Cleveland Finds I

Group photo with our hostesses

The picture shows our kind hostesses, next to Lissa Waite (with the book presents) – we owe the provision of all the Lasker treasures to her, also Pamela J. Eyerdam, head of the department "Fine Arts & Special Collections".

We make a short leap in time to the mid-twenties, a top tournament was held in Moscow where the chess greats of those days came together and where the German Russian Bogoljubow produced the finest achievement of his chess career.

Bogoljubow - Lasker

Bogoljubow - Lasker, Moscow 1925.
The onlooker is no less than Nikolai W. Krylenko,
Stalin's "guard dog".

[Photo from Savielly Tartakower, Schachmatnaja Prawda (Leningrad 1926)]

The anecdotal episode having grown up around the surely most famous lost game of Emanuel Lasker is well-known:
Moscow 1925, 12th round, Lasker lost his game against Carlos Torre by an elegant see-saw combination of the latter. Lasker’s previous thoughtless moves are supposed to have been caused by a cable which he received during the game and informed him about the acceptance of his play Vom Menschen die Geschichte ["The History of Men", written together with his brother Bertold] by a German theatre.

Emanuel Lasker
Carlos Torre

Photos from the tournament programme (by G.L. Raskin, Moscow 1925)

Among the Lasker memorabilia in Cleveland there were three cables which seem most interesting in this connection – three cables Lasker wrote or received in Moscow:

The first asking for the drama (and 200 fine cigars) is probably dated November 6th, 1925 (the tournament started 10-11-1925).
The date November 6th is covered by a letter from Moscow written by Lasker to his wife the same day.


Particularly the second is of great interest, in fact it arrived in Moscow on the afternoon of November 25th, 1925 at 4.45 pm, just that day when Lasker’s game against Torre took place. The games were played from 3.30 pm to 7.30 pm so that the cable of his brother Bert(h)old could actually have reached him during the game.
In the somewhat mutilated text:
Selenkas = Helmuth Zelenka who later on (1927) gave a lecture on the Lasker drama. (It is known that it has never been performed.)

Finally the third dated the 26th of November, so directly afterwards – in spite of his loss Lasker was "in good spirits".

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