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Joseph Henry Blackburne vs Aron Nimzowitsch
"Black Magic Meets Witsch Craft" (game of the day Oct-31-2019)
St. Petersburg (1914), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 8, May-02
Van't Kruijs Opening: General (A00)  ·  1-0



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Given 11 times; par: 65 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-10-08  sneaky pete: Tarrasch, in the tournament book: Alle Käufern meines Buches wünsche ich mit 73 Jahre auch noch so zu spielen. Nämlich wie Blackburne, denn Niemzowitsch hat die Partie sehr schwach gepielt.

Nimzowitsch: Der alte Ganf hat mich beschwindelt.

Jan-10-08  RookFile: <chancho: An old timer (72) slaps Nimzowitsch upside his head. >

Quite right, too!

Mar-28-08  Zickzack: I played the game through Fritz10 and the results were quite surprising. I can post the results, if somebody is interested. They deviate a lot from the comments, most notably Nimzo's.

The most surprising result was that the game after Blackburne's tactical breakthrough (Ng4) is drawn, until Nimzo fumbles it away around move 37.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Zickzack: I played the game through Fritz10 and the results were quite surprising. I can post the results, if somebody is interested. They deviate a lot from the comments, most notably Nimzo's.

The most surprising result was that the game after Blackburne's tactical breakthrough (Ng4) is drawn, until Nimzo fumbles it away around move 37.>

I'd love to see those comments.

Mar-28-08  percyblakeney: I think drawn is a short word for the position around move 37... My old engines give white more than +1 by then, and it seems to increase no matter what black tries. Blackburne could have beaten also Alekhine in the same tournament after going piece up in the opening:

Alekhine vs Blackburne, 1914

Mar-28-08  RookFile: I think Blackburne's plan going into this game was to bait Nimzo into a double e pawn type of game, even if he had to waste a tempo to get it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <RookFile: I think Blackburne's plan going into this game was to bait Nimzo into a double e pawn type of game, even if he had to waste a tempo to get it.>

Not a bad thought...but in those days before WWI Nimzowitsch still played 1...e5 against 1. e4.

Repertoire Explorer: Aron Nimzowitsch (black)

Apr-01-08  Zickzack: According to Nimzowitsch, his approach was to keep the f-file half closed. That required the f-pawn going to f6 while avoiding to play g6, because this would weaken the f-pawn and the file. Further, some "mysterious rook moves" like Re8 were prophylactic manners to reinforce this approach.

Now comes Fritz10, according to which 6. ... f6 was already a weak move instead of which Nf6 would have been better. White misses d4 in the next move. So, Black gains advantage in the opening.

I will not give everything, but 20. Rad1 is given a bad rating, as it would allow Bb3, 21. Rook moves, Pc4 with the superior game for black.

Blackburne's 23. Pc4 gives a lost game, where he should have played Pg5 with the slightly superior chances. Nimzo again misses with the rook diversion to the queen's side. According to Fritz10, 23. ... Red8 would have been best, since White's line 24. Pg5, Pg6, 25. Ng4 loses impact, i.e.: gf5:, 26. Nf6:, Nd4, 27. Qg2 Qg7 - and now the rook is out of attack compared to the line in the game. In other words, the rook on e8 is a tactical weakness as opposed to Nimzo's comments.

Even after the rook diversion, Blacks' game is better. White's breakthrough with 25. Pg5 should have been contered with fg5:. Nimzowitsch's sticking to his approach of keeping the f-file closed falls to a tactical weakness as shown in the game.

However, what follows is a testimony to Nimzowitschs's defensive ability. He gives some material to avoid the killer lines. And Fritz10 rates the game as drawn after the dust has settles. That was the biggest surprise for me. The problem seems to be that Blackburne cannot break into Black's position with the combined pawns or the rook(s). If he does so, he opens up his own king to the black queen and maybe the bishops.

