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A.J.'s TS; Game # 7

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This is game # 7 of my Tactical School.  

This is a game from  Irving Chernev's  excellent book, (Game # 13); "The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played.
 (M. Porges - Em. Lasker;  Nuremburg, 1896.) 

This is as fine a game as ever was played, and certainly a highly tactical encounter.  It is most definitely a game the aspiring student should study. Lasker's tactics ... and the IDEAS behind them!  ... ... ...  should be studied OVER and OVER again!!!

For this game, I would advise you do things a little differently. Play through the game VERY slowly, one move at a time. It would be good if you could play: "Guess the move." (Put the game score on a sheet of paper, and cover it up. Reveal only one move at a time.) I would do this procedure 2-3 times. (For several hours each time.) Then after you have studied this game, that way, study it in Chernev's book. (Then you could study my version.) 

  Click  here  too see the plain  (UN-annotated) text-score for this encounter.  

  Click  here  to see an explanation of the symbols that I commonly use. (Replay this game.)   

Moritz Porges (2450) - Emanuel Lasker (2785)
All-Master Tournament
(Nuremburg, Germany)
(Round # 1)July 20th, 1896



From the NUREMBURG tournament, of 1896.

Lasker's celebrated win from the first round of this tournament. 
Lasker won clear first in this event.

This game is in dozens of books. My favorite is: 
"The Most Instructive Games Of Chess Ever Played," 
by the one-and-only Irving Chernev.
(Chernev entitles this game ...)


To check the ratings for these players see Elo's book, 
or the web site of Jeff Sonas.


1.e4 e5;  2.Nf3 Nc6;  3.Bb5 Nf6;   
The Berlin Defense, for many years a defense that was considered bad. 
Then players like Kramnik began using it, and now it is being actively 
played again.

     [  The main line is the  Morphy Defense  that begins with 3...a6; 
         (and is considered best by most masters); for example: 

         3...a64.Ba4 Nf6; 5.0-0 Be76.Re1 b57.Bb3 d6;  
         8.c3, "+/="  {Diagram?}  White has a slight edge. 

         See  MCO-14;  or any good book on the Ruy Lopez]   


The next few moves are all the main line, book, and were being played 
quite a bit at that period in chess history. 

4.0-0 Nxe4;  5.d4 Be7;  6.Qe2 Nd6;  7.Bxc6 bxc6;  
8.dxe5,  ("+/=")  8...Nb7;  
Black's last move was thought to be forced. 
(The theory of that time said White was vastly superior in this position!!)

Black has a cramped position, but as Steinitz proved - a position of 
this type is not totally devoid of chances. 

     [ 8...Nf5!? ]  


White seeks to exploit various weaknesses Black has on the dark 
squares. Ba3!? is also an idea in this position. 

The move, b3 has been condemned as inferior, but has been used 
 by many modern day GM's. (I.e., Lev Psakhis.) 

     [ Better is:  >/=  9.Nc3, "+/=" ]  


9...0-0;  10.Bb2 d5!;   
Black breaks in the center without any further delay. 

Chernev gives this an exclam.  ('!' - Irving Chernev.) 

     [ 10...a5!? ]  


This gets rid of the e-pawn and unfetters White's QB. 
 But it also opens the e-file.

     [ 11.c4!? ]  


11...cxd6;  12.Nbd2 Re8!;  
Black makes use of the open lines that White has given him.

Chernev also gives this move an exclam as well.  
('!' - Chernev.) 

     [ 12...d5!? ]  


This is probably OK for White.  

      [ 13.Qd3?! Nc5; "=/+" ]  


A simple developing move ...  
that also guards key squares for Black.  

     [ 13...Nc514.Nd4, "+/=" ]  


14.Ne4?!,  (Maybe - '?')  {Diagram?}  
An attempt to be aggressive by White ... that back-fires on him. 
(Chernev calls this, "a waste of time," and instead recommends Qf1.) 

     [  >/= 14.Rad1!?; or  RR 14.Qf1!? ]  


14...d5; ('!')  
It is often a good idea to advance in the center ... especially when you 
can do so with a gain of time! 

     [ 14...Bf815.Qd3, "=" ]  


The poor Knight is forced back to the square that it just came from! 

     [  >/=  15.Nc3?! Ba3; "/+" ]  


An obvious but nice discovery.  

     [  The automatic and rather routine: 
        15...Bf616.Bxf6 Qxf617.Qd3, "=" {D?} 
        gives Black no advantage at all.  ]  


16.Be5!?,  {Diagram?}  
Chernev says this is forced. 

(Another author wrote White had to give up his Queen here!)  


     [ After the moves:  16.Qxe8+ Bxe817.Bxa3, 
       17...c5;  "/+"  {Diagram?}  
        White could call it a day. ]  


White saw this much. He even predicted he would regain his 
piece after Qa6. But watch what happens. 
16...f6;  17.Qa6 fxe5;  18.Qxa3,  
This is forced. (Sad, but true.)

     [  Chernev points out that:  
        18.Qxb7? e419.Qa6,  {Diag?} 
         Sad, but maybe forced.  

            (19.Nd4 Bb2; "-/+")     

        19...Bb220.Rab1 Bc3; "-/+"  {Dm?}  
         and Black wins material.  ]  


18...e4;  19.Nd4 Qf6!;   
An aggressive move ... that puts the Queen on an excellent square, 
hitting multiple targets.

   '!' - Chernev.   

      [ 19...c5!?; "=/+" ]  


20.c3 Rf8; (!)  {Diagram?}   
Notice how Black has already doubled on the half-open file ... 
and has a big threat against f2. 

     [  20...c5!?; "/+" ]  


Chernev says (indicates) that this is forced, and Fritz agrees with him. 

