GM F. Samisch - GM A. Nimzovich  


This is a game someone showed me when I first started going to the Pensacola Chess Club. And to be completely truthful, although I was enthralled by the play, I probably did really understand it.

I got to know this game many years later when I was a teen-ager. I had gotten "My System," (and several other books on Nimzovich, the local library at that time had a collection of Nimzovich's best games); and I began to study. At one time I had this entire game committed to memory. This is a great game, and surely one of my all-time personal favorites.

The opinions are VASTLY divided over the merits of play and the game itself. For my part, I will simply present the game, and allow you to make up your own mind what you think about the game. 

This is a game I have tinkered with for quite a number of years. I was a spectator every year at the  "U.S. Open" (COMPUTER!) Championships  in Mobile, AL. The first or second year, the organizers asked me to put together a collection of 10-25 games that the computers may not do well with. (That they might have trouble analyzing.) This was one of THE VERY FIRST GAMES I chose. As a result, every time a new chess machine came out, or a new program emerged, this was one of the very first games that I tested the machine or program against. 

I have been actively involved in analyzing this game for over 10 years now. (Maybe closer to 15.) I found one notebook that dates back to the late 80's and some tests I did on this game with a Fidelity Chess Challenger. (A dedicated micro-processor.) My notes reflect a series if tests I did just about every time a new box or program came out. (Every 2-3 years.) 

This is certainly one of the classics of chess. If nothing else, the number of times great players and writers have chosen to annotate this game is a testimony to that fact. (See the bibliography at the end of the game.)

Click  HERE  to see an explanation  of some of the more common symbols that I use 
   while annotating a game. 

***********

   I encourage all the students of the game of chess to take the MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR.    
   (The tour of possible transpositions after Black's third move.) Only by doing so can the student  
   of the game really learn the opening and some of the possibilities that it contains!    


This is mostly a text-based page, with only one diagram. Therefore, you will probably need a chess board. 

REPLAY, but on a different website


  GM Frederich Samisch (2600) - GM Aaron Niemzowitsch (2730)  
[E06]  (or E18?)  
  All-Master Tourney  
Copenhagen, DEN;  1923.

[A.J. Goldsby I]

****************************************************************************************************

One of the most interesting and (very) controversial games ever played. 
It is also poorly understood.

Emanuel Lasker himself dubbed this game:  
"The IMMORTAL ZUGZWANG GAME."  (!!!!)
(Nimzovich was to continually remind us of this!  hee-hee)

{This game is from a tourney, where ... I believe ... 
  Nimzo completed dominated the rest of the field.}

This game has been reprinted an almost countless number of times. 
---> A lot of great annotators have taken a whack at it. 

Nimzovich gives himself nothing but exclams and double exclams for his 
conduct in this game. 
(In an article he wrote for a Danish Chess magazine.)
GM Robert Huebner gives out a (large) BUNCH of question marks, 
especially to White's side of the play. 
... ... ...  So who is right?
(I am sure the truth lays somewhere in the middle of these two very different 
 and opposing extremes.)

***

 [ GM A. Soltis also basically trashes this historic encounter, giving it the {dubious}    
    honor of being: "One of the most OVER-RATED GAMES ... of all time!!!" ]   

***

The ratings are simply estimates, expressed in 2001 terms.

[ Sonas says Samisch was # 25 in the world at the time and gives him a 2439 rating. 
  Nimzo is # 4 in the world and gets a 2647 rating. I think you would add AT LEAST 
  50 points to these ratings to get to 2003 terms. 
  By comparison: --->  On the current FIDE web page; the # 4 Player in the whole 
  world today, (May, 2003); is GM Peter Leko ... and his rating is ... 2746. (!!!!)  
  And the # 25 (ranked) Player in the world today is GM Zoltan Almasi; and his rating 
  is a whopping 2676!) ] 

****************************************************************************************************

1.d4 Nf6;  2.c4 e6;   
Nimzovich pioneered this whole method of development ... 
AND the move order.

