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Emanuel Lasker vs Siegbert Tarrasch
Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship Match (1908), Munich GER, rd 9, Sep-11
French Defense: McCutcheon Variation (C12)  ·  1/2-1/2



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  keypusher: <Calli> Thanks, wonderful! I think Dr. Lasker, like his opponent, overrated the virtues of his position. But I love his description of the strategic struggle, with the a-pawn finally coming to the rescue of his counterpart on the other side of the board.
Apr-17-08  whiteshark: <Calli> I would suggest 2-3 minor changes

"The ninth game came to adjournment, after 50 moves were made. Although the Queens were exchanged early, the game was of lively character. Tarrasch, again, like in the seventh game chose the MacCutcheon variation, stood a little cramped after the opening, and I obtained a strong position in the <center (?)<<>>>. Nevertheless, Tarrasch led his bishops very cleverly, pushed with the queenside pawns to win mobility. <He parried <<>>> a Knight attack which could have easily become very dangerous to him and <he <<>>> went on the counterattack."

- - in der Mitte - I think he meant the center, but I am not sure...

- - posirte - a completely unknown word to me; maybe it's parieren (to parry) or ripostieren (to riposte (fencing)) that he meant...

- - Tarrasch is still meant (subject).

Apr-17-08  Calli: <whiteshark> Vielen Dank. I hoped that someone would look at the translation as it did not make perfect sense. Dr. Lasker wrote some very long sentences and with the German word order, I can easily lose track what is going on. <keypusher> has done another game or two in the match. I might try another Übersetzung of Lasker if the mood strikes.
Apr-17-08  nescio: <- - posirte - a completely unknown word to me; maybe it's parieren (to parry) or ripostieren (to riposte (fencing)) that he meant...>

I was thinking of "posieren" (to fake), but I'm no native German speaker.

Apr-18-08  whiteshark: <Calli> the 'Real loose' part:

It [counterattack] resulted in a blocked Q-side where I had a pawn majority. For not losing this inherent advantage [of a pawn majority] he forced me to exchange them [pawns] to free things up. Therefore remained only a single pawn on the Q-side for me, which [generally] is not easy [is no easy life] to exploit against the two Bishops. On the 45th move, I offered Tarrasch a draw, however, he declined. Hence he plays to win. Then the single pawn will still have his word in the conversation [=his voice in the chapter].

Apr-18-08  whiteshark: <Calli>: 'Lasker in "Pester Loyd" after the game resumed:'

Today Tarrasch demonstrated that the adjourned position <defiant of its apparent inelasticity <<>>> still had enough life in it to generate some fine attacks. I could apparently undertake nothing, because my advantage was in a kind of "latent" state <as long as <<>>> Tarrasch <at his convenience is letting <<>>> his one bishop on a3 and pressing against the passed pawn with the second Bishop. <However <<>>>, if Tarrasch's even greater [not depleted] advantage of four pawns against three on the other side of the board <should <<>>> become the driving force of an attack, then the blockade of my a-pawn had to stop, because a piece in the long run cannot serve two purposes, attack and defense, at the same time.

Apr-18-08  whiteshark: <Calli>: 'Part 2' /1

Then the latent strength of the pawn was freed and there was the usual fight of two advantages <against each other <<>>> — or, if one wants, from advantage against [=versus] compensation of your opponent — might [=could] develop in usual way to equality or to victory or defeat. What lends value to the endgame for the expert, is the clearness of < its [endgame] <<>>> strategy and in spite of the small number of pieces, the strong force of the individual strategical steps.

Apr-18-08  whiteshark: <Calli>: 'Part 2' /2

First the choice of the attack object — my pawn at h3, equally difficult to reach for protection and attack. Then making the <proposed target immobile <<>>> — the thrust [=advance, push] h6-h5-h4 which I <am not entitled to hinder <<>>>. Finally with g7-g6, <when <<>>> Tarrasch had to put his troops in line of fire of my Bishop. At that moment, <the exemption of the a-pawn begins <<>>> and (he) deflects the forces of the enemy on himself and in this manner saves my h-pawn from the usually inevitable loss. With this the position is cleared and equality created.

'Last part': There is nothing to chance :D

Apr-18-08  Calli: Thanks again! Lasker's descriptions of games are more difficult for me than game annotations.

<'Last part': There is nothing to chance [change]>

Better English for <eine ganze Reihe...> is probably "a series of useless moves." And instead of "still have his word in the conversation.", better is "the pawn will still have a say" in the game or outcome of the game.

