New York 1924, Round 3: Lasker beats Alekhine!

by André Schulz
5/7/2020 – The top game of the third round of the New York tournament in the Alamac Hotel was the clash between the 31-year-old Alexander Alekhine and the 55-year-old former World Champion Emanuel Lasker. Alekhine has good chances to become the next challenger of World Champion Capablanca and is famous for his dynamic play and ferocious attack but against Lasker's magic he was helpless. | Photo: Emanuel Lasker

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Like a World Champion – Lasker beats Alekhine

One would think that the strain to come from Europe to New York had particularly affected the 55-year-old former World Emanuel Lasker. As bad luck would have it he had trouble to come to New York in time. Before the tournament in New York Lasker was in Finland to play chess and had planned to take the ferry back to Hamburg to then embark on the SS Cleveland to cross the Atlantic.

However, the Finnish ferry got stuck in the ice of the Baltic Sea. Fearing that he might not come to Hamburg in time, Lasker decided to take his luck into his own hands and left the ship on his own to make his way over the frozen Baltic See to the next station, hoping to catch a train to Germany. He was lucky and arrived in Hamburg via Berlin just in time to board the SS Cleveland, which was ready to leave. Lasker told the journalist Jacques Hannak that the moral support from his wife Martha – who did not accompany her husband this time – helped him to keep a cheerful mood on the journey.

Emanuel had received all kinds of edifying pleasures from his wife for the journey: a pocket chess, chess books, strawberry jam, pickled tongue and above all fourteen eggs from Lasker's own chicken farm, one egg for each day of the journey. On each egg Martha had written the date on which it was to be eaten and also a good piece of advice. "Forget me not!" or "Don't smoke too much" or "Give the steward your laundry!" or "This stain on your vest must disappear!" or "I love you..."

However, the best times seem to be over for the former World Champion. Not only in chess, but also materially. During World War I Lasker put a lot of his money into German war bonds and lost it all. Therefore, the fee he received for his World Champion match against Capablanca in Havana 1921 was very welcome.

But in the match itself Lasker never found his form, maybe because the hot climate in Cuba did not suit him. After 14 games Lasker trailed 0-4 (ten games ended in a draw) and abandoned the match.

But in his game against Alekhine Lasker's old magic seemed to be back. With deceptive ease he neutralized Alekhine's attacking attempts and then crushed his young opponent with a swift and devastating counterattack.

After the game Alekhine, who was asked by the organisers to annotate all games of the tournament for a book about this big event, was very critical about his play and Lasker also indicated where White might have played better.


Another winner of the round was Efim Bogoljubow who defeated Frank Marshall.

After the round we asked the Ukranian who now lives in Germany, how he won the game: "I was playing with White," explained Bogoljubow. "And if you play with Black?" "Then I win because I am Bogoljubow," he replied after a short moment.

In the game Marshall had to give a pawn to defend against a mating attack and could not hold the endgame.


Here Marshall sacrificed a pawn with 24...f5 to stop White's threat and Bogoljubow snatched the pawn and proceeded to win the endgame.

Against Frederick Yates Savielly Tartakower dared to repeat the unusual line of the King's Gambit that he had successfully tried against Bogoljubow in round 1: 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2. But after the unusual opening Tartakower continued with solid chess and won after an early error of his opponent that is hard to explain.


In this position Yates played 10...Qe4? which allowed White to simple take the pawn on c7. He later had some trouble to convert his material advantage into a win but finally managed to do so after a couple of fine moves in the endgame. But when asked about his opening play, Tartakower replied with a smile: "In the first three moves everything is possible!"

The two other games – Capablanca vs Edward Lasker and Reti against Maroczy – both ended in a draw.

After three rounds Tartakower leads the field with 2½/3 while World Champion Capablanca still waits for his first win.

Results of round 3

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

Bye: D. Janowsky

Standings after round 3

Rg. Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Pkt.
1 Saviely Tartakower       1           ½ 1 2.5
2 Alexander Alekhine     0       1       1 2.0
3 Emanuel Lasker   1       ½           1.5
4 Efim Bogoljubow 0       ½         1   1.5
5 Edward Lasker       ½   ½ ½         1.5
6 Jose Raul Capablanca     ½   ½       ½     1.5
7 Geza Maroczy   0     ½     ½       1.0
8 Richard Reti             ½     ½   1.0
9 Dawid Markelowicz Janowski           ½         ½ 1.0
10 Frank James Marshall ½     0       ½       1.0
11 Frederick Dewhurst Yates 0 0             ½     0.5



Translation from German: Johannes Fischer


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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