Emanuel Lasker - Francis Lee
Super-Master (DRR) Tourney
 London, ENG; 1899. 


This is a game that I saw a long time ago, I don't remember where I saw it or who 
showed it to me. 
(This game might have been in a Reinfeld book.)

I have been working on many games of  Lasker's  ... ... ... since about 1995 ... and therein lies several stories. 
(Covered elsewhere.)

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GM Em. Lasker (2815)  - NM F. Lee (2600);
Double-Round-Robin Tournament (Rd. # 3)
London, England; (Great Britain)  02.06.1899.

[A.J.G.]

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One of Lasker's most brilliant games  ...  from a tournament where he 
dominated one of the strongest fields ever assembled, ...   
at least up until that time. 

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Lee was one of the stronger players of his day. 
(Possibly in the world's 'Top 20-25 players? {The ratings are approximations.})

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The game starts off as a (regular) Caro-Kann. 
  {But the opening was still something of a novelty for that period of time!}  

1.e4 c6;  2.d4 d5;  3.Nc3 dxe4;  4.Nxe4 Bf5;  5.Ng3 Bg6;  
6.Nf3 Nd7; 7.h4 h6;  8.Bd3!?,  {Diagram?}  
A very logical move. It is also sharp and very forcing. 

This move is sufficient for a small edge ... but 8.h5 is more often played today.

     [  Modern theory says that: >/=   8.h5; ('!')  {Diagram?}  
         is a more reliable method of White getting and 
         keeping an advantage. 

        [ See MCO, or any other general reference book. 
          Or see any book specifically on the  Caro-Kann. ]  ]   

 

8...Bxd3;  9.Qxd3 Ngf6;  10.Bd2 e6;  11.0-0-0 Qc7;  {Diagram?}  
This opening looks very modern to me. 

 (Played OVER 100 years ago!!) 

White now continues by centralizing his last Rook. 
12.Rhe1!? 0-0-0;  13.Qb3 Bd6;  14.Ne2!?,  {Diagram?}  
This looks like a very passive retreat, but Lasker understands ... 
better than anyone ... that allowing too many trades will only 
result in a draw.

(Several writers condemned this as weak.) 

     [  After the continuation: 14.Ne4!? Nxe415.Rxe4 Nf6;  
        16.Re2, "="  {Diagram?}  a draw is a VERY likely result.  ]   

 

14...Ng4!?;  {Diagram?}  
Interesting. 

     [  Maybe better was:  14...Ne4!?{Diagram?}  
        according to J. Mieses.  ]  

 

15.Rf1 Ndf6;  16.Qa4 Kb8;  17.c4,  {Diagram?}  
White has gained some space on the Queenside ...  
a seemingly normal idea in this line. 

Black is 100% OK here ...  
but now seems to be struck by a paralytic fit of indecision. 

     [ Playable was:  17.Kb1!?, "~" ]  

 

17...Qe7!?;  18.Nc3 Qc7!?;  {Diagram?}  
With the idea of playing ...Bf4; next move to exchange some pieces.

The oscillation of the Black Queen, between the c7 and the e7-square ...  
 is almost humorous. 

     [ 18...c5!?19.Nb5, "+/=" ]  

 

19.g3! Qc8;  20.b4! e5!?;  {Diagram?}  
Black does the seemingly logical thing ... as Reinfeld would say, an attack 
on the wing is best met by a strike in the center.

     [  Maybe safer was: >/=  20...Rd7!?;  {Diagram?}  
        with the idea of centralizing both Black Rooks.  ]   

21.dxe5 Nxe5;  {Diagram?}  
Notice that White's Knight on f3 is hanging ... AND his Pawn on c4! 

   White to play ... what move would you make here?  (lask-flee1.jpg, 42 KB)

 (The position after Black's 21st move.) 

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 22.Be3!!,    (Maybe - '!!!' or '!!!!')   {Diagram?}  
A move of unparalleled brilliance. 
(Most spectators could not even figure out why Lasker had seemingly
 dropped a piece.)  

     [  Or 22.Nxe5 Bxe523.Rfe1, "=" ]   

 

22...Nxc4!;  {Diagram?}  
Seemingly the best defence.

     [  Black could not play: 22...Nxf3!?; (?)  23.Bxa7+! Kc7; 
        24.Bb6+! Kd7{Box.}  
        Sorrowfully, this is forced. 

          (24...Kxb6??;  25.Qa5#)   

        25.Bxd8 Rxd826.c5, "+/-"  {Diagram?}  
        and White has regained much of his lost material ... 
        and still has a vicious attack.  ]  

 

23.Bxa7+!;  {Diagram?}  
The best move. 

     [ Interesting was: 23.Qxa7+!? ]  

 

23...Kc7;  {Box.}  
Black has no choice. 

     [  Not  23...Ka8??24.Bb6+{Diagram?} 
         with a simple mate to follow.  ]  

 

24.Rd4!!{Diagram?}  
It is incredible that Lasker can take the time out to play this move ... 
normally time is very critical ...  especially during an attack.

