C. Torre - Em. Lasker 








Carlos Torre (Repetto) (2665) - Emmanuel Lasker (2818) 
[A46]
Moscow,  (RUS);    1925  

[A.J. Goldsby I] 


A very famous game from the Moscow 1925 tournament. 
(This tournament was won by Bogolyubov.) 

Both sides play a solid opening. The in the late Opening and the early 
Middle-game, both sides play somewhat inaccurately. 

From a fairly tranquil position, the then virtually unknown Torre unleashes 
a surprising and devastating whirlwind attack. 

One of the better known examples in practical play of 
the formidable "windmill" or "see-saw attack." 

One of Lasker's rare losses that was not to one of the world's best players. 


1. d4 Nf62. Nf3 e63. Bg5!?,  
Torre uses the opening that is [now] named after him. 

For another in depth look at a Torre Attack Opening, see the game 
Janowski - Samisch;  Marienbad, 1925. 

(Also see my web page dedicated to the 
"Best Short Games of Chess." 
This game contains a complete look and a deep analysis of the Torre Attack.) 

[ More normal is: 3.c4 , which can lead to dozens of different variations. 
 These include a Nimzo-Indian, a Queen's Indian, a Modern Benoni, etc. 
We could also transpose to a Queen's Gambit. (Accepted or Declined.) ].  

3...c5!
;  The most vigorous response. 
(And the one recommended by book.) 

[ An interesting move is: 3...h6!?;  with an unclear position. 
Play could now continue: 4.Bxf6,  Probably the best. 
(MCO looks extensively at 4. Bh4, here.)

4...Qxf65.e4 c5(MCO analyzes ...d6; in depth here.) 
6.e5
Qf47.Qd2 Qe4+8.Qe2 d59.exd6 Qxe2+10.Bxe2 cxd4
11.Bb5+
Nd712.Nxd4 Bxd6; "="  Junior 6 . 0.  
( This line being the result of allowing the computer to analyze this position, 
{after White's 3rd move} for several hours.) - 0.03/15; 

Black could also play:
3...d54.c4(4.e3 Be75.Bd3 c56.c3,  transposes to the Main Line Of the 
Torre Attack in MCO-14 (Col. # 5, pg. # 499.)
)   4...c65.Nc3 Nbd76.e3,  
is a transposition to a Queen's Gambit. {Accepted or most likely The Declined.}  
[ See MCO-14; pages 499 - 501, columns # 5 - 6,  ( Mainly column # 5 here. ) 
and notes (q.) through (v.). {Mainly note (q.) here.} ]  ]

4.e3 cxd4!?
;  This is not the most common continuation today, 
but it is certainly OK. 

A little known fact is Lasker very often liked to determine the pawn 
structure early in the game,
  so that he could begin to plan the entire course 
of the game. Here he gives the game a Sicilian-type pawn structure. 

Lasker's line could also transpose to book, as this capture (...c5xd4) 
is very common in this line. 

***

MCO analyzes  4...Be7; & 4...Qb6;  in depth here, 
as well as a few other minor alternatives. 

***

5. exd4 Be76. Nbd2 d6;  This is very solid and safe. 

[ Black could have also tried: 6...h6!?; ("=") with the position being close to equal. ]. 

7. c3 Nbd7
8. Bd3 b69. Nc4 Bb710. Qe2 Qc711. 0-0 0-0;  
12. Rfe1 Rfe8;   
Black's moves seem fairly reasonable - indeed pretty good - thus far. 

[ Black could have also played: 12...Rac8!?;  Or maybe 12...Rfc8. ].  

13. Rad1,  Safe and very solid. White is playing pretty well.  

(White has played carefully and well, thus far in the game. ... AND HE SHOULD!
There is no way Torre could have been unaware of who he was playing. 
In fact, several newspapers in the 1920's conducted polls. Lasker usually came 
out on top as the most well-known of all chess players up to that time!)

[ 13.a4!? ].

13...Nf8
;  This seems a little over-cautious. 

 (The computers award a slight edge to White here. That seems correct, as White 
has completed his development, and has a small space advantage.)  {A.J.G.} 

[ Again, Black could try: 13...h6!?, "=" ]. 

