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EDWARD LASKER

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Edward Lasker (December 3, 1885 – March 25, 1981) was a leading German / American chess and Go player. He was awarded the title of International Master of chess by FIDE. Lasker was an engineer by profession, and an author.

Edward (then Eduard) Lasker was born in Kempen (Kępno), Province of Posen (Greater Poland), Prussia, German Empire, (present Poland). He studied in Breslau (Wrocław) and in Charlottenburg (now part of Berlin). Before World War I he moved first to London, England, and then, in 1914 shortly after the outbreak of war, to America, the birthplace of his mother. He found a job in Chicago. When America entered the war in 1917, he was sent enlistment papers, but with the right of exemption as a German. He waived his right to exemption, which he said would make his American citizenship be granted more quickly; however, the war was over before he was called up to military service.

Engineering career

Lasker earned undergraduate degrees at the Technical College of Charlottenburg in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. In 1921-23, he invented a mechanical breast pump, which saved many premature infants' lives and made Lasker a lot of money, although it caused his friends to refer to him facetiously as "the chest player."

Chess

His chess teacher in Breslau was Arnold Schottländer. In Berlin, he won the City Championship (1909) and wrote his first chess book on Chess Strategy (Schachstrategie, 1911) which got many English (and German) editions.

Lasker published several books on American checkers, chess, and Go. He won five U.S. Open Chess Championships (1916, 1917, 1919, 1920, 1921); this tournament was known at the time as the Western Open. His best result was his narrow 8.5–9.5 loss in a match with Frank Marshall for the U.S. Championship in 1923. For that, Lasker was invited to participate in the legendary New York 1924 chess tournament, facing world-class masters like Alekhine, Capablanca, Rubinstein, Emanuel Lasker and Réti. He finished 10th out of 11 players, but many of his games were competitive; Lasker was the only chess amateur in a very strong field of professionals.

His most famous game is probably the queen sacrifice and king hunt against Sir George Thomas. After Lasker checkmated him, Thomas said, "This was very nice." Lasker, who had yet to learn English, was touched by Thomas's sportsmanship after a spectator translated Thomas's remark into German for him. Lasker wrote that had he won the game against a leading Berlin amateur, his opponent would likely have told him, "You are just lucky! Had I played [10...Bxe5] instead of [...Qe7], you would have been lost."

Although Lasker never won against Capablanca, he drew as Black against him at New York 1924.[ Lasker was not usually so fortunate; for example, Capablanca once arrived one minute before he would have forfeited the game for late arrival, at New York 1915, and Lasker played the Riga variation with which he had some experience, but Capablanca found an advantageous continuation over the board.

Lasker lived on the Upper West Side of New York City until his death in 1981.