Talk:Aron Nimzowitsch

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I'm *almost* certain that the reference to a "rapid transit tournament" in the Personality section should actually be "rapid chess tournament". Gkrogers (talk) 10:32, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

I wonder.. why Aron and not Aaron? Viruswitch 02:00, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Aron and Aaron are both used in various sources, just like different spellings of the last name exist, probably based in different transcriptions from Latvian. I don't know whether one version is more correct than another in English. For the record, it is spelled "Aron Nimzowitsch" on his tombstone in Copenhagen. --Pbn-dk 15:41, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
"Rapid transit" was the common name (at least in the United Staes) for an old style of speed chess, in which every game in the room used the same timer. Every 10 seconds, a buzzer would go off and if a player did not move within the 10 seconds, s/he would forfeit. By extension, the name was sometimtes applied to what is now the more usual form of speed chess, in which each game has its own chess clock and each player has a short period of total time to make all her/his moves for the game. Eventually, the term "speed chess" superceded "rapid transit". Dvd Avins (talk) 15:51, 4 April 2008 (UTC)


I think it is incorrect to call Nimzowitsch a "Latvian" chess master because 1) ethnically he was Jewish and 2) he was born in Riga while it was a Russian city. The country Latvia was established in 1920, when Nimzowitsch already for several years lived abroad.

Such things are always difficult, but he is called a Latvian in many references. I suppose even though Latvia was not an independent country, it was still a well-defined province with a national consciousness. Arguably, the wording reflects nationality as something other than simply ethnicity or citizenship. (After other edits suddenly turned him into a Dane, I have revived the Latvian reference.) --Pbn-dk 00:05, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
The fact that he was Jewish has no bearing whatsoever on whether he was Latvian. It is not clear to me who made the above unsigned comment, but whoever you are ... fyi ... one can be both Latvian and Jewish.--Epeefleche 19:34, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
I would say that he was not Latvian unless someone is able to document otherwise. He left Latvia during the Latvian War of Independence and did not return. At the moment he left Latvia was not a de facto country and he was not of Latvian ethnicity. Philaweb T 21:02, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
As an ethnicity, Jewish (espeically at the the time), while not entirely mutually xclusive with Latvian, was close to that. In Eastern Europe, poeple identified themselves by their native language. One would speak Yiddish in a Yiddish town or neighborhood or farming area, or one would speak Latvian in a Latvian area. A Jew was a Jew, regardless of whether one believed in God. And such a Jew would be unlikely to call her/himself a Lat6vian except under unusual circumstances. Dvd Avins (talk) 15:59, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Here I have to intfere to correct on Nimzovich was not "latvian born" but was "russian-born",with Livonia being part of Russia in time of his birth.Nimzovich probably didn't even speak latvian.

Frank Russian (talk) 07:40, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

At the time of AN's birth, Latvia was neither a separate state, nor a separate entity within a state. He was born a Russian citizen. Since he was neither Latvian by citizenship, ethnicity or self-identification (unless there is a proof to the contrary), it is ridiculous to list him as Latvian. He certainly was well-versed in Russian, as is attested by his book, which was published in Russia in the late 1920s. He was ethnically Jewish, born in the Russian Empire and naturalized in Denmark. The repetitive attempts to make him a Latvian is a case of a rather misplaced Latvian patriotism unworthy of an encyclopedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:05, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Series of Reverts of sourced statement that Nimzowitsch was Jewish[edit]

In the interest of resolving this on the discussion page, rather than join others such as Ioannes Pragensis in their endless series of reverts on this and other pages over the past two day, I move this discussion for the moment to this talk page.

Pragneses has repeatedly deleted my sourced statement that Nimzowitsch was Jewish.

1. I might point out that this series of reverts by Pragensis parallel those that he has made over the past two days in a number of other articles. Pragensis has now for example also asserted in the Mikhail Botvinnik article that Jews should not be reflected as such if they are Soviet or Communists. Pragensis based his revert of the fact that Wilhelm Steinitz was Jewish as "second-hand zionist ideology." Similar problems have been caused by RVs these past two days in the articles on Reuben Fine, and Samuel Reshevsky.

