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Friedrich Saemisch vs Aron Nimzowitsch
Baden-Baden (1925), Baden-Baden GER, rd 10, Apr-28
Mikenas Defense (A40)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-30-13  KlingonBorgTatar: Did Nimzo also mount and stand atop the chess table while shouting these immortal words?
Jul-04-14  visayanbraindoctor: <FSR: Why Must I Lose to This Idiot?>

<Classical games: Aron Nimzowitsch beat Friedrich Saemisch 9 to 1.>

Nimzo had already beaten Saemisch four times before this game. Afterward, Nimzo won five more. If a guy that you totally dominate unexpectedly beats you, it could be pretty upsetting.

Jul-05-14  RookFile: But Nimzo's question has an answer. He lost because he wasn't a great calculator. In the game, he drops a knight in on g4, and leaves it there after white plays h3. Is it sound? If you're going to play this way, you bloody well had better be calculating the daylights out of the position every move, not relying upon assumptions.
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  FSR: <KlingonBorgTatar: Did Nimzo also mount and stand atop the chess table while shouting these immortal words?>

Allegedly. I wasn't there.

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The source of the <Why must I lose to this idiot?> anecdote is <Hans Kmoch>, who says that <Saemisch> told him the story.


<On another occasion, in Berlin, having missed the first prize by losing to Sämisch, Nimzovich got up on a table and shouted, <<<“Why must I lose to this idiot?”>>> This story was told to me by the idiot himself.>

You can read this and more about <Nimzowitsch> here, in an excerpt from an unpublished <Kmoch> manuscript in the <chess cafe>:

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  perfidious: Nimzowitsch got the smaller portion in this game.
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  FSR: <jfq> Interesting account - it indicates that Nimzo lost a second game to Saemisch, that one in a Berlin tournament - the loss of which game cost Nimzowitsch first place. Presumably Kmoch was not confusing that game with the present one, since he actually mentions first meeting Nimzo at Baden-Baden 1925 - this very tournament.
Jul-05-14  morfishine: This was not very well played by Nimzo, so he answered his own question
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  FSR: <morfishine> Nimzo had an overwhelming record against Saemisch. He may have gotten a bit cocky and decided he could beat Saemisch with any old garbage.
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  FSR: That raises the question of which GM has the heaviest plus score against which other GM. I think we should count as GMs players like Nimzowitsch, who died before 1950, when FIDE awarded the title to Saemisch and others, but were obviously of GM strength. In this database, Nimzo has a 9-1 score with no draws against Saemisch for 90%. Apparently that is not the whole story, though, since Kmoch alludes to another Nimzo loss to Saemisch. Smyslov had +7 -1 against Euwe (87.5%),, and Lasker had 100% against Euwe, albeit in only three games. Kasparov has some gaudy plus scores against super-GMs, but at least they got some draws. (+8 =3 (86.4%) against Judit Polgar); (+13 =8 against Gelfand); (+15 =14 against Shirov).
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  perfidious: <FSR> Kasparov-Bareev is another one-sided affair at +10 =5 for the champeen.

Checked out Alekhine-Flohr, but that was 'only' +5 =7 for AAA.

If Edgar Colle were considered of GM strength, how does his 0-9 mark vs Alekhine grab you?

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<Dr. Rhine>

Yes that is indeed interesting.

It's also interesting that the <Kmoch> account is second hand eh?

I had a discussion some time ago with <crawfb5> about <Hans Kmoch> based originally on my impression of these <chess cafe> Kmoch reminiscences, of which there are several. I don't have them right in front of me at the moment, though I do have them downloaded in a folder somewhere around here. I believe they all may derive from <Burt Hochberg's> unpublished <Kmoch> manuscript. Thanks to his generosity and to <chess cafe>, not so unpublished now.

Anyways I proposed to <crawfb5> that these accounts were chatty and likely to be unreliable. He countered with a more generous view, that <Mr. Kmoch> was perhaps prone to embellishing or amplifying a story to make it more funny or ironic.

Some time after that, <Karpova> introduced me to the world of <Mr. Kmoch's> many first hand reports of various chess events he covered in a professional capacity. She reckoned that these could be well trusted.

After <Karpova> translated many, many of these reports for the <WCC Project>, I found myself agreeing with her.

