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Hi everyone!
All the big guns seem to be using the Queen's Indian as a battlefield at the moment, so I've checked out a couple of games from the recent Queen's Indian fest at Morelia/Linares, plus a third, slightly lower level game which does provide an original twist. Added to this there are a couple of 4 Qc2 Nimzo hacks, while John-Paul Wallace provides a bit more calm with a look at the always-reliable Bogo-Indian.

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

Download PGN of March '07 Nimzo and Benoni games

Nimzo-Indian 4 Qc2

We kick off with Kasimdzhanov - Asrian, Vandoeuvre 2007: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 d5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 Ne4 7 Qc2 c5 8 dxc5 Nc6 9 cxd5 exd5 and now White tried 10 e3!?:

No-one plays this, probably because it looks - and is - incredibly risky. Not that the usual move 10 Nf3 is a walk in the park either! After 10...Bf5 11 Bd3 the main advantage 10 e3 has over 10 Nf3 is revealed (11 Bd3 is legal). Whether it is any good or not is another argument.

Likavsky - Delchev, Feugen 2006, begins 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 d5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 dxc4 7 Qxc4 b6 8 Nf3 Ba6 9 Qc2 (I still believe White is a bit better after the disruptive 9 Qa4+) 9...Nbd7 10 Bf4:

It looks natural to hit c7, but Black's next move may have come as a bit of a surprise - maybe the pawn isn't really hanging after all?

Queen's Indian 4 a3 Ba6

Let's begin with something offbeat. Ikonnikov - Kwiatkowski, Hastings 2006/07, started 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 b6 4 g3 Ba6 5 b3 Bb4+ 6 Bd2 Be7 7 Bg2 c6. All pretty so far, but now White played 8 a4!?:

I couldn't quite believe my eyes when I saw this move, and when I checked my databases I could find no other examples. What on earth is White's idea?

Returning to heavy theory, we have Topalov-Anand, Morelia/Linares 2007: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Ba6 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 dxe4!?:

Until fairly recently virtually everyone played 13...b5 here, and Black was doing okay. However, elite games from the past year or so have put this move under some pressure, so Black players have begun to look for alternative solutions. Until now 13...dxe4 had hardly ever been played (although it did get a mention on ChessPub as far back as 2001!). However, this is the second time in quick succession that Anand has tried it.

In Topalov - Leko, Linares 2007, Leko preferred the sharper 12...Rc8:

This is still considered to be the main line after 9 Ne5, and thus arguably the main line of the entire 4 g3 Queen's Indian! The game continued 13 e4 c5 14 exd5 exd5 15 dxc5 dxc4 16 c6 cxb3 17 Re1! b2! 18 Bxb2 Nc5:

After 18...Nc5 we have reached an absolutely critical position for the 12...Rc8 line: is White's pawn on c6 a strength or a weakness? I believe that in a practical sense this variation is difficult for Black to play. There is more than one critical line that White can play and Black often seems to be hanging on by a thread. On the other hand, the guys at the top of the tree are beginning to work this whole line out and Black seems to be doing okay. Is it possible in a few years time, despite its dangerous appearance, it will be labelled as "harmless" (or perhaps "mostly harmless")?


by John-Paul Wallace

The Bogo Indian has a reputation as an extremely solid opening. Unfortunately it is seen less often at the highest level these days, perhaps due to the trend for more active play in the opening and the fact that Bogo players such as Ulf Andersson are now less active. The advantages of the Bogo Indian are that Black's plans are generally fairly easy to implement and one does not need to know a great deal of theory. It is perfect against a wild, aggressive player, but a patient, positionally inclined White player such as Anatoly Karpov can show that Black has to suffer because he has less space. Still, in practice it is difficult to play like Karpov! Thus Michael Adams has scored some nice wins on the Black side and recently the strong up and coming Jakovenko has added it to his repertoire. In our first game (Jussupow - Gareev, Moscow 2007) we shall examine one of the most popular methods for White - with 4.Bd2 Qe7 5.g3 Nc6 6. Nc3!?:

While in the second game (Anastasian - Yakovenko, Moscow 2007) we take a look at a sharp attempt for Black, 4. Nbd2 O-O!?:

Till next time, John