Games
[Event "World Championship 8th"] [Site "Germany"] [Date "1908.??.??"] [Round "5"] [White "Lasker, Emanuel"] [Black "Tarrasch, Siegbert"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C98"] [Annotator "John Nunn"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "1908.08.17"] [EventType "match"] [EventRounds "16"] [EventCountry "GER"] [Source "ChessBase"] {Attacks against the king are far more likely to succeed if there is a weakness in the pawn-shield in front of the king. It's sometimes tempting to drive annoying pieces away by pawn advances, for example ...h6 and g5 when White has a bishop at g5. However, even if there is no immedaite punishment, such advances create long-term weaknesses which permanently endanger the king and so have to be carefully judged, the basic rule is that if you're not sure, then you probably shouldn't do it. In ths game Tarrasch has the choice between playing ...g5 or allowing a queen check on h7. He makes the wrong decision and suffers the consequences.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 { Lasker didn't always play the Exchange Variation and this game follows the main line of the Closed Ruy Lopez.} Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 Na5 ({These days Black almost always plays} 8... O-O {because if White wants to create a stable pawn-centre then he has to play} 9. h3 (9. d4 Bg4 {is broadly satisfactory for Black.}) {with the possible continuation} 9... Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 {The problems with the move order adopted by Tarrasch is that in some lines White can save a tempo by missing out h3.}) 9. Bc2 c5 10. d4 Qc7 11. Nbd2 Nc6 12. h3 ({This transposes back into standard lines. If White wants to exploit Black's move order, he should try} 12. d5) ({or, best of all,} 12. a4 $1 {which inconviences Black as he has not yet castled and so cannot connect his rooks in one move.}) 12... O-O 13. Nf1 {Diagram [#]The general strategy of the Closed ruy Lopez revolves around White's ambition to keep his d4 and e4 pawn-centre intact. If he can achieve this without making any concessions, then he is virtually guaranteed at least a slight advantage. Lasker was well aware of this principle and in his games he often went to great lengths to avoid resolving the tension in the centre. However, this position is one in which it would have been better to commit the d-pawn, because allowing Black to capture on d4 promises more than equality. Nowadays, White almost always plays 13.d5, which is particularly favourable in this position since Black has to waste time with his knight.} cxd4 14. cxd4 Nxd4 15. Nxd4 exd4 {White cannot immmediately regain the pawn due to the undefended c2-bishop. Although Black will not be able to keep the pawn, White will have to spend time regaining it and this gives Black the chance to equalise.} 16. Bg5 h6 ({This move is not risky in itself but it might make it more awkward to defend against the possible Qd3 followed by e5 and Bxf6, since if Black also has to move his g-pawn then his kingside will be weakened . The simplest route to equality is } 16... Qc5 $1 17. Bh4 (17. Qd2 Nxe4 18. Bxe4 Bxg5 19. f4 d5 {is fine for Black.}) 17... Be6 18. Rc1 Qh5 {when the harrassing attack by the black queen gives White no time to pursue a kingside initiative.