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  A nice miniature by Edward Lasker! 

I saw this game a long time ago ... I cannot even recall where. 

When it was the problem of the day on another website ... I decided to annotate it. 

  Click  HERE  to see a detailed explanation of the symbols that I use when annotating a chess game.  

  Click  HERE  to replay this game on another website(Source for the player's ratings.) 

  Edward Lasker (2470) - Fritz Englund (2426)  
  ICT / Masters / Scheveningen,
(R #12) / 08,1913.  


min002_medal.gif, 02 KB

An impressive effort by Ed Lasker. 

 1.e4 e52.Nf3 Nc63.Nc3 Nf6;  
  {See the diagram given below.}  

The Four Knights Game



min002_pos01.gif, 10 KB

  r1bqkb1r/pppp1ppp/2n2n2/4p3/4P3/2N2N2/PPPP1PPP/R1BQKB1R w 


While this was common to master level chess over 100 years ago, it is a very rare guest today. 

(A happy exception was:   
 IM Boris Kreiman - GM Larry Christiansen; 
 The U.S. Championship Tournament / Seattle, WA / USA / 2002.   
  This was an extremely complicated draw ... in just under forty moves.  
  I deeply annotated this game for a game collection that I did,
{a few  
years back}; if you are interested you can write me and obtain a copy.) 


The most commonly played move here for White. 
(Probably also the best, even today.) 

[ An interesting game ... that was also a miniature was:  
  4.Bc4!? Bc55.d3 a6;  
  Play has now transposed to a very quiet line of the Giuoco Piano. 
  6.0-0 d67.a3!? Nd4!?;  
  This could be an inferior move ... I played it mostly to get away 
  from all the book lines - and also it was an attempt to break the  
  symmetry. (My opponent stated that he had won dozens of games  
  from this position, so I did not want to become just another one   
  of his victims in this line!) 

Now pinning (on g5) looks natural, but is actually going astray  
for White. 

  (>/= 8.Nxd4, exd4; 9.Ne2, 0-0; 10.Bg5, "+/="  probably  
   gives White a small - but sure - advantage.) 

  8.Bg5?! h6!?; (Maybe - '!')   
  Playing ...Bg4! was also good for Black in this position. 
  (But I had something different in mind.) 

  Now White should exchange on f6. 
  9.Bh4? g5!10.Bg3 h5!!;  
  I immediately go for my opponent's King ... 
  he actually tried to talk me out of playing this move!! 
  (He even said he would not accept this move, and offered   
   a variation "proving" that White would win easily. I asked  
   him to be patient, humor me, and to please just play it out.)  

  11.Nxg5 h4!12.Nxf7 hxg3!! 13.Nxd8 Bg4!;  
  This is too greedy and probably is an error. (Fritz shows  
  that the move of 14.Nxb7! was a much better defense  
  here for White.) 

  Believe it or not, my opponent asked (demanded?) that I 
  resign here ... and spare myself any more humiliation!!!!! 
  {I refused.} 

     ( But definitely not: </= 14.f3? Nxf3+!; (double-check)   
       15.Kh1[] Rxh2# )   

  14...Nf3+!!15.gxf3 Bxf3 16.Bf7+!? Kxd8; 
  17.h4 Rxh4
;  0-1  {White cannot prevent a mate.}  

  R. Schinkmann - A.J. Goldsby I;  
(e-mail) / 2001. 

  To be honest, I had seen another contest similar to this one   
  close to thirty years ago ... but it was still fun to play a game 
  like this! 

  Since I originally showed this game at the club - it also got  
  posted on another server ... ... ... but that is another story.]  


This is ... "The Rubinstein Defense," and was basically responsible for putting this opening out of business.  

     [ The move of:  4...Bb4!?;  "~"  maintaining the symmetry ... 
        was also possible for Black. [See MCO-14, page # 119; 
        all columns and associated notes.] ]  


This leads to a lot of exchanges, and Black should be able to level the playing field with exchanges. (Theory - today - considers this move to be relatively harmless.) 


[ The best move for White on his fifth turn is generally 
   thought to be 5.Ba4. (Many books award this move   
   an exclamation point.) 

   For example:  >/=  5.Ba4! c6!?;  
   This is good, 5...Bc5 was also playable here for Black. 
   (See column # 12 for more information.) 

