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Arno Nickel
A Nickel 
Photograph courtesy of Arno Nickel.  
Number of games in database: 358
Years covered: 1986 to 2011
Last FIDE rating: 2125 (2101 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2648

Overall record: +158 -33 =165 (67.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 2 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 King's Indian (22) 
    E71 E70 E75 E81 E84
 Sicilian (20) 
    B90 B30 B80 B77 B25
 Nimzo Indian (13) 
    E32 E20 E21 E46 E34
 Grunfeld (12) 
    D99 D85 D97 D81 D87
 Semi-Slav (11) 
    D45 D47 D43
 Queen's Gambit Declined (10) 
    D37 D31 D35 D36 D38
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (59) 
    B90 B97 B33 B22 B30
 Caro-Kann (39) 
    B12 B16 B14 B15 B10
 Sicilian Najdorf (28) 
    B90 B97 B93 B92 B91
 Nimzo Indian (17) 
    E54 E32 E20 E58 E41
 King's Indian (13) 
    E92 E81 E97 E91 E60
 Queen's Indian (6) 
    E15 E12 E19
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   A Nickel vs Hydra, 2004 1-0
   A Nickel vs W Class, 1992 1-0
   Hydra vs A Nickel, 2004 0-1
   A Nickel vs J van Oosterom, 2005 1-0
   A Nickel vs The World, 2008 1/2-1/2
   A Nickel vs B Leiber, 1996 1-0
   I Chiru vs A Nickel, 2009 0-1
   R Jankowicz vs A Nickel, 2004 0-1
   A Mrugala vs A Nickel, 2003 0-1
   G Reichenbacher vs A Nickel, 1986 0-1

   A Nickel vs A Belezky, 2006

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FIDE player card for Arno Nickel

(born Feb-15-1952, 65 years old) Germany

[what is this?]

Arno Nickel is a well-known Correspondence Grandmaster, promoter of "Freestyle Chess" (similar to Advanced Chess) and publisher of chess books. He was co-editor of a chess journal called Schach Heute (1980), founded the popular Edition Marco (1983), and was editor of Schach Journal alongside Alexander Koblents (1991).

After achieving the Grandmaster title in 2001, he qualified for the Final of the 21st ICCF World Championship (2005-2008), where he finished 5th, beating World Champion Joop van Oosterom in their individual game. In 2004/05 he defeated the supercomputer Hydra (Computer) in a correspondence match, 2.5 to 0.5.

He was the first Correspondence Grandmaster to accept the Chessgames Challenge in 2006. He played against 2617 players, and lost an exciting Sicilian game with the black pieces. In 2008/09 he had a rematch against the World Team and drew.

Later in 2009 Nickel won the very strong invitational Simon Webb Memorial, a category 15 event, ahead of 12 other grandmasters.

In 2012 he won the ICCF gold medal with the German Olympic team, that is going to set up a new record with another gold medal in 2015 (surpassing former Soviet Union and Russia in the All-time tables of olympic medals). Nickel is currently no. 16 in the ICCF world rank list. Recently he started promoting 'Lasker Chess' with the idea of reducing the draw rate in correspondence chess. In view of the increasing draw rates he refers to Emanuel Lasker's old suggestion, promoted also by Richard Réti and other grandmasters, to introduce "stalemate wins" und "stalemate losses" counted as 3/4 and 1/4 points or at least as first tie-break method instead of Buchholz or Sonneborn Berger scores.

