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Now back to our story of Akiba Rubinstein:
When looking at the games of Akiba Rubinstein, his approach was one of smooth transision from the opening, to the middlegame and the endgame. In pure harmony, every move seemed perfectly necessary. No extra or wasted moves were tolerated. Like the building of a house, every stone is in it's place and every stone has a role. It was the same with his chess pieces.
Rubinstein spend a great deal of time studying the general principles of the game. This led him to being the master of endgame play over his contemporaries. No one came close in that department until Capablanca came along.
Despite being the World's #2 player, if not #1, Akiba never got to play in a championship match. There were several reasons for this. One being the financial conditions set forth by the current champion Emanuel Lasker. Another was the arrival of another chess great - Jose Capablanca. And of course the start of World War I (WW1).
But there were other issues as psychological problems began to plague him and lead to his eventual retirement from the chess scene. WWI destroyed many lives and fortunes and Akiba was no different. He invested heavily in German war bonds.
After WWI Rubinstein played in more tournaments, but never revisited his past highs. The exception was the super-tournament in Vienna in 1922, where Rubinstein won over Alexander Alekine and Richard Reti.
But soon after this win, he visited a psychiatrist complaining of a fly that he imagined always settled on his forehead, breaking his concentration. The doctor sent him ot a leading psyco-neurologist in Munich. The doctor said, "My friend, you are quite mad! But what does that matter? You are a brilliant chess master."
It seemed to have mattered plenty. Rubinstien never wrote books to cash in on his legendary chess accomplishments. He was very conscious of his lack of a complete education. And his mental health issues kept him from being able to complete projects.
Akiba Rubinstein spent the last 30 years of his life in a sanitorium and died in 1961. A sad end to one of the most brilliant chess minds that ever lived.