}) 17. Bh4 Qb6 18. Qd3 { Threatening an immediate win by 19.c5 followed by Bxf6, or the other way round. } g5 ({Tarrasch takes fright at White's threat and fends it off at the cost of a serious kingside weakness. Although an accurate followup would still have enabled him to equalise, this move is very risky. Instead, Black could have taken the sting out of White's threat with the simple reply} 18... Re8 {since it turns out that the check on h7 is only dangerous if it is mate, and by giving the king the flight-square f8, Black defends against the threat by playing a natural developing move. After} 19. Rad1 Be6 20. Bb1 Rac8 {Black completes his development with an equal position. While objectively there is not so much difference between 18. ...Rc8 and the move played, it's important to be practical at the board. Simple natural moves are generally better than complicated artificial ones. It's always good if you can achieve your aims with moves which also improve your position in other ways, for example, by furthering your development or by moving a piece to a better square, since if the game follows an inexpected course, the moves you have played would still come in useful.}) 19. Bg3 Be6 20. Rad1 {Diagram [#] } ({White could have forced a draw by} 20. e5 dxe5 21. Bxe5 Bc4 22. Qf5 Be6 23. Qd3 {but, not surprisingly, Lasker wants to continue the game. If Black does not develop counterplay quickly, his weakened kingside will prove a major handicap.}) 20... Rfc8 $2 ({Black belatedly frees f8 for his king, but he could have done this earlier without the weakening advance of his g-pawn. However, this move is now a mistake because such modest measures cannot fend off White's gathering attack. Instead, Black should have played the greedy} 20... Bxa2 {even though this looks absolutely suicidal. The logic is that at the moment White has no absolutely lethal threats snd so Black can take the chance to increase his material advantage, while at the same time preventing White from consolidating his position by playing Bb1, as occurred in the actual game. Black is walking along a knife edge but with perfect play he can maintain the balance. 1)} 21. Nd2 Rac8 22. Bb3 Bxb3 23. Nxb3 {(heading for d4 and then f5 so Black must act without delay)} Rfd8 24. Nxd4 d5 $1 25. exd5 (25. e5 Ne4 26. e6 fxe6 27. f3 Rc4 28. Be5 Bd6 29. Bxd6 Nxd6 30. Kh2 {is also roughly equal.}) 25... Nxd5 26. Re6 $1 Nf4 $1 27. Rxb6 Nxd3 28. Nf5 Bc5 29. Rxa6 {and the complications peter out to equality. 2)}) (20... Bxa2 21. b3 Rac8 22. e5 dxe5 (22... Rc3 $1 {allows the powerful queen sacrifice} 23. Qxc3 $1 dxc3 24. exf6 Bd8 25. Ne3) 23. Bxe5 Rc3 24. Qf5 Rd8 $1 25. Bxf6 Qxf6 26. Qh7+ (26. Rxe7 Qxf5 27. Bxf5 (27. Re8+) 27... Bxb3 28. Ra1 {is complicated, but three black pawns roughly balance White'sextra piece.} ) 26... Kf8 27. Ng3 Qg7 28. Qe4 Bc5 29. Nh5 Qh8 30. Qb7 Rxc2 31. Qc7 Ra8 32. Qb7 Rd8 {with a draw by repetition. We now return to 20. ...Rfc8?}) 21. Bb1 {This simple move causes Black real problems. White defends the a2-pawn and threatens to improve his position with Nd2 (to take the sting out of Bc4) and only then resume his attack with e5. Black has difficulties because his pieces are poorly placed to generate counterplay.} Nd7 ({Retreating the knight to f8 provides temporary relief, but there was no really satisfactory continuation.} 21... Rc6 22. e5 dxe5 23. Bxe5 Bc4 24. Qf3 Bd5 25. Qg3 Bc5 26. h4 {is very unpleasant for Black}) ({but heading for an ending by} 21... Bc4 22. Qxd4 Qxd4 23. Rxd4 {is clearly better for White in view of black's weak d-pawn and loose kingside. Then the attempt by Black to free his position with} d5 $6 24. exd5 Bc5 25. Rdd1 Bxd5 {doesn't help since} 26. Be5 Rc6 27. b3 $1 {(surprisingly threatening to win material by 28.Re2 when Black is unable to meet the threat of 29.Bxf6)} Re8 28. Bf5 Kf8 29. Ng3 {leaves Black in difficulties as his pieces are badly tangled up.