ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks

What's New (December 2002 update)

A belated happy New Year to all you Nimzo & Benoni players and slayers! This month we take a look at the most important games from December.


Queen's Indian

Modern Benoni

Remember, if you have any opinions, ideas or questions, please either make yourself heard at the Forum or email me at

To download the December '02 Nimzo and Benoni games directly in PGN form, click here: Download Games

Nimzo-Indian: Rubinstein 4 e3

The all-Indian clash Poobesh Anand-Sandipan, Goa 12.2002 sees Black trying an unusual move in a very old line: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 d5 6 Nf3 c5 7 0-0 Nc6 8 a3 Bxc3 9 bxc3 Qc7 10 Qc2 dxc4 11 Bxc4

The freeing advance 11...e5 is by far the most common move for Black here, see for example I.Sokolov-Kasparov, Wijk aan Zee 1999 (ECO code E59 in ChessPub). However, there also doesn't seem to be too much wrong with 11...b6, planning to fianchetto the bishop along the long a8-h1 diagonal. Black loses this game, but there are various improvements along the way that suggest that we haven't see the end of 11...b6.

Nimzo-Indian Sämisch Variation

The game N.Adams-Shapiro, Philadelphia 2002 is a good example of how Black can be mercilessly crushed in this sharp line if he is not careful: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 c5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 Nc6 7 Bd3 0-0 8 Ne2 b6 9 e4 Ne8

Now the main line is 10 0-0 Ba6 11 f4, but in this game White is successful with the sneaky 10 Be3!?, attacking the c5-pawn.

Nimzo-Indian/Queen's Indian Hybrid System

Next up, we look at two games in a line that can be reached by both the Nimzo-Indian and Queen's Indian move order.

The first, Szeberenyi - Lopez Martinez, Budapest 2002, sees the trendy 1 d4 e6 2 c4 Nf6 3 Nf3 b6 4 Nc3 Bb4 5 Qb3. We've looked at games with an early Qb3 a few times (see, for example, Sokolov-Emms in ChessPub - ECO code E21). It's more dangerous than it looks and Black certainly has to be on his guard. He's not in this game and pays a heavy price.

The game Blackburn - Ward, British League 2002 begins 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Nf3 b6 5 Bg5 h6 6 Bh4 g5

Immediately pushing the bishop back to g3 eliminates some options for White, but also presents him some new ones.


Queen's Indian

Modern Benoni

Queen's Indian: 4 e3

Yusupov - Kersten, Saarbruecken 2002 (via a slightly different move order) begins 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 b6 4 e3 Bb7 5 Bd3 c5 6 0-0 g6!?

We've come across this unusual-looking idea before. The idea is that if White carries out the thematic plan of d4-d5, as in the Benoni the black bishop will be more active along the long diagonal. The resulting positions are difficult to play for both sides.


Queen's Indian

Modern Benoni

Modern Benoni - Fianchetto Variation

David Guthrie writes:

«My question is about a line in the Modern Benoni that I don't think you have covered yet on your site. I have John Watson's book and one of the lines he recommends for Black against the fianchetto variation is the exchange sac 9...Re8 10 Bf4 Ne4 11 Nxe4 Rxe4 12 Nd2 Rb4 13 a3 Rxf4 14 gxf4 Bxb2 15 Ra2 Bg7. Do you think this is any good for Black? And does the insertion of the moves 10 Bg5 h6 11 Bf4 make it more or less playable?»

Find out my answer and a survey of this line in Benoni Fianchetto - 9...Re8 10 Bf4 Ne4.

The Flick-Knife Blunted?

The line 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 e6 4 Nc3 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 e4 g6 7 f4 Bg7 8 Bb5+

known as the Flick-Knife Attack (or the Taimanov Attack) has been a big problem for Modern Benoni players for many years, but there are now signs that black players are beginning to fancy their chances again with the super-critical move 8...Nbd7!?. If this move is playable for Black then the whole Flick-Knife Attack loses its cutting edge. The jury is still out but, in the meantime, Black is scoring reasonably well. See the game Bromberger - Smerdon, Goa 2002 for another black success.


Queen's Indian

Modern Benoni

That's about it for this month. Next month I'll be looking at games from January, including those from the super-GM tournament at Wijk aan Zee,

All the best,

John Emms