Main
Date: 22 Nov 2008 05:28:46
From: KDP
Subject: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich
is this book still relevant now? would you recommend it as a "must
read" for players looking to improve their game? thanks in advance.




 
Date: 04 Dec 2008 14:49:08
From:
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich
On Dec 4, 4:37=A0pm, William Hyde <[email protected] > wrote:
> On Dec 2, 6:41=A0pm, [email protected] wrote:
>
> > On Dec 1, 4:16=A0pm, WilliamHyde<[email protected]> wrote:
>
> > > On Nov 29, 7:10=A0am, "[email protected]" <[email protected]> wro=
te:
>
> > > So yes, self-development remains key. =A0And to some extent, the
> > > intensive study of any fifty good, well annotated master games should
> > > help the student improve.
>
> > A little too optimistic?
>
> I recall that the first time I read Fischer's 60 memorable I
> understood next to nothing.

Ay, here to.

> =A0And in terms of specific learning, things
> I could have written down, there was little to report (Q + K vs K +Bp
> was one, from the first Petrosian game). =A0Nonetheless I soaked up a
> lot. =A0To distort Newton's metaphor, I walked along the beach and was
> splashed now and then by the great ocean of truth. =A0But without good
> books I couldn't even find the beach.

Ah. Recently interviewing Adams I asked him [since we new him as a
kid] how come he survived us all, and what did such as PH Clarke [our
team cap'n impart to him?]

His response was much as ours. Nothing much. He grew whatever chess
genius he has either despite us, or even via us. He never recevied any
mentoring worth the name - by reading or by contact with 'greats'
around him

> > > =A0Still a mastery of Nimzovich's style in and
> > > of itself is probably beneficial. =A0If only because, at lower levels=
,
> > > quite a few opponents won't know what you are doing, or how to deal
> > > with it. =A0Whereas you will yourself understand classical chess.
>
> > I am not liking what you say to such an extent that I am embarrassed
> > by further demurrer.
>
> I should have qualified it to say that this only works for a person of
> the right temperament. =A0I do not quite have that, so I am not a
> compleat hypermodern. =A0But sometimes I played like one.

Ha! That is well handled, and might be exploded further for public
apprehension. But I will likely not be your interogattor since despite
inteviewing many 'greats' I actually dislike askinig questions as a
mode of conversation. It achieves the least effect - rather like the
law of the land to people's morals.

> Someone wrote on "The provocative style in chess". =A0A Nimzovich
> follower can be unintentionally provocative, and this can reap
> rewards. =A0One player asked if I was mocking him, another said that I
> was toying with him. =A0The first player had an even game, the second
> was lost, but with practical counter-chances. =A0Both, I think, played
> worse because they were angry with me.

It is interesting.

> Another analogy would be something I have heard about fencing (I can't
> personally vouch for it). Namely that left handed fencers have an
> advantage, as they get plenty of practice against right handed
> fencers, but not vice versa. =A0As a hypermodern you meet plenty of
> classical players and know what they are likely to do (four pawns
> attack again...) they know less.

Yes - the Brits have pioneered and demonstrated their 'left-
handedness' against the best; what after all is the English defence -
e6, b6, Bb7 system other than Basman's joke?

He said the idea of hypermodernism was to place elements of less value
in the center, and what has less value than nothing?

> =A0Or as I overheard someone saying
> "This time I have prevented ...c5, he's not getting my centre again".
> Of course, c5 duly followed. =A0When I glanced at the board, white was
> struggling in an inferior endgame. =A0Of course none of this is true for
> really strong players.

Which has not to do with us. We still need demonstrate to 99% other
players the error of their ways. Whether other players even understand
'strong players' is not a relevant question - see the responce here
recently to Dresden - no analysis - no-one tried it. I even essayed my
own refutation of early gambit play and there was not any critique. I
suspect the level of contribution in this newsgroup is not, as it was
before, and not capable of even analysing master games, nevermind the
sophistires of GMs.

Instead we have the idiotic computer dude, talk of lawyers, and Sloan-
scandals. That is a significant reduction of chess content for
chess.misc. Ten years ago it would be laughed out of court, all of
it.

> > Who will help such as we, Bill?
>
> I am lucky, perhaps, that I didn't grow up in one of the real chess
> centres. =A0Thus I was late to tournament play and the obsession largely
> passed me by. =A0Had I been born in Leningrad I might now be a
> relatively weak trainer, earning a very sketchy living with a handful
> of students, counting the years until a state pension (or are there
> any?) kicks in.

No more, friend. Not since about 2001. The Women's State program shut
down in 97, the men's in 99. The Greats went to play in the
Bundeslige, and the rest went to the devil.

> Even among much stronger players there is often regret about age 50 at
> having devoted a life to chess.

But instead of what other fantasy career? It may be financial regret -
which would be honest, but once upon a time it would have been
artistic regret. Did we lose anything thereby?


> > Yes. And studied not only Nimzo, and maybe not even Nimzo - which
> > brings us back to the start, and what Kelp-Bot issued.
>
> "There is life after Nimzovich, and his name is Smyslov" I once said.
> Though Petrosian and Larsen are more often cited as Nimzovich's
> followers, many of the Soviet GMs played games that Nimzovich would
> have been happy to see.
>
> There are, after all, only three books by Nimzovich and a handful of
> other hypermodern works. =A0The natural move, I thought, was into the
> Soviet school after that.

You write too little to too few. You know that is my view.

Cordially, Phil

> William Hyde



 
Date: 04 Dec 2008 13:37:33
From: William Hyde
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich
On Dec 2, 6:41=A0pm, [email protected] wrote:
> On Dec 1, 4:16=A0pm, WilliamHyde<[email protected]> wrote:
>
> > On Nov 29, 7:10=A0am, "[email protected]" <[email protected]> wrote=
:
>


> > So yes, self-development remains key. =A0And to some extent, the
> > intensive study of any fifty good, well annotated master games should
> > help the student improve.
>
> A little too optimistic?

I recall that the first time I read Fischer's 60 memorable I
understood next to nothing. And in terms of specific learning, things
I could have written down, there was little to report (Q + K vs K +Bp
was one, from the first Petrosian game). Nonetheless I soaked up a
lot. To distort Newton's metaphor, I walked along the beach and was
splashed now and then by the great ocean of truth. But without good
books I couldn't even find the beach.


>
> > =A0Still a mastery of Nimzovich's style in and
> > of itself is probably beneficial. =A0If only because, at lower levels,
> > quite a few opponents won't know what you are doing, or how to deal
> > with it. =A0Whereas you will yourself understand classical chess.
>
> I am not liking what you say to such an extent that I am embarrassed
> by further demurrer.

I should have qualified it to say that this only works for a person of
the right temperament. I do not quite have that, so I am not a
compleat hypermodern. But sometimes I played like one.

Someone wrote on "The provocative style in chess". A Nimzovich
follower can be unintentionally provocative, and this can reap
rewards. One player asked if I was mocking him, another said that I
was toying with him. The first player had an even game, the second
was lost, but with practical counter-chances. Both, I think, played
worse because they were angry with me.

Another analogy would be something I have heard about fencing (I can't
personally vouch for it). Namely that left handed fencers have an
advantage, as they get plenty of practice against right handed
fencers, but not vice versa. As a hypermodern you meet plenty of
classical players and know what they are likely to do (four pawns
attack again...) they know less. Or as I overheard someone saying
"This time I have prevented ...c5, he's not getting my centre again".
Of course, c5 duly followed. When I glanced at the board, white was
struggling in an inferior endgame. Of course none of this is true for
really strong players.

