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Solitaire Chess / Instruction Cruising Away


While crossing the Atlantic, former World Champion Emanuel Lasker shows that if you don’t like to study openings, you better be


resourceful in later stages of the game. By BRUCE PANDOLFINI


THE ONE-AND-ONLY EMANUEL LASKER clearly had a disdain for the study of openings. He strongly expressed the opinion that many book lines were simply wrong. At times, he got by with “any old variation,” perhaps reasoning that his superior chess acumen could save many inferior positions. To be sure, he seemed to relish such challenges. On a cruise across the Atlantic, in an offhand game, Lasker had the opportunity to display his indifference to opening play, and his resourceful salvaging skills, against the formidable Efim Bogolyubow. Veering off into a quixotic line, Lasker quickly got the worst of it before luring Bogolyubow into overcon- fidence and resulting mistakes. The game began:


FOUR KNIGHTS GAME (BY TRANSPOSITION) (C60) Emanuel Lasker Efim Bogolyubow Atlantic Ocean, 1924


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bc4 Par Score 5


Now there’s a Lasker move for you. He voluntarily (perhaps whimsically) shifts to an Italian Game a move behind, since Black has gotten in ... a7-a6 for free. Certainly accept full credit for either 4. Ba4 or 4. Bxc6.


4. … Nf6 And so Black plays the Two Knight’s Defense,


with an extra useful move in the bargain. Will Lasker continue with 5. Ng5?**


5. d3 Par Score 5 White decides to play it safely. Perhaps


Lasker was thinking he could transposition to a quiet Four Knights Game, where Black’s ... a7-a6 doesn’t mean much, if anything. Or perhaps he was focused more on the ocean waves. Who knows? Accept full credit for either 5. Nc3 or 5. 0-0.


5. … Black continues his develop ment.** 6. Nc3 Par Score 5 Now we have an Italian Four Knights Game.


Full credit for 6. c3, 6. 0-0, 6. h3, 6. Bg5, or 6. Be3, all okay by Lasker’s opening standards.


6. … d6 Black continues with his development. They


haven’t had lunch yet, and even Bogolyubow doesn’t feel like speculating much on an empty stomach.**


7. Be3 Now make sure you have the above position


set up on your chessboard. As you play through the remaining moves in this game, use a piece of paper to cover the article, exposing White’s next move only after trying to guess it. If you guess correctly, give yourself the par score. Sometimes points are also awarded for second-best moves, and there may be bonus points—or deductions— for other moves and variations. Note that ** means that White’s move is on the next line.**


46 March 2016 | Chess Life Par Score 5 A small surprise. Many players would have


continued 7. Bg5 (full credit), pinning the f6- knight. One thing that Black has lost because of the earlier ... a7-a6 is the possibility of 7. ... Bb6, which now would be answered by 8. Bxb6, forcing Black to recapture away from the center.


7. … Be6


This looks a looks a little bold. Black could have tried 7. ... Bg4, which was a nice alter native.**


Bc5 8. Bxe6 Par Score 5 Lasker plays to disrupt Black’s pawn structure.


After all, the former champ is a true endgame wizard, and structural weaknesses in that phase can be critical. Of course, we’re not yet in the endgame, and there’s plenty of play for Bogolyubow as the position moves closer to the middlegame.


8. … fxe6 Black naturally retakes. Give yourself 1


bonus point if you had planned on answering 8. ... Bxe3 by the desperado 9. Bxf7+, stealing a pawn.**


9. Bxc5 Par Score 5 This is the move that fractures Black’s pawn


setup. Bogolyubow will now wind up with doubled, isolated e-pawns in exchange for open lines and the possibility of using a few strong squares.


9. …


come into d4 someday.** 10. b3


dxc5 To be sure, Black’s knight would love to Par Score 6 White tries to fix the c5-pawn, making it


harder for Bogolyubow to exchange it for a healthy white pawn.


10. … 0-0 Finally, someone castles. Black has a half-


open f-file for his major pieces and some strong squares, namely d4 and f4. Let’s see if he can exploit any of that.**


11. Na4


pawn. 11.


Par Score 5 Lasker immediately zeroes in the doubled c- … Qd6 This move of Bogolyubow’s is fine, but


did he miss a more aggressive possibility in 11. ... b5? If 12. Nxc5 Qe7, Black should at least get his pawn back. Even though it’s a


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