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Aron Nimzowitsch
Number of games in database: 703
Years covered: 1896 to 1934

Overall record: +317 -122 =216 (64.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 48 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Reti System (43) 
    A04 A06
 French Defense (31) 
    C02 C11 C00 C01 C12
 Four Knights (30) 
    C49 C48 C47
 Sicilian (20) 
    B22 B32 B40 B30 B21
 English (19) 
    A18 A16 A15 A13 A10
 Queen's Pawn Game (16) 
    D02 D05 A50 D00 A40
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (54) 
    C01 C17 C11 C15 C10
 Queen's Pawn Game (44) 
    A46 D02 A45 D05 D04
 Nimzo Indian (34) 
    E32 E23 E22 E21 E20
 Uncommon Opening (34) 
    B00 A00
 Caro-Kann (33) 
    B13 B16 B10 B12 B15
 Queen's Indian (23) 
    E15 E12 E16 E18 E14
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Saemisch vs Nimzowitsch, 1923 0-1
   Nimzowitsch vs Hakansson, 1922 1-0
   Nimzowitsch vs Alapin, 1914 1-0
   P F Johner vs Nimzowitsch, 1926 0-1
   Nimzowitsch vs Rubinstein, 1926 1-0
   H Mattison vs Nimzowitsch, 1929 0-1
   Nimzowitsch vs Systemsson, 1927 1-0
   Nimzowitsch vs Salwe, 1911 1-0
   E Post vs Nimzowitsch, 1905 1/2-1/2
   N Mannheimer vs Nimzowitsch, 1930 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   London (1927)
   Dresden (1926)
   Marienbad (1925)
   Karlsbad (1929)
   Frankfurt (1930)
   San Sebastian (1912)
   Kecskemet (1927)
   San Remo (1930)
   Hamburg (1910)
   Bled (1931)
   Ostend-B (1907)
   Karlsbad (1907)
   Semmering (1926)
   Karlsbad (1911)
   Karlsbad (1923)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Legend Nimzowitt by Gottschalk
   Chess Praxis (Nimzowitsch) by Qindarka
   Chess Praxis (Nimzowitsch) by trh6upsz
   Chess Praxis (Nimzowitsch) by StoppedClock
   Book: Chess Praxis (Nimzowitsch) by Baby Hawk
   N O P Players by fredthebear
   Nimzovich: Chess Praxis by setuhanu01
   Hypermodern chess: Aron Nimzovich by Reinfeld by nikolaas
   mi sistema patidas by viniloangel
   Annotated games by Nimzovitsch by macaoui
   Annotated games by Nimzovitsch by Patca63
   mi sistema de nimzovich by LESTRADAR
   My System: all 50 games by xela
   Aron Nimzowitsch's Best Games by kingscrusher

   Saemisch vs Nimzowitsch, 1923
   Nimzowitsch vs Hakansson, 1922
   Nimzowitsch vs Alapin, 1914
   Nimzowitsch vs Salwe, 1911
   L Van Vliet vs Znosko-Borovsky, 1907

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Aron Nimzowitsch
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(born Nov-07-1886, died Mar-16-1935, 48 years old) Latvia (federation/nationality Denmark)

[what is this?]

Aron Nimzowitsch, born in Riga, Latvia in 1886, came to prominence in the chess world just before the First World War. He was Russian Champion in 1913 (jointly with Alexander Alekhine) at St.Petersburg. He won a string of international events in the mid-1920s which led him to challenge Jose Raul Capablanca to a World Championship match in 1925, but negotiations dissolved after monetary backing could not be found. He took first place at Copenhagen (1923), Dresden (1926), Karlsbad (1929) and Frankfurt (1930).

Nimzowitsch's chess theories flew in the face of convention. He had a lengthy and somewhat bitter conflict with Siegbert Tarrasch over which ideas constituted proper chess play. While Tarrasch refined the classical approach of Wilhelm Steinitz, that the center had to be controlled and occupied by pawns, Nimzowitsch shattered these dogmatic assumptions, and proposed the controlling of the center with pieces from afar. In this way, the opponent is invited to occupy the center with pawns which thus become the targets of attack. This idea became known as the hypermodern school of chess thought.

Nimzowitsch, along with other hypermodern thinkers such as Richard Reti, revolutionized chess, proving to the chess world that controlling the center of the board mattered more than actually occupying it. Nimzowitsch is also a highly-regarded chess writer, most famously for the 1925 classic My System, to this day regarded as one of the most important chess books of all time. Other books include Chess Praxis, which further expounds the hypermodern idea, and the seminal work The Blockade, which explores the strategy implied by his famous maxim, "First restrain, then blockade, finally destroy!"

