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Emanuel Lasker

Number of games in database: 1,476
Years covered: 1887 to 1940
Overall record: +387 -83 =180 (73.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 826 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (226) 
    C68 C62 C66 C67 C78
 French Defense (109) 
    C11 C12 C13 C01 C10
 French (76) 
    C11 C12 C13 C10 C00
 King's Gambit Accepted (74) 
    C39 C33 C38 C37 C35
 King's Gambit Declined (57) 
    C30 C31 C32
 Sicilian (56) 
    B45 B32 B40 B30 B20
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (126) 
    C65 C67 C66 C68 C77
 Orthodox Defense (49) 
    D50 D63 D52 D60 D67
 Giuoco Piano (39) 
    C50 C53 C54
 Sicilian (32) 
    B32 B73 B45 B83 B30
 Queen's Pawn Game (31) 
    D00 D05 D02 A46 D04
 Queen's Gambit Declined (20) 
    D37 D35 D30 D38 D06
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Lasker vs J Bauer, 1889 1-0
   Lasker vs Capablanca, 1914 1-0
   Pillsbury vs Lasker, 1896 0-1
   Marshall vs Lasker, 1907 0-1
   Lasker vs W Napier, 1904 1-0
   Euwe vs Lasker, 1934 0-1
   Lasker vs Schlechter, 1910 1-0
   Reti vs Lasker, 1924 0-1
   M Porges vs Lasker, 1896 0-1
   Tarrasch vs Lasker, 1908 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Steinitz - Lasker World Championship Match (1894)
   Lasker - Steinitz World Championship Rematch (1896)
   Lasker - Marshall World Championship Match (1907)
   Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship Match (1908)
   Lasker - Janowski World Championship Match (1910)
   Lasker - Schlechter World Championship Match (1910)
   Lasker - Capablanca World Championship Match (1921)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Lasker - Bird (1890)
   St. Petersburg 1895/96 (1895)
   Impromptu International Congress, New York (1893)
   Nuremberg (1896)
   London (1899)
   Paris (1900)
   Lasker - Janowski (1909)
   St. Petersburg (1914)
   Maehrisch-Ostrau (1923)
   New York (1924)
   St. Petersburg (1909)
   Moscow (1925)
   Hastings (1895)
   Cambridge Springs (1904)
   Zurich (1934)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   -ER Lasker by fredthebear
   -ER Lasker by rpn4
   Emanuel Lasker Collection by hrannar
   Emanuel Lasker Collection by rpn4
   Match Lasker! by docjan
   Match Lasker! by amadeus
   The Unknown Emanuel Lasker by MissScarlett
   The Lion King by chocobonbon
   Why Lasker Matters by Edwin Meijer
   Why Lasker Matters (Soltis) by Qindarka
   Why Lasker Matters by Andrew Soltis by PassedPawnDuo
   lasker best games by brager
   Why Lasker Matters by Andrew Soltis by rpn4
   Why Lasker Matters by Andrew Soltis by keypusher

   Rubinstein vs Lasker, 1909
   Rubinstein vs Salwe, 1908
   Spielmann vs Rubinstein, 1909
   Lasker vs Teichmann, 1909
   Tartakower vs Schlechter, 1909

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(born Dec-24-1868, died Jan-11-1941, 72 years old) Germany

[what is this?]

Emanuel Lasker was the second official World Chess Champion, reigning for a record 27 years after he defeated the first World Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, in 1894.

Statistician Jeff Sonas of Chessmetrics writes, "if you look across players' entire careers, there is a significant amount of statistical evidence to support the claim that Emanuel Lasker was, in fact, the most dominant player of all time." By Sonas' reckoning, Lasker was the No. 1 player in the world for a total of 24.3 years between 1890 and 1926. Only Kasparov (21.9 years) even approaches this.


Lasker was born in what was then Berlinchen (literally "little Berlin") in Prussia, and which is now Barlinek in Poland. In 1880, he went to school in Berlin, where he lived with his older brother Berthold Lasker, who was studying medicine, and who taught him how to play chess. By Chessmetrics' analysis, Berthold was one of the world's top ten players in the early 1890s.


