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Questions Without Answer and Nimzowitsch

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Some of my CC opponents keep complaining about the changes in the way of playing CC introduced by the intrusion of engines and databases. So here I leave some questions for the reader to consider:

-Do opening Chess books become quickly and easily outdated now ?

-If the player blindly follows those databases and engine recommendations, will s/he be playing what the engine decides and not what s/he decide?.

-The numerical assessments engines give to moves may be misleading. BUT if the player puts his/her confidence on them, will s/he end up following the engine move after move for fear of deviating and playing a move considered unfavourable by the program?

-Can today’s CC be played without the aid of an engine knowing that your opponents are employing them?

-Can the engine analytical brute force be met by an ultrapositional approach and no engine at all?

-In today’s CC games could it be possible to apply, for instance, restraint, blockade,overprotection and openings like 1. e3 , 1. Nf3 /2. e3, etc? (If so, do not use a computer…) and survive?

In any case, I firmly believe that the way CC is played now is a beginning, and not an end. New times new means,new ways of doing things. A matter of adaptation to the new environment and putting into practice our innate instinct of survival. (And remember that this is a wild jungle and only the strongest will survive.)


I am reading an amazing ,extraordinary book:  “ARON NIMZOWITSCH 1928-1935”  by Rudolf Reinhardt. The late Mr. Reinhardt devoted a lot of time and effort to investigate that period in Numowitsch’s life (the last one since Nimzowitsch died in 1935) . The book contains a gold mine of information including games annotated by Nimzowitsch and others, his writings in the form of commentaries and articles, etc. I thought I knew Nimzowitsch inside out but it turned out a self-delusion…

The introduction to the tournaments and the games offers objective analysis but also Nimzowitsch states of mind. We see him showing doubts, joy, disillusion, self-distrust, renewed confidence… We see how he uses his beloved “system” against his honourable opponents (names like Capablanca,Alekhine,Bernstein,Becker,Spielmann,Rubinstein, Marshall,Bogoljubow, Vidmar, Stahlberg, Yates,Tartakower, and so on), opponents with different approaches to Chess and against whom he tries his ideas and explains the conclusions.

The book is making me rethink my ideas about strategy and how to use it in these complex CC age. I would like to strongly recommend this book to all of you. But let me say it would be much more pleasant and instructive if you have already studied Nimzowitsch’s “MY SYSTEM” / “THE PRAXIS OF MY SYSTEM” or the excellent Keene’s book “ARON NIMZOWITSCH: A REAPPRAISAL” (aka “Aron Nimzowitsch Master of Planning”  


White to play wins. Horowitz & Kling. It resembles a real game, this is why I like.


1. Rxe6 , Rxe6 / 2. b6 , Kxb6 / 3. Rh6! winning



Written by QChess

April 27, 2014 at 6:46 am

Wonderful Knights, Odd Squares.

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“…for thre is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”  Shakespeare: “Hamlet

You are at home studying wonderful Chess games. You see how well-played they seem to have been played : an exquisite and smoot blend of strategy and tactics. You say to yourself you are going to do the same. (End of dream)

Then you go to play your own games and everything seems “rough”, full of ups and downs, with oversights on both parts if not gross mistakes. Back at home you tend to think you have been tricked by those GMs: the theory they played differs from the theory you wanted to imitate at one junction and you lost the thread of the game, and…and…and… etc.

Well, one of the many problems in Chess occurs when you have left the book and instead of a lovely attacking position with clear objectives and so on you face one of those level positions with several options but no clear plans, no threats, no weaknesses to attack, and so on. You have to play one move and after going to and fro considering one move after another without any clear idea, then you move a piece. But after seven or eight moves you realise you have committed your position to a degree that even a draw would be a miracle. 

For those positions, top GMs have developed a sort of sixth sense which allows them to intuitively “see” many hidden things: they “see” ,or rather can feel ,that which piece belongs to which square and how to re-route their pieces to keep their positions consolidated and harmonious. (Take for instance a player like Petrosian ). They feel that even apparently “ugly” moves like Nf3-h2 or e1 , Ng3-h1, etc may be the best option not because “something-has-to-be-played” , but because that is the right way to anticipate a hidden threat or re-route the piece via that odd square. (Backwards Knight moves, specially to the h1/h8 or a1/a8 squares are difficult to evaluate for the average player because of the way most of the people have been taught the rudiments of strategy in their beginnings)

But GMs have learnt (after all they are full-fledged professionals and they excel at what they do) that there is no such a thing like “pretty” or “ugly” squares/moves, but good and bad moves, good and bad plans , good and bad strategical/tactical decisions. Even Nimzowitsch was accused of playing “bizarre” moves, moves nobody understood, nobody would play because they went against the accepted truths or were labelled as “ugly”. Nevertheless, he made history, while many of his detractors, those defending “normal ideas”, those unable to accept that Chess was not a dead thing but a living, evolving one, passed unnoticed. 

