16 December 2006

Endgame: Marshall - Lasker, 1907 Match, Game 1

Continuing with Lasker's Moves that Matter, this is the fourth post on the same game. The endgame that starts with the diagrammed position is one of Lasker's most famous.

Kasparov mentioned some Shereshevsky analysis. I found it on p.87 of Endgame Strategy, along with an extended quote from Capablanca.

In his book Chess Fundamentals Capablanca comments as follows on this position: "In this position it is Black's move. To a beginner the position may look like a draw, but the advanced player will realise immediately that there are great possibilities for Black to win, not only because he has the initiative, but because of White's undeveloped Queenside and the fact that a Bishop in such a position is better than a Knight. It will take some time for White to bring his Rook and Knight into the fray, and Black can utilise it to obtain an advantage. There are two courses open to him. The most evident, and the one that most players would take, is to advance the Pawn to c5 and c4 immediately in conjunction with the Bishop check at a6 and any other move that might be necessary with the Black Rook. The other, more subtle, course was taken by Black."
Capablanca goes on to explain that with his Rook Black must all the time force White to defend something, when the activity of the White Rook and Knight is restricted, whereas the Black Rook and Bishop retain complete freedom of action.

Lasker played 19...Rb8, and the game continued 20.b3 Rb5 21.c4 Rh5 22.Kg1 c5 23.Nd2 Kf7

World Championship Match (g.1)
New York 1907

Lasker, Emanuel

Marshall, Frank
(After 19.Kg1-f1(xR))
[FEN "r1b3k1/p1p3pp/2p5/8/3pP3/6P1/PPP4P/RN3K2 b - - 0 19"]

Now Marshall played 24.Rf1+. All commentators condemn this as the losing move and recommend instead 24.a3, followed by 24...a5 25.Rb1. Here Kasparov showed that 25...Ke7 and 25...Ke6 are insufficient to win, while Soltis did the same for 25...Bg4.

Now I have to return to Lasker's 13...fxe5!, which he played instead of 13...Ng5 . Since 13...fxe5 draws after best play by both sides, does it really merit a '!' award? Perhaps '!?' is more appropriate.

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