(Black can play a Nimzo-Indian, a Queen's Indian Defence, 
 or transpose back to a Queen's Gambit Declined.)

3.Nf3,   
A simple (and good) developing move. My only question would be: 
"Was Samisch already avoiding Nimzo's ...Bb4?"

 (In the 1980's, I attended several U.S. Championships. Most Masters    
  who played in this select event would not even play  3.Nc3  ...  it was    
  considered foolish to allow the Nimzo-Indian.)   

     [  More normal ... especially for that period of time, was:   3.Nc3,  {Diagram?}  
        Perhaps Samisch intentionally played this way as now  3...Bb4;  leads to the 
        Nimzo-Indian, an opening that Nimzovich invented, patented, and pioneered. ]  

 

3...b6;   
Nimzo plays the Queen's Indian Defence. To be honest, this could [also!!]  be named:  
"The Nimzowitsch Defense." (With ...b6.) 
(He was one of the 'God-Fathers' of the Hyper-Modern movement and he both 
 pioneered and mapped out the Q.I.D.)  

From the period of the late 1970's, to the early 1990's, this opening dominated 
Master-level play.

  "The Queen's Indian has become the most popular defense in chess today."    
     - GM Andrew Soltis.    
 (Almost 80% of top-level GM encounters, according to one book I have on the Q.I.D.) 
  From the book:  "The Queen's Indian, ... 
  A Quantitative Analysis of The {Q.I.D.} Opening." (1982)  
  By David Levy, Kevin O'Connoll, and David Watt. 
  (ISBN: 0-907352-13-8) 

**********

--->  [ By playing:   3...c5!?;  {Diagram?}  
          Many consider this risky today.  

          4.d5,  {Diagram?} 
          Probably the strongest move.  

              (If White plays:  4.Nc3 cxd4; 5.Nxd4, "+/=" {Diagram?}     
              we have transposed into an English ... where Black could     
              play a Hedgehog, or play might yet transpose (again) to a    
              Sicilian type of Pawn Structure.)     

          4...exd55.cxd5 d66.Nc3 g6;  {Diagram?}  
          and Black is playing a sharp opening known as:  
          "The Modern Benoni."  

*******

          Of course by playing: 3...d54.Nc3 c6!?;  {Diagram?}  
          Shoring up the center.  

              ( Maybe also playable is: 4...c5!?,  {Diagram?}     
                 if Black is trying to 'take advantage' of the first player's    
                 {imprecise?} move order.    

                 (This is the opening known as: "The Semi-Tarrasch," I believe.) )    

          5.Bg5!?,  {Diagram?} 
          The most aggressive.

              ( By playing the moves: 5.e3 Nbd7; 6.Bd3 dxc4; 7.Bxc4, {Diagram?}     
                 we reach, I believe, a Meran Variation.   
                 (A sub-variant of the Slav/Semi-Slav.) )      

          5...Nbd7;  {Diagram?}  
          Probably the most solid approach for Black here, even if this is to be 
          considered by some to be somewhat of an unambitious approach for 
          the second player here. 

              ( By playing the moves: 5...dxc4!?;  6.e4 b5; 7.e5 h6;  8.Bh4 g5;     
                9.Nxg5 hxg5;  10.Bxg5 Nbd7; 11.exf6, "<=>" {Diagram?}   
                we enter one of the sharpest and most hotly debated lines in master      
                QP praxis:  "The Botvinnik Variation."          
              
  (This is a SHARP GAMBIT that has been played by masters for over      
                 50 years. My database shows literally hundreds of significant GM        
                 games. It also has been 'refuted' ...  and rehabilitated a number of        
                 times!)  )       

          6.e3 Be77.Bd3 0-08.0-0,  {Diagram?}  
          we arrive back at the  main line  of the  Queen's Gambit Declined.   
          (A venerable opening that has been played at the Master level  
           for close to (or over) 100 years!!) 

