My System by Aron Nimzowitsch

Growing up in the pre-internet era, I studied chess with chess books. Unfortunately in our country, there were few chess books and good books fewer still. I only had Fred Reinfield's Winning Chess Openings and some annotated games from newspapers. When I was playing in my school team, our coach lent me a book which was was written by a top grandmaster of his time - My System by Aron Nimzowitsch.


Aron Nimzowitsch was a Russian/Danish grandmaster who was top three in the world in the 1920s. His contemporaries were Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Tarrash to name a few. He was a pioneer of the hypermodern style of chess and these were shown in his books and his style of play. Popular openings that were named after him were the Nimzoindian Defense and Nimzowitsch Attack. In My System, he wrote about concepts unfamiliar at that time but is widely regarded today such as "restraint", "overprotection", "prophylaxis" and "blockade".

Here are two games featured in the book which display his style of play. Both games show how he applies his ideas that were discussed in the book.

Sämisch vs Nimzowitsch, Copenhagen 1923 "The Immortal Zugwang" game

Johner vs Nimzowitsch, Dresden 1926