}) 22. e5 Nf8 23. Qf3 $1 (23. Qf3 -- {A simple but strong continuation of the attack. The immediate threat is} 24. exd6 Bxd6 25. Qf6 {but in addition the queen is able to switch to an excellent post on h5.}) 23... d5 ({This is practically forced since} 23... dxe5 24. Bxe5 Rd8 25. Ng3 {followed by Nh5 gives White a winning attack.}) 24. Qh5 Kg7 25. f4 {Diagram [#]} ({Once given the chance, Lasker conducts his attack with great energy. Not worrying about the discovered xheck, he threatens to demolish Black's poition by advancing the pawn to f5.} 25. Nh2 Ng6 26. Ng4 Bxg4 27. Qxg4 Rc6 28. Kh1) 25... f5 $2 ({This is the equivalent to resignation, since now White can completely open up the kingside. The best defence would still have offerred Black slight chances of saving the game.} 25... d3+ 26. Kh1 ({but not} 26. Bf2 $2 Bc5 27. Bxc5 Qxc5+ 28. Kh1 Qc7 {and suddenly Black is able to defend.}) 26... Ng6 27. f5 $1 { (this sacrifice enables White to bring his knight to e3 with gain of tempo)} Bxf5 28. Ne3 Be6 29. Bxd3 Bc5 $2 (29... Rc7 {(defending the second rank and allowing the other rook to switch to the kingside.)} 30. Nf5+ Bxf5 31. Bxf5 Rf8 32. e6 Rc6 33. Rxd5 Bd6 34. Bxd6 Rxd6 35. Rxd6 Qxd6 36. Rd1 Qc7 37. Bxg6 fxg6 38. Qe2 Qf4 {and although the central passed pawn gives White a clear advantage, Black still has some chances of defending.}) 30. Nf5+ Bxf5 31. Bxf5 Rc6 32. e6 Rf8 33. h4 gxh4 34. Bxg6 fxg6 35. Qe5+ Rf6 36. Bxh4 Rcxe6 37. Bxf6+ Rxf6 38. Rf1 {with a winning position for White.}) 26. exf6+ Bxf6 27. fxg5 hxg5 28. Be5 {An absolutely lethal move, exchanging the main defender of Black's king and winning the pawn on g5.} d3+ 29. Kh1 Ng6 30. Qxg5 Bf7 31. Ng3 {Black could have given up here but he plays on to the bitter end.} Bxe5 32. Rxe5 Rh8 33. Bxd3 {White is material ahead and has an overwhelming attack.} Ra7 34. Rde1 Kf8 35. Bxg6 Qxg6 36. Qe3 Rc7 37. Nf5 Qc6 38. Qg5 1-0 [Event "St Petersburg prel"] [Site "St Petersburg"] [Date "1914.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Lasker, Emanuel"] [Black "Rubinstein, Akiba"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C82"] [Annotator "John Nunn"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "6k1/2pq2pp/1b2R3/1p1p4/3Pr3/4B2P/1P1Q1PP1/2R3K1 b - - 0 26"] [PlyCount "80"] [EventDate "1914.??.??"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "10"] [EventCountry "RUS"] [Source "ChessBase"] 26... Qxe6 {The position is dead equal, with the advantage of each side exactly balancing. White has a king-side pawn majority, but his chances of advancing it in the middlegame are slim because pushing the pawns would expose his king. Black's queenside majority is also of little value due to the backward c-pawn. Even if Black somehow manages to play ... c5 then he would be left with two isolated pawns. On balance, the pawn-structure slightly favours White, especially if he can exchange queens. On the other hand, Black's pieces are more active since he has pressure both along the e-file and against White's isolated d-pawn. In addition, Black has the more active bishop as White's minor piece is for the moment restricted to purely defensive duties. The next phase of the game shows Lasker adopting a typical manoeuvring strategy, teasing Black with threats which in themselves are not really significant, but which serve to wear the opponent down. He is also alert to any possibility to improve his position.