Siegbert Tarrasch
Overview
 
Siegbert Tarrasch was one of the strongest chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

 players and most influential chess teachers of the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Tarrasch was born in Breslau (Wrocław), Prussian Silesia. Having finished school in 1880, he left Breslau to study medicine in Halle
University of Halle-Wittenberg
The Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg , also referred to as MLU, is a public, research-oriented university in the cities of Halle and Wittenberg within Saxony-Anhalt, Germany...

. Later he lived most of his life with his family in Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

, Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

, and later in Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

. He had five children. Tarrasch was Jewish, converted to Christianity in 1909, and a patriotic German who lost a son in World War I.
Quotations

Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make men happy.

The Game of Chess|The Game of Chess (1931), Preface

Mistrust is the most necessary characteristic of the Chess player.

The Game of Chess (1931), Pt. 2 : The End Game, p. 79

To acquire a reputation of being a dashing player at the cost of losing a game.

Response to a question as to What was the object of playing a gambit opening, as quoted in The Treasury of Chess Lore (1959) by Fred Reinfeld

He who fears an isolated Queen's Pawn should give up Chess.

As quoted in The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played : 62 Masterpieces of Chess Strategy (1965) by Irving Chernev, Game 18 : The Isolated Pawn, p. 81

Before the endgame, the Gods have placed the middle game.

As quoted in Cunning Exiles : Studies of Modern Prose Writers (1974), by Don Anderson and Stephen Thomas Knight, p. 41

Many have become Chess Masters, no one has become the Master of Chess.

As quoted in Chess and Computers (1976) by David N. L. Levy, p. 40

It is not enough to be a good player, you must also play well.

As quoted in Chess Openings : Traps and Zaps (1989) by Bruce Pandolfini, p. 139

Encyclopedia
Siegbert Tarrasch was one of the strongest chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

 players and most influential chess teachers of the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Tarrasch was born in Breslau (Wrocław), Prussian Silesia. Having finished school in 1880, he left Breslau to study medicine in Halle
University of Halle-Wittenberg
The Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg , also referred to as MLU, is a public, research-oriented university in the cities of Halle and Wittenberg within Saxony-Anhalt, Germany...

. Later he lived most of his life with his family in Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

, Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

, and later in Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

. He had five children. Tarrasch was Jewish, converted to Christianity in 1909, and a patriotic German who lost a son in World War I. Yet he faced antisemitism in the early stages of Nazism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

.

Tarrasch was a highly esteemed chess writer. It was Tarrasch who wrote in his Preface to The Game of Chess
The Game of Chess
The Game of Chess is a book about chess written by Siegbert Tarrasch. It was published in 1987 by Courier Dover Publications.It has 423 pages and its ISBN number is 048625447X....

 (1931) the often repeated line:

Chess career

A medical doctor by profession, Tarrasch may have been the best player in the world in the early 1890s. He scored heavily against the aging Steinitz in tournaments, (+3-0=1), but refused an opportunity to challenge for the world title in 1892 because of the demands of his medical practice. Soon afterwards, in St. Petersburg in 1893, Tarrasch drew a hard-fought match against Steinitz' challenger Mikhail Chigorin
Mikhail Chigorin
Mikhail Ivanovich Chigorin also was a leading Russian chess player...

 (+9-9=4) after leading most of the way. He also won four major tournaments in succession: Breslau 1889, Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 1890, Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 1892, and Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

 1894.

However, after Emmanuel Lasker became world chess champion in 1894, Tarrasch could not match him. Fred Reinfeld
Fred Reinfeld
Fred Reinfeld was an American chess master and a prolific writer on chess and many other subjects, whose books are still read today.-Biography:...

 wrote: "Tarrasch was destined to play second fiddle for the rest of his life." For example, Lasker scored much better against common opponents, e.g. vs. Chigorin, Tarrasch had +2 over 34 games while Lasker scored +7 in 21; vs. Akiba Rubinstein
Akiba Rubinstein
Akiba Kiwelowicz Rubinstein was a famous Polish chess Grandmaster at the beginning of the 20th century. He was scheduled to play a match with Emanuel Lasker for the world championship in 1914, but it was cancelled because of the outbreak of World War I...

 Tarrasch was -8 without a single win, while Lasker scored +2-1=2; vs. David Janowski Tarrasch scored +3 compared to Lasker's huge +22; vs. Géza Maróczy
Géza Maróczy
Géza Maróczy was a leading Hungarian chess Grandmaster, one of the best players in the world in his time. He was also a practicing engineer.-Early career:...

