A veiled threat of 17 Qd1-h5, followed by 18 Nh4-g6+ and 19 Qh5xh7 mate.

Which Lasker easily shrugs off!

17 a2-a3

Just a little precaution. If White plays 17 Qd1-c2 at once, with a view to a powerful irruption by

18 Nh4xf5, the reply 17 . . . Nc6-b4 would remove a valuable Bishop.

Black is on the qui vive. Not only is this a good defensive move, guarding the vital h-Pawn, but it clears the way for an attacking maneuver by .. . Be8-f7 and . .. Qd8-g8.

This is how things look:

18 Rh3-g3 Rg7xg3

19 h2xg3

Capablanca does not mind the doubling of his Pawns. In return he has an open Rook file for the convenience of his pieces.

20 Kg1-f2

And acts on it accordingly! The King steps aside, so that the Rook can swing over to the open file.

The Knight is on his way to c4, where he can exert pressure on the Queen-side.

21 Qd1-f3 Na5-o4 If White should now play

22 Nc3-d1, to protect the b-Pawn, the continuation 22 ... Nc4xb2

23 Rc1xc8 Nb2xd3+ wins two Pawns for Black.

22 Qf3-e2 Nc4-d6 If there is one strategical concept that is the secret of much of Lasker's success, it is his faith in the power of centralization.

A careful study of Lasker's games shows that Lasker never embarks on quixotic adventures, no matter how strong the temptation, but centralizes his pieces instead {where their strength for attack and defence is at the maximum) and awaits developments.

23 Rc1-h1 Nd6-e4+ This is premature, according to Alekhine, and should be played after White's thrust 24 g3-g4, as then the Queen could not reach g4 (after the exchange by 25 Bd3xe4 f5xe4).

The play could go like this:

24 g3-g4 Nd6-e4+ 25 Bd3xe4 f5xe4 26 f4-f5 Be8-f7 27 Nh4-g6+ Kh8-g7 28 Ng6-f4 Qd8-d7, and Black can hold the fort.

24 Bd3xe4 f5xe4

If 24 ... d5xe4 25 g3-g4 «xg4, and White has the pleasant choice of pursuing the attack by 26 f4-f5, or by 26 Qe2xg4 f6-f5 27 Nh4xf5.

25 Qe2-g4 f6-f5

Practically forced, as after 25 ... Rc8-c6 26 f4-f5 e6xf5 27 Qg4xf5, White has good winning chances.

This is how things look:

Ending 38



Capablanca to move

Capablanca to move

If White has any advantage in this position, it is not apparent to the naked eye. True, his Rook commands an open file leading to the King, but how to make use of it? If the Queen (which is attacked) moves to h3, the reply 26 ... Be7xh4 27 Qh3xh4 (the capture by 27 g3xh4 closes the file) 27 . . . Qd8xh4 disposes of any danger to the King, while if White's first move is to retreat the Queen by 26 Qg4-e2, he loses a Pawn by 26 . . . Be7xa3 27 b2xa3 Rc8xc3.

Capablanca therefore evolves a plan, whereby he sacrifices a Knight for a couple of Pawns, not for the sake of launching an attack, hut to effect a transition to a favourable endgame.

He visualizes, too, a change in the fortunes of his Pawns. Whereas they now seem to be condemned to inactivity, Capablanca's next few moves will make them spring to life, much as in the game against Bogolyubovat London in 1922 (see Game 34).

26 Nh4xf5! e6xf5

27 Qg4xf5 h7-h5

28 g3-g4

Considerably stronger than

28 Nc3xd5 (which allows Black at least a draw by 28 . . . Rc8-c2+

29 Kf2-g1 Rc2-cl+, and an exchange of Rooks), this intensifies the attack, provides a flight-square for the King at g3, and maintains the option of capturing the d-Pawn. (A great deal for one little Pawn push to accomplish.)

The Rook takes up a good defensive post.

29 g4-g5

Even stronger was 29 Nc3xd5 (as indicated by Capablanca himself) with this continuation: 29 ... Rc8-c2+ 30 Kf2-g3 h5-h4+

31 Kg3-h3 Qd8-d6 32 Qf5-e5+ Qd6xe5 33 d4xe5 Be7-d8

34 Rh1-d1 Rc2xb2 35e5-e6, and White wins.

Another line, analyzed in the Tournament Book, goes as follows: 29 Nc3xd5 Be7-h4+ 30 g2g3! Rc8-c2+ 31 Kf2-g1 Rc2-c1 +

32 Kg1-g2 Rc1-c2+ 33 Kg2-h3 h5xg4+ 34 Kh3xg4! Be8-d7

35 Rh1xh4+ Qd8xh4+ (on 35 . . . Kh8-g8 36 Nd5-f6+ followed by 37 Qf5xd7 wins, while on 35 . . . Kh8-g7 36 Rh4-h7+ does likewise) 36 g3xh4 Bd7xf5+

37 Kg4xf5 Rc2xb2 38 Kf5-e6! Kh8-g7 39 f4-f5 Kg7-f8 40 h4-h5 Rb2-a2

41 f5-f6 Ra2xa3 42 h5-h6 Ra3-a6+ 43 Ke6-f5 Kf8-g8 44 Nd5-e7+and wins (alter 44 . . . Kg8-f7 45h6-h7 Ra6xf6+ 46 Kf5-g5 Kf7-g7 47 h7-h8(0)+ compels the King to abandon the Rook).

