A historical question about Lasker

Mar 2, 2014, 3:26 AM |

I've wondered for quite some time now - why Emanuel Lasker was never approached to play in a USSR Chess Championship? I'm quite sure about "never approached" part, because if he was approached and refused (or at least said something to the effect "I will not be playing in USSR Championship for any reason"), Soviet and Russian chess historians would have surely mentioned that in their books and articles.

It's not like the Soviet powers that be feared that a 'foreigner' would win the championship and thus devalue the achievements of Soviet chess school: they allowed the much younger Andor Lilienthal, who wasn't even a Soviet citizen back then (though he was born in Moscow), to play in the 1937 USSR Championship (the same one where Lasker could have theoretically competed) without much worry (and his performance was quite poor, he didn't even make the top ten).

Why then?