          By taking this little tour,  I hope you can get a VERY SMALL glimpse at just 
          how many possibilities there are ... and how many transpositions are possible ... 
          in the opening phase of the game!  ]   

**********

 

4.g3,   
This  "counter-fianchetto"  was patented by Rubinstein and also championed 
 by (none other than) J.R. Capablanca.

It was also the main line for something like 50-75 years. 

     [  The main line today is  "The Petrosian System" ...  
         which is reached after: 4.a3!? Bb75.Nc3 d5!?;  {Diagram?}  
         with complex play. 

        See  MCO-14;  and the section on the Queen's Indian.
        (Pages # 555-573, mainly pg. 558, and columns one through six.)  ]     

 

4...Bb7;   
This is logical, but Nimzovich himself was the first to show that ...Ba6! 
is also a very good move here.  

     [  Also ... VERY playable is:  4...Ba6{Diagram?}  
        as hundreds of Master level games have shown.  ]  

 

Now both sides develop in a more-or-less normal fashion. 
5.Bg2 Be7;  6.Nc3 0-0;  7.0-0 d5!?;  
Black goes for the center ...  I like this, and considering the result,  
I would be tempted to award this move an exclam.  

Today, the modern line is ...Ne4. 

      [  More often played in  'modern' tournaments is:  7...Ne4!?;  with good play for Black.  

         A good - and fairly recent - example of this line would be: 
         GM F. Vallejo Pons (2629) - GM Ruslan Ponomariov (2734);  
         XX Super-GM Tournament.  Linares, Spain. (ESP) 2003.  

         Ponomariov  is the current  FIDE World Champion. 
         (Black won a long and difficult game.)  ]   

 

8.Ne5 c6!?;  (Maybe - '!')  {Diagram?}  
This leads to a rather boxed-in type of pawn structure. 
 (But Nimzovich has a very clear strategy already worked out.) 

Some annotators have criticized this move, but without really proving 
the second player had anything that was demonstrably better.  

     [  Or   8...Nbd7!?9.Qa4, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
        and White has a slight advantage. ]  

 

9.cxd5!?,   
This looks like a logical move.  

But it prematurely releases the tension, {"Too easy-going," says Reinfeld.}; 
and Huebner (and Fine) awards it a question mark. 
(GM John Emms is more restrained, and only awards it a dubious {?!} 
 appellation.)

(The change in the computer's evaluation is very slight.)  

   '?'  - GM Reuben Fine.   '?!' - GM Johm Emms.   '?' - GM Andrew Soltis.   

     [  >/=  9.e4!, "+/="  - GM J. Emms. 

        Maybe  9.Bg5!?, "="  {Diagram?}  
        with unclear play.  ]   

 

The next few moves look fairly normal.  
9...cxd5;   
Probably the best re-capture.  

     [  Was  9...Nxd5!?;  playable?  (This is not really clear.)

        After the further moves: 10.e4 Nxc311.bxc3 c5; "~"  {Diagram?}  
        Black's position is OK, but I much prefer to be White here, as he has 
        more space and better control of the center. 

        (Most programs consider this position to be close to equal.)  ]   

 

10.Bf4!? a6!?;   
Nimzo himself awards this an exclam ... and I am inclined to agree. 
In a seemingly sterile position, Black's Q-side expansion appears to be trivial. 

   '!' - GM A. Nimzovich   
(The great player himself points out that among the many ideas for Black here 
  is ...b7-b5; and then attempting to anchor a Knight on that square.)  

   '!' - Fred Reinfeld.   '!' - GM Raymond Keene.   '!!'  - Yakov Damsky.  

 

After White's next move ... nearly all the good chess programs - from Fritz to 
ChessMaster9000 to Crafty ... give White a modest but solid advantage. 
11.Rc1 b5;  12.Qb3!?,   
This looks OK, (at least on the surface); ... ... ... 
but shows a certain lack of feel for the position. (A ham-handedness?)
("White is obviously lost in this hyper-modern maneuvering." 
  - GM R. Fine.) 

