Monday, July 26, 2021

My System ch 1 Center and development

 I found the following concepts. Or "rules" if you like.

  • In the opening speedy development is paramount
  • A pawn move is not a development move
  • Only pawn moves that occupy or support the center are allowed in the opening
  • Don't move the flank pawns in the opening, unless it is a closed position where development is slower
  • Maximum two pawn moves in the opening
  • Win tempo's by threatening enemy pieces
  • Develop with one move per piece
  • When your opponent does a non development move, you can do likewise without getting behind in development
  • Don't trade pieces in which you have invested much tempo's
  • Liquidate the center when your development is impeded
  • Method 1: exchange with gain of tempo
  • Method 2: liquidate the center followed by a development move or a freeing move
  • Mobile center pawns are criminals that should be eliminated or put under severe restraint. Prison or death. Or both.
  • If you chase a piece away, beware that it has no better place to go where it can maintain itself
  • Keep your center intact whenever possible
  • Make your own center pawns mobile by undermining the restraint
  • Don't grab pawns in the opening, there is no time for that
  • Unless it is a center pawn. But that is motivated by the center, not by the wood.

18 concepts. Not bad. Needless to say that you can break the rules when there is a good reason for it. Just be aware that you are breaking the rules and be sure that your reason is valid.

Most concepts are familiar. Yet I'm not aware of it during the opening phase. That must change.

The concept of when to liquidate the center is new to me.


  1. For "modern" openings (i.e., those which have become popular long after Nimzovitch passed away), several of these "rules" are not applicable - or require considerable re-interpretation. Those "rules" were derived from classical chess, which emphasized the static elements. The modern opening approach emphasizes the dynamic elements over the static elements. The HAD is a case in point of a very dynamic opening.

    IM John Watson addressed the apparent "rule independence" of modern chess in his excellent book Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy: Advances since Nimzowitch. It is a great companion volume to the Quality Chess version of My System by Aron Nimzowitch.

  2. Rules with exceptions is probably not a good metaphor. It is about concepts organized in a hierarchical structure. If we deem the concept density of My System as 20 concepts per chapter, then it adds up to 280 concepts. John Watson should be studied for new concepts and refinement of the old ones.

    Furthermore, we need a database of valuation concepts. How must I value the activity of my pieces compared to the backward pawn that I must invest for it?