November 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.
Our first game here is Wu Shaobin-Papaioannou, Istanbul Olympiad 2000, in which the young Greek GM plays an interesting sideline in the main 9...b5 pawn sacrifice variation.
In Khalifman-J.Polgar, Essent 2000, the World number one women's player refrains from playing the deeply theoretical lines, but is soon left with a grim position against the FIDE Champion Alexander Khalifman.
Modern Benoni statistics for this month:
White wins: 13
Black wins: 18
I've just recently received some interesting feedback on the Speelman-Paulsen. game which made it into October's update. It seems that perhaps I was a bit hasty in writing this variation off.
Marcel Juegel writes, "The black opening has a name, it's called 'The Hawk'. This line is based on an idea by German Stefan Buecker who offered his analysis in his book 'The Vulture'". Juegel then goes on to give some interesting analysis given by both Speelman and Shirov, which can be seen in "The Hawk").
Anders Lovén writes, "I have just played through the Speelman-Paulsen game from the October update and then remembered an "old" book from Stefan Buecker (the book was quite favourably reviewed by New in Chess). In the book Buecker advocated playing
The Vulture: 1 d4 c5 2 d5 Nf6 3 c4 Ne4;
The Hawk: 1 d4 c5 2 d5 Nf6 3 Nf3 c4;
and the Weasel: 1 d4 c5 2 d5 Nf6 3 Nc3 Qa5.
The variation after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 c5 3 d5 c4 4 Nc3 Qa5 5 Qd4 is the Orthodox Hawk where the main line is 5 b5 6 e4.
Black`s third move (the surprising 3... c4) is not just a tactical trick ( Qa5+ , Qxd5). The pawn on d5 constricts black but in this case also hands him the black squares e5, c5 and b4. Loven also gives some Buecker analysis, which can also be found in "The Hawk".
Our second game in the Weird Benonis is Kozul-Topalov, Istanbul Olympiad 2000, in which we witness Topalov's speciality of 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 c5 3 d5 b5!? On this occasion White tries a new idea with 4 Bg5 Ne4 5 h4!?
Overall it's been a very good month for Black. The Weird Benoni statistics this month (TWICs 311-314) are:
Black wins: 22
Van Wely-Leko, Istanbul Olympiad 2000 is an exciting battle while it lasts, and perhaps quite significant in a theoretical sense. Van Wely plays 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,
which has been used successfully by new World Champion Vladimir Kramnik. Our final QI game is Morovic Fernandez-Adams, Olympiad Istanbul 2000, which is a smooth positional performance by Mickey Adams, once again proving that Black can play for a win in the Queen's Indian, even in the quietest variations.
Queen's Indian statistics for this month:
White wins: 53
Black wins: 46
Nimzo-Indian statistics for this month:
White wins: 62
Black wins: 77
I did a bit of commentating at the World Championships and was present at the venue for both of Kramnik's wins. I'm sure that many annotations have been made of all of their encounters but I thought it fitting that I include here brief notes to the decisive Nimzo game, see JE195.
I hope you enjoy these fairly recent games and I'll see you all 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 John or Chris at