What's New- August 2001
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.
Another month full of decisive games in the Modern Benoni. The Week In Chess 350-353 produced 100 Modern Benonis, with 46 white wins, 31 black wins and only 23 draws (Black scored 43%). So overall White is doing fairly well, but Black is winning nearly a third of all the games. Not many defences give Black so many winning chances.
Once again this month we look at the notoriously aggressive pawn storm lines for White, including the historically successful Flick-Knife Attack with 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5 4 d5 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 e4 g6 7 f4 Bg7 8 Bb5+. After 8...Nfd7 9 a4 the game Palo-De Firmian, Copenhagen 2001, AUG01/02, continued 9...Qh4+!?
as recommended by John Watson in The Gambit Guide to the Benoni. Black gives up a whole move in order to induce a weakness in the white camp.
Still with the Flick-Knife, and in the encounter Dimitropoulos-Anagnostopoulos, Patras 2001, AUG01/06, Black played the riskier 8 Bb5+ Nbd7!?. However, following 9 e5 dxe5 10 fxe5 Nh5 White played the rare move 11 Nf3. This is not as good as the piece winning 11 e6!, but as this game demonstrates, Black still has to know what he is doing.
Moving onto another pawn storm variation, the game Tozer-Bleis, Copenhagen 2001, AUG01/01, went 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 e6 4 Nc3 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 e4 g6 7 f4 Bg7 8 e5.
This is the Mikenas Attack, which is not seen that often nowadays, especially since everyone seems to be playing the Flick-Knife with 8 Bb5+. Black still has to be watchful in the Mikenas , but if he knows what he's doing he should be fine.
We finish off this month's Modern Benoni coverage with the game Pert-Emms, British Championship 2001, AUG01/05, in which my opponent plays 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 c5 4 d5 d6 5 Nc3 exd5 6 cxd5 g6 7 Bf4. We've met this move a few times before. White plans to put early pressure on the traditionally weak d6-pawn. Again Black must be careful, or else he can easily wind up in a clearly worse position.
White scored just above average in the Queen's Indian this month (58% - the average for White overall is about 55%). Out of 216 games White scored 87 wins, Black scored 53 wins and there were 73 draws. So, for once, the draw wasn't the most popular result!
The game Jepson-Psakhis, Copenhagen 2001, AUG01/03, is theoretically important. It goes 1 d4 e6 2 c4 Nf6 3 Nf3 b6 4 a3 Bb7 5 Nc3 d5 (one of the main lines of the 4 a3 Queen's Indian) 6 Bg5 Be7 7 Qa4+ Qd7!? 8 Qxd7+ Nbxd7 9 Nb5 0-0!?
This pawn sacrifice was considered to be perfectly satisfactory for Black, but recent games have cast doubt upon this assessment.
Paalman-Erwich, Dieren 2001, AUG01/04, is a model game for White - up to a point, after which White somehow loses the plot. This game shows the potential of White's attack in the pawn sacrifice line after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 b6 3 g3 Bb7 4 Bg2 e6 5 0-0 Be7 6 c4 0-0 7 d5!?. This is one of White's sharpest weapons in the g3 Queen's Indian.
(Stats: 238 games, 91 white wins, 75 draws, 72 black wins - White scores 54%)
Something special this month as we have John Emms kind of guesting on the site that I'm kind of guesting on for him. Get your head around that if you can! Anyway my annotations of Emms-Lalic, AUG01/07, are loosely based on some comments that he made on this critical last round encounter from the recent British Championship.
We don't get too much mail on this site but there is apparently a subscriber who is 'interested in the Leningrad (4 Bg5) positions where White sacs the d5 pawn'. Actually I remember I had a game with White against GM Jon Levitt in such a line a few years ago and was frustrated that Black seemed to be able to neutralise things adequately. Actually that's one reason why I gave up the variation. I have now just observed that there has been little progression in that line since then but I promise to bear it in mind for the future. There is though this month an amazing Leningrad game, AUG01/08, with, well let's just say, plenty of king action!
Finally also amusing is the recent short Yrjola-Haapasalo, AUG01/09, which is definitely somewhat different from your typical Classical variation tussle. Until next month.
Remember, if you have any questions or remarks on the Benoni, Weird Benonis, Nimzo Indian, Queen's Indian or Bogo-Indian, we'd be glad to here from you.
Please e-mail John or Chris at