THE memories of the great masters of the past still evoke much interest among chess fans. This was evident from the recent Lasker Fair in Germany. It was dedicated to Dr. Emanuel Lasker (world champion 1894-1921).
The idea of arranging a fair on different aspects of the life of Dr. Lasker was a novel one. Not only did it create the opportunity for the new generation of players to be familiar with the life and times of one of the greatest masters in the history of the game, but it also underscored the need for looking back to the days when individual brilliance was perhaps a more important factor than it is these days. Dr. Lasker was a wonderfully original player, but he founded no school. He was a pragmatist per excellence, and often relied on the psychological aspects of the game. The fair was interesting for another reason too. Dr. Lasker had a very long chess career and the organisers of the event could collect a wide array of objects for exhibition.
But nothing was more pleasantly surprising than the fact that a man who had played against Dr. Lasker was invited to visit the fair. Dr. Lasker died in 1941, so the organisers must have been lucky to find someone who had faced him over the board. A living memento has a greater appeal than those inanimate objects!
One of the most striking features of Lasker's play was that he was doing very well even late in his career. That's a quality that Victor Korchnoi, Lasker's modern day disciple, has also inherited. Lasker came third in the strong Moscow tournament in 1935 at the age of 67!
Another great triumph of Lasker came in the 1924 New York tournament. Though world champion Capablanca and future champion Alekhine were the main attractions of the event, Lasker came first ahead of the ten other super masters of the day. This tournament was a majestic one with the organisers spending more than $13,000 for it.
Here is a game played by Lasker in the grand meet.
Black-Richard Reti [C15]
New York 1924
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4 5.Nge2 dxe4 6.a3 Be7 7.Bxf6 gxf6 8.Nxe4 f5 9.N4c3 Bd7 10.Qd2 Bd6 11.000 Qe7 12.Ng3 Qh4 13.Qe1 Nc6 14.Nxf5 Qf4+ 15.Ne3 Nxd4 16.g3 Qe5 17.Bg2 Nc6 18.f4 Qg7 19.Nb5 00 20.Nxd6 cxd6 21.Rxd6 Rfd8 22.Qd2 Be8 23.Rd1 Rdc8 24.f5 e5 25.f6 Qf8 26.Nf5 Kh8 27.Qg5 Rc7 28.Bxc6 Rxc6 29.Rd8 Rcc8 30.Qg7+ Qxg7 31.fxg7+ Kg8 32.Ne7+ 1-0
Position after 14.Nxf5!
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