Soon after Lasker obtained his abitur in Landsberg an der Warthe, now a Polish town named Gorzow Wielkopolski, the teenager's first tournament success came when he won the Café Kaiserhof's annual Winter tournament 1888/89, winning all 20 games. Soon afterwards, he tied with Emil von Feyerfeil with 12/15 (+11 -2 =2) at the second division tournament of the sixth DSB Congress in Breslau, defeating von Feyerfeil in the one game play-off.* Also in 1889, he came second with 6/8 (+5 -1 =2) behind Amos Burn at the Amsterdam "A" (stronger) tournament, ahead of James Mason and Isidor Gunsberg, two of the strongest players of that time. In 1890 he finished third in Graz behind Gyula Makovetz and Johann Hermann Bauer, then shared first prize with his brother Berthold in a tournament in Berlin. In spring 1892, he won two tournaments in London, the second and stronger of these without losing a game. At New York 1893, he won all thirteen games, one of a small number of significant tournaments in history in which a player achieved a perfect score. Wikipedia article: List of world records in chess#Perfect tournament and match scores

After Lasker won the title, he answered his critics who considered that the title match was by an unproven player against an aging champion by being on the leader board in every tournament before World War I, including wins at St Petersburg in 1895-96, Nurenberg 1896, London 1899, Paris 1900 ahead of Harry Nelson Pillsbury (by two points with a score of +14 −1 =1), Trenton Falls 1906, and St Petersburg in 1914. He also came 3rd at Hastings 1895 (this relatively poor result possibly occurring during convalescence after nearly dying from typhoid fever), 2nd at Cambridge Springs in 1904, and =1st at the Chigorin Memorial tournament in St Petersburg in 1909. In 1918, a few months after the war, Lasker won a quadrangular tournament in Berlin against Akiba Rubinstein, Carl Schlechter and Siegbert Tarrasch.

After he lost the title in 1921, Lasker remained in the top rank of players, winning at Maehrisch-Ostrau (1923) ahead of Richard Reti, Ernst Gruenfeld, Alexey Selezniev, Savielly Tartakower, and Max Euwe. His last tournament win was at New York 1924, where he scored 80% and finished 1.5 points ahead of Jose Raul Capablanca, followed by Alexander Alekhine and Frank Marshall. In 1925, he came 2nd at Moscow behind Efim Bogoljubov and ahead of Capablanca, Marshall, Tartakower, and Carlos Torre Repetto. There followed a long hiatus from chess caused by his intention to retire from the game, but he re-emerged in top-class chess in 1934, placing 5th in Zurich behind Alekhine, Euwe, Salomon Flohr and Bogoljubow and ahead of Ossip Bernstein, Aron Nimzowitsch, and Gideon Stahlberg. In Moscow in 1935, Lasker finished in an undefeated third place, a half point behind Mikhail Botvinnik and Flohr and ahead of Capablanca, Rudolf Spielmann, unknown player, Grigory Levenfish, Andre Lilienthal, and Viacheslav Ragozin. Reuben Fine hailed the 66-year-old Lasker's performance as "a biological miracle". In 1936, Lasker placed 6th in Moscow and finished his career later that year at Nottingham when he came =7th with 8.5/14 (+6 -3 =5), his last-round game being the following stylish win: Lasker vs C H Alexander, 1936.


