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Julius Perlis vs Emanuel Lasker
St. Petersburg (1909), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 12, Mar-03
Spanish Game: Open Variations. Classical Defense (C83)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Black's last move is dumbfounding!
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Sorry, meant his next-to-last move. His last move is obvious as all hell.
Aug-23-07  nescio: <keypusher> Not to worry, your next-to-last post had us all dumbfounded.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Lasker's <32.Nc3!> has three effects - it reactivates a piece (through a revealed check by the Ba7 if the N is taken), wins a pawn, and leaves Black with a completely won game with monsterous passed Q-side pawns.

<33.bxc3> dxc3+ 34.Nd4 Bxd4+ 35.Be3 Bxe3+ 36.Qxe3 Qd2

Revealingly, Lasker did not feel it necessary to comment on this move (not even a "!") in his tournament book annotation of the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Lasker's notes on this scrappy struggle are given below in plain text, supplemented by Shredder in brackets.

1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Be7

This appears to be stronger than the usual 9...Bc5, as the square c5 remains open for the N and c-pawn.


This move was feasible, before Black's bishops had moved. But now it is a mistake, which disorganizes White's Queen's wing. <See the comments to Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1908. Before Schlecter's improvement, 8.a4 was considered very strong for White, so much so that Tarrasch thought it rendered the Open Defense unplayable.>


The correct reply. This would not do if Black were not ready yet for castling, on account of a4-a5 and Ba4.

11.Re1 <Shredder thinks White is still better after 11.Nd4> 11...Nc5 12.Bc2 Bg4 13.h3 Bh5 14.g4 Bg6 15.Nd4 <Now the knight move is a mistake. 15.Be3 was stronger.> 15...Nxd4 16.cxd4 Ne6 17.Bf5 c5 18.dxc5 Bxc5 19.Be3 d4

In 19...Bxe3 20.Rxe3 Bxf5 21.gxf5 Qg5+ 22.Qg4 Qxg4+ 23.hxg4 Nd4 there would have been no gain, as White would simply reply Rd3.


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So far Black has conducted the attack correctly and White has defended well. For in spite of the danger to expose his King, the lattter was bound to advance his Pawns, as he did, for a counter attack, in order to establish a pressure on his opponent's King's side. But here Black fails to find the right move. 20...d3 should have been played, to free the Bishop and render d4 accessible to the Knight. It is true that this move would give the square e3 to White's Bishop, and the pawn would be weak at d3, but the attack on the King would more than compensate for these disadvantages, e.g. 20...d3 21.Qf3 Nd4 22.Qxd3 Nxf5 23.Qxd8+ Rxd8 24.gxf5 Bxf5 and Black, with two Bishops on an open board, and with several weak spots in his opponent's camp, would have a splendid game. Or 21.Be3 Nd4 22.Nd2 [22.Qxd3? Nf3+; or 22.Bxd4 Qxd4; and White will not be able to develop his game] 22...Ne2+; and now White, in order to avoid ...Bxe3, would have no other expedient except 23.Rxe2 dxe2 24.Qxe2 Bxe3 25.Qxe3 0-0. Black should ultimately win.

21.Qd3 Rd8 <Removing the guard from the a-pawn is a mistake, Shredder thinks. It prefers ...Be7.> 22.Nd2

<Here and for several moves hereabouts White can grab the a-pawn, e.g. 22.Qxa6 d3 23.Qb5+ Kf8 24.Bxe6 fxe6 25.Be3 Bxe3 26.fxe3 Qxb5 27.axb5 d2 28.Rd1 Bxb1 29.Raxb1 with a draw in the offing.>

22...0-0 23.Nb3 Ba7 24.Bd2 a5 25.Rac1 Rfe8 26.f4 Nf8 <Shredder prefers ...Rc8.> 27.Be4 <Shredder prefers 27.Kh2, with a slight White advantage> 27...Bxe4 28.Rxe4 f6

This looks much stronger than it really is. As a matter of fact, 28...Rd7 would have been better. Then if Rae1, ...Rde7. the Queen's Pawn cannot be captured on account of ...Ne6, and ...f7-f6 would follow soon with great effect.

29.Rce1 Nd7 <The consistent followup, but it gets Black into real trouble. Instead 29...Rc8 leaves White with a slight advantage.>


White is wrong in being afraid to capture the Pawn. After 30.exf6 Nxf6 31.Re5, White would win the a-pawn, and 30...Rxe4 31.Rxe4 gxf6 32.Re7 would be still more favorable for him. The game might then have continued as follows: 30.exf6 Nxf6 31.Re5 Qd7 32.Rxa5 Rxe1+ 33.Bxe1 Nd5 34.Bd2 Bb6 35.Rb5 Qc6, followed by ...Ne3. <Stronger for White in Lasker's line is 32.Nxa5 with excellent chances for a win.>


A decisive attack.

31.f5 Nxa4 32.Bc1 Nc3<!!> 33.e7 Rd7 Resigns.

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