## Posts Tagged ‘**Chess Praxis**’

## Blockade.

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:

**RESTRAINT-BLOCKADE-DESTRUCTION.**

**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 :**

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

**THREATS <=====> INITIATIVE ——-> RESTRAINT—–> BLOCKADE ========> MORE SPACE/MOBILITY ————–> ———-> DESTRUCTION.**

**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.**

**QuestChess.**

## Nimzowitsch:The Crown Prince of Chess.

My second chess book was Nimzowitsch’s “Chess Praxis”. It became one of the most important books I have ever read.

Aron Nimzowitsch (1886-1935) was born in Riga, Latvia, moved to Denmark where he lived until his untimely death. He, together with R. Reti and R. Breyer ,is considered one of the fathers of the so-called “Hypermodern movement” aka “Neo-romanticism”).Essentially, it was a reaction against the too dogmatic and rigid interpretations of Steinitz’s strategical ideas made by S. Tarrasch -also one of the most important chessplayers in the history of Chess and one of those “greats” who never managed to become Champion of the World.

Nimzowitsch has been one of the deepest thinkers in the history of Chess.His three books:”My System”, “Chess Praxis” and Blockade have been studied by generations of chessplayers and the new set of strategical concepts have passed the test of time -with the necessary readjustements-. The new ideas on the control of the centre, the prophylaxis, the blockade, the play on squares of the same colour, etc. are fundamental to understand and play most of today´s openings (Bobby Fischer is said to have studied Nimzo’s ideas in depth for the 1972 match, and some authors pointed out that one of Spassky’s drawbacks was that he did not understand the hypermodern ideas…)

The neo-romantics introduced a whole set of new openings focusing on the new ideas on the centre and its control. Occupation does not implies control, so they started to cede the centre to their opponents and attack it from the flanks.This is the basis of openings/defences like the Nimzoindian,King’s Indian, Queen’s Indian,BogoIndian,Grünfeld,Reti, Catalan,Bird, Benoni,Larsen/Nimzowitsch,etc. Nimzowitsch also played 1…Nc6 against 1.e4 and devoted a lot of effort to 1.e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5. and introduced the Dresden variation. He als studied and played the Hanham V. of the Philidor Defence.As you can see, most of them are played today and have passed the test of time (and analysis) as I said before.Chess was never the same, though a reassessment had to be done for the sake of progress.

Nimzowitsch also advocated the “small centre”. This is the type of centre which appears in many Sicilians (Pawns in e6-d6 by Black) and was the seed for the famous “hedgehog” systems. These set-ups can be seen in a number of well-known and much-played openings.

One of the most important concepts he started to develop is that of “prophylaxis”, which today is applied as “prophylactic thinking” (you can find this subject treated by super-trainers like Dvoretsky, and players like Karpov -who made of it the centre of his strartegical ideas- , to mention only two of them).Nimzowitsch defined it as the prevention of undesired posibilities on your opponent’s part.Today, in an age of dynamism, it has nothing to do with passive or defensive play. In my opinion, today’s expanded concept of prophylaxis is one of the secrets to play good Chess, and must be studied accordingly.

(Note: in these first t I am mainly dealing with Chess personalities. Later I will try to write about concepts and ideas alone.)

Nimzowistch never played for the World Championship. First Capablanca never accepted such a match (in those years the Champion imposed the playing conditions and the money.The challenger had to accept the conditions and find the financial support). Later, Alekhine avoided it too, perhaps fearing a defeat.). About our man a lot of stories have been told. He is said to be a fanatic or/and an ill-tempered man. He suffered a lot -like many others- due to the miserable conditions the I World War left behind… But I would strongly recommend his books. You can find wonderful manoeuvres, you can start to grasp the rudiments of most of the openings in fashion today.You will start to learn Chess.

I like the following effort:

**White: E. Cohn**

**Black A. Nimzowitsch**

**Carlsbad 1911**

**1.d4 d5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 c5 4. e3 Nf6 5. Bd3 Bd6 6. 0-0 0-0 7. a3 cd4: 8.ed4: dc4: 9.Bc4: Nc6 10. Nc3 b6 11. Bg5 Bb7 12. Qe2 h6 13. Be3 Ne7 14. Ne5 Ned5 15.Nd5: Nd5: 16. Qh5 Be5: 17.Qe5: Nf6 18.Rfe1 Bd5 19. Bd3 Rc8 20. Rac1 Ng4 21.Qg3 Ne3: 22.fe3: Qd7 23.Ba6 Rc1: 24.Rc1: Qa4 25.Bf1 Qb3 26.Qf2 f5 27.Qd2 Rf7 28.Qc3 Qa4 29.g3 Kh7 30.Bg2 Qb5 31.Bd5: ed5: 32.Qd2 Qb3 33.Qc3 Qb5 34.Qd2 Qb3 35.Qc3 Qb5 36.Qd2 Re7 37.Qc2 Qd7 38.Qd3 Re4 39.Kf2 Qe6 40.Rf1 Qg6 41.Kg2 Qe6 42.Kf2 Qg6 43.Kg2 Qe6 44.Kf2 Kg6 45.Rc1 Kh7 46.Rc2 Qg6 47.Kg2 Qg5 48.Rf2 Qg6 49.Qe2 Qe6 50. Qf3 Kg6 51.Re2 Kh7 52.Kf2 Qc8 53.Kg2 Qe6 54.Kf2 Qg6 55.Kg2 Qg5 56.Kf2 Qf6 57.Kg2 Qg5 58. Kf2 Qg6 59.Kg2 Qe6 60.Kf2 Qc8 61.Kg2 Qe6 62.Kf2 Qc8 63.Kg2 a5 64.h4 Kg6 65.Kh2 h5 66.Kg2 Kh6 67.Rf2 g6 68.Rf1 Kg7 69.Rf2 Kf7 70.Kh2 Ke7 71.Re2 Qc1 72.Qf2 Kd7 73.Rel Qc6 74.Kg2 Rg4 75.Rf1 Qc7 76.Qf3 Kc8 77.Qf2 Kb8 78.Kh3 Ka7 79.Rg1 Qd7 80.Kh2 Qd6 81.Kh3 Qc6 82.Re1 Qe6 83.Kh2 Qe4 84.Kh3 Qe6 85.Kh2 Qe7 86.Kh3 Qe4 87.Rg1 Qe6 88.Kh2 Re4 89.Rc1 Re3: 90.Qf4 Re2 91. Kh3 Ka6 92.b4 ab4: 93.ab4: Kb5 94.Rc7 Qe4 95.Qe4: Re4: 96. Rg7 Re6 97.Rd7 Kc4 98.Kg2 Kd4: 99.Kf3 Kc4 100.b5 d4 101.White resigns. **

(The final part is annotated by Nimzowitsch in “Chess Praxis”)

I would also like to strongly recommend R.Keene’s masterwork on Aron Nimzowitsch and the book (in Danish) by B. Nielsen . “**Nimzowitsch** Danmarks Skakklaerer”.Exceptional.

**Questchess
**