So, the next time you sit at the board do not use those dangerous concepts of “prettiness/ugliness” when pondering about the movement of the pieces and the squares involved. (Or do it and then try to explain to yourself why h1/h8 is “not definitively  a square for your Knight to use…)

The following position is from Nimzowitsch-Tartakower, Carlsbad 1929:


Nimzowitsch played here…yes: 17. Nh1! and went on to win the game:

17…, f6  18. Qh2, h6 19.Ng3, Kh7 20. Be2 Rg8  21. Kf2 Rh8 22. Rh4 Qe8 23.Rg1, Bf8 24. Kg2, Nb7 25. Nh5, Qg6 26. f4, Nd8  27. Bf3, Nf7 28. Ne2,Be7 29. Kh1,Kg8 30. N2g3, Kf8 31. Nf5, Rg8 32. Qd2! Rc1 33. Rh2, Ke8  34.b3, Kd8  35. a3, Ra8 36. Qc1 Bf8? 37. Nh4,!, Qh7 38. Nxf6, Qh8 39. Nxg8, Qxg8 40. g5, exf4,  41.gxh6,Qh7  42. Qxf4, Bxh6  43. Qf6, Kc8 44. Nf5, Bxf5  45. exf5Kb7 46. Qg6, Rh8 47. Qxh7, Rxh7 48. Rg6, Kc8  49. f6, Rh8  50.Bg4, Kd8 51. Be6, Ke8  52. Bxf7, Kxf7 53. Rhxh6, 1-0

The next position is from Schlechter-Nimzowitsch, Carlsbad 1907:


Here, Nimzowitsch played... 17…Nha8!/ and went on to win the game.

And the last one is from Nimzowitsch-Rubinstein, Dresden, 1926:


The game continued: 18. Nh1! (en route to g5 forever) ,… Bd7/ 19. Nf2, Rae8 / 20. Rfe1, Rxe2/ 21. Rxe2, Nd8/ 22. Nh3, Bc6 / 23. Qh5, g6/ 24. Qh4, Kg7/ 25. Qf2, Bc5/ 26. b4, Bb6/ 27.Qh4, Re8/ 28. Re5!, Nf7/ 29. Bxf7, Qxf7/ 30. Ng5, Qg8/ 31. Rxe8, Bxe8/ 32. Qe1, Qe7/ 33. Qe7, Kh8/ 34. b5, Qg7/ 35. Qxg7 ,Kxg7/ 36. bxc6,  1-0


Written by QChess

March 28, 2014 at 7:45 am

Are We What We Have Been Influenced By?

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Have you ever thought about the past influences you show in the way you play Chess?. Think about it for a while.

My early Chess influences were , in this order, Karpov-Petrosian-Nimzowitsch (and the Hypermodern movement)-Botvinnik-Fischer and Spassky . I have learnt many things from all of them. If I reduce the list it would read: Karpov-Nimzowitsch et alii-Fischer-Spassky. Now you may say: “So what? Different chessplayers,different styles, etc.” Well, let’s try to find the common denominator. In fact when we speak of “influences” in Chess I immediately think of  openings and   certain middlegame recurrent positions. 

1.- Openings: Karpov (from his beginnings till around 1986), Fischer, Spassky and Nimzowitsch have had 1. e4 as their main opening as White. As Black Karpov ,Fischer and Spassky have played the Sicilian (my main weapon). The four have played Hypermodern defences : the Nimzoindian, the Queen´s Indian, the Grünfeld, the King’s Indian, the Benoni. I have played all of them + the Orthodox (Spassky’s weapon for many years too). 

2.- Middlegames: I have studied many books on strategy, middlegame Pawn constellations, etc. Books written by GMs from the Soviet Chess School and other GMs. like Pachman, Soltis, Grau (Argentina),Marovic, etc. I have studied Tarrasch´s and Steinitz´s games… BUT the greatest influence of all came from around 1979-80, when I came across my first copies of Nimzowitsch’s “Chess Praxis” and “My System” (the latter is a curious extended edition including different appendix with Nimzo’s articles which do not appear in the original and editions made after it (I suppose the editor decided to include them for the sake of completeness…). Then I managed to get a copy from “Blockade” published in the United States. And afterwards , I have tried to obtain anything on Nimzowitsch. For instance I have a copy from “Aron Nimzowitsch 100 Partier Forsynet med Stormensterens egne Kommentarer Og Skakcauserier” by Bjorn Nielsen in Danish (!!). And Nimzowitsch led me to Reti, Tartakower, Breyer,…

The Hypermodern reaction to the “classicism” represented by Tarrasch is known by everybody. I began to play Hypermodern Defences and typical middlegame set-ups avoiding the invasion of the centre with Pawns but trying to control and attack it from the wings. In my early years I used the English, the Reti or the Barcza System as White. I even tried bizarre systems like 1. c4, e5 2. e4 or 1. e4, c5 or …e5 / 2. c4. Or the Dresden Variation of the English, a most cherished  set-up of Nimzowitsch’s.

