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What's New (March 2002 Update)

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

Modern Benoni


Queen's Indian

Hi everyone!

All this month's new games are easily downloaded in PGN format using ChessPub.exe, go to ChessPub.exe, put the date on, say, 2nd April 2002, and then click on 'Nimzo and Benoni', over on the right. All these games should appear!

You can also enter the specific ECO code if you are only interested in a particular opening. The updated eBooks can be found at the eBooks Download Page.

To download the March '02 Nimzo and Benoni games directly in PGN form, click here: Download Games

Modern Benoni: Modern Classical Variation

Jim Marfia writes:

Greetings to you and all the hardworking men who make the indispensable site that it is! I'm really looking forward to enjoying your (at last!) up-to-date opening books!

Here's a game I just finished in postal chess. It's a fairly topical line: I was following an article by Kapengut a couple years ago in New In Chess Yearbook. My opponent did too - and then he appeared to improve on the quoted game, by first getting rid of the queens, and then 23..Rd8!?. I thought the choice of a mating attack with queens off was rather unusual; it worked, though!

The line Jim is talking about begins 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 c4 c5 4 d5 e6 5 Nc3 exd5 6 cxd5 d6 7 e4 Bg7 8 h3 0-0 9 Bd3 Re8

With this move Black decides to avoid the deeply theoretical lines after 9...b5, hoping to play in a more positional way (see Marfia-Rotkop, Correspondence, 2002 - ECO code A70). My feeling is, despite Black's improvement over known theory, this line remains very promising for White.

Modern Benoni: White plays an early Nge2

The game Ward-Corkett, St Helier 2002 starts out as a Modern Defence but soon turns into a Benoni after the moves 1 d4 g6 2 e4 Bg7 3 c4 c5 4 d5 d6 5 Nc3 a6 6 a4 Nf6 7 Nge2 0-0 8 Ng3 e6 9 Be2 exd5 10 cxd5

We have now transposed into a Nge2 line against the Modern Benoni, but Black is committed to playing a line with ... a7-a6 and a2-a4 thrown in (ECO code A65). However, this doesn't seem too bad, with ECO considering the line to be playable for Black.

Modern Benoni


Queen's Indian

Nimzo-Indian: Rubinstein Variation

In our first game Azmaiparashvili-Feygin, Dos Hermanas 2002, Black decides very early on to block the position with ...c5-c4 (the opening moves are 1 d4 e6 2 c4 Nf6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 c5 5 Bd3 0-0 6 Nge2 d5 7 cxd5 exd5 - ECO code E49). As we have seen before, blocking the queenside like this is an extremely committal decision as it releases all the pressure on the d4-pawn and allows White a free hand in the centre. In this game Black was severely punished for this.

Next up we have a theoretically important game between two computers! The encounter COMET B40-FRITZ, Paderborn 2002 begins 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Nf3 c5 6 Bd3 d5 7 0-0 Nc6 8 a3 Bxc3 9 bxc3 dxc4 10 Bxc4 Qc7 11 Bd3 e5 12 Qc2 (ECO code E59)

We have previously looked at this line with the game Sokolov-Kasparov, Wijk aan Zee 1999, in which Kasparov forgot his intended idea over the board and soon reached a lost position. Computers have no such problems with memory (!) and Fritz's 21...Kf8 seems to give Black at least an equal position.

Nimzo-Indian Classical Variation

Topalov-Leko, Cannes 2002 follows a main line of the Classical with 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 0-0 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 b6 7 Bg5 Bb7 8 f3 h6 9 Bh4 d5 10 e3 Nbd7 11 cxd5 Nxd5! 12 Bxd8 Nxc3 13 Bh4 Nd5 14 Bf2 (ECO code E32).

Some players believe that White has a slight edge in this endgame, but Leko, armed with a sensible novelty on move sixteen, has drawn two recent games with relative ease.

Modern Benoni


Queen's Indian

Queen's Indian: Fianchetto Variation

Gelfand-Almasi, Amber Rapidplay Monaco 2002 sees a main line of the g3 Queens Indian with 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Be7 6 Nc3 Ne4 7 Bd2 Bf6 8 0-0 0-0 9 Rc1 (code E18).

Now Almasi played 9...c5 and after 10 d5 exd5 11 cxd5 Nxd2 12 Nxd2 d6 a Benoni type pawn structure is reached and the position is quite unbalanced.

Our final game this month is Lautier-Gelfand, Cannes 2002. After 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Ba6 5 Qb3 Nc6 6 Nbd2 Na5 Lautier comes up with the novelty 7 Qc3!?, which certainly gave him an edge in this game (ECO code E15).

Modern Benoni


Queen's Indian

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