1910 World Chess Championship Emanuel Lasker (Germany) vs. Karl Schlechter (Germany) Vienna, Austria/Hungary and Berlin, Germany January 7 - February 10, 1910 Conditions: Best of 10 games. Lasker retains title in the event of a 5-5 tie, or a 5½-4½ loss. (NOTE: Opinion is divided on the historicity of the 2-point tie clause in this match)
Result: Emanuel Lasker retains the World Championship.
Austria-Hungary/Germany 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Score Lasker ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 5 Schlechter ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 5
"Because of the difficulty in securing adequate financial backing, this world championship match was limited to ten games only. Never was there a more tense and evenly matched struggle. Never were there so many exciting and hair-raising draws. As is well known, Schlechter was leading by one game going into the tenth and final game when he appeared to lose a golden opportunity to become world's champion by drastically playing for a win (he did achieve a winning position but was outplayed in the complications) when a draw would have sufficed. The "drawing master," as Schlechter was nicknamed by his contemporaries, appeared to feel (so the legend goes) that he could not allow his rather accidental victory in the fifth game of the match to decide the outcome of the world's championship. This is a myth. It is now known that Lasker had driven an exceedingly hard bargain before he agreed to play a match with Schlechter. In other words, Schlechter had to win the match by two full games in order to become world champion. Winning by one game would have allowed Lasker to retain the title. So now it can be said that Schlechter was not being kind or chivalrous in going all out for a win. Rather, he was doing his damnedest to win because only a second victory could have secured him the championship of the world."
There are still some who doubt whether this two-point clause existed, and as far as I know, positive proof does not exist. But the evidence of Schlechter's play in that final game, plus the difficulty of imagining a cagey bird like Lasker risking his title in such a short match without some extra protection seems pretty telling. Not to mention the fact that negotiations for a Lasker-Capablanca match broke down the very next year over over that very same 2-point tie clause.
Proposals for a Match of thirty games (subsequently reduced to fifteen) having fallen through, negotiations were eventually concluded for a series of ten games, five to be played in Vienna and five in Berlin. When the plans for a longer match were on foot there was a chance of some of the games taking place in London. It is to be regretted that this could not have been arranged, as it is many years since so distinguished an event has taken place in the Metropolis, for since the London Tournament of 18999 chess activity has been confined to the same round of Club, County and National Competitions, and whilst other countries have been engaged in promoting events of the greatest importance England has lagged behind.
The match, as stated, was limited to ten games, consequently drawn games after the first victory on either side were of far greater value than is the case when the conditions are framed for a given number of wins to be gained, as was the case in Lasker's matches with Marshall, Tarrasch, etc. As it happened, the system adopted on the present occasion could have given Schlechter an overwhelming advantage, as he won the fifth game, the four games preceding his victory and three following it all being drawn. Hence with the last game to be played he was in the enviable position of defeat being impossible, whilst his opponent had to win that game to make the result a tie. in the other method of scoring, of course, a player who is behind in the score always has a chance of winning the match until the very last moment, whereas in the present instance victory was impossible for Lasker after the ninth game. Fortunately for the champion, Schlechter was not content to adopt the policy of playing for a draw on the last game, being determined to make every effort to increase his lead, and being unwilling to take the legitimate advantage of the conditions on which the match was arranged. had he been content to do so it is more than probable that Dr. Lasker for the first time in his career would have had to admit defeat in a set match. As it was Lasker was able to win the final gme and save the situation.
In spite of the large number of drawn games the play was exceptionally interesting, and opinion inclines to the belief that the quality of the games was in advance of other championship matches in recent years. It is unnecessary to set out our customary table of the progress of the match, as it has already been stated that all the games were drawn except the fifth (won by Schlechter) and the tenth (won by Lasker).
# White - Black Locale Date ECO Result 1 Schlechter - Lasker Vienna 01-07-1910 C66 ½-½ 2 Lasker - Schlechter Vienna 01-13-1910 C80 ½-½ 3 Schlechter - Lasker Vienna 01-15-1910 C66 ½-½ 4 Lasker - Schlechter Vienna 01-18-1910 C80 ½-½ 5 Schlechter - Lasker Vienna 01-21-1910 C66 1-0 6 Lasker - Schlechter Berlin 01-29-1910 C80 ½-½ 7 Schlechter - Lasker Berlin 01-30-1910 B34 ½-½ 8 Lasker - Schlechter Berlin 02-02-1910 C80 ½-½ 9 Schlechter - Lasker Berlin 02-05-1910 B33 ½-½ 10 Lasker - Schlechter Berlin 02-08-1910 D94 1-0