In Chess we could distinguish several periods (Chess writers call them “Schools”): Morphy, Anderssen et alii belonged to the Romantic School. Then came the Classical School with Tarrasch and contemporaries. One step forward and we have the Hypermodern School (curiously both Tarrasch and Nimzowitsch claimed they were trying to explain Steinitz’s ideas … to reach conclusions poles apart…). Afterwards, the Soviet Chess School, comprising everything, re-formulating many concepts,discovering new ones, etc. Today’s chessplayers follow an eclectic path (I guess). In a period of ultra-dynamism you can still find positional masterpieces in a classical or a hypermodern style be those what they may. I have written that certain school of thought has proclaimed that there is no strategy these days because the opening stage has been so extended that modern “tabiyas” may place the game between the 20th and the 30th move. (You can notice it at top-level Chess and in CC). But nearly everybody has a favourite idol : you may like Capablanca’s classical approach or Tal’s romantic one. Etc.

Perhaps knowing about all this may help us to improve because by insisting upon those features we have subconsciously acquired since our beginnings we may play within” our true style” or at least avoid repeating past mistakes, when perhaps we mixed things… (after all , one cannot play the Alekhine (1. e4, Nf6/ with the idea of invading the whole board with our Pawns… Get it?)

(In a different post I will write about Richard Reti (1889-1929) but I would like to include one of his compositions -No, it is not the famous  King/Pawn-race one…): 


This study was published by Reti and Mandler in 1924. White to move wins.  Instructions:

1.- This is not a mate problem.

2.- Study the position and try to imagine how White can proceed and how Black can defend his position.

3.- You can do it without moving the pieces. Then, try to find a solution by moving the pieces if necessary.

4.- You can cover the solution and try to find the first move and so on checking your election against the solution as if it were a game. White must play for the win, Black will try to , at least, get a draw. This is an exercise of threats/defences ,threats/counterthreats.

Remember that ,  in Chess, all the work you do always pays off, always reward.

1.- Ng1, Kd2! / 2. Nf3+ , Kd3! /3. Ke1, Ke3 / 4. Ne5, Ke4 /5. Nc4, Kd3 6. Nd2, Ke3/ 7. Nf3, Kd3 /8. Kf1! Ke3 / 9. Ne1, Kd2/ 10. Nc2!, Kd1 / 11. Nb4, Kd2 / 12. Nd5 winning.


Written by QChess

March 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm

CC Crisis

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(This is an open post. There are no definite ideas, only hints and doubts)

From time to time some doubts assault me and I fall into deep periods of Chess crisis:

Phase 1: No matter what you do: you start losing CC games.

 Phase 2: You need to rethink your approach to Chess and this means a change in your opening repertoire because for some reason, you have decided to torture yourself with CC.

Today’s CC has become a sort of “Star Wars”, with people glued to their computers + databases , aloof from the rest of the world, trying to destroy their unseen and unknown enemies using supertechnological devices. There is no strategy, no blunders due to wrong analysis, no human factors. Many games are decided by choosing one or another option in the opening. Once you or your opponent get an advantage, it is very difficult to lose the game due to a blunder. And it is very difficult to turn an inferior position into an advantageous one too… 

What can be recommended for OTB Chess is not valid for CC. That’s all.

Then, what can be done , apart from nothing?. Sometimes I tend to thing that it would be better to forget everything about dynamic strategy and so on: that is for OTB, not for CC. Then?. Well one of my last ideas is to revert to the classics, concretely to players like Nimzowitsch and -why not?- Petrosian. But can it be done when we try to follow all the moves databases suggest so creating games of the type we all know today?. Or should we play bizarre openings/defences ? (If you do so, don’t use a program to check the positions…) The answer is that what we perhaps should do is not to play bizarre openings but some of the strategies suggested by Nimzowitsch: centralization, restraint and , above all, blockade. As how we can do it , well, the idea is still in its beginnings… I have been reassessing some games by Nimzowitsch and one of the ideas is that he was a superb strategist who based everything in a deep tactical insight. If you study the chapter devoted to blockade in his “Chess Praxis” you will see how he was able to carry out his strategical/positional  ideas using tactical threats.

The question now is clear: could today’s super-programs be defeated by closely adhering to some of the ideas expressed by Nimzowitsch and only with this ideas?.-For in the rather tactical positions stemming from today’s openings, it is clear a computer will have the upper hand… And as for CC : could it be possible to use this or a similar method to defeat an opponent armed with “Deep ~” and a strong ,updated database?  (If you think all this is not important, please could you tell me why if all CC players use the same devices there are still wins and losses???)

(One of the main problems in Chess is not to find the first move and the sequence in combinative positions but to find the best move in strategical or quiet ones with no imminent tactical threats. Have you ever trained this particular point?. Remember that before reaching a combinational moment -and in most cases it will occur after a blunder on your opponent’s part -many intermediate “quiet” positions have to be solved ,since in Chess you have to make moves…)


This position is from Nimzowitsch-Möller, Copenhagen 1923. How would you continue?


(Solution: 34. Rxe5!, Bc3 35. Rb2-b5, Bxe5 36. Rxe5, a4 37. Kf3,Bc2 38. e4, Bb3 39. Rb5 , Ke7 40. Rb7, Kd8 41. Rb8, Ke7 42. Kf4, Rxd7 43. Rb7!, Be6 44. cxd7, Bxd7 45. Ke5, Ke8 46. Kd6, Bxg4 47. Rxg7, h5 48. e5, a3 49. e6, Black resigns.)