Translating can be difficult but fun sometimes.

Apr-19-08  whiteshark: <Calli> I've been derelicted towards the end [last part]. :(

I enjoyed it and it was not that difficult for me, as you have done the spadework for the most part. :D

Jan-27-11  Llawdogg: Calli and keypusher, great work!
Apr-14-14  Karpova: According to Dr. Emanuel Lasker ('Pester Lloyd', 1908.09.15, p. 7), the game ended drawn after <72.Kf3>.
Apr-14-14  thomastonk: <Karpova: <72.Kf3>> Tarrasch's match book, also from 1908, page 77, gives Black's 71th as the final one. In such cases, with only one move difference, you surely think in the same direction as I do: was the game adjourned then?!

There are several sources stating that the game has been adjourned after 50 moves (and one probably wrongly claims after 55).

Here 71 moves are mentioned:, and here is a corresponding version:

And to make the confusion complete, here is a version with the 72th move:

Okay, it's only one move ... ;-)

Apr-15-14  Karpova: <thomastonk>

Dr. Emanuel Lasker writes that the game was adjourned after 50.Bb5 (September 11). It is one column with two reports from Dr. Lasker, the second one is from September 12 and ends with 72.Kf3 draw.

He doesn't mention another adjournment. Perhaps, the game was ready for adjournment, Lasker's 72.Kf3 the sealed move (so that he reported it but not Tarrasch) and, instead of actually adjourning it, they agreed to a draw on the very same day. But it doesn't seem too likely to me that Tarrasch needed that extra time to get convinced of the game being drawn (Lasker was sure of a draw coming up soon after 68.Nd3).

Apr-15-14  thomastonk: <Karpova: Dr. Emanuel Lasker writes that the game was adjourned after 50.Bb5> Okay, this coincides, and hence there are no doubts. (Tarrasch mentions that this was already the second adjournment.)

<But it doesn't seem too likely to me that Tarrasch needed that extra time to get convinced of the game being drawn.> Yes, I completely agree, and more important: Tarrasch, too. After 68.. ♗b4 he wrote: "Schwarz kann nicht mehr gewinnen, da der a-Bauer schon zu weit vorgerückt ist. Er legt noch eine kleine Falle und bescheidet sich dann mit Remis." Then he assigns 71.♗xe4 with a "!" and gives some analysis of 71.a7?.

Lasker offered a draw at move 46, and Tarrasch accepted that he cannot play any longer for a win. So, *normally* the last move should be made by Black. However, apart of an adjournment, another explanation for the difference is possible: the position is very simple, 71... ♗xa6 was expected and Lasker had already noted his reply. Maybe he even played it, but Tarrasch did not write it down.


I had a look in "Emanuel Lasker: Denker Weltenbürger Schachweltmeister" by Forster, Hansen and Negele, and the result is a little bit funny: it has the move 72.♔f3, but it gives Tarrasch's match book as the source!

Apr-15-14  Poulsen: <Gypsy><As I am paraphrasing this a speculation comes to my mind that the world championship match likely ment so much to Tarrasch, that he lost his stride and objectivity already before the commencement of the match play and not only as the result of losing it. Tarrasch was a cool cat as long as the world title was not on the line. But he must have suffered from terible stage frights when it did.>

You might be right - but I am not convinced. I have another picture to paint - and this is about Tarrasch's view on Lasker.

Way back in the late 1880'es/early 1890'es Tarrasch was widely considered - also by himself - to be the best german player - if not the best player in the world. Tarrach's status and influense as such was huge and beyond dispute. It should be remembered, that in those years Stenitz' authority as WCh was very weakened.

It is in this light, that the reaction to Laskers early challenge to Tarrasch should be seen - to Tarrach and many of his contemporaries in german chess Lasker had not yet earned any right to challenge of the Master himself.

This early relationship between them did not change much from Tarrasch's perspective - even though he - with some bitterness - had to accept Lasker as WCh. But in his own mind HE - and not Lasker - was the true Master - and he have had little reason to change his mind considering their mutual results between 1894 and 1908.

F.x. at Hastings 1895 Tarrash being an amateur was out of form and had a disastrous start - but later on he won 4 in a row - including a 19th round defeat of Lasker.

