Understanding before Moving 137: Chess history in a nutshell (19)

by ChessBase
8/6/2023 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books about chess training and chess strategy. In the 137th instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman continues his series "Chess history in a nutshell" and takes another look at the groundbreaking positional ideas of Aron Nimzowitsch. | Photo: Pascal Simon

Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2 Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2

In this two-part course the emphasis will be on typical pawn-structures.


Aron Nimzowitsch (2)

We continue our study of Aron Nimzowitsch, a rebel who tried to overthrow the adherents of the classical style with revolutionary ideas. Nimzowitsch particularly directed his attacks against Tarrasch, who in his writing had advocated clear ideas how to play and how not to play. Nimzowitsch and Tarrasch quickly became bitter enemies. Tarrasch, for example, disapproved of of the line 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 against the French. He claimed that closing the centre did not meet the requirements of the position.

Nimzowitsch, however, praised 3.e5, a move Paulsen had first played in 1888. In 1912, Nimzowitsch tried 3.e5 in a game against Tarrasch and defeated him after introducing an important novelty on the fourteenth move.

Tarrasch then openly expressed his disgust at Nimzowitsch's playing style, which he called "bad and horrible". Nimzowitsch responded with an open letter in the magazine "Deutsches Wochenschach" from 28 April 1912. He challenged Tarrasch to a duel, in which he promised to play these "bad and terrible" moves. Tarrasch did not accept the challenge, but the disagreements continued.

In 1913 Nimzowitsch added fuel to the fire by publishing a scathing review of Tarrasch's book Die moderne Schachpartie (The modern game of chess) in the Wiener Schachzeitung and the mutual aversion became even more marked.

Nimzowitsch again confronted Tarrasch with a hyper-modern view, which Tarrasch regarded with horror. Tarrasch, the great proponent of classical doctrine, claimed that the centre should be occupied by pawns in order to control the central squares. Thus, according to Tarrasch, in response to 1.d4, Black should best play 1... d5.

But Nimzowitsch did not agree at all. He claimed that 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 - the Nimzowitsch-Indian - was perfectly playable, and maintained that the centre can also be kept under control with pieces. And it must be said: till today the Nimzowitsch-Indian or Nimzo-Indian is considered to be perfectly sound and playable at the highest level.

To honour Nimzowisch, in the video I will cover the famous game Sämisch-Nimzowitsch, Copenhagen 1923, known as the "Immortal Zugzwang" game, in which White, in a middle game with many pieces on the board, ran out of moves and was forced to self-destruct.

It is with some pride that I reveal that a chess journalist once compared a game of mine to its famous predecessor. In the diagram position below, the white player also found himself in a kind of "stalemate". How did Black keep his opponent in an iron grip?

Master Class Vol. 12: Viswanathan Anand

This DVD allows you to learn from the example of one of the best players in the history of chess and from the explanations of the authors how to successfully organise your games strategically, and how to keep your opponent permanently under pressure.

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