Sunday, March 13, 2011

Emanuel Lasker

Authored by my student Anushka Jain

Emanuel Lasker was born in Berlinchen, Germany on 24th December, 1868. He was taught chess by his elder brother, Berthold. As a child Lasker displayed a talent for both chess and mathematics.

He achieved his first title “the German master title” in 1889.In 1892 he won his first important success in a small but strong tournament in London when he took first place a half a point ahead of Blackburne. Lasker then played a match against Blackburne and when he won decisively he began to think of the possibility of becoming world champion. He challenged Tarrasch but his challenge was declined. Tarrasch told him that he should first win a major tournament.

Lasker then went to the USA to challenge the ageing Steinitz for the world championship. The match took place in 1894. Like the previous Steinitz vs. Zukertort match the games were to take place at three venues: New York, Philadelphia and Montreal. The man to achieve 10 outright wins would be world champion. The first six games of the match was closely fought with each man winning two games and drawing two games. Then Lasker went on to win the next two games. In Philadelphia Steinitz lost all of the games. Lasker became world champion at the age of 25 in Montreal with a score of ten games to five with four games drawn. Lasker was to retain the world champion title for a record 27 years.

Style of playing
In his time, Lasker was seen as a "psychological" player, who played inferior moves to throw his opponents off. However, this assessment is probably incorrect; Lasker was simply pragmatic, and would play moves that violated general principles if he felt they were appropriate for the given position.
Lasker held the World Chess Championship for longer than any other player in history. His long stretch of dominant play finds him near the top of most lists of the all-time greatest chess players.

Contribution to chess theory
Laskers defence: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 h6 6.Bh4 O-O 7.Nf3 Ne4, offering the trade of two minor pieces to ease Black's defensive task. It is a very straight-forward system, though there are many opportunities for both players to vary from the main line.
For one thing, Black can reach the main position by various move orders, most notably from a Nimzo-Indian beginning 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 where Black chooses to return to Queen's Gambit lines rather than try the Queen's Indian or Bogo-Indian set-up. That "transpo trick" can be especially useful for confronting players who use alternative d4 systems, against which Black may benefit from keeping the d-pawn back. Black can also leave out ...h6, as Lasker himself generally did, which actually makes for a slightly different system (where, for example, Black more typically plays an early ...f5 advance because he worries less about weakening the g6 square near his King), but the modern method is to include ...h6 so that White does not gain time by attacking h7 with a Qc2 and Bd3 battery.
The repertoire that follows also includes some ideas on how to handle various White alternatives, including: the Exchange Variation (with an early cxd5 by White, where we recommend an early ...Ne4! whenever possible); various White Bishop developments (including an early Bxf6 or Bf4 to sidestep the Lasker); and various other White systems.

More about Lasker on Wiki & ChessGames
Biography: AJGoldsby, Chess-Poster & Bobby-Fischer
Play over 1000 Lasker games
Download 441 games of Lasker
Lasker profile on Chesscorner

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