NAME: Emanuel Lasker
BIRTHDATE: December 24, 1868
BIRTHPLACE: Berlinchen, Germany (now Barlinek, Poland)
CREDENTIALS: World Chess Champion from 1894-1921. This 27 year reign is the longest ever for a world chess champion.
Known to use psychological ploys and to play the man as well as the board. For example, in 1914 Lasker was playing against Capablanca in a game that he could not afford to lose or draw. Yet he began the game with an opening that was widely known to be passive and likely to lead to a drawn ending. As Lasker hoped, Capablanca began to relax -- just as Lasker unleashed a prepared attack! Catching his opponent off guard, Lasker went on to win. As this anecdote suggests, strong tactical play was an essential part of Lasker's arsenal.
Like several other world chess champions, Dr. Lasker was a brilliant mathematician, the field in which he held a doctorate. Because he was Jewish, he and his wife had to flee Nazi-controlled Germany and eventually resided in New York. He became a friend of Albert Einstein and was a strong player in the games Bridge and Go. He died in 1941.