Emanuel Lasker

Dr. Emanuel Lasker was the second world chess champion as well as the longest reigning champion of all time (twenty seven years). A mathematician, philosopher, and author, Lasker had one of the greatest minds and longest careers in the history of the game. Emanuel Lasker was born on December 24, 1868 in Berlinchen Prussia, what is now Barlinek, Poland. At the age of eleven he sent to Berlin to live with his older brother, Berthold, and attend school. Berthold, who was a strong chess master, taught the young Emanuel the game and its strategies. Emanuel Lasker began playing frequently at Café Kaiserhof, some say for small stakes that would supplement his income. In 1889 Lasker won Café Kaiserhof's annual tournament starting what would be an epic chess career.

In the early 1890's Lasker would solidify himself as one of the world's finest chess players and assert himself as a world title contender. He won several tournaments throughout Europe including two strong tournaments in London in 1892. In 1893, Lasker would travel to the United States where he would spend the next couple of years. At the New York Tournament of 1893, Lasker would put on a show, going a perfect 13 wins (zero draws and zero losses). Lasker also displayed total dominance in match-play chess over some of the world's greatest veterans of the day such as Henry Edward Bird, Joseph Henry Blackburne and Jacques Mieses.

In 1894 Lasker secured a world championship match against the current and only world title holder, Wilhelm Stenitz. The match took place in three venues: New York, Montreal, and Philadelphia. Lasker decisively won the match 12 to 7, becoming the second formal World Chess Champion. Some three years later in their rematch for the title, Lasker once again defeated Steinitz and retained his crown, this time 12 ½ to 4 ½ . For the next twenty some years, Emanuel Lasker would remain world chess champion. He would become the most dominant player the game had ever known, defending his title many times and finishing at or near the top at several strong tournaments. He defended his title against Frank Marshall in 1907, crushing him 11 ½ to 3 ½. In 1908 Lasker defeated his bitter rival Seigbert Tarrasch with a score of 10 ½ to 5 ½. He would follow this up the next year with title defenses against Dawid Janowski and Carl Schlechter in 1910. In 1914, he finished second in possibly the strongest tournament ever assembled in St. Petersburg, Russia. Lasker would even score a win against eventual tournament winner the up and coming Cuban master, Jose Capablanca. This was the last major tournament that was held for several years as soon the Great War would begin.


Emanuel Lasker




December 24, 1868


January 11, 1941


Peak Rating


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."

On Lasker:
"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

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    MASTER CLASS - Emanuel Lasker - Vol. 5
    Catalog Code: WIN0465CB

    On the ChessBase DVD a team of experts delves deeply into Lasker’s play. In more than 6 hours of video (both in English and in German) the authors cast light on four important aspects of Lasker’s artistry. Niclas Huschenbeth has looked into Lasker’s openings. Our tactics expert Oliver Reeh challenges you in our interactive format: can you too find Lasker’s brilliant moves? Mihail Marin describes the second world champion as an original strategic player who took his decisions based on the specific features of the position. For Karsten Müller, Lasker was a great pragmatist and a superb defensive player, which is reflected in the selection of endgames he has chosen to discuss.

    MASTER CLASS - Emanuel Lasker - Vol. 5

    Regular Price: $33.95

    Special Price $27.16

    Die Weltmeister Des Schachspiels 1 von Morphy bis Aljechin - GERMAN EDITION
    Catalog Code: B0254IS

    World Champions of Chess, Volume 1 - containing biographies and games of Morphy, Anderssen, Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca and Alekhine

    Die Weltmeister Des Schachspiels 1 von Morphy bis Aljechin - GERMAN EDITION

    Catalog Code: B0126IS

    Lasker's book delves deeply into all phases of life and struggles. He attempts to create a general theory of all competitive activities, including chess, business and war.


    The Big Book of World Chess Championships
    46 Title Fights - From Steinitz to Carlsen
    Catalog Code: B0169NIC

    German chess journalist Andre Schulz tells the stories and the history of the World Chess Championship fights in fascinating detail: the historical and social backgrounds, the prize money and the rules, the seconds and other helpers, and the psychological wars on and off the board.

    The Big Book of World Chess Championships

    John Nunn's Chess Course
    A Complete Chess Education Based on the Games of World Champion Lasker
    Catalog Code: B0186GB

    Grandmaster John Nunn provides a complete chess education, covering decision-making methods and psychological factors in addition to the most important strategic and tactical methods.

    John Nunn's Chess Course

    Dr. Lasker's Chess Career 1889-1914
    Catalog Code: B0176IS

    Dr. Lasker's Chess Career 1889-1914 has become a rare book, almost impossible to obtain. I bought the book used for this reprint from a collector of rare books in Denmark.

    Dr. Lasker's Chess Career 1889-1914

    Emanuel Lasker - The Life of a Chess Master
    Catalog Code: B0046DV

    The legendary master comes vividly to life as Dr. Hannak details his childhood, education, decision to become a professional player, great exploits in matches against Marshall, Capablanca, Tarrasch, Schlechter and other players, his happy marriage, flight from Nazi Germany and much more.

    Emanuel Lasker - The Life of a Chess Master


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