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Emanuel Lasker vs St. Elmo Morgan Sala
Simul, 17b (1901) (exhibition), Davenport, IA USA, May-23
Italian Game: Two Knights Defense. Open Variation (C55)  ·  0-1



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Mar-26-12  LoveThatJoker: <sevenseaman> 1... g3+ 2. Kh1 Nf2+ 3. Kg1 Nxh3+ 4. Kh1 (4. Kf1 Qf2#) 4...Qg1+ 5. Nxg1 Nf2#


Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <kevin86> Yes, <al-wazir> also pointed that out earlier.

click for larger view

Black could have played <23...Qh1+> rathan <23...Rd1+>. Which makes me think Lasker was White. He did take Black at times in simuls, but he wouldn't have missed that. Good theater, you know.

I don't have the numbers to check this, but I'll bet Lasker's percentage in simuls was lower than, say, Capablanca's. The occasional brilliancy pops up, and there are an awful lot of draws and losses to children and women.

Which may all be a gesture of showmanship. Say you have a choice: play Capablanca in a simul with a 99% chance of being mowed down boringly and efficiently, or play Lasker with an interesting game in prospect and even a slight chance of winning? I'd play Lasker myself, and he may well have counted on that to bring the crowds back.

Mar-26-12  sevenseaman: <LTJ> Thats correctly done.
Premium Chessgames Member
  benveniste: It's worth nothing that Lasker was 16 or 17 when this game took place.
Mar-26-12  vasja: I looked at more conventional
24.... Rxf1+
25 Kxf1 Qh1+
26 Kf2 Qg2+
27 Ke1 Nf3+
28 Kd1 Qf1#

and stopped looking further. I consider puzzle solved

Mar-26-12  King Death: < benveniste: It's worth nothing that Lasker was 16 or 17 when this game took place.>

Since he was born in 1868 I think you're way off here. If you try adding 16 and 17 that number works a little better.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <gangstaman>, <Isolated Pawn>. Houdini 1.5a at d=26 calculates that best play by both sides after 23.Kxf2 is 23....Qg2+ 24.Ke1 Nf3+ 25.Rxf3 Qxf3 26.Bf4 Qh1+ 27.Ke2 Qxh2+ 28.Kxd3 Qxb2. No mate but with queen for knight Black has a won game, particularly since Black's queen can pick up all of White's q-side pawns. White does have one last spite check since Houdini then suggests 29.Rd1 Qxa2 30.Ke3+. I wonder how many points Houdini's evaluation function gives for a spite check? :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <der623> White doesn't lose his queen on 23.Qxf2 since after 23...Nf3+ he's not required to play 24.Kg2 but can play 23.Kg1. Then if 23...Ng5+ White can block the check with 24.Qg2 and Black, a rook down, is probably lost.

But 23.Qxf2 is White's relatively best choice since the best that Black can do is win the exchange: 23.Qxf2 Nf3+ 24.Kh1 (or 24..Kg2) 24...Nd2+ 25.Kg1 Nxf1 26.Qxf1.

Houdini 1.5a then suggests the following interesting continuation as best play by both sides ([-1.41], d=26): 26...Qc5+ 27.Kh1 Kc8 (temporarily giving up a rook) 28.Qxd3 Qxe5 29.Bb2 (if 29.Rb1 then 29....Bf5 recovering the rook, all other moves allow 29...Qxa1) 29...Qxb2 30.Qf1 Rd8 31.Ne4 Bg4 32.Re1 Qxa2 33.Nc5 Qd2 34.Kg1 a5 35.Ne4 Qd4+ 36.Qf2 Bd1 37.Qxd4 Rxd4 38.Re3 a4 (38...Bxb3 is better, [-3.39], d=23 when sliding forward) 39.bxa4 Bxa4 40.Nc3 Bc6 41.Nb5 Rxc4 42.Na7+ Kd7 43.Rd3+ Ke6 44.Nxc6 Rxc6 45.Re3+ Kd7 46.Rb3 Rc1+ 47.Kf2 Rc2+ 48.Ke3 Kc6 49.h4 b5 50.Ra3 Kc5 51.Ra7 Rc3+ 52.Ke4 which should be a win for Black.

So White is still lost after 23.Qxf2, particularly after 38...Bxb3, but it takes a while. And, given that this was a simul, 23.Qxf2 was Lasker's best practical chance since Black could very likely make a mistake later on.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <benveniste> You seem to be thinking of Edward Lasker.
Mar-26-12  BlackSheep: Today's puzzle is a far cry from yesterdays million move fiasco .
Mar-26-12  Marmot PFL: It was hard to believe that Lasker played some of those moves. Just shows that anyone can have a bad day. I wouldn't say that black did anything special except take advantage of white's awful play.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Got a citation for the game, from the 1901 volume of <Deutsche Schachzeitung>, p. 306:

The location is given as Davenport, [Indiana], which we might assume is actually Iowa. E. M. Sala turns out to be a doctor, so maybe this was a professional courtesy.