>
> Who will help such as we, Bill?

I am lucky, perhaps, that I didn't grow up in one of the real chess
centres. Thus I was late to tournament play and the obsession largely
passed me by. Had I been born in Leningrad I might now be a
relatively weak trainer, earning a very sketchy living with a handful
of students, counting the years until a state pension (or are there
any?) kicks in.
Even among much stronger players there is often regret about age 50 at
having devoted a life to chess.

>
> Yes. And studied not only Nimzo, and maybe not even Nimzo - which
> brings us back to the start, and what Kelp-Bot issued.

"There is life after Nimzovich, and his name is Smyslov" I once said.
Though Petrosian and Larsen are more often cited as Nimzovich's
followers, many of the Soviet GMs played games that Nimzovich would
have been happy to see.

There are, after all, only three books by Nimzovich and a handful of
other hypermodern works. The natural move, I thought, was into the
Soviet school after that.

William Hyde


 
Date: 02 Dec 2008 15:41:48
From:
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich
On Dec 1, 4:16=A0pm, William Hyde <[email protected] > wrote:
> On Nov 29, 7:10=A0am, "[email protected]" <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>
>
> > This response deserves more attention - in Adrian de Groot's study of
> > chess players he was unable to determine causal relations between
> > memory, study & performance. Instead he suggested that specific
> > studies of this aspect of learning be undertaken.
>
> It might not work for everyone, but in my case study lead to
> improvement. =A0Play alone, without study, lead to slower improvement.
> Not playing and not studying lead to results which are difficult to
> evaluate.

Yes, here is something worth general attention. The point is
illustrated enough; study to action is the issue

> > From his own work, =A0he said he could not determine if people who make
> > it to master level and who had superior pattern recognition in chess
> > had any causal relationship - ie, that for some people pattern
> > recognition was innate in them, and chess merely the means they
> > displayed their perception, rather than the means they developed it.
>
> My pattern recognition is poor. =A0Perhaps for the same reason that
> geometry was relatively my worst subject in mathematics. =A0I don't
> actually "see" the chessboard at all when I think ahead, or play
> blindfold. =A0Which may well be why my best play comes in endgames, with
> fewer pieces to keep =A0track of, and why my tactics are generally weak
> for a player of my rating.

You are like Adorjan then - who provided me the straightest reply,
upon my conscious prod about this.

He said, " I do not see the board, I do not see the pieces."

He said something else, but I am sure I already repeated it here; how
come, he supposed, the concert virtuoso playinig without sight of the
music knows the 10,000th note is played thus; by the little finger of
the left hand, to such tempo and force?

This is such an interesting observation of another non-visual
performance, happening as it does faster than thought can conjure...


> > This in itself is a fascinating aspect of learning - since de Groot
> > goes on to say that it is also not given that anyone could become a
> > chess master by virtue of study of the game.
>
> Perhaps, but I know people whose brains could be compared unfavourably
> to that of a sea slug who made 1900 through study. =A0I suspect one of
> them would have become a master, but the siren call of computer gaming
> drew him away.

The idea is not the quantity of attention paid, but the quality of it.
Quantitative attention such as this seems to rest on rote; whereas,
the more slower turtle-factor in chess appreciation surpasses it
without conscious effort or strain, eventually.

I usually describe this cusp as something a bit lower... the
difference between a 1600 or 1700 player and those above.

And in the end, 1900 ain't no master. And de Groot used that term in
the old fashioned sense of Master-to-Grandmaster level.

> > Back to Nimzo - are the people who like Nimzo, and who are able to
> > negotiate his 'risky' strategy, actually the beneficiaries of any
> > Nimzo-learning, or do they simply express themselves in chess via
> > strategies that Nimzo himself expressed - indepently of the fact they
> > they study or attribute their success to Nimzo's works?
>
> Well, Nimzovich doesn't include many specific =A0tactical lessons, and
> if you don't get the =A0tactics straight you're not getting anywhere.

Yes

> So yes, self-development remains key. =A0And to some extent, the
> intensive study of any fifty good, well annotated master games should
> help the student improve.

A little too optimistic? Should help the student improve if they can
deploy what they learned from these master games in their play? That
is the, I think, issue for most chess players - 90% of the goiod ones.

> =A0Still a mastery of Nimzovich's style in and
> of itself is probably beneficial. =A0If only because, at lower levels,
> quite a few opponents won't know what you are doing, or how to deal
> with it. =A0Whereas you will yourself understand classical chess.

I am not liking what you say to such an extent that I am embarrassed
by further demurrer. But the cause of this difference is fortunately
minor - I never progressed more in the ranks than did you, even so,
this surpasses 99.9% players. Honesty demand that even from that
perspective, what to recommend, sui generis, is no likely prospect to
adopt with confidence. I don't knwo if I dislike your presentation
more for its specifics, or more for my lack of understanding of them
in practice.

Who will help such as we, Bill?

> On the whole, though, I believe that =A0the main reason most of the
> Nimzovich-obsessives I have known became strong players was that they
> studied very hard.

Yes. And studied not only Nimzo, and maybe not even Nimzo - which
brings us back to the start, and what Kelp-Bot issued.

Cordially, Phil

> William Hyde
>
> William Hyde



 
Date: 01 Dec 2008 13:16:47
From: William Hyde
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich
On Nov 29, 7:10=A0am, "[email protected]" <[email protected] > wrote:

>
> This response deserves more attention - in Adrian de Groot's study of
> chess players he was unable to determine causal relations between
> memory, study & performance. Instead he suggested that specific
> studies of this aspect of learning be undertaken.

It might not work for everyone, but in my case study lead to
improvement. Play alone, without study, lead to slower improvement.
Not playing and not studying lead to results which are difficult to
evaluate.


> From his own work, =A0he said he could not determine if people who make
> it to master level and who had superior pattern recognition in chess
> had any causal relationship - ie, that for some people pattern
> recognition was innate in them, and chess merely the means they
> displayed their perception, rather than the means they developed it.

My pattern recognition is poor. Perhaps for the same reason that
geometry was relatively my worst subject in mathematics. I don't
actually "see" the chessboard at all when I think ahead, or play
blindfold. Which may well be why my best play comes in endgames, with
fewer pieces to keep track of, and why my tactics are generally weak
for a player of my rating.
>
> This in itself is a fascinating aspect of learning - since de Groot
> goes on to say that it is also not given that anyone could become a
> chess master by virtue of study of the game.

Perhaps, but I know people whose brains could be compared unfavourably
to that of a sea slug who made 1900 through study. I suspect one of
them would have become a master, but the siren call of computer gaming
drew him away.


> Back to Nimzo - are the people who like Nimzo, and who are able to
> negotiate his 'risky' strategy, actually the beneficiaries of any
> Nimzo-learning, or do they simply express themselves in chess via
> strategies that Nimzo himself expressed - indepently of the fact they
> they study or attribute their success to Nimzo's works?

Well, Nimzovich doesn't include many specific tactical lessons, and
if you don't get the tactics straight you're not getting anywhere.
So yes, self-development remains key. And to some extent, the
intensive study of any fifty good, well annotated master games should
help the student improve. Still a mastery of Nimzovich's style in and
of itself is probably beneficial. If only because, at lower levels,
quite a few opponents won't know what you are doing, or how to deal
with it. Whereas you will yourself understand classical chess.

