Aron Nimzowitsch — On the Road to Chess Mastery

1886 - 1924

Jorn Erik Nielsen, Per Skjoldager

Reviewer: John Donaldson
456 pages (hardcover)

Few players have left a more lasting impact on the game of chess that Aron Nimzowitsch. A world-class player and an even greater writer and thinker, “Nimzo” is still quite relevant today, a fate shared by few of his contemporaries. Surprisingly, there is no authoritative biography or comprehensive game collection on the man sometimes known as the “Stormy Petrel of Chess.”

The best work up to now has been Raymond Keene’s Nimzowitsch: A Reappraisal. Published in 1974, it is arguably the finest book written by the prolific English Grandmaster, and for its time was a real pioneering work. Certain parts, including the interview with Bent Larsen on Nimzowitsch, hold up very well. Still, for the real fan of Nimzo, there is much that is missing including a comprehensive examination of his life and a complete collection of his games.

The publication this year of Aron Nimzowitsch: On the Road to Chess Mastery, 1886-1924 by Per Skjoldager and Jorn Erik Nielsen fills in a big gap in the chess literature. The first of a two part series devoted to Nimzowitsch’s life and games, this book has everything you could want and more including hundreds of deeply annotated games (mainly by Nimzo himself), a detailed study of his life including his family (his father Schaie was of master strength and a collection of his games and problems is included), over 80 photos and drawings, a comprehensive biography and various indexes. The authors have produced a fine tribute to one of the founding fathers of Hypermodern chess.

The physical qualities of this book are of the highest standard and what one has come to expect from McFarland & Company. Beautifully and sturdily bound, published on good paper of a high enough standard that all pictures and drawings have reproduced clearly, Aron Nimzowitsch: On the Road to Chess Mastery, 1886-1924 will sit proudly on any shelf.

This is a book for all lovers of chess history and would make a fine Christmas present.

Strongly Recommended