Emanuel Lasker

Emanuel Lasker – Biography

Emanuel Lasker was a famous German chess player. The 2nd World Chess Champion who kept his title for 27 years. This is an unsurpassable record for the whole history of the game. 

The beginning of the path

The chess legend was born in a town called Berlinchen in East Prussia, on the 24th of December, 1868. The head of his family was a Jewish cantor. From a very young age, the boy displayed immense intellectual capacity. At the age of 11, he moved to his elder brother Berthold in Berlin. It was done in order to let him immerse himself in studying mathematics. Apart from the exact sciences, the sibling also taught the future champion to play chess.

Lasker’s talent was so great that he quickly made progress in the game. As an adolescent, he already made some money from playing in a cafe for stakes. So the boy could afford clothes and textbooks. In 1888, he finished school and entered the math faculty of the Berlin University. 

First victories

Emanuel Lasker constantly grew his playing skill. So in 1889, he reached a high level in chess. There were victories in tournaments in Berlin and Breslau and the second place in Amsterdam. 

Further, the player had more and more achievements. He won the games against Bardeleben, Mieses, Bird, and Blackburne. While these chess masters were considered the strongest at that time. Lasker had a comfortable win in a master tournament in New York. There, he easily defeated Showalter and Ettlinger. 

These accomplishments gave him the right to fight for the highest title in chess. In 1894, Lasker decided to challenge Steinitz who accepted it. 

The 2nd World Chess Champion

There had to be 10 victories attained to end the competition. In the beginning, both players had equal success. After 6 games played the scores were 2-2 with 2 draws. The most important moment was the 7th game. Lasker managed to beat the then-current champion in a dangerous battle. Steinitz didn’t recover after such a defeat. Emanuel confidently led the match to the victory with the scores 10-5 with 2 draws. And he took the crown. 

After that, he kept being dominant in the chess world. Lasker won the tournaments in Saint-Petersburg, Nuremberg, Paris. In the beginning of the 1900s, the World Champion took a break from chess. It was done in order to completely dedicate himself to math. In 1901, he got a Doctor degree. 

Forfeiture of the title

In 1911, Capablanca made his presence felt by having a triumphal victory in San Sebastián. His rivalry with Lasker lasted for several years. There were long negotiations and ultimatum exchanges.

Finally, the decisive match occurred in 1921 in Havana which was Capablanca’s homeland. It was decided to play 24 games. The player with the higher scores would become a winner. Only the 5th game out of the first 9 ones brought the result. Lasker committed a serious mistake and Capablanca won. The following 5 games were even less successful for Emanuel. After losing 3 of them, he refused to continue. Capablanca was announced the winner and the third World Champion. 

After the forfeiture of the chess title, Lasker kept actively participating in international tournaments. He won in New York and Czechoslovakia where Capablanca lost. 

Last years

At the end of 1930s, Lasker left his homeland due to the fascist regime. Otherwise, his Jewish descent meant no good for his future life. The player died in New York in 1941.

Emanuel Lasker is one of the most significant figures in chess history. A chess player and mathematician, he’d been the World Champion for the record-breaking 27 years. He was an amazing positional player with a deep understanding of chess psychology.

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