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This month features games in the Nimzo-Indian, Queen's Indian, Modern Benoni and Schmid Benoni, all from the recent British Championship!

To download the August '15 Nimzo and Benoni games directly in PGN form, click here: Download Games

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Nimzo-Indian 4 f3 [E20]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 f3 d5 5 a3 Be7 6 e4 dxe4 7 fxe4 e5 8 d5:

This is a solid line for Black and, as we've seen before, the most reliable plan here is based on an early ...Bg4 after Nf3. In Ward-Gormally, British Chess Championship 2015, Black played 8...00 instead of the more usual 8...Bc5, but ...Bg4 is still the main idea and this game acts as a good advert for Black.

Queen's Indian 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Bb4+ 6 Nbd2 [E16]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Bb4+ 6 Nbd2:

It seems to me that Black has more than one decent option in this line with 6 Nbd2. In Williams-Howell, British Chess Championship 2015, Black chose 6...00 7 00 a5!?. We've seen this move recently in a couple of games. Black plans to swap his bishop for the knight, and then adopt a typically solid set-up with ...d6 and ...Nbd7.

In Gormally-Emms, British Chess Championship 2015, I instead opted for 6...c5 and reached a perfectly acceptable position before one careless move meant suffering for the rest of the game.

Queen's Indian: 4 e3 Bb7 5 Bd3 d5 [E14]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 e3 Bb7 5 Bd3 d5 6 00 Nbd7 7 b3 Bd6 8 Bb2 00 9 Nc3 a6:

This is a solid way of meeting the 4 e3 Queen's Indian. There are clear similarities here with the Tal Variation of the Nimzo-Indian. Flear-Howell, British Chess Championship 2015, looked like a smooth performance by the defending champion, but early on White did miss an opportunity to put some pressure on Black.

Modern Benoni: 7 Bf4 a6 [A61]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 e6 4 Nc3 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 Nf3 g6 7 Bf4 a6 8 a4 Bg7 9 h3 00 10 e3:

7 Bf4 remains a popular choice for White against the Modern Benoni, and my feeling is that it's hard for Black to fully equalise against it. In this mainline position Black's most common choices are 10...Re8, 10...Qe7, 10...Ne8 and 10...Nh5. However, in Scott-Rudd, British Chess Championship 2015, Black was successful with the rare 10...Qb6!?.

Schmid Benoni [A43]

1 d4 c5 2 d5 g6 3 Bd2!?:

I surprised Simon Williams in our game with the Schmid Benoni, and his answer was this! Bd2-c3 is certainly an imaginative idea, but one that in no way should scare Black. See Williams-Emms, British Chess Championship 2015.

A much more typical choice for White is 3 e4 Bg7 4 Nc3 d6 5 Bb5+:

This check is a popular way to play against the Schmid Benoni. Whichever way Black chooses to block, some disruption is encountered. Beckett-Ward, British Chess Championship 2015, continued 5...Bd7 6 a4 Nf6 7 Nf3 00 8 Nd2 and now 8...Bg4!? was an interesting novelty and over-the-board inspiration. Black spends some time moving the bishop in order to induce f2-f3, a move that doesn't really fit in with White's set-up.

Till next time, John

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