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Emanuel Lasker
Number of games in database: 1,237
Years covered: 1889 to 1940

Overall record: +378 -81 =176 (73.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 602 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (193) 
    C68 C62 C66 C67 C64
 French Defense (90) 
    C11 C12 C01 C13 C10
 French (62) 
    C11 C12 C13 C10 C00
 King's Gambit Accepted (56) 
    C39 C33 C38 C37 C34
 Sicilian (47) 
    B45 B32 B30 B40 B44
 King's Gambit Declined (40) 
    C30 C31 C32
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (114) 
    C65 C67 C66 C77 C79
 Orthodox Defense (50) 
    D50 D63 D52 D60 D55
 Giuoco Piano (31) 
    C50 C53 C54
 Queen's Pawn Game (29) 
    D05 D00 D02 A46 D04
 Sicilian (28) 
    B32 B73 B30 B45 B83
 Four Knights (19) 
    C49 C47 C48
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
   Lasker vs W Napier, 1904 1-0
   Marshall vs Lasker, 1907 0-1
   Euwe vs Lasker, 1934 0-1
   Lasker vs Schlechter, 1910 1-0
   Lasker vs Capablanca, 1935 1-0
   Lasker vs Steinitz, 1894 1-0
   Lasker vs Rubinstein, 1914 1-0

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 - Schlechter World Championship Match (1910)
   Lasker - Janowski World Championship Match (1910)
   Lasker - Capablanca World Championship Match (1921)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Lasker - Bird (1890)
   St. Petersburg 1895/96 (1895)
   Nuremberg (1896)
   Paris (1900)
   London (1899)
   Lasker - Janowski (1909)
   St. Petersburg (1914)
   Maehrisch-Ostrau (1923)
   New York (1924)
   St. Petersburg (1909)
   Moscow (1925)
   Hastings (1895)
   Cambridge Springs (1904)
   Zurich (1934)
   Nottingham (1936)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   -ER Lasker by fredthebear
   Emanuel Lasker Collection by hrannar
   Match Lasker! by amadeus
   The Lion King by chocobonbon
   Why Lasker Matters by Andrew Soltis by keypusher
   Why Lasker Matters by Andrew Soltis by StoppedClock
   Why Lasker Matters (Soltis) by Qindarka
   lasker best games by brager
   Veliki majstori saha 7 LASKER (Petrovic) by Chessdreamer
   Why Lasker Matters by Andrew Soltis by Incremental
   Selected Lasker by LaBourdonnaisdeux
   Lasker JNCC by chestofgold
   John Nunn's Chess Course by Incremental
   John Nunn's Chess Course copy by fredthebear

   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.


He 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 Sergeevich 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 James 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, Ilia Abramovich Kan, 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 Edward 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 Dionisio M Martinez, Alfred K Robinson, Gustavus Charles Reichhelm 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 Rudolf 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) ****

Sources: Article about Lasker by J J O'Connor and E F Robertson; Obituary from the Times of London:

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 & Emanual Lasker/ L Lasek.

