The Ruy Lopez with Black (in the hands of the Great Masters), Part II

The Ruy Lopez with Black (in the hands of the Great Masters), Part II

Jan 27, 2018, 3:23 AM |

In this second part of the article, we examine games by Lasker and Schlechter, two great  Masters!


Note: My apologies for having the audacity to annotate some of these games....they are commented by great Masters in books, but I was tired of not completing the upload of all the games I had selected for this blog, so two weeks ago, a day or two before traveling to Iceland, I decided to complete the uploads. It was easy and quick to put my own comments as I went along, while publishing the comments from books would take hours for each game! Hopefully in the next few weeks I will be able to publish the appropriate comments to these games!- Kamalakanta Nieves, March 6, 2018


In the next game, Lasker produces a masterpiece! First he wrests the initiative from Marshall's hands, transitions into a slightly better endgame, and proceeds to outplay Marshall!


                                                                  Frank Marshall


The next game is the 2nd game from the World Championship Match between Tarrasch and Lasker in 1908. Tarrasch plays a good maneuver that Lasker was not familiar with, and gets a slight advantage out of the opening. However, he goes for the gain of a distant pawn (at a7) and loses precious tempos. This is enough to allow Lasker to build a serious initiative, and from then on Lasker's iron-hand keeps a powerful clamp on White's position.


                                                            Siegbert Tarrasch


The next game is very instructive. Lasker's play reminds me of the games of Soviet Masters of the 20th Century! The way he methodically goes after his positional goals is really something to learn from! Of course, the Soviet Masters learned from him, and other Masters of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, such as Morphy, Chigorin, Zukertort, Steinitz, Rubinstein, Capablanca, Alekhine and many others!


The next game is a casual game between Janowski and Lasker. Lasker shows his nerves of steel in defense, and Janowski weakens his own Kingside by advancing with g4....after that, Lasker is merciless!



The next game was played in the great St. Petersburg Torunament of 1914. In this game Lasker (Black) gives Alekhine a chess Master Class. The game is a masterpiece! Years later, Alekhine stated that "Lasker was my teacher, and without him I could not have become whom I became. The idea of chess art is unthinkable without Emmanuel Lasker."



The next game is played by one of the Great Masters, Carl Schlechter!





Carl Adalbert Hermann Schlechter was born in Vienna, Austria in 1874.(1) He learned the rules of chess when about 13 years old,(1) probably under the influence of problem composer Samuel Gold.(1),(2) Schlechter visited a business school (Handelsschule) and worked for a short time, before concentrating on chess.(1). Berthold Englisch recognized his talent and introduced him to the Viennese chess life in 1892.(1)

Tournaments prior to World War I

Already in early 1893, Schlechter won a tournament in Vienna ahead of Georg Marco. (3) He further established himself among Vienna's strongest players with a shared 3rd place in the Winter tournament 1893/1894.(4) At 9th DSB Kongress, Leipzig (1894) he finished only 11th out of 18. In 1895, he finsihed only 3rd in the Vienna Championship,(5) but put up a solid performance at the great Hastings (1895) tournament with place 9/22 and a win over the tournament winner Harry Nelson Pillsbury in their individual encounter. The year 1896 was busy and successful for him, as it began with a shared 1st place at the Vienna Championship 1896,(6) followed by a second place in the Vienna Chess Club tournament.(7) After a good +3 score at the great Nuremberg (1896) tournament, Schlechter finished equal fourth at Budapest (1896). In November 1896, he came in 2nd in a Vienna tournament behind David Janowski, but ahead of Simon Winawer and Jacques Mieses .(8) Schlechter dominated the Vienna tournament 1897 (9) and had a solid result at Berlin (1897). The year 1898 began with a slightly disappointing result at the Vienna Chess Club tournament,(10) but then he came in 5th at Vienna (1898) and shared 6th place at 11th DSB Kongress, Cologne (1898). The strong London (1899) tournament saw him coming in 5th again.

