -- "threatening nothing", yeah right :) -- and I could actually imagine it was more a case of him just wanting to end this game, be it draw or win. (And yes, I know who I'm talking about!)

So I would definitively have loved Lasker showing us how he won that endgame. But while I don't know about the state of *his* nerves, Steinitz's obviously were terminally frazzled by this point, because he decides to end this thriller with the equally tragic as pathetic <51...Rg5??> (D). Oh boy. It's like Beethoven's Fifth, or Pere Ubu's "30 Seconds Over Tokyo", ending with a funny fart noise. Hell, even I wouldn't play this, and I would play *anything*! But of course, I haven't been sitting at the board for hours playing against Emanuel Lasker.

click for larger view

No, Lasker is dead and I suck at chess, so I've done the next best thing: sitting in front of my laptop for hours analyzing this wonderful game. Sometimes analyzing games results in disillusionment because universally praised and cherished classics turn out to be consistently unsound and horrible chess. (I'm okay with mistakes and blunders and flawed combinations, but if a game doesn't has anything else to offer, it just sucks.) This one, however, like the two previous ones in this match, is like a world of its own just waiting to be explored; much, *much* richer than what most of those unfortunate and pitiable neurotypical normopaths call reality.

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific game only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

This game is type: CLASSICAL. Please report incorrect or missing information by submitting a correction slip to help us improve the quality of our content.

<This page contains Editor Notes. Click here to read them.>

Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
from kuheylan's favorite games by kuheylan
The Art of Defence in Chess
by jamesmaskell
from Lasker's Secret Weapon by Calli
Selected games for coaching
by ARubinstein
from lasker best games by brager
The Lion King
by chocobonbon
Lasker's powerful knight decides this one...2-1
from World Champions A-Z part 2 Lasker by kevin86
Match Steinitz!
by amadeus
Match Lasker!
by amadeus
Lasker vs the World Champions Decisive Games
by visayanbraindoctor
Game 3, Lasker leads 2-1 (2-1)
from 1894 World Chess Championship by Penguincw
WCC: Steinitz-Lasker 1894
by WCC Editing Project
Lasker vs. Steinitz
by c3230
Saniyat24's favorite games part 3
by Saniyat24
QueensConquerer's favorite games
by QueensConquerer
(reprint from British Chess Magazine). p. 20
from Published Game by Year & Unconfirmed Source 2 by fredthebear
The Ruy Lopez in World Championship Matches
by frogmanjones
Game 15
from Common Sense in Chess (Lasker) by Qindarka
from Veliki majstori saha 7 LASKER (Petrovic) by Chessdreamer
from Lasker's Secret Weapon by webbing1947
plus 14 more collections (not shown)

Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC