Em. Lasker - J. Bauer  

  GM Emmanuel Lasker (2600) - NM J.H. Bauer (2450)  
International Chess Tournament;  (Schachkongress) 
Amsterdam, NED (Round # 1),   26.08.1889   

 [A.J. Goldsby I] 

One of the truly great contests and also a very original game. (The FIRST example that we know of ... of this type of sacrifice.) 


"This game contains one of the beautiful combinations of the young Lasker, which created a blueprint  ... "  - GM Garry Kasparov

"THE classic game of the genre." - Irving Chernev. 

"Der Internationale Schachkongress zu Amsterdam." (1889) (- Schweizerische Schachzeitung.)

  Click  HERE  to see a detailed explanation of the symbols that I use.  

  1.f4!?, {Diagram?} 
  The Bird's Opening.  This is a little unusual for Lasker. 
 (In fact, this is the only recorded usage of this move by Dr. E. Lasker in serious match or tournament play!)   

  He usually would open 1.e4, during the early part of his career.  

     [ A more normal an opening would be: 1.e4, {Diagram?} with a Ruy Lopez to follow. 
        (See:  Em. Lasker  - J.R. Capablanca;  St. Petersburg, RUS; 1914.) 

       Or even the move 1.d4, {Diagram?}  with a fairly routine QP game. 
        (See: E. Lasker  - H.N. Pillsbury;  Paris, FRA; 1900.)   ]. 

 This is the Classical response to this opening. It controls the center, gains space, and releases several pieces.

 Yet I have a concern that a reversed Dutch - with an extra tempo - would be good for White. 

     [ Black could play: 1...g6!?, {Diagram?} with a good game. 

       Or he could try: 1...Nf6; {Diagram?} and keep his options open. 
       (GM A. Soltis once played this way against me one year in Bermuda.). 

       Or even 1...e5; ('!?') {Diagram?} which is the  "From's Gambit."  
       Now the sharpest line is: 2.fxe5 d63.exd6 Bxd64.Nf3 g55.d4! g4!? 
6.Ng5!, {"initiative"} {Diagram?} with very wild play.   (6.Ne5!?, "=")  

       With the moves: 1...c5!?; and now 2.e4!?, {Diagram?} we have a transposition 
 the  Sicilian Defense. ("Grand Prix Attack.") 

       One book I have recommends that Black play: 1...b6; "~" {Diagram?} 
        in this position. ].  

  2.e3!?, (Maybe - '!')   
 Lasker chooses the most flexible move. 

 I prefer Nf3 here, but Lasker probably prefers to wait on this move, mainly to avoid the possible pin. (...Bg4)  


     [ A modern  'book'  line  would be: 2.Nf3 g6; {Diagram?}  Maybe the 
       best approach,
according to contemporary opening manuals


       ( One book gives the continuation:  2...Nf6; 3.e3 c5; 4.b3 Nc6; 5.Bb5! Bd7; 6.Bb2 e6; 7.0-0 Be7;  
         This position could have arisen from 1.b3, as well as 1.f4.  8.d3 0-0; {Diagram?} The end 
         of the column. 9.Bxc6 Bxc6; 10.Ne5 Rc8; 11.Nd2 Nd7!?; 12.Qg4! Nxe5; 13.Bxe5 Bf6
Bxe5!?;  Apparently theory considers this to be best for Black. 

            ( Inferior for Black is:  14...Qe7!?; 15.Raf1 a5; 16.Rg3 Bxe5?!; 17.fxe5 f5?!; 18.exf6 Rxf6  
              19.Qxg7+!, ("+/")  R. Fischer - H. Hecking;  Palma de Mallorca Interzonal, ESP/1970.   
              Note: According to the book: "The Games of Robert J. Fischer," (edited)  by  R. Wade   
              &  K. O'Connell,  (page # 409);  this game actually began with the move, 1.b3.   
              [This is common for this opening. Many of the SAME positions (by transposition), can   
                be reached with the move order 1.b3, OR 1.Nf3 as well!] ).   

         15.fxe5 Qc7; 16.Qh5 h6!?; 17.Raf1 g6!?; 18.Qxh6 Qxe5; 19.Rf6!, "+/" (Maybe only "+/=") 
White is clearly better. - GM Nick de Firmian
         GM Aaron Nimzovich - GM Rudolf SpielmannNew York, 1927
          [ See MCO-14; page # 719, column # 1, and also note # (c.). ]


        (Returning to our stem {main analysis} line.) 
Bg7; {Diagram?}  I like this best.   (MCO gives the move: 3...c5!?; "~" in this position.)  
       4.Bg2 Nf65.0-0 0-0; {Diagram?} Play seems to resemble a sort of reversed Leningrad   
       Dutch variation.  6.d3 c57.c3!? Nc68.Na3!? Rb8; "~" {Diagram?} with a strange position.   
       (Approximately equal? "=").  V. Palermo - GM M. Najdorf;  
       Buenos Aries/CA/USA/1973. (0-1, 40)  ]


 This development is both simple and quite good. 

 An extremely hyper-modern move, anticipating the revolution  ... ... ... led by Nimzovich by more than 30 years! 

 This is a very subtle move. This is not only just a fianchetto, White continues to avoid Nf3 because of the pin on g4. 

 "Not the most precise continuation," says the great writer, Fred Reinfeld. (But this is not clear.) 

     [ White could try: 3.c4!?, {Diagram?} with an interesting game. 

        Also 3.Nf3!? Bg4; ("=") {Diagram?} is probably equal. ].  

 According to principle, there is nothing wrong with this. Yet now Black's QB has been shut in, and he will find it difficult to get into play. 

     [  The best line for Black seems to be: >=  3...Bg4!4.Be2 Bxe25.Qxe2! e6!;  
        6.Nf3, {Diagram?} This is the simplest, and probably the best here
         (Or White could try the continuation: 6.Qb5+!? Nc6; 7.Qxb7 Nb4; when Black has "comp.")   
        6...c5!; 7.0-0 Nc6; "="  {Diagram?}  and the position is very level.  - LM A.J. Goldsby I 

        Fred Reinfeld and Ruben Fine states that Black should play the move: 3...d4!?; "~" {Diagram?} 
        but the consequences of this move are  not  really all that clear.  ].  

 4.Bb2 Be7
 Simple and plain development. (Black guards f6 and prepares 0-0.)  

     [  Maybe much better was: >=  4...Nbd7!5.Nf3 c66.Nc3 Bd67.Be2 0-0 
Re8 ].  

 This is OK, but I would have expected Nf3. (No big deal, as White plays this on the very next move.)  

 "Clearly revealing his intention of obtaining a King-side attack," says Reinfeld  and  Fine. 

     [ White could also try:  5.Nf3 0-0; "="  or  5.Be2!? 0-0; "=" {Diagram?}
        with a fairly equal game. ]

 Black prepares to place his Bishop on the long diagonal, but I think maybe 0-0 was a little better here. 

      [ Black could have played: 5...0-0!?; "=" {Diagram?} 
        or even 5...Nbd7!?; "~" {Diagram?} with a fair game.

  6.Nf3 Bb7!?
 This is normally a great place to put this piece, but here the fianchetto behind the pawn lacks punch. 


   ( But I would be negligent if I did not point out this was an extremely common approach 
     at that time. See for example, the following games:  
     H.N. Pillsbury - S. Tarrasch;  Hastings International Chess Tourn. Hastings, ENG; 1895. 
     Or  J. Zukertort - J. Blackburne;  London International Chess Tourn. London, ENG; 1883. 
     Both of these games can be found - deeply annotated - on my  "Best Games"  Page. ) 


      [  I would be tempted to try the move: 6...Ba6!; {Diagram?} in this position
         (I am quite sure Nimzovich would have greatly approved of this move.) 

         Black can also play: 6...c5; {Diagram?} with a fair game here. 

         And even 6...0-0; {Diagram?} is good here.  ].  

  7.Nc3 Nbd78.0-0 0-09.Ne2, ('!')  
 Lasker begins deftly transferring his pieces to the King-side. (For the attack.) 

 This move also clears the diagonal of White's QB on the b2-square. 

     [ White could try:  ].  

 Putting pressure on the center, and grabbing some much-needed space on the Queenside. 

 But it might have been more prudent to play ...Nc5; first.  

 "Routine, mechanical, unimaginative."  - Irving Chernev. 