On the whole, though, I believe that the main reason most of the
Nimzovich-obsessives I have known became strong players was that they
studied very hard.

William Hyde


William Hyde



 
Date: 29 Nov 2008 04:10:38
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich
> In my youth there was a fella carried Nimzo's book around with him at
> all times. The trouble was, he never improved to any noticeable
> degree, and could be foxed by reasonably simple tactics.



Nimzovisch-obsession strikes many young players almost like a
religious conversion. Mostly they become fairly strong owing to
obsessive study of the text, but I suppose that doesn't happen to
all. Nimzovich's strategy is risky, and requires tactical accuracy.
Consider for example the Winawer, to which Nimzovich contributed
much.
--

This response deserves more attention - in Adrian de Groot's study of
chess players he was unable to determine causal relations between
memory, study & performance. Instead he suggested that specific
studies of this aspect of learning be undertaken.

From his own work, he said he could not determine if people who make
it to master level and who had superior pattern recognition in chess
had any causal relationship - ie, that for some people pattern
recognition was innate in them, and chess merely the means they
displayed their perception, rather than the means they developed it.

This in itself is a fascinating aspect of learning - since de Groot
goes on to say that it is also not given that anyone could become a
chess master by virtue of study of the game. I think this idea
fathered many ideas in Howard Gardner's multiple intelligence theory.
The direct educational implication is that regardless of any amount of
study some people will not achieve any mean level superior to average
- and indeed, any advance on that is only maintained at the cost of
rote learning support, and rather like physical muscle, retreats or
atrophies when their exercise ceases.

Back to Nimzo - are the people who like Nimzo, and who are able to
negotiate his 'risky' strategy, actually the beneficiaries of any
Nimzo-learning, or do they simply express themselves in chess via
strategies that Nimzo himself expressed - indepently of the fact they
they study or attribute their success to Nimzo's works?

Phil Innes


 
Date: 27 Nov 2008 11:04:20
From: William Hyde
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich
On Nov 24, 4:09=A0pm, "[email protected]" <[email protected] > wrote:


> > Edward Lasker lists Alekhine as one of the early hyper-moderns. =A0But
> > he also says that, unlike Nimzovich, =A0Alekhine had a strong practical
> > side.
>
> A somewhat barbed comment on hypermodernism.

Well, he also lists Tartakower as having a strong practical side (some
comments by Fine agree) but says he just wasn't monomaniacal enough to
match Alekhine, despite his great ability.

Myself, he seems like he
> accommodated Nimzo's ideas into his classicism-cum-reseach
> orientation. Alekhine is an unpopular bloke to appreciate as the
> founder of anything since his social commentary was not well received
> - yet he seems far more modern than some who came after WWII, and much
> more like the modern 2750 club in orientation.

That would fit with the pragmatism above. What jars, however, are his
sometimes rather dogmatic comments on openings.

> > Eventually I learned something of how to use a space advantage, from
> > Reti and the Soviets,
>
> Here a reference to the Sputnik program, possibly off-topic?

The TD told me to stop hovering over the board.

I was impressed by some games published in Chess Life and Review. By
Taimanov and Furman, I think. Also by a Keres game in which he built
up a good centre, and then sacrificed it for open lines.


> I am unsure if you wished above to indicate some parenthesis of such
> like in your own chess before the 2200 level. I certainly found my
> earlier, and which actually destablised my chess for years. I lost to
> people 250 points lower, but incrementally beat people 100 points
> higher.

I did not like playing only weaker players, or players my own
strength. This led to my next withdrawal from chess, as all
tournaments were now in sections, so there was no chance of playing
someone really strong (an extra fee was asked to play in a higher
section, and as I was a grad student $100 in 1982 dollars was out of
the question).

In the long term this paid off. Its attribution? Probably not
> from books at all - more seizing some nettle.

I made a large rating jump (17xx to 20xx) essentially in one
tournament, after a long time off. In part I can agree with your last
comment. I was now playing to win, more or less, instead of playing
to not lose. But I had also grown more mature in the time off, and had
recently been studying Alekhine's first volume. How much was attitude
and how much skill I don't know, but attitude was a large part of it
(I might have gone over 2100 that event, but I reverted to my old
style in the last two rounds - my conversion was not yet complete).


> > That was my other plan. =A0Get a lost game as black and hope he gets
> > overconfident.
>
> I see you are a bloody pragmatist just like my regular sparring
> partner, an enginneer. Have you no shame? Have you no sense of the
> artistic folk around you, like me for example, who will waste their
> time /tragically/ finding the shortest win against your poor play
> [except we don't, do we?]

Well, it is not so much a plan as a demonstration of laziness and/or
incompetence. I just tended to get horrible positions and only then
play well. People with winning positions do the strangest things.
One opponent, with a crushing king side attack, decided first to move
his king to the queen side, the only part of the board where I had
any activity. He was not able to explain why he did this - would have
been safe as houses on h1, or even e1. Not at c2, as it happened.

That was a fine tournament. Barring the last round, I was winning in
every game I lost, and losing in every game I won. I was lost in the
final position of one draw (he didn't see the winning pawn sacrifice
but there was no way I could prevent it), and easily winning in the
next (the last bus was going, and I didn't think a $40 cab was worth
half a point). Through organizer incompetence I was not paired in the
first round, so got a forfeit. If only I had lost that last round
game the pattern would have been perfect. But he resigned before I
had a chance to get into time pressure. I'm sure I would have found a
way to lose.

To become stronger I would have had to abandon this plan. People over
2200 tend to convert such positions to wins pretty regularly.

> Well done! This is the way to annoy non-playing Steinitz fans. In fact
> I admit I never even read My System, or anything by Nimzo

As I mentioned earlier, I am reading it now. It's really quite an
enjoyable book. I can't quite do the games sans voir, but I convince
myself that I don't need a board for the rest.

Whether such people
> as Nimzo actually aided any living chess player is no topic they will
> address. But we joke about him, because we love him, no?

Fritz Leiber certainly had an affection for him. Nimzovich shows up
in such stories as "Midnight by the Morphy Watch" and, as world
champion, in "Catch that Zeppelin". He isn't among the living at the
time of "64 square madhouse", but Tartakover is a major figure in the
story.

> Adorjan and Timman offer similar comments, if a tad more terse - eg,
> 90% of chess books are complete crap [I translate, but to make their
> actual expression printable here in public]

I think Polugayevsky said that you can find a serious error on the
first page of 95% of all chess books. Which gives me some
consolation, as I know I will never read most of the chess books I
have already bought.


William Hyde


 
Date: 24 Nov 2008 13:09:22
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich

> when I was 20, and when we said 'never
>
> > trust anyone over 30! [now we say, never trust anyone under 51!]
>
> "Never trust anyone over 30" was a actually a reaction to an older
> saying, "Never trust anyone under 45".

Basically, how can I trust the older people who said that? Did they /
test/ the patience of Saints as We did? At least, We can say we found
much not to rest our confidence in, which was as much revolution as we
were looking for at the time. The rest was merely hormones.

> > And maybe they can? But what do you get in exchange for stopping them?
> > Probably a lot. I think this was the real chess-art contribution of
> > Alekhine who was simply magnificient at defeating the early hyper-
> > moderns, and could trade one threat for another.
>
> Edward Lasker lists Alekhine as one of the early hyper-moderns. =A0But
> he also says that, unlike Nimzovich, =A0Alekhine had a strong practical
> side.