To tell you the truth I love <Hans Kmoch> and I love reading what he had to say.

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  FSR: <perfidious> I consider the Alekhine-Colle whitewash an excellent candidate for the answer to my question. Thanks.
Jul-06-14  visayanbraindoctor: Keres vs Alekhine, 1937

If it weren't for the game above, Alekhine would also have had a pretty lopsided score of 5-0 with some draws against world contender Keres.

Alexander Alekhine beat Paul Keres 5 to 1, with 8 draws

Against Rubinstein, AAA also dominated: Alexander Alekhine beat Akiba Rubinstein 8 to 3, with 2 draws.

The above scores against one of the pre-WW2 chess geniuses, and against one of the strongest Soviet GMs of all time indicate just how strong Alekhine was. If he had never left Russia, I think Alekhine would have dominated the Soviet Championships of the 1920s, 1930s, and perhaps early 1940s. In 1941 to 1942, the declining and aging Alekhine suddenly began playing well again, and I would not place all my bets on Botvinnik beating him then.

Keres and Rubinstein for some reason almost always brought out the fighter in Alekhine. His games with them give me the impression of being bitter fist fights, last man standing.

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  perfidious: <visayan> Then came scarlet fever for Alekhine in 1943, and he was not at the same level thereafter; possibly Alekhine's age should have led to a decline in his play in any event, but he was decidedly not the same player.
Jul-06-14  visayanbraindoctor: This tournament Baden-Baden 1925, was won by Alekhine in great style. Curious, I looked at his score against Saemisch.

Alexander Alekhine beat Friedrich Saemisch 9 to 0, with 4 draws.

Alekhine never had to stand on a table and cry out 'Why must I lose to this idiot'. (",)

Jul-06-14  visayanbraindoctor: <perfidious: <visayan> Then came scarlet fever for Alekhine in 1943, and he was not at the same level thereafter; possibly Alekhine's age should have led to a decline in his play in any event, but he was decidedly not the same player.>

I did not know he had a bout of scarlet fever.. That would have been pretty dangerous in that little or no-antibiotic era.

Aside from patches of downs (such as the 1935 loss to Euwe and the AVRO 1938 disaster, not surprising for the older players considering the hectic circus tour schedule), AAA played magnificent tactical fighting chess. If he had stayed in Russia and was provided for with state-sponsored seconds and opening research assistants, and given his photographic memory for chess, Alekhine would have been a two-headed fanged chess beast. He would have easily memorized all of the Soviet Botvinnik-type opening repertoires and come out of his openings nuking the opposition like Kasparov.

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  perfidious: <visayan> On Alekhine and scarlet fever: in a piece of irony, he was hospitalised in Prague, in the same hospital in which Reti died fourteen years before.
Jul-06-14  RookFile: A second answer to Nimzo's question is: "Pride goeth before the fall."
Jun-28-15  Monocle: This can't be the "Why must I lose to this idiot" game. That incident supposedly happened because the loss had deprived Nimzo of a first prize, but in this tournament he finished halfway down the table (and some way behind Saemisch who finished a respectable 3rd).

I expect there are many games (and even whole tournaments) from the pre-ratings era that are simply lost, however.

Oct-07-15  m.okun: Mikenas Defense, but Mikenas is 15 years in 1925.
Oct-07-17  PhilFeeley: <morfishine: This was not very well played by Nimzo, so he answered his own question> Yes, Nc6 after d4 is pretty lose-worthy. Plus dropping a piece later won't win you many games. In this game, the idiot was Nimzowitsch.
Sep-01-18  mulde: First of all, if all details concerning this story would be correct, I as an arbiter would have suspended Nimzowitsch from this tnmt at once. You have to imagine: An unfair player standing ON a table shouts out his injuries! But as we are told on this very nice site, the facts seem to have been sth, different.
They played a blitz-tnmt in Café König, Berlin, this means it wasn't a (very) official event. But we have to see, Nimzowitsch showed in this "table-standing moment" a deeply dark side of his lousy character. What he has done was simply unfair. You have to respect your opponent at every moment.
Sep-02-18  Granny O Doul: An idiot may yet be a savant.
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  Phony Benoni: Having played in a number of blitz tournaments myself, I can assure you that Nimzowitsch's reaction would not be considered unusual.
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