As a profound opening theoretician, Nimzowitsch has left a legacy of variations, many of which are still popular today. The Nimzo-Indian Defense (1.d4 ♘f6 2.c4 e6 3.♘c3 ♗b4) is named after him, as are several variations of the French Defense. He also is credited in part for the Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein (B29) Variation (1.e4 c5 2.♘f3 ♘f6), the Nimzovich-Larsen Attack (A01) (1.b3), the Nimzowitsch Defense (1.e4 ♘c6), and many others.

He died of pneumonia on March 16, 1935 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Wikipedia article: Aron Nimzowitsch

Last updated: 2018-05-02 22:01:33

 page 1 of 29; games 1-25 of 703  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Nimzowitsch vs NN 1-0181896RigaB01 Scandinavian
2. Schroeder vs Nimzowitsch  0-1201903Cafe Kaiserhoff offhand gameC63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
3. B Blumenfeld vs Nimzowitsch 1-0291903BerlinC45 Scotch Game
4. Tarrasch vs Nimzowitsch ½-½711904Offhand gameD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
5. E Cohn vs Nimzowitsch 0-130190414th DSB Congress - Hauptturnier AC41 Philidor Defense
6. Vidmar vs Nimzowitsch 1-048190414th DSB Congress - Hauptturnier AD02 Queen's Pawn Game
7. Nimzowitsch vs W Hilse 1-065190414th DSB Congress - Hauptturnier AC27 Vienna Game
8. B Gregory vs Nimzowitsch 1-0361904DSB-14.Kongress - Hauptturnier AA30 English, Symmetrical
9. P Kaegbein vs Nimzowitsch 1-042190414th DSB Congress - Hauptturnier AD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
10. Nimzowitsch vs Duras 1-055190414th DSB Congress - Hauptturnier AB15 Caro-Kann
11. Nimzowitsch vs L Forgacs 0-1521905Austro-Hungarian championshipC45 Scotch Game
12. Nimzowitsch vs Schlechter 0-1261905Austro-Hungarian championshipB22 Sicilian, Alapin
13. H Wolf vs Nimzowitsch ½-½341905Austro-Hungarian championshipC63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
14. L Forgacs vs Nimzowitsch  0-1341905Austro-Hungarian championshipC63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
15. Nimzowitsch vs Albin 1-0381905Austro-Hungarian championshipB02 Alekhine's Defense
16. Spielmann vs Nimzowitsch 1-01919051st Match Nimzowitsch - SpielmannB15 Caro-Kann
17. Nimzowitsch vs Spielmann 1-0201905Cafe Orlando di Lasso offhandC44 King's Pawn Game
18. Spielmann vs Nimzowitsch 1-04219051st Match Nimzowitsch - SpielmannC45 Scotch Game
19. Nimzowitsch vs Spielmann  1-03519051st Match Nimzowitsch - SpielmannC45 Scotch Game
20. Nimzowitsch vs Spielmann ½-½3619051st Match Nimzowitsch - SpielmannC45 Scotch Game
21. Nimzowitsch vs K Satzinger  1-03519051st simulB22 Sicilian, Alapin
22. Nimzowitsch vs Fr Teltscher 1-02819051st simulB20 Sicilian
23. Nimzowitsch vs Przepiorka ½-½251905Barmen Meisterturnier BB22 Sicilian, Alapin
24. Spielmann vs Nimzowitsch 1-0301905Barmen Meisterturnier BC25 Vienna
25. Nimzowitsch vs L Forgacs 0-1331905Barmen Meisterturnier BC45 Scotch Game
 page 1 of 29; games 1-25 of 703  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Nimzowitsch wins | Nimzowitsch loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 75 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-18-03  Sarimanok: Nimzowitsch's My System is one the most instructive chessbook I've read. A lot chess strategy and techniques can be learned from it. Nimzowitsch is one of the original chess thinkers of the world.
May-28-03  chessamateur: Nizowitch is one of my favorite players! Too bad he didn't get a shot at the title, though Alekhine would most certainly beat him in a match. Unless of course he would get drunk like did against Euwe... heh heh heh --- that's another story.
Jun-27-03  Benjamin Lau: Random Remark of the Day: Nimzowitsch's real name is actually Niemzowitsch but it was spelled incorrectly on his passport. Overjoyed at getting a passport, Ni[e]mzowitsch didn't care.
Jun-27-03  AgentRgent: <Benjamin> I'm no handwriting expert, but it doesn't look like Aron included the [e] either, at least when he signed his name...
Jun-28-03  euripides: According to Raymond Keene's book he used more than one spelling. It's a moot point whether there's a correct spelling for a transliterated name - you could argue that Nimzowitsch is correct in German and Nimzovitch in English.
Jun-28-03  Larsker: The following is taken from

