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Hi Everyone! This month we take a look at recent games in the Nimzo Indian, Queen's Indian, Bogo-Indian, Modern Benoni and weird 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

Download PGN of November '04 Nimzo and Benoni games

Nimzo Indian Classical Variation: 4 Qc2 0-0

We kick off this month with a look at the game Dobrov - Gershon, Athens 2004, which began 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 0-0 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 b6 7 Nf3 Bb7 8 e3:

With this move White makes no claim for the e4-square and just concentrates on classical development. In fact White makes no real claim for a theoretical advantage, preferring simply to reach a playable position without having to worry about 'book' moves. This is quite a nice line for Black to face because the natural plan of ...Ne4 followed by ...f7-f5 often leads to an attack on the kingside. In this game Black's attack succeeds quite spectacularly.

Nimzo-Indian 4 Nf3 c5 5 g3

Next up it's the so-called 'Kasparov Variation'. Teplitsky - Wells, Calvia Olympiad 2004 goes 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Nf3 c5 5 g3 cxd4 6 Nxd4 0-0 7 Bg2 d5 8 Qb3 (8 cxd5 Nxd5 9 Qb3 is more in vogue at the moment, perhaps simply because of the continuation played by Wells in this game. See, amongst others, Bacrot-Anand, Bastia 2001 in ChessPub.) 8...Bxc3+ 9 Qxc3

Although this looks like the obvious recapture, in fact it was originally more popular for White to keep Black's centre pawns at bay with 9 bxc3. The move 9 Qxc3 was brought to prominence by Chris Ward, who persevered with it for several years before admitting that with best play White gets very little. That said, the Ukrainian Olympiad winner Moiseenko has been playing this recently, so perhaps he has something new planned against the game continuation, where Black equalises quite comfortably.

Queen's Indian 4 g3

In Khalifman - Nyback, Tallinn 2004 White tries a rare and underrated idea that could offer an edge: 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 b6 4 g3 Ba6 5 b3 Bb4+ 6 Bd2 Be7 7 Bg2 c6 8 Bc3 d5 9 Nbd2 (the other way to protect c6 is with 9 Ne5 - see, amongst others, Karpov-Anand, Monaco 2001 in ChessPub {ECO code E15}) 9...0-0 10 Qc2!?:

With 10 Qc2 White prepares an early e2-e4 (the main line is 10 0-0 Nbd7 11 Re1). Khalifman keeps an edge throughout and then wins a very instructive king and pawn endgame.

Queen's Indian 4 a3

Check out the game Tallaksen - Carlsen, Gausdal 2004 which begins 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:

The most popular move for White in this position is 10 Bg5 - see Toulzac-Palac, Cap d'Agde 2003 in ChessPub (ECO code E12). In this game, however, White opts for 10 Bf4, after which the young Norwegian star played 10...e5, blocking out the bishop. I suspect that with correct play White might be a bit better in this line, but in this game White allows an early trick after which Carlsen's play in converting his advantage is exemplary.

Bogo-Indian 4 Bd2 a5

Next up we have Bocharov - Kosten, European Club Cup 2004 - my thanks go to Tony for providing some thoughts on this game. It begins 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 Bb4+ 4 Bd2 a5 5 g3 d5 6 Qc2:

Now the main continuation runs 6...Nc6 7 Bg2 dxc4 8 Qxc4 Qd5!, when White must decide between exchanging on d5 and playing 9 Qd3. Instead Black opted for 6...c5!?, a move that is still fairly fresh and has only been played a few times. In fact Tony tried this line after seeing the previous game Chernin-Ivanchuk, Warsaw 2002 annotated in ChessPub. One trick to watch out for is 7 Bxb4 axb4! 8 dxc5 Qa5! 9 cxd5?? b3+! 10 Qd2 Qxa2!! and Black wins a rook!

Modern Benoni 7 Nge2

Up next it's Dzagnidze - Asis Garagatagli, Heraklio 2004 where after 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 e6 4 Nc3 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 e4 g6 White came up with the tricky 7 Nge2!?:

This is an interesting attempt to get a good cross between the Sämisch King's Indian and the Modern Benoni. In the Sämisch King's Indian the Nge2 line runs 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 f3 0-0 6 Nge2 c5 7 d5 e6 8 Ng3 exd5 9 cxd5. Here in the Modern Benoni White does without f2-f3 and aims for an eventual f2-f4, in effect gaining a tempo. This strategy works to perfection in this game and it's surprising this line hasn't been tried more often.

Weird Benoni: Avoiding the Boredom

Finally there's the game Ziyaev - Smerdon, Calvia Olympiad 2004. A problem Modern Benoni players have is that following 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 c5 3 d5 e6 White is not obliged to play 4 c4. In this game White opts for the super-solid 4 Nc3, a very serious choice for White - and a bit of a pain for Black. The 'main line' is 4...exd5 5 Nxd5 Nxd5 6 Qxd5. It's true that this line is not bad for Black in a theoretical sense, but it's a bit dull and it's very difficult to generate counterplay. Instead in this game Black livened things up with 4...b5!?:

This is the move to play if Black wants more action, though of course it's far riskier than 4...exd5. Black offers a pawn sacrifice for control of the centre in a similar way to the Blumenfeld Gambit - 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 c5 4 d5 b5!?

That's all for now. See you next month!

John Emms