Wikipedia article: Emanuel Lasker

Last updated: 2019-08-16 09:38:00

 page 1 of 50; games 1-25 of 1,246  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Lasker vs Von Popiel 0-1211889Berlin gameC26 Vienna
2. A Reif vs Lasker 0-1131889Breslau Hauptturnier AA02 Bird's Opening
3. V Tietz vs Lasker 0-1401889Breslau Hauptturnier AC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
4. L Mabilis vs Lasker 0-1241889Hauptturnier Winners' GroupC60 Ruy Lopez
5. Lasker vs Lipke 1-0471889Hauptturnier Winners' GroupA07 King's Indian Attack
6. E von Feyerfeil vs Lasker 1-0421889Hauptturnier Winners' GroupC30 King's Gambit Declined
7. E von Feyerfeil vs Lasker 0-1471889Hauptturnier play-offD00 Queen's Pawn Game
8. Lasker vs A van Foreest 1-0501889AmsterdamA04 Reti Opening
9. Lasker vs J Bauer 1-0381889AmsterdamA03 Bird's Opening
10. Loman vs Lasker 0-1221889AmsterdamC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
11. R Leather vs Lasker 0-1561889AmsterdamA07 King's Indian Attack
12. L Van Vliet vs Lasker 1-0241889AmsterdamC41 Philidor Defense
13. Gunsberg vs Lasker 0-1351889AmsterdamC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
14. Lasker vs J Mason ½-½381889AmsterdamC46 Three Knights
15. Lasker vs Burn ½-½151889AmsterdamC01 French, Exchange
16. J Mieses vs Lasker 0-1281889BerlinA07 King's Indian Attack
17. Von Bardeleben vs Lasker ½-½271889Lasker - Bardeleben mD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
18. Lasker vs Von Bardeleben 1-0471889Lasker - Bardeleben mB06 Robatsch
19. Von Bardeleben vs Lasker 1-0501889Lasker - Bardeleben mA07 King's Indian Attack
20. Lasker vs J Mieses 1-0371889Lasker - Mieses 1889/90A80 Dutch
21. J Mieses vs Lasker ½-½601889Lasker - Mieses 1889/90A07 King's Indian Attack
22. Lasker vs J Mieses ½-½701890Lasker - Mieses 1889/90D21 Queen's Gambit Accepted
23. J Mieses vs Lasker 0-1431890Lasker - Mieses 1889/90A07 King's Indian Attack
24. Lasker vs J Mieses 1-0301890Lasker - Mieses 1889/90D02 Queen's Pawn Game
25. J Mieses vs Lasker ½-½331890Lasker - Mieses 1889/90A07 King's Indian Attack
 page 1 of 50; games 1-25 of 1,246  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Lasker wins | Lasker loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Lasker is so under rated>

Hardly. He's widely considered the greatest coffeehouse player ever.

Jun-06-19  Caissanist: I stumbled across this Lasker anecdote today (at Can't vouch for its authenticity, but I thought it was good for a laugh regardless: <[W]hile returning by ship to Germany after a lengthy stay in New York, Lasker noticed a man seated alone in front of a chess board and could not help himself from stopping to take a look at the position. His momentary pause must have alerted the stranger who asked him if he knew how to play, adding needlessly that even a game with a patzer was better than nothing at all. Taking the comment in his stride, Lasker quietly sat down and the stranger continued to make things worse by grandly stating that “to make the game interesting” he would concede the advantage of a Queen to his “novice” opponent. Lasker bit back his tongue and proceeded to quickly lose his first game. Then, while reassembling the pieces, with a genial smile he turned to his opponent and said: “I can see that playing without a Queen has some advantages. Perhaps because the King has some freedom of movement when the space next to him is not occupied. Let me give YOU the advantage of the Queen and I am sure I will do better in our next game.” The other naturally laughed at the silly request but Lasker’s stubborn attitude won the day and they played a second game, this time with Lasker playing without the Queen. Despite the huge handicap, he won easily to the astonishment of his opponent. After a third game and another easy victory, Lasker quietly got up, offered his thanks for the games and left his bewildered opponent to wonder what had just befallen him.>
Jun-09-19  Telemus: An interesting simul game:

[Event "30-board simul at Hakoah"]
[Site "Vienna"]
[Date "1922.2.21"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Emanuel Lasker"]
[Black "Dr Bogicevic"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A30"]
[Sources "Wiener Morgenzeitung, 12 March 1922"]

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. e3 e6 4. d4 d5 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Bd3 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. b3 cxd4 9. exd4 b6 10. Bb2 Ba6 11. Re1 Na5 12. Ne5 Rc8 13. Nb5 Bb4 14. Re3 dxc4 15. bxc4 Bxb5 16. cxb5 h6 17. Rg3 Kh8 18. Rc1 Bd6 19. Bc3 Bxe5 20. dxe5 Rxc3 21. Rxc3 Ne4 22. Rxg7 Qd4 23. Rc2 Kxg7 24. Qg4+ Kh8 25. Qxe4 Qxe4 26. Bxe4 Rd8 27. f3 Rd4 28. Rc7 Kg7 29. Rxa7 Nc4 30. a4 Nxe5 31. a5 bxa5 32. b6 Rb4 33. b7 Nd7 34. Rxa5 f5 35. Bc6 Nb8 36. Rb5 Rc4 37. Be8 Kf8 38. Bh5 Ke7 39. Rb2 Kd7 40. Kf2 Kc7 41. Bf7 Rc6 42. f4 Na6 43. Ke3 Kb8 44. Kd4 Nc5 45. Rb5 Nd7 46. Rb2 Rd6+ 47. Ke3 Nb6 48. Kf3 Nd5 49. Re2 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: What's stopping you submitting this?
Jun-09-19  ughaibu: To be fair, that it's been posted here doesn't entail that it hasn't been submitted.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <[Event "Simul, 30b"]
[Site "Vienna AUT"]

[Source "Wiener Morgenzeitung, 12.03.1922. p.?"]>

would be nice.

