Strategy of 'My System', Lesson 7

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

Open Files:  Two Illustrative Games

NN - likesforests, 2008

We already know what open and semi-open files are, how to create them, and that we should penetrate down them. But what if our opponent prevents that... what then?

I wanted to penetrate down the d-file, but my opponent capably guarded against that possibility. However, he had to make a concession--his knight became tied down and it blocked the coordination of his heavy pieces. That helped me gain material and win.

Vliet - Znosko-Borovsky, Ostend 1907

Below is a famous game discussed in both My System and Logical Chess: Move by Move.

Due to a careless move by White, Znosko-Borovsky was able to open up the c-file. After fighting to control it and penetrate to the 7th rank, he successfully converted his superior position into an outside passed pawn and won the game.

Next week we'll learn new techniques for dealing with stubborn opponents who try to make it difficult for us to control and penetrate down open files. ;)

I welcome criticism and even praise if you feel it's deserved. Lesson 8 should be out next Friday... if you haven't already, Add me as a Friend to enjoy it hot off the press!


  • 8 years ago


    I realy like this and the other 6 articles very simple but important overlooked(or worse known but applied incorrectly/not known the why? behind the idea)

    BTW How do you get the board with coloured squares?!

  • 8 years ago


    Hi likesforests,

    I've enjoyed all your seven lessons on My system. These lessons have helped me in teaching my daughters and they've easily understood the principles mentioned thus far. Waiting for your next lesson.

  • 8 years ago


    You play so clean and crisp against NN.

  • 8 years ago


    Good lessons!


    Waiting for the next chapter!

  • 8 years ago


    I like.

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  • 8 years ago


    Nice. keep it up. Smile

  • 8 years ago


    Eugene's game is a canonical [*] illustration of: opening a file; using the open file to penetrate to the 7th; and converting  that R-penetration-to-the-7th to a win. All three.

    Eugene (Znosko-Borovsky) is another one of my favourite personalities. Multifaceted - playwright, critic of the arts, musician, chess master and chess author... and life dealt him a hand that was a tad tragic but he never gave up on life ...

    [*] note on usage:  I said 'a canonical' - is that proper usage? If it is canonical it has to be 'the canonical' I thought - but textbook seems too weak for this; and  'the canonical' too strong to have a reasonable chance of making the resulting statement factually correct; so.. 'a canonical' stays...

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  • 8 years ago


    Very Nice!

  • 8 years ago


    Very good! Thanks

  • 8 years ago


    good lesson, looking forward to the next

  • 8 years ago


    Another nice lesson! Thanks! Smile

  • 8 years ago


    Especially game 2 shows the power of controling and operating on the only open line on board. - Game one shows, that in the set-up with d3/e3 the bishop should stand better on e2. Setup g3/ d3 should leave better the pawn on e2-

    Again you changed your presentation! This time more "normal"! Quality remains!Smile

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