1907 World Chess Championship Emanuel Lasker (Germany) vs. Frank J. Marshall (USA) New York / Philadelphia / Baltimore / Chicago / Memphis, USA January 26 - April 6, 1907 Conditions: First to Win 8 Games.
Result: Emanuel Lasker retains the World Championship.
USA, 1907 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Score Lasker 1 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 8 (w/7 draws) Marshall 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 0 0 0 0 (w/7 draws)
After a lapse of eleven years since Dr. Lasker beat Steinitz for the second time, a championship match was at last arranged, and commenced on January 26, 1907. Many of the world's greatest players had in the meantime entered into negotiations for a match, but in every instance Dr. Lasker and the challenger were either unable to agree as to the conditions or else some other circumstance prevented the event taking place. marshall had won from Lasker at Paris, 1900, and drawn at Cambridge Springs, 1904, winning the latter tournament outright, with Lasker second. He therefore had a right, so far as actual individual scores were concerned, to issue a challenge to the champion, although it was generally acknowledged that it was only a question of Lasker retaining his best form for him to emerge victorious.
Naturally the interval which had elapsed since the last championship match, together with the dissimilarity of the contestant's respective stylse, gave every promise of some interesting play, and the play was closely followed at the beginning of the contest. The interest, however, flagged before the end, owing to the fact that every game was either won by the champion or else resulted in a draw. In fact, by scoring the first three games, Lasker practically secured himself against defeat, as he could be content to take the draw whenever the slightest opportunity offered, whilst his opponent, always a player with a predilection for hazardous and brilliant strokes, was tempted into unsound play in his efforts to score a victory.
Lasker's greatest strength is as a match player, although it must not be inferred from this that he is not almost equally formidable in tournament play, as reference to his record will demonstrate. This record is better than any other master can show in tournament play. Tarrasch's record is perhaps as good in its way, as although his percentage may not be quite so high, it extends over a longer period of activity.
LASKER'S RECORD IN TOURNAMENTS a) INTERNATIONAL MASTERS' TOURNAMENTS 1889 Amsterdam 2 6 -2 1895 Hastings 3 15½-5½ 1896 St. Petersburg 1 11½-6½ 1896 Nuremburg 1 13½-4½ 1899 London 1 22½-5½ 1900 Paris 1 14½-1½ 1904 Cambridge Springs 2-3 11 -4 94½-29½ Average: 1st-2nd; 70.05%
LASKER'S MATCH RECORD a) Championship Matches 1894 vs. Steinitz +10-5=4 1896 vs. Steinitz +10-2=5 1907 vs. Marshall + 8-0=7 b) Other Matches 1889 vs. Bardeleben 2½-1½ 1890 vs. Mieses 6½-1½ 1890 vs. Bird 9-4 1890 vs. Miniati 4-1 1891 vs. Lee 1½-½ 1892 vs. Blackburne +6-0=4 1892 vs. Bird 5-0 1893 vs. Golmayo +3-2=1 1893 vs. Vazquez 3-0 1893 vs. Showalter +6-2=2 1893 vs. Ettlinger +5-0=0 Lasker withdrew from the Lee match due to illness. The Ettlinger match was at odds MARSHALL'S RECORD IN TOURNAMENTS 1900 Paris 3-4 12-4 1901 Monte Carlo 10 5½-7½ 1902 Monte Carlo 9 11-8 1902 Hanover 9-10 8-9 1903 Monte Carlo 9 12-14 1903 Vienna 2 11½-6½ 1904 Monte Carlo 3 6½-3½ 1904 Cambridge Springs 1 13-2 1905 Ostend 7-9 12½-13½ 1905 Scheveningen 1 11½-1½ 1905 Barmen 3 10-5 1906 Ostend 7 16½-13½ 1906 Nuremberg 1 12½-3½ Marshall also won two Rice Gambit Theme tournaments at Saint Louis and Monte Carlo MARSHALL'S MATCH RECORD 1905 vs. Janowsky +8-5=? 1906 vs. Tarrasch +1-8=? 1907 vs. Lasker +0-8=7
The first three games of this match were most interesting. Lasker conducting the attack on bold and forcible lines. The sacrifice in the first game was evolved out of a position which did not hold out any likelihood of brilliant play, and from this game and Dr. Lasker's manner of conducting it, it was rightly conjectured that the champion was determined to meet Marshall more or less on his own ground and was prepared to take rather more risk than he has the reputation of doing. It is, indeed, a rule, which could well be more widely applied, that against an attacking player attack is more likely to succeed than defence, whilst against a defensive player attacking tactics give way to a more solid style of play. The reason for this is not far to seek, for attacking players are seldom good at defence or defensive players at attack. Dr. Lasker is so thorough a student of the psychology of the game that he can readily adapt his play to either style, and at the same time it will be noticed that he always has enough defensive force at the back of his attack to guide the game into that path where he is absolutely unrivalled, - the ending. It will be noticed that in the present match he more than once initiated a strong attack, pressed it home, and then relinquished it for an end-game position, which he forced by exchange of pieces, and which he can be relied on to win, given the most infinitesimal advantage.
