Monday, April 6, 2009

Tarrasch - Lasker, 2nd match game 1908

Emanuel Lasker’s style is not an easy one to grasp. Did he deliberately make inferior moves to “provoke” his opponents? Could his many victories form difficult positions be the result of luck? Perhaps – but the strong make their own luck, as this game demonstrates. With his position under pressure, Lasker invites a combination, from which White may obtain either an extra pawn or a strong attack. Tarrasch chooses the former, and is subsequently outplayed. Would a player like Marshall have done better with the White position at move 15? Probably, but Lasker would not have played this way against Marshall …

Tarrasch - Lasker
2nd Match Game, Dusseldorf 1908

C66 RUY LOPEZ, Steinitz Defense

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. 0-0 d6 5. d4 Bd7 6. Nc3 Be7 7. Re1 exd4

Black would like to maintain a pawn on e5, but 7. ... 0-0 was rudely handled in Tarrasch – Marco, Dresden, 1892: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. 0-0 d6 5. d4 Bd7 6. Nc3 Be7 7. Re1 0-0 8. Bxc6 Bxc6 9. dxe5 dxe5 10. Qxd8 Raxd8 11. Nxe5 Bxe4 12. Nxe4 Nxe4 13. Nd3 f5 14. f3 Bc5+ 15. Nxc5 Nxc5 16. Bg5 Rd5 17. Be7, Black resigns. Any move by the Rook at f8 is met by 18. c5, winning material. This little trap has recurred in master play on at least two occasions, and among lesser folk many more. (I’ve won the same game at least twice.)

8. Nxd4 0-0 9. Nxc6 Bxc6 10. Bxc6 bxc6 11. Ne2

White plans to transfer his Knight to f5 via g3. The move is tactically justified by 11. … Nxe4? 12. Nd4, threatening Nxc6 as well as Rxe4.

11. … Qd7 12. Ng3 Rfe8?!

A more logical deployment of the Rooks would be at d8 and b8.
13. b3 Rad8 14. Bb2 Ng4 15. Bxg7 Nxf2 16. Kxf2 Kxg7 17. Nf5+ Kh8 18. Qd4+ f6 19. Qxa7 Bf8

Black's Kingside has been shattered, and now he loses a pawn. But cashing in on material now proves to be the wrong idea, as it takes the White Queen out of play just long enough for Black to seize the initiative. Note how he uses the dark squares in general and e5 in particular.

20. Qd4 Re5 21. Rad1 Rde8 22. Qc3 Qf7 23. Ng3 Bh6 24. Qf3 d5 25. exd5 Be3+ 26. Kf1 cxd5 27. Rd3 Qe6 28. Re2 f5 29. Rd1 f4


30. Nh1 d4 31. Nf2 Qa6 32. Nd3 Rg5 33. Ra1 Qh6 34. Ke1 Qxh2 35. Kd1 Qg1+ 36. Ne1 Rge5 37. Qc6 R5e6 38. Qxc7 R8e7 39. Qd8+ Kg7 40. a4 f3 41. gxf3 Bg5, White resigns

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