New York 1924, Round 21: Lasker wins the tournament!

by Johannes Fischer
5/25/2020 – With one round to spare former World Champion Dr. Emanuel Lasker (pictured) won the New York Tournament 1924. In the 21st and penultimate round, the 55-year-old Lasker won against Dr. Savielly Tartakower with fine defensive play. With 15 points from 19 games (+12, =6, -1) Lasker is now 1½ points ahead of World Champion José Raúl Capablanca, who, after a nice endgame victory against Richard Reti, is now on 13½/19 and certain to finish second.

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Dr. Lasker's defensive skills help him to win the tournament

Emanuel Lasker is famous for his defensive skills, and at the tournament in New York he more than once saved a half or even a full point from positions that seemed to be almost hopeless. In his game against Savielly Tartakower in round 21, Lasker's position was never hopeless, but he still had to defend.

With the doubled-edged 14.f4!? Tartakower had initiated a fierce attack but at the decisive moment he lacked the courage to sacrifice material to continue his attack. This allowed Lasker to seize the initiative and to win the game and the tournament with a powerful counterattack.

 

As Tartakower reported he congratulated Lasker after the game in his own fashion:

As soon as I said "I resign," an enthusiastic audience started to applaud the winner of the New York tournament. The newspapers also reported that I had been the first to congratulate Dr. Lasker on his tournament victory. However, this is not so. Although I very much granted him – the most proficient of all participants – his success and although I am also a great fan of sporting behavior, it would have meant to congratulate my opponent on the fact that a third player (Capablanca) was disadvantaged by my own weak play.

Only on the following day I told him during our common lunch meal: "I've read just read in the papers that you have secured first prize. My hearty congratulations, Herr Doktor!" Upon which he replied, smilingly, "well, you could have deduced it already yesterday from the spectators' applause!" (Source: R. Forster, M. Negele, R. Tischbierek, Emanuel Lasker, Volume II: Choices and Chances: Chess and Other Games of the Mind, p. 329)

Before the final round Lasker is now one and a half points ahead of Capablanca, who won an equal endgame against Reti with apparent ease.

 

In contrast to that quiet game, Efim Bogoljubow and Geza Maroczy fought a fierce battle in which both sides repeatedly sacrificed material to attack or to repel the enemy's attack.

 

The fourth win of the round - and the third win for Black - was scored by Frank Marshall, who won a fine game against Frederick Yates.

 

But the most unusual game of the round was perhaps the encounter between Dawid Janowsky and Edward Lasker. Janowsky crowned his unorthodox opening play with an inspired queen sacrifice, which objectively, however, gave Black the better game. But Edward Lasker did not find the right way in the unusual situation and allowed White to get an advantage. But Janowsky did not know how to use his advantage either and this bizarre game finally ended in a draw.

 

Results of round 21

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

Bye: Alexander Alekhine

Standings after 21 rounds

Rk. Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Pts.
1 Emanuel Lasker   ½0 ½  11 11 11 ½1 ½1 ½1 11 15.0
2 Jose Raul Capablanca ½1   ½½ ½½ 01 ½1 11 ½1 ½1 13.5
3 Alexander Alekhine ½½   ½½ 10 ½½ ½  11 ½½ 11 11.5
4 Frank James Marshall ½  ½½ ½½   ½1 01 ½0 ½1 11 11.0
5 Richard Reti 00 10 01 ½0   01 ½½ 11 10 10 9.5
6 Efim Bogoljubow 00 ½½ 10 10   10 01 11 ½1 01 9.5
7 Geza Maroczy 00 ½0 ½½ 01   ½½ ½1 10 9.0
8 Savielly Tartakower ½0 00 ½  ½1 00 10 ½½   10 ½0 ½1 7.5
9 Frederick Dewhurst Yates ½0 00 ½0 01 00 01   11 ½1 7.0
10 Edward Lasker ½0 ½0 ½½ 01 ½0 ½0 ½1 00   6.5
11 Dawid Markelowicz Janowsky 00 ½0 00 00 10 01 ½0 ½0   5.0

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".

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