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Friedrich Samisch vs Aron Nimzowitsch
"The Immortal Zugzwang Game" (game of the day Oct-24-05)
Copenhagen 1923  ·  Queen's Indian Defense: Classical. Traditional Variation Nimowitsch Line (E18)  ·  0-1

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Given 22 times; par: 30 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  syracrophy: Some analysis to this game:

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. Nc3 O-O 7. O-O d5 8. Ne5 <Correct move to restrict Black's position by pinning the pawn of d5. Now the bishop of g2 now supports the advance of the pawn of e4> 8...c6 <Black consolidates his pawn of d5, that is pressed already three times> 9. cxd5? <A positional mistake that just helps the game of Black. The bishop of g2 won't have good future, because the break up with e4, would leave an aislated pawn on d4. The correct move was the central punch 9.e4> 9...cxd5! <The best capture. It frees the bishop of b7> 10. Bf4 a6! <Initiating a movilization of the queenside pawns, assuming the initiative. Now, if White tries to stop it with 11.a4, he would left weak the b4-square, where a black knight or bishop could place later> 11. Rc1 b5! 12. Qb3 <Better was 12.a3 to avoid a possible ...b4 and secure the position of the kknight of c3> 12...Nc6 13. Nxc6 <Better was 13.Nxd5! Nxd4 <not 13...Nxd5? 14.Nxc6 Bxc6 15.Rxc6 Nxf4 16.gxf4 Qxd4 17.Rxe6! fxe6 18.Qxe6+ Kh8 19.Bxa8 >14.Nxe7+ Qxe7 15.Qe3 => 13...Bxc6 14. h3? <Samisch plays with no plan in mind. It was the last chance to try to simplify the position with 14.Nxe4! dxe4 15.Rxc6 Qxd4 16.Rd1 Qb4 17.Qxb4 Bxb4 18.Bg5! with the idea of 19.Bxf6 and capture the pawn of e4>14...Qd7! <Protects the bishop, avoiding any tactical shot and also protects the pawn of b5 to support the advance in the queenside <If 15.a3 a5!>> 15. Kh2? <Another useless move with no idea on mind. It was important to play 15.Bg5! <To exchange the useless bishop> followed by 16.a3 . White would then be passive, but solid>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tactic101: Anyone who thinks this game is over rated must be crazy! It is beautiful to see how Nimzo strangulates his opponent in such a manner. A classic.
Jan-25-07   GeauxCool: 3...b6 Nice game by Black, thanks <Tactic101> for bringing it back up again!
Feb-28-07   MaczynskiPratten: The "Immortal Zugzwang Game" appellation is yet another of Chernev's titles - at least that is where I first saw it, in "The Chess Companion" 40 years ago. I consider this is a real Zugzwang because White's position would definitely be better if he could "pass". Black wins the Queen anyway after R5f3, but he has to give up both Rooks to do it; he wins the Bishop but had already sac'd a Knight. So, although Black has a huge mobility advantage, the win is not clear-cut, whereas it is far more decisive after White has been forced to move.
Mar-18-07   tyzhang: Why not just 26. Bc1?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <tyzhang> On Bc1, the knight at b1 is ungaurded.

<MaczynskiPratten> If White doesn't move, Black can also win the Queen for less material with Be7-Bg5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: anything wrong with 20.f4 ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: <ketchuplover> to me it looks like 20.f4 is hit with ...g5, e.g. 21.Rf1 gxf4 22.Bxf4 Bxf4 23.gxf4 Qg7 and black has all the play.
May-03-07   huntercakemix: I have did every kind i sack smash
my oppents king play every type of endgame by i have never gottin my oppent into Zugzwang in the mid game
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: I annotated this game here.
Jun-05-07   MaczynskiPratten: <calli> Be7-Bg5 is not conclusive. Firstly, White can play h4 to stop the new threat. Secondly, White now has g4, R5f3, Bxf3! because Black no longer has Rh2#, having removed his Bishop from the vital b8-h2 diagonal.
Oct-04-07   Ragh: White is just strangulated here. Forcing Zugzwang, with so many pieces still left on board, is just unbelievable.
Premium Chessgames Member
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: OK, vaguely nice, at will.
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  alexmagnus: What happens on 26.Rgf1?
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <alexmagnus> Saving Fritz Sämisch?

