A world champion for 26years, Emanuel Lasker was a towering figure. It speaks well of chess that
he should find so much in it.
His friend, Albert Einstein, who described Lasker as one of the most interesting people he had
met, saw a tragic note in this passion.
“He could never free his mind of this game,” Einstein said, “even when he was occupied by
philosophical and humanitarian problems.”
Lasker saw the chessboard as an arena in which humanity might show its best qualities.
“There is magic,” he said, “in the creative chess master.”
In his philosophical tome
Struggle, Lasker wrote that life and chess mirror each other. The common denominator, he
said, was “what human nature mostly delights in: a fight.”
A visitor to his home of later years might be ushered before a chess table and challenged by the
aging grandmaster, who would make a move and declare: “Defend yourself.”
Lasker was an avowed disciple of what is true. Conventional education, he said, was “frightfully
wasteful of time and values.”
In chess and in life, he declared, one should seek out challenges, not avoid difficult
Chess legend Jose Capablanca once labeled Lasker as “the most profound and imaginative player I
have ever known.”
Shelby Lyman is a Basic Chess Features columnist.
Better than gxf3.
Solution to Beginner’s corner:
1. g3! (with the unstoppable threat of Rh2 mate).
How the masters play
Below is a win by Dusko Pavasovic against Vladimir Hamitevici from the European Individual Chess
Championships in Rijeka, Croatia.