} 27. Qd3 Qe8 ({Black faces a major decision about whether to play ...c6. This move would secure his other queenside pawns but the c-pawn itself would br more vulnerable to attack as it can no longer be defended by the bishop. Indeed, the immediate} 27... c6 {is satisfactory; for example} 28. Qc3 h6 29. Qxc6 Qxc6 30. Rxc6 Bxd4 {leads to a drawn rook and pawn ending. For the moment Rubinstein prefers to leave the pawn on c7, but objectively speaking, the position is level in either case.}) 28. Qc3 Kf7 29. Qd3 Kg8 30. Qc3 {Here we see another typical psychological ploy which was often used by another world champion, Tigran Petrosian. Lasker offers a repetition, perhaps to see if his opponent is playing for a win, or possibly to show who is in charge.} Qe6 {Rubinstein decides not to repeat but it makes little difference as the position remains equal.} 31. Ra1 Qe8 ({White would like to play f3 to expel the black rook from e4, but first he needs to defend his bishop by playing Re1. However, the immediate} 31... Qe8 32. Re1 { allows} Bxd4 {hence this move, providing an additional support for the rook if it moves to e1. This is an example of a teasing move; it may be that White will never get around to playing the Re1 and f3 plan, but by playing Kf1, Lasker forces Rubinstein to spend time and energy considering how to counter it.}) 32. Kf1 h6 33. Qd3 {Diagram [#]} ({It turns out that Re1 and f3 is not so dangerous after all since after} 33. Re1 Qe7 34. f3 Re6 {White will not be able to free himself without moving his bishop, but this allows a simplifying exchange of rooks which would benefit Black. Therefore White returns to his manouevres.}) 33... Kf7 34. Rc1 Kg8 {The position is virtually identical to that after Black's 27th move. White's first attempt led nowhere so now he tries something different.} 35. Qb3 {By attacking the pawns on b5 and d5, White forces Black to make a decision; either to play ... c6 or allow White to play f3.} Qf7 ({Black decides to allow f3.} 35... c6 36. Qc3 Re6 {was perhaps even safer, as Black is now free to manouevre his bishop to a more appropriate square, while his rook and queen can adequately defend the backward c-pawn.}) 36. Rd1 ({The immediate} 36. f3 {can be answered by} Bxd4 {so first of all White must reinforce his d-pawn.}) 36... c6 {Black ends up making a small concession in that he both plays ... c6 and allows White to play f3. The amount of progress Lasker has made can only be detected with a microscope, but the feeling that the game is slowly tipping in White's favour can have considerable pschological impact..} 37. f3 Qf6 38. Qd3 ({White would like to retreat his bishop to the safe square f2, but he must take care as the immediate} 38. Bf2 $2 {loses a pawn after} Bxd4) 38... Re7 39. Bf2 Qd6 40. Qc2 {Diagram [#]} Kf7 $5 ({This slightly casual move allows White to make another small step forward.} 40... Qh2 $4 {is impossible due to} 41. Qxc6 {but the cautious 40. ...Qf6 would have maintained the balance.}) 41. Rc1 Re6 42. Qf5+ { White would like to exchange queens as then the king can come to d3, freeing the bishop from the defence of the d-pawn. Moreover, without queens his kingside majority which at one time seemed a purely theoretical asset, might start to play a significant role in the game.} Rf6 (42... Kg8 $6 43. Bg3 {is unpleasant for Black, while}) (42... Ke7 43. Bh4+ g5 44. Qh7+ Ke8 45. Bf2 { although not leading to an immediate disaster, looks distinctly uncomfortable.