Jun-09-19  ughaibu: Authentication and submission aren't synonyms, are they?
Jun-09-19  Telemus: In Lasker's chess column in "De Telegraaf" of 24 March 1922 appeared the following consultation game:

White: Sterk, Dr Vajda, Steiner et al.
Black: Lasker, Stephan, Abonyi

Budapest chess club, 1922

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Bxd2+ 7. Nbxd2 O-O 8. Qc2 c5 9. dxc5 bxc5 10. O-O Nc6 11. Rad1 Rb8 12. Rfe1 Qb6 13. Qb1 Rfd8 14. Ng5 h6 15. Nge4 Ne8 16. Nc3 d6 17. b3 Nd4 18. e3 Bxg2 19. Kxg2 Nc6 20. Qe4 Nf6 21. Qh4 Ne5 22. Nce4 Qc6 23. f3 Nh7 24. Nf2 Ng5 25. e4 f5 26. f4 fxe4 27. Nfxe4 Nxe4 28. Nxe4 Nf7 29. Qg4 Re8 30. Kg1 Kf8 1/2

Jun-09-19  ughaibu: Now you're just rattling his cage, aren't you?
Jun-17-19  john barleycorn: A nice read (in German) and plenty of pictures

Premium Chessgames Member
  Charlie Durman: Lasker AVOIDED Capa


Premium Chessgames Member
  Count Wedgemore: Fischer AVOIDED Karpov


Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: can we just agree that Fischer was a few pieces short of a back rank?
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I recently posted this on Facebook in response to someone who suggested that Lasker's opponents in world championship matches were weak:

Lasker played Steinitz, the world champion, in 1894 (winning by 5 points), Steinitz - Lasker World Championship Match (1894), and 1896 (winning by 8 points). Lasker - Steinitz World Championship Rematch (1896).

Lasker beat Marshall by 8 points in 1907. Lasker - Marshall World Championship Match (1907). Marshall had won Cambridge Springs 1904 with a staggering 13-2 score, 2 points ahead of Lasker and Janowski. A few years later, in August 1913, Marshall would, according to Chessmetrics, be ranked No. 2 in the world.

Lasker beat Tarrasch by 5 points in 1908. Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship Match (1908). According to Chessmetrics, Tarrasch was No. 2 in the world in 111 different months between October 1890 and November 1906.

Lasker drew a short (10-game) match against Schlechter in January and February 1910. Lasker - Schlechter World Championship Match (1910). According to Chessmetrics, Schlechter was the No. 2 player in the world from December 1906 through February 1907.

In November and December 1910, Lasker beat Janowski by 8 points. Lasker - Janowski World Championship Match (1910). According to Chessmetrics, Janowski had been the No. 1 player in the world from May through September 1904.

Lasker was scheduled to play Rubinstein for the title in October 1914, but the match never happened because World War I broke out. According to Chessmetrics, Rubinstein was No. 1 in the world in 25 different months from May 1908 to April 1914.

And of course Lasker lost his world championship match to Capablanca in 1921 (after announcing on June 27, 1920 that he had resigned his title in favor of Capablanca). The match did not occur in 1920 because Capablanca, "for reasons of weight," was unwilling to play before 1921. Capablanca, by Chessmetrics' reckoning, was No. 1 in 85 different months between May 1914 and July 1937.

In short, all of Lasker's world championship challengers were worthy opponents, among the strongest players in the world. The only reason that some of them may now strike you as also-rans is that Lasker destroyed most of them, winning by 8 points thrice and by 5 points twice. What does Chessmetrics think of Lasker? It says that he was No. 1 in the world for 292 different months between June 1890 and December 1926. The greatest record that ever was. The greatest record that ever will be.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Nobody will ever approach Lasker's run of months at #1.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: A world war helps.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <FSR>
I agree with what you posted, with a couple of caveats.

