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Aron Nimzowitsch vs Savielly Tartakower
Karlsbad (1929), Karlsbad CSR, rd 21, Aug-26
King's Indian Defense: Saemisch Variation. Normal Defense (E81)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-29-04  meloncio: Last game in Karlsbad 1929. After the blunder 36. ... Bf8??, Tartakower gave to Nimzo an easy way to his main triumph in all his chess life.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: this is a wonderful blockading game-i demonstrate in my book on nimzo that he was winning strategically when T blundered,
Feb-17-05  fgh: Great maneuvering game!
Jul-11-06  RookFile: The game reminds one of a crush by Capablanca on the white side of a closed position.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: In the original tournament book of Karlsbad 1929, Nimzowitsch gave this alternative line on move 31 (after White's 31.Nf5, and instead of the move Tartakower actually played, 31...Rg8):

If 31…exf4 32.Nxf4 Qg5 33.Ne6+ Bxe6 34.dxe6 Ne5 35.Rxh6 ‘and wins’. The same line was repeated in later books, including studies of Nimzowitsch by Bjorn Nielsen and Ray Keene.

In fact, the line as given is actually winning for Black, due to the unprotected White Bishop on f3. For example, 35.Rxh6 Rxh6 36.Qxh6 Qxh6 37.Nxh6 Nxf3 etc.

White is still much better, and probably winning, after 31...exf4, but the 'standard' winning line is wrong.

Instead, something like 31…exf4 32.Nxf4 Qg5 33.Nd4 (instead of 33.Ne6+) Ke8 34.Rh5 Qg8 35.Nfe6 looks good.

Ray Keene now suggests 33.Rh5 in this line, which is also very strong. I've posted this position on his page, and he agrees that the original error seems to have been Nimzowitsch's - probably due to something as simple as misplacing the Rh8 (to g8?) while writing his analysis.

As Mr Keene observes, in the days before computers it was all too easy to accidentally find yourself analysing the wrong position. He also writes that, in his book Aron Nimzowitsch: a Reappraisal, he corrected analytic errors by Alekhine and others, but tended to leave Nimzo's own comments untouched. Nielsen, writing in Danish in the 1940s, had done the same thing.

I'd like to thank Ray Keene for helping to clear up this minor point. Reluctant though we may be to believe it, even Nimzo occasionally got his notes wrong.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: And here, re-posted from his own page, is Ray Keene's comment on the analytic mix-up:

<i think its probably a forced win by now which any computer cd demonstrate-yes do post the correction-nimzo must -as you say-have had a piece on the wrong square-happens all the time-alekhine did something similar in his notes to a game from london 1932-in the old days we analysed on chess sets and after a coffee break if the cat moved a piece and it went unnoticed all sorts of nonsense cd creep in-now we analyse on screens which fix the position for you! also i was mistaken in not checking nimzos own analysis-i was never afraid of challenging notes by others to his games -even alekhine-but i tended to think nimzo wd have got his own notes right-lesson-nothing is sacrosanct!>

Aug-14-07  whiteshark: <Don't be afraid of pressure. Remember that pressure is what turns a lump of coal into a diamond.>

I suppose this don't work in chess.

Aug-14-07  whiteshark: During the Carlsbad, 1929 tournament the world champion, Alexander Alekhine, wrote reports for the New York Times. The given below is about this game:

<He> [Nimzowitsch] <noticed that the grand master Tartakower was so fatigued that he had only capable and brilliant ideas, but could not stand through a game for hours. Therefore, he started a lengthy rochade attack and Tartakower actually collapsed in the sixth hour of play after a splendid defense at the beginning.>

Oct-12-07  PivotalAnorak: I think this is the game <RookFile> was thinking about: Capablanca vs Eliskases, 1936
Jun-29-08  Calli: "I watched the final stages of his last game at Carlsbad last year. when Dr. Tartakower had plainly got out of his depth, and as I walked away with Senor Capablanca, who had also been watching the game that meant much to himself, Senor Capablanca said: " One man knows what he is up to in playing that crazy sort of stuff, and the other man does not." - The Times, August 18, 1930
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <PivotalAnorak: I think this is the game <RookFile> was thinking about: Capablanca vs Eliskases, 1936>

Or maybe Capablanca vs K Treybal, 1929 or Capablanca vs Ragozin, 1935? Capablanca played quite a few games like this.

Jun-30-08  RookFile: Yes, I was thinking of the Ragozin game. Thanks. The other games are nice too.
May-05-09  mannetje: The e4 square is often a weakness in the KID. That's why the Saemisch Variation is so popular. However, the pawn on f3 makes it difficult for white to develop his kingside. That's how black creates counterplay. In the game Tartakower made the mistake of playing ...Nbd7 too soon. White was able to play Nh3! and Nf2 and black is worse. It's better to play something like 6...Nc6 or 6...e5 or even 6...c5!?. (not blocking the c8-h3 diagonal)

It's amazing how many modern grandmasters make the same mistake. (and even more amazing how often white doesn't play 7.Nh3!)

May-05-09  WhiteRook48: 52 Bxf7+!!
Sep-04-09  WhiteRook48: I thought Nimzo was not a pawn player
Mar-11-10  Ulhumbrus: 14...gxh5 leaves Black with a shattered King side after 15 Bxf6 Bxf6 16 Rxh5.

On 37 Nh4 the Black Queen is short of squares and has to abandon her defence of the f6 pawn, inviting 38 Nxf6

Oct-30-11  Ulhumbrus: after 10...Nc5 11 Bg5!! Tartakower seems to lack time to arrange the advance ...f5 after playing what would be otherwise a natural developing move, namely, the move 11...Bd7.

In the event of h4 and g4- as played in the game - Black will want to move his N on f6 and play then ...f5. However the move ...Ne8 can be answered by Be7 trapping the Rook on f8.

In that case Black will want his Queen on e8. However then d7 is the only square left for the N.

Therefore Black has to keep the square d7 free for the KN, but 11...Nf6-d7 invites the attack 12 Nb5.

Moving the King to h8 and freeing the square g8 for the KN as in the game does not work because White plays h4 and h5 before Black can play ...Ng8. On 14 h5 Ng8 15 hxg6 the h7 pawn is pinned and cannot recapture on g6.

All this suggests that instead of 10...Nc5, 10...Ne8 is better.

However this is not the end of the story, for Black has at least one alternative left still.

Instead of 11...Bd7 Black can play the eccentric looking 11...Qd7!! obstructing his own QB, as Nimzovich did in the famous game P F Johner vs Nimzowitsch, 1926

The move 11...Qd7! both unpins the N on f6 and defends the c7 pawn on the event of Nb5, and now the advance ...f5 becomes possible.

This suggests that in at least one instance the right reply to Nimzovich's play is to play a Nimzovich type eccentric looking move.

Jan-08-13  Garech: Merciless play from Nimzowitsch!


Jan-08-13  JimNorCal: The position around move 30, esp the pawns, will remind participants of the recent World vs Akobian effort. Too bad Nimzo had no dark bishop, or he could have concluded sooner...
Jun-23-16  edubueno: Wrong start, poor middle game, this was not Tartakower style.
Jun-18-21  SeanAzarin: The Lasker variation (White playing an early P- K Kt 4) baffled the experts for a generation. It wasn't until the late 1940's that the Russians figured out how Black could retain chances in it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Engines also like Nh1 in this game as one of the better moves

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