Written by QChess

January 10, 2014 at 8:11 am

The System

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Nimzowitsch wrote three books: “My System”, “Chess Praxis” ( a.k.a. “My System in Practice”) and “Die Blockade”. Much has been writen about them and they have become a sort of  milestones for every chessplayer. But the whole thing can be very obscure, especially pre-conceptions concerning “My System” and “Chess Praxis”. What is that of a “system”? Are there “systems” to play Chess?. Is the system first and the games derive from it or were the games first and he derived the system from them?. Well, let’s assume a system, in short, is but a set of  organised and related concepts. In this respect, what Nimzo did was to reasses Steinitz’s theories, add  new ideas he and others had found concerning the openings, increase the number of playable positions and start playing new openings. We are dealing with new strategical concepts a broader understanding of Chess positions and openings and a fight against Tarrasch’s dogmatic points of view.  Nimzowitsch, Reti, Breyer et alii studied the games and ideas played/used by their predecessors, broadened them , start playing new openings and changed the assessment of different strategical concepts . If their predecessors defended the occupation of the centre with Pawns and the use of openings leading to that, they advocated an indirect approach and proved it can be as valid as the opposite point of view. To control the centre was not necessary to play e4-d4-Nf3-Nc3-Bc4-Bf4 and so on. You could play ,for instance, c4-g3-Bg2-Nf3-Nc3 and exert pressure on it attacking from the wings. This gave rise to a number of new openings for White and for Black: the English,  fianchetto openings, the so-called Indian Defences including the Nimzoindian, etc. These new ideas changed Chess and after applying  them in his own games, Nimzowitsch could later speak of a system (Larsen somewhat was of the same opinion). In this same respect Soviet trainers could do the same after working very hard on the strategical aspect of Chess mainly after WW2 (They did not do it speak of a “system”- though everybody knows the meaning of the term “Soviet Chess School”.)   

One of my first Chess books was Nimzo’s “Chess Praxis”. I have  re-read it tens of times and it has always been a source of inspiration. (Of course the first times I studied it -starting around 1979- I understand little… This usually happens when you learn Chess by yourself.) The games there always offer something new to me and I enjoy reading Nimzo’s prose. Sometimes I simply open it and without looking at the chapter the games belong to I represent them on the board. The advantage of such an approach is that you are not influenced by the main topic the game features and you get more benefit from it. Some weeks ago , while doing this, I came across two games which made me enjoy myself on a depressing Sunday afternoon  :

W.: Yates (0)

B.: Nimzowitsch (1)

London 1927

A typical game … even for today’s standars.

1. e4, c5/ 2. Nf3 , Nf6 (one of Nimzowitsch’s pet variations. It pursues the same idea as the Alekhine Defence: to provoke the advance of the enemy’s Pawns overextending the centre and try to destroy it from the wings.)/  3. e5, Nd5/ 4. Nc3, Nxc3/ 5. bxc3 (today 5. dxc3  is considered better) , 5…, Qa5 (Also the typical Nimzo’s bizarre move) / 6. Bc4, e6/ 7. Qe2, Be7/ 8. 0-0, Nc6 (Nimzowitsch proposed …b6 instead) / 9. Rd1, 0-0/ 10. Rb1, a6/ 11. d4 (White has no problems. Nimzo gives a variation showing that now 11…, Qxc3 is not possible but computer analysis may give a second opinion: this is your work for today) 11…, b5/ 12. Bd3 (Nimzo says nothing, but here 12.d5 must strongly be taken into consideration .Work it out by yourselves) ,…, c4/ 13. Be4, f5/ 14. exf6 ep, Bxf6/ 15. Ne5, Bxe5/ 16. dxe5, Rf7/17. Qh5! (and  Nimzowitsch has managed to create an attacking position … for White. White reaches the King’s side ,creates threats and destroys Black defences there) 17…, g6/ 18. Bxg6, hxg6/ 19. Qxg6, Rg7/ 20. Qe8, Kh7/ 21. Qh5, Kg8/ 22. Bh6, Qxa2 (only move) 23. Bxg7, Kxg7/ 24. Qg5, Kf7/ 25. Rbc1, Qa3/ 26. Re1, Ke8 / (Now Nimzowitsch writes that White, instead of trying to chase Black’s King he should have remembered he had a passed Pawn – h2-. Yates lets victory slip trhough his fingers…) 27. Re4, Qe7/ 28. Qh6, Kd8/ 29. Rd1, Kc7/ 30. Rg4, Qc5/ 31. Re4 , Ne7/ 32. Qd2, Nd5/ 33. h4 (too late), Bb7/ 34. Rd4, Rh8 (Bishop and Rook work as a deadly team) / 35. Qe1, Bc6/ 36. g3, Qf8/ 37. f4, Qf5/ 38. Qf2, Qh3/ 39. Qh2, Qg4/ 40. Qf2, Rxh4/ 41. f5, Nf6 /42. Qe3, Qxe4!/ 43. Rxd4, Rh1/44. Kf2, Ng4/45. Ke2, Rh2/ 46.Ke1, Nxe3 / White resigned.

W.: Kmoch (0)

B.: Nimzowitsch (1)

Niendorf, 1927

A typical game with some imprecissions and an excellent example of tournament Chess.