Non-title matches 1889 saw his long career in match play commence, one which only ceased upon relinquishing his title in 1921. He won nearly of his matches, apart from a few drawn mini-matches, including a drawn one-game play-off match against his brother Berthold in Berlin in 1890, losing only exhibition matches with Mikhail Chigorin, Carl Schlechter and Marshall, and a knight-odds match against Nellie Showalter, Jackson Showalter's wife. In 1889, he defeated Curt von Bardeleben (+1 =2) and in 1889-90 he beat Jacques Mieses (+5 =3). In 1890, he defeated Henry Bird (+7 -2 =3) and Nicholas Theodore Miniati (+3 =2 -0), and in 1891 he beat Francis Joseph Lee (+1 =1) and Berthold Englisch (+2 =3). 1892 and 1893 saw Lasker getting into his stride into the lead up to his title match with Steinitz, beating Bird a second time (5-0) Lasker - Bird (1892) , Joseph Henry Blackburne (+6 =4), Jackson Whipps Showalter (+6 -2 =2) and Celso Golmayo Zupide (+2 =1). In 1892, Lasker toured and played a series of mini-matches against leading players in the Manhattan, Brooklyn and Franklin Chess Clubs. At the Manhattan Chess Club, he played a series of three-game matches, defeating James Moore Hanham, Gustave Simonson, David Graham Baird, Charles B Isaacson, Albert Hodges, Eugene Delmar, John S Ryan and John Washington Baird of the 24 games he played against these players he won 21, losing one to Hodges and drawing one each with Simonson and Delmar. At the Brooklyn Chess Club, Lasker played two mini-matches of two games each, winning each game against Abel Edward Blackmar and William M De Visser, and drew the first game of an unfinished match against Philip Richardson. Lasker finished 1892 at the Franklin Chess Club by playing 5 mini-matches of two games each against its leading players, winning every game against Dion Martinez, Alfred K Robinson, unknown player and Hermann G Voigt and drawing a match (+1 -1) with Walter Penn Shipley. Shipley offered cash bonuses if he could stipulate the openings and taking up the challenge, Lasker played the Two Knight's Defense and won in 38 moves, while in the second game, Shipley won as Black in 24 moves against Lasker playing the White end of a Vienna Gambit, Steinitz variation (Opening Explorer). Shipley, who counted both Lasker and Steinitz as his friends, was instrumental in arranging the Philadelphia leg of the Lasker-Steinitz match, that being games 9, 10 and 11. 29 years later, Shipley was also the referee of Lasker's title match with Capablanca. In 1892-3, Lasker also played and won some other matches against lesser players including Andres Clemente Vazquez (3-0), A Ponce (first name Albert) (2-0) and Alfred K Ettlinger (5-0). Also in 1893, Mrs. Nellie Showalter, wife of Jackson Showalter and one of the leading women players in the USA, defeated Lasker 5-2 in a match receiving Knight odds.

These matches pushed Lasker to the forefront of chess, and after being refused a match by Tarrasch, he defeated Steinitz for the world title in 1894 after spreadeagling the field at New York 1893. While he was World Champion, Lasker played some non-title matches, the earliest of which was a six-game exhibition match against Chigorin in 1903 which he lost 2.5-3.5 (+1 -2 =3); the match was intended as a rigorous test of the Rice Gambit, which was the stipulated opening in each game. In the midst of his four title defenses that were held between 1907 and 1910, Lasker played and won what appears to have been a short training match against Abraham Speijer (+2 =1) in 1908. Also in 1908, he played another Rice Gambit-testing match, this time against Schlechter, again losing, this time by 1-4 (+0 =2 -3), apparently prompting a rethink of the Rice Gambit as a viable weapon.** In 1909 he drew a short match (2 wins 2 losses) against David Janowski and several months later they played a longer match that Lasker easily won (7 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss). Lasker accepted a return match and they played a title match in 1910 (details below). In 1914, he drew a 2 game exhibition match against Bernstein (+1 -1) and in 1916, he defeated Tarrasch in another, clearly non-title, match by 5.5-0.5. After Lasker lost his title in 1921, he is not known to have played another match until he lost a two-game exhibition match (=1 -1) against Marshall in 1940, a few months before he died. A match between Dr. Lasker and Dr. Vidmar had been planned for 1925, but it did not eventuate.***

World Championship matches The Steinitz - Lasker World Championship Match (1894) was played in New York, Philadelphia, and Montreal. Lasker won with 10 wins, 5 losses and 4 draws. Lasker also won the Lasker - Steinitz World Championship Rematch (1896), played in Moscow, with 10 wins, 2 losses, and 5 draws. At one stage when Rezso Charousek ‘s star was in the ascendant, Lasker was convinced he would eventually play a title match with the Hungarian master; unfortunately, Charousek died from tuberculosis in 1900, aged 26, before this could happen. As it turned out, he did not play another World Championship for 11 years until the Lasker - Marshall World Championship Match (1907), which was played in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Chicago, Memphis. Lasker won this easily, remaining undefeated with 8 wins and 7 draws.

