In 1921, Lasker would face Jose Raul Capablanca for his world championship title. At 53, Lasker was past his prime, but still arguably the world's best player. The younger Capablanca was a talent the likes of which the chess world had never seen. Lasker could not win a single game and eventually resigned the match. Amazingly this was Lasker's first and only loss in match play. After 27 long dominant years, Emanuel Lasker's world championship reign had come to an end. While Lasker would never go on to play another match, he would continue to play in international tournaments with strong results into his late sixties. He would score an impressive result in 1935 in Moscow, finishing undefeated and ½ point off from first place.
Lasker died at the age of 72 on January 11, 1941 in New York City. He had lived an accomplished life not without its struggles on and off the board. Being a Jew, he escaped persecution from the Nazis during World War II. This forced him to come out of retirement to support his family. His playing style was bold. His attacks were impeccably conducted and he defended tenaciously. Dr. Lasker was a fighter on and off the board. He was keenly aware of the importance of psychology, often changing his play to match the style of his opponent. His legacy is not only the longest reigning world champion of all time, but as a brilliant mind and one of the greatest contributors to the game of chess. He was not only a chess champion, but a scientist and intellectual. His chess career bridged the gap of generations from Wilhelm Steinitz to Mikhail Botvinik.
Some Famous Lasker Quotes:
"When you see a good move, look for a better one."
"To find the right plan is just as hard as looking for its sound justification."
"On the chessboard, lies and hypocrisy do not last long."
"Lasker was my teacher, and without him I could not have become whom I became. The idea of chess art is unthinkable without Emanuel Lasker." – Alexander Alekhine
"The greatest of champions was, of course, Emanuel Lasker. At the chess board he accomplished the impossible!" – Mikhail Tal