Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Lasker-Marshall, St. Petersburg 1914


White to play after 16...a6.

The game Lasker-Marshall, St. Petersburg 1914 features Lasker's trademark 5.Qe2 against Marshall's trademark Petroff. I had never given this line much consideration (and I imagine most Petroff players have not either), but I suddenly think it is worth trying from time to time, especially against higher-rated opponents or against anyone who avoids Queen exchanges like the plague. Lasker shows that Black can get into a lot of trouble if he does not trade and seek stable equality. In some ways, the line challenges Black to a game of chicken, placing the onus on him to avoid the draw and encouraging him to swerve wildly at some point and drive right into a ditch. BTW: I began looking at this game (and Capablanca-Marshall, shown in the notes) because of the serial novel Zugzwang, mentioned in my previous post. It was a very strong tournament, with an interesting horse race in the final tournament between Lasker and Capablanca. I hope the novel is as suspenseful.


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