Modern writers seem to like to bash one of my “star chess books” called MY SYSTEM from which I learned a great deal in understanding that chess was a mirror of individual imagination with lots of creative energies laced within its many lesson briefs telling stories that helped me to retain and learn from the great maestro and imparted to his fan club. These modern chess analysts attempt to say that the book taught nothing constructive for the student. Hogwash I say and doubly hogwash. These so-called experts do not deserve the reporting that recently has found voice in the magazine NEW IN CHESS coming out of the Book Review Section. The book along with THE GAME OF CHESS by Tarrasch and a less known volume by Mason contributed greatly as others have to the richness of the chess struggle.
Such criticism was not voiced merely in modern times but so too in the days of Aron Nimzovitch’s penning detractors. Consequently he penned a type of humorous rebuttal to these detractors with the following:
White: Aron Nimzovitch vs. Black Sistemsson
French Defense (notes by me) (edited by Kindred)
(It must have been a joyful rebuttal to critics of MY SYSTEM that he penned this to further illustrate the comedy that he was capable of masterminding. It reminds me of what Mark Twain might have concocted. For those who cannot find enjoyment in the casting of barbs at the chessworld , in Nimzovitch’s mind it was execution for suffering the worst forms of ridicule short of issuing duel challenges in defense of his writings. Of course he might be chastised today especially for his critique of the teacher and doctor, S. Tarrasch’s widely read and respected treatise.–Don).
1. P-K4 P-K3 2. P-KR4!!
My very oldest and latest thought in this opening! To the chess addict nurtured on spineless convention, this move comes as a punch in the face–but calmly, calmly, readers; after all, you cannot be expected to understand such moves. (Forgive me–it is not your fault, until now no one has opened your eyes and ears.) Wait just a little while and there will pass before you a miracle of overprotection of more than earthly beauty. I assume you are familiar with my theory of overprotection.
2. … P-Q4 3. P-K5!
A move of elemental delicacy. Wherein lies its beauty? It is strong because it is weak. Since it dashes forward it will require additional protection wherein comes my theory of overprotection which in MY SYSTEM is practically equivalent to victory.
3. … P-QB4 4. P-Q4
Here it is quite clear that it is more profitable for White to provoke …P-QB4 and then play P-Q4, because now White attacks the BP instead of Black attacking the QP.
4. … P:P 5. P-R5 !
All very clever, original, and decisive. Of course the ordinary run of people who envy me every spark of my genius but cannot follow my line of reasoning for even three paces, outdo themselves in sneering at me with the poison-dripping epithet “bizarre”. The text move creates confusion in the whole Black army and prepares for the annihilating invasion by the Queen 18 moves later.
5. … Q-N3
Naturally not 5. …N-QB3 because of 6. B-QN5. Why should Black play the French only to allow the Ruy Lopez bishop move after all?
An avaricious dullard would never hit on this deeply considered pawn sacrifice.
6. … N:P 7. Q-R5!! P-N3
Threatens to begin a successful siege of the weakling at K5 by …BN2 but White forestalled this.
To every fair-minded observer this move must come as a revelation. All the previous maneuvers now become clear! White has completed his development brilliantly and proceeds to overprotect K5.. Against this, Black is helpless.
8. …. N-B4 9. B-Q3
Note the splendid cooperation of White’s forces: while the King Pawn and the King Bishop completely blockade Black’s position, the development of the overprotective forces takes place behind the broad backs of these sturdy blockaders.
9. … N-B3 10. N-KB3
As a rule this is a routine move. But here it is strikingly original and as such occupies a place in the storehouse of my intellectual property.
10. … P-KR4 11. P-QN3 B-N2 12. B-KB4!!
How bitterly disappointed he must have been to realize that P-N3 was merely a trap to entice B-KN2 instead of B-K2. The position of the diagonal Bishop is not important now.
12. … B-Q2 13. QN-Q2 QR-B1 14. K-K2!!
An extraordinarily deep move. He sees through the Black plans, and in addition prepares a particularly powerful continuation of his overprotection strategy.
14. … N-N5 15. N-K1!!
This was the point of his previous move to attack the Bishop on Q3. Now White can recapture with the Knight while KB3 becomes available for the other Knight. Surely, this is a grandiose piece of strategy. The fact is that I’m a marvelous player even if, all the while, the chess world bursts with envy.
15. … N:B 16. N:N! R:P 17. QR-K1 !!
I continue the art of overprotection without much ado.
17. … P-R4 18. K-Q1 R-B3!!
At last Black gets the right idea to protect the K3 Pawn, but it is comes too late.
19. R-K2 K-K2
Using the King in active defense and introduced into tournament play by me.
20. KR-K1 R-K1 ! 21. N-B3!
Completing the overprotection of K5 and thus deciding the fate of the game. Black has no defense. Note the aesthetic effect created.
21. … B-KB1
His threat is the overprotection of his K3 square by N-N2. But I had prepared a brilliant combination.
22. P-KN4!! P:P 23. Q-R7!!
Now you come to see the masterly understanding of the position which went into my eighth move (Q-R2).
23. … P:N 24. B-N5 checkmate!!
One of my best games! I am proud of it if only because Herr Sistemisson is one of the strongest Scandinavian players. The game made an overwhelming impression on the players and spectators as well as on my opponent. The game has become famous in Denmark as “the immortal overprotective game!”
(Certainly this flurry of !! points was meant to bite the nose of MY SYSTEM critics.–Don).
Postscript: When Antoaneta Stefanova (2549) NIC MAGAZINE #4-2009 PG 106 was asked, “Is there a chess book that had a profound influence on you?” She answered: MY SYSTEM by Aaron Nimzowitsch.