Wikipedia article: Arno Nickel

Last updated: 2017-07-27 07:28:06

 page 1 of 15; games 1-25 of 358  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. A Nickel vs U Mueller 1-0261986FRG jub40 qg16 corr8687A30 English, Symmetrical
2. G Reichenbacher vs A Nickel 0-1541986FRG jub40 qg16 corr8687B14 Caro-Kann, Panov-Botvinnik Attack
3. A Nickel vs W Heyland 1-0411986FRG jub40 qg16 corr8687A15 English
4. K Kaehler vs A Nickel  0-1481986FRG jub40 qg16 corr8687B15 Caro-Kann
5. A Nickel vs H Gnirk 1-0221986FRG jub40 qg16 corr8687A04 Reti Opening
6. A Holl vs A Nickel 0-1231986FRG jub40 qg16 corr8687B16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
7. R Genannt vs A Nickel 0-1221986FRG jub40 qg16 corr8687B16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
8. A Nickel vs W Schubert ½-½571986FRG jub40 qg16 corr8687A15 English
9. A Nickel vs R Schmedtmann  0-1451986FRG jub40 qg16 corr8687A09 Reti Opening
10. W Schoen vs A Nickel ½-½501986FRG jub40 qg16 corr8687E41 Nimzo-Indian
11. A Nickel vs A Nowak ½-½501988FRG jub40 sf2 corr8889A21 English
12. E Neumann vs A Nickel 0-1251988FRG jub40 sf2 corr8889B12 Caro-Kann Defense
13. A Nickel vs H U Kock 0-1551988Schleswig Holstein-ch 43rdA53 Old Indian
14. P Dahms vs A Nickel 1-0221988Schleswig Holstein-ch 43rdE54 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System
15. A Nickel vs H Leserer 1-0411988FRG jub40 sf2 corr8889D37 Queen's Gambit Declined
16. W Moser vs A Nickel  0-1221988FRG jub40 sf2 corr8889B12 Caro-Kann Defense
17. A Nickel vs W Reher 1-0321988Schleswig Holstein-ch 43rdA37 English, Symmetrical
18. M Homuth vs A Nickel  1-0311988Schleswig Holstein-ch 43rdB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
19. A Nickel vs H Kaiser  1-0261988FRG jub40 sf2 corr8889A17 English
20. M Holzhaeuer vs A Nickel 0-1241988FRG jub40 sf2 corr8889B14 Caro-Kann, Panov-Botvinnik Attack
21. A Nickel vs H Bua  ½-½341988Schleswig Holstein-ch 43rdA22 English
22. J Blauert vs A Nickel  1-0551988Schleswig Holstein-ch 43rdB14 Caro-Kann, Panov-Botvinnik Attack
23. R Helmreich vs A Nickel  ½-½351988FRG jub40 sf2 corr8889B12 Caro-Kann Defense
24. A Nickel vs M Dreyer  0-1421988Schleswig Holstein-ch 43rdA16 English
25. W Homuth vs A Nickel  ½-½411988Schleswig Holstein-ch 43rdE54 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System
 page 1 of 15; games 1-25 of 358  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Nickel wins | Nickel loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 19 OF 19 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-19-15  chesstoplay: Hi <Arno Nickel>,

A quote from the movie War Games...

How about a nice game of chess?


Yes, CC faces the endless draw problem,

but your <Lasker> innovation is well considered.

Would there be a 5 game match minimum required

if you played against our CG World Team to insure there would be a winner?

If the first 4 games go a win, a loss, a 3/4 draw and a 1/4 draw

then it would seem to require a 5th game for a final result.

Of course, if you won 2 games in a row, that would be final!

Or a win, a loss and 2 3/4 draws would also produce a final match result.

TY again!


Jan-19-15  Everett: Like the idea!
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: What % of games is anyone thinking might end up in stalemate? At first blush I hardly think it would be significant. My German is way too rusty to read the link.
Jan-19-15  isemeria: I think the idea is very much worth a try.

<OCF> There are a lot of stalemates, and the effect on strategy would be huge. For example, the K + P vs. K endgames would be 3/4 wins for the stronger side. And I guess many other traditionally drawn endgames too.

The stalemate % in databases could be misleading regarding this, because usually those endgames are not played to the end.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<OhioChessFan> What % of games is anyone thinking might end up in stalemate?>

I was unsuccessful in finding any hard data about that. I suppose that it should be possible to find that out but, as <isemeria> pointed out, that wouldn't be the true story since a certain number of games would end in a draw because of the <possibility> or <likelihood> of stalemate, even though the final game position is not a stalemate. However, I would still think that the number would be (much?) less than those ending in a draw because of the actual, possibility, or likelihood of 3-fold repetition, insufficient material, the 50-move rule, or just plain unwillingness of both players to continue playing for whatever reason.

