What's New- March 2001
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.
Statistically it's been a pretty good month for Modern Benoni players. The figures from The Week in Chess (229-332) reveal 9 Black wins, 6 draws and only 7 White wins.
We start this month's games with a look at the encounter Bellon Lopez-Suba, Malaga 2001, which is a very well played game by Benoni expert Mihai Suba. Black's final attack on the kingside is particularly pleasing. The game begins 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 c5 4 d5 d6 5 Nc3 exd5 6 cxd5 g6 7 h3!?
This move is fast becoming one of White's most fashionable ways of meeting the Modern Benoni, chiefly because it avoids lines with ...a6 followed by ...Bg4.
Moving on to the Fianchetto Variation, Llorens-P.Short, Bunratty 2001 is a very instructive game in which White pays a heavy price for allowing Black to freely expand on the queenside with ...b7-b5.
Are White players finally catching on? The encounter Summerscale - Mannion, British League 2000/1 gives us yet another look at Topalov's anti-Benoni line with 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 c5 3 d5 b5!?. After much success for Black it now seems that White is finally getting his own back. After 4 Bg5 Ne4 5 Bh4 Bb7 Summerscale plays the natural looking 6 a4!?
and he soon reaches a very favourable position. The ball seems to be in Black's court again here.
This month's Weird Benoni stats: 21 games, 9 White wins, 7 draws and 5 Black wins.
A typically solid, if not brilliant month for Queen's Indian advocates. From 61 games from TWIC the draw is once again the winner (29), followed by the White wins (18) and then the Black wins (14).
The game Goldin - Chuchelov, Cappelle la Grande 2001 is a flawed, but nevertheless very interesting encounter in the sharp 4 a3 Ba6 line of the Queen's Indian.
Black's opening works very well here, but it seems that White has a massive improvement on move 15.
Vaganian - Lautier, Dordrecht 2001 is "only" a blitz game, but it's still well worth another look. White plays the underrated 4 e3 and manages to drum up a dangerous kingside attack. Probably the game should have ended in a draw, but Lautier failed to find the correct defence, never an easy task in a normal game, never mind blitz.
We finish off this month's Queen's Indian Defence survey with another heavyweight theoretical clash in Karpov - Anand, Monaco 2001. The variation is 4 g3 Ba6, of which both players have immense experience. Anand repeats the line 5 b3 Bb4+ 6 Bd2 Be7 7 Bg2 c6 8 Bc3 d5 9 Ne5 Nfd7 10 Nxd7 Nxd7 11 Nd2 0-0 12 0-0 Nf6 13 e4 b5 14 Re1 dxe4 15 Qc2 Rb8!? with which he had previous success against Jan Timman. Karpov comes well prepared, but Anand differs first and equalises quite comfortably.
Well I don't seem to get much mail on this site so as this arrived recently I thought I'd publish it:
I am impressed with how difficult is to get any advantage in the Rubinstein with the scarcely used 7.0-0 Nc6 8.a3 Ba5 variation. After the "official" 9. cxd5 exd5 10. dxc5 Bxc3 11.bxc3 Bg4, I think that Black has a good game in all the theoretical moves: 12.c4 Ne5 13 cxd5, where there is not need for Black to give up the exchange on d4, the white king position is very dangerous with queen and knights going to g6, h4 (very uncertain position in my view), or 13.Bb2 Nxf3 14 gxf3 Bh3, where Black is equal (I have just played Gligoric's 15. Kh1 and went = in 6 moves, but 15. cxd5 or 15.Re1 are not better). What do you think? Time to go to 9.h3 or 9.Rb1?
A very good question and I can see where this subscriber is coming from. My
suspicion is that is he has most of the available material on the subject and
he is turning to your favourite (well apart from John Emms) www.chesspublishing.com
Although I get the Nimzo from both sides, I'm afraid that my experience in this line is extremely limited. Having checked out the situation I think I would agree with you that for example NCO's assessment of the main line (given without alternatives) as '+=' is perhaps a little casual. The type of positions reached are a little unclear but although queen and knights are pretty useful in attack, there will always be a tendency for very strong players to favour the latent potential of the bishop pair. Essentially provided White can avoid getting mated (with or without this exchange sac on d4) his prospects will be good in an endgame.
English GM Peter Wells is usually very thorough with his annotations and I think he hits the nail on the head with his Megabase 2001 coverage of Tella-Lugovoi, EtVas Vantaa 1999, if you can get hold of it.
Regarding 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 d5 6 Nf3 c5 7 0-0 Nc6 8 a3 Ba5 9 cxd5 exd5 10 dxc5 Bxc3 11 bxc3 Bg4 12 c4 Ne5 13 Bb2 Nxf3+ 14 gxf3 Bh3 15 cxd5 I wouldn't be surprised if your conclusion is that 15...Nxd5 is an improvement on the text book provided 15...Qxd5 16 Bxf6 gxf6 17 Kh1 (17 Bxh7+? wins the queen but ultimately loses to a ...Rg8+) which just like 13...Bxf3 14 gxf3 dxc4 15 Bxe5 is probably better for White.
Basically then my gut feeling is to give 9 h3!? a whirl as it strikes me as being a useful waiting move (e.g. stopping a future ...Bg4). By all means test out 9 Rb1 but it looks a bit odd and 9 Ne2 would be higher in my pecking order.
For this months offerings I've selected the encounter (over the last few weeks) encompassing the highest ELO average (around 2715!) Ivanchuk - Gelfand and an unusually short hedgehoggy Black win, Kalka - Stohl, that will hopefully deter White from future behaviour of that kind.
Stats: 71 games, 24 White wins, 29 draws, 18 Black wins.
That's it for now. Keep that mail flowing!
Remember, if you have any questions or remarks on the Benoni, Weird Benonis, Nimzo Indian, Queen's Indian or Bogo-Indian, we'd be glad to here from you.
Please e-mail John or Chris at