} ) 43. Qe5 Re6 ({There is nothing better because} 43... Qd7 44. Bg3 {followed by manoeuvring the bishop to e5, is also awkward for Black.}) 44. Qxd6 Rxd6 45. Ke2 {Diagram [#]There is no doubt that Black should draw this position since White's advantage is still very small, but once a position starts to go downhill it's a process which often acquires its own momentum.} Ke7 ({It's hard for Black to decide what to do with his king. Rubinstein intends to free his rook by defending the c-pawn with his king, but there's a case for keeping the king on the kingside in order to counter the advance of White's pawns. The plan might run} 45... Rg6 46. g3 Re6+ 47. Kd3 Kf6 48. f4 g5 49. Be3 Kg6 { and White is not making any progress.}) 46. Kd3 Rg6 47. g3 Rf6 48. f4 Kd7 49. Re1 Rf8 50. Ra1 h5 $6 ({This passive move makes White's advantage a little more concrete. His basic plan is to play Be3 followed by g4, setting the kingside pawns in motion. This could have been countered by} 50... g5 51. Be3 Bc7 52. fxg5 hxg5 {after which Black's pieces display considerable activity: for example, after} 53. Ra7 Kc8 54. Ra8+ Bb8 55. Bxg5 Kb7 56. Ra3 Bxg3 {White has no advantage at all.}) 51. Be3 g6 52. Rf1 Kd6 ({Black seems committed to keeping his king on the d-file, or he might have considered holding up White's kinside pawns by} 52... Ke6 53. g4 Bc7 {after which it is hard to see how White can make progress, for example, the tactical line} 54. f5+ gxf5 55. Bh6 Rg8 56. gxf5+ Kf6 57. h4 Rg3+ 58. Ke2 Rb3 {gives White no more than equality.}) 53. g4 hxg4 54. hxg4 {A critical moment, since now White threatened to increase his advantage by Rh1, followed by the penetration of his rook to h6 or h7.} c5 ({A terrible misjudgement by a player considered one of the greatest endgame artists of all time. Rubinstein finally gives way to the temptation to play an active move, but at the worst possible moment since the resulting liquidation gives White a winning rook ending. Black could still have held the game with a little care; for example, the simple} 54... Rh8 { prevents White from occupying the h-file and after} 55. f5 gxf5 56. Rxf5 Bd8 { Black faces no real difficulties.}) 55. dxc5+ Bxc5 56. Bxc5+ Kxc5 57. f5 gxf5 58. gxf5 {White's kingside majority has created a passed pawn, and in an especially favourable form since his rook is perfectly placed behind the pawn.} Rf6 ({White also wins after} 58... Kd6 59. f6 Rf7 60. Kd4 Ke6 61. Re1+ Kd6 62. Ra1) 59. Rf4 {Black is now in zugswang and must make a concession by either allowing the pawn to advance further or by giving the white king access to either d4 or e4.} b4 (59... d4 60. Ke4 Rd6 61. Rf3 Kc4 62. f6 $1 Re6+ (62... d3 63. f7 {is decisive after} d2 ({or} 63... Rd4+ 64. Ke5 d2 65. f8=Q Rd5+ 66. Ke6 d1=Q 67. Rc3+) 64. f8=Q d1=Q 65. Qc8+) 63. Kf5 Re3 (63... Re8 64. f7 Rf8 65. b3+ Kb4 66. Ke6 {also wins for White.}) 64. Rf4 Re8 65. f7 Rf8 66. Ke6 b4 67. Ke7 Ra8 68. f8=Q Rxf8 69. Rxf8 Kd3 70. Kd6 Kc2 71. Rf2+ {with a straightforward win.}) ({After} 59... Kd6 60. Kd4 {White wins much as in the game.}) 60. b3 Rf7 61. f6 Kd6 62. Kd4 Ke6 63. Rf2 Kd6 {Diagram [#]} ({After} 63... Rxf6 64. Rxf6+ Kxf6 {White wins by} 65. Kxd5 Ke7 66. Kc4 Kd6 67. Kxb4 Kc6 68. Ka5) 64. Ra2 $1 {This neat finesses is decisive, since taking the f6-pawn leads to a lost king and pawn ending, while otherwise Black loses material.} Rc7 65. Ra6+ Kd7 66. Rb6 ({The finish might be} 66. Rb6 Rc3 67. Rxb4 Rf3 68. Ke5 Rd3 69. Rb8 Rf3 70. f7 Ke7 71. f8=Q+ {with a simple win for White.}) 1-0