Schlechter shared 2nd place at the second Kolisch Memorial in Vienna (1899/1900).(11) At Paris (1900) he shared 7th place, but he followed up with a shared 1st place at Munich (1900) drawing Pillsbury in the final tie-break match (+1 -1 =2). He dominated the Master Group of the Vienna Winter tournament 1900.(12). This was followed in 1901 by a 2nd place at Monte Carlo (1901). One year later, he had to satisfy himself with a shared 5th place at Monte Carlo (1902) and a 50% score in a Vienna tournament (13) though. After a 4th place at Monte Carlo (1903), Schlechter disappointed at Vienna (1903). The King's Gambit Accepted tournament at Vienna 1903, was also not a success for him.(14) Despite these discouraging results, Schlechter had a good year 1904. Unbeaten, he came in 2nd at Monte Carlo (1904), followed by a shared 6th place at Cambridge Springs (1904). In the USA, he also competed successfully in a team match.(15) Schlechter shared 1st place at Coburg (Meisterturnier) (1904) before winning the Vienna (1904) King's Gambit Declined tournament, which extended into 1905. The year 1905 continued to be a successful one for Schlechter with his triumph at the Austro-Hungarian Championship in Vienna,(16) followed by a 4th place at Ostend (1905) and a shared 4th place at the Barmen Meisterturnier A (1905). Schlechter did not slow down and turned 1906 into a banner year for him. First, he shared 1st place at Stockholm (1906) together with Dr. Ossip Bernstein. He then went on to win the huge Ostende 1906 tournament,(17) followed by 3rd place at Stockholm (1906). Schlechter only reached 6th place at 1st Trebitsch Memorial (1907). This was followed by a 2nd place at Ostend (Championship) (1907) and a shared 2nd place at Copenhagen (1907). The strong Karlsbad (1907) tournament saw him sharing 4th place together with Aron Nimzowitsch. 1908 turned out to be another banner year for Schlechter, who shared 1st place at Vienna (1908) together with Geza Maroczy and Oldrich Duras, and shared 1st place again with Duras at Prague (1908). The great St. Petersburg (1909) tournament was a disappointment for him, but the next year he won Hamburg (1910).

Schlechter continued successfully by sharing 1st place at the 3rd Trebitsch Memorial in Vienna, 1910 to 1911, together with Rudolf Spielmann. (18) He suffered a slight setback at San Sebastian (1911) with a shared 5th place, but bounced back by sharing 2nd place at Karlsbad (1911) together with Akiba Rubinstein. In 1912, he started successfully with a win at the 4th Trebitsch Memorial in Vienna,(19) but only shared 8th place at San Sebastian (1912). He recovered and shared 4th place at Bad Pistyan (1912), and shared 1st place at the Budapest (1912) Queen's Gambit Declined tournament with Frank James Marshall. (20) He shared 4th place again at the 18th DSB Kongress (1912) in Breslau (today Wrocław). After a disappointing Club tournament in Vienna,(21) he went on to win the 5th Trebitsch Memorial in Vienna (1913).(22) At Baden-bei-Wien (1914) he came in 3rd but remained undefeated, and he won the 6th Trebitsch Memorial in Vienna (1914).(23)

World Chess Championship Challenger

In 1908, he challenged Dr. Emanuel Lasker for a WC match in 1909,(24) considering his contemporaneous tournament successes. Yet, he had to wait another year before Lasker - Schlechter World Championship Match (1910), wherein he came within a whisker of winning the title of World Chess Champion: going into the final game leading by one point, he disdained a possible draw and ultimately lost. The drawn match meant that Lasker retained his crown.


In match play, he drew Marco in the spring of 1893 in a 10-game match at the age of 19.(25) In 1894, he drew matches against Marco (+4 -4 =3),(25) and Adolf Julius Zinkl (+4 -4 =3),(26) which were part of a tournament won by Marco ahead of Schlechter.(27) In 1896, Schlechter drew a 7-games match against David Janowski, (28) and in 1899 he drew a 6-games match against Semion Alapin. (29) In Carlsbad, June 1902, Schlechter clearly defeated Janowski in a match by the score of +6 -1 =3.(30) Shortly afterward in 1902, he allegedly played an 8-games match against Samuel Mikulka in Olomouc, but the final score is not known.(31) He beat the young Richard Reti in a short casual match in Vienna in 1903,(32) and played a short match against Richard Teichmann in 1904 of which the score was +1 -1 =1, but possibly a 4th game was played.(33) In 1909, Schlechter lost a blindfold match against Mieses in Stuttgart by +0 -2 =1.(34) He drew Siegbert Tarrasch in Tarrasch - Schlechter (1911). At the beginning of 1918, Schlechter lost the match Rubinstein - Schlechter (1918).

