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     Volume 4 Issue 34 | February 18, 2005 |

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Time Out

An old book Chess

Years back, perhaps in 1982, FIDE Master Yunus Hassan gave me a book--Aaron Nomzowitsch's "My System". It was the most sensational publication of the late twenties, which transformed chess theory in a very perceptible way.

While going through it, I discovered that the book belonged to Dhaka University library. It had been issued to a borrower in May 1937! That was really interesting. I came to know that the DU library had such a book on chess and also that there were readers of "My System" at the university so many years back.

I don't know who had actually borrowed the book. It must have changed hands many times before reaching me. I returned the book to Hassan after about two months , but it perhaps didn't find its way back to the library ! I don't know who is reading it now. Perhaps it has finally found a resting place in some bookshelf , seldom noticed by anybody. I don't want to sound harsh, but most players of the new generation have little interest in what a great chess thinker wrote more than 75 years ago.

"My System" introduced many new ideas like over-protection , blockade, collective mobility and prophylaxis. True, all the ideas of Nimzowitsch were not accepted by chess theoreticians. But there is no denying that he opened new avenues of thinking and his followers proved that the classical theories were not enough to deal with the unfathomable depth and complexities of the game. For example, the prophylactic move , which apparently seems to be a wast of time, is now part of some major openings. The move a3 in the Queens Indian Defence was popularised by one of Nimzowitsch's great disciples--world champion Tigran Petrosian. However , it seems the variation should not have been named after him because Indian master Mir Sultan Khan had played it against Capablanca at Hastings in 1930. Sultan Khan didn't know much about opening theory, but his great positional sense helped him play the move. By the way, Capablanca was thoroughly outplayed .

The following game is interesting because it put an end to Bobby Fischer's remarkable run of 19 wins in a row at the highest level of chess.

White-Tigran V Petrosian (2640)
Black-Robert James Fischer (2760) [D82]
Candidates Final, Buenos Aires, 1971
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.e3 c5 6.dxc5 Qa5 7.Rc1 Ne4 8.cxd5 Nxc3 9.Qd2 Qxa2 10.bxc3 Qa5 11.Bc4 Nd7 12.Ne2 Ne5 13.Ba2 Bf5 14.Bxe5 Bxe5 15.Nd4 Qxc5 16.Nxf5 gxf5 17.00 Qa5 18.Qc2 f4 19.c4 fxe3 20.c5 Qd2 21.Qa4+ Kf8 22.Rcd1 Qe2 23.d6 Qh5 24.f4 e2 25.fxe5 exd1Q 26.Rxd1 Qxe5 27.Rf1 f6 28.Qb3 Kg7 29.Qf7+ Kh6 30.dxe7 f5 31.Rxf5 Qd4+ 32.Kh1 1-0

Position after 24.f4


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