My point is, that when they finally met in 1908 Tarrasch was still pretty confident and convinced that he could deal with Lasker. But again he was - as a true amateur - not in form to begin with - and after the 5 first games he was down 1:4. Later he played himself up, but was never able to narrow the gap.

In short: Tarrach finally had to come to terms with the reality through this match - so in my view it was the matchresult that shook him - he did not fell victim to his nerves.

Apr-15-14  Karpova: <thomastonk>

Your explanation sounds convincing. Both players knew the result, so it's probable that the last move didn't make much of a difference to them.

Apr-15-14  Poulsen: <Gypsy> .... a minor addition: often it is claimed, that Tarrasch was way over the hill at the time he met Lasker (he was 46 years old by then), but so was Lasker at 40 years old!

Still both were arguable the 2 best players in the world at this point in time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <F.x. at Hastings 1895 Tarrash being an amateur was out of form and had a disastrous start - but later on he won 4 in a row - including a 19th round defeat of Lasker.>

Lasker also started poorly but at a later stretch scored 10 wins and a draw before going awry at the end. He still finished 1.5 points ahead of Tarrasch, whose game with Lasker did the victor no particular credit.

Tarrasch vs Lasker, 1895

The following year Lasker again finished 1.5 points ahead of Tarrasch and flattened him in their individual game.

Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1896

I have no doubt Tarrasch's attitude against Lasker was precisely as you describe. But there was no justification for it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <My point is, that when they finally met in 1908 Tarrasch was still pretty confident and convinced that he could deal with Lasker. But again he was - as a true amateur - not in form to begin with - and after the 5 first games he was down 1:4. Later he played himself up, but was never able to narrow the gap.>

Or as I would put it, after getting a 5:1 lead that reflected the extent of his superiority over his opponent, Lasker eased up.

Apr-15-14  Petrosianic: Yeah, well the match certainly didn't do Tarrasch's long term reputation any favors. When people discuss the greatest players never to become world champion, you've got your Rubinstein. You've got your Keres. You've got your Korchnoi. But Tarrasch's name is rarely mentioned, even though going by Chessmetrics, he peaked as high as any of them. In fact, he's a player I've always meant to have a closer look at.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Petrosianic:

"In fact, he's a player I've always meant to have a closer look at."

Great player, great games, great annotator. I'm not alone in thinking that 'Tarrasch's Best Games' was Reinfeld's finest book. It's one of the best games collections out there.

Apr-15-14  JimNorCal: <Sally S>: I'm not alone in thinking that 'Tarrasch's Best Games' was Reinfeld's finest book.

I haven't noticed a high regard for Reinfeld's writing in the comments here at but I do like the book Nimzovich the Hypermodern. It doesn't match Ray Keene's masterwork, of course, but it is competent and pleasant.

It really strike me that back in those days before the Internet, it was not so easy to get access to game scores from the top tournaments of the past. I get the impression that there was a great deal more of an oral tradition. People would pass along stories of legendary games "be sure to play over Capa vs Janowski San Sabastian 1911 if you ever get the chance!"

There is a story somewhere of Reuben Fine(?) loaning a tournament book (to Rubinstein's son?) and not getting it back for years or even a decade or two. In those days, this was something that would stick in your memory!

Apr-15-14  Petrosianic: I think I'll pick up that book. The problem with studying a new player is finding a good Best Games collection to start. Then I usually pick a tournament and play those games over, to get a feel for how consistently the player performed (because Best Games books show you only the best). Reinfeld is kind of an acquired taste. He was a good writer and able to make the game interesting. But he also had a tendency to oversimplify things. There were opening systems that I thought of as completely unplayable from reading his books, that were actually quite playable (although granted, maybe not good for a beginner).

But for a game collection, I'd be quite okay with reading a Reinfeld book.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: JimNorCal,

There are probably a lot of closet Reinfield fans knocking about. He was OK, his fault being he wrote so many books and was bound to drop a few clangers and it is the dodgy ones that people remember.

Agree Hypermodern Chess is also very good. Nimzovitch for the layman. You enjoy the games without the Nimzo spin.

Yes in the days before the net getting a score would be very hard, you would have to rely on magazines and newspaper columns.

Taking our cue from Nimzovitch & Reinfeld how about the 'Immortal Zugzwang Game.'

Saemisch vs Nimzowitsch, 1923

It was ignored by the press, magazines, books - Reinfeld wrote, 'Thirty-five Nimzowitsch Games, 1904-1927 and missed it.

Now the game has it's own pages on wiki and Edward Winter.

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