A more accurate defence (according to both Alekhine and Capablanca) was 29 .. . Rc6-d6, after which

30 g2-g4 Kh8-g8 31 g4xh5 Qd8-d7 32 Qf5xd7 Be8xd7, and Black's Bishops could withstand the pressure of the passed Pawns.

30 Nc3xd5

White could have brought about the foregoing variation by playing 30 g2-g4, but prefers to eliminate one of the Bishops.

31 Nd5xe7+ Qd8xe7

32 g2-g4 h5xg4

Lasker misses (or disdains) a drawing chance (according to the indefatigable Alekhine) with this line:

32 . .. Rc6-c2+ 33 Kf2-g3 (but not to fl or gl, when 33 .., Qe7-c7 subjects him to a mating attack by

33 . .. Rc2-e2 34 g5-g6 h5-h4+ 35 Rh1xh4 Re2xe3+ 36 Kg3-g2 (of course not 36 Kg3-f2 Qe7xh4+ 37 Kf2xe3 Qh4-e1 mate!-beautiful!) 36 ... Re3-e2+

37 Kg2-f1 Re2-e1+!, and Black draws by perpetual check.

A picture of the position would seem to be in order:

A picture of the position would seem to be in order:

Position after 32 ... h5xg4

Position after 32 ... h5xg4

33 Qf5-h7+ Kg8-f8

34 Rh1-h6 Bf7-g8

The exchange of Rooks seems safe enough, a plausible continuation being: 34 .. . Rc6xh6 35 Qh7xh6+ Kf8-g8 36 g5-g6 Bf7-b3 (but not

36 ... Bf7-e6, when 37 g6-g7 wins a piece for White, as the Queen must capture the Pawn) 37 f4-f5 Qe7-c7!, and if 38 f5-f6,

38 . . . Qc7-c2+ 39 Kf2-g3 Qc2-c7+ 40 Kg3-f2 (but not 40 Kg3xg4, when 40 . . . Bb3-e6+ triggers a mating attack) 40 ... Qc7-c2+, and White cannot escape the perpetual check.

35 Qh7-f5+ Kf8-g7

37 Qf5-c8+ wins a Pawn, while

35 ... Bg8-f7 is unthinkable, the penalty being a mate in two.

36 Rh6xc6 b7xc6

37 Kf2-g3

'A skilful King,' says Tartakover, This is definitely a better move than 37 Qf5xg4, when 37 . . . c6-c5 offers good drawing chances. If then 38 f4-f5 Qe7-b7 is the reply, or if 38 d4xc5 Oe7xc5 39 f4-f5 Qc5-c2+

40 Kf2-g3 Qc2-c8, and the open position should assure Black of saving the game.

This move leads to a lost endgame. Both Alekhine and Capablanca agree that Black might still have drawn by this line of play:

38 b2-b4, the reply is

38 ... Qe7-e6, and the capture by 39 Kg3xg4 fails, as

39 .. . Bf7-h5+—a finesse possibly overlooked by Lasker—wins the Queen) 38 . .. c6-c5! 39 f4-f5 Qe7-d6+ 40 Qg4-f4 Qd6xf4+

41 Kg3xf4 c5xd4 42 Kf4xe4 (or

42 e3xd4 Bf7-d5, and White's King is tied to the enemy King Pawn for ever after) 42 . .. d4xe3

43 Ke4xe3 Bf7-b3!, followed by

Lasker missed this move in his earlier calculations, whereas Capablanca must have anticipated this hidden resource when he played g3-g4 at his 28th move.

The rest may be a matter of technique, but it is conducted by the World Champion with his own touch of elegance (and of course deadly accuracy).

Black must exchange, as an attempt to counter-attack, say by 38 . . . Qe6-c4, is brusquely defeated by 39 Qf5-f6+, and mate at h6.

39 Kg4xf5 Bg8-d5

Let's have another diagram:

mbcdef f h

Let's have another diagram:


40 b2-b4 a7-a6

41 Kf5-g4

Clearance for the Pawn's advance, and more accurate than 41 Kf5-e5 Kg7-g6 42 Ke5-d6 Kg6-f5 43 a3-a4, which should win eventually—but Capablanca never wastes a single move if he can help it.

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