The voice of the South West chess community. Est. 1980. Reborn 2017.
The Forgotten Lady Champion who defeated Emanuel Lasker
Here on the Bristol Chess Times we have previously written about the often over looked Mary Rudge who could be considered the unofficial first womens’ world champion. Not many of her games survive but one of note is her adjourned victory against Emanuel Lasker in a simultaneous display in 1898. Even in a simultaneous display, defeating the reigning men’s world champion in the 19th century was no mean feat. Lets take a look.
Very little is known about this particular simul other than it was held in the Imperial Hotel but whether that is Bristol, London or elsewhere is unknown. It is understood that Lasker was running out of time in general and a number of games went to adjournment. He graciously conceding defeat due to best play resulting in a win for black (modern computer analysis of the final adjourned position indeed shows a sizeable advantage to black of -3.23).
The combatants, Emanuel Lasker and Mary Rudge
With little more historical context available, lets look at how one of the finest female players of the 19th century handled the second world chess champion.
So a calm defensive approach from Mary seals her a famous win against the second world chess champion. At no point in the game does she really probe the world champions defences but she comes away with the full point through solid defence and tempting her romantic era opponent into some profoundly unsound sacrifices. Indeed, one of the common observations of modern GM’s is their super defensive powers compared to their predecessors. Its interesting to note how disruptive a good defender would have been in the 19th century when swash buckling sacrifices were the expectation of the day.
Our previous article on Mary Rudge was very warmly received so I am pleased to finally get an annotated game of hers on The Bristol Chess Times. I hope you enjoyed this historic game, especially if you are interested in the history and development of the womens’ game.
Jon is the Editor of The Bristol Chess Times and Publicity and Recruitment Officer for The Bristol & District Chess League. He plays for Horfield Chess Club and has been known to play 1. b3 on occasion.