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Friedrich Sämisch

Friedrich (Fritz) Sämisch (September 20, 1896, Charlottenburg - August 16, 1975, Berlin) was a German chess Grandmaster (1950).

Main competitive results

In 1922 he won a match in Berlin against Réti (+4−1=3).

Perhaps his most famous game is his loss to Nimzowitsch at Copenhagen 1923 in the Immortal Zugzwang Game. He also played many beautiful games though, one of them being his win against Grünfeld at Carlsbad 1929, which won a brilliancy prize. In the same tournament he also won against Capablanca. The former World Champion lost a piece in the opening but did not resign, which usually happens in such cases in grandmaster games, but to no avail, this disadvantage being too much even for a player of his class.

At the age of 73, in 1969, Sämisch played a tournament in memoriam of Adolf Anderssen in Büsum, Germany, and another tournament in Linköping, Sweden, but lost all games in both events (fifteen in the former and thirteen in the latter) on time control.

Contributions to opening theory

Sämisch is today remembered primarily for his contributions to opening theory. Two major opening lines are named after him:

World War II

During this war, Sämisch was appointed as "Betreuer" for the troops, so his task was to give chess demonstrations and play simultaneous exhibitions for German soldiers all over Europe. Upon arrival in Spain in 1944 for a tournament, he proposed to the British ambassador that he would play a simul for the British troops in Gibraltar, but his humorously-meant offer was refused. Then Sämisch criticised Adolf Hitler at the closing banquet of the Madrid tournament in summer 1944. Upon returning to the German border, he was arrested and transported to a concentration camp. This was not his first transgression, since he had previously said loudly in the Luxor coffee house in Prague: 'Isn't Hitler a fool? He thinks he can win the war with Russians!' According to Grandmaster Ludek Pachman: Prague was full of Gestapo, and Sämisch had to be overheard at least at the next few tables. I asked him to speak quietly. 'You don't agree that Hitler is a fool?' was Sämisch's unconcerned retort.