Has anyone read the new translation of My System by Aaron Nimzowitch published by New in Chess? In it, the word flanking seems to be used to describe both the attack of a piece from the side and from the behind. Up to this point (page 44) Nimzowitch's use of the word flanking is as the attack from the side. When the queen to the 8th rank check skewers the queen he calls it the flanking maneuver. (Page 34) However, here is a case where it means from behind (page 44): "For example, a rook on the 7th rank is attacking the b7 pawn. If now b7-b5 then the move Rb7...the flanking maneuver (this is what Rb7 was) is the strongest form of attack (these are in rising order of importance 1. Frontal, 2. From the side, 3 flanking )..." Am I missing something? Or is this just a problem by the translator?

Also it would be cool if someone could explain how it's better to attack a pawn from the side Rather than from the front. I believe this evaluation is given by Nimzowitch to be true even if the rook isn't on the 7th rank. I mean I would think it's worse to attack from the side since the defense can put a rook behind the pawn and start pushing it. Whereas you can blockade the pawn If you were in front of it.

  • A pawn blockade isn't quite an attack, though, is it? It's a method for containing the pawn (possibly) to attack it later with the use of other pieces. Or am I misunderstanding what you mean by "attack"? If you're attacking from the side you can attack with another pawn and initiate a trade. That seems like at least one reason to go with a side attack.
    – Dennis
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 2:57
  • Also, does New in Chess publish My System or do you have in mind the edition sold by New in Chess but published by Quality Chess?
    – Dennis
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 3:16
  • However, even though a blockade is not an attack by itself, whatever you are attacking must first and foremost be rendered immobile. We see that attacking from the side does not do that.
    – Qwertford
    Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 8:04
  • Also i would argue that you can only attack the pawn you're attacking with a pawn of your own if you have a frontal attack using the fact that the pawn is pinned to the defending rook.
    – Qwertford
    Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 8:06

1 Answer 1


The terms flanking and flanking maneuver are distinguishably (by a word) different.

The latter refers to outflanking, i.e. enveloping the target (a square, an opponent's pawn, or an opponent's piece) so it cannot escape from being controlled or captured.

The maneuver is analogous to a policeman trapping a perpetrator in an alleyway.


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