1. e4, Nc6 (Nimzo’s trade mark again) / 2. Nc3, e6/ 3. d4, Bb4/ 4. Nge2, d5/ 5. e5, h5 (Again typical in Nimzowitsch and his (extreme) “prophylaxis theory” though he says 5…, Nge7 was better) 6.Nf4, g6/ 7. Be3, Bxc3?!  (again …Nge7) / 8. bxc3, Na5/ 9. Bd3, Ne7/ 10. Nh3, c5/ 11. Bg5, c4/ 12. Be2, Nac6/ 13. Bf6, Rg8/ 14. 0-0 (Nimzowitsch recommends 14.Ng5),…, Qa5/ 15. Qd2, Nf5 / 16. Rfd1, Kd7/ 17. Ng5, Rf8 /18. h3, Kc7/ 19. g4, hxg4/ 20. hxg4, Nfe7/ 21. Kg2, Ng8 (Nimzowitsch labels this as an error and proposes 21…, Bd7/ 22. Rh1, Rae8/ 23. Rh7, Nd8 ) / 22.Bg7, Re8/ 23. Rh1, (Nxf7 – Nimzo), Bd7/ 24. Rh3, Nd8/ 25. Rf3, Rc8/ 26. Rh1?! (26 Nxf7 or 26. Qc1 -Nimzo-), … Qxa2 27. Rh7 , Kb8/ 28. Nxf7, Nxf7/ 29. Rxf7, Bc6/ 30. Bf6, a5/ 31. Rh1, Qb2/ 32. Bg5, Rf8/ 33. R7-h7, Rc7/ 34. Rxc7, Kxc7/ 35. Qc1!, Qxc3/ 36. Qa1, Qxa1/ 37. Rxa1, Ra8 (Black has managed to disentangle himself taking advantage of defensive subtleties, intermediate moves his opponent inacuracies and  his typical defensive technique. The process is worth a study. The game enters a new stage : manoeuvres to break White’s position whose Bishop pair offers good defensive perspectives ) 38. Bd2, b6 /39. Kg3, Ne7/ 40. Bd1, Bd7/ 41. Bb4, Nc6/ 42. Bd6, Kb7/ 43.c3, b5/ 44. Rb1,b4/ 45. Ba4, b3/ 46. Bxc6, Kxc6 (Like Steinitz, Nimzowitsch saw the King as a strong piece, and used it accordingly: it is not a piece to be hidden in safety: he must play with the other fellow companions. In this respect, we can say both Masters … played a piece up!.) 47. g5, Ra7/ 48. Rb2, Rb7/ 49. Kf4,Bc8/ 50.Kg3, Rb4! 51. cxb4, a4 / 52. b5, Kxb5/ 53. Ba3, c3/ 54.Rb1, Kc4/ 55. f4, Kxd4/ 56. Kf2,Kc4/ 57. Ke1, d4/ 58. Ke2, Kd5/ 59. Kf3, Bb7/ 60. Re1,Kc4/ 61. Kf2, b2/ 62. f5, exf5/ 63. e6, Bc6/ White resigned.  

(By the way, Nimzowitsch games are very good to study the topic of piece exchanges and the transition from one postion to another, especially because he preferred closed positions and complicated strategical decisions. This can be done with many other players, of course.)  

(Possible idea for a future post: perhaps in some of your games you have hesitated  between, say, 1. e4 or trying 1. d4… Or as Black between 1. d4 d5 or 1. d4, Nf6. This is normal especially if you are a CC player: doubts about playing one’s pet opening or have a try at something new and perhaps more exciting…  But , what about “the second move”???. The answer in a future post.)


Written by QChess

October 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm


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The clear understanding of strategical themes through careful study of games is of  paramount importance to play good Chess.  To me, one of the most important books to read is Nimzowitsch’s  “Chess Praxis”. One of the concepts exposed there is that of blockade. (He also wrote a booklet dealing with the matter: “Blockade”, but I find that the treatment he gives to it in the former is much better).  Nimzowitsch connects blockade to two other ideas formulated by him: “prophylaxis” and “restraint”. (“Prophylaxis” understood as prevention of the opponent’s counterplay/aka “preventive thinking” and “restraint” understood as control and prevention -related to advance of Pawns, freeing manoeuvres, etc.)

He used to say that the process in a typical game was something like: RESTRAINT-BLOCKADE-DESTRUCTION . Handling a blockade game is difficult. Some of the concepts expressed by Nimzowitsch are difficult to grasp. I understand that when he speaks of “blockade” that implies much more than a blockaded center. In fact, I believe that a typical “blockade” game implies to put under a blokade network as much territory as possible: either the whole board or at least the center+ one of the wins. Nimzowitsch himself stated that it was very difficult to protect an extense blockading network against ruptures, but that forceful attempts to break a blockade are condemned to failure.