Final Years

The outbreak of World War I put an end to international tournament play for the duration. In 1915, Schlechter convincingly won the 7th Trebitsch Memorial in Vienna.(35) In 1918, Schlechter competed again internationally with a second-place finish at Berlin Four Masters (1918) and a 3rd place at Berlin Grandmasters (1918). He played one further tournament in Budapest. The Budapest Chess Club arranged a Simul for him, but a few days after it, he had to be admitted to the local Rochus hospital.(36) There he died on December 27, 1918.(36) Possible causes of his death are a lung disease aggravated by lack of proper nutrition, tuberculosis, pneumonia and the Spanish flu epidemic.(37)

Literary works

Schlechter authored Die Budapester Verteidigung des Damengambits: eine theoretische Studie (Bernhard Kagan, 1918) on the Budapest Gambit, and Das angenommene Königsgambit (Bernhard Kagan, 1918) on the King's Gambit Accepted. Marco and Schlechter edited the Karlsbad 1907 tournament book (Das Internationale Schachmeisterturnier in Karlsbad 1907, Verlag der Wiener Schachzeitung, 1911). He was co-editor of the Deutsche Schachzeitung from 1899 to 1916 together with Johann Nepomuk Berger. He also edited the 8th and last edition of Paul Rudolf von Bilguer 's and Baron Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa 's Handbuch des Schachspiels (Veit & Comp., 1912 to 1916).

Chess Compositions

Schlechter also distinguished himself as a problem composer.(38) Two examples, Ergo bibamus and Honor et Patria, can be found here Carl Schlechter (kibitz #378).

Contemporary judgement

"By the death of Carl Schlechter at the early age of forty-four, chess has been deprived of one of the most distinguished exponents it has ever known. He had, of all the great masters, the most artistic temperament; that is to say, there is a sense of imagination and ideality in his play, which is found elsewhere only in Morphy, and possibly in Frank Marshall at his best. This undoubtedly gave that peculiar quality to Schlechter’s practice which earned for him the familiar sobriquet by which he was known to the chess world; for it is often evident he has chosen a drawn, rather than a victory, when the mode of obtaining it has gratified his instinct of perfection. At the same time, his genius in defence has never been equalled, and his record of only two losses in 100 successive tournament games will stand unshaken for many a year to come. This, however, was only one side of his strength. On the other side was a power of attack and combination, when he let himself go, from which no one could escape, and that produced game; ranking for brilliancy and beauty amongst the classics of chess. His bid for the World’s Championship proved him at least the equal of Lasker, and, but for one misjudged move, would have given him absolutely the premier title. His gifts as an analyst were no less conspicuous, and there is no opening which, alike in attack and defence, does not give evidence of his amending skill. His modest and unassuming character made him a general favourite, and there is no one will be more missed by the present generation of chess players than the famous 'drawing master of Vienna.'" (39)


(1) Weiß, Stefan, „Schlechter, Carl Adalbert Hermann“, in: Neue Deutsche Biographie 23 (2007), S. 33-34 (Onlinefassung); URL:

(2) According to Wikipedia article: Samuel Gold citing " Verkhovsky, Leonid Solomonovich (1984). Karl Schlechter. Fizkultura i sport. pp. 7 (Russian edition)", Gold was Schlechter's teacher in Vienna from 1887 onward.

(3) Rod Edwards,

(4) Rod Edwards,

(5) Rod Edwards,

(6) Rod Edwards,

(7) Rod Edwards,

(8) Rod Edwards,

(9) Rod Edwards,

(10) Rod Edwards,

(11) Rod Edwards,

(12) Rod Edwards,

(13) Rod Edwards,

(14) Rod Edwards,

(15) Rod Edwards,

(16) Rod Edwards,

(17) Rod Edwards,

(18) Wiener Schachzeitung, February 1911, pp. 43-44. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek". See Carl Schlechter (kibitz #370) for details.

(19) Rod Edwards,

(20) Rod Edwards,

(21) Rod Edwards,

(22) Rod Edwards,

(23) Wiener Schachzeitung, September-November 1914, pp. 216-217. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek". See Carl Schlechter (kibitz #361) for details.

