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Savielly Tartakower vs Aron Nimzowitsch
Copenhagen (1923), Copenhagen DEN, rd 8, Mar-11
Indian Game: General (A45)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: From a 3.Bg5 Nc6 (3...Nbd7 is typical) Veresov Attack, White converts to a kingside Stonewall attack without bishops, so pawn levers become necessary. Perhaps 9.Bb5 is not best; the bishop would serve better aimed at a castled king. White had alternative pawn captures in the middlegame (19.dxc4 or 19.Qxf6, etc.) that would not have made much difference. White is active, but has little impact for advantage.

Black is fine throughout. With pawns on both sides of the board, Black's bishop on the long diagonal would likely prove superior to White's knight in an endgame.

Black's 21...Qc5 prevents 22.Qg5+ w/a protected rook roller mate to follow on the h-file. After 22...Qd5, it is Black's spearhead threatening mate on the long diagonal, so White offers the forcing rook sacrifice in the final positional. After acceptance, the White queen would have delivered perpetual check along the 6th rank (Qg6+ and Qh6+, repeating) to avoid being mated.

Nimzowitsch went on to win the tournament and Tartakower finished equal second with Friedrich Saemisch. Hypermodern play was thriving after World War I.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: What was bizarre in 1923 (2.Nc3) is met by the outre (3....Nc6).

In my last meeting with future GM and US champion Patrick Wolff, in fall 1985, he tried 3....h6, with the point that 4.Bxf6 exf6 5.e4 Bb4 is fine for Black. Do not recall how the game went--only that I got rolled up.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: <perfidious> Shaw vs Wolff 1985 is not in our database. As you allude, Patrick Wolff was U.S. Junior Champion in 1984, became a GM three years later, and U.S. Champion in 1992 and 1995. Obviously, Wolff had a fine chess career as a top player and writer.

Perhaps FTB gets some of his sluggish chess commentary from Wolff's well-known book "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess":-) FTB generally agrees with Dan Heisman study recommendations, who has advocated Wolff's text for students. The bullet points at the end of each chapter are particularly handy.

FTB prefers the pseudo-trilogy Bobby Fischer/Samuel Reshevsky/Garry Kasparov TEACHES CHESS for beginning players because such books are shorter in length. (Wolff's third edition came out in 2005 - a complimentary feat in itself, has a flavorful 21 chapters, a bit much for idiot newbies.) There is a CD-ROM "Maurice Ashley Teaches Chess" that is quite useful for self-training on the computer. (FTB dates himself.)

FTB cautions the reader not to purchase short, contemporary publishings given a fancy but misleading title written by untitled amateur authors with fledgling independent publishers. All too often these glittering covers are little more than school boy term papers sold on-line for profit. The top chess books are written by well-known players with outstanding chess credentials which are not hidden from the prospective buyer. No true, self-respecting chess author promises to turn the reader into the ultimate mastermind conqueror over night.

Of course, two of the greatest chess writers of the previous century are the two combatants above -- Savielly Tartakower and Aron Nimzowitsch. FTB does not recommend their hefty writings to young students, but serious teenage players and adults would be wise to read their book offerings. FTB prefers Tartakower and du Mont (as well as Tarrasch, Lasker, and Euwe) over Nimzowitsch. However, Tigran Petrosian became a world champion with much credit to Nimzowitsch's books. Certainly, Nimzowitsch's ideas are worthwhile, even if his writing style is a bit cumbersome. The world of chess and the Hypermodern school has been long indebted to both writers.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <fred>, none of the ten encounters between Wolff and myself from 1978-85 have yet made it here, though there are several I would submit to CG if I had any of them near to hand, excluding the very first (one of the two wins for me).
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Ten encounters with a youthful Patrick Wolff speaks well for <perfidious> back in the day, guessing that most occurred on/near top board. (Wolff was the national high school champion in 1983, and defeated Garry Kasparov in a simultaneous exhibition in 1988.) The right to consistently play the best players in tournaments must be earned by winning!

It appears Wolff briefly came out of retirement this past spring 2019 at the famous Mechanics Institute Chess Club in San Francisco, CA. He has investment business ties out there. (It seems the bulk of his playing career was as a New Yorker.) Perhaps Wolff was a temporary guest lecturer at the club, who knows? Such prominent guests often do the audience the honor of playing a few rounds with them (in this case, the games were officially rated). To be clear, FTB is strictly guessing at the latest circumstances from last May. Wolff is a USCF Life Master.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Patrick Wolff briefly came out of retirement last fall in part to promote the re-issue of his instructional treaties "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess," which had three previous editions printed.

This recommended book is now called "Learn to Play Chess Like a Boss: Make Pawns of Your Opponents with Tips and Tricks From a Grandmaster of the Game" by Patrick Wolff, two-time U.S. Champion. It was published by Alpha, September 17, 2019. It's 400 pages long, compared to the third edition's 428 pages.

FTB previewed the latest version at my local bookstore (prior to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders). The book format, chapter titles, and content appears to be nearly identical to earlier editions. Any revisions from the third edition appear to be slight and far between. IMHO, the latest version is much the same book w/a different title and cover, which has long been common in the chess publishing world going back to Fred Reinfeld, Milton Hanauer, Frank Young, etc.

"Learn to Play Chess Like a Boss" is also available on Kindle.

* For purchase:

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <fred>, a snippet from one of the games I played with Wolff--the last but one of the ten--is reproduced below:

FSR chessforum

Apr-19-20  rwbean: After 21... ♖fc8 Black is a ♗ up and winning ...

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