Before continuing if you are wondering “Who is Mary Rudge?” then I strongly recommend you read John Richard’s excellent thesis on her life and times as a pioneering female chess player in the 19th century.
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.