Emanuel Lasker and his influence on chess...


Influence on chess

Lasker founded no school of players who used a similar approach to the game. Max Euwe, world champion 1935-1937 and a prolific writer of chess manuals, said, "It is not possible to learn much from him. One can only stand and wonder."

There are several "Lasker Variations" in the chess openings, including Lasker's Defense to the Queen's Gambit, Lasker's Defense to the Evans Gambit (which effectively ended the use of this gambit in tournament play), and the Lasker Variation in the MacCutcheon Variation of the French Defense.

One of Lasker's most famous games is Lasker - Bauer, Amsterdam, 1889, in which he sacrificed both bishops in a maneuver later repeated in a number of games. Similar sacrifices had already been played by Cecil Valentine De Vere and John Owen, but these were not in major events and Lasker probably had not seen them.

Lasker's high financial demands and his demand to own the copyright in his games initially angered editors and other players, but helped to pave the way for the rise of full-time chess professionals who earn most of their living from playing, writing and teaching. Copyright in chess games had been contentious at least as far back as the mid-1840s, and Steinitz and Lasker vigorously asserted that players should own the copyright and wrote copyright clauses into their match contracts. However his demands that challengers should raise large purses prevented or delayed some eagerly-awaited world championship matches, and this problem continued throughout the reign of his successor Capablanca.

Some of the controversial conditions that Lasker insisted on for championship matches led Capablanca to attempt twice (1914 and 1922) to publish rules for such matches, to which other top players readily agreed.