Maybe GM Nickel addressed this issue in his detailed essay but, not knowing any German, I can't tell. It would be great if someone could translate and post (or provide a link to) the essay, even if it is computer translated.

I did look at the 2 crosstables he referenced. In the first link there were 78 games with 65 (83.3%) resulting in draws, one (1.3%) No Result, and 12 (15.4%) decisive results. In his second link there were 136 games with 98 (72.1%) resulting in draws, 28 (20.6%) No Result, and 10 (12.8%) decisive results. For comparison the 2013 Candidates Tournament consisted of 56 games with 21 (55.4%) resulting in draws and 25 (44.6%) decisive results. The 2014 Candidates Tournament also consisted of 56 games with 34 (60.7%) resulting in draws and 22 (39.3%) decisive results. It would be interested in comparing these percentages with the same percentages of correspondence and OTB games before computers became sufficiently strong to influence the percentages.

What should be possible is to compare the percentage of draws and decisive games yearly for both correspondence and OTB games and see how the percentages change. If use of computers is definitely influencing the number of draws, then I would think that the percentage of decisive correspondence games would decrease over time as engines became stronger and their usage more widespread, and the number of decisive OTB games would stay roughly the same. Maybe someone with access to correspondence and/or OTB databases could calculate this information.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<isemeria> For example, the K + P vs. K endgames would be 3/4 wins for the stronger side. And I guess many other traditionally drawn endgames too.>

I am not so sure. According to this link,, (see the Frequency table near the end), the number of K+P vs. K endgames represent 0.43% of all games which, although that might be a large total number, it’s a relatively small number of games. And other traditionally drawn endings like R+P vs. R and BOC are likely the result of other considerations (50-move rule, insufficient material, etc.) rather than stalemating possibilities. But, as I pointed out to <OhioChessFan> above, I don't know how to go about finding out how many games were drawn because of the possibility or likelihood of stalemate.

Jan-19-15  isemeria: <AK> I dont have hard data either, and I could be wrong. I'm just thinking of those endgames.

For example R+P vs R is either win or draw with current rules. But in Lasker chess some/many/most of those draws are 3/4 wins if the stronger side can force excange of rooks. This adds a new resource to the endgame play.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: GM AN: Thank you for your extensive post! And, thank you for your generous interest in the world team format. You have interacted more with us than any other challenger and it is greatly appreciated.

I would support another match with modified draw rules!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Lambda: In a single game, I think you'd just conceptualise it as "stalemate: you've won small. Checkmate: you've won big". (Or agreements that such results are inevitable, like resignation for checkmate is inevitable.) There are five possible results.

In matches or tournaments, instead of coming up with an arbitrary value for stalemate 0.5 < x < 1, I'd propose just calling them "little wins", which get taken into account only where the number of "big wins" is equal. (So in practice, stalemate might be worth 0.51-0.49 if everyone plays less than 50 games.) This achieves the goal of making things more interesting and more likely to produce decisive results, while minimizing the alteration to the game.

Jan-20-15  savagerules: In draughts/checkers stalemate means a loss, why not do this in chess too. This would increase decisive games by a lot. Checkmate means the king has no legal moves and stalemate means the king has no legal moves also. So both should be losses.
Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: This is my own personal opinion, but I think a couple of times before I probably expressed my view that I would not advocate a change to the stalemate rule, feeling that the possibility of stalemate adds a complexity and artistic richness to chess, as inequitable as it sometimes might seem to the player who loses a half point in spite of a superior position. Also if you change the stalemate rule, what about other logically inequitable aspects of chess rules? Emanuel Lasker at one time I think proposed that "baring " be a win, i.e., for example K and B or K and N vs. K be scored a win for the superior side. What about K, B, and Rook P, but B is wrong color ( leading to an eventual stalemate )? Equitably a win? Changing the stalemate rule sends one down a slippery slope related to many chess laws and illogical results, so I am for keeping the status quo, but strictly my personal opinion.
Jan-20-15  Xenon Oxide: I support Arno Nickel's proposal! It's a great experiment to try, even if we don't agree with it in the end!
Premium Chessgames Member
  jepflast: It just occurred to me that with the stalemate proposal, we would need a slightly different protocol for resignations, because you could resign "1/4 - 3/4" (as opposed to "0-1"), but then your opponent could decline it in order to pursue checkmate.