      [ Best was: >=  9...Nc5!; "=" {Diagram?} snaring one of the first player's 
         very dangerous Bishops. ('Deutsche Schachzeitung.') ].  

  10.Ng3 Qc711.Ne5 Nxe5!?;  
 Black begins an immediate liquidation. 

      [  I prefer: >= 11...Ne4!; "~" {Diagram?} with a close game. {A.J.G.} 

          2 well-known writers advise that Black play:  11...g6!?; - Reinfeld & Fine. ].  

  12.Bxe5 Qc6 
 Black forms a very dangerous battery against the White King. 

 This move is nearly forced.  

 Most analysis engines still call this position pretty much equal. 

      [ Much worse for Black is: 12...Bd6?; 13.Bxf6, ("+/") White is clearly better. ].  

"An all-round move." - Irving Chernev. 

 He goes on to point out all that this one move accomplishes: It develops, unites the Rooks, 
 guards g2, threatens Bb5 - trapping Black's Queen, (if he should try to play ...Rac8?); and 
 also it discourages Black from playing the pawn advance, ...c4. 

 He (Chernev) goes on to comment:  "It is remarkable how much great players can get out 
 of their pieces with just one little move!"  - Irving Chernev. 

      [ 13.a4!?, "=" ]. 

Black wished to prevent White from playing the move, Bb5. Black also probably intended to 
follow up with ...b5; with a Q-side initiative. (And maybe threaten ...c4; trapping White's 
Bishop on d3.). 

  While this was labeled a mistake by some, (Mason, Reinfeld, etc.); it looks to be a fairly 
  reasonable move. . Black has played very routinely, and yes ... maybe even passively. 
  Yet hindsight is always 20-20!!   

   '?' - F. Reinfeld  &  GM R. Fine.   
 (But I think this is overly harsh, Black already has difficulties. And he could not have possibly    
  guessed what was in store for him here!)  

 Kasparov remarks that after a tame opening by Black, White is ready to unleash the final storm. 

      [ Probably best is: 13...Rfd8; {Diagram?} with a good game for Black. 
        (This prepares ...Nd7; and Nf8.)  Now  14.Bb5 Qc815.Nh5, ("+/=") {Diagram?} 
        White might be a little better, but there is no forced win here for the first player. {A.J.G.} 
        (White does have a nice initiative, however.)  

        Supposedly better is: 13...Nd7!?; "~"  -  Reinfeld  &  Fine. 
        (But White may have a winning sack on the h7-square.). 

        Definitely not: 13...Rac8??14.Bb5, "+/-" {Diagram?} 
        and White is winning the Black Queen. - Irving Chernev. ].   

 White to move in this position. What move would you play here?  
 14.Nh5!, {Diagram?} 
   An accurate move and the beginning of a really very exceptional combination!      

 "After this, there is no saving move."  -  Irving Chernev.  

      [ 14.Qf3!? Rfd8; "=" {Diagram?} and the position is about level. ].  

 14...Nxh5[] {Box.} 
 This seems forced. 
 (It is totally and completely forced, despite what a few famous authors MISTAKENLY  have written about this game.)    

 The alternatives are clearly worse!! 
 (See just below.)  

      [   Variation # 1.)  14...Ne8!?15.Bxg7! Nxg7;  {Diagram?} This seems forced.  
             (Worse is: 15...c4; 16.Bd4 f5; 17.bxc4, {"+/" maybe "+/-"} and Black's position is  
               riddled with holes.)    16.Qg4, "+/-" {Diagram?} and White's attack is decisive. 
            - Fred Reinfeld  and  Ruben Fine. 

          Variation # 2.)  14...h6?!15.Bxf6 Bxf616.Nxf6+ gxf617.Qg4+ Kh8;  
Kg719.Rf3 Rfd820.Rg3+ Kf821.Qxf6, "+/-"  {Diagram?} 
          and once again, White is winning. -  Fred Reinfeld  and  Ruben Fine.  

          Variation # 3.)  14...d4!?15.Bxf6 Bxf616.Nxf6+!, {Diagram?} 
          This seems to be an improvement over previous analysis. 

