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When a Loser Becomes a Winner, Part Two

  • GM Gserper
  • | Mar 2, 2014

Any chess player who is familiar with the enormous heritage of the great Nimzowitsch should know his "Immortal Zugzwang Game." The last move of the game is a treat for a real chess connoisseur:

In his book, Nimzowitsch expressed his hope that "my dear colleague Sämisch is not upset because I never miss a chance to publish this game." It is known in Denmark as "the Immortal Zugzwang Game."

It is a well known legend that after Nimzowitsch lost one of his games he said: "Why must I lose to this idiot?" So, who did Nimzowitsch call an idiot? Why, his 'dear colleague Sämisch' of course! Here is the game:

If you take into account that these two famous grandmasters played each other about ten times and Nimzowitsch has won almost all the games, you can see why the author of My System was so upset about his only loss to Sämisch!

Now let's fast forward to our days. The following game features what is frequently called the best chess combination ever. Try to find the Kasparov's brilliant moves:

A mind-boggling game indeed! It is a pity that Kasparov decided to retire from chess just six years after he had produced such a gem! By the way, do you want to see the last tournament game of the great champion? Here it is:

Here is a poignant video of the last minutes of the game: 

You have to give a credit to Topalov who used the absolutely last opportunity to take revenge! I hope you, my dear readers, got the point already: if you are playing somebody who you brilliantly beat in the past, be very careful! I have my own experience with this strange phenomenon. The best game I ever played was published in numerous books and magazines:

The game was recently featured on the ChessBase website: hereand I analyzed this game here.

Even though this game is well known, not many people are aware that I played another game with the same opponent. Ironically, we played one year later after our first encounter at the same famous Chigorin chess club in Saint Petersburg and almost at the very same table. I had White again, and the game was getting crazy: a bunch of pieces were sacrificed to checkmate the king.  Unfortunately it was my king that was about to get checkmated!! The Mona Lisa was showing her dark side!  Look at my puzzled face:


Fortunately, in mutual time trouble, I found the way to repel his crazy attack:

And since the curse had been broken, it was time to smile:




  • 19 months ago


    Join Sämisch Variations.    
  • 20 months ago



  • 20 months ago


    its really nice to see Kasparov's reaction if he has a losing position.his eyes, facial expression,body language, etc.

  • 20 months ago


    very informative, thanks a lot

  • 20 months ago


    why bd6?

  • 20 months ago


    Oh, I thought this was going to be about me.

  • 20 months ago


    Amazing nonsense move by Kasparov! I wonder how someone could make such a blunder (and his opponent buy the bluff).

  • 20 months ago


    Nice to show us that the tables sometimes turn: the loser can become the winner ([sometimes] every dog gets his day).

    I started playing this very strong player online that beat me 25 times in a row, I was flipped out about it, for sure: "I CAN'T BEAT HIM!". Then, he mentioned that he hated playing against this one opening, so I got hold of some books and pounded that opening for 3 weeks. When I sprung it on him I surprised him (since I always played one of my 2 usual openings) and we played out a variation down to move 15 or so. Somehow I saw a really nasty tactic; an Unpin that gave check and snapped off his Q for my R. The first advantage I'd ever had. Even so, he played ferociously but I scraped a win out of it.

    After that I started winning 1 out of 3 games against him which lasted over a year, then it was 1/2 games and then something changed in his world and I began to win every game. Then he stopped showing up online: I was only thinking of my improvement, not of what was happening to him. I hope he got back on track and is playing again, but you never know what is going on behind the scenes.

    I find some of the psycological aspects of competition interesting: A can cannot win against B who cannot win against C who cannot win against A. What do the top players do to deal with 'nerves' or 'mental blocks'?


  • 20 months ago


    Great Wall if over rated, especially this time of year.

  • 20 months ago


    Every dog has his day. Everyone is dangerous.

  • 20 months ago


    Thanks that was a beautiful write up

  • 20 months ago


    love the article

  • 20 months ago


    Makes absolutely no sense why Nimzo would call Saemisch his "great colleague" if he (Saemisch) was an idiot.

    Great article!

  • 20 months ago


    +1 for showing how you beat your opponent after Nimzowitsch and Kasparov failed to beat theirs!

    +2 for travelling to the Louvre for the article! (Next week the Great Wall, please...)

  • 20 months ago


    Wow... just wow :D

    What brilliant combinations!!!

    Thank you GSerper for such a wonderful article.

    I am waiting for the day you write an article featuring Mikhail Tal, my favourite player :D 

  • 20 months ago



  • 20 months ago


    Great article!

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