Fatal Attraction

Edward Lasker
Edward Lasker

There was, back in the eighties of last century, a film that shook the Earth’s loving shaft, in which Glenn Close got into the skin of a schizophrenic who made ​​ life miserable for Michael Douglas . However, the original version of the film, which is called ¨Fatal Attraction, ¨ seems to have been filmed in London in the distant 1912, when Edward Lasker -not to be confused with Emanuel -managed to make one of the best chess productions of all time.

I am not exaggerating . This match contains one of the prettiest combinations ever seen that results in a tactical boast, which gets the chessboard full of poetry. And we are talking about blood indeed, because the whole story begins with a heartless queen sacrifice.

Nothing beautifies more a game. It’s like when a General goes to the battlefront and gives his life in benefit of his men, and that’s what Lasker´s queen does: she opens a gap in the opposing walls through which the rival king is fiercely attacked until his execution .

Lasker was involved in a very hard match, but that day God whispered a series of plays to the engineer who was born in Kempen, Germany, and he agreed to play using that fraudulent help. Eventually, in the other side of the table, Sir George Alan Thomas only managed to extend his right hand while saying “All this has been beautiful.”

Certainly, Edward Lasker was not a chess prodigy . his best result was a close defeat (8.5-9.5) in a match against Frank Marshall for the U.S. Championship, but it is undeniable that he had prestige and strength, as evidenced by his presence in the 1924 New York tournament with José Raúl Capablanca, Alexander Alekhine, Akiba Rubinstein, Richard Reti and his cousin Emanuel .

But, no one questions he achieved immortality by means of this spectacular game where audacity and calculation capacity outstandingly highlight. This game is also a unique prodigy in these times where theory shackles mathematical imagination.

London , England, 1912

White: Edward Lasker

Black: George A. Thomas

1. d4 f5

Black pieces chose the Dutch Defence, a defensive system that was already mentioned by Italian Gioacchino Greco in 1492, and which owes its name to the studies of Dutch Elias Stein.

2. Nc3 Nf6

3. Nf3 e6

4. Bg5 Be7

5. Bxf6 Bxf6

6. e4 fxe4

7. Nxe4 b6

8. Ne5 0-0

9. Bd3 Bb7

10. Qh5 Qe7

Telling the truth, Thomas unusually passive accepts the stay of the opposing knight in e5 ( for instance, he could appeal to 10 … Bxe5), but he surely made no discernible mistakes. However, he received a devastating punishment, when, it is said, Lasker announced mate in eight plays.

11. Qxh7 + !!

There is no doubt that 11. Nxf6 + was good, although black pieces could respond with 11 … gxf6. But Lasker, prisoner of a aesthetic delirium found a fabulous play: the Queen is sacrificed and, with it, the fate of the match is determined. Black king will no longer have tranquility, attracted by a magnetic field of checks and terrible checkmating threats.

11 … Kxh7

12. Nxf6 + Kh6

If 12 … Kh8, everything would definitively end with 13.Ng6 .

13. Neg4 + Kg5

14. h4 + Kf4

15. g3 + RF3

16. Be2 + Kg2

17. Rh2 + Kg1

18. Rd2 + +

This way it ends this imperative miniature: a masterpiece. White pieces could even have saved a movement with 16. Kf1 or 16. 0-0 (followed by 17. Nh2 + +), but as rightly pointed by several specialists, the purpose of bringing the opposite king to the first row justifies any delay. But, 18. 0-0-0 would have been a more unlikely and thundering outcome.

THE PHRASE: “The tactician knows what to do when there is something to do, while the strategist knows what to do when there is nothing to do “. Gerald Abrahams.


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17 August, 2013

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