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Aron Nimzowitsch vs John Washington Baird
"Praxis Makes Perfect" (game of the day Feb-26-2006)
Barmen Meisterturnier B (1905), Barmen GER, rd 14, Aug-29
Scotch Game: General (C45)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-28-03  ivan2kilu: Obviously, Nimzo set up an unavoidable mate threat.
Feb-26-06  LluviaSean: Que significa "Praxis"?
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: 21...Bd4 makes a bad situation worse. Instead 21...dxe5 22. fxe5 Bf5, and if 23. e6 then 23...fxe6 24. dxe6 c6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: <LluviaSean>, Chess Praxis was the title (in English) of one of Nimzo's books.
Feb-26-06  SneechLatke: Nice pun! For those who are missing the joke, Nimzowitch wrote a book (which is still highly regarded and well known today) entitled "Chess Praxis," which is very instructive on how to play good positional chess. Incidentally, this is a sparkling example of top-notch positional play by Nimzowitsch.

4...Nxd4 doesn't make much sense for black, giving white a small but stable advantage right out of the opening with his lead in developement. Nimzowitsch plays very accurately to exploit this. I particularly like his 15. Nd1! preparing to kick the bishop and later gain space with 17.b4. An excellent game!

Feb-26-06  SneechLatke: <An Englishman> Apologies for the redundancy concerning Nimzowitsch's book in my post.
Feb-26-06  backyard pawn: Nimzo makes it look way too easy. Beautiful coordination of his pieces, strong centralized pawns morphing into two advanced passed pawns, which ultiimately aid in the final position where black's king is hemmed in on his back rank waiting to be mated.
Feb-26-06  thundershock2k: oh, that is pretty cool!
Feb-26-06  EmperorAtahualpa: When moving 21...Bd4, White overlooked the threat of Bxb7, winning a pawn. (23...Bc6 is forced)

Nice game!

Has anyone read the book? If so, what are your thoughts?

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Interesting variation of the scotch opening... Have to examine this line more closely...
Feb-26-06  old coot: I read the book 30+ years ago, and my memory is fuzzy, but it seems to me I learned a lot. "Chess Praxis" was a game collection to illustrate the principles in the book "My System" and was best studied in combination with that book.
Feb-26-06  itz2000: 23 should have been imo




and black get advantage of 1 pawn?

Feb-26-06  artemis: emperorAthahualpa: I have read my system about 5 times in the last 6 months. It has helped my chess dramatically. I am now working on my tactical ability and refreshing my endgame play. I expect that with this accomplished I will be playing @ 2000 strength. This is a gem of a game, so I will go into the ideas behind it as expressed in my system:

4. ... Nxd4 surrendering development to white. Now, inorder to maximize this advantage, white plays 6. Qc3 so that after Qxc3, 7. Nxc3 is playable. Notice how both Nxd4 and Qxc3 were moves where black, un provoked, traded off his developed pieces for one of white's, virtually forcing white to develop his pieces.

8. ... Ne7. unfortunate, but 8. ... Nf6? 9. e5 Ng4 10. f4 and white's advanced center is strong and after 11. h3 and g4, the knight is useless. better would have been 8. ... d6, seeking to restraing the e pawn, and preparing to develop the bishop. this would have allowed Nd5, where Bxd2+ Kxd2 Kd8 where white would have the pleasant choice of Rd1, Bc4, or f4. Nonetheless, I prefer 8. ... d6

Feb-26-06  artemis: 9. 0-0-0 a great way to increase the advantage in development, simultaneously, freeing the knight from the semi pin to the bishop. now, the knight's moving would not centralize the king, and white would lose no time in developing.

9. ... a6. This unfortunate move seems neccessary given Nb5, threatening to force c7-c6 (if 9. ... 0-0 instead that is.) this would make the d pawn permanently weak. This unfortunate delay in development seems to come directly from the sacrifice of tempi early on.

10. g3 preparing the pawn mass, and giving the bishop the long diagonal. White can spare a move here, since he is ahead in development.

10. ...d6 restraining the center and allowing for the development of the bishop.

12. f4 White has increased his center. Now he must decide how to use it. He has a clear advantage in development, space, and piece coordination.

14. a3, forcing the bishop off. If Ba5, b4 was going to follow. The bishop has now been reduced to a spectator.

15. Nd1! this is a brilliant move. By putting the knight on e3, white will chase of the bishop, and relocate the knight to an even more centralized post. furthermore, the d file will be open for the rooks. I will take some time here to explain Nimzo's work on the open files. The rooks love to work on open files, not because they can win pawns (although gobbling these guys up is fun), but inorder to reach the 7th rank. The d file would appear to be stopped up. Therefore, Nimzo's play proceeds logically, free up the d file for the rooks, place them there, then place the knight on d5. if it is pushed away by c7-c6, then d6 is weak and can be captured, allowing the rooks to reach the 7th rank. If it is traded off, see the game. if it is ignored, the knight will dominate the board.

Feb-26-06  artemis: the reason that the knight needs to be on e3, not c3, is that the c pawn must be on c4 for nimzo's idea to work.

15. ... Rfe8, fine. wrong would have been 15. ... d5 where 16. e5 with h3, g4 and f5 coming would have overrun black. This is the purpose of restraining the opponent's center. notice how the darksquared bishop is missed on the kingside. It would be wonderful if it could be on the f8 square to reach g7. This shed's doubt on the pin played earlier.

18. c4! Nimzo's pieces are ready to spring to life.