But <26...Bxf1>

click for larger view

and there are some more threats, e.g. 27.Rxf1 Rxf1+ 28. Bxf1 Rxf1+ 29.Kg2 Rxb1, or 27.Bxf1 Rxf1+ 28.Kg2 R1f3

Dec-02-07   D4n: I enjoy Nimzowitsch's annotates...
Premium Chessgames Member

click for larger view

is the ultimate Zugswang position

Jan-12-08   blob bob: never heard of zugswang, what is it :S
Premium Chessgames Member
  ruyfanatic: It's when your opponent has you in a position where any move you make hurts your cause.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: No, that's <Zugzwang> with a Zee and a Zed. 'Zugswang' sounds like a painful and potentially embarrassing condition, however.

Incidentally, Nimzowitsch wrote: "May my dear colleague Saemisch not take it amiss that I seize every opportunity to publish this game, which is known in Denmark as the Immortal Zugzwang Game."

So it looks like the Danes got the name in first -- unless by "known in Denmark" Nimzo meant "known in my house in Denmark".

And I wouldn't put it past the Old Blockader. Genius has its ways.

Apr-15-08   Amarande: I'm going to have to go with the "not a true Zugzwang" folks.

It is true that after, say, 26 b3, Black wins less material by 26 ... R5f3 than he ultimately does if White makes a piece move. However, Queen plus two united passed pawns versus two Rooks, bolstered by the two Bishop advantage, should be far more than enough to win.

The main line is 26 b3 (or any other pawn move but g4) R5f3! 27 Bxf3 Rxf3 28 Qxf3 (if 28 Kh2 to prevent the e5 motif in this line, then 28 ... Rxe3 29 B or Rxe3 e5 and Black will still get two united passed pawns) exf3! 29 Be3 (Rook's moves cost the Exchange after f2 because the Bd3 controls f1) e5! (gaining the necessary time by the threat of Qxh3#) 30 Kh2 e4 and Black has two united passed pawns.

Aug-05-08   akapovsky: white 14.h3?? h3 does nothing and no positional advantage at all samich also could have played 13.a4 b4 and Na2! its likely players of the 1920 lacked positional understanding like nimzo or capablanca
Premium Chessgames Member
  Boomie: <acirce: Kasparov in OMGP I:

<13.Nxc6?! For some reason the strong tactical blow 13.Nxd5!, opening the position to White's advantage, went unnoticed: 13..Nxd4 14.Nxe7+ Qxe7 15.Qe3 Bxg2 16.Kxg2 Qb7+ 17.f3 Nf5 (17..Rfd8?! 18.Rfd1 Nf5 19.Qf2 Nd5 20.Bd2 f6 21.Nd3) 18.Qf2 Nh5 (or 18..Nd5 19.Bd2) 19.Bd2 Qd5 20.Bc3 b4 21.e4 Qb5 22.a4!? Qxa4 23.Bd2 Ne7 24.Qc5, and Black does not have clear equality. I don't know, but perhaps this was too complicated for those times?>>

Maybe it's too complicated for Black seems to have an improvement in this line.

13..Nxd4 14.Nxe7+ Qxe7 15.Qe3 <Nf5> 16.Qc5 Qxc5 17.Rxc5 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 g5! 19.Bc1 h6 20.g4 Ne4 21.Rc7 Rac8 22.Ra7 Nh4+ 23.Kh1 f6 24.Nf3 Nxf3 25.exf3 Nc5 26.Be3 <0.36/23>

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Boomie: 14.h3 is so wrong on so many levels. The main beef I have is it ignores the tactical opportunity created by Nxc6. The bishop is naked on c6.

14.Ne4 dxe4 15.Rxc6 Qxd4 16.Rd1=

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