Mastery: Master Games

World Champions (2): The Lasker Years

World Champions (2): The Lasker Years

Learn from stars of the Lasker era!

IM Jeremy Silman continues his historical trek, moving on to the games of the man whose reign as World Champion lasted longer than any other -- an amazing 27 years. Emanuel Lasker was a polymath; in addition to his chess, he was an accomplished mathematician and philosopher who was also a personal friend of Albert Einstein. Lasker believed that chess was a struggle, and was probably the first champion to take a psychological approach to chess. Start playing like Lasker today!

Here is what you will learn:

  • Learn from a World Champion's greatest games!
  • Practice calculating decisive tactics!
  • Learn about Lasker's approach to chess!
  • Lasker-Steinitz, New York 1894

    As fate would have it, Steinitz (1836-1900) met the strongest challenger of his life at the age of 58. Facing a much younger man is one thing, but facing a player of Lasker's (1868- 1941) enormous genius when you are on the downside of your own career...

    • 5 challenges
  • Possible variation from the first match game (from the first match) between Lasker-Steinitz, New Yor

    White appears to be winning a pawn. Black must either find a defense against these threats or come up with a way to get adequate compensation for the pawn he is about to lose.

    • 6 challenges
  • Steinitz-Lasker, New York 1894

    After winning the first game of the 1894 World Championship Match, Lasker may have felt that the aging Steinitz was not going to be a big problem. This position (the first moves were 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 d6 5.c3 Bd7 6.Ba4 g6 7.Nbd2 Bg7 8.Nc4...

    • 16 challenges
  • Lasker-Steinitz, Philadelphia 1894

    After Lasker defeated Steinitz 12-7 in their match for the World Championship, one would have thought that he would have been given all the respect that a champion normally enjoys. Surprisingly, this was not the case. Lasker had done what nobody else...

    • 5 challenges
  • Steinitz-Lasker, Philadelphia 1894

    World Champions are made of different stuff than normal grandmasters. Aside from possessing a greater understanding of the mysteries of chess, they also have a strength of will that is unheard of in normal humans. The present position (the first moves...

    • 9 challenges
  • Lasker- Steinitz, Philadelphia 1894

    This position (The first moves were: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.Nc3 a6 5.Bc4 Be6 6.Bxe6 fxe6 7.d4 exd4 8.Nxd4 Nxd4 9.Qxd4 Ne7 10.Bg5 Nc6 11.Bxd8 Nxd4 12.0-0-0 Nb5 13.Nxb5 axb5 14.Bxc7 Rxa2 15.Bb6 Be7 16.c3 Kf7 17.Kc2 Rha8 18.Kb3 R2a4 19.f3 R8a6 20.Bd4...

    • 7 challenges
  • Lasker-Steinitz, Moscow 1896

    Though Steinitz put up a real fight in their first match, the second proved to be rather anticlimactic: it became an immediate rout, with Lasker winning the first four games in a row! This position, the second in the return match, began as follows: 1.e4...

    • 26 challenges
  • Steinitz-Lasker, Moscow 1896

    After winning the title from Steinitz, Lasker was inundated by criticism from all corners of the globe; nobody really considered him to be the world's best player (they all said that his victory was due to his opponent's advanced age). This position,...

    • 9 challenges
  • Marshall-Lasker, New York 1907

    For various reasons, ten years went by between Lasker's title defenses (against Steinitz and Marshall). This position is from the first game of the match (the initial moves were: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.0-0 Be7 6.e5 Ne4 7.Nxd4 0-0 8.Nf5...

    • 8 challenges
  • Marshall-Lasker, Philadelphia 1907

    Lasker's first title defense after his rematch with Steinitz was against an American Grandmaster named Frank Marshall. it turned into another typical Lasker rout. The final score of 11 1/2-3 1/2 (eight wins, no losses, seven draws) showed just how dominant...

    • 8 challenges
  • Lasker-Marshall, Philadelphia 1907

    This, the eighth game of the match with Marshall, started with the following moves: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4 5.exd5 Qxd5 6.Bxf6 gxf6 7.Qd2 Bxc3 8.Qxc3 Nc6 9.Nf3 Qe4+ 10.Kd2 Bd7 11.Re1 Qf4+ 12.Qe3 Qd6 13.Kc1 0-0-0 14.Rd1 Rhg8 15.g3 Nb4 16.Qa3...

    • 8 challenges
  • Lasker-Tarrasch, Dusseldorf 1908

    Tarrasch (1862-1934), a true intellectual and a man who had earned the highest educational attainments, was fond of telling everyone and anyone that he was the greatest chessplayer on earth. Tarrasch publicly tormented Lasker for years, putting the Champion's...