This would be like backgammon, where you can resign 1, resign 2 (gammon), or resign 3 (backgammon), because these outcomes are multipliers for the value of the game in a match.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Arno Nickel: Thanks all for your feedback. May be I will find time to set up a FAQ document on all these questions, that I had discussed with various people over the years. Unknown territory is always a bit slippery.

1) Will stalemate become less exciting and worthy, if we introduce the Lasker rule? - No. If you need to find a stalemate in order not to be mated, you will be happy as before, if you find one.

2) Must I throw away my Averbakh, Chéron and other endgame books due to huge changes in endgame theory? - No, all techniques and concrete lines for winning remain unchanged. But you need a new approach and theory regarding draw and stalemate.

3) What are the major changes for endgame theory? - Pawn endings. If you get forced into an endgame K vs. K+P you cannot longer draw by just opposing, as this would lead to being stalemated in the end. So the defending side will always try to avoid such endings, if ever possible. I know only one rare occasion, when you could achieve a draw by perpetual in such an ending: wKh7, wPh6, bKf7 - White to move. He will have to move Kh8 and back to h7, as h6-h7 "loses" to Black's move Kf7-f8 stalemating White.

4.) Will chess strategies become more materialistic, if pawns get more important in endgames? - Not quite, though that's a point, we can only find out by testing in a large series of games. In my German review I showed some rook endings, where active play by the defending side, which is a pawn down, holds a draw. Example: Philidor position. The stronger side cannot force exchange of rooks without losing the pawn. So, what really happens, is just repeating moves. BUT, if you get into a passive position, you will no longer be able to avoid simplification and you will get nothing from it except from being stalemated. - I am convinced, with the Lasker rule chess will remain as dynamic as it always has been in modern times.

5.) Should we also follow Lasker's second idea, called "Beraubungssieg", which applies, if you captured all your opponent's pieces, but can't either stalemate or mate him? - No. This ancient rule in chess is really outdated and of no practical importance. It would apply only in very rare cases: K+B or K+N, where you can't force a stalemate. Although it might appear unfair, if you don't get anything for your material, that should remind you on one thing: chess is not just winning material... Material has to be useful for any idea on the board. (Tartakower and others suggested similiar ideas regarding win by material, but that might have been a dead duck, fascinating him only for a short time at the end of the 1920ties.)

See you again next time,

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Happy Birthday Arno Nickel!
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Birthday greetings. Like the new pic.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Arno Nickel: Thank you! I had a great day with my family. Sunshine on a winter day, when you feel springtime will com in a few weeks.
Jun-20-15  Tomlinsky: Arno put forward his thoughts, and potential solutions, on the problem of increasing draws in correspondence chess on this very site some time ago. Chessbase has given our adversary, and long-time friend, some air time on the matter...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Arno Nickel: See also the 2nd part of my survey, presenting the poll evaluation: This might be good point of time to reconsider the idea of a challenge.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Interesting ideas, Arno.

I like the suggestion made by <Lambda> - that the 'lesser' win by stalemate should not be given a numerical value, but simply noted as a possible tiebreaker.

This minimizes change to existing rules.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: Why not play Fischer Random Chess in CC? I believe engines are relatively 'weak' in the opening.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Arno Nickel: I do play Fischer Random Chess (Chess960) in CC, but I don't really enjoy it. Many start positions, especially those with bishops on a1, h1, a8, h8, look rather dull. Engines tend to copy White's opening moves with Black. That's not very inspiring, yet hard to refute. Things are different in over-the-board chess, here it's more fun. Btw, Happy New Year to all my friends on!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: Thanks GM Nickel. Happy New Year to you too!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: Happy Birthday as well :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: I remember that Arthur Bisguier made that comment about classical chess - when white plays weird stuff it is an acceptable approach with black to just copy whatever white is doing.
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