An important tournament – marking the first encounter of Lasker and Blackburne, and demonstrating Lasker as a force, not just of the future, but of the (then) present day:
-------------------------------------------------------------------- BCM v12 -------------------------------------------------------------------- BCM v12 (Apr 1892) p154/183 In the just concluded Master Tournament of the B.C.A., Messrs. Bird, Lasker, and Mason had a nicely balanced account in their personal engagements; Bird beating Lasker, Lasker beating Mason, and Mason beating Bird. This gave rise to a desire that a little triangular match should be arranged between these three masters. Ultimately it was thought well if Blackburne and Gunsberg could participate in this encounter. The result is that a tournament has been arranged between these five players, to be played at the British Chess Club, at an early date. Mr. Geo. Newnes, M.P., with his usual generosity provided £50 as a prize fund, and this will be distributed amongst all the players, according to the Sonneborn-Berger system. Two rounds will be played between each pair of players, and the time limit will be twenty moves per hour. The first round was played on 28th March, when Lasker beat Bird, and Blackburne beat Gunsberg, and Mason had a bye. The second round, played on the 29th, resulted in Mason beating Bird; Gunsberg and Lasker drew. In the third round, played on the 30th, Lasker beat Blackburne, and Gunsberg beat Mason. -------------------------------------------------------------------- BCM v12 (May 1892) p200/231 A Handicap Tournament is proceeding at Simpson's, and most of the strong players have entered. Play began on 25th of April. Herr Lasker's double victory naturally caused commotion in chess circles here, and rumours of matches at once began to circulate. These rumours proved not to be groundless, for a match has been arranged between Blackburne and Lasker, to be commenced about 16th May, at the British Chess Club. The match is for seven games up, draws not counting, and the stakes £50 a-side.
BCM v12 (May 1892) p201/232 THE GREAT QUINTANGULAR MATCH. The important quintangular match at the British Chess Club, which was brought to a successful conclusion on the 8th April, has certainly been one of the most interesting events that the English chess world has seen for some time past. Indeed, the great interest shown in the encounter goes far to prove that the best appreciated tournaments are those wherein none but masters of the highest rank compete. In such a case everything, as a matter of fact, conspires to bring about the success. The quality of the games is higher, chance does not play so great a part in deciding the final position of the leaders, and the attention is not distracted by games by weaker players. All this is very different in a tournament where some of the players are almost Pawn and move weaker than others, and it is to be hoped that in future high-class tournaments efforts will be put forth to restrict the entries to really foremost men. Like the B.C.A. tournament, the quintangular match has ended with the success of the young master, Herr E. Lasker. His play right through has been of a high order, and, considering his age and looking at his play over the board, every doubt as to his proper position is swept away. One thing is certain, and that is that never since Morphy's day have we had so young a man with such outward and visible signs of being a great genius at the game. Playing over his games does not give anyone a full idea of the player. It was the ease, the quietude, and the exactness that he displayed throughout the play that showed his wonderful skill. We have several players amongst us whose powers of beneficially dissolving an intricate position are not inferior to his, but in those far-reaching powers of combination, by