keypusher: Part I
A game that never comes up when Lasker's "psychological approach" is discussed. Janowski was a famous attacking player, so what does Lasker do? Enter into the sharpest possible line, almost begging Janowski to sacrifice the exchange so that he can break up the black king's defense. Janowski complies, and for a while it looks as if Lasker's gamble will play off and his material advantage will prevail. But Lasker goes wrong, not once but several times. Black avoids getting mated, but ends up in a hopeless ending, with Janowski enjoying three pawns for the exchange. Lasker fights hard to the end, but can't save the game.
Was this an unusual approach for Lasker to take against such a dangerous attacker? Not at all. Here's a famous example: Janowski vs Lasker, 1904. Here's another: Janowski vs Lasker, 1899. Usually Lasker's sharp play worked.
Notes are from Brandreth's reprint of Tarrasch's tournament book, which incorporates comments from contemporaneous sources. Comments from Shredder/me are in brackets.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.Re1 Nd6 6.Nxe5 Be7 7.Bd3
<Introduced by Steinitz against Zuckertort a decade before, this variation is as harmless as it looks. But Janowski beats Lasker with it here, and should have beaten Pillsbury with it several rounds earlier. Janowski vs Pillsbury, 1896 >
7...0-0 8.Nc3 Ne8
<Simply 8...Bf6, or ...Nxe5, here or on the previous move, should lead to equality. But Lasker's move, though provocative, is not bad.>
Deutsche Schachzeitung: Now, as what follows shows, 9...Nxe5 must absolutely be played. <Lasker and Shredder do not agree, and I think they are right.>
10.Ng4 d6 11.Rxe8
A bold sacrifice such as Janowski likes. Such an offer mostly succeeds; compare Janowski's games against Marco and Schlechter. (Janowski vs G Marco, 1896 and Schlechter vs Janowski, 1896) But it is otherwise correct.
Deutsche Schachzeitung: A pretty, if also obvious sacrifice which brings White a speedy advantage.
Deutsche Schachzeitung: Black must play this. On 11...Bxg4 there follows 12.Rxd8 Bxd1 13.Rxa8 Rxa8 14.Nxc7 with advantage for White.
12.Ngxf6+ gxf6 13.b3
The pawn could better have advanced two squares at once.
13...Ne5 14.Bb2 c6 15.Ne3 d5
Deutsche Wochenschach: Now 15...Nxd3 was in order <Shredder agrees>, for then ...d5 and ...d4 could be played. White conducts the following attack with unusual skill.
16.Bf5 d4 17.Qh5
Threatens Qxh7+ followed by Ba3+.
17...Ng6 18.Ng4 c5
Now the attacking lines of both Bishops are broken and with that the whole attack is really parried. <This is why Tarrasch recommended b2-b4 at move 13; but Shredder thinks his interesting idea could be parried by ...a7-a5.>
With this 20.Nh6+ followed by Nxf7 is threatened, which before ran aground on 21...Qe7 with a mate threat on e1.
Stronger immediately appears to be c2-c3. <Shredder thinks Tarrasch's suggestion leads nowhere after 20.c3 Bxf5 21.Qxf5 Nxh4 22.Qh5 Ng6 23.Qxc5 Ne5 24.Nxe5 Rxe5 25.Qxd4 Qxd4 26.cxd4 Re2 with a big advantage for Black in the ending.>
21...Qc7 21.c3 Bxf5 22.Nxf5
22.Qxf5 Kg7 23.Ng4 <23.Qh5 Re5 24.Nf5+ Kh8 25.Qf3 is better, but not good> 23...Qf4 is still more unfavorable to White.
22...Qf4 with the threat to capture the d-pawn and to displace the dangerous attacking piece, the Bishop at b2, decides immediately, for on 23. Rd1, 23...Re5 24. g4 Qf3 wins. But also the text move is good enough; it threatens 23...Nf4 followed by ...Rxg2+. <Tarrasch is right about 22...Qf4, but overrates 22...Rg8.>