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Lasker Letter (NY Tournament 1927) Part 3

May 12, 2008, 2:20 PM 0


The Emanuel Lasker Affair

Lasker's Version, Part Three


From: Emanuel Lasker

To: Various Newspapers and Organizations

Date: April or May [?], 1927

[Continued from Part 2]


As to the division of an expected surplus each of the masters was informed of it in writing by a scrap of paper. Press articles of that time exist which mention the promise and no doubt give further particulars. That the division should be in equal parts, as Mr. Lederer has the front to assert, is unreasonable. If a master of a prize fund of $4,500 gets $1,500 he would naturally, if the prize fund is increased to $6,000, get $2,000 of it. The Committee, after making that promise, paid out a considerable sum to Mr. Yates and a lesser amount to Mr. Janowski and possibly also to other masters from motives of generosity, as I learnt privately.

But the Committee has been very parsimonious with the news on this matter. It has published no specified account, nor made known to me, as Mr. Lederer falsely asserts nor mentioned its promise in the book of the Tourney. Let the Committee speak definitely and give a detailed account of its generous gifts with dates attached. It is wrong to be generous with pledged money, of course. As to the clock incident, Mr. Lederer contradicts the statement of the Committee of January 26th. There it was stated, Lasker forgot to stop his clock after one of his moves.Now he says, Mr. Lasker did not properly push the lever ofhis clock with the result that for about eight minutes both his and his opponent s clock wererunning simultaneously.Since my opponents clock ran, I did push the lever properly; a chess clock, the two sides of which can run simultaneously, is defective. A chess clock must be so constructed that only one of its sides runs, else it is no good. What happened was that I noticed after my 30th move, when according to our timing piece the total time consumed was nearly four hours that the expected signal for adjournment was not given; I looked round saw all the masters in deep thought and discovered that we had played only about three hours and three quarters. Hence I concluded that one of the two sides of the timing piece was too quick and after having made my 31st move, at adjournment time, asked Mr. Lederer to test the two sides. We tested and found that each side of the clock ran right; and then he informed that he thought that the two sides had run simultaneously. With all of this, apart from losing approximately a quarter of an hour of the time allotted me for reflection, I lost about twenty minutes of the time allotted me for dinner, repose, etc. This was a heavy handicap which showed on the 37th move. I had then about twenty minutes for nine moves, moved hastily and excitedly and blundered. But even if I had not blundered, it was careless to a fault to hand out a defective clock, for the most important encounter of the Tournament. Onlookers thought so too, who informed me that they had noticed the defect of the clock, but had been unable to interfere because they looked for Mr. Lederer in vain. Mr. Lederers account cannot be reconciled with mine. Mine has the color of truth and also evidence of witnesses and press articles. His accounts contradict each other. The public may judge.Mr. Lederer as well as Capablanca assume that I made the above statement in order to discredit Capablancas win. They are mistaken. My motive is entirely the future of Tournaments. Since they insist on organizing Tournaments in the wrong way I describe the perils of that way. I state my opinion that the Committee of the late tourney was by no means representative of the American chess public, and I have no doubt of that being a fact. The subscription lists for raising the funds for Tournaments will show an increase as soon as the Committee is a better expression of American will. The proposition of Mr. Joseph Nemerov, of which Mr. Lederer tells us, is sportsmanlike. But Mr. Lederer seems glad that the offer has not been met. Maybe the offer has not been made sufficiently known. A conditio sine qua non would naturally be a public statement by Mr. Nemerov himself. There is plenty of time for that. When the Champion has accepted a challenge and is about to enter a match, which, as I learn, will take place in Buenos Aires in September, it is the wrong moment for talking of another match. Of the quality of my chess Mr. Lederer is no fit judge, and his talk on this subject discloses the spirit that is his.

My remarks on the doings of Mr. Maróczy were very much to the point. It is evident that he has been one of the agents to bring about the state of mind that culminated in the defamatory attack upon me of January 26th.


[End Part 3]

© 1996 Hanon W. Russell All Rights Reserved




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