 

   [ Fritz still shows a very small advantage for White here. ] 

Several authors have greatly criticized this move, yet already 
White has difficulty finding the best plan. 

'?' - GM R. Fine.  
(He calls the move, Qb3: "A positional error." 
 But I am not sure I can go along with that. .........
 The 'refutation' is not easily demonstrated.) 

     [  Maybe better is:  12.a3!?, "~"  {Diagram?}  
         with a playable position.  

         GM R. Fine recommends that White play the continuation of:  
         12.Nd3!? Nc613.e3 Rc814.a3, "="  {Diagram?}  
         with the idea of b2-b4, followed by anchoring the Knight on c5.  
         (This was probably superior to Samisch's idea of Qb3.)  

         Another alternative was: 12.Qd3 Nbd713.Nxd7 Nxd714.Nb1 Rc8;  
         15.Rxc8 Bxc816.Rc1, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
         and White has a small, but fairly solid edge. ]  

 

12...Nc6!?;  (Maybe - '!')  {Diagram?}  
Nimzovich praises this move ...  I like it as well precisely because 
 it is a little daring. (non-routine) 

"The ghost! With noiseless steps he presses on towards QB5." 
  - GM Aaron Nimzovich.  (QB5 = the c4-square.)  

   '!' - GM Aaron Nimzowitsch.  '!' - Iakov Damsky.   

     [  Black gets little from:  12...Nfd713.Nxd7 Qxd7;  
        14.e4! dxe415.Nxe4, "="  {Diagram?}  
         and the position offers almost no chance of advantage 
         for the second player. ]   

 

13.Nxc6,   
Seemingly the correct move. 
(And the first choice of virtually  ALL  the computer programs!) 

   '?' - GM Andy Soltis.  

"White stops ... Na5-c4; at the cost of trading away his best minor piece."  
 - GM Andrew Soltis.

I fail to understand this. Soltis also does NOT point out the move that is better ... 
or the correct move that White should have played. (So do we guess?) 
{In fact, several hours of computer-assisted analysis failed to help me deduce 
 what White was supposed to have played in this particular position.}  

I am 100% sure that GM Soltis would be unable to reasonably substantiate 
this question mark. (Or his comments here.) 

*******

     [  Emms offers the following line:  
        13.Nxd5!? Nxd5!?;   
        Some authors pretend this is the only move for Black, 
        but I know better.  

          ( >/=  13...Nxd4!; 14.Nxe7+ Qxe7; 15.Qe3 Bxg2; 16.Kxg2,    
            16...Qb7+; 17.f3 Nf5; 18.Qf2, "=" {Diagram?} )    

        14.Nxc6 Bxc615.Rxc6 Nxf416.gxf4 Qxd4;   
        At first, Black looks OK ...

        Now GM J. Emms gives the (simply horribly) tame: 17.e3, "="  (?)  
        with about a level position. 

          ( MUCH better was: >/=  17.Rxe6!, "+/=" {Diagram?}  
            and White is clearly on top. (Maybe - "+/") )    

***

        The continuation of: 13.e3 Nxe514.Bxe5 Ng4;  "~"   
         offers White very little, and may even be better for Black!  

           (Not  14...Nd7?!; 15.Bc7!, "+/=") 

***

        Maybe playable was the line: 13.Rfd1 Rc814.a3 Nh5!, "="   
        but Black is certainly OK.  

***

        Utterly pointless was:  13.Nf3?! Rc814.a3 Na5!; "~"  {Diagram?}  
        and Black has good play.  ]   

*******

 

13...Bxc6;  14.h3!?,   
I think White wants to play g4 and save his dark-squared Bishop, 
but he had no time for this type of maneuver. 

Several writers and commentators condemn this move, one even gives it ... 
TWO question marks. (!) 

Needless to say, this is more than a little unjustified. The machine's appraisal 
of this position has really not been affected, the worst one could award to this 
move is the dubious appellation. ('?!')  