(24) Wiener Schachzeitung, December 1908, p. 376. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"

(25) Neue Wiener Schachzeitung, December 1923, p. 328. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"

(26) Österreichische Schachrundschau, March 1922, issue 3, p. 21. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"

(27) See source (25). Marco beat Zinkl (+5 -2 =1), and so won the tournament ahead of Schechter, with Zinkl on 3rd place.

(28) Rod Edwards,

(29) Rod Edwards,

(30) Wiener Schachzeitung, July-August 1902, pp. 146-157. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"

(31) Quarterly for Chess History, #7, 2001, pp. 535-537. Provided in Carl Schlechter (kibitz #278)

(32) Edward Winter, The Réti Brothers,

(33) Rod Edwards,

(34) Wiener Schachzeitung, February 1909, p. 55. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"

(35) Wiener Schachzeitung, November-December 1915, pp. 246-247. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek". See Carl Schlechter (kibitz #360) for details.

(36) Pester Lloyd, 1918.12.28, p. 15. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"

(37) Warren H. Goldman, Carl Schlechter! Life and Times of the Austrian Chess Wizard' (Yorklyn, 1994), pp. 45-50

(38) Theodor Gerbec, Wiener Schachzeitung, December 1928, pp. 370-371. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"

(39) Illustrated London News, Saturday 15th March 1919, p.26.


Wikipedia article: Carl Schlechter


The following game was played when Schlechter was only 23 years old, 12 years before playing

(and almost winning!) a WC match against Emmanuel Lasker!

What strikes the eye upon replaying this game is the extreme accuracy of his tactics, coupled with a deep sense of position. In that sense, he reminds me of Smyslov!



 In the next game, Schlechter makes Marco look silly, right from the opening. In the final position Marco resigns, totally demoralized and helpless!




                                                                   Georg Marco




In this next game against Janowski, Schlechter again shows his class. The precision of his maeuvers, and the timinng of his tactical sequences, is impeccable!



The next game is from the Vienna Tournament in 1908. Schlechter was reaching the height of his powers, as in 1909 he would tie Lasker in a match for the World Championship! Tartakower was only 21 years old at the time this game was played. Tartakower uses an inferior version of the Exchange Variation, and Schlechter shows him why it is so!




                                                         Savielly Tartakower


Savielly Grigoriewitsch Tartakower was born in Russia and moved to Vienna at age 17. He became a doctor of law in 1909, but he never became a practicing lawyer(1). During World War I, he served in the Austro-Hungarian army. In 1918, after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of World War I, he became a Polish citizen (although he did not speak Polish) and moved to Paris. He became a French citizen after World War II.

He won Vienna (1923), Hastings (1926/27), London (1927) (shared with Aron Nimzowitsch), Hastings (1927/28), Scarborough (1929) (shared with Harold Saunders), Liege (1930), and Hastings (1945/46). He also won the Polish championship twice (1935 and 1937) and the French championship at age 63, in 1950. In the 1930s Tartakower represented Poland in six chess olympiads, and France in 1950, winning three individual medals (gold in 1931 and bronze in 1933 and 1935), as well as five team medals (gold in 1930, two silver in 1931 and 1939, and two bronze in 1935 and 1937).

Tartakower is regarded as one of the founders of the Hypermodern School of Chess, alongside Richard Reti, Nimzowitsch, and the lesser-known Gyula Breyer. He wrote many books, including The Hypermodern Game of Chess, and Modern Chess Strategy. He has made many impressions on modern opening theory; his name is attached to variations in the Caro-Kann Defense, the French Defense, the Dutch Defense, the Scotch Game, the Sicilian Defense, the Queen's Gambit Declined, and the Torre Attack, and he created the Polish Opening, a.k.a. the Orangutan Opening, 1.b4. He is also one of the 27 original grandmasters that were appointed by FIDE in 1950.

During World War II, he served in the Free French Army under General Charles de Gaulle. His French colleagues found his name too difficult to pronounce, so he changed it to Lieutenant Dr. Georges Cartier.

Tartakower was a prolific writer. In addition to chess books, he also wrote a screenplay and a collection of poems. He worked for more than 30 chess magazines in multiple countries and his newspaper correspondence appeared in 11 languages.(1)

Tartakower is also remembered by his sense of humor and his speaking ability. One of his most famous maxims is "The winner of a game is the one who has made the next to last blunder".

Wikipedia article: Savielly Tartakower

(1) "Café Central and the Life and Times of Savielly Tartakower (1887-1956)" by Genna Sosonko. New In Chess 2010, No.6, pp 38-45.