A somewhat barbed comment on hypermodernism. Myself, he seems like he
accommodated Nimzo's ideas into his classicism-cum-reseach
orientation. Alekhine is an unpopular bloke to appreciate as the
founder of anything since his social commentary was not well received
- yet he seems far more modern than some who came after WWII, and much
more like the modern 2750 club in orientation.

> > > =A0With the description by Nimzovich of the
> > > outpost, the mysterious rook move and the attack on the base, my play
> > > with the rooks improved.
>
> > Yes. You are not such a slight player as you pretend
>
> Since everyone on =A0this group is assumed to be 200 points lower than
> they say they are,

True, I myself am 26-something or other, or rather was, or even cudda
been. In other words, bravely clinging to my master rating... but I
intrude on your...

> I pursued the strategy of claiming to be weaker
> than I am, so as to get a match at nice stakes with someone weaker
> than I. =A0Alas, that didn't work.

Ah! I was impressed until the last phrase.

Now that I have students again, high school, graduate even PhD, I
remember something I used to do - I call it 'basic barking'. Just
before playing one issues a series of barks, yelps, which you do not
explain to your opponent, who may even be surprised and
discombobulated by your behavior. Then during the game you growl - I
suggest low feral growls, especially when everything is going normally
[not to alert opponent] and which has the additional effect of putting
opponent off.

Of course, you are accustomed to regular students and may have
employed this technique generally - but most people will not have
encountered it, and it, in short, puts 'em off.

> I think I understand chess better now than when I was playing, but as
> a practical matter I would play worse - it takes a serious drive to
> put forth your best efforts for several hours, and I no longer care
> much about winning.

Rolf Tueschen used to write here [a German shrink into computer chess]
once gave me HELL for offering a draw in a simul to some poor IM. I
should have pursued the ART of chess, you see, and not taken pity on
this bloke [author 5 chess books on the Sicilian] who was about to
collapse with heat-exhuastion, when I had a forced mate in 8 OTB in a
Pelikan.

This was down in Princeton NJ 15 years ago. Winning was nothing in
that instance - first time it happened to me. Naturally, I still have
fantasies about beating Kasparov on prime-time TV in 3 games to prove
the first wasn't luck, but that is normal, no? Some stressed IM, no
TV, no glamour or witnesses... Playing his published opening against
him... apart from bragging here, I [laugh] never think of it any more

There is an obscure moral in that which unfortunately only Zen blokes
have spoken about - and they as obscure in their expression as me. But
I see that I am 'going on' about it, and not asking you questions.

Though...

Question and Answer must surely be the most improvident form of
conversation invented, heh?


> =A0- the thing to
>
> > understand is that most people never even sniff your level, and
> > certainly cannot do that Alekhine thing of switching one kind of
> > advantage [or threat] for another.
>
> Aside from the baked-in plans that come with some openings, my
> strategic repertoire was quite limited. =A0There's the ever popular wait-
> for-him-to-make-a-mistake plan, which won me many low quality games
> and lifeless draws, for example. =A0It was a long time before I grasped
> that an attack was a =A0thing in itself, inherent in the position, and
> not just a decision. Even =A0though Lasker told me that it was!

Now here is wisdom...

> Eventually I learned something of how to use a space advantage, from
> Reti and the Soviets,

Here a reference to the Sputnik program, possibly off-topic?

> I think. =A0I never learned how to turn the two
> bishops to advantage except in the most obvious of cases. =A0My feeling
> is that you don't need much positional ability to get to 2200.

While we are on this subject, and a parenthesis to your own thought -
let me ask you a <dread > question, though I disguise it point by
making in implicit from my own experience: That was at about 1700-1800
I threw away the entire clap-trap of early learning and instead
attended a radically different orientation. I actually attempted to
(a) play out the position before me on its merits [rather than to my
likinig of what was familiar, and (b) no longer avoided systems which
I did not like, but which objectively offered me more than my prefered
patterns and positions.

I am unsure if you wished above to indicate some parenthesis of such
like in your own chess before the 2200 level. I certainly found my
earlier, and which actually destablised my chess for years. I lost to
people 250 points lower, but incrementally beat people 100 points
higher. In the long term this paid off. Its attribution? Probably not
from books at all - more seizing some nettle.

Sorry - that history may not be the least comprehensible to those who
did not experience such a path of development, and 'embraced the
void' :)))


> Even when I look at my postal games, generally of higher quality, I
> see tactical wins, or if they are positional it is because of a
> heinous positional error on my opponent's part (e.g. the Winawer game
> where my opponent, playing white, opened the long diagonal for my QB.)
>
> =A0This, IMO, is impossible to rote
>
> > learn in terms of moves - but is possible to ascertain from playing
> > the game, and offering playing partner multiple hells in defence.
>
> That was my other plan. =A0Get a lost game as black and hope he gets
> overconfident.

I see you are a bloody pragmatist just like my regular sparring
partner, an enginneer. Have you no shame? Have you no sense of the
artistic folk around you, like me for example, who will waste their
time /tragically/ finding the shortest win against your poor play
[except we don't, do we?]

This is a matter of societal collapse at all levels led by scientists
of various stripes, and as above, shamelessly!

[When I have done the same myself, I always win, since the artistic
twit opposite consumes his time in exquisite contortions of mind, and
even when he looks up at you, you don't have to repress that
shadenfreude smile, since... well, lets not get into Chekhov and the
Black Monk]


> > > But we must =A0remember that Nimzovich was not merely a theorist, but=
a
> > > very successful player, retroactively considered third in the world a
> > > while. =A0The book is far more a practical manual than a theoretical
> > > treatise, at least in its first half and also I think in the second.
>
> > Yes - you are in the right of it. In fact, the first real strategy
> > manual?
>
> I am unfamiliar with Steinitz' writings, so I can't be sure. =A0From the
> amazon description, though, his "modern chess instructor" doesn't seem
> to be such.

Well done! This is the way to annoy non-playing Steinitz fans. In fact
I admit I never even read My System, or anything by Nimzo - though I
have read some 500 chess books.


> > I think his work is confusing since modern books are very shy of
> > strategy and instruct you overmuch to this line or that position. This
> > never seemed to be Nimzo's idea, no matter how many illustrations he
> > offered. I think he wanted some principal of general operations to be
> > deployed - so like Tarrasch!
>
> In that way perhaps they were more like each other than like Reti, who
> said he was not interested in rules, only in exceptions. =A0But once
> Tarrasch formulated a rule, he made it a dogma - declaring, for
> example, that the Sicilian and Caro-Kann must be unsound as the first
> move doesn't develop a piece or free a bishop!

That is because he was foreign, and they are prone to enthusiastic
statements of such type, ignoring the hephalump in the room. But you
can't eally say much in public, since as above again, people will
attend your comment with rash enthusiastic abuse. Whether such people
as Nimzo actually aided any living chess player is no topic they will
address. But we joke about him, because we love him, no?

> > What seems distroting [to me] is that you can only write maybe half a
> > dozen good strategic books like this, whereas you can publish
> > thousands of individual lines, and /thema/ on openings. It is not in
> > the publisher's or author's self-interest to acknowledge a more
> > general and superior approach [email protected]?
>
> Speelman, I think, comments that you can make money writing opening
> manuals, while a games collection is a way of being "mildly paid" for
> writing a book.

