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German chess player Emanuel Lasker: biography
German chess player Emanuel Lasker: biography

It is interesting to know that Emmanuel Lasker, a German mathematician and philosopher, was the world chess champion for 26 years and became widely known for his great playing skills. In addition, he successfully worked in the field of commutative algebra, and his mathematical analysis of card games is still known.

Let's find out more about this interesting person.

lasker emmanuel

Early years

Chess player Emmanuel Lasker was born in Berlinchen (Prussia) on December 24, 1868. He was the son of a Jewish cantor. When he was 11 years old, he was sent to Berlin to study mathematics. In between studies, he often played chess with his older brother to pass his free time.

The brothers were poor and Lasker figured he could earn some money by taking part in tournaments organized by local chess clubs. His favorite place was the Kaiserhof cafe, where he soon began to win championships.

In 1889, in Breslau, he won first place in one of the divisions of the tournament. ATthe same year he went to Amsterdam, where he won second place. In 1892 he went to London to show his skills to the British. And then Lasker emigrated to the USA.

world champion

World Champion

In 1894, Lasker won the World Chess Championship by defeating the famous player Wilhelm Steinitz. This event shocked the world as Emmanuel was only 25 years old.

Distrustful onlookers, unwilling to accept the fact that the young man had beaten the world's greatest player, nevertheless rationally approached their decision. They explained this by the fact that Steinitz was already quite an old man, and in the game he could not show his abilities.

Wilhelm said that before the last round he suffered from insomnia, and that is why he lost. He demanded revenge from Lasker. But Emmanuel was not going to risk the acquired title so quickly. And only two years later they met again at the chessboard.

In this rematch that took place in 1896, Lasker won again. After a while, he agreed with some observers that the main factor in this outcome of the game was the age of his opponent.

chess player emmanuel lasker

Business and chess

In 1895, despite being treated for typhus, Emanuel Lasker finished third in the Hastings tournament. Many rivals noted that he is a modest and intelligent gentleman and, unlike many experts, has first-class business skills.

Lasker really had a sense of business. Since he wasthe best player in the world, he demanded $2,000 from tournament sponsors for his performances. However, his other business ventures were not successful. Work in agriculture and breeding pigeons ended in failure.

Because of his demands for money for participating in chess tournaments, other players also began to follow suit. Lasker said he did not want to die poor like Steinitz. He even wanted to copyright all of his games (which he failed to do, but Bobby Fischer did in the 1960s). The German chess player made a real revolution. Today's players could thank Emmanuel that today they can get paid for their competitions.

Achievements in science and studies

Participating in chess tournaments, Lasker Emmanuel did not forget about his studies. He received his high school diploma in Landsberg an der Vors (at that time the city was considered part of Prussia). In Göttingen and Heidelberg he studied mathematics and philosophy.

Lasker served as lecturer at Tulane University, New Orleans (1893), and Victoria University, Manchester (1901). In 1902 he received his doctorate from the University of Erlangen for his research on abstract algebraic systems.

Defending title

Emmanuel Lasker was the world chess champion for 26 years. This annoyed the other players, who claimed that he constantly dissuaded himself from participating in rematches so as not to lose his title. He defended the championship only 6 times.


William Napier once remarked that it is very difficult to persuade a German chess player to determine the exact place and time for a game. In 1907, they finally met, and Lasker defeated him.

In 1908, he played with another famous player - Siegbert Tarrasch, and, of course, beat him. After the end of the tournament, his opponent announced that he had lost the game, since they were close to the ocean, which had a negative effect on him. Soon the press was mocking Tarrasch and his inventions.

In 1909 Lasker defeated the Polish chess player David Yanovsky, and in 1910 he beat Karl Schlechter by a narrow margin of points. In 1914, Emperor Nicholas II of Russia organized a chess tournament with a prize fund of 1,000 rubles. Lasker took part in it and played against brilliant players: José Capablanca from Cuba, Akib Rubinstein from Poland, Frank Marshall from the USA, Siegbert Tarrasch from Germany and Alexander Alekhine from Russia. In the final, Emmanuel beat Capablanca by half a point and became the champion. Soon after, at a dinner party, the Russian tsar called Lasker and four other players "grandmasters." This term was used for the first time.

Changes in the game

During the life of Lasker, the game of chess changed a lot. Players began to think strategically, more books and thematic publications appeared in newspapers and magazines, the number of cunning moves and tricks was constantly increasing. Even the famous Schoenberg noted that when he was young, the player only needed to be talented and sane. And chess players of the twentieth century needmemorize thousands of variations. One miss and you are in a lost position.

German chess player

Chess is a mathematical game that requires clarity of thought and judgment. The world champion Lasker noted in his book The Art of Chess that one cannot lie and be hypocritical on the board. You need to think creatively and build amazing combinations.

Private life

In Lasker's personal life everything was clear and precise, just like in chess. In the early 1900s, his first wife died. And in 1911 he married a second time to Martha Koch, who was 1 year older than him. The woman was rich. In 1931 he announced his retirement from chess and decided to move to Berlin. His retirement was rudely interrupted by the rise to power of the Nazis. Since the spouses were Jews, during the “anti-Semitic rage” they were forced to leave Germany and live in England for some time. The German authorities seized all the property of the family, and the couple were left without funds.

Then they went to the USSR, where Lasker took Soviet citizenship. He taught for a long time at the Moscow Institute of Mathematics. Soon with his wife, he went to the United States. Surprisingly, he made a living by winning the card game "Bridge". He even became a true professional. And on January 11, 1941, he died in New York from a kidney infection at Mount Senai Hospital.

Famous publications

In 1895 Lasker Emmanuel published two of his mathematical papers. After he entered the doctoral program (1900 - 1902), he wrote a thesis, which waspublished by the Royal Society. The magazine he founded in 1904 was soon renamed Lasker's Chess Magazine.

chess game tutorial

In 1905 he published a paper that is still considered vital to algebra and algebraic geometry. In 1906, he published the book "Struggle" about competition in chess. His other works were related to philosophy. In 1926, he published his famous edition of The Chess Game Textbook (Lehrbuch des Schachspiels).

It can be said that Emmanuel Lasker was not only a brilliant chess player who defended the champion title for 26 years, but also a great mathematician and philosopher, whose works are still very popular. In addition, he was able to introduce some changes into the chess game: the winners were able to receive monetary rewards for participating in championships, he was the first to express an opinion on obtaining copyright for his games, and he also came up with a lot of combinations that many chess players still use today. Therefore, his name and great works are immortal.

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