   '?' - GM John Nunn, GM J. Emms, and FM Graham Burgess. 
    (The Mammoth Book.)  

   '?' - GM Andrew Soltis.  "Clueless play." - Soltis.  

     [  >/= 14.Rc2, "~"  (Maybe - "+/=")  {Diagram?}  
        is probably better than the actual game.   

        Maybe White should play: >/=  14.Bg5!?, "~"  {Diagram?}  
        as suggested by the authors of the Mammoth Book. ]   

 

14...Qd7!;   
Reinfeld points out that this prepares ...b4; and prevents White's Knight 
from going to the a4-square. 

   '!' - Fred Reinfeld.   

   '!' - GM Lajos Portisch.   
(The Hungarian GM annotated this contest as one of several games that
   
 influenced him early in his career.)  

     [ Maybe 14...b4!?15.Na4, "~"       or  14...Qb6!?15.Rfd1 Nh5; "=" ]    

 

15.Kh2!?,   
I am not sure what this move really accomplishes here - it is a safe bet to say 
that White is basically drifting, and playing without a plan. 
(While definitely not a great move, it hardly deserves the full question mark that 
 several annotators have used to adorn this rather lackluster try by White.)

(One author provides the rather humorous comment:)
"Another move from the same stock as (14) h3."  - GM John Emms. 
 (From the Mammoth Book.)

     [  White could try:  >/=  15.a3!?, "="  (!)  {Diagram?}  
        or  15.g4!?{Diagram?}  or  15.Be5, "~"  {Diagram?} 
        or even  15.Bg5!?, "~"  {Diagram?}  
        all of which were probably a little better than the 
        actual game continuation.  ]   

 

15...Nh5!;   
Not just Bishop hunting.  
{Black prepares ...f5; as well as several other ideas.} 
 Nimzovich realizes that White is very restricted and that he can play on 
 BOTH sides of the board in this position. 

   '!' - Fred Reinfeld.  '!' - Iakov Damsky.  

     [  Fritz 8.0 thinks for 5 minutes and recommends that Black play: 
        15...b4; "=/+"  {Diagram?}  with a small advantage.  ]  

 

16.Bd2,   
Samisch felt this was forced.  

     [ </=  16.Be3?! b4!{Diagram?}  with the idea of  ...Ba4;  "/+" ]   

 

16...f5!?;  (Probably - '!')  (Maybe - '!!')  {Diagram?}  
[Nimzo himself gave this move an exclam, when annotating this game 
 for a Danish magazine.]  

Black gains space, (puts a clamp on); stops White from playing e4, and 
prepares a possible K-side attack.  
(The drawbacks is that his light-squared Bishop is a little more hemmed 
 in and the e5-square is left unprotected.)  

This is a bold move by Nimzovich, knowing how much he hated creating 
 weaknesses such as the one on e5. Also notice how Black has hemmed 
 in his own QB. 
 (Normally he was highly critical of masters who played in this fashion.) 

   '!' -  GM Aaron Nimzovich.   '!' - Fred Reinfeld.   '!' - Iakov Damsky.  

     [  Good for Black was:  16...Rfc8; "="  {Diagram?}  
         which should be sufficient for at least a draw. 

         (Nimzovich wanted more from this game!!)  ]   

 

17.Qd1,  (Maybe - '?!',  possibly - '?')   
 This is virtually a confession that Qb3 was a waste of time.   

Few annotators notice that this move costs White a great deal of time - 
and also cause a sudden (downward) jump in the evaluation of White's position. 
(By most computer programs.)  

Now Nimzovich releases a virtual torrent of very brilliant moves. 

     [ Maybe better was:  17.a3!? ]  

 

17...b4!;   
GM R. Fine praises this and awards it an exclam. Black's expansion on the 
Q-side looks almost futile here, until you realize the White QN will have to 
retreat to b1 ... and stay there a VERY long time!!!  

