The Father of Modern Chess II

The Father of Modern Chess II

| 29 | Chess Players

“He was not popular with his colleagues; he was surly, arrogant, conceited, and almost paranoid. People were out to poison him. Noise bothered him. Everything bothered him. Not naturally, he was in constant controversy with other players. They objected to his antics and he objected right back. At one tournament the entire body of players registered a protested against Nimzovich. How could they concentrate while was doing calisthenics on the stage, doing knee bends, and standing on his head? He did all this because he had been told by a physician that exercise was good for him.”

Nimzowitsch's colleague Tartakower observed of him, "He pretends to be crazy in order to drive us all crazy."

Nimzowitsch was irritated by his opponents' smoking. A popular story is that once when an opponent laid a cigar on the table, he complained to the tournament arbiters, "he is threatening to smoke, and as an old player you must know that the threat is stronger than the execution."

Possibly he could have become world’s champion if not for his pathological nervousness. Certainly he had the talent!

Nimzowitsch never managed to get a match for the world title. He had the bad luck to reach his peak in the same period as Alekhine, who secured a match against Capablanca and won. I doubt, despite his genius, that Nimzowitsch could have done the same, but as a teacher, he was the world champion! Nimzowitsch was the Steinitz of his day!

Capablanca did pay a tribute to the extraordinary powers and originality of Nimzowitsch, wondered what was going on his mind. Not only were Nimzowitsch’s opponents confused, said Capablanca, but Nimzowitsch himself was as confused as they were. “He plays such bizarre openings and such complicated games that very often he is just as much puzzled as his opponent, if not more so.”

A remarkable work was done by John Watson about Nimzowitsch’s theories. His books Secret of Modern Chess Strategy: Advances since Nimzowitsch and Chess Strategy in Action were both awarded and now they are classics, obligatory reading! These two books explore and theorize how radically chess has changed since the early 20th Century. Thanks a lot, John Watson.

In 1922 Nimzowitsch settled in Copenhagen for the rest of his life. Nimzowitsch above all became the chess teacher for the Danish chess community.

Nimzowitsch died in 1935, leaving to posterity some of the most puzzling and yet most subtle games on record! And we owe him thanks for what he did.

Today we will see some positions demonstrating Nimzowitsch's positional play and I hope you enjoy them too!














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