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Strategy of 'My System', Lesson 1

We're learning chess strategy from the classic My System by Aaron Nimzowitsch. I'm your guide, likesforests. Grab a cold one, pull up a chair, and enjoy. :)



§1.1 You develop a piece by moving it off the back rank and towards your opponent. Develop all your pieces before moving any piece twice.

Players in the 1400-2000 range tend to be aggressive developers, but I found an example where someone from our group missed an opportunity:

Question: How should White defend his knight?

Answer: In the game 5.c3?! was played, but 5. Be3! is stronger. It's better strategically since it develops a piece. It also sets the tactical threat Nxc6 bxc6 Bxc5 when White wins a piece.


§1.2 Pawn moves are not developing moves, but one or two are required for development.

  • You have to move pawns to develop most of your pieces.
  • If your pawns don't occupy the center, your opponent can demobilize your pieces!

Demobilization explains why we put pawns in the center and how to exploit when our opponent doesn't. Pawns have a lust to expand and their advance can force our opponent to demobilize (undevelop his pieces) or at least flee to less useful squares.

 

 

Pawn moves in the opening should support development or fight for the center. But his target of making only 1-2 pawn moves is suspect. You have to make at least two pawn moves to develop the bishops, and Nimzowitsch usually made three pawn moves in his openings.

John Nunn: "A good rule of thumb is no more than 3 pawn moves in the first 8 moves."


§1.3 A lead in development is an ideal.

A good opponent matches your development. One trick to get ahead is to simultaneously develop a piece and attack one of our opponent's pieces which is already developed.

Scandinavian Defense

White to move after 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5. Black has a lead in development, but 3. Nc3! allows White to catch up by simultaneously developing and attacking the queen.

Scotch Game

White to move. A chess.com member played 6.Bg5 in this position.

Question: Could White have gained a development tempo by playing 6.e5!?

Answer: The alert reader will note 6.e5!? is not a developing move, so after 6...Nh5 or 6...Qe7 the answer is no. But the very alert reader will see 6...Nh5 is refuted by 7.g4! and 6...Qe7 is refuted by 7. Be2!. Black must play ...Ng8 so yes 6.e5 wins a development tempo.


I welcome criticism and even praise if you feel it's deserved. Lesson 2 will be out next Friday... if you haven't already, Add me as a Friend to enjoy it hot off the press!

Comments


  • 4 years ago

    emirzo_kami

    nimzowitsch vs amuture the a pawn is on a3 in the begining.
  • 4 years ago

    dadam

    Great!

    For all beginner the book "My system" is to heavy. Here its much more easy to understand!

  • 5 years ago

    pHwnstar007

    I have my system....Nimzowitsch is a convoluted drunk who thinks rooks swim and dance....thank you for putting his ideas in everyday language.

  • 5 years ago

    figrock

    Bravo...Bravo...! Great post..! Cool

  • 6 years ago

    BlackOps

    I will have to come back again.

  • 6 years ago

    dandaman1982

    Simply brilliant! Can hardly wait to see whats next.Though I may get a little anxious and look for the book my self but I will add you as friend and keep track.thank you

  • 6 years ago

    Nytik

    The first position in this blog occured in one of my games about a week ago, and I did play Nxc6 winning a piece.

    Which means this stuff does actually help in real games Smile

    (So as not to put myself down, Im not saying I wouldnt have seen it anyway. Just that this is really good and helpful stuff!)

  • 6 years ago

    lapin

    Good "lesson one" guide.

  • 6 years ago

    kl1172

    Already learn't something extra while I allready knew all these development basics. You can make it look really really simple in this course!

    greetings

    Kim

  • 6 years ago

    xbigboy

    You should publish this stuff in books!

  • 6 years ago

    hptchess

    Nice job!

  • 6 years ago

    Dmaster995

    I like.

  • 6 years ago

    narutofanforever

    Great!

  • 6 years ago

    likesforests

    Howdy, BDK! Glad you stopped by. :)

  • 6 years ago

    BlueDevilKnight

    Great stuff, thanks for putting it out here for all of us to see.

    Glenn: hey, wait, I didn't think you believed in strategy! Surprised

  • 6 years ago

    mpk2klang

    thanks, i will learn it, keep me inform, TQ, & GOD BLESS

  • 6 years ago

    gjsgregskyplayer

    I am presently in a rehab and I brought some books w. me to study. I have lots of time! Unfortunately, I left M y System at home and brought Capablancas 60 best chess endings and a book on tactics. What a pleasant surprise to see this book studied and discussed right here on chess.com. I am very grateful to likesforests for his interesting analysis. I am relatively a new player and this helps me tremendously. Thank you!

  • 6 years ago

    normajeanyates

    likesforests wrote: Yes, it's quite possible that White mixed up the move order. The better we understand the moves, the less likely we are to mix them up. :)

    The sentence I boldfaced is an excellent maxim!

  • 6 years ago

    likesforests

    logis10> First diagram: c3 is played but only after 5. Be3 Qf6 6. c3 , so it's possible the white player mixed up moves.

    Yes, it's quite possible that White mixed up the move order. The better we understand the moves, the less likely we are to mix them up. :)

    logis10> Last diagram: e5 might win a tempo but is not a developing move.

    Aye, that 6.e5!? is not a developing move is stated in my text above:

    "The alert reader will note 6.e5!? is not a developing move... Black must play ...Ng8 so yes 6.e5 wins a development tempo."

    But 6.e5 Ng8 wins a development tempo, so the answer to "Could White have gained a development tempo by playing 6.e5!?" is "Yes!" For example, if 6.Nc3 the state of piece development is 2 vs 1, while if 6.e5 Ng8 7.Nc3 it's 2 vs 0.

  • 6 years ago

    logis10

    First diagram: c3 is played but only after 5. Be3 Qf6 6. c3 , so it's possible the white player mixed up moves.

    Last diagram: e5 might win a tempo but is not a developing move.

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