Today we are going to see one of the greatest chess games ever played in the chess history – it’s the game between Emanuel Lasker and William Steinitz in the World Chess Championship 1894. It really is a very interesting game that teaches us how king safety is way more important than any material advantage. It’s also amazing to see how Lasker used his resources really well.
World Chess Championship 1894 – Lasker vs Steinitz
The fifth World Chess Championship was held in New York City (games 1-8), Philadelphia (games 9-11) and Montreal (games 12-19) between March 15 and May 26, 1894. Defending Champion William Steinitz lost his title to challenger Emanuel Lasker, who was 32 years his junior.
The first player to win ten games would be the champion. Steinitz had previously declared he would win without doubt, so it came as a shock when Lasker won the first game. Eventually, Lasker won the Championship, thanks to his consecutive wins from Game-7 to Game-11. Some commentators thought Steinitz’s habit of playing “experimental” moves in serious competition was a major factor in his downfall.
In this lesson, we are going to see the first win from those five consecutive wins (Games 7 to 11), i.e. Game-7, where Lasker was truly brilliant. You can see the position below from the middlegame (or perhaps, middlegame-to-endgame stage).
Black to play
The above position arrived after Lasker’s move 34.Rhg1. Steinitz is clearly ahead in material – he is two pawns up, his queen and rooks are on the open file, and he also has a queenside majority. BUT, were these helpful for him?
No! White clearly has the (positional) advantage here – Black’s king is in serious danger. His knight is on h8, the corner of the board. You might have heard the saying “Knights on the rim are dim”. That’s exactly why Steinitz lost this game. Though he had the material advantage, his lack of king safety was enough for Lasker to exploit him.
Watch the instructive video analysis of this game presented by one of the team members of RCA, Manuel Ocantos.
About the author – Manuel Ocantos
I am ELO rated 2217, one of the top players of Luxembourg, have beaten several IMs in classical chess and drew against GM’s and the best Argentine players. I am the Vice-President of Marketing of the Remote Chess Academy 🙂 In my free time I’m a lifelong learner and traveler.