     [ </=  21.Rf1?! Qg522.Qc1 Bh3; "-/+" ]  


<< "One attacking move after another! Lasker plays this 
       very strongly," says Tarrasch, who was usually rather 
       chary of praise. >>   - Irving Chernev.  

   '!' - Chernev. 

     [  21...a5!?; "=/+" ]  


Chernev hints that this is forced for White.  

     [  Some of the alternatives were clearly worse: 
         >/=  22.Nf1? exf323.Nxf3 Rxf3; "-/+"  {D?} 

        Or >/= 22.Qa6!? Nc523.Qe2 Nd3; "/+"  ]  


22...Nc5!,   (FORK??!?) 
The formerly sorry steed at N2 leaps into action, spying 
 the sensitive square at d3. 

   '!' - Chernev.  

     [  22...c5!?, "=/+" ]  


23.Nf1 Qg6;  24.Re3 Nd3;  25.Qd1,  {Diagram?}  
White is trying ... to hang in there - but barely. 

Now what does Black play? 

     [  25.Qa3!? Rf7; "/+"  ]  


Black's next move is a rather surprising change of direction. 
 "Threatens mate in one ... and the Queen in two," 
   says Chernev here.  


     [  25...Rab8!?;  or  25...c5!?; "/=" ]  


Chernev says this is forced.  (I agree.) 

     [ </= 26.Qd2?! Bh3; "/+" (Probably "-/+")  ]  


Black threatens to simply kick the Knight and then deliver a mate on g2. 
The other thing is that the advance of this pawn wreck's White's King-side.

   '!' - Chernev.  

     [  26...Qg5!?27.Qc1 c5; "/+"  ]  


This looks to be forced.

     [ 27.fxe4? h4; "-/+" ]  


This unexpected shot completely wrecks Black's position. 

   '!' - Chernev.  


     [  Black could have tried: 27...h4!?28.Nxf4[],  {Diag?}  
        Gains a tempo, as it hits Black's Queen. 

           (28.Nf1?? Qxg2#)   

        28...Rxf429.Nxe4 Bh3!30.Ng3 hxg3;  
        31.gxh3 Rh4;  "=/+"  {Diagram?}  
        when Black has both the advantage AND a strong initiative.  


        Interesting was:  27...Nh3+!?  ]  


28.Kxg2 exf3+!;  
Another unexpected move (zwischenzug) by Lasker here.  

     [  28...h4!?; 29.fxe4, "~"  ]  


29.Rxf3 Bh3+!;  (Maybe - '!!')  {Diagram?}  
Its just one hammer blow after another. 
This sneaky move dooms White's defensive attempts. 

   '!' - Chernev.  

     [  29...Rxf3!?30.Kxf3 h4; "=/+"  (Maybe -   "/+")  ]  


This is pretty much forced. 

     [   An inferior line is: 
         30.Kf2?! Rxf3+!;  {Diag?}  
         The simplest and the best.  

            ( Chernev gives the line: 30...Bg4!?;  31.Rxf8+ Rxf8+;     
               32.Ke3 h4;  {Diagram?}    
               The Knight on g3 is doomed.    
               33.Nf1? Qe4+?! ; {Diagram?}    
               Not the best move.    
               (Here Chernev misses a long mating sequence that    
                begins with the move, ...Qh6!+.)     
               34.Kd2 Rf2; ("-/+")  {Diagram?}     
                ... "and White is lost."  -  I. Chernev.     

         31.Kxf3 h4;  "-/+"  {Dm?}  
         Black has a won game.  ]   


30...Qg4+;  31.Kg2 Qxf3+;  32.Kg1?!,  (Maybe - '?')  {Diag?}  
This loses ... and very quickly too. White's only hope was to 
simply play Kh3 ... and pray. 

(In Black's defense, h3 looks like a horrible square for your 
 King here.)

      [  Like it or not, White had to play: 
          >/=  32.Kh3 h4!!{Diagram?}  
         The best move.  

            (Chernev only gives: 32...Qg4+!?; in this line.    
              Black is clearly better here, ("/+") but a forced win    
              is not right around the corner.)    

         The only playable move.  

            (33.Kxh4? Rf6!; 34.Qd2 Kf7; "-/+")   

         33...Qxc334.Rc1 Qe335.Nxc6 d4; "/+"  {D?}    
         & Black has a large edge here.  
         (Its very close to a win for Black here.)  ]  


With two Knights for a Rook and a Pawn, White does not 
stand badly ... at least from a material point of view ...  
This little Pawn move is White's undoing.  

     [ 32...Qe3+!? ]   


33.Nh1?,  (Maybe - '??')  {Diagram?}  
White commits hara-kiri.  


     [  33.Nf1? h3{Diagram?}  
        How does White stop mate?  

        34.Nf4[] Rxf435.Qxf3 Rxf3; "-/+"  {D?} 
        and Black is clearly winning.   


         Maybe  33.Nd4  was forced?  
         (But White is still dead lost.)  ]  


33...Qe3+;  {Diagram?}  

White Resigns. ( 0 - 1 ) 
(Nf2, QxN/f2+; etc.  Even more embarrassing is Kg2??, h3#!!)  

A crushing game by  Lasker,  and a good example to study to 
sharpen one's tactics!  


Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I.   Copyright (c) A.J.G; 2003. 

  0 - 1  

I had originally annotated this game VERY deeply. Then the computer crash I experienced in 
February of 2003 caused me to lose hundreds of files. I just recently re-did this whole exciting 
contest, but this version is only fairly lightly annotated. (Compared to the way I had done it the 
first time.)  But it is still a very good game for the aspiring student to study. 

(Page posted in February, 2003.   Last update:  05/31/2003.) 

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