My System

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the book on exercise, see Jørgen Peter Müller
My System: 21st Century Edition front cover

My System (German: Mein System) is a book on chess theory written by Aron Nimzowitsch. Originally over a series of five brochures from 1925 to 1927, the book—one of the early works on hypermodernism—introduced many new concepts to followers of the modern school of thought. It is generally considered to be one of the important books in the history of chess.[1]


The book is divided into three parts: The Elements, Positional Play, and Illustrative Games.

The Elements[edit]

In The Elements (German: Die Elemente), Nimzowitsch writes about the basics of his "system". He regards the following as the elements of chess strategy:

  1. The center
  2. Play on the open files
  3. Play on the seventh and eighth ranks
  4. The passed pawns
  5. The pin
  6. Discovered checks
  7. Exchanging
  8. The pawn-chain

Positional Play[edit]

The next part, Positional Play (German: Das Positionsspiel), is based largely on the elements taught in the first part. In it, Nimzowitsch tells how to play for a positional advantage. In particular, he argues that the center can be effectively controlled using pieces instead of pawns. This concept, now widely accepted, is one of the fundamental principles of hypermodernism.

Illustrative Games[edit]

Illustrative Games contains annotated versions of fifty of Nimzowitsch's career games, which he refers to throughout the text.


  • The original German edition was published in 1925. This edition is out-of-print.
  • In 1930, a British English edition titled My System, translated by Philip Hereford, was published by Harcourt, Brace and Company. This edition is out-of-print.
  • In 1947, a U.S. edition derived from Harcourt, Brace & Co., published by David McKay Co., reprinted 1967, 1970, 1972 under the imprimatur of Tartan Books. Translated by Philip Hereford (1929). The translator notes the addition of several games, and the removal (with author's permission) of several passages, from the German edition.
  • In 1987, B.T Batsford Ltd, London reprinted the 1929 edition by Philip Hereford, entitled My System A Chess treatise by Aron Nimzowitsch. (ISBN 0-7134-5655-8)
  • In 1991, an American English edition titled My System: 21st Century Edition (ISBN 1-880673-85-1), edited by Lou Hays, was published by Hays Publishing. In this edition, descriptive notation used in previous English editions was replaced by algebraic notation and many diagrams have been added.
  • In 2007, a British edition titled My System, translated by Ian Adams, published by Quality Chess (ISBN 91-976005-3-9) "This edition uses a brand-new translation that recreates the author's original intentions. For the first time an English-speaking audience can appreciate the true nature of this famous chess book."[2] It includes an essay by Nimsowitsch, tables of his chess results, and other new material.
  • In 2009, a German edition titled Mein System, published by Rattmann (ISBN 3-88086-117-X).[3]


  1. ^ biography of Aron Nimzowitsch at
  2. ^ Back Cover: My System 2007
  3. ^ Page 413: Mein System 2009