As of 20. ... Bd7, we can swee Nimzo's work on the file. The purpose was to shfift the open file from the d file, where the d6 pawn was a piece of granite, to the c file, which is poorly protected, so that the rooks could operate on the c file and have some hope of reaching the 7th.

21. e5 The great power of advancing pawns is that the pieces behind them come to life. a reasonable plan would also have been to relocate the king and attack on the c file, but here nimzo uses the pawn roller in the middle, taking away squares from his opponent's pieces and letting his pieces spring to life from behind the advancing pawns. This is the great power of protecting your central pawns. the pawns themselves can become strong, but the simultaneous effect of opening up your pieces and pushing the pawns is frequently too much for your opponent to bear. (consider Zaitsiev in the ruy lopez, where white has a strong bishop on b1, which is blocked by the e4 pawn. it is still very strong despite this).

Feb-26-06  artemis: 23. ... Bc6 every possible move here is bad if he takes the pawn on e6, then he loses two more on the queenside. while it could be won back, it would still be uncomfortable. I agree that 23. ... Bxe6 may have been better.

25. f5, advancing his center. Notice how the doubled pawns are very awkward for black.

26. Kc2, preparing to meet an a pawn advance with Kb3 (I think).

29. Rhf1. The correct position for this rook has finally become clear.

30. Bc3 with the bishops gone, it will allow white to protect his soon to be passed pawn pair from behind with even greater ease.

30. ... Bxc3. perhaps a more vigorous defense would have been offered by Bf6. Then after 31. Bxf7 gxf6, the pawns might be held easier, but white would still be able to play h3-h4, and g4-g5 freeing the central pawns to wreak havoc.

Feb-26-06  artemis: And now the final position, we see the true effect of the pawn advance. Mate is unstoppable.

This game is an elegant example regarding the correct play in the opening, how to fight for an open file, how to use a pawn mass to destroy you opponent. It should also serve as a warning. If you conced the opponent's center, restrain it!! once this has been done, seek methods to destroy it. Black did not do this, and was destroyed. Nimzo was clearly a couple of classes out of his opponent's league, at least based on this game.

Despite the dissapearance of the pieces, white was still attacking. In chess, regardless of the material (as long as there is more than just the kings), one side at least should be attacking.

Feb-26-06  artemis: I hope to get Chess praxis at some point in the future, to reaffirm nimzo's ideas in my system, but I think that will be well in the future, since I have to keep up with my studies as well.

So long, and thanks for all the chess;)

Feb-26-06  Calli: In the tournament book, they say

21.e5 Bd4 [Ein Fehler; Schwarz übersieht, dass er nach e6, fxe, dxe den Be6 nicht schlagen darf. Mit 21...c6 22.exd6 cxd5 23.Bxd5 Bc6 etc.; Oder auch 21...dxe5 22.fxe5 c6 23.d6 Bd4 24.Bf4 f6 25.exf6 gxf6! konnte Schwarz sich noch gut verteidigen. Mit den 2 Freibauern im Zentrum gewinnt Weiss Leicht. Es ist interessant, wie die weissen Königflügelbauern in gleichmässiger schräger Schlachtordnung von Staffel zu Staffel vordringen.] 22.e6! etc

Verstehen sie? They say 21...Bd4 is a mistake. Black missed the fact that 26...Bxe6 is bad (because of Rxe6 and Bd5). He could have played either line they give (21...c6 or 21...dxe5) and defended (gut verteidigen)

Your German word of the day:

Kingside pawns! Nimzo advances his Königflügelbauern in this game :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  AgentRgent: <Artemis> Thanks for those wonderful and instructive notes. Players unfamiliar with Nimzowitsch will be well served by your posts.
Feb-26-06  mitsuo: For anyone else interested in Nimzowitsch's works, there is a more modernized version of "My System" out there titled 'Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy', by John Watson. The unique quality in both books are that they go over middlegame strategy. Most chess books deal with the elements of the endgame or the opening, but you won't find very many on the middlegame due to the sheer quantity of positions and complexity (though endgames have the potential to give one bigger headaches; esp with an ending with no pieces). 'My System' and 'Chess Praxis' are indeed very useful mental sharpeners, but I would suggest consulting John Watson's book first. Also, some portions of 'My System' are not fully understood (not to say that it isn't one of the best chess books in the world) by the players of today.

Man, I wish Nimzo played Capa for the crown.

Feb-26-06  LPeristy: "Passed connected pawns on the sixth are generally winning. To draw, the other side cannot let the pawns get that far." - Jeremy Silman

Silman is correct as usual. I cannot, however, see any efficient way of preventing the pawns from getting that far. Maybe instead of 21...Bd4

21...dxe 22. cxe Bd4 23. Bf4 h6 24. h4 Or perhaps 23...c6 as Calli has suggested. Either way, black certainly isn't winning. A good game by Nimzovitch all round.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White's pawns advance to the sixth together-not to promote,but to act as a restraining force to pin black's king to his first row.

Praxis is also the name of the Klingon moon in Star Trek VI-The moon exploded in a nuclear "incident"-Star Trek's answer to Chernobyl.

Mar-21-15  Mating Net: Black can not play 23...Bxe6 because it loses the Bishop to 24.Rxe6 Rxe6 25.Bd5 recovering the Rook while remaining a piece up thus guaranteeing an easy win.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Jeremy Silman's words are certainly true.

In this particular case, the connected passed pawns on the sixth rank are not concerned with advancing to promotion. The pawns serve as a barrier to the opposing king stuck on the back rank. White has mate in two in the final position threatening Rb8+, RxR, RxRb8#.

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