27 Years as World Champion!

27 Years as World Champion!

| 46 | Chess Players

Emanuel Lasker was born on December 24, 1868 at Berlinchen, son of a Jewish cantor. At the age of eleven he was sent to Berlin to study mathematics, where he lived with his brother Berthold Lasker eight years his senior, who taught him how to play chess.


In 1894 he became the second World Chess Champion by defeating Steinitz. He maintained this title for 27 years, the longest unbroken tenure of any officially recognized World Champion of chess.


After the match some commentators, notably Tarrasch, said Lasker had won mainly because Steinitz was old (58 in 1894). Emanuel Lasker answered these criticisms by creating an even more impressive playing record. Among his successes were third place at Hastings 1895 (where he may have been suffering from the after-effects of typhoid fever), a tie for second at Cambridge Springs 1904, and a tie for first at the Chigorin Memorial in St Petersburg 1909. He won first prizes at very strong tournaments in St Petersburg (1895–1896), Nuremberg (1896), London (1899), Paris (1900) and St Petersburg (1914), where he overcame a 1½ point deficit to finish ahead of the rising stars, Capablanca and Alexander Alekhine, who later became the next two World Champions.


The rematch for the world championship was in Moscow in 1896. Lasker beat Steinitz with a score of ten wins to two with five draws. Lasker’s excellent result left no doubt as to who was world champion.


In the first match Steinitz had previously declared he would win without doubt, so it came as a shock when Lasker won the first game. Steinitz responded by winning the second, and was able to maintain the balance through the sixth game. However, Lasker won all the games from the seventh to the eleventh, and Steinitz asked for a week's rest. When the match resumed, Steinitz looked in better shape and won the 13th and 14th games. Lasker struck back in the 15th and 16th, Hence Lasker won convincingly with ten wins, five losses and four draws.


In Havana 1921 he lost his title to Capablanca, 0-4 with 10 draws.

Lasker founded no school of players who played in a similar style. (Max Euwe), World Champion 1935–37 and a prolific writer of chess manuals, who had a lifetime 0–3, score against Lasker, said, "It is not possible to learn much from him. One can only stand and wonder. However Lasker's pragmatic, combative approach had a great influence on Soviet players like Mikhail Tal and Viktor Korchnoi."


Lasker’s winning percentage in WC match play is the highest of any World Champion: 66%.  He won 52, drew 44 and lost 16 games and scored 74 points in 112 games.  He defended his Chess World Championship title 7 times in the twenty seven years he was World Champion.  His historically-extrapollated peak ELO rating is 2720.


Lasker was also a mathematician. In his 1905 article on commutative algebra, Lasker introduced the theory of primary decomposition of ideals, which has influence in the theory of Noetherian rings. Rings having the primary decomposition property are called "Laskerian rings" in his honor.


He was also a philosopher, and a good friend of Albert Einstein. Later in life he became an ardent humanitarian, and wrote passionately about the need for inspiring and structured education for the stabilization and security of mankind.


In October 1928, Emanuel Lasker's brother Berthold Lasker died. The poet Else Lasker-Schuler was his sister-in-law. In 1911 Lasker married Martha Kohn. They stayed together until Martha's death in 1939.


Emanuel Lasker died, in the Mount Sinai Hospital New York on January 11, 1941 at the age of 72.


On May 6, 2008, Dr. Lasker was among the first 40 German sportsmen to be elected into the "Sports Hall of Fame."


Here is what some other chess legends had to say about him:

“The greatest of the champions was, of course, Emanuel Lasker” Mikhail Tal.

“The idea of chess art is unthinkable without Emanuel Lasker” Alexander Alekhine.

“My chess Hero” Victor Korchnoi.


And here are some gems of his chessplay:













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