Lasker-Levenfish, Moscow 1936: Nothing Opening to Lively Middlegame

Lasker-Levenfish, Moscow 1936: Nothing Opening to Lively Middlegame

NM GreenLaser
Mar 5, 2011, 12:00 AM |
6 | Chess Players

The old World Champion Emanuel Lasker, who was born in 1868, was playing the merely mature Grigory Levenfish, who was born in 1889, at Moscow 1936. This event had 10 players who met in a double round robin. Lasker and Levenfish were playing in the 17th round, which was the next to last. It may have seemed a good time for Lasker to take it easy and he appears to have made the opening easy for Levenfish. Levenfish was to become Soviet Champion the next year for the second time and also draw a thirteen game match with Botvinnik. The nothing opening was to develop into a difficult middle game in which Lasker showed he could still be dangerous against a talented opponent.
Lasker was no longer able to score near the top, but he could still compete with the rest of the field. The result was Capablanca 13, Botvinnik 12, Flohr 9.5, Lilienthal 9, Ragozin 8.5, Lasker 8, Levenfish 7.5, Eliskases 7.5, Kan 7.5, Riumin 7.5. Even though Lasker scored below 50%, it should be noted that from third to tenth places the difference among the players was two points. The first two places simply stood apart.
The opening was a Closed Sicilian which reached a position that has hardly been played, and there are hardly any game references. Levenfish had no opening problems to solve. In the middle game both players had problems.  In my notes, with a little help from Rellstab, I show how the play could have been different. Over-the- board both players had to consider not only the moves they played, but many moves they did not play.

 

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