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Aron Nimzowitsch
Number of games in database: 577
Years covered: 1896 to 1934
Overall record: +263 -109 =198 (63.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      7 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Four Knights (37) 
    C49 C47 C48
 Reti System (36) 
    A04 A06
 French Defense (29) 
    C02 C11 C00 C01 C12
 English (17) 
    A18 A16 A15 A13 A12
 English, 1 c4 e5 (14) 
    A28 A20 A27 A21 A25
 Queen's Pawn Game (14) 
    D02 E10 D05 A50 D00
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (44) 
    C01 C17 C15 C11 C13
 Queen's Pawn Game (40) 
    A46 D02 D05 A45 D04
 Caro-Kann (32) 
    B16 B13 B10 B15 B12
 Nimzo Indian (30) 
    E32 E22 E23 E21 E20
 Uncommon Opening (19) 
    B00 A00
 Queen's Indian (18) 
    E15 E12 E16 E18
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Saemisch vs Nimzowitsch, 1923 0-1
   Nimzowitsch vs Hakansson, 1922 1-0
   Nimzowitsch vs Systemsson, 1927 1-0
   Nimzowitsch vs Alapin, 1914 1-0
   Nimzowitsch vs Rubinstein, 1926 1-0
   A E Post vs Nimzowitsch, 1905 1/2-1/2
   P F Johner vs Nimzowitsch, 1926 0-1
   Nimzowitsch vs Salwe, 1911 1-0
   H K Mattison vs Nimzowitsch, 1929 0-1
   Nimzowitsch vs Alekhine, 1926 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Dresden (1926)
   Karlsbad (1929)
   Frankfurt (1930)
   San Sebastian (1912)
   Marienbad (1925)
   London (1927)
   San Remo (1930)
   Kecskemet (1927)
   Hamburg (1910)
   Bled (1931)
   Karlsbad (1907)
   Semmering (1926)
   Karlsbad (1911)
   Karlsbad (1923)
   Baden-Baden (1925)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Nimzovich: Chess Praxis by setuhanu01
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1920-1939 (Part 2) by Anatoly21
   Hypermodern chess: Aron Nimzovich by Reinfeld by nikolaas
   Annotated games by Nimzovitsch by macaoui
   mi sistema de nimzovich by LESTRADAR
   Legend Nimzowitt by Gottschalk
   Bled 1931 by Benzol
   Bled 1931 international tournament by cuendillar
   Favorite Games from (1917-1943) by wanabe2000
   New York 1927 by Benzol
   Nimzowitsch best games by mark jc. Garado
   San Sebastian 1912 by Archives
   Aron Nimzowitsch's Finest Hour! by AgentRgent
   "Aron Nimzowitsch: A Reappraisal" by Keene by

   Saemisch vs Nimzowitsch, 1923
   Nimzowitsch vs Hakansson, 1922
   Nimzowitsch vs Alapin, 1914
   Nimzowitsch vs Salwe, 1911
   Maroczy vs H Suechting, 1905

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Aron Nimzowitsch
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(born Nov-07-1886, died Mar-16-1935, 48 years old) Latvia (citizen of Denmark)

[what is this?]
Aron Nimzowitsch, born in Riga, Latvia in 1886, came to prominence in the chess world just before the First World War. He was Russian Champion in 1913 (jointly with Alexander Alekhine) at St.Petersburg. He won a string of international events in the mid-1920s which led him to challenge Jose Raul Capablanca to a World Championship match in 1925, but negotiations dissolved after monetary backing could not be found. He took first place at Copenhagen (1923), Dresden (1926), Karlsbad (1929) and Frankfurt (1930).

Nimzowitsch's chess theories flew in the face of convention. He had a lengthy and somewhat bitter conflict with Siegbert Tarrasch over which ideas constituted proper chess play. While Tarrasch refined the classical approach of Wilhelm Steinitz, that the center had to be controlled and occupied by pawns, Nimzowitsch shattered these dogmatic assumptions, and proposed the controlling of the center with pieces from afar. In this way, the opponent is invited to occupy the center with pawns which thus become the targets of attack. This idea became known as the hypermodern school of chess thought.

Nimzowitsch, along with other hypermodern thinkers such as Richard Reti, revolutionized chess, proving to the chess world that controlling the center of the board mattered more than actually occupying it. Nimzowitsch is also a highly-regarded chess writer, most famously for the 1925 classic My System, to this day regarded as one of the most important chess books of all time. Other books include Chess Praxis which further expounds the hypermodern idea, and the seminal work The Blockade explores the strategy implied by his famous maxim, "First restrain, then blockade, finally destroy!"