, Tarrasch was +1 over 16 games while Lasker scored +4-0=1, vs. Richard Teichmann
Richard Teichmann
Richard Teichmann was a German chess master.He was known as "Richard the Fifth" because he often finished in fifth place in tournaments. But in Karlsbad 1911, he scored a convincing win, crushing Akiba Rubinstein and Carl Schlechter with the same line of the Ruy Lopez...

 Tarrasch scored +8-5=2, while Lasker beat him all four tournament games. However, Tarrasch had a narrow plus score against Harry Nelson Pillsbury
Harry Nelson Pillsbury
Harry Nelson Pillsbury , was a leading chess player. At age 22, he won one of the strongest tournaments of the time , but his illness and early death prevented him from challenging for the World Chess Championship.- Early life :Pillsbury was born in Somerville, Massachusetts, moved to New York City...

 of +6-5=2, while Lasker was even +5-5=4. However, Tarrasch remained a powerful player, demolishing Frank Marshall in a match in 1905 (+8-1=8), and winning Ostend 1907 over Schlechter
Carl Schlechter
Carl Schlechter was a leading Austrian chess master and theoretician at the turn of the 20th century. He is best known for drawing a World Chess Championship match with Emanuel Lasker.-Early life:...

, Janowski, Marshall, Burn
Amos Burn
Amos Burn was an English chess player, one of the world's leading players at the end of the 19th century, and a chess writer....

, and Chigorin.

There was no love lost between the two masters. The story goes that when they were introduced at the opening of their 1908 championship match, Tarrasch clicked his heels, bowed stiffly, and said, "To you, Dr. Lasker, I have only three words, check and mate" — then left the room. When Lasker finally agreed to a title match in 1908
World Chess Championship 1908
Emanuel Lasker faced Siegbert Tarrasch in the 1908 World Chess Championship. It was played from August 17 to September 30, 1908 in Düsseldorf and Munich, Lasker successfully defending his title.-Results:...

, he beat Tarrasch convincingly +8-3=5.

Tarrasch continued to be one of the leading players in the world for a while. He finished fourth in the very strong St. Petersburg 1914 chess tournament
St. Petersburg 1914 chess tournament
The tournament celebrated the tenth anniversary of the St. Petersburg Chess Society. The president of the organizing committee was Peter Petrovich Saburov. Members of the committee were: Boris Maliutin, Peter Alexandrovich Saburov, and O. Sossnitzky...

 , behind only World Champion Lasker and future World Champions José Raúl Capablanca
José Raúl Capablanca
José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera was a Cuban chess player who was world chess champion from 1921 to 1927. One of the greatest players of all time, he was renowned for his exceptional endgame skill and speed of play...

 and Alexander Alekhine
Alexander Alekhine
Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine was the fourth World Chess Champion. He is often considered one of the greatest chess players ever.By the age of twenty-two, he was already among the strongest chess players in the world. During the 1920s, he won most of the tournaments in which he played...

, and ahead of Marshall, Ossip Bernstein
Ossip Bernstein
Ossip Samoilovich Bernstein was a Russian chess grandmaster and a financial lawyer.-Biography:...

, Rubinstein
Akiba Rubinstein
Akiba Kiwelowicz Rubinstein was a famous Polish chess Grandmaster at the beginning of the 20th century. He was scheduled to play a match with Emanuel Lasker for the world championship in 1914, but it was cancelled because of the outbreak of World War I...

, Nimzowitsch
Aron Nimzowitsch
Aron Nimzowitsch was a Russian-born Danish unofficial chess grandmaster and a very influential chess writer...

, Blackburne
Joseph Henry Blackburne
Joseph Henry Blackburne , nicknamed "The Black Death", dominated British chess during the latter part of the 19th century. He learned the game at the relatively late age of 18 but quickly became a strong player and went on to develop a professional chess career that spanned over 50 years...

, Janowski, and Gunsberg
Isidor Gunsberg
Isidor Arthur Gunsberg began his career as the player operating the remote-controlled chess automaton Mephisto, but later became a chess professional....

. His win against Capablanca in the 19th round, though much less famous than Lasker's win against Capablanca the round before, was essential to enable Lasker to achieve his famous come-from-behind victory over Capablanca in the tournament. This tournament was probably Tarrasch's swan song
Swan song
"Swan song" is a metaphorical phrase for a final gesture, effort, or performance given just before death or retirement. The phrase refers to an ancient belief that the Mute Swan is completely silent during its lifetime until the moment just before death, when it sings one beautiful song...

, because his chess career was not very successful after this, although he still played some highly regarded games.

