August '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.
The statistics in The Week in Chess (numbers 298-301) reinforce the popular opinion that the Modern Benoni is not a drawish opening. In 30 games there were only 4 draws. Okay, Black lost more than half (16 out of 30, the other 10 being wins) but Benoni fans have never claimed their opening was 100% sound!
We start our survey this month with the game Crouch-Emms, British Ch (Millfield) 2000, in which I use the popular move order 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 c5 4 d5 d6 5 Nc3 exd5 6 cxd5 g6 7 e4 a6!? Crouch reacts in the sharpest way (8 a4 Bg4 9 Qb3!?)
and an interesting battle ensues.
Our other Modern Benoni encounter is the game Kemp-Ward, British Ch (Millfield) 2000 in which Ward repeats a line we have already looked at once before. After the moves 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 g3 c5 4 d5 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 Nc3 g6 7 Bg2 Bg7 8 Nf3 0-0 9 0-0 9 ..Re8 10 Nd2 a6 11 a4 Nbd7 12 h3 Rb8 13 Nc4 Ne5 14 Na3 Ward plays 14...Bd7!?
a move originally tried out by David Norwood. In this game White doesn't play the critical line and gets punished for not doing so.
TWIC 298-301 statistics: 15 White wins, 17 draws, 13 Black wins) Here we look at the continued revival of the move 3...b5!? (after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 c5 3 d5)
The game Hebden-Hodgson, British Ch (Millfield) 2000 is another success story for Black, who reaches a more than comfortable position from the opening. 3...b5 is currently enjoying some popularity at the moment, but whether this will remain we shall have to wait and see. If it stays the course then this is very good news for Benoni/Benko players, who would have a new system against one of White's more solid move orders.
(TWIC 298-301 statistics: 30 White wins, 48 draws, 38 Black wins)
This was an impressive month of results for Queen's Indian exponents (Black
scored 53% overall).
We start with the game Piket-Ivanchuk, Montecatini Terme 2000. You can always rely on the Ukrainian GM for producing the cutting edge of opening theory and here he successfully utilises another way of defending for Black in the fianchetto variation.
In Bator-Akesson, Stockholm 2000 Black plays too casually in the 4 a3 variation and gets crushed very quickly after White finds a very effective piece sacrifice.
We finish with another win for White in the game Gormally-Crawley, once again from the recent British Championship. IM Danny Gormally is a dangerous tactician and the line he uses here suits his style perfectly. He plays the well known line 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 b6 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Be7 6 0-0 0-0 7 d5!?
This pawn sacrifice is one of White's sharpest weapons in the g3 Queen's Indian and Gormally adds a new twist to the theory with a second pawn sacrifice a few moves later.
It's me again and I thought that you might be interested in learning that I've been doing a spot of investigative reporting. Did you know that in the last 3 weeks out of 100 Nimzo games played:
45 were with 4 Qc2
31 were with 4 e3
8 were with 4 Nf3
7 were with 4 Bg5
4 were with 4 f3
2 were with 4 a3
And there was one each of 4 Bd2, 4 Qb3 and 4 g3
No, well you do now!
So above is where the trend is and hence my selection of a 4 e3 (with 4 b6 5 Nge2 Ba6) and a particularly popular at high level chess 4 Nf3 (4 b6 5 Qb3) encounter. Both recent, relatively short and decisive.
Hope you enjoy them.
Bye for now
Well keep the mail coming in. It is appreciated. Until next time.
Chris Ward and John Emms
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