The next game, against Tarrasch, is a battle of heavyweights! Tarrasch was still very strong, and so was Schlechter! Let us see:
                                                              Siegbert Tarrasch

Siegbert Tarrasch was born in Breslau. At 15, he learned the game of chess, and he shot to prominence quickly, winning four consecutive international tournaments: Breslau (1889), Manchester in 1890 (, Dresden (1892), and 9th DSB Kongress, Leipzig (1894). He also won the Monte Carlo (1903) tournament. After Tarrasch's compatriot Emanuel Lasker won the World Championship, the two agreed to terms for a match to take place in autumn of 1904, but the negotiations collapsed after Tarrasch requested a postponement. A Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship Match (1908) eventually took place, but by then Tarrasch was aged forty-six and he was defeated by the score of +3 -8 =5. Tarrasch was held in high regard throughout his career for his contributions to opening theory. Tarrasch was an editor for Deutsche Schachzeitung, and also published his own Tarrasch's Schachzeitung (1932-1934) and the books Dreihundert Schachpartien (1895), Die moderne Schachpartie (1912), and Das Schachspiel (1931).

Lines from both the Queen's Gambit and the French Defense are named after him. He is known for guidelines in rook endings that rooks generally serve their best purpose behind passed pawns. Many of his theories on the principles of mobility and other aspects of positional play still stand as well, and today guide players of all levels of ability.



The following game is the first of two from 1914, the year WWI started! Schlechter plays a masterly game.....Reti's best years were yet to come!




                                                                    Richard Reti


Richard Réti was born in 1889 in Bösing (now Pezinok, Slovakia) which at the time was in the Hungarian part of Austria-Hungary.

Early career

At the age of 12, he had already submitted a chess problem to the chess column in Über Land und Meer run by Hermann von Gottschall. Von Gottschall advised him to continue working on his chess. In 1903, the then 13-year old Réti was introduced to Carl Schlechter who remarked "for his age, this is certainly exceptional".(RR) He went on to fare well at the 2nd Hungarian National tournament in Székesfehérvár, 1907.(Edo) Réti's interest in chess was dampened following some disappointing tournament results, although he won smaller events in Vienna 1909 and the 2nd Trebitsch Memorial in 1910.(Edo) His main interests then became mathematics and, to some extent, physics. He was about to finish his doctorate when World War I broke out. Réti was assigned to clerical work due to his "somewhat weak constitution".(RR)

A turn of life

In 1918, he won the strong Kaschau (Košice) tournament. But he still viewed chess mostly as a hobby. He had planned to finish his doctorate in mathematics at the University of Vienna. He carried his doctoral thesis around in a small booklet, which he lost and never recovered. This drove him near suicide as he later confided to his older brother Rudolph.(RR) At that time, Richard received an invitation to go to the Netherlands as a Chess Master in Residence. He accepted the invitation, and decided to pursue a chess career instead of becoming a scholar. Regarding this decision, Rudolph said, "It haunted him throughout his life, and he never found a definite answer to it."(RR)

Tournament successes

Réti won 1st prize in the strong Gothenburg (1920) tournament. He confirmed his status as one of the top players in the world during the early 20th century by winning Teplitz-Schönau 1922.(TS) He came in 2nd at Maehrisch-Ostrau (1923) and Vienna (1923). Réti also won the Dr. Körner tournament (Hakoah, Vienna) in 1928.(WSZ28).

Theory and Practice

He worked to found hypermodernism, along with Aron Nimzowitsch and Savielly Tartakower. The Réti Opening (1.♘f3 d5 2.c4) has become a staple of grandmaster play. With this opening system, Réti famously defeated then reigning world champion Capablanca in Reti vs Capablanca, 1924 in New York (1924), the Cuban's first loss in eight years and first as world champion. Réti authored two books, Modern Ideas In Chess (Die neuen Ideen im Schachspiel, 1922) in 1923 and Masters Of The Chess Board (Die Meister des Schachbretts, 1930), published posthumously in 1933.

Réti died from scarlet fever a week after turning forty.



In the next game, also from 1914, Schlechter again demoralizes Georg Marco so much, he resigns right after the opening!




And that, my dear chess-lover friends, concludes this two-part blog post about the Ruy Lopez with black in the hands of the Great Masters!