Akiba Rubinstein – 99 years ago

by ChessBase
1/6/2010 – In 1910 Emanuel Lasker was World Champion, but the arguably strongest player in the world was the Polish master Akiba Kiwelowicz Rubinstein (1882–1961), a dominant figure in tournament chess who was winning most events and in glorious style. In this week's Playchess lecture Dennis Monokroussos looks at a game or two of his from the 1911 tournament in Karlsbad. 9 p.m. ET

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Playchess training with FM Dennis Monokroussos

A lot has changed the last 100 years. For instance, the current world champion may not be the clearly strongest player (at least judging by the rating list), but in 1910... it may have been the same story. Emanuel Lasker barely survived a challenge to Karl Schlechter that year, and while he (Lasker) was most likely stronger than José Capablanca (the closest approximation to Magnus Carlsen at the time), it's entirely possible that the best player at that moment was the great Akiba Rubinstein (1882-1961).

Polish grandmaster Akiba Kiwelowicz Rubinstein

During the few years from around 1909 up to the beginning of WWI, Rubinstein was the dominant figure in tournament chess, winning most events and in glorious style. He was an openings innovator who could play sharp and quiet positions extremely well, and his endgame technique was fantastic by any standard – he was probably the best endgame player of the first half of the twentieth century. Unfortunately, the "Great" War put an end to his hopes of playing a title match with Lasker, and after that his nerves worsened. Although he remained a top player, he was supplanted by Capablanca and then Alexander Alekhine, and never again became the dominant player he once was.

All the same, his legacy to our game is colossal, and we'll celebrate it with a look from a game or two of his from the 1911 tournament in Karlsbad. We'll start with a victory that was decided in the middlegame – his win over Grigory Levenfish (whom we recently profiled on this show) – and then, time permitting, we'll look at the great rook ending he conducted against the aforementioned Alekhine. (If time doesn't permit, we'll look at next week – Rubinstein certainly merits back-to-back shows, and the games are very different in character.)

To tune in, it's simple. Log on to the Playchess server at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday night (that's tonight, or 3 a.m. CET Thursday morning for those on the other side of the Atlantic), go to the Broadcast room and look for Rubinstein-Levenfish under the Games tab. Hope to see you there!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). You can find the times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date, with exact times for most larger cities here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures.

Monokroussos in Mexico: World Championship 2007

Dennis Monokroussos is 43, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and has worked as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.

Playchess Training with IM Merijn van Delft

Everyone is invited to join this weekly training hour on Wednesday evening. Together we will have a look at the most recent grandmaster games. Recurring themes during our analyses and discussions are the latest opening developments and how to work on your own chess.

A word about myself: I was born (March 13, 1979) and raised in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands. In 1995 I won the Dutch U16 Championship and played the European Championship in Poland and the World Championship in Brasil. In 1998 I moved to Amsterdam to study psychology and had a great time there. In 2003 I met my wife Evi Zickelbein and ever since we've been living together in Hamburg, Germany. In 2004 I made both master titles: one at the university and one in chess. Since 2005 I've been working fulltime in the chess world: training, coaching, writing, organizing and still actively playing myself. By now I have about fifteen years of experience as a chess trainer. Together with my dad I wrote a book about chess training (Schaaktalent Ontwikkelen), of which the Dutch version is already available and the English version will follow April 2010.

IM Merijn van Delft's lecture starts at 20:00h Central European Time (Berlin, Paris, Rome), which translates to 19:00h London. You can find the times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. The lecture is in the "Broadcast" room of Playchess. It is free for Premium Playchess members (50 Ducats for others).


The lectures are broadcast live on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!

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