Author

Edward Lasker

Edward Lasker books and biography

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Chess And Checkers The Way To Mastership

Chess Strategy

										  

Edward Lasker

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Edward Lasker (Kempen, December 3, 1885 – New York, March 25, 1981) was a leading American chess and Go player. He was awarded the title of International Master of chess by FIDE.

Contents

Background

He was born in Kempen, which was then in Germany, but now in Poland. During World War I he moved first to England and then to America, the birthplace of his mother. When America entered the war, he was sent enlistment papers, but with the right of exemption as a German. He waived his right to exemption, which he said would make his American citizenship granted more quickly; however, the war was over before he was called.

Science career

Lasker earned a doctoral degree at the University of Berlin in mechanical and electrical engineering. He also invented the breast pump, which saved many premature infants' lives and made Lasker a lot of money, although it caused his friends to refer to him facetiously as "the chest player."

Chess

Edward Lasker published several books on American checkers, chess, and Go. His best result was his narrow 8.5–9.5 loss in a match with Frank Marshall for the U.S. Championship in 1923. For that, Lasker was invited to participate in the legendary New York chess tournament in 1924, facing world-class masters like Alekhine, Capablanca, Rubinstein, Lasker, and Rti.

His most famous game is probably the queen sacrifice and king hunt against Sir George Thomas.[1] Thomas said, "That was very nice", and Lasker was touched by his sportsmanship when it was translated into German (he had yet to learn English). But in his account, he gave a position missing the white pawn on d4, so Lasker contrasted Thomas's reaction with a typical reaction that other opponents would have given, "You were lucky ..."

Although Lasker had a negative record against Capablanca, without a win, he had a drawn game against Capablanca with black pieces in New York in 1924.[2] Lasker wasn't usually so fortunate, e.g. Capablanca once arrived with only one minute to spare, and Lasker played the Riga variation with which he had some experience, but Capablanca found an advantageous continuation over the board.[3]

He lived on the Upper West Side of New York City at the time of his death.

He was friends with former World chess champion Emanuel Lasker. Some controversy exists as to whether they were related. Edward Lasker wrote in his memoirs of the New York 1924 tournament as published in the March 1974 edition of Chess Life magazine: "I did not discover that we were actually related until he (Emanuel Lasker) told me shortly before his death that someone had shown him a Lasker family tree on one of whose branches I was dangling."

Go

Lasker was deeply impressed by go. He first read about it in a magazine article by Korschelt which suggested go as a rival to chess, a claim which he found amusing.[1] Later on his interest was piqued again when he noticed the record of a go game on the back of a Japanese newspaper being read by a customer of a cafe where they played chess. He and Max Lange took the paper after he had left, and deciphered the diagram, but the game was not complete. The position led them to assume that the notation under the game would indicate a black victory, but being unable to read Japanese, they had to ask another Japanese customer at the cafe. To their surprise, it was a resignation by black. Only after three weeks of study was Max Lange able to understand the reason for white's victory. This experience led them to a deeper appreciation for the game, and they studied it in earnest, but were unable to interest other chess players.

After two years, Emanuel Lasker, then the world chess champion, returned to Germany. When Edward told him that he had found a game to rival chess, he was skeptical, but after being told the rules, and playing one game, he understood that go was strategically deep. They started studying go with Yasugoro Kitabatake, a Japanese student, and after two years were able to beat him with no handicap.

Kitabatake arranged a game for Edward, Emanuel and Emanuel's brother Berthold, against a visiting Japanese mathematician, and strong go player. The Laskers took a nine-stone handicap, and played in consultation with each other, considering their moves deeply, but their opponent beat them effortlessly and without taking much time to think. After the game, Emanuel suggested to Edward that they travel to Tokyo to study go. In 1911, Edward got a job at AEG. After a year at the company, he tried to get transferred to the Tokyo office, but as the company only posted fluent English speakers in Tokyo, he went to work in England first. He was detained there during World War I, and never made it to Tokyo. He was, however, given permission to travel to the USA by Sir Haldane Porter, who remembered that he had won the London chess championship in May 1914. Lasker was instrumental in developing Go in the USA, and together with Karl Davis Robinson and Lee Hartman founded the American Go Association.

Books

  • Chess Strategy, 1915 (second edition)
  • Chess and Checkers: the Way to Mastership, 1918
  • Go and Go-Moku, 1934 (2nd ed. 1960)
  • The Adventure of Chess, 1949 (2nd ed. 1959), ISBN 0-486-20510-X.
  • Chess Secrets I Learned from the Masters (semi-autobiographical and instructional) (1951, 1969) ISBN 0-486-22266-7.
  • Chess for Fun and Chess for Blood, 1942 (2nd ed.), ISBN 0-486-20146-5.

Quotes

  • "It has been said that man is distinguished from animal in that he buys more books than he can read. I should like to suggest that the inclusion of a few chess books would help to make the distinction unmistakable." — The Adventure of Chess
  • "While the Baroque rules of Chess could only have been created by humans, the rules of Go are so elegant, organic, and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play Go."

Illustrative game

Image:chess_zhor_26.png
Image:chess_zver_26.png
a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8
a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7
a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6
a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5
a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4
a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3
a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2
a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1
Image:chess_zver_26.png
Image:chess_zhor_26.png
Position after 10...Qe7


Image:chess_zhor_26.png
Image:chess_zver_26.png
a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8
a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7
a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6
a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5
a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4
a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3
a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2
a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1
Image:chess_zver_26.png
Image:chess_zhor_26.png
Final position


This is Lasker's most famous game, and one of the most famous games of all time:

Ed. Lasker-Sir George Thomas, London 1911 (blitz game)[4] 1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 f5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Bxf6 Bxf6 6.e4 fxe4 7.Nxe4 b6 8.Ne5 O-O 9.Bd3 Bb7 10.Qh5!? Qe7?? (diagram at left; 10...Bxe5! 11.Qxe5 Nc6 or 11.dxe5 Rf5 wins a pawn) 11.Qxh7+!! Kxh7 12.Nxf6+ Kh6 (12...Kh8 13.Ng6#) 13.Neg4+ Kg5 14.h4+ Kf4 15.g3+ Kf3 16.Be2+ Kg2 17.Rh2+ Kg1 18.Kd2# 1-0 (diagram at right)


Notes

  1. ^ Go Monthly Review 1961/7, p.51, article by Lasker From My "Go" Career


This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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