In the chapter "Centralization" of his Chess Praxis, Nimzowitsch writes

The mechanics of centralization can be seen in the way that, after the necessary restraint of a possibly mobile opposing pawn center, we draw the noose tighter and tighter around the central squares...But if we manage to make this long-range action effective and establish some of our pieces in the center, then we should be really pleased with the success of our policy of centralization.

What does he mean by "drawing the noose tighter"? So far, I have come to conclusion that "drawing the noose tighter" means the "long-range action" mentioned in the next sentence and therefore some sort of pressure on the center exerted by long-range pieces.

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    The original text says: "immer engere Kreise …", which I would rather translate as circles than as noose. And the original "mehr ideelle Fernwirkung" is rather a long-time effect than a long-range action. Not sure if that helps; Nimzowitsch's writing style is often not very precise. – fuxia Dec 20 '18 at 17:52
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    @fuxia What's interesting, the Russian translation also uses "circles" instead of "noose" – Niko Kovaci Dec 21 '18 at 6:55

After re-reading the chapter Centralization I think that Nimzowitsch meant the following:

  • First you restrict the opponent's pawns
  • Then you start impacting the opponent's center from the distance using long-range pieces (the so-called "long-range action")
  • Then you start closer-range actions against the opponent's center (i.e. "you draw the noose tighter"), e.g. by occupying some central square

To understand his writing it is good to look examples. Let's take a line of the Nimzo Indian: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 Black restrains e2-e4

4.Nf3 b6 5.e3 Bb7 6.Bd3 0-0 7.0-0 Bxc3 8.bxc3 Ne4 Black centralizes his Knight

9.Qc2 f5 Black draws the noose tighter

10.Nd2 Qh4 11.g3 Ng5 12.gxh4 Nh3 mate Black is really pleased

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "?"] [Black "?"] [Result "*"] [WhiteELO "?"] [BlackELO "?"]

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 b6 5. e3 Bb7 6. Bd3 O-O 7. O-O Bxc3 8. bxc3 Ne4 9. Qc2 f5 10. Nd2 Qh4 11. g3 Ng5 12. gxh4 Nh3#

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