After a prolonged period of somewhat strained relations due to Tarrasch's refusal of Lasker's offer for a match, Lasker accepted Tarrasch's challenge for the title, and the Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship Match (1908) was played in Düsseldorf and Munich, with Lasker winning with 8 wins 3 losses and five draws. In 1910, Lasker came close to losing his title when he was trailing by a full point at the tenth and last game of the Lasker - Schlechter World Championship Match (1910) (the match being played in Vienna and Berlin); Schlechter held the advantage and could have drawn the game with ease on several occasions, however, he pursued a win, ultimately blundering a Queen endgame to relinquish his match lead and allow Lasker to retain the title. Some months later, the Lasker - Janowski World Championship Match (1910) - played in Berlin - was Lasker's final successful defense of his title, winning with 8 wins and 3 draws.

In 1912 Lasker and Rubinstein, agreed to play a World Championship match in the fall of 1914 but the match was cancelled when World War I broke out. The war delayed all further title match negotiations until Lasker finally relinquished his title upon resigning from the Lasker - Capablanca World Championship Match (1921) in Havana while trailing by four games.

Life, legacy and testimonials

Lasker's extended absences from chess were due to his pursuit of other activities, including mathematics and philosophy. He spent the last years of the 19th century writing his doctorate. Between 1902 and 1907, he played only at Cambridge Springs, using his time in the US. It was during this period that he introduced the notion of a primary ideal, which corresponds to an irreducible variety and plays a role similar to prime powers in the prime decomposition of an integer. He proved the primary decomposition theorem for an ideal of a polynomial ring in terms of primary ideals in a paper Zur Theorie der Moduln und Ideale published in volume 60 of Mathematische Annalen in 1905. A commutative ring R is now called a 'Lasker ring' if every ideal of R can be represented as an intersection of a finite number of primary ideals. Lasker's results on the decomposition of ideals into primary ideals was the foundation on which Emmy Noether built an abstract theory which developed ring theory into a major mathematical topic and provided the foundations of modern algebraic geometry. Noether's Idealtheorie in Ringbereichen (1921) was of fundamental importance in the development of modern algebra, generalising Lasker's results by giving the decomposition of ideals into intersections of primary ideals in any commutative ring with ascending chain condition.****

After Lasker lost his title, he spent a considerable amount of time playing bridge and intended to retire. However, he returned to chess in the mid-thirties as he needed to raise money after the Nazis had confiscated his properties and life savings. After the tournament in Moscow in 1936, the Laskers were encouraged to stay on and Emanuel accepted an invitation to become a member of the Moscow Academy of Science to pursue his mathematical studies, with both he and his wife, Martha, taking up permanent residence in Moscow. At this time, he also renounced his German citizenship and took on Soviet citizenship. Although Stalin's purges prompted the Laskers to migrate to the USA in 1937, it is unclear whether they ever renounced their Soviet citizenship.

Lasker was friends with Albert Einstein who wrote the introduction to the posthumous biography Emanuel Lasker, The Life of a Chess Master by Dr. Jacques Hannak (1952), writing: Emanuel Lasker was undoubtedly one of the most interesting people I came to know in my later years. We must be thankful to those who have penned the story of his life for this and succeeding generations. For there are few men who have had a warm interest in all the great human problems and at the same time kept their personality so uniquely independent.

Lasker published several chess books but as he was also a mathematician, games theorist, philosopher and even playwright, he published books in all these fields, except for the play which was performed on only one occasion. As a youth, his parents had recognised his potential and sent him to study in Berlin where he first learned to play serious chess. After he graduated from high school, he studied mathematics and philosophy at the universities in Berlin, Göttingen and Heidelberg. Lasker died in the Mount Sinai Hospital, New York in 1941, aged 72, and was buried in the Beth Olom Cemetery in Queens. He was survived by his wife and his sister, Lotta. On May 6, 2008, Dr. Lasker was among the first 40 German sportsmen to be elected into the "Hall of Fame des Deutschen Sports".


"It is not possible to learn much from him. One can only stand and wonder." - <Max Euwe> Euwe lost all three of his games against Lasker, the most lopsided result between any two world champions.