First, although Janowski was ranked #1 on chessmetrics in 1904 as you pointed out, he was ranked #15 in Dec. 1910 when they played the match, making him one of the lowest ranked world championship contenders in history.

Second, Lasker was #1 on chessmetrics for 292 months, while the runner-up, Kasparov, was for 263 months, a difference of about two and a half years. But who had more months at #1 <while maintaining an active playing schedule>? It would be some work to define <active playing schedule> and then compare them, but I think we can agree it's not obvious that Lasker would be ahead.

Of course, there are explanations on both sides (events were much less frequent in Lasker's time; Kasparov withdrew from competition while still obviously capable of notching a significant number of additional months at #1). My conclusion is, <it's hard to compare>.

As for the future, yes, it will be hard to beat either Lasker's or Kasparov's record, but who knows?

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <beatgiant> Good points. I'll note that Lasker would have even more months at No. 1, but Chessmetrics starts taking off points for inactivity after a while. Between July 1900 and April 2004, he plummeted from 2869 (#1 in the world) to 2675 (#8), primarily because of inactivity. Did his strength really decline 194 points? Not bloody likely. He went up after a 2748 performance at Cambridge Springs 1904, then continued to fall, declining to 2671 (#9) in January 1907. He then destroyed Marshall (rated 67 points above him!), scoring +8 =7 -0 - the third best match performance in history.

Between January 1911 and April 1914, he played all of three games, and went from 2848 (#1) to 2673 (#12!!) as a result. Immediately thereafter, he won St. Petersburg 1914 ahead of many of his "superiors," with a 2853 performance rating. Does anyone really think that Lasker had become weaker than the likes of Richard Teichmann and Oldrich Duras?

But I agree that Kasparov's performance of staying on top through super-tournament after super-tournament, in a much more competitive environment than in Lasker's day, for ~20 years, is in some ways even more impressive.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I should add that at Moscow 1935, a grueling 19-round tournament, Lasker finished third, undefeated (+6 =13 -0), just half a point behind the joint winners Botvinnik and Flohr. Moscow (1935). He was 66! Fine hailed his result as "a biological miracle." This brought him to No. 6 in the world, with the highest rating ever by a 66-year-old, 2696.

He entered the world's top 10 in the September 1889 rating list (#7, 2687). Almost 49 years later, he was still in the top 10 in April 1938 (#10, 2659). Those two bookends span almost his entire long career. Just insane. No one will ever equal that.

Nov-01-19  Lambda: Not necessarily a fair test. Korchnoi's Chessmetrics rating is higher than Lasker's at 69 years and 4 months, it just puts him 29th rather than 10th because there were more great players in 2000 than in 1938.

<Lasker AVOIDED Capa

Just to point out for anyone unaware, their early arguments were obviously genuine, because the two of them made up at St. Petersburg 1914, and would likely have played a match a couple of years later assuming Lasker defeated Rubinstein, had war not intervened. A proper match between those two players whilst both on peak form is one of the chess events I most wish had happened.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Lasker's last two tournaments were in 1936. He basically retired after that. In Lasker's last four tournaments, according to Chessmetrics, he had performance ratings of 2669, 2707, 2618, and 2698. Korchnoi's performances at the same age (~65-67) were a bit less impressive for the most part, but he's undoubtedly also one of the all-time greats. He had a 2685 performance at age 73! Surely the greatest result ever by a septuagenarian?
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Incidentally, Smyslov's victory over Ribli in the Candidates semi-finals was a 2735 performance, but Smyslov was "only" 62 years and 8 months.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Korchnoi won Bad Homburg 1998 at age 67 years and 4 months, with a performance rating of 2712. He was a point ahead of the second-place finisher, Peter Svidler, who at 22 years and 1 month was less than a third his age! Korchnoi was a year and two months older than Lasker had been at Moscow 1935, and his performance rating was 5 points higher. Insane. The game to which Byrne refers is Korchnoi vs Z Kozul, 1998.
Nov-03-19  Olavi: Winning Biel 2001 at age 70 is perhaps even more impressive.
Nov-03-19  WorstPlayerEver: Hesitant to react, but it's clearly nonsense to compare Lasker (1,237 games cg) with Korchnoi (4,424 games cg).

CEG vs Legends (2012)

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