This is a problem, I would submit, that goes beyond this article. It continues, as Pragensis continues to strip these mentions out of Wiki bios, despite discussion and multiple citations (his answer to the citations is to delete them).

2. I would suggest that the RVs that I have pointed out by others are bereft of basis or citations.

Therefore, I would ask that they undo their RVs of the sourced material while this discussion takes place on this page.

Furthermore, for the above reasons, I believe that the original language should remain permanently.

3. I would be grateful for suggestions as to both how to fix this issue on this page, and in general.

Since this is part of a series of similar instances, relating to other Jewish chess players, I suggest that discussion be had on the talk page of Reuben Fine, where I have initiated discussion with a more fullsome analysis of the arguments presented.

Thanks.--Epeefleche 20:59, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Given that, despite good faith efforts to address this, the problem remains (see history of changes, and discussion above and at reuben fine page), it appears that to address this other actions will be necessary. Feel free to contact me if you have any thoughts as to whether there are any other intermediary steps to be taken, or whether instead at this point steps musr be taken relative to the article and/or the reverter. Thanks. Epeefleche 02:57, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
First, I have changed "Danish" back to "Latvian"; if anyone wishes to challenge this, please do so here on the Talk page. On the Jewish thing, I think it is just as good to write that he was of Jewish descent, or that he came from a Jewish family, as to write that he was Jewish. Both are true, and any difference is subtle. In order to resolve the editing war, it might be wisest to settle on the original wording, if you can be so persuaded. (Also see User talk:Epeefleche.) --Pbn-dk 21:16, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your thoughts. I for one have no inclination to change your edit. As to your thought that it is just as good to use any of the formulations that you present above, I actually have a different view. First, we are writing about the person. So it is more relevant, and therefore better, to know that he was Jewish. Otherwise, by analogy, one could simply say here that he for example comes from a Lativian family. We don't generally do that, and I would suggest for good reason. Second, it is shorter. Fewer words to cover the same ground is better. Third, it almost sounds as though the person might not be ... as in Sammy Davis came from a Christian family. Well, he did. But he converted. The suggestion that this might be the case lingers, and the possibilty is open, and therefore the format is, IMHO, inferior. Tx.--Epeefleche 22:23, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
The family wording does, effectively, tell us that he was Jewish. If no further information is given, we just assume he was Jewish (without assuming anything about his specific beliefs or practices). Fact is, expressions like the ones I cited are very common in English, as can be verified by a Wikipedia or Google free text search, and I think your interpretation of them is a bit off. For the same reason, I don't buy the analogy. As for length, your versions are clearly all *longer* than the ones you oppose.
Again, I think just saying he was Jewish is also fine, but then a consensus has to be reached on that. --Pbn-dk 23:33, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Tx much. If he was Jewish, and it is properly documented, I'm not sure what consensus we need here. If we had someone who objected to a reflection of someone's nationality, for no reason, we would not allow that person to veto such mention in the face of proper support.
And I would just say "x was Jewish." In lieu of "x came from a Jewish family." Seems *shorter* to me.
In the absence of any cogent objection to the above change, which I would submit is better -- and in the eyes of Pbn-dk fine as well -- I will make the change.--Epeefleche 19:34, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
I can't stop you from making the change (again), but I also can't stop your adversary from reverting (again). This is what editing wars are like. Consensus is a way of resolving them, in fact the only one short of seeking support from higher powers. In any case, I have just tried to start a dialogue with IP about this, so if I could ask you to hold off a bit longer that would be great.
About length, I was simply pointing out that every single wording that you pushed online was longer than the wording you oppose. That said, I don't think the length is important. --Pbn-dk 18:47, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. As you will note from my first sentence above, I was the one who created this discussion on this discussion page because I believe, as you do, that this--rather than the edit warring, engaged in by IP--is the preferable approach. I am happy to hold off as you attempt to resolve this, as you suggest. Thanks for helping out.
In the event that you fail in your attempt, I imagine at that point I might ask you what the proper approach would be to -- as you put it -- seek support from higher powers, either as to IP's power to make revisions on IP generally, or to protect this page. I have had many conversations with IP, on our talk pages and those of many chess players, at this point. I assume good faith on his part, entering this discourse. But, given the merry-go-round conversation on which I have been led, I am puzzled at this point as to what can be behind his continued enthusiasm--here and elsewhere--in reverting properly sourced references to the fact that various notable chess players are Jewish. Thanks again. Epeefleche 17:42, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
I have ended my discussion with IP at his user talk. I have not reached any real agreement with him, so you should not feel bound by my attempts. I am going to leave the discussion at this point as I too do not enjoy his merry-go-round. I leave behind my comments here and at his and your talk pages for any who might care. I don't know much about the process of getting administrators' assistance, but I'm sure you can find the relevant information through the help pages. --Pbn-dk 19:15, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
Many thanks for your efforts. I will proceed, and if I encounter continued problematic behavior after this very long dialogue, we"ll have to explore more impactful options it would seem.--Epeefleche 19:57, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Gkrogers (talk) 10:32, 9 January 2008 (UTC)