"My chess hero" - <Viktor Korchnoi>

"The greatest of the champions was, of course, Emanuel Lasker" - <Mikhail Tal>

"Lies and hypocrisy do not survive for long on the chessboard. The creative combination lies bare the presumption of a lie, while the merciless fact, culminating in a checkmate, contradicts the hypocrite." – <Emanuel Lasker>


* E von Feyerfeil vs Lasker, 1889** *** User: Karpova: Emanuel Lasker (kibitz #1449)

Notes Lasker played on the following consultation chess teams Em. Lasker / MacDonnell, Lasker / Taubenhaus, Em. Lasker / Maroczy, Em. Lasker / I Rice, Em. Lasker / Barasz / Breyer, Lasker / Pillsbury, Lasker / Chigorin / Marshall / Teichmann, Emanuel Lasker / William Ward-Higgs, Emanuel Lasker / Heinrich Wolf, Emanuel Lasker / Hermann Keidanski & Em. Lasker / L Lasek.

Wikipedia article: Emanuel Lasker

Last updated: 2023-04-08 21:10:05

 page 1 of 60; games 1-25 of 1,486  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Lasker vs NN 1-0101887Odds game000 Chess variants
2. NN vs Lasker  0-1331889SimulC41 Philidor Defense
3. A Reif vs Lasker 0-1131889Breslau Hauptturnier AA02 Bird's Opening
4. V Tietz vs Lasker 0-1401889Breslau Hauptturnier AC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
5. H Seger vs Lasker 0-1361889Hauptturnier Winners' GroupD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. L Mabillis vs Lasker 0-1241889Hauptturnier Winners' GroupC60 Ruy Lopez
7. Lasker vs Lipke 1-0471889Hauptturnier Winners' GroupA07 King's Indian Attack
8. E von Feyerfeil vs Lasker 1-0421889Hauptturnier Winners' GroupC30 King's Gambit Declined
9. E von Feyerfeil vs Lasker 0-1471889Hauptturnier play-offD00 Queen's Pawn Game
10. Lasker vs J Bauer 1-0381889AmsterdamA03 Bird's Opening
11. Lasker vs A van Foreest 1-0501889AmsterdamA04 Reti Opening
12. R Loman vs Lasker 0-1221889AmsterdamC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
13. L Van Vliet vs Lasker 1-0241889AmsterdamC41 Philidor Defense
14. R Leather vs Lasker 0-1561889AmsterdamA07 King's Indian Attack
15. Gunsberg vs Lasker 0-1351889AmsterdamC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
16. Lasker vs J Mason ½-½381889AmsterdamC46 Three Knights
17. Lasker vs S Polner 0-1211889Casual gameC26 Vienna
18. Lasker vs Burn ½-½151889AmsterdamC01 French, Exchange
19. J Mieses vs Lasker 0-1281889Casual gameA07 King's Indian Attack
20. Von Bardeleben vs Lasker ½-½271889Lasker - Bardeleben mD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
21. Lasker vs Von Bardeleben 1-0471889Lasker - Bardeleben mB06 Robatsch
22. Von Bardeleben vs Lasker 1-0501889Lasker - Bardeleben mC26 Vienna
23. Lasker vs J Mieses 1-0371889Lasker - Mieses 1889/90A80 Dutch
24. J Mieses vs Lasker ½-½601889Lasker - Mieses 1889/90A07 King's Indian Attack
25. Lasker vs J Mieses ½-½701890Lasker - Mieses 1889/90D21 Queen's Gambit Accepted
 page 1 of 60; games 1-25 of 1,486  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Lasker wins | Lasker loses  