Adorjan and Timman offer similar comments, if a tad more terse - eg,
90% of chess books are complete crap [I translate, but to make their
actual expression printable here in public]

> > I should not neglect to mention Kelp-Bot's contibuting ideas here -
> > which perhaps also contract or enjoin, the theoretical aspect of
> > things with the practical result of deploying them in real games. His,
> > is again IMO, as real a perspective as this trend agreed between we
> > two.
>
> I am somewhat surprised that the Bot's satiric spirit did not find
> Nimzovich agreeable, he has missed much in consequence.

My guess is that he, like me, only noticed blokes who carried My
System around with them like a wet-blanker, and draw his conclusions
from how they played. In his defence I offer the fact to you that he
has never claimed to have actually read any chess book.

> =A0Again, it is
> important to remember that Nimzovich's practical achievements were
> remarkable, all the more so as he did not have the temperament or
> health of his rivals. =A0He did not achieve the world championship, but
> not much else in chess eluded him.

And with that conclusion, much in the spirit of Ray Keene's
contribution here, let us continue forever with the worth of study
compared with the worth of attending other things to one's chess
progress and enjoyment.

For sure, I offer my Canadian colleage a happy thanksgiving - though
Canadians celebrate the event at another time [in June, I think, when
travel is possible and they do not celebrate it at all elsewhere. Yet
it is a pure sort of celebration of bringing families together
[without Santa, Jesus, Presents] which is a uniquely American
Continental idea in spirit, and a very good thing too.

Phil Innes

> William Hyde



 
Date: 24 Nov 2008 10:50:16
From:
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich
On Nov 24, 1:18=A0pm, William Hyde <[email protected] > wrote:
> On Nov 23, 4:38=A0pm, "[email protected]" <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> > Yes - you are in the right of it. In fact, the first real strategy
> > manual?
>
> I am unfamiliar with Steinitz' writings, so I can't be sure. =A0From the
> amazon description, though, his "modern chess instructor" doesn't seem
> to be such.

It isn't. A nine-page chapter, "Relative Value of Pieces and
Principles of Play," has some strategic ideas, but the MCI is more an
opening manual than anything else. And even there it covers only some
of the major double e-pawn lines.
Of course Steinitz presents various strategic ideas in course of
discussing games (for example he annotates all the games from his 1889
title match with Chigorin), but he was never much for a really
systematic exposition of his ideas. That didn't really get done until
1925 when Lasker took up the task in his Manual of Chess (http://
uscfsales.com/item.asp?cID=3D0&PID=3D840).


 
Date: 24 Nov 2008 10:18:02
From: William Hyde
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich
On Nov 23, 4:38=A0pm, "[email protected]" <[email protected] > wrote:
> On Nov 23, 3:24=A0pm, WilliamHyde<[email protected]> wrote:
>

> > Nimzovisch-obsession strikes many young players almost like a
> > religious conversion.
>
> Well, here we go - at the time of this contact the Nimzo-fetishist
> [literally, My System under his armit at all times] seemed so much
> older - probably he was 31

He may have been too old, then. IM Day was hit with it at about that
age, but he was already a strong player.

when I was 20, and when we said 'never
> trust anyone over 30! [now we say, never trust anyone under 51!]

"Never trust anyone over 30" was a actually a reaction to an older
saying, "Never trust anyone under 45".


> And maybe they can? But what do you get in exchange for stopping them?
> Probably a lot. I think this was the real chess-art contribution of
> Alekhine who was simply magnificient at defeating the early hyper-
> moderns, and could trade one threat for another.

Edward Lasker lists Alekhine as one of the early hyper-moderns. But
he also says that, unlike Nimzovich, Alekhine had a strong practical
side.
>
> > =A0With the description by Nimzovich of the
> > outpost, the mysterious rook move and the attack on the base, my play
> > with the rooks improved.
>
> Yes. You are not such a slight player as you pretend

Since everyone on this group is assumed to be 200 points lower than
they say they are, I pursued the strategy of claiming to be weaker
than I am, so as to get a match at nice stakes with someone weaker
than I. Alas, that didn't work.

I think I understand chess better now than when I was playing, but as
a practical matter I would play worse - it takes a serious drive to
put forth your best efforts for several hours, and I no longer care
much about winning.

- the thing to
> understand is that most people never even sniff your level, and
> certainly cannot do that Alekhine thing of switching one kind of
> advantage [or threat] for another.

Aside from the baked-in plans that come with some openings, my
strategic repertoire was quite limited. There's the ever popular wait-
for-him-to-make-a-mistake plan, which won me many low quality games
and lifeless draws, for example. It was a long time before I grasped
that an attack was a thing in itself, inherent in the position, and
not just a decision. Even though Lasker told me that it was!
Eventually I learned something of how to use a space advantage, from
Reti and the Soviets, I think. I never learned how to turn the two
bishops to advantage except in the most obvious of cases. My feeling
is that you don't need much positional ability to get to 2200.

Even when I look at my postal games, generally of higher quality, I
see tactical wins, or if they are positional it is because of a
heinous positional error on my opponent's part (e.g. the Winawer game
where my opponent, playing white, opened the long diagonal for my QB.)

This, IMO, is impossible to rote
> learn in terms of moves - but is possible to ascertain from playing
> the game, and offering playing partner multiple hells in defence.

That was my other plan. Get a lost game as black and hope he gets
overconfident.

> > But we must =A0remember that Nimzovich was not merely a theorist, but a
> > very successful player, retroactively considered third in the world a
> > while. =A0The book is far more a practical manual than a theoretical
> > treatise, at least in its first half and also I think in the second.
>
> Yes - you are in the right of it. In fact, the first real strategy
> manual?

I am unfamiliar with Steinitz' writings, so I can't be sure. From the
amazon description, though, his "modern chess instructor" doesn't seem
to be such.

>
> I think his work is confusing since modern books are very shy of
> strategy and instruct you overmuch to this line or that position. This
> never seemed to be Nimzo's idea, no matter how many illustrations he
> offered. I think he wanted some principal of general operations to be
> deployed - so like Tarrasch!

In that way perhaps they were more like each other than like Reti, who
said he was not interested in rules, only in exceptions. But once
Tarrasch formulated a rule, he made it a dogma - declaring, for
example, that the Sicilian and Caro-Kann must be unsound as the first
move doesn't develop a piece or free a bishop!

>
> What seems distroting [to me] is that you can only write maybe half a
> dozen good strategic books like this, whereas you can publish
> thousands of individual lines, and /thema/ on openings. It is not in
> the publisher's or author's self-interest to acknowledge a more
> general and superior approach [email protected]?

Speelman, I think, comments that you can make money writing opening
manuals, while a games collection is a way of being "mildly paid" for
writing a book.


> I should not neglect to mention Kelp-Bot's contibuting ideas here -
> which perhaps also contract or enjoin, the theoretical aspect of
> things with the practical result of deploying them in real games. His,
> is again IMO, as real a perspective as this trend agreed between we
> two.

I am somewhat surprised that the Bot's satiric spirit did not find
Nimzovich agreeable, he has missed much in consequence. Again, it is
important to remember that Nimzovich's practical achievements were
remarkable, all the more so as he did not have the temperament or
health of his rivals. He did not achieve the world championship, but
not much else in chess eluded him.

