New York 1924, Round 6: Lasker and Lasker play remarkable draw

by Johannes Fischer
5/10/2020 – Round 6 of the New York Tournament saw the clash of the two Laskers: Emanuel vs Edward Lasker. It was a remarkable fight that lasted for 103 moves and gave Emanuel Lasker an opportunity to demonstrate his amazing defensive skills. World Champion José Raúl Capablanca played an endgame brilliancy against Savielly Tartakower and showed why it is worth remembering to look for sacrifices and mating attacks in the endgame. Alexander Alekhine smashed Dawid Janowsky. Geza Maroczy defeated Frank Marshall, and Richard Reti won in hypermodern style against Frederick Yates. | Photo: Emanuel Lasker (right) and Edward Lasker (left, with Black)

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New York 1924, Round 6

Emanuel Lasker and Edward Lasker are distant relatives and they are also friends. During the tournament they often chat and analyse with each other. But that did not stop them from fighting with all they had when they met in round 6.

This fighting spirit led to a remarkable game that lasted for 103 moves, was adjourned twice and had a lot to offer: a new concept in the opening, a prolonged tactical skirmish in the middlegame and a fascinating endgame that Emanuel Lasker saved with a miraculous defense.

Edward Lasker, who continues to work on his book project Chess Secrets I learned from the Masters, kindly shared some of his thoughts about this game.

"The sixth round was to be the greatest chess event in my life. My opponent was – at last – Emanuel Lasker; a dream I had had for years had finally become reality!

He had the white pieces, and it was more than likely that he would play a Ruy Lopez. The night before the game I went into a huddle with Maroczy. Perhaps he could suggest a variation I might play which Lasker might not have seen. Maroczy knew indeed of an interesting innovation in the Tchigorin Defense which had not as yet been tried in tournament play.

We parted with a smile which, on Maroczy's face, seemed to me to express the same thought that I felt my own did not hide very successfully: 'This discussion was very pleasant. But what was the use? The old man would find a way to win no matter what I played!"

 

Edward Lasker

Capablanca also played an endgame brilliancy: in a difficult rook ending against Tartakower he sacrificed two pawns to give his king an opportunity to walk into the enemy position, demonstrating that the activity of the pieces is often more important than material.

 

Here White played 34.Bxf5! gxf5 35.Kg3! and after 35...Rxc3+ 36.Kh4 Rf3 37.g6 Rxf4+ 38.Kg5 Re4 39.Kf6 he was two pawns down but winning. The game continued 39...Kg8 40.Rg7+ Kh8 41.Rxc7 Re8 42.Kxf5 Re4 43.Kf6 Rf4+ 44.Ke5 Rg4 45.g7+ Kg8 46.Rxa7 Rg1 47.Kxd5 Rc1 48.Kd6 Rc2 49.d5 Rc1 50.Rc7 Ra1 51.Kc6 Rxa4 52.d6 and Black resigned. 1–0 An endgame that is worth to remember.

José Raúl Capablanca

These were two exciting and instructive games but round six had to offer even more. Alexander Alekhine, who was playing against Dawid Janowsky, once again showed his attacking skills and convincingly outplayed his opponent.

 

Alexander Alekhine

And Richard Réti once again demonstrated the virtues of hypermodern play:

 

Richard Réti

After six rounds Em. Lasker, Alekhine, Tartakower and Bogoljubow all have 3½ points and share the lead though Tartakower needed six games to reach this score while the others have only played five games so far.

Results of round 6

R. Réti 1-0 F. Yates
G. Maroczy 1-0 F. Marshall
Em. Lasker ½-½ Ed. Lasker
J.R. Capablanca 1-0 S. Tartakower
A. Alekhine 1-0 D. Janowsky

Bye: Efim Bogoljubow

Standings after round 6

Rk. Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Pts.
1 Savielly Tartakower     ½ 1 0   ½ 1     ½ 3.5
2 Alexander Alekhine     0   ½   1 1   1   3.5
3 Emanuel Lasker ½ 1     ½       ½ 1   3.5
4 Efim Bogoljubow 0         1 1   ½   1 3.5
5 Jose Raul Capablanca 1 ½ ½     0     ½ ½   3.0
6 Richard Reti       0 1   ½ 1     ½ 3.0
7 Geza Maroczy ½ 0   0   ½     ½   1 2.5
8 Frederick Dewhurst Yates 0 0       0     1 ½ ½ 2.0
9 Edward Lasker     ½ ½ ½   ½ 0   0   2.0
10 Dawid Markelowicz Janowski   0 0   ½     ½ 1     2.0
11 Frank James Marshall ½     0   ½ 0 ½       1.5

Games

 

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Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".