The rest goes as follows: 34. ... Bc6 is a bad mistake which White should have exploted by playing 35. Pg6. Qg4, as in the game, does not gain an advantage. Black's exchanging the rooks (as opposed to the rule "never exchange the last rook") is given only a slightly inferior rating. The losing moves is 36. ... Qe8: (better Be8:), worsened by 37.... Qd7 (Qf7).

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Blackburne won a "Special Brilliancy Prize" for this game. (Tarrasch won the main Brilliancy Prize for HIS win over Nimzo, involving a double bishop sacrifice.) Has any other player ever won a brilliancy prize with 1.e3?
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <nikolaas>I don't understand the move 23...Ra2. Why did he do this? It seems a useless move to me. After some moves it has to retreat and meanwhile, it did nothing at a2. That wasn't really the moment to 'attack' via the a.

Tartakower and Du Mont in "500 Master Games of Chess" call 23..♖a2 "beating the air". There is no point controlling an open file if there is nothing to control.

Feb-03-12  RookFile: <Not a bad thought...but in those days before WWI Nimzowitsch still played 1...e5 against 1. e4. >

And evidently, Blackburne figured he knew that type of game better than Nimzo. That's why he played for it.

Mar-22-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Blackburne vs Nimzowitsch, 1914.
Your score: 82 (par = 64)


Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: It is not very often that you see two bishops on such passive squares at the end of the game - the White rook totally dominates them.
Oct-14-15  Marcelo Bruno: <FSR> Until his last tournament and non-tournament games he was really remarkable. This game is only a very fine specimen of what he could do at a, let's say, relatively advanced age.
Mar-04-17  Paarhufer: <Peligroso Patzer: He [Nimzowitsch] criticizes 24. ... Ra2? and indicates that 24. ... Nd4 would have been better.> That's a better move. But why not first drive the ♘f5 off? That is 24.. g6!. It weakens f6, but ♗e7 is perfectly reliable after 25.♘h4 or 25.♘g3.
Mar-04-17  JimNorCal: JHB did not finish high on the St Petersburg chart but he did act as a spoiler. He beat Nimzo and saved a half point from Rubinstein.
Premium Chessgames Member
  cwcarlson: 35.♕g4 ♗d7 ⩲; 35.g6! ♕g7 36.♖fe2 ♖a7 37.♖e6+- Houdini.
Oct-31-19  thegoodanarchist: Interesting game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Nice GOTD choice for Halloween, ceegee!
Oct-31-19  Cheapo by the Dozen: Fun holiday pun!
Oct-31-19  laskereshevsky: <The old Ganf tricked me.> Looks like Gandalf tricked Saruman..... (a potential pun)?

In my 11-12 YO worked on this game on a book published in the Forties. For quite a lot i didn't 100% understand the outcome. I mean, as a child chess student i didn't even dare to contest the sacred texts, Tarrasch and many others guru praised so much BB in this game, but my chess feeling told me that Nimzo after all was not in a very bad position, even if i considered ♘g4 a creative move...

Jan-04-21  Stolzenberg: Strange moves during the opening!

One may imagine the first moves would have been 1. f4 e5 2. fe d6 (From Gambit, A02). Who would play 3. e3 here, which would lead to the position of this game? Almost every good player would play 3. ed or 3. Nf3 instead.

4. ... Bd6 looks strange too. Why not simply 4. ... Nf6?

After this defeat, Nimzowitsch's last little hopes to reach the final had disappeared.

Dec-01-21  GilGandel: Blackburne's German was not quite good enough to follow Nimzo's acid comment - he sought out Mieses and asked him what a "Ganf" (or "Ganeff") might be. Mieses, not wanting him to know it was Yiddish for "crook", only said that he was sure no offence was meant. Blackburn was not to be swayed and asked Mieses if it was possible to be a "Ganeff" and a gentleman at the same time... and Mieses said that it was. :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Typical bit of humour from Mieses; and Norman Whitaker was simultaneously a gonif and gentleman.
Dec-02-21  George Wallace: <simultaneously a gonif>

Piff piff, puff puff.

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