Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lasker Chess Lecture

Credit: Davar, March 30th, 1933.

The headline above, printed in Davar's chess column (March 30th, 1933), says, "Lasker on Chess Among the Jews". It is a transcript of a lecture given in the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin by Emanuel Lasker.


1). Jews consider 'individual expression' and originality the most important thing in chess, due to their habit of pilpul (sharp analysis, hair-splitting) over the Talmud.

2). For the Jew, it isn't how much one wins, but how one wins.

3). The Jew is naturally not a warrior, so he has little interest in 'beating the opponent' for its own sake, but rather is interested in neutralizing the opponent or making him no longer an opponent (lit. 'making the hater no longer a hater' in the Hebrew-language column) by way of logic and analysis.

4). The Jew which won the game is happy, not for defeating the opponent, but due to successful execution of his plan, which was forced on the opponent by logical, necessary steps.

5). The Jew is a master of defense 'to a degree that non-Jewish players can rarely reach'. The reason is his long experience of having to defend himself from antisemitic hatred, for his very survival.

6). This experience allows the Jewish player to create saving defensive combinations 'based not on calculation, but on intuition' in the most dangerous moments.

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