Somebody else can bother with the notes.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Sleve in brighten the moment inkling qh1 ornament in cleft.

Too guess the finish queen amongst in would it hill kingf2.

Or get it done by slow in manage for carrier had aim it almost in kxh1 after h1 it low in.

Direct rookxf2 in quad grip black has no comeback hold it now in non plussed.

Tease the queenh1+ up kingf2 slap qxf1+ i scope kinge3 ducking meal for try qf3# cheesed off el mincemeat for rest in imagine.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: On blacks account the f2 a lump rook spear served him well it is.

Right in checking afar kingf2 ke3 queen in b2 left her duties in than it rather xf2 and suffer an old death rook collect.

Near finger off queen stays in pithy hallow ground the sac knighth4 bold re a pf2 mentrook and queen have in on the action, ned la wobbles a lad in f2 the lunchbox rookf2 ullage in empty eye king expose for check in d1 it hanker in chief em a telling fatal blow it's not rappell etc.

Brazen in white scar f2 queenh1 f1 f3 at ease more in backed the parlez on dont keep in spirits afraid rf2 d1 f1 in diminish radicals in forgot really it is blocking d1 decide in ty down emanuel got cleaned bowled in dip black ride.

A blanking approach in squeeze c6 administer key coup de grace in off queen and rook mate after h1 queen paired in level it breach in!

Mar-26-12  David2009: Well, sooner or later I was going to fail to solve a Monday problem (on Mondays, I work out the solution mentally without writing it out in Notepad). Today is the day. I chose the (losing?) 24.Qc5+ line.

Here's a Crafty EGT interactive link to the colours reversed position to try out alternatives:

click for larger view

(Lasker vs E M Sala simul 1901, finish colours reversed).

Regarding the game: not even World Champions have the right to move the same piece twice in the opening, and to do this not once but twice. Interesting comments from <Phony Benoni> Lasker vs E M Sala, 1901

Mar-27-12  morfishine: "Oh...Sala Bin Maten"
Nov-13-13  paderamo:

Nov-14-13  ughaibu: So black did play 23...Qh1.
Nov-23-14  TheFocus: From a simul at the Davenport Chess Club in Davenport, Iowa on May 23, 1901.

Lasker scored +16=0-1.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <but it was a simultaneous game, and Lasker wasn't particularly good at simuls, maybe he didn't take them very serious.>

Couldn't agree less. With regard to simultaneous play, Lasker, Alekhine and Capa were serial killers, where entertainment took a back seat to ruthless efficiency. I would contend, although I don't have the stats to hand, they all must have scored over 90% across their careers. Marshall and Pillsbury, the other great exhibition artists of the age, were far greater showmen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: There may be something in Backrank's statement, though I'd too disagree with Lasker not being particularly good at simuls.

Whyld does mention an unusual high number of draws and losses from Lasker's simuls adding: " "the master can be generous in order to foster public relations."

I do not know what good relations Lasker was trying to foster here, he plays on two queens down.

Lasker vs N MacLeod, 1892

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Whyld does mention an unusual high number of draws and losses from Lasker's simuls adding: " "the master can be generous in order to foster public relations.">

Unusual compared to what or whom? Looking at Whyld's introduction to <The Collected Games of Emanuel Lasker>, I think you're somewhat misrepresenting his words. Similar imputations of 'going easy' on occasion have also been levelled against Capa and Alekhine, but they don't seriously distract from the notion that this trio were pretty relentless winning machines.

On second thought, my estimate of a 90%+ career scoring percentage for simuls may have been slightly on the high side. For Alekhine and Lasker, 85% might be closer to the mark. I'll try and work out some numbers in the next couple of days. When Pope finally gets around to bringing out his Pillsbury book, it will be interesting to compare.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: 50 losses can't be right.
Feb-24-18  TheFocus: For Capablanca, Hooper & Brandreth in <Unknown Capablanca>, give his simul record as 11,912 wins, 570 losses and 1,063 draws for 92%.

Thanks, <MissScarlett>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Telemus: <paderamo>'s clipping gives a different end of the game as noted by <ughaibu>.

From the Chcicago Daily Tribune, 16 June 1901:

"Many of our readers point out mate in three in the Lasker-Sala game. Dr. Sala also found the shorter road at the time, but proceeded with mate in four, as announced."

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