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Hi subscribers,

First of all, let me be another on the long list to congratulate Veselin Topalov in becoming FIDE World Championship. There's no doubt he deserved his success, and this month's update includes an example of his unquestionably first-class opening preparation from the tournament in St Luis.

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 '05 Nimzo and Benoni games

Nimzo-Indian Classical Variation 4 Qc2 d5

Firstly this month it's a look at the game Zhao Jun-Nguyen Anh Dung, Hyderabad 2005: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 d5 5 cxd5 exd5 6 Bg5 h6

Now 7 Bh4 invites massive complications after 7...c5 8 dxc5 g5 9 Bg3 Ne4 - we've already seen this position quite a few times on this website (ECO code E35). Instead here White opts for the very solid 7 Bxf6, aiming for a minuscule advantage but nothing more. Ironically, in a seemingly quiet position Black soon goes horribly wrong and White gets a winning position after 11 moves!

Nimzo-Indian 4 f3

Next up a couple of theoretically important games with 4 f3 involving fellow contributor John Cox (many thanks to him for revealing his thoughts to both these games).

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 f3 d5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 c5 7 cxd5 Nxd5 8 dxc5 Qa5 9 e4 Ne7 10 Be3 0-0 11 Qb3 Qc7!:

This retreat is called 'paradoxical' by Yakovich and I can see where he's coming from. However, this unforced retreat has clearly shown itself to be the main line and Black's best chance of gaining equality. Black is in no hurry to regain the c5-pawn (he can't win it back by force so he shouldn't try). Instead he vacates the a5-square for a knight and plans ...Nc6-a5 with ... e6-e5 and ...Be6, gaining control of some useful squares on the kingside. Another idea is ...b7-b6; cxb6 axb6, when the open lines on the queenside together with White's weak a- and c-pawns give Black reasonable comp for the pawn deficit. Now in Cox - Gormally, Port Erin 2005 White went for 12 Bb5, while in a later round, Cox - Aagaard, Port Erin 2005, he tried 12 Nh3. On both occasions Black's play looked very effective and the ball seems to be firmly back in White's court here.

Queen's Indian 4 g3 Ba6 5 b3

Now a couple of games in the main line 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Ba6 5 b3 Bb4+ 6 Bd2 Be7:

In Topalov - Anand, FIDE World Championship San Luis 2005 the World Champion-to-be played 7 Bg2 when the game followed a long critical line. Topalov demonstrated the depth of his preparation by unleashing a novelty at move 24 (!), put Anand under real pressure and should have been rewarded with a full point.

In Antic - Carlsen, Gausdal 2005 White chose 7 Nc3, which has become popular recently in view of Topalov's successes with it in 2005. However, after 7...0-0 White preferred 8 Qc2 to the traditional main line 8 e4 d5 9 cxd5 Bxf1 10 Kxf1 exd5 11 e5 Ne4 12 Kg2; and Topalov's 8 Rc1!?.

Queen's Indian 4 a3 Bb7 5 Nc3

Bologan - Macieja, Stepanakert 2005 began with 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 Nc3 Bb7 5 a3 d5 6 Qc2:

This move can transpose to the modern main line 6 cxd5 Nxd5 7 Qc2, but Black doesn't necessarily have to oblige, and here Macieja opted for 6...dxc4!?, playing in QGA fashion.

Modern Benoni Fianchetto Variation

Finally this month it's another look at the critical main line of the Fianchetto Benoni: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 Nf3 0-0 5 g3 c5 6 d5 e6 7 Bg2 exd5 8 cxd5 d6 9 0-0 Re8 10 h3 Nbd7 11 Nd2 a6 12 a4 Rb8 13 Nc4 14 Na3 Nh5 15 e4 Bd7

and now White has a choice of more than one move. In Grachev - Elkin, Minsk 2005 White opted to trap the knight with 16 f4!?, leading as usual to immense complications. In general I see no reason for Black to avoid this line - there is no clear way for White to get an advantage as far as I can see.

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