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Mir Sultan Khan vs Aron Nimzowitsch
"Nimzo Indian" (game of the day May-31-2011)
Liege (1930), Liege BEL, rd 10, Aug-29
Queen's Indian Defense: Fianchetto. Check Variation (E15)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-30-04  Everett: A Nimzo win against a great natural chess-player. Lots of blockading and color complexes here, plus a monster knight vs ineffective bishop in the endgame. Blockading theme remains through to the endgame, and third rank cutoff hems the white king in.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: How about the following defensive plan: 47. Be2 Kf6 48. Bd1 f4 49. Bb3, offering a pawn back in order to clear the third rank or trade into a drawish rook ending.

If Black then accepts with 49...Nxb3 50. axb3 Rxb3, then at least 51. Rc2 Ke5 52. c5! Kxd5 53. c6 Rb8 54. c7 Rc8 55. Kf3 Ke5 56. h4, and I haven't found a way for Black to win the ending.

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  whiteshark: Why didn't Nimzowitsch play simply <39...Rxa2!> ?

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Playing cat-and-mouse with 39...Ra4 could be backfiring.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <whiteshark: Why didn't Nimzowitsch play simply 39...Rxa2!>

Because Nimzowitsch never did anything simply.

I think the idea might have been to restrain White from playing c5; note how Black immediately clamps down on the pawn with ...Nd7 and ...Nc5. As long as the pawn remains on c4, White's bishop remains practically dead. And it's not like the a-pawn is going to do anything significant; indeed, defending it just ties White down further.

But don't quote me. I don't pretend to understand what Nimzowitsch was thinking at any particular moment. Sometimes I get the feeling he didn't know.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <whiteshark>
Black wanted to prevent White from getting a passed d-pawn and activating his pieces by the c5 break.

After, say, 39...Rxa2 40. c5 dxc5 41. Rxc5 Rb8 42. Rc1 Rbb2 43. d6, the d-pawn ties Black down considerably. For example, 43...Nd7 44. Rd3.

I haven't found a win that way yet, but what did you see?

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: 29. g4 looks like a serious weakening of White's kingside. Can Black get more out of it with a middlegame attack? For example, 30...Ng7, preparing 31...f5 to expose these weak points.

For example, 30...Ng7 31. Ra1 f5 32. gxf5 Rxf5 33. a4 Nh5 34. a5 Nf4 35. Qg3 d3 36. Bf1 Qd4, etc. Black's attack is too strong.

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  whiteshark: <But don't quote me.> Done. :D User: memorable quotes

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  whiteshark: <beatgiant: 39...Rxa2 40. c5 dxc5 41. Rxc5 Rb8 42. Rc1 Rbb2 43. d6 Nd7 44. Rd3>

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Yes I think it's still unclear. I tried <44...Rd2 45. Rxf3 Ne5 46.Re3 Ra5 47.Rb1 Rxd6 48.Kf2>

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Black is a ♙ up, but all pawns are on the ♔side, no passer. I think white shall hold this.

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  whiteshark: <beatgiant: 30...Ng7 31. Ra1 f5 32. gxf5 Rxf5 33. a4 Nh5 34. a5 Nf4 35. Qg3 d3 36. Bf1 Qd4>

30...Ng7 looks like an interesting alternative of similar strength. But I wouldn't move 31.Ra1. Instead maybe 31.Be4

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: White's last chance to draw was <54.Re6 Kf4 55.Rxh6 Ra1 56.d6>

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Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <whiteshark>
<White's last chance to draw> You're probably right that 54. Re6 draws.

But I think Black can improve earlier. 50...f3?! looks premature. Pushing the pawn to f3 makes it overextended at this point. Probably Nimzo wanted to keep White's bishop immobilized, but after <50...Rxa2> White can't do much.

For example, 50...Rxa2 51. Be2 Kg5 52. Bf3 Nd7 53. Bg2 Ne5 54. c5 f3 55. Bf1 Kf4 looks like a better version of Black's attack.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <whiteshark>
<30...Ng7 looks like an interesting alternative of similar strength. But I wouldn't move 31.Ra1. Instead maybe 31.Be4>

My line was only an example. The point is after White plays the massively weakening 29. g4?!, we expect Black to get more than just a slightly better ending.

On 30...Ng7 31. Be5 Qc5, Black's also threatening to break through from the other side via ...Ra3. It looks like a very difficult position for White.