In any case, I hope that the following games may help you to see how most of the ideas Nimzowitsch left to us are modern and may appear in our practice. I will include some  games by Nimzowitsch and others by modern players. To understand them, bear in mind the basic idea:


W.: Berger (0)

B.: Nimzowitsch (1)

London 1927

1. c4, Nf6 2. Nc3, c5  3. g3, g6  4. Bg2, Bg7  5. d3, 0-0  6. Bd2 ,e6 7. Qc1, d5  8. Nh3, d4  9. Nd1, Na6  10. a3, Qe8  11. b3, e5  12. Nb2, Bg4  13. Ng5 , Rb8  14. b4, b6  15. b5, Nc7  16. a4, Bc8  17. a5, Bb7  18. f3, Ne6  19. a6, Ba8  20. h4, Nh5  21. Nxe6, Qxe6  22. g4, Nf6  23. Bh3, Qd6  24. Nd1, h5  25. g5, Nh7  26. Nf2, f6  27. gf6, Bxf6 28. Bg5, Bxg5  29. hg5, Rf4  3. Rg1, Rbf8  31. Bf1, Rh4  32. Qd2, Rh2  33. Rg2 Rxg2  34. Bxg2, e4  35. de4, Qg3  36. Kf1, Nxg5  37. Kg1, Rxf3  38. Qxg5 , Qxg5  39. ef3, Qe3  40. Rd1, Qb3  41. Rc1, g5  42. Kh2, Qe3  43. Rf1, Qe2  44. Nh3, d3  45. Nf2, d2  46. Kg1, Qxc4  47. Rd1, Qc1  48. Bh3, g4  49. fg4, Bxe4  50. gh5, Bf3   and Berger resigned.  

W.:  Hage (0)

B.: Nimzowitsch (1)

Arnstadt 1926  (Simuls)

1. d4, f5 2. e6, d6  3. Bd3, e5  4. de5, de5  5. Bb5, c6  6. Qxd8 ,Kxd8  7. Bc4, Bd6  8. Nf3, Nf6  9. Nc3, Ke7  10. a3, ,Rd8  11. Bd2, b5  12. Ba2, a5  13. 0-0, b4  14. Nb1, c5  15. Bc4, e4  16. Ng5 ,Ba6  17. Bxa6, Rxa6  18. ab4, ab4  19. Rxa6, Nxa6  20. c3, h6  21. Nh3, Ng4  22. g3, Ne5  23. Kg2, g5  24. Bc1, b3  25. Nd2, c4  26. Ng1, Nc5  27. Ne2, Rg8  28. Nd4, f4  29. Nf5, Ke6  30. Nxd6  f3  31. Kg1, Kxd6  32. Rd1, Ke6  33. Nb1, Ncd3  34. Na3, Kd5 35. Nb5, Rb8  36. Na3, Ra8  37. h3, Kc5  38. Kf1, Nc1, 39. Rc1, Nd3,  40. Rb1, Nxb2  41. Rxb2, Rxa3  42. Rb1, b2 /  0 – 1

W.: Nimzowitsch (1)

B.: Colle (0)

London 1927

1. d4, Nf6  2. Nf3, e6  3. c4, b6  4. g3, Bb7  5. Bg2, Bb4  6. Nc3, 0-0  7. 0-0, Bxc3  8. bc3  9. a4, a5  10. Ba3, Nbd7  11. Nd2, Bxg2  12. Kxg2, e5  13. e4, Re8  14. f3, Nf8  15. Rf2, Qd7  16. Nf1, Ng6  17. Bc1, Kh8  18. Ne3, Ng8  19. h4, Qc6  20. h5, N6e7  21. Qd3, Rf8  22. g4, g6  23. Bd2, gh5  24. Nf5, Nxf5  25. gf5, Nf6  26. d5, Qd7  27. Qe3, Rg8  28. Kh1, Qe7  29. Rh2, Rg7  30. Be1, Nd7  31. Rxh5, Rag8  32. Bf2, f6  33. Rh2, Rg5  34. Bh4, Rh5  35. Rg1, Qf8  36. Rg4, Qh6  37. Qxh6, Rxh6  38. Bf2, Rxh2  39. Kxh2, Rb8  40. Rg1, Nc5  41. Ra1, Kg7  42. Be3, Kf7  43. Ra2, Nd3  44. Rd2, Ne1  45. Kg3, Rg8  46. Kf2, Ng2  47. Bh6, Nf4  48. Bxf4, ef4  49. Rd1, Ke7  50. Rh1, Rg7  51. Rh4, c6  52. Rxf4, h5  53. Rh4, Rh7  54. Rh1, Kd7  55. Rg1, cd5  56. cd5, h4  57. Rg8, h3  58. Ra8, Rh6  59. Ra7, Kc8  60. Kg1, h2  61. Kh1, Rh3  62. Rf7, Rxf3  63. Rxf6, Kd7  64. Rf7, Ke8  65. Rb7, Rxc3  66. Rxb6, Ke7  67. Rb7 ,Kf8  68. Ra7, Rc4  69. Rxa5, Rxe4  70. Ra7, Rf4  71. a5, Rxf5  72. a6, Rf1  73. Kxh2, Ra1  74. Ra8, Kg7  75. Kg3, Ra4  76. Kf3, Kf6  77. a7, Kg7  78. Ke3  and Colle resigned.