Grandmasters I Have Known
by Hans Kmoch

Aaron Nimzovich (1886-1935)

"He pretends to be crazy in order to drive us all crazy." This was Tartakower's dictum on his colleague Nimzovich.

The man was not exactly crazy, but he did have certain marked peculiarities, which I had ample opportunity to observe during the nine years I knew him.

We first met at Baden-Baden in 1925 and quickly became good friends when I innocently told him how much I had enjoyed the game he had won against Rosselli. Nimzovich suffered from the delusion that he was unappreciated and that the reason was malice. All it took to make him blossom, as I later learned, was a little praise. His paranoia was most evident when he dined in company. He always thought he was served much smaller portions than everyone else. He didn't care about the actual amount but only about the imagined affront. I once suggested that he and I order what the other actually wanted and, when the food was served, exchange plates. After we had done so, he shook his head in disbelief, still thinking that he had received the smaller portion.

He was born in Riga, the capital of Latvia, which in czarist times had a strong German culture as well as a good reputation in chess. The chess column of the *Riga Tagblatt* was well-known in Europe, and the Riga Variation of the Ruy Lopez (1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Nxe4 6 d4 exd4) had considerable significance for a long time until Capablanca demolished it in 1915. In the atmosphere of his hometown, Nimzovich learned to speak German with the skill of an actor and to play chess like a master.

The Russian word nyem-tso-vitch, with the stress on the first syllable, can be translated as "son of a German." In the Latin alphabet the name has appeared in a variety of spellings, none of them specifically sanctioned by its owner, as far as I know. The most common form in English is Nimzovich, though it
misrepresents the correct pronunciation of the first vowel.

When civil war broke out in Russia around 1917, Nimzovich was trapped in the Baltic war zone between the rightists and leftists. He escaped forced service in one of the armies by complaining so insistently about a fly on his head that they finally left the "madman" alone. The "madman" sneaked out and made his way to Berlin, where he presented himself as Arnold Nimzovich. He used the name Arnold possibly as a precaution against anti-Semitism, though he soon reverted to his real first name. After some years of wandering, he finally settled in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Nimzovich was a great player but, like Bogolyubov, only came close to the top, never quite reaching world championship class. His most brilliant success--a little late, considering he was then 43--was winnning the Karlsbad tournament in 1929. Like Steinitz and Tarrasch, Nimzovich was also a prominent teacher of strategy, though he and Tarrasch disagreed on many points.

Jun-28-03  Larsker: (continued)
Nimzovich was a moderate eater, drank very little if any beer or wine, and disliked smoking so strongly that he often got into arguments with smokers, especially when they were his opponents. But he had a keen sense of humor and enjoyed a good laugh, even at his own expense. This once helped me save a potentially embarrassing situation at the Bled tournament of 1931. Yugoslavia was then a kingdom, and Bled was the summer residence of the royal family. The queen and her children were in fact living there while the tournament was in progress, and the tournament committee was nervously on the alert in case Her Majesty might drop in. Considering the circumstances, the committee was mortified when Nimzovich, who that day had a bye, sauntered into the playing room wearing only a bathrobe, and refused to leave. Imagine a Jewish chess player presenting himself almost naked to the queen! A horrible case of lese majeste.

I happened to be the tournament director, and the committee came to me desperately seeking help. I grabbed Nimzovich gently by the neck and gave him a boot in the behind as I propelled him toward the door. Fortunately, he saw the humor in the situation and left at once, laughing all the way.

Among grandmasters, Nimzovich's best friend--and his greatest admirer--was Dr. Milan Vidmar. Over the board, however, these two were fierce enemies, always producing games full of fireworks. I played four tournament games with Nimzovich, losing three and drawing one. He was too strong for me, as he was for so many others. In speed chess, though, one of our encounters did not turn out so happily for him. At a rapid-chess tournament in Breslau in 1925, part of the first prize was enough silk to make six shirts. Nimzovich, taking it for granted that he would win, found out everything he could about the silk even before the tournament began. As it happened, however, I defeated him in the first round--in a French Defense, in fact, in which he had played his specialty 3 e5. I went on to win the tournament and the silk.