            ( The older line was: 16.Qg4!? Kh8; {Diagram?} This looks forced.     
                (16...e5!?; 17.Be4!, "+/-"  17.Rf3 Rg8; {Diagram?} This looks forced as well.   
                (17...dxe3; 18.Nxf6 gxf6; 19.Qh4, "+/-" and White should win.)        
, ('!!') {Diagram?} This is yet another improvement - over older, published analysis.    
                (The older published win was: 18.Bxh7!? Rgd819.Qh3 Be7;         
                  20.Be4!, "+/-"
{Diagram?} - Fred Reinfeld  &  GM Ruben Fine. )        
              (We return to the analysis of the older analysis line.)           
; ('!?')  19.Nf6! h620.Be4! Qc721.Bxb7 Qxb722.Qg5 Bxf623.Rxh6+    
               23...gxh624.Qxh6#. {Diagram?} A very pretty mate. -  LM A.J. Goldsby I )   

          (Now we return to the main analysis line of variation # 3. The next few moves are all forced. 
            Unfortunately the rest of this variation is  NOT  java-script re-playable!!  Technical glitch.) 
          16...gxf6; (Obviously, Black must recapture) 17.exd4!, {Diagram?} This looks like it is forced.  
           (White can also play 17.Rf3!?  or even 17.Bxh7+!?;  both of which are better for White.)  
          17...Kh8; {Diagram?} This also seems forced.   
            (Worse for Black is: 17...cxd4?!; 18.Rf3!, and White is nearly winning.)   
          18.dxc5 Qxc5+19.Rf2 Rad820.Re1, ("+/")  {Diagram?} 
          and White is clearly much better here. - LM A.J. Goldsby I  

          Variation # 4.)  14...Kh8; 15.Nxf6!, {Diagram?} Probably the most accurate. 
              (And a  big  improvement over Chernev's analysis from this position.)  
             (15.Nxg7 Kxg7; 16.Qg4+ Kh8; 17.Qg5 Rg8; 18.Bxf6+ Bxf6; 19.Qxf6+ Rg7;     
               20.Rf3, "+/" 
- Irving Chernev.)     15...d4, {Diagram?} Ugh, this seems forced.  
             (Simply horrible is: 15...gxf6??; 16.Qh5!, "+/-" {Diagram?} & White quickly mates.)         
          16.Nxh7 Rfd817.Ng5, "+/-"  {Diagram?} Black is toast.    

          Variation # 5.)   14...c4!?15.Nxf6+! gxf616.Bxh7+! Kh8;  {Diagram?} 
          This might be forced.    (16...Kxh7?!; 17.Qh5+ Kg8; 18.Qg4+ Kh7; 19.Rf3, "+/-"   
{Diagram?} ... "and mates." - Chernev.   Or Black can also play ...Kg7;  then the following    
            moves are  all forced  - according to the computer. 16...Kg7; 17.Qg4+! Kh8;  {Diagram?}    
            Or if ...Kxh7; then White plays Rf3, finis.  18.Rf3 d4; 19.Bf5! Qxf3; 20.Qh4+ Qh5   
Kg7; 22.Qh7# ).    17.Qh5, "+/-" {Diagram?} White is winning easily, 
          the computer says it is mate in 6 or 7 moves. - LM A.J. Goldsby I 



 White finds a very vigorous - and even shocking - reply. 

 "A brilliant zwischenzug."  -  Irving Chernev. 

      [  Black probably expected: 15.Qxh5 f516.Rf3, "+/="  {Diagram?} 
         and perhaps the second player will be able to mount a successful defense. ].  

 This is absolutely forced here. 

     [ Even worse was: 15...Kh8??16.Qxh5, "+/-" {Diagram?} 
        with a won game for White. ]. 

 16.Qxh5+ Kg8{Diagram, just below.} 
 Black has defended the best he can, especially for the last few moves. 

  White to play ...  and make one of the more astounding moves of the whole of the 19th century. (lask-baue_rp1.gif, 14KB)
White to move here ...

 (White to play, what move would you play here - in this position?) 
 17.Bxg7!!(Maybe - '!!!')  
 When I saw this game as a very young lad: this move could be adequately described as a 
 thunder- bolt from the blue!!! (I was literally shocked by this shot.)  