   6.Nxe5 d6!7.Nf3 Bg4!;   
   Thus far, I was able to find around 75 games in the 
   database with this position. By far, the highest-rated   
   example would have to be: 

   GM A. Motylev (2641) - GM A. Grischuk (2666); 
   The (FIDE) World Championships (k.o.) Tournament /  
   (Round #2) Moscow, RUS / 2001.  (1-0, 39 moves.)  

   We continue by following the variation found in one fairly   
   reliable (G.R.) opening manual:   
   8.d3 d5!9.Be3 Nxf3+! 10.gxf3 Bh511.Bd4!? dxe4!;  
   The end of the column. 

   12.dxe4 Bxf313.Qxf3 Qxd4;  "="   
   This position is roughly equal, at least according to 
   GM Nick de Firmian

   [ See MCO-14, page # 121; column # 10, and note # (o.). ] ] 


 5...Qe7!?;  (Blocks the Black KB.)   
This move is both 'book' ... and also nearly forced for Black. 
(To regain the lost Pawn.) 

 6.Nf3 Nxe4;  
This was seemingly the only move for Black ... for over 30 years. But then E. Gruenfeld, (in a correspondence match with Wolf in 1919); showed the correct way to handle this position was to play 6...NxB/b5!; with good play for the second party. 

     [ A big improvement would be: 
       >/=  6...Nxb5!7.Nxb5 Qxe4+ 8.Qe2 Qxe2+;   
       9.Kxe2 Nd5 10.Re1 a6; "="  {Diagram?}  
       & Black has probably equalized. (White is ahead in   
       development, but analysis shows that Black should   
       be able to hold the balance.) ]  


Now White gains a very large edge, with simple and straight-forward moves. Meanwhile, the second player is trading off all of his developed pieces. 
 7.0-0 Nxc38.dxc3 Nxf3+ 9.Qxf3 Qc510.Re1+ Be7 11.Bd3!?,  
This is good enough for a sizeable advantage for White. (Fritz prefers another move ... I don't see that it makes that big a difference.) 

     [ Also good was: 11.a4, ''  with a very large edge, ( or +/-)
        for White from this position. ]  


 11...d512.Be3 Qd6!? 13.Bf4 Qf614.Qxd5,  "+/="   
  {See the diagram given below.}    

Edward Lasker chooses to immediately regain the Pawn ...  
to me, this is a perfectly natural move for White. 



min002_pos02.gif, 09 KB

  r1b1k2r/ppp1bppp/5q2/3Q4/5B2/2PB4/PPP2PPP/R3R1K1 b  


White has a sizeable advantage here. 

     [ Also interesting was: 14.Qg3!?, with strong pressure. (Fritz 8.0) ]  


Is this bad ... good ... or even forced for Black?  


     [ What happens if Black grabs the bait ... 
        the Bishop on the f4-square?  

        14...Qxf4!?15.Bb5+! c6;  
        Looks forced, 15...Bd7?? was simply impossible. 

        16.Bxc6+!! bxc6!?;  {Box?}  
        Seemingly a blunder ... while Fritz seems to indicate  
        that this move is forced.  

           ( But not: </= 16...Kf8?; ('??') 17.Qd8+! Bxd8; 18.Re8#. )  

       17.Qxc6+ Kf818.Qxa8 Qc7 19.Re2 g620.Rae1, ''  
       when White's Rook - and three Pawns - should be considered   
       (much) superior to Black's two Bishops. ]  


 15.Qe4 Be616.Re3!? Bc5?!;  
Castling (Q-side) was probably forced for Black in this position. 

 17.Be5 Qh6!?18.Rg3 Bf8!?;  
Black is getting badly tied up. 
(He is - also - already lost, so it may not matter, anyway.) 

Now Fritz likes Qd4 here. 
 19.Rd1 0-0-0?;   
  {See the diagram given below.}    

Today, missing this idea would be considered a blunder ... but close to one hundred years ago, the idea was not seen all that often. 



min002_pos03.gif, 09 KB

  2kr1b1r/pp3ppp/2p1b2q/4B3/4Q3/2PB2R1/PPP2PPP/3R2K1 w  


Now White can win ... brilliantly. 

     [Better was:  >/= 19...Rd8[]; - Fritz.]  


It is Lasker's turn to move here.  
 20.Qxc6+! bxc621.Ba6#.  
A very attractive, decisive and beautiful miniature.   


  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 2005.  All rights reserved.  


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The analysis - for this page - was created with the programsChessBase 8.0  and  ChessBase 9.0.  

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The diagrams were prepared with the excellent little program, Chess Captor 2.25.  

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This page was first created in November, 2005.   It was last updated on 07/14/12 .