In the first part of this series, we analyzed Aron Nimzowitsch's influence on the modern openings. While everyone knows that Nimzowitsch was the creator of a number of well-known opening variations like the Nimzo-Indian Defense or the 5...gxf6 line in the Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6 gxf6!?), we sometimes forget about his many other inventions. Today we will see how Bobby Fischer (who was a well-known connoisseur of classical games) studied Nimzowitsch opening ideas.
Let's start with a simple but a very dangerous brain child of Nimzowitsch which today is called the Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack. White develops his queen's bishop to b2 (where it points at Black's king), the king's bishop goes to b5 in order to eliminate Black's knight covering the key e5-square, then he moves his pawn to f4, puts his knight to e5... and starts a crushing kingside attack! Here's how he did it:
And now compare the next two positions:
Yes, Robert James Fischer knew classical games very well. He also never missed an opportunity to improve upon them!
Fischer noticed that the key of the Nimzowitsch's defense was a trade of his 'bad' light squared Bd7. So, in his game vs. Petrosian (whose favorite chess player was Nimzowitsch!), Fischer just prevented this trade and Black's whole position ultimately collapsed.
The moral of this story: study classical games! If you just learn them, you'll be a good chess player. If you manage to improve upon them, you'll be a great player!