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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Chess Praxis by Nimzovich

     Nimzovich's largely forgotten classic, Chess Praxis (practical application of a theory), was written as a followup to My System and was designed to provide games that showed how he applied the ideas he described in My System. It should probably be read after reading My System, but if you just want some practical examples of positional play or a good collection of games (109 of his games), then this is an excellent book. In fact, Nimzovich says as much in Chess Praxis when he wrote that no knowledge of his previous book was necessary. In this book the ideas he covers will never go out of date. Nimzovich covers what is today a forgotten aspect of the game, positional play.
     In the preface he observed that positional play is founded on technique that can be learned. And he states he will attempt to “explain lovingly and in depth” the strategy he hinted at in My System. He begins by discussing control of the center and says it is a strategic necessity, adding that flank attacks will succeed only if the center is closed or is stable.
     Here's an instructive game he played at Ostend 1907 against Theodor von Scheve.  I always like how simple the great players make these positional battles look!
von Scheve

     The tournament was divided into two sections: the Championship Tournament and the Masters' Tournament. The first section was for players who had previously won an international tournament.The Championship Tournament took place in the Casino of Ostend from 16 May to 14 June 1907. David Janowsky, Siegbert Tarrasch, Carl Schlechter, and Frank Marshall had accepted the invitation for the tournament. Emanuel Lasker and Géza Maróczy declined and were replaced by Amos Burn and Mikhail Chigorin. Tarrasch won the event and Schlechter finished second. Janowsky and Marshall tied for 3rd and 4th followed by Burn and Chigorin. The Masters' Tournament was a twenty nine-player round-robin and was won by Ossip Bernstein and Akiba Rubinstein. Jacques Meisis and Nimzovich tied for 3rd and 4th. His opponent, von Scheve , finished tied for 23rd and 24th (out of 29 players). Theodor von Scheve (11 June 1851 – 19 April 1922) was a German chess master and writer. Scheve was born in Cosel in the Prussian Province of Silesia and was an army officer by profession. He lived in Breslau, where he co-founded the Schachverein Breslau Anderssen, and later in Berlin. His best achievement was 3rd–4th place at Monte Carlo 1901. He wrote a philosophy essay Der Geist des Schachspiel (The Spirit of the Game of Chess), published in 1919.

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