which these positions are brought about, Lasker has no superior. To commence with, Herr E. Lasker played right through the match without losing a single game, though he was opposed by the four strongest players now in this country. His score of 6½ was made up of two wins against Blackburne, two draws against Mason, a win and a draw against Gunsberg, and two wins against Bird. He encountered Blackburne, for the first time, in the third round, and, as they had not met before over the board, great curiosity was naturally felt as to the result. The game was a Four Knights opening. The second game occurred in the eighth round. Blackburne, having the move, played that form of the Vienna which he handled so ably in New York and Manchester, but Lasker was equal to the occasion and evidently well versed in that variation. Both games will be found in the Game Department of the present issue. Both Lasker's games with Mason ended as drawn, the first one after only twenty-two moves had been made. It must be borne in mind that in each half of the contest Mason was the last drawn to play against the formidable young master, and that in each half the draw was sufficient to give Lasker a practical lead. The first game, played on 1st April, was a Ruy Lopez of a most orthodox type. Pieces were duly exchanged, and at move 22 the following position occurred, when Lasker offered the draw, which Mason accepted:— The second game, played on the 8th April, was a much more animated affair. It was a Four Knights opening, defended very stubbornly by Mason for some time; then Lasker got a passed Pawn and began to force the play. We give a diagram of the position after Mason's 32nd move. The game went on: 33 Kt x P, Q x Kt; 34 B x Kt, Kt x B; 35 Q x Kt, Q x Q; 36 R x Q, B x P; 37 P—K 5, K-K 2; 38 R—B 6, R—Kt 4; 39 R x R P, B — Kt 7 ch; 40 K—R 2, P—Kt 4; 41. Q R—K Kt sq Q R—Kt sq, 42.P—Q 6 ch, K—Q 2; 43.P x P, P x P; 44 B x P ch, B—B 3; and Lasker offered a draw, which was accepted. In his first game with Gunsberg, played on 29th March, Lasker adopted a Two Knights defence, wherein Gunsberg got a slightly better position. At move 20 Lasker did not take full advantage of the position. Appended is a diagram at this crisis :- Lasker should now have played 20..., R—Kt sq, but, instead, he played 20..., P—Q R 4, and the game went on: 21 P—Q 4, P—K 5; 22. Kt—K sq, R—Kt sq; 23 P—Q B 3, P—B 4; 24 P—K Kt3, P—Kt 4; 25 Q x P ch, Q x Q; 26 B x Q, R x P; 27 B—R 5, R—K 3; 28 B—B sq, R—Q Kt 3; 29 Kt—Kt 2, Kt-K 2; 30 B—R 3, R (K3)—Q B 3; 34 Kt—B 4, B—K Kt 2; 35 Q R—B sq, B x P; 36 Kt x P, Kt x Kt; 37 R x Kt, R x R; 38 R x B, B—Q 2; and the game was drawn on the 45th move. In his second game with Gunsberg the latter adopted a French defence, and, playing very carefully, allowed Lasker no chance until the above position occured. The game now went on: 63 Kt x Kt, P x Kt; 65 P—Kt 3, P x P; 66 P x P, P—K 7; 67 K—Q 2, K—Kt 5; 68 P—B 4, P x P; 69 P x P, K x P; 70 P—B 5, P Queen's ch; 71 K x Q, K—B 7; 72 P—B 6, P—Kt 5; and Lasker Queened first and won. Lasker had to meet Bird in the first round, played 28th March. Bird played a Sicilian, and speedily dashed on with his Pawns on both flanks, "neck or nothing." As it happened, it came to nothing. Bird's attack at one time was a fierce one, and at move 21 Lasker took considerable time over the position, afterwards starting that the move he selected was the only safe one. We give a diagram at this stage of the game. The move selected was 21 Q—Q 3 !, and the game went on 21..., Q—R 4; 22 Kt x Kt, P x Kt; 23 Q—Kt 5 ch (this is where the force of the 21st move comes in), K—B 2; 24 Q x Q ch, Kt x Q, and Bird's attack was broken and Lasker won. The second game between the veteran and the stripling was played on the 2nd April. Bird opened with Queen's Pawn and got what seemed a strong centre, but this Lasker