April '00 Update
GM John Emms rounds up the latest in these Nimzo and Benoni Systems, with the help of guest GM Chris Ward in the Nimzo-Indian.
It's been a booming month for Modern Benoni players (myself excluded!). Over the last four issues of This Week in Chess, I've come across 25 games, with Black scoring an excellent 56% (11 wins, 6 draws and 8 losses; as usual there's a relatively low ration of draws). Our coverage, however, begins with one of those losses, a particularly painful defeat as it's one of my own.
Bates-Emms. sees White trying a new idea which proves to be very fruitful, although it should be said that Black hardly gives it a real test.
After that it's back to some good news for Black. "Game of the Month" is the exciting clash Christiansen-Bu Xiangzhi, in which the World's youngest Grandmaster shows once more that he's a Benoni hero, scoring an excellent win over the American GM.
The Fianchetto Variation features again in the game Drasko-Velimirovic, where Black tries a new wrinkle in a well-known line with some success.
Finally we feature the ever topical 9 b5 pawn sacrifice in the popular Modern Classical Variation. Piket-Topalov. may only be a blindfold game from the recent Melody Amber tournament in Monaco, but it still has much theoretical importance, with Piket unleashing a more than useful novelty on move 31 (that's right!).
(TWIC statistics: 28 games, 14 White wins, 8 draws and 6 Black wins, Black scores 36%)
In the one and only game to feature this month, Douven-Gelpke, we show a useful trick, which Black can unleash if White fails to get his move-order correct in the opening.
(TWIC statistics: 99 games, 34 White wins, 42 draws and 23 Black wins, Black scores 44%)
Our Queen's Indian game this month is Kovalenko-Yeremenko, where Black plays a neglected but nevertheless reasonably solid line against the 4 g3 Queen's Indian.
Steady on you guys! Now the letters are flooding in (well comparatively!). By the way thanks for the one complimenting John Emms on the quality of this site. There is no argument from me on the quality of John's work. Nevertheless in fact though it has been me (Chris Ward) here on the Nimzo trail for several months! Who else would throw in such sarcastic appeals for feedback? Still it worked and following an enquiry of the 6 b5!? Pawn sac in the Classical variation, being the intrepid reporter that I am, I chose to employ it in a recent International event in order to get a taste for it first hand, see Hummell-Ward.
The results for Black in this interesting system are actually quite promising and the second game, Arkell-Rowson, concludes the coverage (for now at least) of 8 Bg5. I hope that the subscriber interested in finding an antidote for it from the White perspective will glean one or two ideas, but he should stay tuned.
Next month in a bumper update I will consider White's other ways of tackling 6 b5!?. I've just had a spot of computer trouble but I'm sorted now and next time I'll look into any other e-mails including the requested 4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 d5.
Well until then, take it easy!
Remember, if you have any questions or remarks on the Benoni, Nimzo Indian, Queen's Indian or Bogo-Indian, we'd be glad to here from you. Please e-mail Chris or John at