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A break from the norm this month, as we focus entirely on a repertoire option for Black against the mainline (4 g3) Queen's Indian.

Download PGN of April '15 Nimzo and Benoni games

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Queen's Indian: 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Bb4+ 6 Bd2 [E16]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Bb4+ 6 Bd2 c5!?:

6...c5 is a move we haven't yet covered on this site. At first glance defending the bishop with the c-pawn seems a little odd - not so much in the fact that Black accepts the possibility of doubled pawns but that he is willing to capture away from the centre. However, Black's idea is positionally well justified and ...c5 has been played by many grandmasters; for example, Korchnoi has played it many times.

The positions reached after 6...c5 tend to be strategically based, and less forcing than a number of other lines in the g3 Queen's Indian (the gambit after 4...Ba6 5 Qc2 Bb7 6 Bg2 c5 7 d5 being an obvious example), and this factor will certainly appeal to a number of Queen's Indian players.

It's worth noting that this line can also be reached via a Bogo-Indian move order starting 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 Bb4+ 4 Bd2 c5, and indeed some of the games chosen here start off as Bogo-Indians.

After 6...c5 White normally swaps on b4, before or after castling. The main line is 7 Bxb4 cxb4 8 0-0 0-0:

Black's recapture on b4 means that he has less pawn presence in the centre of the board. However, one positive for Black is that the b4-pawn prevents White's knight from developing to its most active square.

In this position White must decide whether to ignore the b4-pawn and play for e2-e4, or challenge it by playing a2-a3. Black normally responds with a dark-square plan including moves such as ...d6, ...e5 and ...a5.

In the recent game Ding Liren-Lalith, Hyderabad 2015, White goes for the e2-e4 plan with 9 Qd3 d6 10 Nbd2, while in the old game Karolyi - Barbero, Hungary 1988, White prepares the same advance with 9 Nbd2 d6 10 Re1. Both are model games from Black's viewpoint, and great adverts for the ...c5 line.

Attacking the b4-pawn with a2-a3 is a popular choice for White. After the immediate 9 a3 Black must decide whether to defend the pawn or simply swap on a3:

In Spalir - Beliavsky, Nova Gorica 2015, we look at 9...Qe7 (as well as 9 Qb3 a5 10 a3 Na6! in the notes), while Lalith - Zhou Jianchao, covers 9...bxa3 10 Nxa3 (and 10 Rxa3).

White has a number of options which don't involve swapping bishops on b4. Most of them, while playable of course, are fairly harmless. However, 7 0-0 0-0 8 d5!? is definitely an interesting alternative:

See the notes to Kozul - Bukal, Bol 2014, for analysis on this move, as well as quieter options such as 8 dxc5, 8 Bg5 and 8 Bc3.

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

We'll also take a look at an interesting idea for Black against the less popular block of the check, 6 Nbd2.

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Bb4+ 6 Nbd2 0-0 7 0-0 a5!?:

7...a5 makes a strange impression at first sight. We are used to seeing ...a5 as a reply to Bd2. But why here, when the bishop needs no protection? Well, Black is going to swap his bishop for the knight, and then adopt a typically solid set-up with ...d6 and ...Nbd7. The ...a5 advance can be a useful move in this set-up, and by playing it here Black is asking White to find a useful move before Black takes on d2.

In the recent game Bacrot - Naiditsch, Baden Baden 2015, Black is able to carry out his plan after 8 Qc2 Bxd2 9 Bxd2 Be4!.

In Ushenina - Franciskovic, Rijeka 2010, White prevents Black from doing so in a most radical way, with 8 Nb1!?:

As you'll see in the notes, this knight retreat is nowhere near as ridiculous as it looks!

Till next time, John

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