6 NOVEMBER 1999, Page 82

6 RdbN •




Nimzo witsch project

Raymond Keene

WITH Nimzowitsch back in the news as a result of this year's British Chess Federation Book of the Year award, I take another opportunity this week to look at one of his remarkable games. Contemporaries claimed that some of his mysterious wins were pure witchcraft, and the following battle with a leading representative of the classical school certainly displays moments of chessboard magic.

Nimzowitsch-Rubinstein: Semmering 1926; Nimzowitsch Attack

I NB d5 2 b3 c5 3 Bbl Theory states that this move is doubtful after 3 ...f6, but in that case, surely, White can continue: 4 e3 e5 5 Bb5+ Nc6 6 0-0 Bd6 7 c4 with good chances. 3 ...Ne6 4 e3 NIB 5 Bb5 Bd7 6 0-0 e6 7 d3 Be7 8 Nbd2 0-0 9 Bxc6 Bxc6 10 Ne5 Be8 11 f4 Nd7 12 Nxd7 The alternative 12 0g41? deserves a mention: 12 NxeS 13 605 Qa5 14 Rf2 Qb4 15 e4 Bet 16 a3 Qa5 17 exd5 BxdS (17 ... exd5 18 e6 f6 19 NB threatening Nh4-f5) 18 Nfl Qc7 (18 ...b5 19 a4!) 19 Ne3 b5 20 Nxd5 exd5 21 e6 f6 22 Rafl Kh8 23 Rf3 intending 24 Rh3. 12 ...Qxd7 13 e4 f6 A muffling device to oppose the activity of White's queen's bishop. Furthermore, with his queen's bishop on f7 (covering the c4 square) Black is building up fire-power for the eventual advance ...c5-c4. 14 Qf3 1117 15 a4 Hoping to clamp down on ...b7-b5 ...c5-c4, etc. 15 ... b6 Not 15 a6? 16 a5I 16 Rael Also possible, according to Nimzowitsch, was 16 g4 followed by h2-h4 and g4-g5. 16 ...a6 Announcing his imminent inten- tion of playing ... b6-h5. 17 f5 dxe4?! Alternatives that came into consideration were 17 ...Rfe81? and 17 ...d417 18 Qxe4 e5 19 Re3?! Hurling his rook into the fray along the third rank, but this move is probably not best. White has created a beautiful strongpoint on e4 but he now fails to utilise this advantage in the proper manner. It was necessary to establish a knight on this square, rather than the vulnerable queen; hence the cor- rect course was: 19 Qh4 b5 20 Ne4 c4 21 bxc4 bxc4 22 Rf3 (threatening 23 Rh3) 22 ... h6 23 Rg3 with a dangerous attack against the cramped quarters of the black king. 19 ...b5 20 Rg3 Threat: 21 Qg4 g6 22 ficg6 winning a piece. 20 ...10t81 21 Nf3 Once again White should have played to establish his knight on the wonderful e4 square: 21 Qg4 g6 22 Ne4 with a promising attack. The text throws this possibility overboard permanently. 21 ...bxa4? Overhasty, Rubinstein clearly expected an automatic recapture on a4, leaving White with shattered pawns; he must have overlooked the following beautiful stroke. 21 ...Bd6 was imperative. 22 NxeS! Qe8 The only move. If 22 ...Exe5 White delivers mate with a pretty queen sacrifice: 23 Qxe5 Bf6 24 Qxf6 gxf6 25 Bxf6 mate. 23 Qg4 Rg8 24 Nx17+? With the text Nimzowitsch misses a neat win pointed out by K. Emmerich: 24 Ng6+! Bxg6 25 fxg6 h6 26 Rh3 018 27 Qg5! a3 28 Bxf6! 13x65 29 Rxf6 a2 30 Rxf8 alQ+ 31 Rfl and Black cannot ward off the rook sacrifice on h6. 24 ...Qxf7 25 Qxa4 Qd5 26 Qg4 Bd8 27 Qg6 h6 28 Rel Qd7 29 Re6 Rubinstein now finds a very good unsettling try.

29 ...c4 Actually, as Nimzowitsch later pointed out, White can now force the win with 30 Rxf6 Bxf6 31 Bxf6 gxf6 32 Qxh6+ Qh7 33 Qxf6+ Rg7 34 Rg6 cxb3 35 cxb3 Kg8 36 12116 Rf7 37 Qg5+ Rg7 38 Qf4 (or 38 Qh5) but, in time trouble, White abandons the whole project. 30 bxc4? Rb8 31 Bc3 Rbl+ 32 Ref Home again. 32 ...Bb6+? 33 Kfl Rxel+ 34 Bxel Qa4 Black has obtained decided counter-attacking chances to make up for the loss of two pawns. 35 Rh3! Rf8 36 Bc3 Bd8 Black feels a pressing need to reprotect his f- pawn, but by this stage his only chance lay in counter-attack. Nimzowitsch gave: 36 ... Qxc2 37 Rxh6+ 016 38 Qich6+ Kg8 39 Qg6+ Kh8 40 Bxf6+ Rxf6 41 Qxf6+ Kg8 42 Qxb6 Qxd3+ and White still has to overcome various technical dif- ficulties. 37 Bd2 Qxc2 38 Bxh6l Qbl+ 39 Ke2 Qc2+ 40 Ke3 White absolutely refuses to discov- er check. in fact 40 Bd2+ might spoil everything after 40 ...Kg8 41 Rh7 Rf7 threatening ... Re7+. 40 ...Bb6+ 41 Ke4 Qe2+ 42 Re3 Black resigns

Ardbeg Malt Whisky Puzzle No. 2 Black to play and win — first move only required. This position is a variation from the game Tarrasch-Nimzowitsch, Nuremberg 1904. The white kingside is very fragile as Black now proves with a tac- tical blow. Can you see it?

Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 9 November or via e-mail to vanessa@spectator.co.uk or by fax on 0171 242 0603. The winner will be the first cor- rect answer drawn out of a hat, and each week I shall be offering a prize of a bottle of Ardbeg Malt Whisky.

Last week's solution: Re8 Last week's winner: Mr Roland Payne, London.