What's New- May 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.
It's been another month of decisive results in the Modern Benoni. The Week in Chess (337-341) produced 58 games, with 27 White wins, 20 Black wins and only 11 draws. I must admit that this month all the publishable games are Black wins!
We start with the game Chernin-Hertneck, Gleisdorf 2000, MAY01/01, in which Black sacs a pawn to get a vice-like grip on the kingside. White tries an aggressive idea of moving the queen to the kingside via Qd1-a4-h4, but it backfires quite spectacularly when the queen is suddenly short of squares.
Then there's Safin-Kotsur, Dubai 2001, MAY01/02; in the most critical line of the Fianchetto Benoni White chickens out of grabbing a piece in the early middlegame, but soon realises that he is suffering in any case. If you're under attack, you may as well be a piece up for your troubles. The opening moves are: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 c5 4 d5 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 Nc3 g6 7 g3 Bg7 8 Bg2 0-0 9 0-0 a6 10 a4 Re8 11 Nd2 Nbd7 12 h3 Rb8 13 Nc4 Ne5 14 Na3 Bd7!?
This was first played by the English GM David Norwood back in the 80s. Now more Benoni experts are catching on to the idea
Rounding off the Modern Benoni there's more good news for Black in the dreaded "Flick-Knife Attack". Israel's Leonid Gofshtein tries a suggestion of John Watson, author of Gambit Guide to the Modern Benoni. It will be interesting to see whether 9...Qh4+ continues to collect interest (Van Beek-Gofshtein, Tel Aviv 2001, MAY01/03).
In total contrast to the Modern Benoni, the Queen's Indian continues to be as solid as ever. In 125 games, the draw is the biggest score (57 times), followed by the White win (41) and the Black win (only 27). White scores 56% overall.
Pinter-Wells, Fuerstenfeld 2001, MAY01/04 is a nice positional game by Black, who is close to reaching a winning position. It looks like this sharp line of the Queen's Indian may well come back into fashion: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 Nc3 Bb4 5 Bg5 Bb7 6 e3 h6 7 Bh4 g5 8 Bg3 Ne4 9 Qc2 Bxc3+ 10 bxc3 d6 11 Bd3 f5
Next up we have the game Rizouk-Crouch, Hampstead 2001, MAY01/05. 7 d5 in the Queen's Indian Fianchetto was a former favourite with Gary Kasparov. Is it due a revival? Black certainly has to be on his toes; as this game demonstrates; a couple of small mistakes and Black finds himself in hot water.
Finally we have Van Wely-Tkachiev, Enghien-les-Bains 2001, MAY01/06. Luke Van Wely improves upon a recent game with Michael Adams and reaps the benefit. This is a theoretically important game for Kramnik's 9 Qc2 in the Fianchetto Variation. (1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Ba6 5 b3 Bb4+ 6 Bd2 Be7 7 Bg2 c6 8 0-0 d5 9 Qc2).
Stats: 144 games, 47 White wins, 63 draws, 34 Black wins.
Three hot off the press games for you this month. On a slightly lower level the game Salo-Leino, MAY01/07 is a sort of Nimzo-QGD hybrid, whilst also instructive is the tempo lost in the 4 f3 encounter of Saric-Nikolac, MAY01/09.
Meanwhile at a Grandmaster level Mr Yakovich, MAY01/08 brushes aside the crude 5 Qf3 in the 4 e3 b6 variation.
Can't wait to see what June has in store for the Nimzo!
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