March 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.
There's lots of action in the Modern Benoni this month. A line that continues to be a pain for Black is the Modern Classical Variation, where White plays an early h2-h3 in order to avoid Bg4. Here we take a look at two possible ideas that Black can try, if he's not convinced by the critical 9 b5 pawn sacrifice.
The first is seen in the game Palac-Feletar, where Black develops in normal fashion with a7-a6, Nb8-d7 and Rf8-e8.
The second idea, and one which is perhaps more interesting from Black's point of view, is seen in the game Mohandesi-Degraeve, where Black plays an early 9 Bd7, followed by 10 c4!?. This way of playing for Black could certainly do with a further look.
Game of the Month: A Model Performance This is an excellent game by Black, who slowly but surely gets a grip on the kingside before obtaining total dark square control
An instructive mistake White advances his f-pawn too soon and pays the full penalty when subjected to a violent Benoni onslaught.
This month we take a look at the underrated Schmid Benoni, which has some advocates at Grandmaster level, including the young Ukrainian talent Ruslan Ponomariev and a member of the winning Armenian team at last year's European Championships, Artashes Minasian.
We see White giving an early check (6 Bb5+) in Aseev-Alekseev, which rules out some of Black's options. Black gets a beating in this game, but with careful play, I'm convinced Black's position remains very playable. In particular the Schmid Benoni remains a useful option for Modern Benoni players who are looking for something to do against the move order 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3. Then 2 c5 3 d5 g6 gets Black where he wants to be!
We round off our coverage of the Benoni with the game Tkachiev-Savchenko, where the Kazakhstan Grandmaster Tkachiev does a very good impersonation of a snake tamer. The "Snake Benoni", where Black plays the ungainly manoeuvre Bf8-d6-c7, has a few supporters, including the Latvian GM Normund Miezes, but it's very unlikely that we're going to see any more than just an occasional outing and Tkachiev-Savchenko underlines why. Just playing simple logical chess seems to guarantee White a promising advantage.
Well the answer is certainly not too much on the feedback front. If there are any Nimzo lines you particularly would like me to check out, then please drop me a message.
I continue then with a stab in the dark; that phrase being particularly appropriate for the weird Classical encounter, Ivanchuk-Nikolic, where I get all philosophical (don't worry that won't happen too often!).
The other game has a touch more chess content as I place the Leningrad 6...b5!? pawn sac under the microscope in Ward-Hinks-Edwards.
Well same time and place next month.
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
The pick of this month's games has to be Black's controlled performance in the game Aung Aung-Pigusov. Black's plan of total dark squared control is well worth noting.
To sharpen up your tactical ability with a look at three positions from Benoni games this month, come this way.