Exercises in Style: from Wilhelm Steinitz to Magnus Carlsen (1/4)

by Johannes Fischer
7/6/2017 – World Champions have style. At least, this is often claimed. Kasparov loved to attack, Karpov excelled in prophylaxis, Capablanca liked positional play crowned by a "petite combinaison", Tal loved intuitive sacrifices while Botvinnik preferred clear strategic plans. But do you recognize the style of the World Champions when you see only the moves of their games? Try it out!

Master Class Vol.5: Emanuel Lasker Master Class Vol.5: Emanuel Lasker

The name Emanuel Lasker will always be linked with his incredible 27 years reign on the throne of world chess. In 1894, at the age of 25, he had already won the world title from Wilhelm Steinitz and his record number of years on the throne did not end till 1921 when Lasker had to accept the superiority of Jose Raul Capablanca. But not only had the only German world champion so far seen off all challengers for many years, he had also won the greatest tournaments of his age, sometimes with an enormous lead. The fascinating question is, how did he manage that?

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The first undisputed World Champion in the history of chess was Wilhelm Steinitz, while the 16th and current World Champion is Magnus Carlsen. In this article and in the days to come ChessBase presents 16 games by the World Champions — one per World Champion. Without giving any information when, where and against whom these games were played, can you find out which World Champion played which game by just looking at the moves?

To simplify the task, the 16 World Champions were divided into four groups. The first group consists of Wilhelm Steinitz, Emanuel Lasker, José Rául Capablanca and Alexander Alekhine.

The games were chosen with a random generator. But only tournament and matchgames were taken into account and only wins. Games between two World Champions were also ignored.

Game 1

 
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Game 2

 
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Game 3

 
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Game 4

 
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If you want to you can explain your choice the in comments. It is, of course, easy to find out who played which game if you search for the games in the ChessBase Megabase. But this would spoil the fun, so if you do, please keep it to yourself! Moreover, we'll reveal who played which game soon. And part two of the "Exercises in Style" series will also follow soon.



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".

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