   '!'  - GM Reuben Fine.   '!'  -  GM Aaron Nimzovich.   '!' - Iakov Damsky.  

     [  A safer move for Black would have been: 17...Nf6!?, "="  and Black is OK. ]   

 

18.Nb1 Bb5!;  (Maybe - '!!')   
Black re-deploys his QB to a new diagonal. 

   '!' - Fred Reinfeld.  

     [  Black could have played: 18...Rac8!?; "~"  {Diagram?}  
        but after possible exchanges on the c-file, a draw could be 
        the result.  ]  

 

19.Rg1,  {See the diagram just below.}  
The Rook slinks off the diagonal  threatened by Black's Bishop. 
(Damsky says you can see White's position shrinking.) 

While this move does not {majorly} affect the computer's assessment 
of the position, the Rook on g1 does NOT impress anyone here ... 
and makes a rather sorry sight!! 

     [ Maybe  19.a3!?, "~" ]  

   Black to play: what move do YOU Make?  (sam-nim_pos1.bmp, 356 KB)

(The game position after White's 19th move)

 

19...Bd6!!,  (Maybe - '!!!/!!!!')   {A brilliant concept.}  
This is the move that must be praised to the skies. It is extremely deep. 
(Most computers in the year 2001 did not even begin to realize what this move did.)

This is the point in the game where Nimzovich must have decided to sacrifice his Knight. 
(Although he has probably been playing with the idea for a few moves.)  

  "At first glance, this appears to be a blunder, but ..."   - GM A. Soltis.  

***

   '!!' - Fred Reinfeld.   

    '!' - GM John Nunn, GM J. Emms, and FM Graham Burgess.  
     (The Mammoth Book.) 

    '!' - GM Andrew Soltis.   

     [  In the year 2000, many of the best available programs pick 
        move:  19...Rac8;  {Diagram?}  
        but this is uninspiring.  

        If Black wanted to chicken out, he could always play:  19...Nf6;  {D?}  
        and offer a draw!  ]  

 

20.e4!, "+/="   
Win or lose, White MUST play this. 
(The computers now {2002} think that WHITE is better here!) 

   If White does not try this, then Black can prepare ideas like  ...e5  at his leisure,    
   and with no fear of reprisal. (!!!!!)   

I also should point out that ...  
WHITE IS WINNING A PIECE HERE, and the refutation is FAR from completely obvious! 

 Fine questions this and calls it,  "A miscalculation."  
    '?'  -  GM Reuben Fine.  

I - with the help of several Internet students - ran many tests and subjected this game 
to a VERY thorough analysis. BOTH  Fritz 8.0,  AND  ChessMaster 9000  choose 
e4 in this position, and then award White at least a small plus. (2003.) 

      [ 20.Qe1!? a5; "~" ]  

 

"White has just played 20.e2-e4?, discovering an attack on the h5-Knight. 
 However, Nimzovich has a fine reply ready."  - FM Graham Burgess.
20...fxe4!;  (Maybe - '!!')    
Many authors praise this move and some even award a double exclam here. 
But I will offer this statement here:  
"By modern standards, this is not a terribly impressive sack. 
  Black gets two buttons and a TON of play for the Knight." 
  (From an article I wrote for a southern {state} chess magazine.) 

Now let me clarify here, I am not saying that this is not a brilliant concept. 
I am simply disputing the need for this move to receive two exclams.  
(One is sufficient.)  

   '!!'  -  GM Reuben Fine.   

   '!' -  GM Aaron Nimzovich.   
   '!' - Fred Reinfeld.  
   '!' - GM Raymond Keene.   
   '!' - GM John Nunn, GM J. Emms, and FM Graham Burgess.  
    
(The Mammoth Book.)  
   '!' - Iakov Damsky. 
   '!' - FM Graham Burgess.
  

