October '00 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.
Where have all the Modern Benoni players gone? Issues 307-310 of The Week in Chess have thrown up only 14 Modern Benoni games (7 white wins, 3 draws and 4 Black wins).
The most interesting game is the encounter M.Gurevich-Sherbakov, Neum 2000, which sees Gurevich try the underrated move 7 Nge2. Black's response is unusual, but perhaps not that bad. The next game is better news for Black.
In Rakhmangulov-Smetankin, Rovno 2000, Black plays an underused line against the Old Classical Variation. One careless slip by White and suddenly Black can unleash a typical Benoni attack.
We start with the game Speelman-Paulsen, Bundesliga 2000-1, in which Black tries a truly "weird" variation of the "Weird Benoni", 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 c5 3 d5 c4?!
Unfortunately I think Black chooses the wrong opponent to try this against. As well as the dubious objective merits of 3...c4, it's just the sort of move that brings out the best in Speelman. His punishment is really quite ruthless.
Our next featured game is De Vreugt-Al Sayed, Yerevan 2000, in which Black plays an interesting line of the Schmid Benoni, delaying the advance of the d-pawn. However, this way of playing is presently under a cloud due to a discovery of 6 e5 Ng4 7 Ng5! by the American GM Alex Yermolinsky. This game adds more weight to Yermolinsky's argument.
This month's Weird Benoni statistics:
Black wins: 8
Dreev-Sax, Neum 2000 is an impressive game by White, who plays the opening in a deceptively quiet manner, before unleashing a quickfire kingside attack. This is currently considered the main line of the 4 a3 Queen's Indian and White has scored quite well here.
We move to the Fianchetto Variation and the game Karpov-J.Polgar, Buenos Aires 2000, in which the two famous players tackle the main line 4 g3 Ba6 5 b3 variation. Polgar's becoming quite an adherent of the Queen's Indian Defence, which gives Black a solid base, yet still offers chances for dynamic counterplay. For some of the game Polgar is a rook down, but she always has some meaningful compensation in the form of a dangerous chain of passed pawns.
Queen's Indian statistics for this month:
White wins: 30
Black wins: 16
Nimzo-Indian statistics for this month:
White wins: 34
Black wins: 25
Hello! A couple of my games for you this time. I'm tempted to say of high quality, but I'm not so sure! Anyway they are at least hot off the press: a 'Two knights tangoey' line and a 4 Qc2 d5 5 cxd5 exd5 6 Bg5 encounter.
Stay tuned for next month when I'll have a round up of Nimzo encounters in the Kasparov-Kramnik match and who knows, something interesting may even appear in the Olympiad!
See you in November
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 Chris or John at