Rubinstein - Chess Heritage and Memorable Games
He was one of the earliest chess players to take the endgame into account when choosing and playing the opening. He was exceptionally talented in the endgame, particularly in rook endings, where he broke new ground in knowledge. Jeremy Silman ranked him as one of the five best endgame players of all time, and a master of rook endgames.
He originated the Rubinstein System against the Tarrasch Defense variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined: 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 c5 3.c4 e6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.g3 Nf6 7.Bg2 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Qb6 (Rubinstein - Tarrasch, 1912). He is also credited with inventing the Meran Variation, which stems from the Queen's Gambit Declined but reaches a position of the Queen's Gambit Accepted, with Black one move ahead.
Today, he certainly has no shortage of lines named for him. The "Rubinstein Attack" often refers to 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 Be7 5 e3 0-0 6 Nf3 Nbd7 7 Qc2. The Rubinstein Variation of the French Defence arises after 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 (or 3 Nd2) dxe4 4 Nxe4. The Rubinstein Variation of the Nimzo-Indian is the most popular non-classical line of the Nimzo-Indian : 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3. Of course, there is also the Rubinstein Variation of the Four Knights Game which arises after 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bb5 Nd4, and the Rubinstein Variation of the Symmetrical English, 1. c4 c5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nc7, a highly complex system which is very popular at the grandmaster level.
The Rubinstein Memorial tournament in his honor has been held annually since 1963 in Polanica Zdroj, with a glittering list of top-flight winners.
Notable chess games
- George Rotlewi vs Akiba Rubinstein, Lodz 1907, Tarrasch Defense: Symmetrical Variation (D02), 0-1 A very impressive attacking combination; "perhaps the most magnificent combination of all time" (Carl Schlechter)
- Akiba Rubinstein vs Emanuel Lasker, St.Petersburg 1909, Queen's Gambit Declined: Traditional Variation (D30), 1-0This game ends in an interesting position where Lasker has no good moves (zugzwang).
- Akiba Rubinstein vs Karel Hromádka, Moravská Ostrava 1923, King's Gambit: Declined. Classical Variation (C30), 1-0A nice game full of tactics and hanging pieces. The former Czech champion Karel Hromádka fights well, but at the end Rubinstein prevails.
- Akiba Rubinstein vs Carl Schlechter. San Sebastian 1912, 1-0 Capablanca has heaped enormous praise on this game, calling it "a monument of magnificent precision." A quintessential game of Rubinstein.
- Hermanis Mattison vs. Akiba Rubinstein, Carlsbad, 1929, (C68), 0-1 A famous rook and pawn ending that seemed "hopelessly drawn", but was won by Rubinstein. The editor of the tournament book said that if this game had been played 300 years earlier, Rubinstein would have been burned at the stake for dealing with evil spirits.