broke up at the right time. Above is position of the second game at a critical point. The game went on 1..., Castles (Lasker is of opinion this is really the only safe move); 2 R—Q sq, P—Kt 3; 3 Q—B 2, Q x Q; 4 K x Q, Kt—Kt 5 ch; 5 K—K 2, P—B 3; 6 B—B sq, K—Kt 2, and Mr. Bird ultimately lost the game. Mr. J. H. Blackburne, the hero of so many tournaments, was an excellent second to Lasker, being only half a point behind him. Unlike the leader, he made no draws, but cleared the board of all his opponents except Lasker. In the first game, played 31st March, Mason defended a King's gambit very awkwardly, and seemed in danger of early losing the exchange; this he skilfully prevented, and an interesting game resulted, which will be found in the Game Department of the present issue. The second game, played on the 6th April, was a Ruy Lopez, of the recent Steinitz-Tschigorin type, with little advantage on either side till Mason at move 25 allowed Blackburne to play B–R 3 with advantage. He again played somewhat weakly on 3oth move in above position. The game went on 30 Q—Kt 5, Q x Q; 31 P x Q, K–Kt 3; 32 K R x P, R–R sq; 33 R x R, R x R; 34 K–B 2, K x P; 35 Kt–B sq (possibly Kt–K 2 would have been better), Kt–B 3; 36 R–Q sq, Kt–Q 5 ! ; 37 Kt–Q 2, R–B sq ch; 38 K–K 3 (no going to Kt 3), K—R 5; 39 R– K Kt sq, P–B 4; 4o Kt–B sq, P—Kt 6, and Mr. Mason resigned, for there is really nothing to be done. The first game Blackburne had with Gunsberg was a Ruy Lopez, very equally played, but towards the 20th move Gunsberg was pressed for time and played hastily. We give the game in full elsewhere. The second game between these two masters was a very short one. It was a Giuoco Piano, wherein Gunsberg early drifted to leeward. We give a diagram on Black's 15th move. Blackburne played 15..., P–Kt 4; 16 B–Q 5 (if B–Kt 3, then the Q is lost), B–Kt 3; 17 Q–Kt 4, P–Q R 4; 18 Q–Kt 3, P–R 5; 19 Q–R 3, R–Q Kt sq.; 20 P– Q 4, P x B, and Gunsberg resigned on his 27th move. In his first game with Bird, played on 1st April, Blackburne adopted the From gambit against Bird's P—K B 4 opening, thereby giving up two Pawns, but obtaining a dangerous attack. He subsequentlysacrificed another Pawn to keep the attack going. On the 14th move, however, Bird could have made a sortie with his B to Q 7, which would have forced Mr. Blackburne to look at home and almost to play for the draw. Mr. Bird, thinking his position with three Pawns up warranted him in trying to do better than draw, played to win, and the following position resulted :— The game now went on: 23..., B x Kt; 24 R x B, R x R; 25 P x B, Q x B P; 26 K—Q 2, Q x R; 27 K x R, Q x B; 28 K—Q 3, R—B 6 ch; 29 K—Q 2, R-B 7; 30 K—Q 3, Q—R 6 ch; and Mr. Bird resigned. In his second game with the veteran, Mr. Blackburne got off with still better luck, for Mr. Bird not only missed an easy win, but in another move or so turned a draw into an absolute loss. Mr. Blackburne had played 1 P—K B 4 — Bird's Opening, so-called — but certainly got a bad position. We give above a diagram of the game at the 4oth move. The game now went on: 41 Kt—K 2, Q x P? (instead of this, the surface move of 41..., Kt (K 5)—B 7, wins right off); 42 B x P, P x B ; 43 Q—Q 8 ch, K—Kt 2; 44 Q—K 7 ch, K—R 3?? (a momentary chess blindness must here have come over Mr. Bird, for K—Kt sq leaves only a draw by perpetual check); 45 Q—B 8 ch, K-R 4; 46 Kt—B 4, mate. James Mason's score of 4 was made up of two draws against Lasker, one win against Gunsberg, and two wins against Bird. Of the two draws with Lasker we have dealt. In his game with Gunsberg the latter played utterly below his strength, as the game itself shows. It was a Q P opening, in which Mason got a fair development. We give a diagram of the game on the 14th move. The game now went on: 15 Kt—K 5 BxQ; 16 KtxQ, R—R 3; 17 K R—K sq, B x P ch; 18 K— R sq, B—Kt 