ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks

What's New: July 02 Update

GM John Emms rounds up the latest in these Nimzo, QI and Benoni Systems.


Modern Benoni

Hi everyone!

All this month's new games are easily downloaded in PGN format using ChessPub.exe, but to download the July '02 Nimzo and Benoni games directly in PGN form, click here: Download Games

Nimzo-Indian: Classical Variation

We start this month with a look at the game Bareev-Leko, Dortmund 2002, which begins 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 0-0 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 b6 7 Bg5 Bb7 8 e3 d6 9 f3 h6 10 Bh4 Nbd7 11 Bd3 c5 12 Ne2 Rc8 13 0-0 Ba6

This position has been seen a few times before and as far as I know no-one has tried Bareev's logical-looking idea 14 b4. Bareev manages to obtain a tiny edge from the opening and mistakes from Leko allowed the Russian to convert his advantage into the full point

In Shariyazdanov-Rashkovsky, Oberwart 2002 we look at the line arising after 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 0-0 5 e4!?

This aggressive move has really only been taken seriously in the last few years. White grabs the centre, but the price is a lack of development. Often this line leads to very sharp positions and this game is no exception.

Nimzo-Indian: Rubinstein Variation

In Nikolov-Zelcic, Bled 2002 we return to what many people now consider to be the main line of the Nimzo Rubinstein: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 d5 6 Nf3 c5 7 0-0 cxd4 8 exd4 dxc4 9 Bxc4

This line has become very fashionable since Kramnik's quickfire win with White against Kasparov in the 2000 Brain Games World Championship. The game here is not overly important theoretically but it does involve a very nice sacrificial attack on the kingside.

In Ibragimov-Burnett, Philadelphia 2002 we take a look at a very rare piece sacrifice:

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 b6 5 Nge2 Ba6 6 a3 Be7 7 Nf4 d5 8 cxd5 Bxf1 9 dxe6!?

This amazing sacrifice has only been played a few times and is not mentioned by the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings (ECO). I must admit, however, that I'm not convinced by its correctness and this game does little to help. For the main move 9 Kxf1 see Timman-Hübner, Montreal 1979 (ECO code E45).

Nimzo-Indian: Sämisch Variation

Our final Nimzo game this month is Yusupov-Shapiro, Philadelphia 2002, where the famous Russian GM employs his favourite anti-Nimzo weapon:

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 c5 5 Bd3 0-0 6 a3

The Sämisch Variation (which officially arises via the move order 4 a3) has been a favourite of Yusupov for many years and he has had many important theoretical tussles with it, including a couple against staunch Nimzo supporter Anatloy Karpov.


Modern Benoni

Modern Benoni: Mikenas Variation

The Mikenas is pretty rare but the poor cousin of the Flick-Knife Attack is still seen from time to time, as in the game Grahn-El Kher, Copenhagen 2002. The main line goes: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 e6 4 Nc3 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 e4 g6 7 f4 Bg7 8 e5 Nfd7 9 Nb5 dxe5 10 Nd6+ Ke7 11 Nxc8+ Qxc8 12 Nf3 Re8 13 fxe5 Nxe5 14 Bb5 Nbd7 15 0-0 Kf8 16 Nxe5 Rxe5 17 Bf4

and here, instead of the theoretically-recommended 17...c4, Black went for the riskier 17...Re4!?. Black was successful but question marks remain over the viability of this move.

Modern Benoni: Classical with ...a6

Our final game this month is Beliavsky-Volokitin, Copenhagen: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 c5 4 d5 d6 5 Nc3 exd5 6 cxd5 g6 7 e4 a6 8 a4 Bg4 9 Be2 Bxf3 10 Bxf3 Nbd7 and in this normal position Beliavsky tried the little-played and aggressive 11 g4!?

This wild lunge on the kingside makes some sense now that Black has committed himself to ...Nbd7 - the knight on f6 has no natural retreat square after g4-g5 and White gains useful space on the kingside.


Modern Benoni

Remember, if you have any questions or remarks on the Benoni, Weird Benonis, Nimzo Indian, Queen's Indian or Bogo-Indian, I'd be glad to hear from you.

Please e-mail me at