The Lasker - Tarrasch Match of 1916. A Quick Look

The Lasker - Tarrasch Match of 1916. A Quick Look


Well, I have spent a lot of time with my head in various books, for various reasons, over the last couple of weeks! One of them is this one.

I decided to share the chess content with you, as very few will have seen it. No extraneous research, just the chess, with Lasker's comments ( sometimes abridged.)

The match was arranged partly to provide some chess as a distraction from the war, and partly to raise funds for a German war charity. There were to be 10 playing days, plus a couple of simultaneous exhibitions, as I understand it. The venue was the spacious Kerkau Palace in Berlin.

As is to be expected, the chess was not so great - particularly on the part of Tarrasch, who had lost all three of his sons in the preceeding two years. Nonetheless there was also some fine play, and one of the games - the fifth - is one of Lasker's overlooked masterpieces.

So, enjoy the chess!

The first game was a draw, with Tarrasch trying out a new idea, which he didn't follow up in the best possible way. However, he  still eventually came out with what should have been a winning advantage. A good fight.

Game 2 has a story to go with it, surrounding the only picture I know of from the match. This version is from Golombek's 'A History of Chess', which I owned as a teenager.

Golombek. A History of Chess. Page 161.

Game 3 is the only one that I have seen published widely. With regard to the opening, Tarrasch was not a fan of 4.Ng5, and there is a game prior to this that you can compare with it, as far as the opening goes.

Game 4 saw an opening experiment - one later tried out by Rubinstein, if I am not mistaken. Tarrasch, who was at times guilty of believing too much in the theory books, is under pressure from the start.

Game 5 is a masterpiece - but it is very long and not so easy to understand, which facts may account for it's having been largely ignored. Time spent going through it all will be time well spent!! Apologies for the mess of the note to h3 - Hopefully you will make sense of it.

As that game lasted three days, there was time for just one more. Again Tarrasch makes an opening experiment, and again Lasker punishes him ruthlessly. He really was a wonderful player!

A picture of the two players for which no exact date has been established - the best guess is 1904. It is certainly not from the time of the 1908 title match - unless the players had shaved especially for the photographer!!