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What's New (September 2003 update)

Hi Everyone! This month we take a look at games in the Nimzo Indian, Modern Benoni and Bogo Indian from September 2003.


Modern Benoni

Bogo Indian

Remember, if you have any opinions, ideas or questions, please either make yourself heard at the Forum (the link above on the right) or email me at

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

Nimzo Indian Classical Variation (4 Qc2)

We begin this month with the game Carlhammar - Kosten, Villeurbanne 2003, looking at the line 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 d5 5 cxd5 exd5 6 Bg5 c5 7 dxc5 h6 8 Bh4 g5 9 Bg3 Ne4 10 e3 Qa5!?

This is one of the most critical variations of the whole Nimzo-Indian. It was brought into prominence by Nigel Short, who used it twice in his 1993 World Championship battle with Garry Kasparov. On the first occasion his novelty was a success - Kasparov thought long and hard in the opening, but could only succeed in finding a drawing line, one which Short had reached in his home preparation. However, when Short (perhaps somewhat optimistically) repeated the line later on in the match, Kasparov had done his homework, this time reaching a virtually winning position straight from the opening. Nevertheless, new ideas have been found for Black and I suspect there is still plenty to come from this line. My thanks to Tony Kosten for his views and analysis on this game.

Next up we see a powerful performance by the world number one in the game Kasparov - Chuchelov, Rethymnon 2003. The encounter begins 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 c5 5 dxc5 0-0 6 a3 Bxc5 7 Nf3 b6 8 Bf4 Nh5 9 Bg5 Be7

whereupon Kasparov unleashed the aggressive 10 h4!. This move is typical Kasparov but in fact it has been credited to the US GM Boris Gulko.

Nimzo Indian Open Sämisch (4 f3)

'Alumbrado' writes:

«In the 'Open Sämisch' (4 f3) line of the Nimzo, after 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 f3 d5 5 a3 Bxc3 6 bxc3 c5,

the only move given for White is 7 cxd5, when after 7...Nxd5! White cannot conveniently support his centre (e.g. 8 Bd2? cxd4 9 cxd4 Qh4+!) and usually plays 8 dxc5 instead to open the game for his bishops. My question is: why does White have to play 7 cxd5, leading to the destruction of his pawn centre? Could he not instead play 7 e3, planning to play cxd5 later on, when he is in a better position to keep his centre intact? How should Black react to this?»

A good question. I've often wondered what Black should do if White delays capturing on d5 in favour of 7 e3. This certainly looks like a logical way to proceed, but it turns out there are concrete reasons why White players generally prefer 7 cxd5. Check out the game Martic - Zaja, Rabac 2003 for analysis on this line.

Nimzo Indian Rubinstein Variation (4 e3)

After the opening moves 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Nf3 d5 6 Bd3 c5 7 0-0 Nc6 8 a3, Black normally opts for 8...Bxc3 (see, for example, I.Sokolov-Kasparov, Wijk aan Zee 1999 in ChessPub - ECO code E59). However, it's also possible to play an Isolated Queen's Pawn (IQP) position after 8...dxc4 9 Bxc4 cxd4 10 exd4

and this is indeed what Black chooses to do in Legky - Berube, Villeurbanne 2003. However, this version of the IQP seems to be less favourable for Black than the one arising after 7...dxc4 8 Bxc4 cxd4 9 exd4 and this opinion is only reinforced by this miniature.

If the previous game could be classified as a miniature, what would you call the encounter Lugovoi - Balashov, Krasnoyarsk 2003, which lasts all of 12 moves? This is a classic case of one side reacting badly to a slight move-order change by the other. After 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 d5 6 Nf3 Black plays 6...b6.

Nothing wrong so far, but here White plays the slightly unusual 7 a3!? and Black is thrown completely off track.


Modern Benoni

Bogo Indian

Modern Benoni 7 h3

Timon Piote-S.Kovacevic, Madrid 2003 begins 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 c5 4 d5 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 Nc3 g6 7 h3.

We've met this sneaky move many times before on this site. White's idea is to answer the natural developing move 7... Bg7 with 8 e4!, transposing into the Modern Classical Variation, without allowing ...Bg4 ideas. After the immediate 7 e4 Black can play 7...a6!?, planning to meet 8 a4 with 8...Bg4!. The game continues 7...a6 8 a4 Qe7

and here White chooses 9 Nd2 (for the most popular move, 9 Bg5, see the game Wells-Emms, Torquay 2002 in ChessPub - ECO code A61). This game is memorable for a rather unusual development of the Benoni bishop.

Bogo-Indian 4 Bd2

I've had quite a few requests to include more Bogo-Indian games and I'm happy to oblige with the encounter Pinter - Hracek, Rabac 2003, in which Black plays rather more ambitiously than in normal Bogos.

The game begins 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 Bb4+ 4 Bd2 a5 5 g3

and here Black plays 5...d6, planning a swift ...Nbd7 and ...e6-e5. White follows up with an enterprising but rather artificial idea that nets a pawn. In my view Black's compensation is more than sufficient.


Modern Benoni

Bogo Indian

Till next time,

John Emms