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What's New (November 2003 update)

Hi Everyone! This month we take a look at games in the Nimzo Indian, Queen's Indian, and Modern Benoni from November 2003.


Queen's Indian

Modern Benoni

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

To download the November '03 Nimzo and Benoni games directly in PGN form, click here: Download Games

Nimzo Indian Rubinstein Variation (4 e3)

We begin this month's coverage with the game Sadler - Pelletier, Bundesliga 2003/04, which begins 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 d5 6 Nf3 c5 7 0-0 Nc6 (the old main line of the Rubinstein Nimzo, although these days this move generally plays second fiddle to 7...dxc4) 8 a3 Ba5!?

This is something different. So far on this website we've concentrated on the main move 8...Bxc3. After 9 cxd5 exd5 10 dxc5 Bxc3 11 bxc3 Bg4 White has grabbed a pawn, but his remaining pawns on the queenside look a bit sickly. In compensation White possesses the long-term advantage of the bishop pair. Nevertheless, the position looks very playable for Black and in this particular game White is forced to resign in only another 7 (that's seven!) moves.

The reason for including the all-computer battle FALCON - JONNY 2.51, Graz 2003 was more to do with a stunning combination at the end of the game than any real theoretical interest, although Black does provide a slight wrinkle in the opening with 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 e3 c5 4 Nf3 cxd4 5 exd4 d5 6 Nc3 Bb4 7 Bd3 dxc4 8 Bxc4 0-0 9 0-0 Nbd7 (the main moves are 9...b6 and 9...a6) 10 Bg5 b6

With this move Black shows a willingness to return to the ...b6 main lines, but here White went on an independent path with 11 Qb3!?.

Nimzo Indian Classical Variation (4 Qc2)

Two 'Classical' nightmares for White this month! The first game Wagner - Fischer, Bad Wiessee 2003 shows how careful White must be in some lines. The game began 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 c5 5 dxc5 0-0 6 Nf3 Na6

and now White played 7 a3?!, a natural looking move but in my opinion it's too accommodating. After 7...Bxc3+ 8 Qxc3 Nxc5 White compounded his error with 9 b4? and was soon in big trouble.

Fodor - Lengyel, Budapest HUN 2003 was an even bigger disaster for White: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 c5 5 dxc5 Na6 6 a3 Bxc3+ 7 Qxc3 Nxc5 8 b4 Nce4 9 Qc2 d5

and here White played a natural move which just happens to be a major blunder. Click on the game to see what happened.

Sämisch 4 a3 Bxc3+ 5 bxc3 b6 6 e3

'Gueler' from Boston writes:

«I have a quick question about the Rubinstein/Saemisch system. I recently had a game, which started out with the following moves: 1 d4 e6 2 c4 Nf6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 b6 So far, so good. Now White played 5 a3 and I continued 5...Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 Bb7 7 f3 I have a hard time finding theory on 5 a3 and I would appreciate some help. What would be a recommended set-up? During the game I considered ...d6/...Nbd7/...e5, or ... Nc6-a5 combined with ...Ba6, or ...c5/...Nc6/...d6/...e5. Also, maybe instead of ...Bb7, ...Ne4 might be interesting, since I like to play the Dutch variation anyway.»

A good question - I hadn't really considered this way of playing for White. We get a Sämisch where Black has already committed himself to playing ...b7-b6. On the other hand White has already played e2-e3, when the normal antidote to an early ...b6 is a quick f3 and e4. Click here for further details.


Queen's Indian

Modern Benoni

Queen's Indian: 4 a3

Next this month we have the complex game Toulzac - Palac, Cap d'Agde 2003: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 a3 Ba6 5 Qc2 Bb7 6 Nc3 c5 7 e4 cxd4 8 Nxd4 Bc5 9 Nb3 Nc6 10 Bg5

Normally Black now plays 10...h6 11 Bh4 and then 11...Nd4. Now after 12 Nxd4 Bxd4 13 Nb5 Be5 White doesn't have the option of f2-f4. Here, though, Palac opts for the immediate 10...Nd4!? 11 Nxd4 Bxd4 12 Nb5!? Be5, allowing White to play the seemingly strong 13 f4. However, Black has many defensive resources here.


Queen's Indian

Modern Benoni

Modern Benoni Old Classical Variation

The game Kozul - Cebalo, Celje 2003 reaches an important position in the Modern Benoni after the moves 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 c5 4 d5 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 Nc3 g6 7 e4 a6 8 a4 Bg4 9 Be2 Bxf3 10 Bxf3 Nbd7 11 0-0 Bg7 12 Bf4 Qe7 13 Re1 0-0

We have transposed to the ...Bg4 variation of the Old Classical Variation, which under the 'normal' Benoni move order would have been reached by the moves 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 e6 4 Nc3 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 e4 g6 7 Nf3 Bg7 8 Be2 0-0 9 0-0 a6 10 a4 Bg4 11 Bf4 Bxf3 12 Bxf3 Qe7 13 Re1 Nbd7. In most players' opinion this is one of the most respectable lines for Black, who has got rid of his problem bishop and has sufficient control of the e5-square. When I first started this website I studied the statistics from this position and Black was doing very well. Nothing has changed in the last few years. Searching through a database of games of the last 10 years from The Week In Chess, I noticed that this position has been reached 27 times, with Black scoring 63%. This figure can be partly explained by the fact that on average the Black players were higher rated, but even so this figure is very impressive from Black's point of view.

In this game, however, Kozul plays very smoothly - it's certainly a model way of playing the position from White's point of view, although of course Black's play could have been improved upon.

Modern Benoni: 6 e4 a6!?

In the encounter Gostisa - Rogulj, Celje 2003, Black tries the unusual 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 e6 4 Nc3 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 e4 a6!?

The idea is to play the Benoni, but without allowing the dangerous Flick-Knife Attack which occurs after 6...g6 7 f4 Bg7 8 Bb5+. Games like this, however, will do little for its popularity!


Queen's Indian

Modern Benoni

Wishing all subscribers a merry Christmas and happy New Year.

Till next time,

John Emms