14. Bc1 Nd5!?

Where is this Knight headed? 

[Maybe Black should play: 14...Ng6! ("=") Or 14...Rac8!?; ("~" or "Unclear.") ].  

15. Ng5!?,   A somewhat speculative attacking move. (But not grossly unsound.)

[ 15.Qc2!? ]. 

15...b5!
;  This seems to be the indicated move. 

[ Black could also try: 15...h6!?; ] .

16. Na3
,  This is the only good square for the Knight.  

[ Not 16.Ne3?? Bxg5; ("-/+") ]

16...b4
;  A minor victory for Black.  He has succeeded in breaking open a 
line on the Q-side. He has also separated White's pawns into three islands. 
(Vs. Black's two.) 

[16...a6!?; ].

17. cxb4 Nxb418. Qh5 Bxg5!?;   This is still OK, but weakens 
Black on the dark squares somewhat.  

[ 18...g6!?; ('!')  19.Qh6 Nxa2; ("~") 20.Bf4, (White has comp for the material.) ].

19. Bxg5!?
, ('?!')   This might be inaccurate. 

[ 19.Qxg5! Nxa220.Nb5, ("=")  As far as I know, no other annotator 
has pointed this out. ] 

19...Nxd320. Rxd3 Qa5;  ("=/+") 
According to most computer programs, Black already has a slight edge. 
(Albeit an almost invisible one.).  

21. b4!?,  The most energetic move, probably deserving of an exclam. 

[ If 21.Red1?! h6!;  ("Black is much better," or "/+") ].  

21...Qf5!?;  (Maybe - '!')  Probably the most accurate move.  
(Many annotators have given this move an exclam.) 

[ Black could have tried: 21...Qd5!?;  ("=/+") 

Black could have also played: 21...Qxb4!?; ('!')  22.Rb1!?(22.Bd2!? Qb6
23.Nc4
Qc6 ; 24.Ne3 Reb8; "=/+")
   22...Qa523.Nc4 Qa6;  ('!?/?!') 
( Maybe better is:  23...Qd5!?;  24.Ne3,  now 24...Qe4;  is at least "=/+") 

24.Ra3 Qxc425.Rxb7 e5!; ("/+")  Black is much better.  This position could 
be evaluated as: "-/+."  Maybe this was the best line for Black? ].  

22. Rg3 h6!?
;   The most natural, but also maybe incorrect. 
(22...f6! was the best move here.)  

[ Probably best was: 22...f6!23.Nc4 Red824.Ne3 Qg6!;  ("=/+") Black has a 
very small but solid advantage here. This line seems to hold less risk for Black, also. ] 

"Torre's vigorous, though somewhat dubious attacking play has been rewarded 
with a few inaccuracies from his renowned opponent." - FM Graham Burgess. 
In his book,  "Chess Highlights of The 20th Century." 
(The Best Chess 1900-1999, In Historical Context.) {Page # 54.}

For my part, I think Lasker has played pretty well thus far. It seems Torre 
has been the one to play (virtually all of) the inaccuracies. 
- USCF  LIFE-Master  A.J. Goldsby I.  

23. Nc4
, ('!')  Burgess gives this an exclam. To me, it seems to be 
practically the ONLY move. White must activate all of his pieces or lose horribly. 

[ 23.Rg4!? ]. 

23...Qd5!?
; ('?!')   Burgess gives this a question mark. ('?') 
But that seems much too harsh and severe a criticism to me. 
(23...Qd5; is also the first choice of many computer programs!!!

This move does not lose, nor does it greatly worsen or jeopardize Black's position, 
so it hardly seems right to give this move a question mark. Some annotators seem 
to use these type of marks with abandon and rarely use restraint. They also imitate 
other famous masters. (If GM "A" says, "This is a really bad move," this move 
receives a question mark for eternity it seems. Almost no one is willing to take the 
effort to delve into the position, and find out whether the move is bad or good.)  
With computers, this is very easy to determine today. With a little practice, anyone 
can do a fairly good job of annotating a game. The key is to keep your eye  CONSTANTLY on the scoring of the position. Any move that seriously changes 
the evaluation of the position should be further scrutinized.  

