"My System"  - Not the one by Nimzowitsch :P

"My System" - Not the one by Nimzowitsch :P

Sep 8, 2017, 5:51 PM |

Long ago when I decided to first foray into the wild world of chess, I would read small paragraph-sized biographies about some of the historic greats.  Like most of us, I'd bump into quotes that made me giggle with absurd delight.  Most of these belonged to my now favorite historical chess figure - Aron Nimzowitsch.  I don't play any of his openings but I've decided I'm actually going to read one of his books to explore him a bit.  None of this has anything to do with my original intention for this particular blog.  

I wanted to tell you (and my future self) about my most recent (hopefully redefining) experience.  I decided to name it "My System" for my new method of being more calculating with my tactics.  

- This is 20% inspired  by my natural appreciation of enumeration and order.  

- 30% to Jeremy Bader's patient and repetitive reminders of "what did I tell you to look for first?  do you have any checks?"

- And 50% inspired with this last tactic I'm including here for your amusement to supplement this story.  I began this tactic and kept looking for a pattern I recognized..."Does this work?  hmm if Bxb6...how do I get my queen in that corner?  Can my kingside pawns do anything...no, too slow.  Who can go to the 7th rank to get some action...um...nobody without imminent death.  Okay, let's just take the knight and see what unfolds..." Bzzzzzzz wrong.   


To be semi-fair to me...my current tactics rating bounces between 1600 and 1700 legitimately and nothing more.  This problem calls itself 1789 (I didn't notice its rating but I also didn't think it was particularly hard).  When I saw the answer, I slapped my forehead exasperatedly..."Um...Afaf, why haven't you found a way to stop missing the obvious after all this time?!?  That was elementary skewer 101."  

So, I immediately grabbed a piece of fresh pristine white paper and scribbled in my awful handwriting, the following:

1. Mates?  2.  Any Checks...regardless of good or bad? 3. Pins/Skewers?  4. Forks?  (Get it...four for forks?  Ouch...that was really cheesy.  I'm leaving it in.) 5. Any other material advantage just hanging?  6. Are there immediate threats against me?  7.  Last but definitely not least...FIND THE COMPLETE LINE BEFORE MOVING PIECES, you impatient infant!  

So yes.  That was the adult conversation I just had with myself.

This blog has become longer than I intended but I eagerly wanted to include some of my favorite Nimzowitsch quotes.   One thing I have very much in common with him is the personification of pieces and positions.  I love this trait and not all chess players do it.  Feel free to tell me which is your favorite!

 “The passed Pawn is a criminal, who should be kept under lock and key. Mild measures, such as police surveillance, are not sufficient” 
-- Aron Nimzowitsch 

“Even the laziest King flees wildly in the face of a double check!” 
-- Aron Nimzowitsch

Why must I lose to this idiot?”   -  (Aron Nimzovich)   The tournament circumstance where he actually said this loudly is quite a funny story!

"Giving up the center must not here be regarded as illogical. Was happiness no happiness because it endured for just a short time? One cannot always be happy.”    -- Aron Nimzowitsch   

I'm still trying to understand that one.  

“The defensive power of a pinned piece is only imaginary”  -- Aron Nimzowitsch

“The threat is stronger than the execution.”     --- Aron Nimzowitsch


I'm only adding this last one because I really need to remind myself of this...

“It is a well known phenomenon that the same amateur who can conduct the middle game quite creditably, is usually perfectly helpless in the end game. One of the principal requisites of good chess is the ability to treat both the middle and end game equally well.”       -- Aron Nimzowitsch