     [ 24.Qb3!? ]   

 

24...b5;  {Diagram?}  
Again, 'box.' 
(Black has few options.)

25.Nxb5+!,  (Maybe - '!!')  {Diagram?} 
Truly exquisite. 

The amazing thing about this sacrifice is that Lasker would have had to 
calculate - very accurately! - at least 10 moves ahead from this position. 
Another factor to consider is that White's own King is exposed to the 
enemy forces. But Lasker has all the bases covered. 

Blackburne later said the general consensus of the spectators was that 
Lasker's attack would fail. (I think that many of the Masters who were 
present probably thought this as well!) 

     [  25.Qb3 Qa6; "/+"  ]    

 

25...cxb5;  26.Qxb5 Na3;  27.Qa5+! Kb7+;  28.Bc5, ('!')  {Diagram?}  
Virtually forced, but also very, very good.  

     [ 28.Kb2 Nc4+;  favors Black. ]  

 

28...Bxc5;  {Diagram?}  
It seems logical to pare down material in an effort to try and reduce White's attack. 

     [  Was  28...Qc6!?;  playable? ]  

 

29.bxc5 Rxd4;  30.Nxd4 Qd8!?;   {Diagram?}  
One newspaper column of the time applauded Black for his 'gallant' attempts at defense. 

     [  Maybe better was:  30...Kb8{Diagram?}  
         but Black is still losing.  ]  

 

White continues ... and figures out how to capture the Knight ... with check! ...  
and thus his attack continues unabated.  
31.c6+! Kc8;  32.Qa8+! Kc7;  33.Qa7+! Kd6;  {Diagram?}  
This is forced. 
(The alternative was simply too ghastly to even contemplate.) 

     [ </= 33...Kc8??34.Qb7#. ]   

 

34.Qxa3+ Kd5;  35.Rd1! Qb6; 36.Nf3+ Ke6;  {Diagram?}  
This looks to be nearly forced.  

     [  If Black plays:  36...Kxc6;  then White responds with:  37.Rd6+{Diag?}  
         winning Black's Queen.  ]  

 

37.Qd6+ Kf5;  38.Qd3+ Kg4;  {Diagram?}  
Black is trying to be tricky. 

     [  Black's only move was: >/=  38...Ne4[]{Diagram?}  
         but then White wins simply with: 39.Qd5+ Kg6;   
         40.Qxe4+,  ("+/-")  {Diagram?}  
         winning a piece ...  and the game.  ]   

 

39.Ne5+, ('!')  {Diagram?}  
Black RESIGNS ... ... ...  (1-0) 
(Its mate in just 2 or 3 moves.) 

A game of incredible depth and complexity!! 
The computer found NO improvements in White's attack!!

  This is - without question - simply ... one of the finest games ...   
   of the whole of Emanuel Lasker's career.   

Another interesting note is that I have deeply studied nearly all of Lasker's 
games from this event ... 
and nearly every game he won was a brilliancy. (!!!)  

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  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I.  Copyright (c) A.J.G;  2003.  

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

I have seen this game in many books and magazines. For instance, I have many collections
of Lasker's games, including the ones by Barden, Hannak, Reinfeld, etc. Also - several of 
my {former} Internet students did research and sent me material as concerns this game. 
(And the London tournament of 1899.) But the following sources were my chief sources 
 of information for annotating this game:

# 1.)  "The {complete} Collected Games of Emanuel Lasker,"  by  Ken Whyld.
            Copyright () 1998, by the author. ISBN:  # 1-901034-02-X
             Published by 'The Chess Player.' 

# 2.)   "Lasker's Greatest Chess Games, 1889 -  1914."  (Dover reprint.) 
            By  Fred Reinfeld and Dr./GM Reuben Fine.  
            Copyright 1935, 1963 by the authors.  Published by Dover/G.P.C. Canada.

# 3.)    "EMANUEL LASKER, The Life of a Chess Master,"  by  Dr. J. Hannak
             Copyright () by the author, 1952, & 1959. (1991?) 
             Published by Dover Books of NY. (Reprint.) 
             {My old/last copy of this book fell apart after years of use/overuse.
              So in May of 2003, I ordered a new copy on the Internet.}  

# 4.)   The great book: "500 Master Games Of Chess."  (Dover reprint.) 
           By  GM  (and Dr.)  Savielly Tartakower  and  James Du Mont
           Copyright 1952, by the authors. (Repeated in 1975.) 
           Published by G.P.C. Ltd; Toronto, Ontario. (Canada)

  (Note: I also purchased a CD-ROM of annotated games, this was one of the games 
             that was included in that collection ... but the notes for this game look as if they 
             were simply copied from Hannak's book.) 

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This page was first posted: Friday; January 13th, 2003.  This page was last updated on 07/18/06


 Copyright  (c)  A.J. Goldsby I 

 Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 1975 - 2005.  

    Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 2006.  All rights reserved.  


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