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What's New (July 2003 update)

Hi Everyone! This month we take a look at games in the Nimzo Indian and Modern Benoni.


Modern Benoni

Remember, if you have any opinions, ideas or questions, please either make yourself heard at the Forum (the link above on the right) or email me at

To download the July '03 Nimzo and Benoni games directly in PGN form, click here: Download Games

Nimzo Indian Classical Variation (4 Qc2)

We begin this month with the game Huss - Kosteniuk, Silvaplana 2003, which begins 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 b6 4 Nc3 Bb4 5 Qc2 Bb7 6 a3 Bxc3+ 7 Qxc3 d6 8 e3 0-0

After a slightly unusual move order we've arrived at a variation of the Qc2 Nimzo Indian, but one where White has played in a restrained manner, leaving the bishop on c1. This line doesn't give Black any serious problems. Indeed, Kosteniuk soon builds up a menacing attack on the kingside with the typical ...Ne4, ...f7-f5 plan.

In the game Beaulieu - Roussel Roozmon, Montreal 2003 we look at the line 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 0-0 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 b6 7 Bg5 Ba6

This ambitious move was the invention of the Lithuanian Grandmaster Rozentalis. Instead of occupying the long diagonal, Black immediately hits the c4-pawn, so often a target for Black in the Nimzo. In this game White continues with 8 Qf3!?, a relatively new way of meeting 7...Ba6. White takes advantage of the fact that there is no black bishop on the long diagonal and attacks the rook on a8. The idea is to interfere with Black's smooth development on the queenside.

In Wang Rui-Zhang Zhong, Yongchuan 2003, Black plays in a positional fashion with 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 c5 5 dxc5 0-0

This is Black's most common response to 5 dxc5 - he keeps his options open regarding how to recapture on c5.

Nimzo Indian Rubinstein Variation (4 e3)

Dumitrache - Boudre, Montpellier 2003 sees a slight twist to the very popular Karpov Variation. Following 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 Black employs the slightly unusual 9...Nbd7.

This is yet another option for Black on move nine (so far on this site we've dealt with the more common moves 9...b6 and 9...a6).

Next up it's Melkumjanc - Deuber, Silvaplana 2003, which sees the old main line of the Nimzo Rubinstein after 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 a3 Bxc3+ 5 bxc3 c5 6 e3 Nc6 7 Nf3 0-0 8 Bd3 d5 9 0-0 dxc4 10 Bxc4 Qc7

For some reason this is not so popular these days, but it is still considered to be very playable for Black. Now White continued with 11 Qe2?!, a natural enough move, but this is actually a slight inaccuracy because certain tactics favour Black when the queen is on e2.


Modern Benoni

Modern Benoni Flick-Knife Attack

Leo Martinez writes:

«In the Benoni I had a game which I think improves on what you have on the site. I'm not sure though.

The line goes: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5 4 d5 ed5 5 cd5 d6 6 e4 g6 7 f4 Bg7 8 Bb5+ Nbd7 9 e5 de5 10 fe5 Nh5 11 e6 Qh4+ 12 g3 Nxg3 13 hxg3 Qxh1 14 exd7+ Bxd7 15 Qe2+ Kd8 16 Bg5+ f6 17 0-0-0

and Black is in trouble I think. I was Black in the game and I couldn't really find any way to play the black position. It seems tough to find any improvement for me. Well, any help would be welcome.»

14 Be3 is the most common move for White and this has already been examined thoroughly on this site. For the moment Black seems to be holding his own after Topalov's 14...a6, although I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this line. In some ways 14 exd7+ seems a bit illogical - why not wait until Black 'wastes' a move with ...a7-a6 before capturing on d7? On the other hand, the absence of a bishop on e3 means that White can throw in a disruptive check on the e-file. Click here to see my analysis on this line.

Modern Benoni: Modern Classical Variation

Finally, a warning of how lethal the Modern Classical Variation can be for White. The game Borovikov - Kononenko, Pardubice 2003 begins 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 c5 3 d5 e6 4 c4 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 e4 g6 7 Bd3 Bg7 8 h3 0-0 9 Nc3 Re8 10 0-0 a6 11 a4 Nbd7

Black has developed in traditional Benoni fashion but White's set up is tailor-made for this. This is why so many Black players are opting for the gambit line 9...b5 or Watson's 9...Nh5!?. Now White continued with 12 Bf4 and wins the game in a very smooth fashion without Black making any obvious mistakes.


Modern Benoni

Till next time,

John Emms