[ Burgess claims Black MUST play: 23...hxg5!?; ('!')  24.Nxd6 Qg6;  
 25.Qxg6
Nxg6; 26.Nxb7 Reb827.Nc5 Rxb428.Rxg5; "=" (Maybe - "+/=")  
 ... "and a draw is probable." - FM G. Burgess. ]. 

24. Ne3 Qb5?;  This is the really bad move, 
and is correctly and justly criticized by Burgess. 

Lasker must have overlooked what was to happen next. 

The great Lasker must have been counting on the LATERAL PIN 
(of the B at g5)  to hold the balance. 

[ Burgess gives: 24...Qxd4[]25.Rd1 Qe426.Bxh6 Ng627.Rg4!?,  ("+/=") ? 
 as "good for White."  But it may be the only line that Black can reasonably play. 
( 27.Bg5!? ) Not 24...Qxa2?!25.Bf6!, ("+/-")  If 24...Qe4?!; then 25.Bxh6, "+/=" ] 

White to play. What move would you make? 

25. Bf6!!,  "In return for losing his Queen, White sets up a deadly see-saw, 
which ultimately makes decisive material gains." - FM G. Burgess. 

[ Not 25.a4?! Qxb4; ("=/+") ].  

25...Qxh5
;   This is now pretty much forced. 

[Horrible is: 25...Ng6??;  ('???')   
(Black drops his Queen.) 26.Qxb5, "+/-" ].  

26. Rxg7+ Kh8
;  Now before regaining his Queen, White gathers in quite 
a lot of extra pieces that are just sort of, "lying around."  

27. Rxf7+!
,   The process of the "Windmill" tactic begins. 

[Maybe Lasker only saw:  27.Rg5+?? Kh728.Rxh5 Kg6; "/+" ]. 

27...Kg828. Rg7+ Kh829. Rxb7+ Kg830. Rg7+ Kh8;  
31. Rg5+!,  A nice move. 
(Now that White has an overwhelming advantage in material, he gets his Queen back.) 

[31.Rxa7+!? Kg832.Rg7+ Kh833.Rg5+ Kh734.Rxh5 Kg635.g4
(35.Ra5!?);   35...Rxa2;  is still winning for White, (Probably "+/-") 
but activates Black's Rooks. This is maybe why Torre avoided it. ].  

31...Kh732. Rxh5 Kg633. Rh3 Kxf634. Rxh6+ Kg5;   
Burgess notes White has 3 extra pawns. (!)

35. Rh3 Reb836. Rg3+ Kf637. Rf3+ Kg638. a3 a539.bxa5

[ Maybe White could try: 39.d5!? ].  

39...Rxa5
40. Nc4 Rd5!?

[ 40...Ra4 ]. 

41.Rf4 Nd7!?;  (Maybe - '?')  This drops another pawn, but it did not really matter. Black is already completely lost and nothing will change this. 
(Perhaps Lasker felt the need to activate his Knight.) 

[Black had to play:  41...Kg7;  (Maybe - "box") ].  

42. Rxe6+ Kg5
43.g3,   1-0 

A great game by Torre. 

But it also must have been a real shocker for poor Emanuel Lasker! 

Although this game is not on anybody's list of, "The 100 Best Games of All Time," 
(see my web site); it is still one of the great and one of the more historic encounters 
in all of the annals of chess.

  One of the great games showing the power 
of the  "windmill"  or  "see-saw"  attack.  

 1 - 0 


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"Best Short Games Page."

 Click here to go to my web page ("Chess Snapshots") where I
examine the critical part of this game in some detail. 


This is a MUCH shortened copy of the game than the version that exits in my database. 
(I had to greatly shorten it for publication. The other version was simply 
too difficult to convert to an HTML document.) 

The original "ChessBase" file contains a  VERY DETAILED  look at the opening of this game, 
"The Torre Attack." This includes every column, note, and comment that MCO has on this opening. 
Additionally, it also contains MANY LINES THAT MCO DOES NOT CONSIDER!! 
 This would be a great asset to have, if you wanted to study this opening. 

If you would like a copy of this game, please contact me. 


 Copyright, () A.J. Goldsby I.

  A.J. Goldsby I;  2001 - 2005. 

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

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