Was he a Grandmaster? Article doesn't say. 'A.N.’s least known work is the relatively short essay “How I became a Grandmaster”, which appeared in Russian in 1929.' ChessCreator (talk) 20:26, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Although ChessCreator has revised the article to refer to Nimzowitsch as a grandmaster, he was never awarded that title in any formal way. Frank Marshall wrote that at St. Petersburg 1914, "the Tsar of Russia conferred on each of the five finalists the title 'Grandmaster of Chess.'" Frank J. Marshall's Best Games of Chess, p. 21. (Then again, Marshall also claimed that after he played 23...Qg3!! against Lewitzky the spectators showered his board with gold pieces. Id. at 138.) The five finalists were Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Tarrasch, and Marshall. Nimzowitsch played in that tournament but did not qualify for the finals, scoring 1 win, 6 draws, 3 losses, and 2 unplayed games. The Grand International Masters Chess Tournament at St. Petersburg 1914, p. 2. FIDE first awarded the "International Grandmaster" title in 1950. Nathan Divinsky, The Batsford Chess Encyclopedia, p. 77. It did not award it posthumously, and thus Nimzovich, who had died in 1935, did not receive it. However, Divinsky also defines "Grandmaster" as "[a] loose term used in the early 1900s to describe the world top 5 or 10 players." Id. at 76. Hooper and Whyld in The Oxford Companion to Chess (1984), p. 132 also reference this looser definition. They say of the word, "an over-the-board player of the highest class, a description commonly used before 1950 . . . . G. Walker and others referred to Philidor as a grandmaster, and a few other players were so entitled. The word gained greater currency in the early 20th century when tournaments were sometimes designated grandmaster events, e.g. Ostend 1907, San Sebastian 1912." FWIW, Anne Sunnucks in The Encyclopaedia of Chess, p. 321 refers to Nimzowitsch as an "International Grandmaster." To my mind, that is clearly incorrect, since that term refers solely to the FIDE-awarded title.

Nimzowitsch thus never formally became a "grandmaster." Undoubtedly he was one of "the world top 5 or 10 players" circa 1927, and thus was a "grandmaster" in that looser sense of the term. My understanding is that at Wikipedia we have hitherto reserved the term "grandmaster" for persons to whom FIDE awards that title, plus the St. Petersburg five. So should we continue to adhere to the strict definition, or switch to the looser one (which risks running afoul of NPOV, although I know people have given retroactive estimated Elo ratings, so use of those ratings might be a way to deal with that problem). Krakatoa (talk) 06:56, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Arpad Elo on p. 66 of his book The Rating of Chessplayers Past & Present notes that, "Death came too soon for some of the strongest chessplayers in history, who remain unrecognized by the international titles carried by other players, often weaker . . . ." He lists 24 "great players . . . who surely would carry GM titles had the current regulations been effective during their careers." Nimzowitsch is one of them, of course. The others are Steinitz, Charousek, Walbrodt, Mason, Pillsbury, Chigorin, Schlechter, Marco, Blackburne, Burn, Teichmann, Janowski, Reti, Gunsberg, Tarrasch, Lasker, Capablanca, Rabinovitch, Spielmann, Marshall, Vladimir Petrov, Alekhine, and Sultan Khan. Krakatoa (talk) 07:13, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