W.: M. Voroviov (1)

B.: A. Yusupov (0)

Irkutsk, 1985

1. e4, e5 2. Nf3, Nc6 3. d4, ed4 4. Nxd4, Nf6  5. Nc3, Bb4  6. Nxc6 ,bc6  7. Bd3, d5  8. e5 (The phase of restraint starts) …, Ng4  9. 0-0 ,Qh4  10. Bf4, Nh6  11. Ne2, Nf5  12. c3, Bc5  13. b4, Bb6  14. Qc2, Ne7  15. Bg3, Qh6  16. Kh1, 0-0  17. f4, f5  18. Bf2 ,Be6  19. Bc5! (now the process of establishing a blockade network) ,… Bxc5  20. b5 ,Kh8  2. Nd4, Rae8  22. Rab1, Bc8  23. Rf3, g5  24. Rh3, Qg7  25. Rg3!, g4  26. Re3, Qg6  27. Qf2, Ng8  28. h4! ,Bd7  29. g3, Ne7  30. Re2 ,Rb8  31. Reb2 ( final step: destruction) ,… Qg8  31. Rb7, Rfc8  32. Rb7, Rfc8  33. Ba6! ,Rxb7  34. Rxb7, Rb8  35. Qb2!, Rxb7  36. Qxb7 ,Qd8  37. Qxa7, Ng6  38. Bb7, Nxh4  39. Qa8!  Black resigned.

In positional/strategical games it is very interesting to study the game from the strategical point of view and then from the tactical one, tying to find the justification of every move.

When I was studying the games to include I realised the complexity of this strategical theme.  Trying to understand better the process and wanting to represent it, I devised the following description. What I am trying to depict is  how    POSITIONAL  PRESSURE  TURNS INTO TACTICAL RESOLUTION OF THE POSITION :



The opponent breaks up under the pressure which creates:

1) Uncoordination of the pieces which are unable to prevent all the threats.

2) Ruptures impossible to stop so as to open up the position .


W.: K. Burger (0)

B.. E. Lobron (1)

New York, 1983

1. d4, Nf6  2. Nf3, e6  3. c4, c5  4. d5, ed5 5. cd5, d6  6. Nc3, g6  7. Bf4, a6  8. a4, Bg7  9. e4, 0-0  10. Be2, ,Bg4  11. 0-0, Bxf3  12. Bxf3 ,Qe7  13. Re1, Nbd7  14. Qc2, Ne8  15. Qd2, Nc7  16. Bg5, f6  17. Bh6, Bxh6  18. Qxh6, b5  19. b3, b4  20. Nd1, f5 21. Qd2, Ne5  22. Nb2, f4  23. Nd3, h5  24. Be2, ,Nxd3  25. Qxd3, Qe5  26. Qh3, Rf7  27. Rad, Kg7  28. Bc4, a5  29. Qd3, g5  30. f3, ,Kf6  31. Kf2, Rg8  32. Qb1, g4  33. Qa1, Rfg7  34. Bf1, Qxa1  35. Rxa1, Ke5  36. Rad1, Ne8  37. Ke2, Nf6  38. Kd3, c4  39. bc4, Nd7  40. Kc2, Nc5  and Burger resigned. An excelent example.

W.: J. Timman (0)

B.: A. Karpov (1)

Tilburg 1988

1.d4, Nf6  2. c4, e6  3. Nf3, b6  4. a3, Bb7  5. Nc3, d5  6. cd5, Nxd5  7. Qc2, Nxc3  8. bx3, Be7  9. e3, Qc8  10. Bb2, c5  1. Bb5, Bc6  12. Bd3, c4  13. Be2, Nd7  14. a4, a6  15. 0-0, 0-0  16. e4, b5  17. Ba3, Bxa3  18. Rxa3 , Qb7  19. Nd2, Nb6  20. a5, Nd7  21. f3, e5  22. d5, Qa7  23. Kh1, Bb7  24. Raa1, f5  25. Rad1, f4  26. g4, ,Rf6  27. Qb2, Re8  28. Rg1, Bc8  29. Rg2, Nf8  30. h4, Rh6  31. Rh2, Qe7  32. h5, g6  33. Qb4, Kg7  34. Rg1, Nd7  35. Qxe7, Rxe7  36. hg6, Rxh2,  37. Kxh2, Kxg6  38. Kh3, Nc5  39. Kh4, Rc7  40. Rb1, Nb7  41. Ra1, ,Nd6  42. Nb1, R7  43. Na3, Kf6  44. Rg1 N7  45. Kh3, h5 / and Timman resigned. Another superb example.


Written by QChess

November 8, 2012 at 8:30 am


with 2 comments


Can you solve this one???: I bet a 99% cannot. Perhaps one may think that if 3-movers are “easy”, 2-movers are easier… Well, over to you:

Klett, “Schachprobleme”, 1878 .   MATE IN 2  MOVES:



The Hypermodern movement , historically speaking, has three “great priests”: Gyula Breyer, Aron Nimzowitsch ad Richard Réti. There were many others, and there is an OLMS edition written by other hypermoderninst, S. Tartakower, which is a reference book:  “Die Hypermoderne Schachpartie” . Today we may have lost a clear perspective of the matter, so we could make a trip down memory lane…

Nimzowitsch wrote his masterpieces as a reaction against what he considered Tarrasch’s dogmatism. I think every chessplayer should read or study “My System”, “Chess Praxis”  (“My System in Practice”/ “The Practice of My System”) and “Blockade”.

