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Emanuel Lasker vs Samuel Tinsley
London (1899), London ENG, rd 20, Jun-26
Queen's Gambit Declined: Modern. Knight Defense (D51)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Tinsley got into a terrifically cramped position early and had to give up the exchange just to get out of the opening. After that, despite a terrible bishop, he seemed to be developing some counterplay. But 41. Rc6 made everything clear.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: <keypusher: Tinsley got into a terrifically cramped position early and had to give up the exchange just to get out of the opening.>

Tinsley did indeed get himself into a tangled cramped position very early in this game, but he shouldn't have been permitted to relieve the pressure by sacrificing the exchange.

As a result in part of less than dynamic opening play by Lasker, Tinsley had a playable position after Lasker's eleventh move. Lasker's 7. Bg3 was a strange retreat (7. Bd3 seems natural) and although Tinsley's 8...Nb6 was doubtful (8...0-0 seems best) after Lasker's passive 11. h3 (11. Rb1 is one of several better alternatives) Tinsley had achieved near equality. But his 11...Nh7 was needlessly wimpy (11...b6 was much better), his 13...Nhf6 was very bad (13...Ng5 left him in the game) and his retreat with 14...Nb8 (14...Kf7 was necessary) gave Lasker a positionally won game.

But then Lasker--whose seems to have sleep-walked through the first 40 moves of this game--fell for the bait. He played the tempting but useless 17. Bd6 (just 17. 0-0 was best) and then after Tinsley's 17...Rd7 (a theoretically bad move but containing a subtle trap) Lasker was to move in the following position:

click for larger view

As is obvious, and as keypusher has noted, Tinsley's pieces here are hopelessly cramped. With 18. Bf4, Lasker could have maintained his overwhelming bind on the position. But Lasker--perhaps believing that anything would work against the hapless Tinsley--played 18. Ne5. This allowed Tinsley to play 18...RxB 19. cxR Qxd6, getting a pawn for the exchange and some freedom and possible counterplay, as keypusher has noted. After this exchange, the position was:

click for larger view

Still a won game for Lasker? Probably, but now Tinsley's pieces could breathe, and the game became interesting for a while. Someone like Karpov would never have given up his bind on the position.

Lasker went on to win this game, but his play here was not up to his usual standard.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: After winning the exchange (for a pawn), Lasker played listlessly from moves 20 through 40, allowing Tinsley several chances to get counterplay. Tinsley, for his part, missed several opportunities to make Lasker's win problematic.

After Tinsley's 21...a5, Lasker should simply have castled King's side. His 22. Rb1 gave Tinsley chances. But Tinsley's 23...Ne4 allowed Lasker to swap off a pair of minor pieces, and his very poor 31...g5 should have been answered by 32. fxg5 instead of Lasker's inferior 32. Ne5.

When Tinsley persisted with his misguided King's side venture with 32...gxf4 (32...Bb7 was best) and 33...Qb7 (33...Qg7 would at least have been more consistent), Lasker could have shortened proceedings with 34. b5 Instead, his weak 34. exf4, 35. g3 (still missing the chance to play b5) and 36. Rd6 (36 Rc1 or 36. Rc2 were better) gave Tinsley the chance to play 36...e2 with real chances. But Tinsley erred badly with 36...Bb5 and then (after Lasker's questionable 38. Qb2 instead of 38. Qa1) and then 38...Kg7 (instead of 38...Qc8), Lasker once again was close to victory.

After Tinsley's final mistake, the seemingly strong 40...Qc3, Lasker woke up and played 41. Rc6! in the following position:

click for larger view

As keypusher has noted, 41. Rc6! did indeed finish off Tinsley, since 41...BxR allows 42. Qxc5+ and mate in four.

A pretty finish to a somewhat lethargic game by Lasker against Tinsley's mostly feeble opposition.

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