William Hyde



 
Date: 23 Nov 2008 13:38:03
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich
On Nov 23, 3:24=A0pm, William Hyde <[email protected] > wrote:
> On Nov 22, 4:37=A0pm, "[email protected]" <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> > On Nov 22, 4:04=A0pm, William Hyde <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> > In my youth there was a fella carried Nimzo's book around with him at
> > all times. The trouble was, he never improved to any noticeable
> > degree, and could be foxed by reasonably simple tactics.
>
> Nimzovisch-obsession strikes many young players almost like a
> religious conversion.

Well, here we go - at the time of this contact the Nimzo-fetishist
[literally, My System under his armit at all times] seemed so much
older - probably he was 31 when I was 20, and when we said 'never
trust anyone over 30! [now we say, never trust anyone under 51!] he
was automatically suspect. In fact he was once feared but, once
overcoming his play, feared no longer. You just intuited Nimzo better
than he, or you foxed him tactically.

> =A0Mostly they become fairly strong owing to
> obsessive study of the text, but I suppose that doesn't happen to
> all. =A0Nimzovich's strategy is risky, and requires tactical accuracy.
> Consider for example the Winawer, to which Nimzovich contributed much.

Ay! After that Q move, what else do you need to know against most
players - they can't castle k side, and you don't control the Q side,
so the question is the critical break in the middle, which likely
resolves upon a tactical finesse - so why rote learn anything if you
play sub-master chess? Above this level you may meet a line which
makes your eyes water or at least which challenges your sense of
things - but those are untypical of 99.9% of games. Too pragmatic? But
I only play Winawer myself against sub 2000 players trying out the
French.


> > Nimzo was undoubtably deep as a stategist, and maybe we do not even
> > appreciate how deep his ideas were in forming our own - sure, one may
> > learn much about the seventh rank, but how come one does not
> > appreciate that for oneself while actually playing?
>
> If one is a much better player than I, well one might. =A0As best I can
> recall from my early games rooks were handled abysmally, generally
> traded off on a file opened about move seven. =A0Or they sat in a corner
> until it was time for the inevitable K+R vs K endgame. =A0I knew rooks
> had to get to the seventh, but never figured out how to do that if the
> opponent tried to stop it.

And maybe they can? But what do you get in exchange for stopping them?
Probably a lot. I think this was the real chess-art contribution of
Alekhine who was simply magnificient at defeating the early hyper-
moderns, and could trade one threat for another.

> =A0With the description by Nimzovich of the
> outpost, the mysterious rook move and the attack on the base, my play
> with the rooks improved.

Yes. You are not such a slight player as you pretend - the thing to
understand is that most people never even sniff your level, and
certainly cannot do that Alekhine thing of switching one kind of
advantage [or threat] for another. This, IMO, is impossible to rote
learn in terms of moves - but is possible to ascertain from playing
the game, and offering playing partner multiple hells in defence.

>
>
> > That is the usual problem with theorists - even if you understand them
> > well, how does this actually impact your play at chess? I would say
> > for myself that I never studied Nimzo, but cannot but note that those
> > who have attibute much of their success to what he has said. Was this
> > really to clarify their own thought, or to introduce ideas which did
> > not occur to them which nevertheless were of great beenfit?
>
> But we must =A0remember that Nimzovich was not merely a theorist, but a
> very successful player, retroactively considered third in the world a
> while. =A0The book is far more a practical manual than a theoretical
> treatise, at least in its first half and also I think in the second.

Yes - you are in the right of it. In fact, the first real strategy
manual?

I think his work is confusing since modern books are very shy of
strategy and instruct you overmuch to this line or that position. This
never seemed to be Nimzo's idea, no matter how many illustrations he
offered. I think he wanted some principal of general operations to be
deployed - so like Tarrasch!

What seems distroting [to me] is that you can only write maybe half a
dozen good strategic books like this, whereas you can publish
thousands of individual lines, and /thema/ on openings. It is not in
the publisher's or author's self-interest to acknowledge a more
general and superior approach [email protected]?

> Have you ever had this experience? =A0You have a decent position, but
> can't see any way to improve it. =A0You think, and think, and use 45
> minutes without arriving at any conclusion. =A0You then play the first
> move you had thought of anyway, and go on to lose =A0the game in time
> trouble.
>
> Overprotection is perhaps his most purely theoretical idea in the
> book, and most modern writers don't think it to be nearly as important
> as he did. =A0However, when I didn't know how to improve my position I
> would try to overprotect and it generally would guide me to a decent
> move without wasting 45 minutes.

Sure nuff! I have been writing with Dave Rudel for 6 months [including
finding him in vivo subjects to try out his Colle-Zukertort. That
opening massively overproptects d4, and perhaps little else. But as
you, this achieves results - even at any level of play.

I should not neglect to mention Kelp-Bot's contibuting ideas here -
which perhaps also contract or enjoin, the theoretical aspect of
things with the practical result of deploying them in real games. His,
is again IMO, as real a perspective as this trend agreed between we
two.

Cordially, Phil Innes

> William Hyde



 
Date: 23 Nov 2008 12:24:29
From: William Hyde
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich
On Nov 22, 4:37=A0pm, "[email protected]" <[email protected] > wrote:
> On Nov 22, 4:04=A0pm, William Hyde <[email protected]> wrote:

>
> In my youth there was a fella carried Nimzo's book around with him at
> all times. The trouble was, he never improved to any noticeable
> degree, and could be foxed by reasonably simple tactics.

Nimzovisch-obsession strikes many young players almost like a
religious conversion. Mostly they become fairly strong owing to
obsessive study of the text, but I suppose that doesn't happen to
all. Nimzovich's strategy is risky, and requires tactical accuracy.
Consider for example the Winawer, to which Nimzovich contributed much.
>
> Nimzo was undoubtably deep as a stategist, and maybe we do not even
> appreciate how deep his ideas were in forming our own - sure, one may
> learn much about the seventh rank, but how come one does not
> appreciate that for oneself while actually playing?

If one is a much better player than I, well one might. As best I can
recall from my early games rooks were handled abysmally, generally
traded off on a file opened about move seven. Or they sat in a corner
until it was time for the inevitable K+R vs K endgame. I knew rooks
had to get to the seventh, but never figured out how to do that if the
opponent tried to stop it. With the description by Nimzovich of the
outpost, the mysterious rook move and the attack on the base, my play
with the rooks improved.

>
> That is the usual problem with theorists - even if you understand them
> well, how does this actually impact your play at chess? I would say
> for myself that I never studied Nimzo, but cannot but note that those
> who have attibute much of their success to what he has said. Was this
> really to clarify their own thought, or to introduce ideas which did
> not occur to them which nevertheless were of great beenfit?

But we must remember that Nimzovich was not merely a theorist, but a
very successful player, retroactively considered third in the world a
while. The book is far more a practical manual than a theoretical
treatise, at least in its first half and also I think in the second.

Have you ever had this experience? You have a decent position, but
can't see any way to improve it. You think, and think, and use 45
minutes without arriving at any conclusion. You then play the first
move you had thought of anyway, and go on to lose the game in time
trouble.

Overprotection is perhaps his most purely theoretical idea in the
book, and most modern writers don't think it to be nearly as important
as he did. However, when I didn't know how to improve my position I
would try to overprotect and it generally would guide me to a decent
move without wasting 45 minutes.

