Ilyin A Zhenevsky - Em Lasker [B80]
Moscow International Tournament/Moscow (8) 1925
At the cost of a tempo, Black can keep the position closed by 5... e5
Bogoljubow points out that this move guards the c4 square which often causes inconveniences for White in other variations, where Black sometimes posts his Knight at that square. The move also supports a later advance with Pc4 to help control the d5 square. 7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4
Better is 11... Rfd8!=
White threatened to use tactical means to achieve positional ends by Nxc6 and Nd5, because of the double attack on the Queen and the Bishop at e7 with check. For example, 12... h6? 13. Nxc6 Bxc6 14. Nd5 Qd8 (14... Qxd2? 15. Nxe7++-) 15. Nxe7+ Qxe7 16. Rfe1 Rfd8 17. c4 with advantage, since White has the two Bishops, a powerful bind on the position, and chances to attack the weakened pawn at d6.
Clearing the way for the c4 advance and offering a trade of Queens that can only benefit White, especially since it would aid him in doubling Rooks on the d-file. White has also accurately calculated that Black cannot safely grab the pawn at a2... Perhaps instead 13. Ncb5 or 13. a3
Or can he? Bogoljubow writes: "A stange combination by Lasker. But Black gets a very solid position after the resulting Queen sacrifice." Based on the result of the game, it does not seem right for Bogoljubow to give this move a dubious "?!" mark, especially since alternatives are no more clear.
Boboljubow writes that "White proceeds too much by force and disregards his own King's safety. Correct was 18. Nxc6 " perhaps with the idea of building a Queenside initiative by 18... Rxc6 (18... bxc6 19. Ra1+/=) (18... Bxc6 19. Nd4 Bd7 20. Qa5+/=) 19. Ra1 a6 20. Qb4 and White is better.
"Lasker now won the Exchange and conducted the endgame simply and energetically to victory." When the Knight retreats, Black will fork Queen and Rook by Nc2.
Bogoljubow concludes that this is a game that shows Lasker the tactician in the best light. Surely very few chessmasters would have offered the Queen at move 13 let alone survived doing so.
Game in PGN