Aron Nimzowitch - Siegbert Tarrrasch, St Petersburg 1914
This game is included in our classic game as a natural follow-on from our post on the Greek Gift:
- Aron Nimzowitch was a founding father of the school of systematic chess development and was one of the first authors to really put into writing the core fundamentals of chess study.
Despite playing a fine set of developing moves, he makes a small inaccuracy with Nh4?! which costs him a tempo! Tarrasch's aggressive handling of the rest of the game is amazing.
- Whilst not the first example of the double bishop sacrifice, we see the core principles of the greek gift in action!
- The final king hunt alone is worthy of inclusion in this section!
Key Lessons from the Game?We would like to focus on three particular ideas from this game which are quite instructive:
- Tempi and why they are important!
- Creating the conditions for an attack
- How to best attack on an open board
Tempi and why they are importantNimzowitch was an absolute expert on planning and the value of pieces, best squares etc.
f5 is weak and if he can get a knight there unchallenged, the exchange of knight for d6 bishop would definitely benefit white. Sadly after 12...g6 13. Nf3, white has taken two tempo to allow black to guard f5. OK, it does open the long diagonal but can white utilise this?
Better was Re1, with development and allowing some Nd2-f1-g3 manouevres.
Creating the conditions for an attack!Black's development is good and the pieces are looking at the right squares. Even better here would be the f8-rook on e8 but 18...Rfe8 allows 19. Qc3! creating counterplay and allowing some lateral defence, so time is of the essence.
The bishop on c6 is screaming here - "I want to see g2!" so Tarrasch obliges. There are other reasons the d4 advance is good:
- Occupies more space (see later Rd8-d5-h5 ideas)
- Stops Qc3 ideas very forcefully
- Puts the 'vulnerable' central pawns to dynamic use!
Attacking on an open boardFull credit to Nimzowitch for fighting on and creating counterplay in this game. In the given position, Tarrasch cannot consider defending. Even one lost tempo here could cost the game!
The attack to end the game is very instructive. 26...Qg2 means 27. Ke3 is forced (27. Ke1 Qe2#) taking the king into the centre of the board.
27...Rxe4+ is very nice (although 27...Qg1 also closes lines for the defender and wins). Let's face it, Rxe4 is a sexier move!
After 28. fxe4, Tarrasch gives an absolute master class in mating the open king. This belongs in the puzzle books! 28...f4+! 29. Kxf4 (forced) Rf8+ (checking on the open file) 30. Ke5 Qh2+ (closing off one diagonal) 31. Ke6 (no way back) Re8+ 32. Kd7 Bb5# (32. Kf6 Qf4# or 32...Qh4#)
A very enjoyable and instructive attacking game.