William Hyde


 
Date: 23 Nov 2008 11:54:56
From: William Hyde
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich
On Nov 23, 3:29=A0am, help bot <[email protected] > wrote:
> On Nov 22, 4:37=A0pm, "[email protected]" <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> > > I've been reading it lately - not studying, just reading. =A0Nimzovic=
h
> > > reasons oddly some times, which can put you off, but it's more a
> > > matter of language than anything. =A0I recall that back when I was
> > > learning the game, his chapter on the seventh rank alone won me many
> > > points.
>
> =A0 Offhand, this would appear to indicate not that
> AN's coverage of the seventh rank was unusual
> or outstanding, but that /you/ may not have
> understood much in that area until you read
> this particular book.

That is a reasonable supposition, but I don't think it is true. I was
winning these
endings against players rated as high as I or higher - but hey didn't
properly understand
how to use the seventh rank. It got so that if I was in a rook
endgame against anyone less than 200 points above me I could almost
count on a good result. They were rated above me, of course, because
they were stronger tacticians and/or better middlegame players.


> > > chess.
>
> =A0 Indeed. =A0But /what kind/ of chess? =A0 I found AN's
> own games to have a very peculiar style to them,
> and this was, shall I say, not the pleasing style of
> a Paul Morphy or an Alexander Alekhine, but of a
> weirdo.

A friend of mine had that problem. He noticed that many of
Nimzovich's classic games were with black, and hence were a bit long
for him.

But Nimzo was an attacking player as much as a positional one. As
Larsen commented, the fact that he and Petrosian were Nimzovich's most
prominent followers in the 1960s only showed how wide-ranging his play
really was.


>
> > > All the same, I can't call it a "must read" any longer. =A0The lesson=
s
> > > in this book have been absorbed by others, added to, modified, and ar=
e
> > > available in modern books. =A0If your only purpose is to improve your
> > > game, perhaps modern works are best.
>

> > which is to say, what is the worth of the book to various levels of
> > chess skill - when should one attempt the title?
>
> =A0 My answer would be to read this when one has
> grown bored with "classical" chess, and wants
> to make a dramatic changeover to the style of
> the so-called hypermoderns.

I definitely did things in the wrong order, reading Tarrasch only
after Nimzowitsch.

His best games are in "Chess Praxis", I am told, but it was so badly
translated that I gave up on it. I understand that a better
translation is finally available.

William Hyde


 
Date: 23 Nov 2008 08:26:04
From: help bot
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich
On Nov 23, 7:31=A0am, "[email protected]" <[email protected] > wrote:

> NIMZOWITSCH WAS JUST PLAIN WRONG ABOUT A NUMBER OF THINGS BUT HIS USE
> OF LANGUAGE-THE PASSED PAWNS LUST TO EXPAND-FIRST RESTRAIN, THEN
> BLOCKADE FINALLY DESTROY-MAKES CHESS STRATEGY MEMORABLE IN A WAY
> NOBODY ELSE HAS ACHIEVED!
>
> Which seems to me to encapsulate what is useful [ie, memorable!] about
> Nimzo. In terms of practial play, here above is the way to
> strategically go about dealing with opponents pawns.


But not everyone /enjoys/ this kind of
strategy. Indeed, most of the players
I know prefer the practice of attacking
with pieces, essentially treating pawns
as if they interfered with their plans, via
the enemy promoting his extra ones at
the end of unsuccessful battles.

Personally, I think careful advance
of the pawns with one's pieces right
behind them is the fit and proper way
to play (usually). But this assumes
a sound attempt at defense on the
part of one's opponents (and a lot of
work in comparison to just "going for
it" with optimistic, direct assaults). I
often get worn out by the end of a
five-rounder as a result of my style of
play, whereas the bold and reckless
either fail miserably, or else haul
away the cup with the apparent
effortlessness of gods... .

The above commentary by RK has
"chess strategy" defined rather
narrowly; in fact, wild piece attacks
are an alternate strategy-- sound or
not. As I recall, even BF did not go
for this Nimzowitchian strategy
except when the position screamed
for it. Instead of obsessing over
isolated pawns, many of the greats
liked to attack with pieces-- in a
sense, confident that their great
tactical skills would trump minute
positional factors.

Besides, before Mr. Nimzowitch
there was WWI and then WWII in
which his prescribed methods of
restraint, blockade and destruction
were practiced (especially the last).
The one thing AN forgot to mention
was the "shock and awe" strategy,
as perfected by Mr. Tal.

As for the part about language, I
would agree but for the others who
also contributed in a similar fashion;
writers like Hans Kmoch, for
instance.

Right now I am finishing up a game
at GetClub in which I /deliberately/
ignored the issue of "the backward
pawn" in favor of restraining -- not
the enemy's pawns -- but rather his
pieces. My greater piece-activity is
the deciding factor, and yet I see this
as a strategical decision on my part.

Suppose a book could be writen in
the style of AN, but using the games
of better players? This might solve
the problem of AN's notoriously
contorted play. Or maybe we could
use a computer to screen out those
games lasting over 80 moves? In
my games, anything over 80 is a
sure bet that one or both sides are
missing crushing blows, canceling
out one another's mistakes such as
to allow the game to drag on and on
(a Nimzowitchian trademark).


-- help bot











 
Date: 23 Nov 2008 04:31:23
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich

> That is the usual problem with theorists - even if you understand them
> well, how does this actually impact your play at chess? I would say
> for myself that I never studied Nimzo, but cannot but note that those
> who have attibute much of their success to what he has said. Was this
> really to clarify their own thought, or to introduce ideas which did
> not occur to them which nevertheless were of great beenfit?
>
> A broad subject; and as much about the nature of learning, and of
> transfered knowledge as anything.

While noting kelp-bot's answer [then new, marine bot!] last night I
also took the opportunity to ask Ray Keene his own opinion - since he
has managed a couple of well-recieved Nimzo titles. He replied:

NIMZOWITSCH WAS JUST PLAIN WRONG ABOUT A NUMBER OF THINGS BUT HIS USE
OF LANGUAGE-THE PASSED PAWNS LUST TO EXPAND-FIRST RESTRAIN, THEN
BLOCKADE FINALLY DESTROY-MAKES CHESS STRATEGY MEMORABLE IN A WAY
NOBODY ELSE HAS ACHIEVED!

Which seems to me to encapsulate what is useful [ie, memorable!] about
Nimzo. In terms of practial play, here above is the way to
strategically go about dealing with opponents pawns. I would further
suppose that in order to understand the idea there are players for
which the idea itself is enough for them to go obtain their own
experience of how to do it, while other players will want to read 50
examples or demonstrations by the greats...

Phil Innes


 
Date: 23 Nov 2008 00:29:17
From: help bot
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich
On Nov 22, 4:37=A0pm, "[email protected]" <[email protected] > wrote:

> > I've been reading it lately - not studying, just reading. =A0Nimzovich
> > reasons oddly some times, which can put you off, but it's more a
> > matter of language than anything. =A0I recall that back when I was
> > learning the game, his chapter on the seventh rank alone won me many
> > points.


Offhand, this would appear to indicate not that
AN's coverage of the seventh rank was unusual
or outstanding, but that /you/ may not have
understood much in that area until you read
this particular book. Suppose you had just
studied this stuff and *only then* read AN? The
reaction could be "I learned a little, but most of
this, I already knew".


> > If you study this book, you will without doubt learn a great deal of
> > chess.


Indeed. But /what kind/ of chess? I found AN's
own games to have a very peculiar style to them,
and this was, shall I say, not the pleasing style of
a Paul Morphy or an Alexander Alekhine, but of a
weirdo.