     [  Simply horrible is:  20...Nf6; ('??')  21.e5, ''  {Diagram?}  
        and White is now probably winning this game!!  ]   

Extensive computer testing that I did in the year 2001, shows that most programs 
consider Black to be lost here.  (After White's next move.) 

21.Qxh5 Rxf2;   
"Black has two pawns for the piece, and can make further inroads into White's badly 
  organized position via the f-file."  - FM Graham Burgess.  

     [ 21...Rf5!? ]  

 

22.Qg5!?,  (Maybe - '?!')   
This could be one of the critical decisions of the whole game. 
And I am not sure if it was the best one.

     [  >/=  22.a3!, "~" ]   

 

22...Raf8; ('!')   
It is correct to double on the  file here.  

     [ Interesting was:  22...Bd3!? ]  

 

23.Kh1!?,  (Maybe - '?!/?')   
Probably not the most accurate move. 
But Samisch was already running short of time.  

Samisch saw that Black threatened ..h6; and if White retreated his Queen 
to e3, then Black could play ...Bd3; followed by ...Re2; or ...R/f8-f3; winning 
White's Queen.

     [  White's only chance was to play the move:  >/=  23.Rge1,  {Diagram?}  
        trying to vacate g1 for the White Queen. ]  

 

23...R8f5;   
The correct plan, first Black drives back the White Queen.

     '!' - Fred Reinfeld.  

     [ 23...Be7!? ]  

 

24.Qe3 Bd3!,   
Black could already win material with ...Re2; but this move is far more classy.

   '!' - Fred Reinfeld.  

"24...Re2;  25.Qb3, Ba4;  also wins, but the text move embodies a more 
  beautiful idea."  - FM G. Burgess. 

   '!' - GM Andy Soltis.  

     [ = 24...Re225.Qb3 Ba4; "-/+" ]  

 

25.Rce1 h6!!{And Black is winning ...  "-/+"  ... here?}  White Resigns. 
 (Just about EVERY annotator gives this move  {...h6}  a DOUBLE EXCLAM!)     

White is completely tied up.
(zugzwang - sooner or later White will run out of moves)
Death ... by strangulation.
A VERY unique and brilliant concept. 

Fine like the move ...h6 so much, that he awards it THREE exclams! 
(He calls it the most remarkable winning move on record.) 

This is a very elegant game by the great Nimzovich. He played with a 
great deal of inspiration and also with a fiery originality.
(I know of no other game like this one.)  

"This extraordinarily striking piece set-up, by which Black achieved zugzwang, 
  places this game on a par with the  'Immortal Game.'  
  (cf.  Anderssen - Kieseritzky)."   - NM Iakov Damsky.

R.N. Coles called it, "One of the most extraordinary denouements on record to 
any combination that was ever played." 

(The authors of the Mammoth book praise Nimzovich's play as well.) 

In an article Nimzovich wrote, he referred to this as: 
"One of the first truly great games of the hyper-modern era!!"  
 (He went on to talk about how this was the correct way to play chess, 
  and how banal K-side attacks would become a thing of the past.)  

****************************************************************************************************

"White's play in this game was awful."

"A pleasant little game in which Black found two fair moves, (10 & 19) 
 and one excellent one. (...h6!!) But that's all."  - GM Andy Soltis
 (He ranks this game as the second most over-rated game of all time!)

***

GM R. Huebner  dismissed this game  - with contempt - calling it, 
"A piece of junk."  (And a waste of time to try and bother to analyze it.)

****************************************************************************************************

  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I.  Copyright (c) A.J.G;  2003.  

*******

BIBLIOGRAPHY
I have seen this game many times in print!! (More times than I can count.) 

I consulted literally dozens of books and magazines to try and annotate
this game.  I also was fortunate to have a few Internet students who copied 
 material and sent it to me.  

I could not possibly list every single time I saw this game in print ... ... ... 
that would be an impossibility. 

So I will simply let you know were the best sources of information, or might have 
had the greatest influence on my job of annotating that I did here. 