On another occasion, in Berlin, having missed the first prize by losing to Saemisch, 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.

Nimzovich also lost his temper at the end of the Marienbad tournament in 1925, which he would have won had he defeated Spielmann in the last round. But that game ended in a draw, and Nimzovich had to share first and second prizes with Rubinstein. He was so disappointed that he openly accused Spielmann of dishonor.

My last meeting with Nimzovich was also the longest. It took place in 1934, when we were both following the second
Alekhine-Bogolyubov world championship match as reporters. The games of the match were scheduled to be played in many parts of Nazi Germany--unfriendly territory for a Jew and not particularly safe for a Gentile either, in view of the tensions immediately preceding Hitler's bloody purge of his political enemies, among them Ernst Roehm.

Jun-28-03  Larsker: (last part)
Nimzovich considered himself protected by three consulates: the Latvian because of his birthplace, the Danish because of his residence, and the Dutch because some of his reports were going to a newspaper in Holland. He boasted of this protection even to Reichsminister Hans Frank, who at that time was in charge of the "protection" of art and later became the governor of Nazi- occupied Poland. Frank followed a few games of the match and sometimes chatted with the masters and reporters, including Nimzovich. He even invited the whole chess troupe to his villa for lunch. The Jews Mieses and Nimzovich were included in the invitation, but only Nimzovich showed up. At the luncheon he demonstrated his usual persecution mania by complaining first about a dirty plate and then about a dirty knife. The Reichsminister, seated directly opposite him, pretended not to hear.

In Kissingen, where some of the match games were played, I was a guest in the same hotel at which I had stayed during the tournament in 1928. Overcrowded then, it was empty in 1934. At dinnertime, when the restaurant should have been crowded, there were only four people in the room: my wife and I, and, at another table, Frank and an elderly man who I later learned was the composer Richard Strauss. The sinister emptiness of that dining room, which the hotel manager attributed to "bad economic conditions," should have been a forewarning, but the Nazi leaders understood nothing. Frank himself failed to understand what was going on under his governorship in Poland. He became known as "the butcher of Poland," and for his war crimes he was hanged in Nuremberg.

Nimzovich caused several incidents during that 1934 match, all of them harmless except one. And for a moment, that one was hair-raisingly serious. One day when a high officer in a Nazi uniform entered the press room, Nimzovich brusquely demanded to see his credentials. When the perplexed officer didn't answer at once, Nimzovich asked him to leave. The other reporters, including myself, were horrified, expecting the Nazi to react violently after receiving such an order from a Jew. But, amazingly, nothing happened. The officer simply left.

Nimzovich appeared to be in good health at the time of the 1934 match. Later that same year, however, after agreeing to play a match with Euwe, he canceled the match for reasons of ill health. On March 16, 1935, he died of cancer. [Some sources say the cause of death was pneumonia. --BH] Alekhine, who a few years later would write his infamous anti-Semitic articles for a Nazi newspaper in Holland, told me that Nimzovich's cancer was, in his exact words, "syphilitic in origin."

Premium Chessgames Member
  Ron: Kmoch on Nimzovich

One of the funniest things I read in chess literature was Hans Kmoch's spoof of Nimzovich's writing style. Kmoch's article can be found at the end of an older edition of Raymond Keene's book on Nimzovitch. There is a new addition of Keene's book, but it does not have Kmoch's article. I won't reveal everything, but it is called "The Immortal Overprotection Game" and in this fictional game White has ALL his pieces overprotecting one square! Another funny thing is that in this game after the moves e4, e6, white plays h4! which is "good because it is bad.." Perhaps the funniest article in the chess literature.

Jun-29-03  Shadout Mapes: A little bit of couriosity and boredom and I found it.

Jun-29-03  Benjamin Lau: <AgentRgent>, I obtained that information from The Oxford Companion to Chess. My copy is 1984 so it could be outdated. This is what it says:

"Around 1920 he was able to leave Latvia. His name, originally of four syllables (Ni-em-so-witsch, meaning 'from Germany'), was seplt without an 'e' on the passport; overjoyed at having a passport at all, he accepted the new name."

Jun-30-03  euripides: To get a similar phonetic effect in German I think you'd have to write Njemzowitsch
Sep-02-03  Tecumseh: Does anyone know the real story about the altercation between him and Capablanca at St Petersburg in 1914?

