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Emanuel Lasker: The 3 motifs of a combination.

Mar 3, 2008, 12:00 AM 10 Middlegame

Many consider Emanuel Lasker to be the greatest chess player in modern times. Certainly no man has held the world championship longer - 28 years or kept his powers so long. In Lasker's "Manual of Chess" He reveals his vast knowledge.

Motifs of a Combination:

1. Motif of encircling

Where there is superior force at  a given point and immobility within the defenders ranks a combination should be present.

2. Motif of geometry

This motif can be deduced from the chessboard that it has a finite number of squares and the movements of the pieces are predictable. I will now hand it over to Lasker:

"Here the Black King and Queen are on the same diagonal and the Black Queen is unprotected. Can White take advantage of this situation? That is possible only by giving Check upon that diagonal. But how can this be done? Because the King could capture the White Queen if it checked on the diagonal, namely Qa3. But it is impossible? Thus do one's thoughts work and the winning combination is discovered."

3. Motif of function

"The power, the domain of force of a piece is decreased as soon as that piece has a certain task to do. A task or multitude of tasks, such as, for instance, to obstruct a Rook or to parry the threat of a mate, if to be done by a certain piece, may be called the "function" of that piece...By studying the various functions of the hostile pieces and the effects these functions have we discover new motifs for combinations."

"Black's Pawn on g7 has the task of guarding the Rook Pawn as well as the forking check of the White Knight threatened on f6. Therefore White wins an important Pawn by 1. Qxh6. The Black Knight Pawn cannot successfully perform both his tasks."

Looking back from Lasker's perspective of combinations really shows us that it was no accident that he became the world champion for an astonishing 28 years and that his academic approach to theory is one that is to be admired.

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