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Friedrich Saemisch vs Aron Nimzowitsch
"The Immortal Zugzwang Game" (game of the day Jan-31-09)
Copenhagen (1923)  ·  Queen's Indian Defense: Classical. Traditional Variation Nimowitsch Line (E18)  ·  0-1
To move:
Last move:

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Given 64 times; par: 33 [what's this?]

Annotations by Aron Nimzowitsch.      [48 more games annotated by Nimzowitsch]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 7 OF 7 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-05-12  andyatchess: What if Saemisch played 25. Be1?
Aug-05-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: 25.Be1 Re2 wins.
Aug-13-12  Tigranny: Nice game by Nimzo, but I've seen better games from him. By the way, this is not so immortal in zugzwang as this game which should be the 'true' immortal zugzwang - Nimzowitsch vs Capablanca, 1927.
Aug-13-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Tigranny> Maybe so, but this game had a better press agent. Nimzowitsch was a more vivid writer than Capablanca.
Aug-17-12  Tigranny: Sorry Phony Benoni. Still brilliant game, pardon what I said.
Aug-17-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Tigranny> No problem; in fact, I rather agree with you. I was just speculating on why this game gets more notice than Nimzowitsch vs Capablanca, 1927.
Dec-09-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajile:


click for larger view

Analysis by Rybka 3 32-bit : 18 ply

1. (-1.34): 1...fxe4 2.Qxh5 Rxf2 3.b3 Raf8 4.Kh1

2. (-0.11): 1...Nxg3 2.fxg3 fxe4 3.Qe1 a5 4.Be3 Rac8 5.Rxc8 Rxc8 6.Bf1 h5 7.Bxb5 Qxb5 8.Rg2 Qd3 9.Nd2 a4 10.Nf1

Jan-03-13  erniecohen: As Keene properly points out, what makes this game special - and far more memorable than the Other Immortal Zugzwang Game - is that White army is almost whole. In addition, the game is much shorter.
Jan-03-13  RookFile: He also pointed out that white's play was feeble. The queen on b3 looked pretty ridiculous. It's one thing to overlook a tactic like Tartakower did, it's quite another to develop your army with the cannons on the front line and the foot soldiers in the rear.
Jan-03-13  DanielBryant: I'm having a hard time understanding Nimzo's note at move 15, namely, given that Qe7 is impossible because his bishop already occupies that square.
Jan-03-13  JimNorCal: My DN version of My System says Q-Kt2 (iow Qb7) so it is probably a typo or mis-translation.
Jan-04-13  DanielBryant: <JimNorCal> Thanks; that makes perfect sense.
Jan-04-13  RookFile: Instead of 10. Bf4, I may have preferred 10. Bg5, cheerfully answering 10.....h6 with 11. Bxf6 Bxf6 12. f4. This would amount to white playing a sort of Dutch Defense, colors reversed, where he got rid of his bad bishop. I think that white could be optimistic about his prospects.
Jan-04-13  RookFile: From what I understand, 12....Nc6 in the game may even be dubious, since white it granted white the tactical shot 13. Nxd5!! and he emerges with the advantage.
Jan-04-13  JimNorCal: Looks like PB or another admin has corrected the comment at move 15, thanks!
Jan-04-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <RookFile: Instead of 10. Bf4, I may have preferred 10. Bg5, cheerfully answering 10.....h6 with 11. Bxf6 Bxf6 12. f4....I think that white could be optimistic about his prospects.>

In 1986, Walter Shipman played your suggested manoeuvre against me in an analogous Catalan-type position after essaying his favourite 1.d4 Nf6 2.g3. He got nothing at all in the middlegame after playing Bxf6 and we agreed a draw, round about move 22, at his proposal.

Don't remember exactly what Walter's plan was in that game, except that he did not play f2-f4. This might offer White some chances, but it is difficult to open the game in his favour-Black's bishop pair might well prove a long-term asset and White lacks useful pawn breaks. Keeping a Reverse Stonewall looks the best option, with a lot of manoeuvring ahead.

Jan-04-13  RookFile: Sounds right to me. It may be that after white's somewhat questionable choice of 9. cxd5 in this game that he should be happy with a draw and do what is necessary to steer the game towards it. He couldn't know at that point that Nimzo would err and give him a chance for advantage with 13. Nxd5.
Mar-06-13  wachter123680: Maybe Qb5 after 25 closes it improper.
Nov-04-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  wellsometimes: Doomed to be a patzer forever, even somehow understanding such wondrous subtleties, I would ask: what makes 24...Re2 so bad or so ugly? After all, the queen will be trapped next move (since 25Qb3 is met by 25...Ba4) and resulting net outcomes seem to favour black. I know I must be wrong.
Nov-06-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: <wellsometimes>

You aren't wrong:

24...Re2! (25.Qb3 Ba4 26.Rc8+ Rf8) is given as a simple win of the Queen on pages 284 of Garry Kasparov's 'On my Great Predecessors Part I', Everyman, 2003

Nov-06-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  wellsometimes: Many thanks, Karpova! So I'm not so wrong!Simply your comments would already be much convincing to me,since you are a very seasoned member, whose comments impress me. Knowing that Kasparov also could play that way comforts aditionally. My "guessed move" in Guess the Move was precisely Re2. Coming to understand such an overall Zugzwang was very difficult to me, completely beyond my normal patzer skills. Trapping the queen, in such crowded and hemmed "environment", appeared to be the natural hint. But... there are always those ultramagic moves in the air, I tend to fear. This time,though, no ghosts. Thanks again.
Nov-26-13  tjipa: The final zugzwang is so beautiful that all other considerations about faster wins etc just pale in comparison. This is one of the games that make one think of chess as an art form, not only a board-game and sport.
Dec-15-13  kereru: Isn't 24...Re2 25.Qb3 Ba4 quicker? But then he wouldn't have been able to brag about the "Immortal Zugzwang" game (which isn't a true Zugzwang by the way).
Mar-11-14  Everett: <Phony Benoni: <Tigranny> No problem; in fact, I rather agree with you. I was just speculating on why this game gets more notice than Nimzowitsch vs Capablanca, 1927.>

This gets more notice IMHO because of the number of pieces on the board, a rarity in a middlegame setting.

Jul-04-14  gars: What about Alekhine vs Nimzowitsch, San Remo, 1930?
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