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Hi subscribers,

This month we look at games in the Nimzo-Indian, Bogo-Indian, Modern Benoni, while 1 d4 e6 2 c4 Bb4+!? (I think this is called the Keres Defence) makes its debut on this site (note that both this and the Tango can be found in the Queen's Indian/Bogo eBook).

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 September '05 Nimzo and Benoni games

Nimzo-Indian Kasparov Variation 4 Nf3 c5 5 g3

We kick off this month's action with a look at the line 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Nf3 (Chris Ward dubbed this 'the Kasparov Variation' in his book on the subject. It's true that Kasparov made 4 Nf3 into a feared weapon after his success with it against Karpov in their world championship matches) 4...c5 5 g3:

Now the main line runs 5...cxd4 6 Nxd4 - we've already seen this a few times on this website (see ECO code E20). However, in the game Parker - Pinter, European Club Cup, Saint Vincent 2005, Black instead played 5...Ne4!?. This move, while certainly not so popular as 5...cxd4, looks like a perfectly viable alternative for Black.

A Crazy Lunge in the Nimzo Sämisch

The game Hernando Rodrigo-Levin, Barcelona 2005 opened normally enough with 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 c5 6 a3 Bxc3+ 7 bxc3 Nc6:

Even though the game began with 4 e3, this is now the main line of the Sämisch (4 a3). With his next move, however, White took an original path. Can you guess what he played? (There's a clue in the heading.)

Nimzo-Indian Zürich Variation 4 Qc2 Nc6

The Zürich Variation is a good, logical choice for Black if he wishes to avoid the ever-increasing theory of the main lines. That said, I can see the theory side of this line slowly mounting up, especially since the publication of Richard Palliser's book Tango!, which deals with the Zürich via the Tango move order 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 Nc6 3 Nf3 e6 4 Nc3 Bb4 5 Qc2.

The game Brontz - Bjork, Swedish League 2005 opened 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 Nc6 5 Nf3 d6 6 Bd2:

Normally this is played with the intention of following up with a2-a3 and then recapturing on c3 with the bishop. However, after 6...0-0 here White played the tempting 7 e4 but this was met by the very effective 7...e5!.

The Keres Defence (1 d4 e6 2 c4 Bb4+!?)

Joshua Gutman writes:

«I'm an expert and a few months ago I tried to add the Bogo to my repertoire, but I wanted to be able to avoid some lines of the Nimzo (even though everybody else wants to get them). So I've been playing the move order 1d4 e6. Now 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 c4 just transposes to the normal starting point for the Bogo/QID, but I'm more curious as to what's going on in the positions after 2 c4 Bb4+. Many Nimzo players will try 3 Nc3 but I can avoid Nimzo positions with the fairly sharp 3...c5, avoiding the Qc2 lines of the Nimzo altogether and still leaving myself very flexible. A common plan seems to be setting the centre pawns on the dark squares with ...c5 and ...e5 and playing a closed structure that is reasonably common in the Nimzo.
However, this is not where I see the problems. After 3...Bb4+ 4 Bd2 I would like to play the solid 4...Qe7, but I'm not able to find a comfortable way to play the black side after 5. e4 (the drawback of missing out the moves Nf6 and Nf3). Other than 5 e4, I don't see any way for White to take real advantage of his knight not being place on f3 and black's knight not on f6. I'm curious as to what would be a good approach here for Black or would it be better to play some system based on 4...c5 or 4...a5?»

I've never really studied this variation 1 d4 e6 2 c4 Bb4+, but I can see its attractions from Black's point of view. As Joshua mentions, after 3 Nc3 there is no necessity to transpose into a Nimzo with 3...Nf6; instead Black may prefer Joshua's 3...c5 or playing in Dutch fashion with 3...f5. Fellow host Chris Ward began playing 2....Bb4+ full time after Mickey Adams recommended it to him, and only eventually changed to the main lines for the sake of some variety. Of course one has to be ready to play the French after 2 d4!, but on the other hand at least the dreaded Trompowsky Attack is avoided!

After 3 Bd2 I've concentrated on what I believe to be Black's best move, 3...a5:

In Morris - Legky, Lucerne 1994 White plays in typical Bogo-Indian fashion with 4 Nf3 followed by g3, Bg2 and 0-0. However, Black can steer the game to independent paths by forgoing ...Nf6 in favour of ...Nh6, thereby keeping the path free for an advance of the f-pawn.

In our second game, Vareille - Winants, France 2003, White plays more ambitiously with 4 e4, against which Black again chooses the formation with ...d7-d6 and ...e6-e5, even though 4...d5 is a perfectly viable option too.

Bogo-Indian 4 Bd2 a5

Next up it's a look at the Bogo proper with 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 Bb4+ 4 Bd2 a5 5 g3:

and now Krivoshey - Delchev, Tarragona 2005 continued 5...d5 6 Qc2 c5!?. I quite like this move, which is still very fresh and relatively unexplored (the main continuation runs 6...Nc6 7 Bg2 dxc4 8 Qxc4 Qd5!, when White must decide between exchanging on d5 and playing 9 Qd3).

Modern Benoni: Modern Classical with 9...b5!?

Finally this month it's another look at the incredibly theoretical line 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 e6 4 Nc3 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 e4 g6 7 Nf3 Bg7 8 h3 0-0 9 Bd3 b5 10 Bxb5 Nxe4 11 Nxe4 Qa5+ 12 Nfd2 Qxb5 13 Nxd6 Qa6 14 N2c4 Rd8 (the 'main line' runs 14...Nd7 15 0-0 Nb6 16 Nxb6 Qxb6 17 Nxc8 Raxc8 and has been discussed on previous occasions on this website) 15 Bf4 Nd7 16 0-0 Nb6 17 Nxb6 Qxb6 (17...axb6!?) 18 Nxc8 Raxc8:

Now 19 Rb1 would lead us back into the 'main line' (14...Nd7 15 0-0 Nb6 16 Nxb6 Qxb6 17 Nxc8 Raxc8 18 Rb1 Rfd8 19 Bf4), while 19 d6 has also been played. Instead in Potapov - Simacek, Olomouc 2005, White played 19 Qf3!?, allowing Black to regain material parity in order to get his forces mobilized and the d-pawn motoring. White wins the game, but analysis shows that Black can hold his own with accurate play.

That's all folks. See you next month!