As a profound opening theoretician, Nimzowitsch has left a legacy of variations, many of which are still popular today. The Nimzo-Indian Defense (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4) is named after him, as are several variations of the French Defense. He also is credited in part for the Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein (B29) Variation (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6), the Nimzovich-Larsen Attack (A01) (1.b3), the Nimzowitsch Defense (1.e4 Nc6), and many others.

Wikipedia article: Aron Nimzowitsch

 page 1 of 24; games 1-25 of 577  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Nimzowitsch vs NN 1-018 1896 Riga, LatviaB01 Scandinavian
2. B Blumenfeld vs Nimzowitsch 1-029 1903 BerlinC45 Scotch Game
3. Vidmar vs Nimzowitsch 1-048 1904 Coburg AD02 Queen's Pawn Game
4. Nimzowitsch vs Duras 1-055 1904 Coburg AB15 Caro-Kann
5. P Kaegbein vs Nimzowitsch 1-042 1904 Coburg AD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
6. B Gregory vs Nimzowitsch 1-036 1904 Coburg AA30 English, Symmetrical
7. Tarrasch vs Nimzowitsch ½-½71 1904 Nuremberg - Casual gameD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
8. E Cohn vs Nimzowitsch 0-130 1904 Coburg AC41 Philidor Defense
9. Nimzowitsch vs Hilse 1-065 1904 CoburgC25 Vienna
10. Nimzowitsch vs W Cohn 1-024 1905 Barmen Meisterturnier BC42 Petrov Defense
11. H Caro vs Nimzowitsch 1-036 1905 Barmen Meisterturnier BA34 English, Symmetrical
12. W Schwan vs Nimzowitsch  ½-½44 1905 Barmen Meisterturnier BA02 Bird's Opening
13. Nimzowitsch vs Przepiorka ½-½25 1905 Barmen Meisterturnier BB22 Sicilian, Alapin
14. B Leussen vs Nimzowitsch 1-022 1905 Barmen Meisterturnier BD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
15. Nimzowitsch vs I Kopa 0-154 1905 Barmen Meisterturnier BB22 Sicilian, Alapin
16. Nimzowitsch vs J W Baird 1-038 1905 Barmen Meisterturnier BC45 Scotch Game
17. Nimzowitsch vs Spielmann ½-½36 1905 07, Munich mC45 Scotch Game
18. Nimzowitsch vs J Perlis 0-136 1905 Barmen Meisterturnier BB40 Sicilian
19. A H Pettersson vs Nimzowitsch 0-130 1905 Barmen Meisterturnier BC63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
20. Nimzowitsch vs A Neumann ½-½50 1905 Barmen Meisterturnier BB22 Sicilian, Alapin
21. H Wolf vs Nimzowitsch ½-½30 1905 Vienna Masters TournamentC63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
22. Spielmann vs Nimzowitsch 1-019 1905 MunichB15 Caro-Kann
23. A E Post vs Nimzowitsch ½-½98 1905 Barmen Meisterturnier BD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
24. Nimzowitsch vs Schlechter 0-126 1905 ViennaB22 Sicilian, Alapin
25. Nimzowitsch vs Fahrni 0-136 1905 Barmen Meisterturnier BB22 Sicilian, Alapin
 page 1 of 24; games 1-25 of 577  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Nimzowitsch wins | Nimzowitsch loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 72 OF 72 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-13-14  ljfyffe: The beauty of a chess move lies not in its appearance, but in the thought behind it -- Nimzowitsch.
Oct-08-14  RookFile: Baloney. Beauty is beauty. Reshevsky was a champ at winning ugly. Nobody tries to be like him.
Oct-09-14  ljfyffe: Merely a quote from Nimzo...never said l believed in it!
Nov-07-14  newhampshireboy: I love Nimzo's games and he really kept my love for chess alive. Thanks Nimzo!
Nov-07-14  RookFile: Well, I like North Conway. Looking forward to another visit there someday.
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Tempus fugit, Grandmaster. Your works and your ideas live on! Happy birthday to the stormy petrel of chess.
Nov-07-14  TheFocus: Happy Birthday, Aron Nimzowitsch!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Nov-07-13 <gars: My favorite Nimzowitsch quote: "why should I lose to such an idiot??" I do not know who was the idiot and whteher these were the exact words, but this is the spirit.>

Nov-07-13. <AgentRgent: The "Idiot" in question was Saemisch vs Nimzowitsch, 1925>

So that game marks the origin of the Nimzo-Idiot Defense?

