Emanuel Lasker (December 24, 1868 January 11, 1941)
Emanuel Laskers' contemporaries used to say that Lasker used a "psychological" approach to the game, and even that he sometimes deliberately played inferior moves to confuse opponents. Recent analysis, however, indicates that he was ahead of his time and used a more flexible approach than his contemporaries, which mystified many of them. Lasker knew the openings well but disagreed with many contemporary analyses. He published chess magazines and five chess books, but later players and commentators found it difficult to draw lessons from his methods.
He demanded high fees for playing matches and tournaments, which aroused criticism at the time but contributed to the development of chess as a professional career.
Lasker's pragmatic, combative approach had a great influence on Soviet players like Mikhail Tal and Viktor Korchnoi.
There are several "Lasker Variations" in the chess openings, including Lasker's Defense to the Queen's Gambit, Lasker's Defense to the Evans Gambit (which effectively ended the use of this gambit in tournament play until a revival in the 1990s), and the Lasker Variation in the McCutcheon Variation of the French Defense.
One of Lasker's most famous games is Lasker – Bauer, Amsterdam 1889, in which he sacrificed both bishops in a maneuver later repeated in a number of games.
Lasker was a good friend of Albert Einstein, who wrote the introduction to the biography Emanuel Lasker, The Life of a Chess Master from Dr. Jacques Hannak (1952). In this preface Einstein express his satisfaction at having met Lasker, writing:
Emanuel Lasker was undoubtedly one of the most interesting people I came to know in my later years. We must be thankful to those who have penned the story of his life for this and succeeding generations. For there are few men who have had a warm interest in all the great human problems and at the same time kept their personality so uniquely independent.
Posted: Mon 22 Nov 2010