keypusher: Part I
OK, it only took a year and a half, and I am far from learning Russian properly, but...
This game features Rubinstein's notes, as reprinted in <Akiba Rubinstein> by Yuri Razuvaev and V. I. Murakhveri (?), published in Moscow in 1980. I don't know where Rubinstein's notes were originally published (it would be funny if they were originally written in German...). Rubinstein's comments are in plain text; comments by Razuvaev or me are in brackets. My translation from the Russian is almost certainly worse than my translations from Tarrasch's German in the Lasker-Tarrasch match games, mostly because I can't make use of online translation services, but also because Russian has much less in common with English than German does. But I figure even a poor translation is better than nothing, since most of us have never seen Rubinstein's notes to his own games before.
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d6(?)
The currently popular, similar variation with the fianchetto of the bishop to b7 is inappropriate here because White can occupy the center by e2-e4, gaining a clear advantage. Black therefore [prishlos] declines the advantageous development of the bishop to b7, which represents the principal idea of the West Indian variation <such was the exotic name of the Nimzowitsch Defense in the 1920s (Razuvaev)>. Insofar as black queen bishop (which, occupying the b7 square, forces White to develop passively) is compelled to occupy a more modest and less active post, the system Black has selected to play weakens/loses its sharpness.
<The move 4...d6 by Black sometimes is encountered in contemporary praxis, but, theory recommends that Black continue with 4...c5 or 4...d5, striving to develop active piece play in the center. (Razuvaev)>
5. e3 <5. e4 does not score very well according to the database> 5....c5
<Nimzowitsch developed this system and successfully employed it against a white knight on f3 (here it is impossible not to recall the brilliant game P F Johner vs Nimzowitsch, 1926). Interestingly, this variation sometimes in current publications bears the name of R. Huebner(!). With the knight on e2 this system of development loses effectiveness. The present game, notwithstanding that Rubinstein was exploring this variation for the first time, appears as a classic model of play for White against the Nimzowitsch Defense. (Razuvaev)>
6. Bd3 Nc6 7. Ne2 e5
This closing of the center, which in similar positions frequently is striven for, here seems strategically mistaken, since the black position turns out to be very constrained for his pieces and -- as a consequence of the shortage of space for maneuvering -- immobilized. On the kingside Black is condemned to almost total inactivity, and his chances on the queenside [are] minimal.
8. d5 Bxc3+ 9. Qxc3
<After 9. Nxc3 Nb4 Black can advantageously simplify the position. (Razuvaev) The only other game in the database from this position is Doroshkievich vs Romanishin, 1975. St. Drukenknight forbid that I should say that Black is already lost here, but his position is quite bad.>
9.....Ne7 10. Qc2 <presumably to prevent ...Nf5 or ...Bf5> 10....0-0 11. 0-0 Ng6
After the move d4-d5 closing the center, the main counterchance of Black now seems to be counterattack by ...f7-f5, and thus here Black should have selected the move ...Ne8, so as to play ...f7-f5 later. In the present case White can successfully fight against this plan with the linked moves f2-f4 and e3-e4.
12. Ng3 Rfe8 13. f3
f2-f4 immediately would be premature, because after 13....exf4 14. exf4 Ng4 (with the threat ...Nxh2) the black pieces succeed in obtaining freedom.