This question has come up before—see the edit history of this article in Sept and Oct 2006. Most categories need pretty objective inclusion criteria to be useful, and the criteria we use for Category:chess grandmasters is pretty simple. In addition to the players awarded the title by FIDE, only the "original five" are grandfathered in, as discussed at Grandmaster. There is some question over whether the Tsar really did name those players as grandmasters at St. Petersburg, but opening up the category to any early player possibly of GM strength would be trouble. Clearly Nimzovitch would belong, but what would you do with a player like Staunton? (I'd say not GM strength, but the point is very debatable.) It's also interesting that Elo's list doesn't include Morphy, although that's probably because Morphy's career was so short. (His fame is based on fewer than 200 games, many of them at odds or not played under tournament conditions.) These straightforward criteria mean that GM-strength players before 1950 won't be in the GM category, but that's the way it goes. We used to have an article Grandmasters without the title (now a redirect, but you can look at the talk page and the edit history of the redirect page to see what it once looked like), but it's hard to make that subject NPOV and verifiable. I have sometimes wondered if the category shouldn't be renamed FIDE Grandmasters to avoid these questions, but that's a phrase that is rarely used and seems unnecessarily awkward. Quale (talk) 07:43, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
The whole question of what exactly a Grandmaster is, is unclear. I think we better discuss it in a central place Talk:Grandmaster (chess) ChessCreator (talk) 14:40, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Nimzovich was russian jew[edit]

Here I have to intfere to correct on Nimzovich was not "latvian born" but was "russian-born",with Livonia being part of Russia in time of his birth.Nimzovich probably didn't even speak latvian. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Frank Russian (talkcontribs) 07:36, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Bibliographic references[edit]

Someone who understands the Wikipedia regimen and syntax for bibliographic references should please clean up this lovely article! Thanks! JacquesDelaguerre (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 20:51, 28 July 2011 (UTC).



Hi! Testing a bug report

  1. without the fix a RTL name is shown in an LTR environment as follows
    אהרון נימצוביץ'
    this is as it is today when using
    you may see that in the article text the "apostrophe" character is rightmost while it is leftmost in the page title when the opposite directionality is used via "uselang=foobar"
  2. with a proper embedding in spans having the right directionality the name will shown correctly regardless of the used directionalities.
    using <span dir="ltr" /><span dir="rtl" >אהרון נימצוביץ'</span><span dir="ltr" /> you will get
    אהרון נימצוביץ'
    1. using <span dir="rtl" >אהרון נימצוביץ'</span> you will get
      אהרון נימצוביץ'
    2. (this is an LTR block) explanatory text: because the line before ended RTL this line starts also RTL; the whole block is treated as one character; using <span dir="rtl" >אהרון נימצוביץ'</span> (this is an LTR block) explanatory text: you will get
      אהרון נימצוביץ'
    3. (this is an LTR block) explanatory text: because the line before ended RTL this line starts also RTL; the whole block is treated as one character; any documentation must use a kind of META syntax; now inside the documentation of the RTL block a real RTL block is used; using <span dir="rtl" >אהרון נימצוביץ'</span> (this is an LTR block) explanatory text: you will get
      אהרון נימצוביץ'
    4. (this is an LTR block) explanatory text: the explanations from above aplies; here two nested blocks are used; a) a RTL block surrounds the RTL text and b) it is included itself as a unique entity of a surrounding LTR block; please note that the documentation is at the right place i.e. it is surrounding the RTL text; using <span dir="rtl" >אהרון נימצוביץ'</span> (this is an LTR block) explanatory text: you will get
      אהרון נימצוביץ'
    5. You may edit this section using the BiDirectional suport tools made by Brion and available at commons:pecial:PrefixIndex/MediaWiki:Gadget-BiDiEditing.js.
      You may resize this window and see how the RTL text wraps.
  3. Please note that no directionality characters are required. They are not visible to users when "copy and paste" is used. These BiDi characters "polute" other pages.
  4. I suggest:
    1. fixing the proper page title display via css;
    2. migrate the MediaWiki BiDi support from using directionality characers to the usage of proper span embeding.