Oct-16-08  norcist: whats the idea behind Ba6?? Someone once told me that all it does is lose a tempo...however, it seems many many good players use this line
Oct-16-08  Karpova: <norcist>

Robert Eugene Byrne says: <Kamsky used Aron Nimzovich's 4 . . . Ba6, instead of the standard fianchetto with 4 . . . Bb7, to make White decide how to defend the c4 pawn. Thus, 5 Qa4 may leave the queen misplaced later; 5 Qc2 invites 5 . . . c5, when 6 d5?! leads to a dubious gambit after 6 . . . ed 7 cd Bb7 8 e4 Qe7 9 Nc3 Nd5, and 5 Nd2 diverts the queen knight from its most effective post, c3. The move chosen by Karpov, 5 b3, is solid.>


Byrne is talking about Karpov vs Kamsky, 1996

Oct-21-10  LIFE Master AJ: Nice win by Nimzovich.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: This is the 14th pun of mine that has used since December 14, 2010: Game Collection: Puns I submitted. Two of my favorites among my 74 remaining pun submissions are Chandler vs V Wolf, 1985 (Hungary Like V. Wolf) and Short vs A A Lopez, 2008 (Short Lopez).
May-31-11  Oceanlake: 7. Qxd2 is better.
May-31-11  abstract: OMG.. Just lastnight I was cheking this game..
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: <norcist: whats the idea behind Ba6?? Someone once told me that all it does is lose a tempo...> Many ideas in Nimzo-Indian hinge on clogging White's ideal piece flow. White would love to get b3, Bb2, Nc3; therefore, Black loves to force White to not do that.

<4.g3 Ba6> White has telegraphed his intent to play Bg2; hence his B can't stay to defend c4, and <5.b3> he returns the tempo. Long-term, this tends to give White an immobile Q-side pawn structure. Also, it prevents Qb3 lines.

Now <5..Bb4+ 6.Bd2> Black forces the B off its strongest diagonal. 6.Nd2 Ne4 is the canonical Nimzo threat. The dropback 6..Be7 is also playable, and is called the "Intermezzo Check" line. Black hasn't lost a tempo because White's B is really poor on d2, and inevitably moves again.

<7..Bb7> is fine. This B did its dawn job (jog? :) by forcing White to commit. Now it's biting on granite at c4, so there's no point in staying, and it shifts to its day job.

<8..c5> Black doesn't fear a "bad" pawn structure: c5 isn't weak, and half-open b is more useful for his heavy pieces. a7's weakness doesn't matter, as he already plans the minority attack <15..a5 19..a4>. Then White's a2 turns out to be the real weakness.

Black's play is quite deep; he's doing stuff on moves 3-7 that he smoothly exploits from moves 10-25. That's fitting; he spent much of his career home-prepping this opening.

May-31-11  fokers13: actually while most people have a good point pointing out moves that they consider inprecise this is a very precise game for the most part and if i had to complain about black's play it would be at 31..Kg7? instead Nd7-Nc5 was much better and could guarantee a central pawnstorm that would have wiped out white
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: This game and the reasons for White's loss are superbly analyzed by Neil McDonald in his book "The Giants of Strategy". A highly recommended book, BTW. Starting at the position after White's 35.Kg2, he analyzes and contrasts the positions of all the pieces and the pawns and shows why White lost in spite of being a pawn up, having an outside passed pawn, and a bishop vs. knight advantage. Very, very instructive and eye opening.
May-31-11  lemaire90: I don't get 57. Kh2... letting the bishop hang ?
May-31-11  Catfriend: <fokers> <Guarantee> is such a strong word ;)

Yet another interesting point is 18..Qb7. 18..a4 19. bxa4 Qd7 is worth considering.

Instead of 19.Qd3, maybe f3, reinforcing the center, is better. Over-protection vs. Nimzowitsch!

I agree that 29.g4 looks ugly. If White was so desperate to gain counter-attacking chances, 29.f4 would be the move. Then, put a rook on f2 and push with f5!

Another opportunity to put a harder fight was at move 48. I don't really understand the Rb2-e2 dance. The straight-forward 48.Re2 Ne4 49. Bg2 might be suggested.

The final mistake, it seems, is 54.h4+? wasting a vital tempo. 54.Re6 Kf4 doesn't work just as well for Black: 55.d6 Ra1 56.Rxh6 and I'd argue White isn't lost at all here.

55. Rd8?? rather than 55.Rxh6 brings the end faster. If Black would continue as in the game, 55..Ra1 56. Rh8 Ng3? (56..Nd2 does win, but less rapidly), White has the h-line to check on: 57. Rf8+ Kg4 58. Rg8+ Kxh4 59. Rh8+ ... going to e3 won't avail the Dark King: Re8, and if Kd3, d6 and White's playing for victory!

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: How about this! A REAL Nimzo-Indian!
May-31-11  Catfriend: <lemaire90: I don't get 57. Kh2... letting the bishop hang ?> Black's threatening Rxf1 with mate. Rook-checks won't help White: 57.Rf8+ Kg4 58.Rg8+ Kxh4.

The poor Bishop's doomed anyway. Let's hope he was of the child-molesting variety.

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