Chess teachings

Tarrasch was a very influential chess writer, and was called Praeceptor Germaniae, meaning "Teacher of Germany." He was editor of the magazine Deutsche Schachzeitung
Deutsche Schachzeitung
Deutsche Schachzeitung was the first German chess magazine.Founded in 1846 by Ludwig Bledow under the title Schachzeitung der Berliner Schachgesellschaft, it took the name Deutsche Schachzeitung in 1872...

in 1897 and wrote several books, including Die moderne Schachpartie and Three hundred chess games. Although his teachings became famous throughout the chess world, until recently his books had not been translated into English.

He took some of Wilhelm Steinitz
Wilhelm Steinitz
Wilhelm Steinitz was an Austrian and then American chess player and the first undisputed world chess champion from 1886 to 1894. From the 1870s onwards, commentators have debated whether Steinitz was effectively the champion earlier...

's ideas (e.g. control of the center, bishop pair, space advantage) and made them more accessible to the average chess player. In other areas he departed from Steinitz. He emphasized piece mobility much more than Steinitz did, and disliked cramped positions, saying that they "had the germ of defeat."

Tarrasch stated what is known as the Tarrasch rule
Tarrasch rule
The Tarrasch rule is a general principle that applies in the majority of chess middlegames and endgames. Siegbert Tarrasch stated the "rule" that rooks should be placed behind passed pawns – either yours or your opponent's...

, that rook
Rook (chess)
A rook is a piece in the strategy board game of chess. Formerly the piece was called the castle, tower, marquess, rector, and comes...

s should be placed behind passed pawns—either yours or your opponent's. Andrew Soltis
Andrew Soltis
Andrew Eden Soltis is a chess Grandmaster, author and columnist.He won at Reggio Emilia 1971–72 and was equal first at New York 1977. He was awarded the International Master title in 1974 and became a Grandmaster in 1980...

 quotes Tarrasch as saying

Clash with hypermodern school

He was a great target of the hypermodern
Hypermodernism (chess)
Hypermodernism is a school of chess that emerged after World War I. It featured challenges on the chess ideologies presented by central European masters, such as on Wilhelm Steinitz’ approach to the centre. It also challenged in particular the dogmatic rules set down by Siegbert Tarrasch...

 school, led by Richard Réti
Richard Réti
Réti composed one of the most famous chess studies, shown in this diagram. It was published in Ostrauer Morgenzeitung 4 December 1921. It seems impossible for the white king to catch the advanced black pawn, while the white pawn can be easily stopped by the black king...

, Aron Nimzowitsch
Aron Nimzowitsch
Aron Nimzowitsch was a Russian-born Danish unofficial chess grandmaster and a very influential chess writer...

, and Savielly Tartakower, all of whom criticized his ideas as dogmatic. However, many modern masters regard Tarrasch's actual play as not dogmatic. For example, Tarrasch annotated his victory on the Black side of the Advance French against Paulsen (Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

 1888):
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qb6 6. Bd3 cxd4 (Tarrasch gives this an exclamation mark, and points out that 6 ... Bd7 allows 7. dxc5 with a good game. However, most accounts credit Nimzovitch with such anti-dogmatic hypermodern inventiveness when he played 7. dxc5 against Gersz Salwe
Gersz Salwe
Gersz Salwe was a Polish chess player.-Biography:Salwe was born into a Jewish family in Warsaw ....

 almost a quarter of a century later (Karlsbad
Karlovy Vary
Karlovy Vary is a spa city situated in western Bohemia, Czech Republic, on the confluence of the rivers Ohře and Teplá, approximately west of Prague . It is named after King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, who founded the city in 1370...

 1911) in this game http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1000795) 7. cxd4 Bd7 8. Be2 Nge7 9. b3 Nf5 10. Bb2 Bb4+ 11. Kf1 Be7 12. g3 a5 13. a4 Rc8 14. Bb5 Nb4 15. Bxd7+ Kxd7 16. Nc3 Nc6 17. Nb5 Na7 18. Nxa7 Qxa7 19. Qd3 Qa6 20. Qxa6 bxa6 21. Kg2 Rc2 22. Bc1 Rb8 23. Rb1 Rc3 24. Bd2 Rcxb3 25. Rxb3 Rxb3 26. Bxa5 Rb2 27. Bd2 Bb4 28. Bf4 h6 29. g4 Ne7 30. Ra1 Nc6 31. Bc1 Rc2 32. Ba3 Rc4 33. Bb2 Bc3 34. Bxc3 Rxc3 35. Rb1 Kc7 36. g5 Rc4 37. gxh6 gxh6 38. a5 Ra4 39. Kg3 Rxa5 40. Kg4 Ra3 41. Rd1 Rb3 42. h4 Ne7 43. Ne1 Nf5 44. Nd3 a5 45. Nc5 Rc3 46. Rb1 Nxd4 47. Na6+ Kd8 48. Rb8+ Rc8 49. Rb7 Ke8 50. Nc7+ Kf8 51. Nb5 Nxb5 52. Rxb5 Ra8 53. f4 a4 54. Rb1 a3 55. f5 a2 56. Ra1 Ra4+ 57. Kh5 Kg7 58. fxe6 fxe6 59. Rg1+ Kh8 60. Ra1 Kh7 61. Rg1 a1=Q 62. Rg7+ Kh8 0-1