Apart from the new approaches concerning the middlegame, it may be debatable whether the most important contributions are in the field of the openings and their relations with middlegame plans under the new approach.

The importance of all this is very present in today’s Chess. For example, some of the contributions can be summarized as follows:

The Nimzoindian and Queen’s Indian Defences. The Nimzowitsch Defence against 1. e4. The Dresden Variation in the English. Nimzowitsch’s 1.b3  (and 1.f4 , …/ 2. b3), the Advance Variation in the French. All these by Nimzowitsch. Apart from those ones, he also played the Caro-Kann system: 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. de4 Ne4: 4. Nf6, and a system  with …b6 in the French Defence as Black . He also had a variation in the Sicilian and the system 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 .

Reti with his Reti opening. Bogoljubow with his defence, the Alekhine Defence and all the Indians systems, the Bacza Opening,, Grünfeld and his defence, the Two Fianchetto Opening,  etc. Fianchettoes were the order of the day and so today we play the King’s Indian, the Benoni, the Pirc and all sort of  first move fianchettoes as White and as Black, apart from the English opening, “the strongest first move in the world” according to Tartakower.

So, today we are playing the defences/openings  these chessplayers invented or advocated. And this implies that the middlegame principles they discovered are totally sound.

The reaction against classicism in Chess meant a new approach in the concept of the centre and this implied that a whole new set of openings began to be used. They realised that there was life beyond 1. e4 e5 , 1. d4 d5 and the occupation –de facto– of the central squares: the centre could be controlled from the flanks and the strategy was one of accumulating energy instead of space. Other ideas were that Black could fight for the initiative conceding the centre and attaking it from the sides with Bishops on g3/b3/g7/b7, and that the defensive resources were there to be found instead of seeing how White smashes  Black through beautiful combinations (defined as “one plays, the opponent applauds”). The concept of weakness was reassessed and reformulated (“a weakness is not that important if it cannot be attacked), new values of the pieces were established (in the Nimzoindian Black readily plays ..Bc3: ceding the Bishop-pair in the very opening stage and without tactical compensation, for instance), and the study of the different Pawn constellations was of paramount importance. Chess strategy suffered a revision. Wild opening gambits were not taken into consideration, defensive resources praised and what at first were dubbed as  bizarre (even ugly) ideas  slowly began to take over.

In a sense, the Soviet Chess School synthetised the valid classical ideas and the new ones developing the machinery which dominated the Chess world for decades.


Nimzowitsch is reknowned mainly for two books: “My System” (1925) and “Chess Praxis” (“The Praxis of My System”) (1929). But there is another publication which has passed if not unnoticed very little considered: “Blockade”, published in 1925 too. This is more a booklet -the edition I own has 91 pages and was published in the USA by Chess Enterprises Inc. I own another edition of Nimzowitsch’s writings this time in Russian: in a single volume the three books. You may notice that in “Chess Praxis” there is a chapter devoted to the theme of blockade too.

The best thing for you to do is to get the book and study it by yourself. In it Nimzowitsch deals with the topics of passed pawns, mobile majorities, and blocked positions and how to handle them. The following game is considered as “…one of my best accomplishments” by Nimzowitsch, who also said it was relatively unnoticed:

W.: van Vliet  (0)

B.: Nimzowitsch (1)

Ostende 1907

(Punctuation marks by Nimzowitsch)

1. d4 d5  2. Nf3  c5  3. e3  e6  4. b3 Nf6   5. Bd3 Nc6  6. a3 Bd6  7. Bb2 0-0  8. 0-0 b6  9. Ne5! Bb7 10. Nb1d2 a6!  11. f4 b5!  12.dc5! Bc5:  13. Qf3 Nd7  14. Nc6: Bc6:  15. Qg3 Nf6 16 Rad1? a5!  17. Qh3 h6 18. g4 d4  19. e4 Qd7  20. Rde1 e5! 21. f5 Nh7  22.Nf3 Qe7  23. Qg3 Rfe8  24. h4 f6  25. Ra1 Qb7 26. Rfe1 Kf7  27. Re2 Rh8  28. Kg2 Nf8  29. g5 hg5  30. hg5 Nd7  31. gf6 gf6  32. Nh4 Rag8  33. Ng6 Rh5  34. Kf2 Nf8  35. Rag1 Rg5  36. Qh4 Rg1: 37. Kg1: Ng6: 38. Qh5 Kf8  39. fg6 Qg7 40. Rg2 Rh8  41. Qe2 Rh4! 42. Bc1 Re4:!  43. Qd2 Rh4  44. Qa5: Qd7  45. g7 Kg8  46. Bc4 bc4  47. Qc5: Rh1!    and White resigned.  Nimzowitsch seemed proud of the defensive web he was able to weave all over the board. He combined the strategies of restraint and blockade into a sort of process:




Incidentally, on move 15th Nimzowitsch in his notes says that “…this and the next move are mistakes” though he puts a question mark only on the 16th move.  This brought to my mind something Abrahams believed : he said that a strategical mistake did not imply a tactical mistake, but that two strategical mistakes do imply a tactical one (!!).


Written by QChess

May 17, 2012 at 9:37 am

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