 White logically removes all of the pawns in front of Black's King. But this is a super-brilliancy. 
 (And the first time - that we know of - that any player had sacrificed two Bishops in this manner.)

 NOTE:  Every other player ... who has ever sacrificed two Bishops in this manner is only - no 
 matter how brilliant the game might be - is really just using  'technique.'  ONLY  this game can 
 claim to be original!!! 

     [  17.Rf3!? f6!; "/+" {Diagram?} and Black is clearly better.  ].  

 Once again, Black has no choice. 

      [  Worse for Black is: 17...f5!?; (Maybe - '?!')  18.Be5!, {Diagram?} This is probably the best. 
           ( Also good is: 18.Bb2!?, "+/"  Or 18.Rf3!?, "+/="  - Chernev. )    18...Rf6[];  (forced) 
           ( 18...Rfd8??; 19.Qg6+ Kf8; 20.Bg7+ Kg8; 21.Bh6+ Kh8; 22.Qg7#  
              Or 18...Rf7??; 19.Qh8# 
          And now 19.Rf3!, "+/-" {Diagram?} and White has a winning attack.  

          Very bad for the 2nd player is:  17...Rfd8??; 18.Qh8#   Or even 17...d4??; 18.Qh8# ].  

 18.Qg4+ Kh7[] 
 Once again poor Black plays the only move he can. 

      [ Simply terrible was: 18...Kf6??19.Qg5#  Ouch!  ].  

  19.Rf3 e5[];   
 And ... this too ... is forced.  

 (Black has to be able to block the Rook check with his Queen ... or be mated.) 

      [  MUCH worse for Black were the continuations:   
         19...d4??20.Rh3+ Bh421.Rxh4#.  Or  19...Rg8??20.Rh3+ Bh421.Rxh4#.  
          Also bad was:  19...Bg5??20.Qxg5 e521.Rh3+ Qh622.Rxh6#. ('!')   ].  

 The next few moves are all forced.  
20.Rh3+ Qh6
This 'split attack' (fork) of Black's two Bishops wins more material for Lasker. 
 (And he still retains a fairly strong attack.) 

   '!' - Irving Chernev. 

      [ 22.fxe5!?, "+/=" ].  

 This is probably Black's best chance, in this position. 

      [ 22...Rab8!? ].  

  23.Qxb7 Kg7;  
 Another defensive move for Black - that is probably forced. 

      [ 23...exf4?!24.Qxb6 Kg725.Rf1, "+/-" {Diagram?} 
         - Fred Reinfeld  and  GM R. Fine. ].

  24.Rf1 Rab825.Qd7!,  
 "Rightly disdaining the Q-side Pawns, in favor of the attack." - Reinfeld and Fine. 
 (Chernev says pretty much   the same thing here. And several annotators gave 
   this move an exclam as well.) 

      [ Also winning were: 25.Qxd5!?, "+/-" {Diagram?} with a won position for White. 

         Or  25.Qxa6!?, "+/-" {Diagram?} again - winning for White. ].  

 This creates a much-needed flight square on f8 for the Black Monarch. (And it is virtually forced.) 

      [ Much inferior was:  25...exf4?26.Qg4+ Kh827.Rxf4 Bg728.Qg5 Rb7;  
         29.Qxd5, "+/-"
{Diagram?} - Chernev. ].  

 26.Qg4+ Kf8;   
 (Looks to be forced.)

      [  Not 27...Bxe5?28.Qh5, "+/-" {Diagram?} (White wins the Bishop.)  ].  

  28.e6, (Nearly - '!')  
 "This settles matters." - Reinfeld and Fine. 

      [ 28.h4!? ].  

 This is forced says Chernev. 

      [ Worse was:  28...f6?29.e7+, {Diagram?} ("+/-") and White wins. ].  

  29.Qg6 f630.Rxf6+!,  
 An alert sacrifice that will target the unprotected Black Rook on the b7-square. 

 "The final coup," says I. Chernev. 

      [ 30.g4!? ].

 This is forced as well. 

      [ Inferior is: 31...Kg8?!; 32.Qxd8+, ("+/-") ].  

  32.Qh8+ Ke733.Qg7+  
 "Ain't no lie ... BYE! BYE! BYE!" -  'N-Sync.' 

 Chernev gives ... "And Black Resigns." 

