By Chad Lieberman
This week's featured game is a classic from the Lasker era. Emanuel Lasker reigned as World Chess Champion from 1894 to 1921. After attending Erlangen University in his pursuit of a mastery of mathematics, Lasker got his first major chess victory in London in 1892.
Lasker studied hard for the next two years and then decided to go to the United States to challenge Wilhelm Steinitz for the World Championship. Although Lasker certainly won the championship handily against an aging Stenitz, there was some skepticism over whether Lasker really deserved the title.
Steinitz turned 58 in 1894. The general sentiment was that he lost because of his old age. Besides this fact, Lasker had never really won any major tournaments, making his claim as world champion even more difficult and possibly undeserved.
Then, along came a bitter Siegbert Tarrasch requesting the initiation of another title, "World Tournament Champion," as he was the player with the best tournament record at that point. When the deciding tournament was played in Hastings in 1895, an unknown American player, Harry Nelson Pillsbury came out of nowhere to win the tournament.
Still unsatisfied, Tarrasch and the chess community called for another tournament in St. Petersburg. When Lasker emerged as clear winner, his title was secure, which he held for the following 25 years.