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: No, that's the beginning of Nimzo-Now-Which Piece defence =))
Feb-02-15  sorrowstealer: Tal's foreward to My System at
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <sorrowstealer> Funny, perceptive, and written with Tal's characteristic generosity of spirit. Thanks for posting it!

<The ideas that once seemed extravagant have been recognized and become common. Perhaps that's the role of any bright individual? Once, such concepts as centralization, prophylaxis, overprotection, blockade etc. were just recipes of the eccentric Nimzowitsch. But now they are commonplace, we may even call them platitudes. Back then, those recipes were just peculiarities of Nimzowitsch's chess individuality, but now, they are taught to youngsters. And there's nothing unusual in that, everything is simple. Revelations, dawn-ups, inspirations, discoveries available only to the brightest and most gifted individuals are valuable precisely because they become common and increase the average level. And the next genius begins from this level.>

Feb-02-15  john barleycorn: <sorrowstealer: Tal's foreward to My System...>

thanks, rewarding to read about my hero.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: One of my problems with Aron Nimzowitsch is that his defining won games, the wins that most illustrate his "System", are against C-class players. Aron Nimzowitsch was so far ahead of them in strength that he could have played any type of reasonable chess and still won.

When he plays against his equals he forgets about his "System" and just plays chess, and he does quite well.

Against Alekhine and Capablanca it doesn't matter what he plays - he struggles massively.

Mar-22-15  cunctatorg: If you don't approve Nimzowitsch's demonstrations of the "My System" concepts in games versus "C-class" players (as Marshall, Teichmann, Tarrasch, Bogoljubov, Rubinstein and some-such) then you may be convinced by the demonstrations of these very concepts in games of Capablanca, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Fischer and particularly Petrosian, Korchnoi and Karpov against even stronger players!

Jokes aside, it is true that Aron Nimzowitsch made a lot of experimentation on openings, particularly (imho) with White; he played a lot of games with 1. P-K4 but he opted for 3. N-QB3 instead of the Ruy Lopez or even the Scotch etc. and the Chess Praxis proved that these discoveries required more than one or two generations of strongest Grand-masters and more than two or three decades...

Mar-22-15  Nerwal: <If you don't approve Nimzowitsch's demonstrations of the "My System" concepts in games versus "C-class" players (as Marshall, Teichmann, Tarrasch, Bogoljubov, Rubinstein and some-such>

It was probably a reference to games like this one : Von Gottschall vs Nimzowitsch, 1926. Dvoretsky proved that White could equalize at various points and that black's "deep moves" were actually not that strong objectively. A good grandmaster should be able to hold this as White without breaking a sweat, while Gottschall did everything wrong basically.

Mar-23-15  RookFile: Nimzo was good at marketing his books. They sold well. Good for him. Today's players are much more interested in cold hard, computer generated analysis than they are in trying to learn a system.
Mar-23-15  cunctatorg: Point taken; however I had mostly in mind such games AS the famous Nimzowitsch-Rubinstein (Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack; Semmering, 1926) compared to the also famous Fischer-Mecking (Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack; Palma de Mallorka IZ, 1970) or his games versus Grigory Levenfish and the one versus Siegbert Tarrasch in the Advance Variation of the French etc. etc. After all, Nimzowitsch most famous victories against "C-class" players are his games (as Black) against Paul F. Johner of Switzerland (Dresden, 1926) and against Friedrich Saemisch (Copenhagen, 1923) and I wonder: where are the blunders of Johner and Saemisch?!? Of course these players committed errors (or mistakes?) and that was a necessary condition for their defeat, however these ... errors weren't the sufficient condition also, Nimzowitsch's superb, profound, lovely and original play was the sufficient condition!... Of course too, his win against Em. Lasker (Zurich, 1934) isn't about a game versus some "C-class" player.

By the way two more comments:
a) Bobby Fischer deliberately payed homage to the Hypermoderns and particularly to Nimzowitsch during his celebrated parade through the Chess World from 1970 to 1972, he played twice the Alekhine, once the Benoni and once the Pirc Defence and his very game with Mecking speaks for itself... b) Kevin Spraggett is a truly great Grand-master of the game, however it is possible that he envies the incredible success of Nimzowitsch's teachings...

