June 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.
Games from The Week in Chess (numbers 289-93) have included 37 in the Modern Benoni. It's not been an especially fruitful month for the Black player, who has scored a lowly 37% (9 wins, 9 draws and 19 losses). Both games I've selected this month have been White wins and both are interesting, for differing reasons.
The first is the game Nikolic-Tindall, Surfers Paradise, Australia, in which the Bosnian GM unleashed a rare move. After the opening moves of 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 c5 4 d5 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 Nc3 g6 Nikolic plays the unusual 7 Qa4+.
This move is not totally new, but it is still relatively fresh and when such a strong Grandmaster plays something different it has to be taken seriously. In the event Nikolic wins in a rather smooth fashion and I won't be surprised if we see more of this queen check in later games.
Our second Benoni encounter is the game Babula-Velicka, Czech League 2000. This game contains a long theoretical continuation, which we have looked at more than once. It seems that the main line of the Modern Classical Variation now produces an endgame which is very slightly better for White. In this encounter, White actually manages to convert this minute advantage, something that has been difficult to do in practice. The most depressing thing from Black's point of view is that he has virtually zero winning chances himself. Something new is certainly needed for black players here.
I've found 123 games from the last five weeks of TWIC. Once again the Queen's Indian puts in a solid, if not an earth shattering performance. A draw is once again where the smart money goes, with nearly half the games (60) seeing the point split. White won 36 and Black won 27, so overall it's a reasonably satisfactory 46% for the black player.
I have to admit some slight bias to the black player this month. I've included four games and all are black wins. My excuse is that all these games have lots of interest, whereas this month's white wins were all a bit of a grind. More interesting news is that the sharp tactician Judit Polgar has been recently successful with the Queen's Indian. Who said it was a boring opening?
In fact our first game is the encounter Akopian-J.Polgar, Merida 2000 in which the Armenian World Championship finalist grabs an early hot pawn in the 4 a3 variation. This proves to be just a little too risky against someone of Polgar's attacking prowess.
Bacrot-Adams, Sarajevo 2000 is something of a strange game, if only because it's so surprising how quickly White's position falls apart in the early middlegame. The other thing of note in this game is Adams' novelty of 10 Nc6 in the Bg5 variation. Strangely this move hasn't been played before, with black players preferring either 10 Qe7 or 10 Nbd7.
Timman-J.Polgar, Malmo 2000 gives us some more bad news for White in the 4 g3 Ba6 line. A few months ago I looked at the game Fominyh-Sakaev, Moscow 1999 and decided that 5 Qb3 was not much of a threat to 4 Ba6. In this latest game White puts up more of a fight, but I still think that 5 Qb3 is an invitation for Black to have some fun. Polgar's treatment of the opening (or the whole game for that matter) is certainly worth a second look.
We end our survey of the Queen's Indian with a look at the game Tregubov-Aseev, Samara 2000. This game sees a situation where Black is forced to give up the exchange for a pawn early on, but receives tremendous compensation as White has to part with his light-squared bishop, never a nice thing to do once you have played g2-g3.
Well this month we should be grateful to a dedicated subscriber who sent in some interesting analysis and a game of his own (Sauberli-Draba. to supplement this site's original annotation of the encounter Nielsen-Savon. Well actually it was sent to John Emms, but it has made its way to me and as an interest has been expressed in the Romanishin variation (4 g3 or 4 Nf3 c5 5 g3) I thought I'd include a game of my own (Ward-Matthiesen. that is one of the reasons why I have gone off it a bit for White (having played it myself for several years). By all means feel free to send in any comments and upon any further enquires I may even disclose another reason why it has been edged out of my repertoire.
Finally this month's update includes a miniature (Krush-Macieja, which is a shock even when considering the circumstances of the game. Until next time, (which I promise will include more on the popular Classical ...b5 pawn sac).
Remember, if you have any questions or remarks on the Benoni, Nimzo Indian, Queen's Indian or Bogo-Indian, we'd be glad to here from you. Please e-mail Chris or John at