New York 1924, Round 16: Dr. Lasker beats Reti!

by Johannes Fischer
5/20/2020 – Former World Champion Dr. Emanuel Lasker is back in shape. In round 14 of the tournament in New York he suffered a bitter defeat against Capablanca, in round 15 he had a bye, but now, in round 16, he convincingly won against Reti and his hypermodern opening 1.Nf3. After this victory Dr. Lasker has 10½/14 and is again sole first. In the other games of the round a lot of chances were missed.

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Missed chances

The tournament in New York is the strongest and most important chess tournament since the tournament in St. Petersburg 1914 and the tournament in New York is also a battle of old and new chess concepts. After all, during the last years players like Richard Reti, Alexander Alekhine and Savielly Tartakower, who all play in New York, came up with new openings and new strategic concepts which are often called "hypermodern".

The move 1.Nf3, with which Reti won against Capablanca and Alekhine in New York, is a good example for the new views of the "hypermoderns": White does not immediately try to occupy the center with pawns in the opening, but controls it with pieces and postpones the advance of his central pawns.

At 55 years of age former world champion Dr. Emanuel Lasker is the second oldest participant in New York (Dawid Janowsky is a few months older) and for this reason alone he belongs to the representatives of "old" chess views, although Lasker throughout his career at the board has been a practical player and not a theoretician.

Nevertheless, the encounter between Reti and Lasker was a clash of different chess concepts. Not to mention the fact that it was important for the fight for first place. After his defeat against Capablanca in round 14 Lasker had to find his way back into the tournament, and with a win against Lasker Reti would still have been in contention for first place.

The game developed into a gripping duel, which Lasker won after some inaccuracies by Retis.


But the four other games of the day were also interesting, especially because they provided plenty of evidence that even the best players in the world are not perfect.

After a well-played middlegame Efim Bogoljubow was clearly better against Frederick Yates but in search of a win he turned his good position into a losing one but when Yates returned the compliment Bogoljubow still managed to win.


In the previous rounds Edward Lasker has missed a number of good chances and against Alekhine he again was close to a win. Lasker had Black and convincingly outplayed Alekhine in a King's Indian but then missed a couple of opportunity to win the game and in the end he had to content himself with a draw.


World Champion José Raúl Capablanca, too, did not make the most of his chances. He was clearly better against Frank Marshall after the opening but found no way to increase his advantage and also had to content himself with a draw.


But Savielly Tartakower scored a straightforward and convincing win against Dawid Janowsky, who found no concept against Tartakower's provocative opening play.


After 16 of 22 rounds, Emanuel Lasker is again sole leader. He has 10½ points from 14 games and is half a point ahead of Capablanca, who follows with 10 out of 15. Alekhine is third with 9 out of 15, Reti and Bogolyubov follow on fourth and fifth place with 8 out of 14 and 8 out of 15.

With six rounds to go, Lasker has the best chances of winning the tournament. If Capablanca wants to win he must increase his pace in the final six rounds - and Lasker has to stumble.

Results of round 16

R. Reti 0-1 Em. Lasker
E. Bogoljubow 1-0 F. Yates
A. Alekhine ½-½ Ed. Lasker
J.R. Capablanca ½-½ F. Marshall
S. Tartakower 1-0 D. Janowsky

Bye: Geza Maroczy

Standings after 16 rounds

Rk. Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Pts.
1 Emanuel Lasker   ½0 11 11 ½  ½  ½  ½  11 10.5
2 Jose Raul Capablanca ½1   ½½ ½½ ½1 ½  ½1 10.0
3 Alexander Alekhine ½½   10 ½  ½  ½  11 ½½ 9.0
4 Richard Reti 00 01   01 ½0 ½  8.0
5 Efim Bogoljubow 00 ½  10   01 11 ½1 8.0
6 Saviely Tartakower ½  ½  10   ½1 ½½ ½0 ½1 7.5
7 Frank James Marshall ½  ½½ ½  ½1 ½0   ½  11 7.5
8 Geza Maroczy ½0 ½  ½½   ½1 7.0
9 Frederick Dewhurst Yates ½  00 00 ½    11 ½1 4.5
10 Edward Lasker ½  ½  ½½ ½0 ½1 ½0 00   4.5
11 Dawid Markelowicz Janowski 00 ½0 ½0 00 ½0   3.5




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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