> > All the same, I can't call it a "must read" any longer. =A0The lessons
> > in this book have been absorbed by others, added to, modified, and are
> > available in modern books. =A0If your only purpose is to improve your
> > game, perhaps modern works are best.
>
> > It reminds me of a saying in mathematics =A0- "you can tell a truly
> > original mathematician by the ugliness of his proofs". =A0Or as a math
> > prof told my class "instead of the proof in the text, I will show you
> > a proof of the Heine-Borel theorem that the originators would have
> > recognized". =A0Reading "My System" shows you the work of a pioneer. =
=A0It
> > has rough edges and won't read as smoothly as a modern work, but
> > there's a lot of information =A0there.


> This is a good post by Bill Hyde - and I have often felt similarly,
> which is to say, what is the worth of the book to various levels of
> chess skill - when should one attempt the title?


My answer would be to read this when one has
grown bored with "classical" chess, and wants
to make a dramatic changeover to the style of
the so-called hypermoderns.


> In my youth there was a fella carried Nimzo's book around with him at
> all times. The trouble was, he never improved to any noticeable
> degree, and could be foxed by reasonably simple tactics.


I used to carry around "Tal's Secrets of Chess
Tactics -- How to Destroy Your Opponent at Will";
scared the heck out of a few people-- that is, until
they saw my actual moves, sighed with relief,
and then blew me away. Now I have adopted
a different strategy-- that of carrying "How the
Pieces Move"; folks now tend to /underestimate
me/, and when I sometimes play decent moves,
they are taken aback.


> Nimzo was undoubtably deep as a stategist, and maybe we do not even
> appreciate how deep his ideas were in forming our own - sure, one may
> learn much about the seventh rank, but how come one does not
> appreciate that for oneself while actually playing?
>
> That is the usual problem with theorists - even if you understand them
> well, how does this actually impact your play at chess? I would say
> for myself that I never studied Nimzo, but cannot but note that those
> who have attibute much of their success to what he has said. Was this
> really to clarify their own thought, or to introduce ideas which did
> not occur to them which nevertheless were of great beenfit?
>
> A broad subject; and as much about the nature of learning, and of
> transfered knowledge as anything.
>
> I hope there is consequently good correspondancer here on this topic
> by players willing to contrast their own experience with their Nimzo
> studies.


There seemed to be a lot of AN's own games
interspersed with his text commentary, and this
is what turned me off. I wish I had started off
by studying weaker players and then gradually
worked my way up to the greats, but instead I
did the reverse, and thus when I came upon
these games I was disappointed, not impressed.

Disclaimer: I was so turned off by AN's games
that I did not manage to read the whole book,
nor his sequel; thus, it is possible that his play
may have improved, if say, the games were
listed chronologically. This is not to say that I
cannot appreciate hypermodern chess; indeed,
many locals might characterize my own play
as such.
The key here may well be summed up in one
word: contortion; if one's play is /contorted/ in
a desperate attempt to force the game into,
say, closed-up positions where the pawns are
interlocked, that is an ugly style. If, on the other
hand, the game naturally flows into this kind of
position, that is just fine by me.


-- help bot


 
Date: 22 Nov 2008 13:37:08
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich
On Nov 22, 4:04=A0pm, William Hyde <[email protected] > wrote:
> On Nov 22, 8:28=A0am, KDP <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> > is this book still relevant now? =A0would you recommend it as a "must
> > read" for players looking to improve their game? =A0thanks in advance.
>
> Ken Smith of Chess Digest recommended that players below 1800 read the
> first half, then wait until they were stronger (2000?) before tackling
> the second half.
>
> I've been reading it lately - not studying, just reading. =A0Nimzovich
> reasons oddly some times, which can put you off, but it's more a
> matter of language than anything. =A0I recall that back when I was
> learning the game, his chapter on the seventh rank alone won me many
> points.
>
> If you study this book, you will without doubt learn a great deal of
> chess.
>
> All the same, I can't call it a "must read" any longer. =A0The lessons
> in this book have been absorbed by others, added to, modified, and are
> available in modern books. =A0If your only purpose is to improve your
> game, perhaps modern works are best.
>
> It reminds me of a saying in mathematics =A0- "you can tell a truly
> original mathematician by the ugliness of his proofs". =A0Or as a math
> prof told my class "instead of the proof in the text, I will show you
> a proof of the Heine-Borel theorem that the originators would have
> recognized". =A0Reading "My System" shows you the work of a pioneer. =A0I=
t
> has rough edges and won't read as smoothly as a modern work, but
> there's a lot of information =A0there.
>
> William Hyde

This is a good post by Bill Hyde - and I have often felt similarly,
which is to say, what is the worth of the book to various levels of
chess skill - when should one attempt the title?

In my youth there was a fella carried Nimzo's book around with him at
all times. The trouble was, he never improved to any noticeable
degree, and could be foxed by reasonably simple tactics.

Nimzo was undoubtably deep as a stategist, and maybe we do not even
appreciate how deep his ideas were in forming our own - sure, one may
learn much about the seventh rank, but how come one does not
appreciate that for oneself while actually playing?

That is the usual problem with theorists - even if you understand them
well, how does this actually impact your play at chess? I would say
for myself that I never studied Nimzo, but cannot but note that those
who have attibute much of their success to what he has said. Was this
really to clarify their own thought, or to introduce ideas which did
not occur to them which nevertheless were of great beenfit?

A broad subject; and as much about the nature of learning, and of
transfered knowledge as anything.

I hope there is consequently good correspondancer here on this topic
by players willing to contrast their own experience with their Nimzo
studies.

Cordially, Phil Innes


 
Date: 22 Nov 2008 13:04:11
From: William Hyde
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich
On Nov 22, 8:28=A0am, KDP <[email protected] > wrote:
> is this book still relevant now? =A0would you recommend it as a "must
> read" for players looking to improve their game? =A0thanks in advance.

Ken Smith of Chess Digest recommended that players below 1800 read the
first half, then wait until they were stronger (2000?) before tackling
the second half.

I've been reading it lately - not studying, just reading. Nimzovich
reasons oddly some times, which can put you off, but it's more a
matter of language than anything. I recall that back when I was
learning the game, his chapter on the seventh rank alone won me many
points.

If you study this book, you will without doubt learn a great deal of
chess.

All the same, I can't call it a "must read" any longer. The lessons
in this book have been absorbed by others, added to, modified, and are
available in modern books. If your only purpose is to improve your
game, perhaps modern works are best.

It reminds me of a saying in mathematics - "you can tell a truly
original mathematician by the ugliness of his proofs". Or as a math
prof told my class "instead of the proof in the text, I will show you
a proof of the Heine-Borel theorem that the originators would have
recognized". Reading "My System" shows you the work of a pioneer. It
has rough edges and won't read as smoothly as a modern work, but
there's a lot of information there.



William Hyde


 
Date: 22 Nov 2008 06:06:10
From: Offramp
Subject: Re: "My system" by Aaron Nimzovich
On Nov 22, 1:28 pm, KDP <[email protected] > wrote:
> is this book still relevant now? would you recommend it as a "must
> read" for players looking to improve their game? thanks in advance.

I never found it to be of any use. I found it neither instructional or
funny.
A far far better book would be Secrets of Practical Chess by Dr J D M
Nunn. Also Understanding Chess Move by Move by the same author and, to
get you into the openings, The Sicilian Labyrinth by L Polugaevsky.