Emanuel Lasker (December 24, 1868 – January 11, 1941) was a German chess player and mathematician, born at Berlinchen in Brandenburg (now Barlinek in Poland).
In 1894 he became the second World Chess Champion by beating Steinitz with 10 wins, 4 draws and 5 losses. He maintained his title for 27 years, the longest of all World Champions. His great tournament wins include London (1899), St Petersburg (1896 and 1914), New York (1924).
In mathematics, his most famous contribution is his proof of what is now known as the Lasker-Noether theorem for the special case of ideals in polynomial rings.
He was also a philosopher, and a good friend of Albert Einstein.
In 1921, he lost his title to Capablanca. He had already offered to resign to him a year before, but Capablanca wanted to beat Lasker in a match.
In 1933, the Jewish Lasker and his wife Martha Kohn had to leave Germany because of the Nazis. They went to England, and, after a subsequent short stay in the USSR, they settled in New York.
Lasker is noted for his "psychological" method of play, sometimes choosing a theoretically inferior move if he knew it would make his opponent uncomfortable. In one famous game against Capablanca (St. Petersburg 1914) he needed to win at all costs, so chose a drawish opening which induced his opponent to drop his guard. Lasker won the game.
One of Lasker's most famous games is Lasker - Bauer, Amsterdam 1899, in which he sacrificed both bishops for a forced mate in a maneuver later repeated in a number of games. His name is used in some opening variations, such as the Lasker Variation (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 O-O 6.Nf3 h6 7.Bh4 Ne4) of the Queen's Gambit.
J. Hannak, Emanuel Lasker: The Life of a Chess Master (1952, reprinted by Dover, 1991). ISBN 0486267067
Ken Whyld, The Collected Games of Emanuel Lasker (The Chess Player, 1998)
Twelve Great Chess Players and Their Best Games by Irving Chernev; Dover; August 1995. ISBN 0486286746