Contribution to opening theory

A number of chess opening
Chess opening
A chess opening is the group of initial moves of a chess game. Recognized sequences of opening moves are referred to as openings as initiated by White or defenses, as created in reply by Black. There are many dozens of different openings, and hundreds of named variants. The Oxford Companion to...

s are named after Tarrasch, with the most notable being:
  • The Tarrasch Defense
    Tarrasch Defense
    The Tarrasch Defense is a chess opening characterized by the moves:With his third move, Black makes an aggressive bid for central space. After White plays cxd5 and dxc5, Black will be left with an isolated pawn on d5...

    , Tarrasch's favorite line against the Queen's Gambit
    Queen's Gambit
    The Queen's Gambit is a chess opening that starts with the moves:The Queen's Gambit is one of the oldest known chess openings. It was mentioned in the Göttingen manuscript of 1490 and was later analysed by masters such as Gioachino Greco in the seventeenth century...

     in which Black takes on an isolated queen's pawn: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5!? 4.cxd5 exd5. A main line is then 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.g3 Nf6 7.Bg2 Be7 8.0-0 0-0. Tarrasch famously proclaimed, "The future will decide who has erred in estimating this defense, I or the chess world!"; today it is considered sound, though unfashionable as Black must work for a draw.
  • The Tarrasch Variation of the French Defense (3.Nd2), which Tarrasch late in his career considered to be refuted by 3...c5 4.exd5 exd5, with Black again "acquiring" an isolated queen's pawn. This is not thought a refutation today, but is still one of Black's most important lines.
  • The Tarrasch Variation of the Ruy Lopez
    Ruy Lopez
    The Ruy Lopez, also called the Spanish Opening or Spanish Game, is a chess opening characterised by the moves:-History:The opening is named after the 16th century Spanish priest Ruy López de Segura, who made a systematic study of this and other openings in the 150-page book on chess Libro del...

    , also sometimes known as the Open Defense (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4).

Famous Tarrasch combinations

In the game Tarrasch versus Allies, Black seems to be holding here (at least against immediate catastrophe), because the black queen guards against Qb7+ (followed by Kxa5 Ra1#), while the black rook on c8 defends against Rxc5#. Tarrasch played the ingenious interference move 31.Bc7! (known as a Plachutta
Plachutta
The Plachutta is a device found in chess problems: a white piece sacrifices itself on a square where it could be captured by one of two similarly-moving black pieces moving along a different line; whichever black piece captures, it interferes with the other...

 interference
Interference (chess)
Interference occurs when the line between an attacked piece and its defender is interrupted by sacrificially interposing a piece. It is a chess tactic which seldom arises, and is therefore often overlooked...

 because the pieces both move orthogonally). This blocks off both defences, and whatever piece captures becomes overloaded. That is, if 31...Rxc7, the rook is overloaded, having to look after both the key squares, since the queen is blocked from b7. So White would play 32.Qb7+ Rxb7, deflecting the rook from defence of c5, allowing 33.Rxc5#. But if Black plays instead 31...Qxc7, the queen blocks off the rook's defence of c5 and becomes overloaded: 32.Rxc5+ Qxc5 deflects the queen from defence of b7, allowing 33.Qb7+ Kxa5 34.Ra1#. Black actually resigned after this move.
In the game against Walbrodt, Tarrasch played rather poorly, and his opponent had the better of it for a long time. But the game is redeemed by the following startling combination:

34.Rxd4 seems obvious, because 34...cxd4 allows 35.Bxd4 winning the queen. But Black has a seemingly strong counterattack which had to be foreseen ...
34...Nxg3 35.Nxg3 Rxg3+ 36.hxg3 Rxg3+ 37.Kf1! Rxd3 and now the startling 38.Rg4!! with devastating threats of 39. Rf8+ mating and Bxe5 not to mention cxd3 to follow. Black resigned.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK