Person of day - 7 NOVEMBER 2020
Aron Nimzowitsch was born in Riga in a family of a successful merchant. He was taught to play chess by his father, a strong amateur. The young player’s talent for combinations became evident very quickly. Later on, Aron explained his abilities to perform combinations by invoking his childhood habit of deciphering the webs of the Talmud.
Nimzowitsch decided to become a professional chess player while studying at the University of Berlin. He went to Germany to study philosophy but spent most of his time at chess café “Kaiserhof”. After suffering ill-fortune at a tournament in Barmen in 1905, Nimzowitsch began to reconsider his style and to study the problems of chess strategy. He devoted special attention to the art of masters of positioning. Only one year later, at a tournament in Munich, Nimzowitsch took first place (8,5 point out of 10) with a 2-point lead over the silver medallist Spielmann. This victory brought him the title of master. However, he won another gold medal at an international tournament only 17 years later, in Copenhagen in 1923.
Nimzowitsch’s greatest success is thought to be his victory in the tournament in Karlsbad in 1929, in which all the strongest chess players of that time participated. He was a strong grandmaster, was “part of the elite”, as they would say today, but Nimzowitsch’s main contribution to the development of chess were his books and ideas.
In 1925, the chess world was inspired by two works: “The Blockade” and “My System”. They were quickly picked up by Emanuel Lasker: “Nimzowitsch is a brave pioneer, who confidently creates new, original paths through the debris of chess possibilities.” Alexander Alekhine also valued Nimzowitsch and his ideas, which subsequently gained recognition with other leading grandmasters. Nimzowitsch’s legacy was treated with particular reverence by the 9th world champion, Tigran Petrosian.
Aron Nimzowitsch left a noticeable imprint on chess theory. One of the most popular debuts of our time carries his name.
After the end of World War I, Aron Nimzowitsch settled in Denmark and obtained Danish citizenship. There he lived the last 15 years of his life. Aron Isayevich Nimzowitsch died on 16th March 1935 of pneumonia.