4; and Mr. Gunsberg resigned. Mason, in his first game with Bird, played on 29th March, had to face one of Bird's fierce attacks springing from 1—K B 4. Defending coolly, he not only stemmed the current, but picked up one or two of Bird's Pawns. I give a diagram at the 21st move:— The game went on: 22 P—K Kt 4, P—R 3; 23 P x P, P x P; 24 P—K 5, Q Kt x P; 25 Kt x Kt, Q x Kt; 26 Q R–K sq, Q–Kt 4; 27 Q–Kt 3, Kt—K 5; 28 R x R, R x R ; 29 Q—Kt 2, Q–B 3; 3o R–K B sq, Q—Q 5; 31 R x R, K x R; 32 Q—R 3, K—Kt 2; 33 P—Q 3, Kt—B 3; 34 Q—B 3, Kt x P; 35 Q x Kt, Q x Kt ch; and Mr. Mason won. In their second game, Bird adopted a Centre Counter, and early lost a Pawn. Then he played very well for some time, and Mason had to keep his weather eye open to avoid danger. The end was singular, for Bird had a dead draw in the position shown on the diagram above. The game went on: 76 P-R 6 ch, K—B 2 (here K—R 2 would have drawn easily, but hours of play had evidently told upon the older man); 77 Kt—R 2, K—B sq; 78 K—B 6, K—Kt sq; 77 K—Kt 6, K—R sq; 8o Kt—Kt 4, K—Kt sq; 81 P-R 7 ch, K—R sq.; 82 Kt—B 6, P—R 7; 83 Kt—Q 5, and Mr. Bird resigned. Gunsberg's was altogether a disappointing score, as it only totalled 24, made up of a draw against Lasker and a win each against Mason and Bird. The game with Mason took place on the 30th March. The opening was 1 P—Q 4, but as Mason was half-an-hour behind time in starting, he had to play the early moves very hastily, and hence got an inferior position. We give a diagram on the 34th move: The game now went on 35 Kt—K sq, R—B 6 ; 36 P—Kt 4, Q—K 2 ; 37 P—Kt 5, Q—R 6; 38 Kt—K 2, Kt x Kt; 39 Q x Kt, Q x R P ; and, though Mr. Mason defended ably, he had to resign on the 60th move. In his game with Bird, Gunsberg had a stroke of luck. Bird opened with his favourite, 1 P-K B 4. The game early got somewhat blocked, and then Rooks were exchanged and Gunsberg offered a draw, but Bird refused, and the play went on till the position as above diagrammed resulted. Here, again, Bird seemed to lose all sight of the board for a moment, for he played 1 Kt—B 2 P, and Gunsberg seized his chance, and the game went on: 1..., B x P ! ; 2 P x B, P-B 6 ! ; 3 Q—K 2, B—B 5; 4 Q x B, P x Q; 5 P—Q 5, P—B 7 queening next move, and wins. Herr Lasker pointed out afterwards that White got a chance of counter-attack and drawing by 4 Q—B 2, Q—Kt 7; 5 Q—Q sq, for if now 5..., P—B 7; 6 Q—K Kt sq, and White will get perpetual check if Black Queen's. Black, however, can play 5..., K—Kt 2; sollowed by 6..., P-R 3. Bird's score was lowest of all, comprising only a single win against Gunsberg, but, as will be seen, his score would have been much larger had he taken full advantage of his positions in several of the games. Bird played a Centre-Counter against Gunsberg and got a fairly good position. We give a diagram at the 26th move. The game went on: 27 B—B 4, Q—K B sq.; 28 Q—R 4, Q—K 2 ; 29 P—Q Kt 3, Q x Q P; 30 R x Q, P—K Kt 4; 31 R—R 6?, Kt—B 5 !; 32 Kt—K 8, R—K 2 ; 33 Kt—B 6 ch, K—R sq; 34 P-Kt 3, Kt—Kt 3; 35 Kt x P ?, K—Kt 2 ; 36 R—R 3, P—Kt 5; 37 R—R 5, Kt x P; 38. Kt—Kt 5, K—Kt 3; 39 Kt x P, K x R; and Mr. Gunsberg resigned on the 44th move. We append the full score:— The prizes were divided according to the Sonneborn-Berger system, in the following proportions:— Lasker, £ 21 1s. 8d. Blackburne, £ 15 7s. 3d. Mason, £ 8 2s. 8d. Gunsberg, £ 4 7s. 4d. Bird, £ 1 1s. 1d.
BCM v12 (July 1892) p289/326 In the great Quintangular Tournament, a full account of which was published in the May number of the B.C.M., p. 201-208, it was resolved to distribute the £50 prizes according to the Sonneborn-Berger system, and the result was that Lasker received £21 1s. 8d.; Blackburne, £15 7s. 3d.; Mason, £8 2s. 8d.; Gunsberg, £4 7s. 4d.; and Bird, £1 1s. 1d. Now this distribution was not quite correct, as the appended table will show:— etc.