Mar-23-15  cunctatorg: Three corrections: i) ... Nimzowitsch's most famous victories against "C-class" players ..., ii) ... he played twice the Alekhine, once the Benoni and once the Pirc Defence during his 1972 WC match against Boris Spassky and his very game with Mecking speaks for itself... iii) ... the incredible success of Nimzowitsch's teachings ... but this isn't Fischer's way; Bobby Fischer chose to pay homage instead of launch projectiles of envy!...
Mar-23-15  RookFile: Bobby Fischer chose to win the game. If he could have done with the Tarrasch, he would have. He was just thinking about what he needed to do to beat Spassky.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <and against Friedrich Saemisch (Copenhagen, 1923) and I wonder: where are the blunders of Johner and Saemisch?!? Of course these players committed errors (or mistakes?)>

They sure did. Here's Johner-Nimzowitch after 8 moves.

click for larger view

Here is the same game after 15 moves.

click for larger view

How did that happen? A whole series of stupid decisions from White.

P F Johner vs Nimzowitsch, 1926

As for the Saemisch game, I'll quote myself and Kasparov.

<keypusher: The "ghost" is the threat of the knight coming to c4. Instead of the miserable 13. Nxc6, Saemisch could have met 12...Nc6? with 13. Nxd5: 13....Nxd4 14. Nxe7+ Qxe7 15. Qe3 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Qb7+ 17. f3 Nf5 18. Qf2 Nh5 19. Bd2 Qd5 20. Bc3 b4 21. e4 Qb5 22. a4!? Qxa4 23. Bd2 Ne7 24. Qf5 <and Black does not have clear equality.> Kasparov.

Earlier, White could have gotten a clear advantage with 9. e4.

It has a lot of competition, but this is still my pick for the most overrated game in the history of chess. There are games where "one player plays, the other applauds." Here, though, not satisfied with clapping, Saemisch actively assists his opponent. >

Saemisch vs Nimzowitsch, 1923

Incidentally, Nimzo's score against Saemisch was +9-1=0 and against Johner +4-0=1. Compared to him, they were indeed C-class players.

Mar-24-15  cunctatorg: Bobby Fischer deliberately paid homage to the Hypermoderns and particularly to Nimzowitsch during his celebrated campaign/parade through the Chess World from 1970 to 1972; he picked up the Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack against a ... "C-class" player (!!) as Henrique Meching -compared to him- was and it worked fine 45 years after the original Nimzowitsch's game; however he didn't chose this shallow Opening against such players as Petrosian and Spassky; he just made use of the "Black version" of this set up, the Nimzo-Indian against them... And still, Nimzowitsch's play against Saemisch AFTER the the miserable 13th move of White speaks for his deep understanding of the position! I just also wonder how many of nowadays Grand-Masters would conduct with the superb Nimzowitsch's way his very game against Johner after White's 15th move... Of course these players committed errors but..
Mar-24-15  cunctatorg: Another victory of Nimzowitsch against a C-class player (one game that I find really charming and didactic) is Asztalos-Nimzowitsch (Caro-Kann Defence; Bled, 1931) in a variation of the Caro-Kann which should be credited to Nimzowitsch too; anyways, when I firstly saw this game, I was so impressed!...
Mar-25-15  cunctatorg: I just wanted to state that it's not a quite naive and shallow business for some nowadays Super-Grandmaster to defeat some nowadays International Master of a rating between 2,400 and 2,500 as many chess enthusiasts of this bright site tend to imagine; sure, Paul F. Johner, Lajos Asztalos, Hermann von Gottschall onjectively were C-class players and even -compared to our Aron- Friedrich Saemish ("this idiot"!...) was, therefore these "zeros" (!!) played passively and with cowardice the opening phase of these games, however (I insist about that) Aron Nimzowitsch had to conduct brilliantly and in some extremely didactic way the rest of the game in order to defeat them! Am I wrong about that?!?
Mar-30-15  TheFocus: <The beauty of a move lies not in its appearance but in the thought behind it> - Aron Nimzowitsch.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <cunctatorg: Bobby Fischer deliberately paid homage to the Hypermoderns...>

I think Fischer was <at one> with the hypermoderns, when playing black. He loved attacking a load of white pawns in the centre! And even as white he tried to put as few pawns in the centre as possible.

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