Lasker on the 1921 World Championship Match

Edward Winter


Emanuel Lasker. Oil painting by Louis Hartz, courtesy of David DeLucia (C.N. 5103)

In Mein Wettkampf mit Capablanca (Berlin and Leipzig, 1922) Emanuel Lasker reproduced a series of reports which he wrote during his world championship match against Capablanca (Havana, 1921). English versions of some of this material appeared in the Sunday Times (London) and have been sent to us by Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore).

Sunday Times, 24 April 1921, page 16:




Sunday Times, 1 May 1921, page 16:


Sunday Times, 22 May 1921, page 5:


See also Capablanca’s Reply to Lasker, to which has been added (C.N. 11437) detailed information about the climate in Havana in March-April 1921.

C.N.s 814 and 2470 pointed out a claim on page 75 of La Stratégie, April 1921 that there had been a 15th game, played on 26 April (a Queen’s Gambit Declined supposedly won by Capablanca in 25 moves):


See page 187 of Chess Explorations and pages 356-357 of A Chess Omnibus. A comment by La Stratégie on page 115 of its May 1921 issue was also given in the latter book:

‘La quinzième et dernière partie du match, un Gambit de la Dame refusé, jouée, dit-on, le 26 avril, ne comporte que les quelques premiers coups de ce début, le Dr E. Lasker abandonna sans que sa position présentât le moindre désavantage; mais probablement pour mettre fin à une lutte qui lui était désormais impossible de soutenir avec succès.’

In C.N. 2470 we remarked:

It was intended to be a match of eight games up. Capablanca won the 14th game, concluded on 21 April, which made the score +4 –0 =10 in his favour. Lasker’s brief letter to Judge Alberto Ponce in which he proposed to resign the match was dated ‘Havana, 27 April 1921’. Page 101 of the May-June 1921 American Chess Bulletin gave the text, together with Ponce’s reply of the same date, which confirmed that Capablanca and the organizing committee accepted the proposal. On page 97 of that issue the Bulletin commented:

‘The great chess match, which made Cuba the cynosure for all eyes in the chess world, came to an end on 21 April. On that date the 14th and last game was contested. A few days later, officially on 27 April, though a mysterious press association “beat” made it two days earlier, Dr Lasker sent his resignation to the committee.’

Here, we add that La Stratégie was not alone in suggesting the existence of a 15th game. From page 80 of the May 1921 Schweizerische Schachzeitung:


And from page 88 of the June 1921 issue of the Swiss magazine:


Wanted: other contemporary reports of an alleged 15th match-game, and, more generally, information on how the misunderstanding arose.

C.N. 3035 (see pages 241-242 of Chess Facts and Fables) noted Harry Golombek’s mistaken claims that the match comprised 18 games:


Latest update: 21 May 2022.

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Copyright: Edward Winter. All rights reserved.