Please contact me if you have additonal questions. Please conusllt BiDi spepcialist at the Mozilla BiDi developer group.
Best regards Gangleri aka ‫·‏לערי ריינהארט‏·‏T‏·‏m‏:‏Th‏·‏T‏·‏email me‏·‏‬ 11:22, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

99 of 100 read his book[edit]

There is a "citation needed" in the article at: It is said that 99 out of 100 chess masters have read Mein System. It appears to me that this may originally source to However, that site is blacklisted, so it's not easy to add it as a source. Also, I'm not sure it's a worthy source, anyway. The source, Paul Powell, is not a notable chess champion, as far as I can tell. Also, the source says that chess champions have either read Nimzowitsch's book or they "must have acquired the knowledge in this book'. - I'm not that crazy (talk) 13:03, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

The high regard in which My System is held can be supported by many reliable sources, and with quotations from prominent chess players (example); we don't need this specific claim in the article. Toccata quarta (talk) 14:39, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

Translation of "gegen diesen idoten..."[edit]

The article has it as singular "idiot" but I believe the German translates to plural, "idiots" even though he was of course playing just one opponent.--Jrm2007 (talk) 19:11, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

Gegen takes the accusative case; "diesen" and "Idioten" are the accusative singular forms of dieser and Idiot respectively. MaxBrowne (talk) 23:56, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
I understand. But I do nonetheless recall not the German but simply the translated statement as being plural. The plural of idiot in German is idioten, isn't it? If so, could the meaning be ambiguous?--Jrm2007 (talk) 05:16, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
No, there is no ambiguity. Gegen takes the accusative case, so "against these idiots" would be "gegen diese Idioten". MaxBrowne (talk) 05:22, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
For what it's worth, Google translate shows it as plural. The important thing is, what did Nimzowitsch actually say? I believe the quote may have been in one of Edward Lasker's books and Lasker spoke both good English and perfect German and knew Nimzowitsch. It also is the kind of "softening" (very limited softening) of an insult; it is sort not directed at his immediate opponent. This is mildly serious; even if you are native speaker of German, the German provided here might be wrong and I would like to get then the correct German and translation in an article about this great man.--Jrm2007 (talk) 05:32, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
"For what it's worth" - it's a machine translation, it's worth nothing. Like many German words Idiot is inflected in singular form, as the wiktionary article I linked to shows. There is no confusion to a native German speaker or anyone familiar with German grammar. I don't know of any source for the German version. MaxBrowne (talk) 05:44, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Okay. BTW, since you mention Wall: I can clear up one thing. Years ago I asked Lasker by letter (the reply now lost) whether he met Einstein. He said he never did. It's the kind of question a teenage chess player who also liked Einstein stuff would have asked and I would remember. Sad my mom tossed the postcard -- that's moms for ya.--Jrm2007 (talk) 05:49, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

I would translate this as "I would have to lose to this idiot!", i.e. he's expressing anger at his own bad play rather than insulting his opponent (who was, to be fair, a weaker player). MaxBrowne (talk) 06:48, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

"Well attested incident"[edit]

Actually no it isn't, more like an often repeated anecdote which is usually exaggerated. Various versions have him scattering the pieces all over the place, throwing his king across the room etc, usually in crappy internet articles along the lines of "ha ha, look how weird those chess players are". I believe the story originated with Kmoch, who claimed to have heard it from Saemisch. This is about as close to a reliable source as exists for the incident, so it should be reported only as a rumour or anecdote, not as a fact, and especially not with the lazy "once". Unlike most internet chess writers (I'm looking at you Bill Wall) we need to report facts, not amusing apocryphal stories retold for entertainment value. MaxBrowne (talk) 05:32, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

As always Edward Winter has some relevant details. Cobblet (talk) 06:25, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

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