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Hans Kmoch vs Aron Nimzowitsch
"Fantastic Four" (game of the day Dec-12-2021)
Bad Niendorf (1927), Bad Niendorf GER, rd 6, Aug-13
Nimzowitsch Defense: French Connection (B00)  ·  0-1



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sac: 50...Rb4 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-17-05  rwbean: As pointed out by Alex Szabo at in April 2001, 54. Re2! appears to draw. I didn't believe it myself until I followed the lines through. But 50...Rb4 is still the best move, it's the only one which has any chance of winning.
Jun-17-05  PivotalAnorak: <rwbean> could u give us some lines after 54.Re2 plz ? Should be interesting, cuz as u said, "visually" White seems to be totally lost
Jun-17-05  rwbean: Szabo's main line starting at move 54 == move 5 is 5. Re2! Kc4 6. f4 Kxd4 7. f5 exf5 8. e6 Kd3 9. e7 Bd7 10. Kf3 d4 11. Rh2 Kc4 12. Rh8 b2 13. Rb8 d3 14. Bxb2 cxb2 15. Rxb2 a3 16. Rb7 Be8 17. Ra7 Kb3 18. Ke3 a2 19. Kxd3 Kb2 20. Rb7+ Kc1 21. Ra7 =/=. If you go to and search for author "Szabo" he has devised replies for all the Black alternatives suggested.
Jul-01-05  PivotalAnorak: <rwbean> sorry for the late answer. thanx man, wow, impressive drawing line
Jul-02-05  fgh: 50. ... Rb4!! brilliant! Maybe I should make a game collection on Nimzowitsch's best games.
Jul-11-11  rwbean: In July 2009 and August 2010 Charles Sullivan, Mark Rawlings and Dadi Jonsson confirmed the draw at (here move 1 = move 50). This position is called "WAC 230" or "Win at Chess 230" (from "Win at Chess" by Fred Reinfeld, 1958) and Alex Szabo wrote about it in his 1984 thesis at

So if a top program can't find "the win" it's just because there isn't one!

"1...Rb4 is the only chance to win, then 2.cxb4 a4 3.b5+ Kxb5 4.Re2 c3 5.Ba3 Kc4 6.f4 Kxd4 7.f5 and now Dadi Jonsson's 7...Kd3 looks best. After that, the best I can find is 8.fxg6 Kxe2 9.g7 b2 10.g8=Q b1=Q 11.Qxc8 Qg1+ (beginning here, there are many transpositions, but they all end up in the same place) 12.Kh3 Qf1+ 13.Kg4 Qf3+ 14.Kh4 Qe4+ 15.Kh5 Qh7+ 16.Kg4 d4 17.Qc6! (This might be the only move that draws; 17.Qc4+, for instance, allows Black good winning chances). From here, one line is 17...Qf5+ 18.Kh5 d3 19.Qg2+ Qf2 20.Qe4+ Qe3 21.Qc4 Qh3+ 22.Kg6 c2 23.Kg7 Kd1 24.g6 d2 25.Qxa4 Ke2 26.Qxc2 Qd3 27.Qxd3+ Kxd3=."

Jul-05-12  Veryrusty: Regarding <rwbean>, I haven't got an engine, but it sure seems to me that Szabo's "drawing line" is a loser, because after the e6 push Black can take it off and the Rook will soon be forced to fight along. 54. Re2, Kc4; 55. f4, Kxd4; 56. f5, ef; 57. e6, Bxe6; 58. Rxe6, b2; 59. Rb6, Kd3; 60. Kf3, Kc2, forcing 61. Bxb2, cb; 62. Rc6+, Kd3; 63. Rb6, a3 followed by a2 and queens either the a or b pawn.

What am I missing?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Black seems to be progressing by normal means, until the amazing 50...Rb4!! -- and a few moves on, White's extra Rook finds itself vainly trying to deal with four connected passed pawns. Utterly brilliant play by Nimzo.
Jul-09-13  JimNorCal: If 45. cxb
does White just push by with a4? Or play Nxd4? I'm not following that part of the game very well. Clearly after b3 the protected passed pawn is strong!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: <JimNorCal> If 45.cxb4, 45...axb4 46.Bxb4 Nxd4 regains the pawn. 47.Bc5+ can be met by 47...Nb5.
Feb-09-14  ForeverYoung: In Veryrusty's line after 60 Bxb2! cxb2 61 Rxb2 white can hold the draw. the trickiest line is 61 ... Kc4! 62 Kf3 a3 63 Rb8! now 63 ... a2 64 Ra8! Kb3 65 Rb8+ with an easy draw or 63 ... d4 64 Ke2! compels black to draw after ... 64 ... a2 65 Ra8 etc.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: An amazing conception by Nimzowitsch with 50...♖b4!, giving some winning chances. Kmoch can be excused for not finding the drawing line with 54. ♖e2. BTW, here is a link to Szabo's analysis:

Mar-08-15  Bycotron: It seems the fight to win in opposite colored Bishop endings has given birth to at least two of the most brilliant chess moves of all time, Nimzowitsch's 50th in this game and Shirov's 47th in Topalov-Shirov (Linares 1998).

Do other examples of similar genius exist to win these drawish endings?

Jul-27-17  KingG: 50...Rb4!!, what a move.
Jul-27-17  cunctatorg: This extremely interesting game is rather mathematics than chess though!!...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Zhbugnoimt: So does black win or is it a draw?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Zhbugnoimt: My analysis says it is a draw after the following line: 54.Re2! c3 55.f4 Kc4 56.f4 Kxd4 57.f5 exf5! 58.e6 b2! 59.Bxb2! cxb2 60.e7! b1Q 61.e8Q Qg1+ 62.Kf3 Qf1+ 63.Kg3 f4+ 64.Kh2 Qh3+ 65.Kg1 Qg3+ 66.Kh1 Qf3+ 67.Kg1 Bd7 68.Qe5+ Kd3 69.Rf2 Qg3+ 70.Kh1! (70.Qxe3+?? fxe3 0-1) 70...Qxf2 71.Qc3+ and the crazy queen makes a draw.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Zhbugnoimt: Based on what the people at talkchess and rybkaforum said, this line has been found before.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: The main rule of the French Defense:

If you castle first, you will most likely lose, unless your name is Magnus Carlsen.

The rule is proven once again.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Also, it took 4 connected passed pawns to get White to resign. Four!
Dec-12-21  Brenin: A peasant army overruns the castle. A magical idea from Nimzowitsch.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Did Hans Kmoch say anything about endgame tactics with pawns in <Pawn Power>?

Nimzo read his book.

Dec-12-21  Ironmanth: Nice!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Teyss: Great game. Don't know if White could have drawn after 50...Rb4!! The engine at 29 ply gives -2.7 with the same beginning but 54.Re2 instead of Rb1.

For memo some time after this loss Kmoch composed the following game parodying Nimzowitsch's style both in chess and speech. The comments are fun and the game is interesting too: Nimzowitsch vs Systemsson, 1927

Premium Chessgames Member
  NatashaFatale: <Teyss> Amen. The Immortal Overprotection Game is a joke you can pleasurably reread at least once a year, maybe on the first day of April. The more one admires Nimzowitsch's genuine annotations, the funnier is Kmoch's parody.
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