“Rubinstein is the rook endgame
It is the gods, who are playing
They started playing the game a
thousand years ago
The game is probably still in progress”- Saviely Tartakower
Akiba Rubinstein was one of the greatest players to have remained the uncrowned king in the yesteryear. His play was multifaceted and showed his originality in the evolution of new opening ideas, deep strategic insight and a clear endgame play or more precisely Rook Endgame play! Many volumes can be written about his chess exploits, but here I would like to look at two fragments where he outplayed the second and the Third World Chess Champions with the same move!
This is a position after Black’s 15th move in the game between Rubinstein and Lasker from the St Petersburg tournament 1909. Here he continued with
16.Rc1! anticipating Lasker’s idea 16….Rxe3 and against this he had prepared the clever response 17.Rxc6! bxc6 and the surprise move 18. Qc1!! which secured a clear advantage. Rubinstein went to convert a one pawn advantage in one of the most instructive endgames of all time which is well worth a careful study! Here is a link to that game. https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1119726
This is a position from his game against Capablanca from one of the best tournaments of his life – San Sebastien 1911. On his 14th move he continued with
14.Bxf6 (already envisaging a deep combination) Qxf6 15. Nxd5! Qh6 16.Kg2 Rcd8 It was quite possible that Capablanca had seen up until here and decided that he was doing great, until he ran into the veiled but beautiful 17.Qc1!! by Rubinstein yet again! Rubinstein once again won a pawn and converted the endgame in masterly fashion. Given below is a link to the masterful game. https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1119734
It is a rare occurrence to defeat two succeeding World Champions with the same move which remained hidden from their eyes until Akiba Rubinstein unveiled the sculpture in front of them and the world at large.