First, I annotated this game from memory - pulling just the raw score from an 
on-line database. Then I looked at the following books, given in the order that  
I consulted them
. These were the principal sources for my annotation job here. 
(This game was in all of the following {listed} books.) 

# 1.)  "The World's Great Chess Games,"  by  GM Reuben Fine
            (c) 1951, 1976. Dover Books.

# 2.)  "My System,"  by  A. Nimzovich.
           (c) 1947, David McKay Books.

# 3.)  "Hyper-Modern Chess,"  
           ('As developed in the GAMES Of its greatest exponent, AARON NIMZOVICH.') 
           Compiled from numerous sources; - - - annotated and edited by  Fred Reinfeld
           (c) 1948, Dover Books.

# 4.)  "Aaron Nimzowitsch: A Reappraisal,"  by  GM Raymond Keene.  
           (c) 1974, G. Bell/D. McKay Books.

# 5.)  [The Mammoth Book Of:]  "The World's Greatest Chess Games." 
          By  GM/Dr. John NunnGM  John Emms, and  FM  Graham Burgess
          (c) 1998, Carroll & Graf Books.

# 6.)  "Chess Brilliancy"  ('250 Games From The Masters.')  
           by  NM Yakov Damsky.  (c) 2002, Everyman (chess) Books.

# 7.)  "Chess Highlights Of The Twentieth (20th) Century," (1923)  
            by  FM Graham Burgess.  (c) 1999, Gambit Publications. 

# 8.)  "The 100 Best."  
           ('The 100 Best Chess Games Of The 20th Century, Ranked.')
  
            By  GM Andrew Soltis.  (c) 2000, McFarland Books. 

# 9.)   There is a fairly detailed analysis of this game in my  CB database  with 
           contributions from dozens of authors, including (former) World Champion, 
           Tigran Petrosian. 
           (I have culled references about this game from a variety of different sources 
            and added them to this version of the game, including from about two dozen 
            different magazines.) 

***

   (Code Initially)  Generated with  ChessBase 8.0   

 

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This is yet ANOTHER game that the opinions seem to be SHARPLY divided upon! 
(I seem to be working on a lot of these lately!!  ---  March-thru-June, 2003.) 

The late, great GM Reuben Fine called this an immortal and divine masterpiece. He awarded THREE exclams 
 to Black's final move, and called it the most beautiful and unique (winning) move in all of chess praxis.

Several other players said it was a great and/or a fantastic game. Reinfeld and Chernev hail it as one of the great games of all of Hyper-Modern chess. One Danish annotator called it: "THE Game of the new era. All other master chess games that follow will be measured by this one!" 

  The one and only (great)  Emanuel Lasker,  dubbed this game: "The Immortal Zugzwang Game."   

This is certainly an interesting game. Dozens of books/game collections have included this contest in their anthologies. (See the Mammoth Book of the '100 Best Chess Games.') Several Soviet Masters said this game influenced them more than any other they had ever studied. 

Time marches on. GM Huebner would annotate this game ... and seem to give every (other) move a question mark, or a double-question mark. He dismissed it as a very poor game. 

Other annotators have followed suit, to me, it seems that they were just imitating Huebner.
(At least a few.) 

GM Andrew Soltis provided the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. In his book, "The 100 Best," calling this: "ONE OF THE  MOST OVER-RATED  GAMES OF ALL TIME." (When I asked him his personal opinion of this game, he told me it was very poor. He said it looked like a second-rate Master playing Black, and a Class 'C' player - having a bad day! - playing White!!!) 

So ... a classic game of chess literature ... or a piece of worthless junk?  YOU  be the judge!!!!!!!!!! 


May, 2007: I continue to get e-mail about this game.  (click) HERE  to see an interesting blog on this game.  


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This page was first posted: Friday; March 28th, 2003.  This page was last updated on 06/05/07


 Copyright  (c)  A.J. Goldsby I 

  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 1975 - 2006.  

    Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 2007.  All rights reserved.  


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