Feb 2000 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 very good month for Modern Benoni fans, with Black scoring 9 wins, 6 draws and only 7 losses from the games in The Week in Chess. There's been a few theoretical fights this month, including the encounter Ward - Quillan in which Quillan tries the little known 7...Bd7!? in answer to Ward's favourite Flick-Knife Attack. Although Black lost the game, there's enough in the notes to suggest that this line may well be worth playing again for Black.
There's more joy for Black in the game Marjanovic - Bednarich. White tries a rare sub-variation of the Mikenas Attack, one that has meant to have a rather dubious reputation. However, I'm not so sure this line is unplayable for White and although Black ends up winning, White misses a big chance himself.
We round up our Benoni coverage this month with a rather more sedate affair in the Fianchetto Variation. Sherbakov - Kovacevic is an example of a very nicely played game from White's point of view. Black advances his pawns on the kingside, but White uses his swinging rooks to great effect to exploit the weaknesses.
The super-solid QID has had a surprisingly poor month, scoring only 42% (16 wins, 38 draws and 29 losses), despite its utilisation by some of the strongest players around, including Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik. Avrukh - Anand sees the Indian GM at his clinical best, reaching a comfortable position out of the opening and gradually surrounding White's weak d5-pawn.
Game of the Month is Ibragimov - Bischoff. The Russian GM plays a line which may be coming back into fashion. White plays an early Bc1-g5, which Kasparov favoured in the 1980s. The latest twist sees White doing a very early Nf3-d2, hoping to support e2-e4. Black may well have to come up with some new equalising moves here. De Haan-Ligterink is an strange game. White tries an innocuous looking sideline of the 4 a3 variation, but after a slight inaccuracy by Black, White cleverly piles up on the d6-pawn and simply wins it! >
Well I guess the world isn't going to end just yet as we've made it comfortably to February and as you are obviously here too, let me tell you what you'll find in this month's Nimzo update.
The focus is on the Rubinstein variation with 3 very recent but different encounters. The first is a beautifully smooth demonstration by England's leading player Michael Adams in which White is unable to make anything of his big centre. See Gulko - Adams
A good old fashioned queenside Vs kingside pawn expansion is the theme for the 2nd game Georgiev - Kalinin in which White never really makes it to within touching distance of the enemy king.
White however bounces back in our 3rd titanic tussle between two super charged computers in which both may be tactically on the ball, but in Rebel Tigeer-12.0 -Shredder 4 Black is proven to be positionally inept.
Well that's it until March. Bye for now!
PS Again as a reminder, don't forget if you have any requests or questions then please email us
Just to show that blundering isn't the sole right of the bread and butter players, here are two clangers from top class Grandmasters:
Stantic,S (2123) - Atalik,S (2575)
Nova Gorica (1), 01.02.2000
From a Bogo-Indian, Black had steadily accrued the advantage until he reached this position, a pawn up. The disaster strikes with...
39...Rd8?? 40.Bxd8! Most players will know how Suat Atalik felt at this point! 40...Bg3 41.Ba5 Bh4 42.Bc3 Qg4+ 43.Kd2 Bf2 44.Qe5 Qg2 45.Kc1 Bh4 46.Rd2 Qg1+ 47.Kc2 Qg6+ 48.f5 Qf7 49.Qe6 Qxe6 50.fxe6 Kg8 51.Rd7 g5 52.Rg7+ Kf8 53.e7+ Ke8 54.Bf6 1-0.
Blunder of the Month (Part 2)
Greenfeld,A (2563) - Psakhis,L (2599)
Wydra mem rapidplay Haifa ISR (1), 03.02.2000
Black is a pawn up with good winning prospects, when this happened...
43...Kd5?? [43...g5! is infinitely stronger!] 44.Rd7+ Oh dear! 44...Kc4 45.Rxd8 Kb3 46.Rd3+ Ka4 47.Bg7 Re6 48.Bf8 Re1 49.Bb4 Rb1 50.Kg2 Rb2 51.Rh3 1-0
Where did I go wrong? No doubt most of us have asked that question on more than one occasion. I wouldn't be surprised if even Super Grandmaster Boris Gulko is tempted to question himself as Michael Adams unleashes a typically characteristic lethal positional display.
Beating about the bush Or is it less haste more speed? The key is knowing when to build up slowly and when to get a move on. In this encounter it appears that either White pays the price for his hesitancy or Black stands theoretically well.
Computers and positional chess A textbook game results when a White queenside assault provokes Black into ruining his structure by grabbing a very dodgy pawn.
More Mikenas Action The Mikenas Attack is quite rare these days, especially as everyone seems to be playing the Flick-Knife with 8 Bb5+. However, Black still needs to know what to do against 8 e5, and many of the lines are quite tricky.
A New Idea Against the Flick-Knife Objectively speaking 7...Bd7 is just about as dubious as 8...Nbd7, but it's actually not as bad as some people have made out and it's certainly worth more than its only very occasional appearance.
Swinging Rooks 11 Bf4 in the Fianchetto Variation is the main alternative to 11 Nd2. White plans immediate pressure in the centre with Re1 and e2-e4.
The Solid QID Strikes Again As is often the case in the QID, outwardly White looks quite aggressive, but Black's position proves sound and then White tends to overextend...
Crude But Effective White tries an idea which at first glance looks rather wet, but which in the game works to perfection. Strangely enough after Black's very natural 9th move he finds himself in deep trouble...
Another Slow Squeeze An idea first tried by Kasparov against Onischuk in 1997. It now looks as if it may be catching on. As opposed to the normal 8 e3, White looks to play e2-e4 instead.