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Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <When he went to America to play the redoubtable Steinitz in that epoch-making world match, Lasker corresponded with Mr. Butler, and when the battle was over he sent him a cabinet portrait of himself inscribed "To my friend Butler," signed and dated. This, until the war broke out, was the recipient's most cherished possession, and was shown with pride to his friends, but it was destroyed, along with other German masters' photos when the Huns revealed their true treacherous nature. Early in the present century, Mr. Butler, with the aid of the Brighton Corporation, organised a chess week in the town, and it was but natural that Lasker should be the "star" turn, with Mr. J. H. Blackburne, and the American master, Mr. Marshall, as supplementaries. The latter, however, did not keep his engagement, and Mr. Butler heard from Mr. Blackburne that Lasker had gone to Berlin. But a few days had to elapse and visions of chaos haunted the mind of Mr. Butler. Time got very short indeed, and yet no news of the champion, but on the Saturday previous to the fateful Monday Mr. Butler received a telegram from Berlin stating "Am on way look out Sunday," and sure enough he turned up on Sunday evening, having made the journey from Berlin on purpose to keep his appointment, for, as he stated, "he was not going to disappoint Butler." He fulfilled his engagement, put up at the "Metropole," entertained to dinner a little party of four on two occasions, and was back in Berlin within a few days. His fee certainly did not come to more than a third of his journey from Berlin and back. Another experience Mr. Butler had with him was on the occasion when Tchigorin and Lasker played the Rice Gambit games. He wired Mr. Butler to meet him and Tchigorin by a certain train, which he did, and Mr. Butler made all the arrangements for the match, such as supplying board and men and clocks, etc., and he was present at every game and nightly assisted in wiring off the moves and results. On this occasion the trio of chess players each day did the town together and a ha[ppy] time was spent. The chess-board and men are to this day in the keeping of the head waiter of the "Metropole," with some twenty to twenty-five signatures of famous chess-players made on the squares of the boards. In reply to our enquiry Mr. Butler can remember no occasion that could give rise to the opinion or feeling that Lasker was, in any way, acting the spy. He certainly did not appear inquisitively inclined, neither did he put any questions that could be considered with any stretch of imagination to be useful in time of war. He did not attempt to patronize Mr. Butler in any way, knowing full well that "his friend" was not the sort of man to tolerate it.

Mr. Butler has thus lifted a corner of the curtain of Lasker's life in England in a simple and unpretentious little narrative. No one can find any fault with the champion's conduct whilst with Mr. Butler and such was not intended. The blame — a treacherous and scurrilous blame — attaches to him since the war commenced when plenty of evidence exists as to the cruel and wanton wickedness that has marked his various statements concerning England and the English people. Had he dissociated himself from the vile and murderous policy of his Prussian race, this little story would never have been written.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: See:

Emanuel Lasker (kibitz #839)

< Any Lasker fan have the PGN for <Lasker - Kagan 1894>, which ends with the beautiful <INTERFERENCE> shot 1 ♗d6!! ?>

click for larger view

'Play for Mate' by by Hooper and Cafferty (page 166) state this was B. Lasker and White missed it agreeing here a draw here.

May-03-22  Z free or die: Might as well use < [Source ""] > here too.

Too bad, H&C is nice, but I'm like to go a bit further upstream.

Aug-10-22  VerySeriousExpert: Here is an almost forgotten Dr. Lasker's important contribution to the theory of the Scotch Game: . The good defence was invented this year only ( Yury V. Bukayev, "Bruno's Chess Articles" : )!
Jan-17-23  generror: I think I just found my favourite Lasker quote:

"Of my fifty-seven years, I have applied at least thirty to forgetting most of what I learned or read, and since I succeeded in this I have acquired a certain ease and cheer which I should never again like to be without. If need be, I can increase my skill in chess, if need be I can do that of which I have no idea present.

I have stored little in my memory, but I can apply that little, and it is of good use in many and varied emergencies. I keep it in order, but resist every attempt to increase its dead weight."

At least for top-level chess, this may not be as true today as it was in 1925, but this still is the perfect antidote to today's chess information overload. It's from his <Manual of Chess>, p. 248.

Jan-17-23  generror: Should have included the sentences coming immediately before:

"Education in chess has to be an education in independent thinking and judging. Chess must not be memorized, simply because it is not important enough. If you load your memory, you should know why. Memory is too valuable to be stocked with trifles."

Mar-19-23  MatrixManNe0: I've been reading through the games in the St. Petersburg 1914 tournament. It's wild just how good Lasker was, and for how long he was good.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Reproducing a comment I made on Facebook:

According to Chessmetrics, Lasker was #1 for longer than anyone else in history: 292 different months between June 1890 and December 1926. That's a timespan of 36 1/2 years, in which Lasker was #1 for a total of 24 years and 4 months. The period begins four years before Lasker became world champion and ends about 5 2/3 years after he lost the title.