The second game is one of those which Marshall might have won, but not by the move N-Q7, pointed out by all the critics. About this important question it is interesting to quote Dr. Lasker's reply to Dr. Tarrasch's comments in the latter's book of the match. These comments appeared, with the following diagram in Lasker's Chess Magazine, August, 1907. Speaking of Dr. Tarrasch's criticism on the match, he says: -
"Again, in analytical detail he is inaccurate to the point of carelessness. He bases his opinion that the second game after sacrifice of the NP, was a win for Marshall on an analysis where many question marks must be put. he lets White make the unnecessary move N-B4, although the Knight retreats later to Q3. And thus he arrives at the following position [viz: White: Kg1, Rf3, Nd3, Pa2, Pb2, Pg2, Pg3, Ph3; Black: Kb8, Rd8, Nc6, Pb7, Ph7, Pd4, Pc2], which he declares a win for Black, though after the moves 30. Rf2 Nb4 31. Nc1 d3 32. Rd2 the threat a3 followed by Rxd3 forces Black to seek a draw by 32... Re8; 33. Kf2 Rf8+, etc. All these moves being forced ones, the omission to proceed with the analysis further is a grave defect, especially in view of the doctors pretensions to prove a result directly contrary to the one arrived at actually."
The third game was another very instructive example of the champion's skill. This game was conducted by Dr. Lasker more cautiously than the first two games. Here he adopted waiting tactics, and with excellent judgment allowed Marshall to make all his plans for a sacrifice whilst himself preparing at the same time a valid defence and a counter demonstration. In praising Lasker, Marshall must not be forgotten, for the sacrifice was cleverly conceived, and the game also contains a very pretty trap, set by the loser. At the end of the game Marshall played a weak move, which lost immediately, whereas he could have made the process of winning very difficult for his opponent.
The fourth, fifth and sixth gamse were uninteresting draws. Early in each game, the champion seemed imbued with a desire to draw at all costs, and exchanged pieces without making any attempt to obtain an advantage in the middle game. In the seventh game Dr. Lasker purposely chose a variation of the Queen's, which he does not recommend, so as to vary his choice of opening. This latter game was the most attractive of the first succession of draws, but by this time the interest in the match had begun to wane a little, at any rate in this country. It was revived over the eighth game, which was concluded with an ending conducted in Lasker's finest style, leading to a declared mate in five.
Another series of draws followed, more interesting than the first series; but the match was now regarded as practically finsihed, the only point for speculation being whether Marshall would succeed in winning a single game. The general opinion appeared to be that Lasker held his opponent in such a grip that he had merely to put forth his full powers to win the remaining games, the draws arising chiefly from lack of energy.
In the twelfth and thirteenth games Marshall did not take full advantage of Dr. Lasker's play in the opening, which gave him the opportunity of scoring. Nevertheless, the games contained much instructive play, and will be perused with pleasure by the student.
The same cannot be said of the last two games, which Marshall played really badly and indulged his opponent with easy victories.
The result of the match leaves the impression that Dr. Lasker is still the world's finest chessplayer, and the title champion is, as it happens, held by the strongest player. A great deal has been made out of the fact that Lasker should have lost several games, but the same is said of the winner in every match and tournament and only serves to demonstrate the difference between the practical and the theoretical side of the game. The conditinos in the study, where every move can be analyzed with precision by a skilful theoriest, are totally different to the anxious, nervous strain of actual play over the board, where a move irrevocably commits him who makes it, and not only accuracy of position judgment, but also detailed analysis of many variations is essential. What wonder, then, that a player will hesitate to embark on a complicated line of play involving correct insight into several continuations for a number of moves in advance? Dr. Lasker's judgment in actual play has stood the test of many years first class play during which period he has lost very few games. His present match against Marshall has shown him as invincible as before, and should another championship match be forthcoming in the near future we shall look forward to further success for Lasker, whoever his opponent may be.
# White - Black Locale Date ECO Result 1 Marshall - Lasker New York 01-26-1907 C65 0-1 2 Lasker - Marshall New York 01-29-1907 C11 1-0 3 Marshall - Lasker New York 01-31-1907 D53 0-1 4 Lasker - Marshall New York 02-02-1907 C12 ½-½ 5 Marshall - Lasker New York 02-05-1907 D53 ½-½ 6 Lasker - Marshall New York 02-09-1907 C12 ½-½ 7 Marshall - Lasker Philadelphia 02-16-1907 D32 ½-½ 8 Lasker - Marshall Philadelphia 02-19-1907 C12 1-0 9 Marshall - Lasker Philadelphia 03-02-1907 D32 ½-½ 10 Lasker - Marshall Baltimore 03-08-1907 C12 ½-½ 11 Marshall - Lasker Chicago 03-16-1907 A83 ½-½ 12 Lasker - Marshall Memphis 03-19-1907 C11 1-0 13 Marshall - Lasker Memphis 03-21-1907 D07 0-1 14 Lasker - Marshall Memphis 03-23-1907 C11 1-0 15 Marshall - Lasker New York 04-06-1907 D53 0-1