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Hi Everyone! This month we take a look at recent games in the Nimzo Indian, Queen's Indian and weird Benonis.

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 October '04 Nimzo and Benoni games

Nimzo Indian Classical Variation: 4 Qc2 d5

We begin this month with a heavyweight theoretical battle in an incredibly sharp line of the Classical Nimzo. Kasparov - Adams, Izmir 2004 begins 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 d5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 Ne4 7 Qc2 Nc6 8 e3 e5 9 cxd5 (characteristically Kasparov heads for the massive complications of the main line) 9...Qxd5 10 Bc4 Qa5+ 11 b4! Nxb4 12 Qxe4 Nc2+ 13 Ke2 Qe1+ 14 Kf3 Nxa1 15 Bb2 0-0 16 Kg3!

White's last move prepares a possible rook sacrifice with Nf3, ...Qxh1, Ng5, while also giving White the opportunity to continue with h2-h4 followed by Kh2 etc. Now Adams played 16...h6!. It's dangerous to make conclusions in such a wild line, but the general consensus is that this move is Black's best try.

Nimzo-Indian Classical Variation: 4 Qc2 c5

Young star Magnus Carlsen's first game for Norway at the recent Chess Olympiad couldn't have gone any better: the youngster notched up a win in only 17 moves. The game Carlsen - Ibraev, Calvia Olympiad 2004 started 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 c5 5 dxc5 Bxc5 6 Nf3 Qb6 7 e3 Qc7 8 b3 b6 9 Bb2 Bb7

and here Carlsen attempted to exploit the fact that Black has avoided playing ...a7-a6 with the strong novelty 10 Nb5!. So strong that the game only lasted another seven moves!

Nimzo-Indian Classical Variation: 4 Qc2 0-0

Next up it's the 'main' main line of the Classical Nimzo. Doric - Zorko, Kostrena 2004 going 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 0-0 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 b6 7 Bg5 Bb7 8 f3 h6 9 Bh4 d5 10 e3 Nbd7 11 cxd5 Nxd5 12 Bxd8 Nxc3 13 Bh4 Nd5 14 Bf2 c5 15 e4:

Now 15...Ne7 is a safe retreat, but White is probably a touch better after either 16 Ne2 or 16 Bb5 (see Topalov-Leko, Cannes 2002 in ChessPub - ECO code E32). In this game Black opted for the more ambitious 15...Nf4!? and after 16 Bb5 Rad8 17 Ne2! Nxg2+! 18 Kf1 f5 the game spiraled into massive complications, as well as a rather curious end.

Queen's Indian 4 e3

Now for a couple of games in the 4 e3 Queen's Indian, which has picked up quite a following recently. First of all there's the game Blees - Grooten, Eindhoven 1983. It's true that this game isn't that recent (!) but I found it after comparing another game that was played at the European Club Cup this year.

The line in question is 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 e3 Bb7 5 Bd3 c5 6 0-0 g6:

This has been seen a few times on this website, with the 'main line' running 7 Nc3 Bg7 8 d5 (see, for example, Berg-Hansen, Greve 2002 - ECO code E14). However, instead of this Blees played the immediate 7 d5!?. This move is very rare but may be extremely strong!

Next up it's the game Mamedjarova - Chiburdanidze, Women's Olympiad, Calvia 2004: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 e3 Bb7 5 Bd3 d5 6 0-0:

and here the ex-world champion played 6...Bd6. This is the system I recommend for Black in my new book Starting Out: The Queen's Indian (now available at all your local chess shops!). It's aggressive, easy to play and has a good reputation - what more could one ask for with Black? Certainly this game is a very good advert for 6...Bd6.

Queen's Indian 4 a3

Handke - Ramaswamy, Port Erin 2004 is a nice miniature in one of the main lines of the 4 a3 Queen's Indian: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 a3 Bb7 5 Nc3 d5 6 cxd5 Nxd5 7 Qc2 Be7 8 e4 (8 Bd2, intending to capture on c3 with the bishop after e2-e4 and ...Nxc3, is White's main alternative) 8...Nxc3 9 bxc3 0-0 10 Bd3 c5 11 0-0:

This position has been seen many times in the past few years. Recently Black has been playing 11...Qc8 with the intention of ...cxd4 and also ...Ba6 (see Sokolov-Polgar, Hoogeveen 2003 in ChessPub - ECO code E12). This is a typical idea for Black to exchange off the potentially dangerous bishop on d3. In the present game Black chooses a more traditional way with 11...Nc6, but gets blown away on the kingside.

Weird Benonis

Finally this month we have the game Davila - Castillo, San Jose 2004, which isn't of much theoretical importance but does contain a very nice two-pawn mate (h7 and g7) in the notes!

The opening goes 1 d4 c5 (playing ...c5 as early as move one is certainly very playable for Black, and it gives both sides some extra options not normally available after 1...Nf6 2 c4 c5) 2 d5 e5 3 e4 d6 4 Nc3!? a6 5 a4:

and here Black ventured with 5...f5?!. Even though this move has been played by a world champion (the earliest example I can find is a game of Alekhine's) I don't trust it. It's understandable that Black might want to get some early activity but this leaves too many weak squares in Black's position for my liking, and the punishment dealt out by White in this game is of the severest kind.

That's all folks. See you next month!

John Emms