    • 8 challenges
  • Tarrasch-Lasker, Dusseldorf 1908

    This match, played in Dusseldorf and Munich, almost never happened. Both players disliked each other and negotiations went on for years. When the smoke cleared, Tarrasch had been soundly beaten, 10 1/2- 5 1/2. Lasker was still King and would remain so...

    • 4 challenges
  • Lasker-Janowsky, First Match (Paris) 1909

    The Russian born Janowsky (who made his home in Paris) was a small, energetic man who loved to attack. Janowsky was a chess professional (which meant paychecks were few and far between) and also had a weakness for gambling. Lasker completely dominated...

    • 10 challenges
  • Janowsky-Lasker, Second Match (Paris) 1909

    The present position, from the second game of the second match between Janowsky and Lasker and came about as follows: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Bb4 5.0-0 0-0 6.d3 d6 7.Bg5 Bxc3 8.bxc3 Ne7 9.Bc4 Ng6 10.Nh4 Nf4 11.Bxf4 exf4 12.Nf3 Bg4 13.h3 Bh5...

    • 11 challenges
  • Schlechter-Lasker, Vienna 1910

    Carl Schlechter (1874-1918) was a Viennese player who, from 1900 until his death, ranked among the top six players in the world. This match against Lasker was originally meant to consist of thirty games but lack of funds cut it to a ridiculously low...

    • 5 challenges
  • Lasker-Schlechter, Vienna 1910

    The position in front of you is from the tenth game of this match. The first moves saw the advantage swing back and forth and finally rest with the challenger: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Bd3 0-0 (This system of development for Black...

    • 4 challenges
  • Janowsky-Lasker, Third Match (Berlin) 1910

    The position under discussion is from the fourth game of the third match (the first moves were: 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 c5 4.c4 e6 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Bxc4 a6 8.a4 Be7 9.Nc3 0-0 10.b3 cxd4 11.exd4 Nb4 12.Bb2 b6 13.Qe2 Bb7 14.Rad1 Nfd5 15.Ne5 Nf4 16.Qg4)....

    • 7 challenges
  • Lasker-Janowsky, Third Match (Berlin) 1910

    A third match was arranged and this time Lasker humiliated his opponent by winning nine games, losing none, and drawing just three (Lasker's lifetime score versus Janowsky was twenty-six wins to just four defeats with seven draws). The position before...

    • 10 challenges
  • Lasker-Janowsky, Second Match (Paris) 1909

    The present position is from the third game of the second match (won by Lasker with seven wins to one, and two draws). The first moves were: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d4 exd4 6.Qxd4 Bg4 7.Nc3 Qxd4 8.Nxd4 0-0-0 9.Be3 Bb4. We have a typical...

    • 7 challenges
  • Schlechter-Lasker, Berlin 1910

    The present game (The first moves were: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Bc4 d6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 9.e6 f5 10.0-0 Bg7 11.Bf4 Qb6 12.Bb3 Ba6 13.Na4 Qd4 14.Qxd4 Bxd4 15.c4 0-0 16.Rad1 Bf6 17.Rfe1 g5 18.Bxd6) is the seventh of the match...

    • 8 challenges
  • Lasker-Tarrasch, Berlin 1916

    Lasker routed poor Tarrasch with five straight wins in a 1916 match. This position, from the sixth and final game, shows the kind of brutality that Tarrasch had to endure. The first moves were: 1.e5 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 Be7...

    • 7 challenges
  • Corzo-Capablanca, Cuba 1902

    Jose Raul Capablanca (born in Cuba: 1888-1942) was a true chess genius who liked to brag that he won the first game of chess he ever played (against his father) while only four years of age. The present position has nothing to do with Lasker. However,...

    • 7 challenges
  • Capablanca-Lasker, Cuba 1921

    A confident Capablanca had tried for several years to organize a match with the aging Lasker. When the match was finally held in 1921, Lasker was far past his prime while Capablanca was at the height of his powers. The present position (The first moves...

    • 7 challenges
  • Capablanca-Lasker, Havana 1921

    In the present position (the eleventh of the match) Capablanca has built up an impressive space advantage (the first moves were: 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 Nf6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.e3 Be7 6.Nc3 0-0 7.Rc1 Re8 8.Qc2 c6 9.Bd3 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Nd5 11.Bxe7 Rxe7 12.0-0 Nf8...

    • 12 challenges
  • Variation of 10th Lasker-Capablanca match game

    Many thought Lasker's career over after he lost the world title. Still needing to earn a living, he came back in 1924 to compete in the New York International. Lasker won this event, one of the greatest tournaments in history, by a full point and a half...

    • 7 challenges
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