All I can find is this fictional and disrespectful version

Dec-19-03  CapablancaRules: I think Nimzowitsch never became WCH because he commited a lot of mistakes. His nervs blew up for any reason. Also he low-estimate his opponents, a terrible habit for a sportsman!
Dec-23-03  Prophylaxis: Nimzowitsch's most important contribution to chess was rebirth- a renaissance. After the turn of the century, Capablanca, among others, began to claim that chess was "too simple." It seemed that the magic had died, all the strategic concepts and theory of the game had been found and exhaustively explained. Then Nimzowitsch blew the world out of the water with his bold and original approach to the game. Even those who do not agree completely with his principles acknowledge how instrumental he was in reshaping and revitalizing the game at such an important time.
Dec-24-03  russep: Is his name Nimzovich or Nimzowitsch?
If he did invernt the nimzo-indian opening how come he hasn't really played a large number of games with the opening or is this database incomplete?
Dec-24-03  Benjamin Lau: Nimzowitsch I think was the first player to play the opening seriously in a tournament and with a true understanding of the theory behind it, so that's why it gets to be his opening. Blackburne was the one who first played it I think, but he didn't take it seriously. In fact, after playing 3...Bb4, his annotations say dryly, "Not much good comes of this." Englisch vs Blackburne, 1883 . Karpov was the one who played the Nimzo Indian the most, but he came later on, so the opening doesn't get his name, just like Kasparov and Fischer don't have the Sicilian named after them (except in minor lines and variations, i.e. Fischer-Sozin Attack.)
Dec-24-03  tud: Nimzowitsch is probably one of the best theoreticians, if not simply the best. He is the only one having 2 defenses bearing his name. Many chess originalities come from him. PLAYING chess is however different. So many sad stories with jewish chess players during world wars : Lasker, Rubinstein etc.
Dec-25-03  skakmiv: How good was Tarrasch a theoretician compared to Nimzowitsch?

These guys really hated each other, no?

Dec-25-03  tud: I think Nimzowitsch was not so dogmatic like Tarrasch. He had however some exagerations in his principles. After reading Chess Fundamentals and My System, I took the title of master at age 17 which in the 80s was still OK for an amateur. I gave up when I realized the complexity of the effort and started studying computers. Nimzowitch, Capablanca and Alekhine are mentioned by many chess players as the best chess tutors. I did not hear much about Tarrasch. Unfortunately as a PLAYER, he was not overwhelmingly strong. Same like Reti, Breyer and others, great in ideas but not great in front of Alekhine or Capablanca. Probably today, Soltsis or Dvoretski are better teachers. Look at the play. When I watch Karpov, Capablanca or Fischer, chess seems clear. When I see Tal or Kasparov, chess is beautiful and difficult. The first are better teachers for beginners.
Premium Chessgames Member
  PizzatheHut: <When I watch Karpov, Capablanca or Fischer, chess seems clear. When I see Tal or Kasparov, chess is beautiful and difficult. The first are better teachers for beginners.> I have a question about that. How are the people that play clearly able to compete with people that play such complex chess? One would think that if someone played cleary, they could be beaten because their play wouldn't be difficult to figure out. Obviously this isn't true, because Karpov, Capablanca, and Fischer are in the top few people who have ever played the game. My question is simply how is a clear style so effective?
Dec-25-03  ughaibu: Pizzathehut: Look at the players to whom and the games in which your exemplers where vulnerable and you'll've answered your own question.
Dec-25-03  ughaibu: Marnoff Mirlony: Some examples please.
Dec-25-03  shadowmaster: <How are the people that play clearly able to compete with people that play such complex chess?> My opinion is that the great players that strive for clarity in their games excel in organizing the game as a whole; i.e. they are strategically strong. They also have very strong calculating abilities and have a strong positional understanding. They use their calculating abilities to achieve superior positions in order to overwhelm their opponents. Capablanca, Fischer, Rubinstein, and Botvinnik are examples of this type of player. The great players who strive for complications have extraordinary combinatorial vision. They use their calculating abilities to find the combinations that overwhelm their opponents in complicated positions. Tal, Geller, Lasker, and Morphy are examples of this type of player.

<Tud<I took the title of master at age 17 which in the 80s was still OK for an amateur>> This is still a fine achievement in the 21st century.

Dec-25-03  ughaibu: Since you beg it, I grant it.
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