If anything, Chessmetrics understates Lasker's greatness. It heavily penalizes inactivity, with the result that Lasker was not even on the March 1914 list at all. That was just before his immortal triumph at St. Petersburg (April-May 1914). St. Petersburg (1914)

Kasparov is second, with "only" 263 months at #1, almost 2 1/2 years less than Lasker.

If you're looking for a world champion who wasn't #1 for much of his reign, Lasker isn't it. Botvinnik is the man you want. According to Chessmetrics, he was #7 in March 1951, when he drew Bronstein; #3 in March 1954 when he drew Smyslov; #4 in March 1957 when he lost to Smyslov; #5 in March 1958 when he won the rematch against Smyslov; #6 in March 1960 when he lost to Tal; #9 in March 1961 when he won the Tal rematch; and #7 when Petrosian beat him in March 1963. In fairness, Chessmetrics also penalized Botvinnik somewhat for inactivity; he didn't play much as world champion.

Botvinnik liked to call himself "primus inter pares," but he wasn't really even that. Recall that he never won a match AS world champion. He drew Bronstein in 1951, drew Smyslov in 1954, lost to Smyslov in 1957, won the rematch against Smyslov in 1958 (i.e. Botvinnik was the challenger at that point), lost to Tal in 1960, won the rematch against Tal in 1961 (i.e. Botvinnik was the challenger at that point), and lost to Petrosian in 1963. He had a minus 3 score in his one-on-one world championship matches. In fairness, he won the 1948 five-player match tournament by a margin of 3 points over Smyslov. So being generous, you could say that Botvinnik had an even score in his world championship matches. For that mediocre performance, he got to be world champion for 13 of 15 years between 1948 and 1963.

Incidentally, Lasker and Botvinnik played four times. One game was in 1935, the other three in 1936. Those were the last three tournaments of Lasker's life (Moscow 1935, the double round robin Moscow 1936, and Nottingham 1936). They were near the beginning of Botvinnik's peak. According to Chessmetrics, Botvinnik's first month as #1 was in September 1936, right after Nottingham 1936, the last of those tournaments. Lasker was 66 and 67 at the time of the games. Botvinnik was 23, 24, and 25 (his 25th birthday was three days before their game at Nottingham 1936). The results: one win for Botvinnik and three draws. Thus, Botvinnik in his mid-20s was able to prove himself slightly superior to Lasker, 43 years his senior.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Williebob: Thanks for the excellent post, <FSR>. No argument here per Lasker's greatness! One similarity between Lasker and Botvinnik: They both got robbed of opportunities during (arguably) their peak years, by World Wars 1 and 2 respectively. But that aside, Lasker's longevity of strength is in a class completely by itself.
I'm not so secretly hoping that Anand remains in the Top Ten for another ten years, which could echo a kind of Laskerian achievement. Then again, post-Champion Carlsen is due for some New York 1924 type results, probably several to come.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Williebob> Lasker was 55 when he won New York 1924. Carlsen is only 32, and still No. 1 in the world by 58 points. As long as he keeps playing, he should have many outstanding results left in him.
Apr-18-23  SChesshevsky: There is/was an interesting discussion on the Nepom-Ding WC page on the "romantic era" of chess. A time period of which Lasker was part.

What's interesting here is that he has over 100 Kings Gambit games as white. Though they are almost exclusively simuls, casual etc.

Guessing he wasn't impressed with the KG as he didn't really go for it v. serious opponents. Then why so many simul games? Guessing it was because people wanted and expected that's how top players played at the time.

But that's just conjecture. Wondering if Lasker ever wrote or disclosed his feelings on gambits or simuls/exhibitions?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: One rather suspects those displays paid the bills for Lasker, as they did other great masters of the time.

I have been mildly curious how Lasker would have fared had he tried the King's Gambit vs Chigorin, apart from their celebrated match in Rice's line. While Chigorin won some fine games as White in the KG, he was an equally stout defender from the other side of the board.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi SChesshevsky,

<'Wondering if Lasker ever wrote or disclosed his feelings on gambits or simuls/exhibitions?'>

My memory cells are rattling. Lasker says something about White in the King's Gambit having no right or need to weaken is Kingside.

This is either in his 'Manual of Chess', or his 'Common Sense.' book. I have both but am just about to go out. (someone confirm?)

