Sunday, October 18, 2009
Finished half of 'My System'
Well, I've finished reading half of 'My System' finally. Half here meaning, what Nimzowitsch considers as elements of chess strategy

(1) The center and development
(2) Open files
(3) The 7th and 8th ranks
(4) The passed pawn
(5) On Exchanging
(6) Elements of Endgame Strategy
(7) The Pin
(8) Discovered Check
(9) The Pawn Chain

I would say that as of this moment, the chapter that had the best and most immediate impact on my game was chapter (1). The chapter containing information that 'evolved' my chess play are chapters (6) and (9). I was delighted to be able to learn how to win this position for example -

And I solved it purely inside my mind to boot!!

And the illustrative games(For example this, this, and this) regarding the pawn chain, chapter (9) - is so interesting that I am quite considering taking the french as a defense against e4.

The chapter that is most difficult are chapters (4) and (6). And lastly the chapters which is quite puzzling would be chapters (7) and (8) - The pin and the discovered check, aren't they wholly a member of the realm of tactics? I still don't get why they are considered to be atomic elements of chess strategy.

Now if it isn't obvious from the title, the book is actually not a treatise on the middlegame or the endgame. The scope is much broader than that. It is an attempt to teach an all encompassing 'system' of play. It is a no less than a way of thinking about chess.

If someone where to apply themselves dilligently and model their play according to the system, that someone would play very very differently from say a Magnus Carlsen. (I followed Mr Carlsen's victories on the recently concluded Nanjing tournament, and let me tell you.. the moves was very forcing. Not at all like the illustratrative games of Nimzowitsch)

That's why I think people that says things like this

'Overprotection has never gained the support of most grandmasters.'

Misses the mark. It doesnt really matter if every GM on the planet from Morphy to Capablanca to Tal to Botvinnik to Fischer to Kasparov doesnt support the system's concepts. All that matters is that Nimzo believe in what he wrote and made it work for him and followed it until the very end.

It is with this frame of mind that one should read the book methinks.

It you like to play differently go read Tarrasch's 300 games of chess, or Fishers My 60 greatest games or the books of Euwe or something. but if you want your play to have mysterious rook moves, then go buy this book and apply yourself to its diligent application.

The essence of the 'system'

As best as I can see, the system involves around the pawns. They are strategic points of attack and defense e.g. Chapter (9) but more importantly, Nimzo above all else was really preoccupied in how to prevent the passed pawn. The word 'Blockade' crops up almost every page (I've read just half of the book, but if I have a dollar everytime I read the word 'blockade' Id have a thick fat wallet by now) The blockade of a position and its ramifications is the one thing that permeates the entire book.

Seriously, you'll know youre starting to play like Nimzo when the first thing you ask yourself is not 'How do I improve my position' but rather 'How do I block this thing?'

But

I could be wrong so feedback is nice : )

Anyway, maybe I should re-read the chapters again and review the salient points. (But I'm really anxious to start reading the next half.) Or maybe I'll post what I think is the salient points here and ask for opinions, I dunno. I'll just see what goes I guess.

Que sera sera..
 
posted by Nezha at 9:22 AM | Permalink |


3 Comments:


  • At 2:14 AM, Blogger chesstiger

    Dont know how "the system" really works but i give my pupils, who are about 1300 rating at the moment three simple rules for playing: 1. Am i in check? If yes, do something about it.
    2. Is a piece of mine for the grabs? If yes, do something about it (without getting mated offcourse, a double attack can be the case).
    3. Most difficult rule. Does my opponent have threats? If so try to do something about it if possible. (Not all threats can be met).

    If the answer for above questions is NO then try to improve your position by either exucute the threat you have or to improve the position of your worst piece on the board.

    So yes i would ask myself how i could improve my position rather then thinking of blockade. :-)

     
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