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Rudolf Spielmann vs Aron Nimzowitsch
San Sebastian (1911), San Sebastian ESP, rd 9, Mar-06
Sicilian Defense: Nimzowitsch. Closed Variation (B29)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  nasmichael: 20.Ba3! Black dares white to take the bishop, and leave the light-squared diagonal to do so. It takes white, who becomes occupied with other things, 8 moves to return to the attack, and then cannot return to that attack line.
Jul-03-04  Calli: Very interesting game. Thanks for pointing it out. Just to start, its an early 2...Nf3 sicilian at the grandmaster level.

Spielmann's 16.c4 hangs the center pawns, seems pretty questionable

20...Ba3! is sweet. I don't understand Spielmann's 22.Re4. Loses time, no? Why not 22.Rc2 followed by Rec1.

Finally, the tactical wizard misses a point with 28.Qc3? 28...Bxa2! and the possibility of Qb1 wins the pawn. So 28.Rd2 or Rf2 and the position is still pretty even.

Jul-03-04  meloncio: In "My System", Nimzovitch just writes about 28.Qc3: "White must not to leave the 'c' column. If 28.Rc3 then 28. ... h5 29.h4 Rxf4".

He call this game, in his typical bombastic style, "The core game about my thesis of the relatively inoffensive nature of the pawns avalanche". Great Nimzo!

Jul-03-04  Calli: <Meloncio> Lol, yes I think it should be known as the "immortal relatively inoffensive pawn avalanche" game. :-)
Nov-26-04  kostich in time: In the tournament book, Mieses gave Nf6, a ?. His comment was "nicht gut"!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <"immortal relatively inoffensive pawn avalanche"> Heh. Super, <Calli> ... 'fragilistic' might be another translation of 'relatively inoffensive'. Even six years on.
Sep-14-11  Ulhumbrus: 18...f6! overcomes the hanging pawns by attacking the N on e5 which defends the c4 pawn a third time
Oct-20-11  64rutor: "Herr Nimzowitsch goes his own way" (Siegbert Tarrasch)
Mar-17-16  ICCM Bart Gibbons: This game is well-annotated by several grandmasters. The consensus is that White could have equalized with 19 c5, instead of Qa4.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Why did Speelman let his light-square bishop be chopped off after ...Nb4? I've played this Nimzo Sicilian as well as similar French lines, and I'd have been worried about either 14.Be4, preserving the LSB, or the speculative sac 14.Bxh7+.
Sep-19-17  Retireborn: <Domdaniel> 14.Be4 could be met with 14...f5 15.Bf3 Qxc2, although Houdini then gives 16.d5 with equality, presumably White will get a rook to the 7th with adequate compensation.

Or 14.Bb5 a6 15.Ba4 f6! and Black is doing well.

14.Bxh7+ is indeed interesting; after 14...Kxh7 15.Re3 Rh8 16.Nxf7 Qxf7 17.Bxd6 Nd5 18.Rg3 Kg8 19.Be5 White does seem to have some attacking chances for the piece.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Retireborn> Interesting. I didn't look too closely at 14.Be4 f5 -- I thought (wrongly) that ...f5 was just positionally weak. But clearly the tactical advantages make up for that, though White still has play.

As for 14.Bxh7+, the line you give is much the same as what I could see. I don't really trust the sac, though some strong players would certainly try it.

The ...f6 resource you give is also useful for Black. It probably contributed to White's decision to play 14.Bg3.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Interesting also is the fact that Nimzowitsch gets the Bishop pair.

Ray Keene wrote somewhere (maybe 'Nimzowitsch: a Reappraisal', his best book) that Nimzo - in My System and elsewhere - wrote of the two bishops as something the opponent had, which needed to be defended against.

"We" blockade, "we" occupy the 7th rank ... but it is the enemy who has the bishop pair in his oily grasp.

Sep-19-17  Retireborn: <Domdaniel> Yes, I remember reading that. Indeed it's not easy to recall many games where Nimzowitsch uses the bishop pair rather than opposing it. Maybe this game:-

Nimzowitsch vs Salwe, 1911

Premium Chessgames Member
  zenwabi: Another game where Nimzowitsch extolls and uses THE BISHOP PAIR is Gregory v. Nimzowitsch, Game 47 in MY SYSTEM (21st Century Edition, Hays Publishing).
Premium Chessgames Member
  NM JRousselle: From a strategic perspective, White's 25 f4 is perplexing. Why did Spielmann reject f3, blunting the opposing bishop?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Perhaps the mature, more cunning model of Spielmann might have played thus.
Nov-05-20  SChesshevsky: <...Why did Spielmann reject 25. f3, blunting the opposing bishop? >

Maybe he was still thinking offense. Looks like the plan was that his advanced e-pawn would be a force. First, over protect the e-pawn. Then undermine blacks e6 with an eventual f5. With pieces down there for support.

Apparently he thought enough of this idea to allow the not very advanced queen side protected passed pawns.

Nimzo never did let an effective f5 happen. Then seems by the time Spielmann decided to deal with the passed pawns, king was fatally weak.

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