The wife has her coat on so this it. (if she was putting on her make up I'd have two hours to spare)

Lasker played a King's Gambit v Janowsky in a WC title match but by then he 6-0, maybe 7-0 up....winner easily.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: I got in a few hours ago.

Common Sense by Lasker - his rant, calling it unsound, is aimed at the King's Bishop Gambit. (after 2...exf4 3.Bc4).

Tarrasch was not too fond of the K.G. He calls 2.f4 a mistake because Black can at the very least equalise right away with 2...d5.

He ends his discussion on the K.G. saying it ' now very seldom played - and rightly so.' (written in 1931.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Tarrasch was not fond of gambits.

"What is the object of playing a gambit opening?... To acquire a reputation of being a dashing player at the cost of losing a game." Siegbert Tarrasch

Apr-19-23  SChesshevsky: Thanks for the quotes everybody. Can believe Tarrasch wasn't a big fan of gambits. Wonder what he typically played in simuls/exhibitions? Gonna check that out sometime.

Interesting Lasker's comment on the KG Bishops version. I had a brief discussion with a very, very respected GM when I mentioned I wasn't convinced 3...Qh4+ reply was best. Because it was too anti positional. He was adamant on 3...Qh4 and forced me to admit that I played the Q move maybe 50% of the time. But I'm still not convinced it's best. Wonder what Lasker would recommend for 3...?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Most interesting that a very strong player would plump for 3....Qh4+ when that line has long been considered suboptimal and was supplanted by 3....Nf6 4.Nc3 c6 a time ago.
Apr-20-23  SChesshevsky: <perfidious> I don't know. But this guy is up on theory, though not sure KG theory, and recommended 3...Qh4+ in blitz fairly recently. Now he was white and the opponent played something other than ...Nf6...c6...d5 line. Don't remember what opponent played though. But I do remember muttering to the screen after the recommendation, "not sure about that."
May-11-23  Nosnibor: What is noticeable in the games collected here is numerous losses to opponents in simultaneous games. Naturally the local press pick up these results and they become published but Lasker probably won more than another 1000 games in these exhibitions which are not reflected here.
May-11-23  stone free or die: <<Nosnibor> Naturally the local press pick up these results and they become published but Lasker probably won more than another 1000 games in these exhibitions which are not reflected here.>

This is true, though sometimes a player will submit a great win by a master to a chess magazine. Other times a slew of games might become available from a club or team (again, usually in a chess magazine vs. a newspaper).

It's always nice to have the simul scores on <CG>, and the newspapers almost always include that piece of info.

<TheFocus> used to post those often on game pages (though unfortunately w/o his sources).

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: It seems Lasker and Capablanca reconciled late in life, per info posted by Winter:

Jun-09-23  Damenlaeuferbauer: <perfidious>: Thank you for that yery interesting link! I noticed in the last few years, that (like Jose Raul Capablanca) a lot of people became much calmer and more friendly, when they were getting older. Maybe they recognized, that (their) life could end soon.
Nov-27-23  Nosnibor: The following game was played at a simultaneous exhibition in Altrincham (St Mary`s) 2 April 1908.<White: Clara Miller> <Black: Emanuel Lasker> <Queen`s Pawn, London System DO2> 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4 Nc6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nbd2 e6 6.a3 Bd6 7.Bxd6 cxd6 8.c4 0-0 9.cxd5 exd5 10.Qb3 Qe7 11.Bd3 Be4 12.0-0 Rac8 13.Be2 Rc7 14.Rac1 Rfc8 15.Qd1 h6 16.Nh4 g5 17.Nxe4 dxe4 18.Nf5 Qf8 19.d5 Ne5 20.Rxc7 Rxc7 21.f4 exf3 22.Bxf3 Kh7 23.Qb1 Ng6 24.b4 Rc3 25.Qb2 Qc8 26.Nxd6 Qd8 27.Qxc3 Qxd6 28.Qc5 Qd8 29.d6 Nd7 30.Qc7 Qe8 31.Bg4 Qxe3+ 32.Kh1 Nde5 1-0 <Source: British Chess Magazine 1908 p.213.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: You must double-check everything: C Millar vs Lasker, 1908
Nov-27-23  Nosnibor: I appear to be having one of those days! Thanks Missy.
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