Aron Nimzowitsch (b. 7 November 1886--d. 16 March 1935) is the most famous player of the hypermodern school of chess, if not its founder, which showed that control of the center did not necessitate occupation of the center. Thus he was a great theorist of chess openings, playing the Winawer variation of the French Defense, the Queen's Indian Defense and the so-called Nimzo-Indian Defense. He also coined the delicious phrase "the bishop bites on granite." He wrote down many of his ideas in the classic book, My System.

Nimzowitsch was born in Riga, Latvia and emigrated to Copenhagen, Denmark in 1922. There he wrote the classic chess book My System. His greatest victory came at Carlsbad in 1929, beating Jose Raul Capablanca. Often, however, Nimzowitsch's need to be unconventional outweighed his desire to win. In particular he lost repeatedly to Alexander Alekhine. Siegbert Tarrasch, a defender of the classical school, said of Nimzowitsch, "He has a profound liking for ugly opening moves." (Some would call Tarrasch and Nimzowitsch archrivals, such was the passion with which they held their differing philosophies.)

Here is a lovely nugget of Nimzowitsch's writing:

The passed pawn is a criminal, who should be kept under lock and key. Mild measures, such as police surveillance, are not sufficient. The passed pawn has a lust to expand.

On occasion you find the spelling of his name as Aron Nimzovitch (e.g. see the nodeshell). The spelling here, Aron Nimzowitsch is what you find most often in English-language chess literature. Gritchka writes, "-witsch is a German transliteration (although it really should be Nimsowitsch in German to get the -z- sound), -vitch is French, the English would be -vich." Thanks G!

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