Saturday, May 15

St. Petersburg 1909 tournament book

Dr. Lasker has most graciously favored us with an advance view of the page proofs of the forthcoming English edition of his book on last year's St. Petersburg tournament. The World Champion sets a high standard for himself at the outset: the Preface begins, "This is a book in which analysis is accurate." The Champion continues, "The games in this book show the working of the mind of the master, and the commentary has been intended to guide the thought of him who plays over these games so that he may perceive weakness and merit. Notes have been made solely for that purpose. The glossary was meant to be both necessary and sufficient. Nowhere will it be found lacking in supplying explanation needed, but it has no superfluities."

The St. Petersburg tournament, it will be recalled, featured an all-out race between Dr. Lasker and Rubinstein, who ultimately shared the 1st and 2nd places with 14 1/2 points from 19 games, a full 3 1/2 points ahead of Duras and Spielmann, who divided the 3rd and 4th prizes. Other prizewinners included Dr. Bernstein, Teichmann, Dr. Perlis, Cohn, Salwe, and Schlechter. The strength of the event may be gauged from the fact that masters such as Mieses, Tartakower, Burn, and Vidmar fell outside the prize list. Dr. Lasker has annotated all 175 games played with noteworthy insight and objectivity: he is frequently critical of his own play even in games where he emerged victorious.

If we may be permitted one slight quibble, it is to be regretted that space was not found for any games from the concurrent Russian national tournament, won by young Alekhine of Moscow, who thereby gained entrance into the ranks of the masters. We understand, however, that Alekhine hopes to participate at this summer's Hamburg Congress, in which case the wider chess world may well soon be able to examine specimens of his play.

The publication of a collection of games played by so many of the leading lights of our noble pastime, all glossed by the Champion himself, is a momentous event. We are certain that all true lovers of first-class chess will wish to procure a copy for themselves.

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