ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
Hi everyone!

Congrats to and Zdenko Kozul and Ekaterina Atalik, the new European Champions. It seemed fitting to include one of Kozul's games in this month's update, so I've chosen his 9th round win against Naiditsch in an old Queen's Indian line that's becoming popular once again. As well as Nimzo and Queen's Indian games, Richard Palliser annotates some recent Modern Benoni encounters.

Remember, if you have any opinions, ideas or questions, please either make yourself heard at the Forum (the link above on the right) or subscribers can email me at

Download PGN of April '06 Nimzo and Benoni games

Nimzo Indian Classical: 4 Qc2 0-0

We kick off this month's action with the game Vera - Quezada, Santa Clara 2006: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 0-0 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 b6 7 Nf3 Bb7 8 e3:

I've noticed that quite a few top GMs have been opting for this restrained Nf3/e3 approach recently over the traditional Bg5. What's more, this line, which has generally been considered fine for Black for a couple of decades, now seems to be causing some annoying problems. It will be interesting to see how long this trend continues. I for one find it difficult to believe it's as good as the Bg5 lines, but I guess it has the advantage that it hasn't (yet) been virtually analysed out to infinity.

Nimzo Indian Classical: 4 Qc2 c5

You can always rely on the Lithuanian Grandmaster Sarunas Sulskis for providing something a bit different in the opening, and the game Sakaev - Sulskis, Kusadasi 2006, certainly caught my attention: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 c5 5 dxc5 0-0 6 a3 Bxc5 7 Nf3 b6 8 Bf4 Bb7 9 Rd1 and now 9...d5!?:

A typical Sulskis idea - playing a provocative move that balances on the edge of soundness. More typically Black plays 9...Nc6 here, as in Bareev-Ivanchuk, Rethymnon 2003, previously discussed on this site.

Nimzo Indian/Queen's Indian Hybrid

Ward-H.Hunt, Jack Speigel Memorial, Southend 2006 is another example of the trendy 6 Nd2 line: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 Nc3 Bb4 5 Bg5 Bb7 6 Nd2 h6 7 Bh4 Be7!? 8 e4! Nxe4! 9 Bxe7 Nxc3:

I was playing in the same tournament as Chris and Harriet, and was sitting on the next board as this game was going on. When I saw this position it suddenly provoked some memories, because while annotating that aforementioned Ibragimov-Bischoff game for ChessPublishing, I had discovered the crazy Fritz-inspired idea 10 Qf3!?, and then a few months later I had noticed that someone had been brave enough to play the move (see the annotated game Wells-Rowson, York 2000).

During the game Chris was wondering whether to punt 10 Qf3 - would it still have any shock value? In the end he opted for the safer 10 Bxd8, and I think this also poses Black one or two problems.

Modern Benoni: Modern Classical Variation

By Richard Palliser

It's time to revisit perhaps one of the most critical positions in the entire Modern Benoni: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 e6 4 Nc3 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 e4 g6 7 Bd3 Bg7 8 h3 0-0 9 Nf3 b5:

Firstly we have the game Horvath - Dobosz, Austrian League 2006, where White decides to test both Black's knowledge of theory and the ability to defend a worse position with 10 Bxb5.

White doesn't have to head into this theoretical line; the alternative is seen in Wells - Gormally, Portsmouth 2006 where White opts for 10 Nxb5. Should White not fancy grinding away in an plus-equals ending after 10 Bxb5 (and not appreciate the dangerous 18 Re1 instead of the standard 18 Rb1 after that), this is his main alternative.

Knight's Tour

Jankovic - Gashimov, Kusadasi 2006 begins unusually: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 c5 4 d5 d6 5 Nc3 exd5 6 cxd5 a6!?:

A very interesting move-order which aims to cut down White's options, and is especially awkward for those aiming for a Modern Main Line (MML). Instead Jankovic opts to take play into a Knight's Tour variation with 7 a4 g6 8 Nd2.

Classical Variation

Finally, a look at a line that has been out of fashion for quite a long time. Mahia - Altamirano, Buenos Aires 2006 begins 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 d6 4 Nc3 g6 5 e4 Bg7 6 Nf3 0-0 7 Be2 e6 (Black avoids the Taimanov with this move-order, although White can always now prefer the more positional recapture, exd5) 8 0-0 exd5 9 cxd5 Re8 10 Nd2 Nbd7!:

The old manner of handling the Classical, as opposed to the popular alternative of 10...Na6, intending ...Nc7 and ...b6 to remove the white knight once it reaches c4.

Queen's Indian 4 a3 Bb7

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 b6 4 a3 Bb7 5 Nc3 d5 6 cxd5 Nxd5 7 e3 Be7:

I've noticed that 7 e3 Be7, which was the main line when the Petrosian (4 a3) Queen's Indian first became fashionable in the 1980s, has recently made a mini-revival. In Kozul - Naiditsch, Kusadasi 2006 the soon-to-be European Champion manages to vary at move 18 from a continuation he played 17 years earlier!

That's all for now, see you in May!