 (Several sources - incorrectly! - give the game as ending here. MANY books I have on Lasker 
  verify that this game did NOT end here!! Probably what has happened is that many writers and 
  columnists for newspapers - seeing that White has an easily won game - arbitrarily cut off the 
  game at this point. To some people, the game is less beautiful {somehow} because Black did not 
  resign this position. {In the old days, some newspapers and magazines felt free to stop a game at 
   a certain place, and comment:  ... and "Party 'A' won."  Usually space was a concern. This practice 
   has led to disputes over the length of a particular contest or to MANY games being artificially 
   shortened.}  To me, when the game did or did not end is meaningless. The simple, historical fact 
  is that this contest went 38 moves. 

  This in no manner detracts from Lasker's accomplishment at all.) 

      [ By playing 33.Qh7+!?,  instead - White also wins. ("+/-") ].  

 33...Kxe6;  34.Qxb7, "+/-"  34...Rd635.Qxa6 d436.exd4 cxd437.h4 d3!?

  38.Qxd3!, {Diagram?} 
 Black Resigns. 

   (If Black takes White's Queen, the win in the K+P endgame is boringly simple - 
    "plus five" in pawns.).

    A game that was unmatched in its depth or method of conception - at least up to that  
    period of time. 

 << A leading critic said at the time, "From his conduct of this game, one sees something of the 
       extraordinary talent of the rising generation of chess players." >> 
       (Source = Chernev.) 

  "One of the most brilliant games of that whole era."  - Irving Chernev. 


   Easily one of the best games of the whole of the 19th Century!!! -  LM A.J. Goldsby I


  ---> The code for this page was originally generated with  ChessBase 8.0. (Although I have made MANY changes!!) 


   (I have close to 2 dozen books about Lasker or that were written by him. 
    The following that are listed are the most important sources that I used for annotating this game.) 

  1. "The Collected Games of ... Emmanuel Lasker,"  by  Ken Whyld. 
      (Copyright, 1998.) {With many credits to Hannak's work.) 

  2. "Dr. Lasker's Chess Career"  (Games from 1880's to 1914.) 
      By Fred Reinfeld  &  GM Ruben Fine.  (Copyright 1935.) 

  3. "The Golden Dozen."  (The twelve greatest chess players of all time.) By Irving Chernev. 
      (Copyright 1976,  Irving Chernev  - and also Oxford University Press.) 

  4.   ChessBase  annotations of this game. (- GM Garry Kasparov, ...  and other GM's as well.) 

 Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I. Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 2002, 2003, 2004.
All rights reserved.

  1 - 0  

To see a  MODERN  example of the TWO-BISHOP sacrifice ... see the game: 
  Garry Kasparov - Lajos Portisch;  Niksic, (YUG); 1983.  

If you have not already noticed, this page is  VERY  different than most of my other creations. 

This is because this game is a milestone for me ... it marks the completion of a project I had 
in mind when I first created my web page(s). If you want to see what I mean by this, then 
  please click  HERE.  This game marks a major completion of a goal. Therefore, I felt this 
 web page - because it IS a great game .... AND represents something special to me - that it 
 should definitely look and feel a little different than many of my other web pages. ENJOY!!! 

  Game  first  posted on my web-site:  Tuesday / September 10th, 2002. 
(Page last updated on:  Monday - September 01st, 2003.)


 I have quite a history with this game. I remember a gentleman at the Pensacola Chess Club 
 virtually forcing me to analyze games with him every week back in the 1960's. (In those days, 
 I would much rather play - than look at a pretty game. He had many books of chess. He had a 
 book by  GM Ruben Fine,  and also the  "Golden Treasury Of Chess,"  by  I.A. Horowitz. 
 And! ... many others!!!)  But today I know I owe this person,  (I don't even remember his name!); 
 a tremendous debt - he instilled in me a deep appreciation for the history of the game. He also 
 helped me understand very early there were many great games out there and that by subjecting 
  these games to a deep analysis, I would definitely be able to improve. 


This is the original document I developed in  ChessBase.  I have NOT shortened 
it for publication here!  If you would like a copy of this game, (the actual ChessBase file); 
 to study on your own computer, please contact me. 

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   Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 1985 - 2012.  

  Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 2013.  All rights reserved.