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Lasker, Emanuel

Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941) was the second world chess champion, from 1894 to 1921, who played in 8 world championship matches.  Emanuel Lasker took first place at Breslau in 1889 by accident.  Another competitor, needing a draw or win for first place, had a won adjourned game.  After adjournment he lost.  It was later discovered that one of his pawns was knocked off the board between sealing and resumption of the game, which would have given him the winning advantage.  As a result Lasker, who was considering giving up chess, won the event and the title of national master.  Five years later he was world champion.   He once tried to breed pigeons for poultry shows.  He tried for many months and failed.  He learned later that all the pigeons were male.  Between 1901 and 1914 he played in only three tournaments. He published Lasker’s Chess Magazine from 1904 to 1906.  In 1908 he married at the age of 48 and became husband, father, and grandfather all at once.  His wife, a few years older than he, was already a grandmother.  He tried to have the tournament rules changes for the older player at the international level.  He proposed that play should be stopped after 2 hours for a half hour adjournment.  His theory was that gentle exercises or turning to other thoughts for awhile would reinvigorate the older brain.  During World War I he invested his life savings in German war bonds and lost it all.  He wrote a book declaring that Germany had to win World War I if civilization was to be saved.  His Ph.D. dissertation of 1902 on ideal numbers became a cornerstone of 20th century algebra.  He believed that one of his opponents, Tarrasch, had hypnotic powers and wanted to play him in a separate room.  In 1933 the Hitler regime confiscated his Berlin apartment, his farm at Thyrow, and all of his savings.  Destitute, he moved to England and took up chess again to earn a living.  He was invited to Moscow for an international tournament (he took 6th place at the age of 68) and was encouraged to stay on Moscow after the event.  He was invited to become a member of the Moscow Academy of Science, which he accepted, and took permanent residence in Moscow.   In October, 1937 he moved to Manhattan, New York.

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