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In this update we'll look at some new ideas for Black in the Nimzo-Indian: a different way to play against the Reshevsky Variation; an anti e2-e4 weapon against 4 Qc2; an aggressive line in the Vitolinsh Gambit; and finally, something which looks like an Albin Counter Gambit!

Download PGN of December '12 Nimzo and Benoni games

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Nimzo-Indian: Reshevsky Variation 5...c6!? [E46]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Nge2 c6!?:

This move is still very fresh and has been tried by a number of grandmasters recently. Black's sneaky idea is to make sure the bishop can retreat and stay on the b8-h2 diagonal, something which it is unable to do in the main line, 5...d5 6 a3 Bd6 7 c5 Be7.

So far the most popular continuation has been 6 a3 Ba5 7 b4 Bc7 and now:

a) 8 Ng3 is covered in Brunello - Colovic, Milan 2012.

b) 8 e4 is a natural reaction by White, trying to exploit Black's delay in claiming his share of the centre with ...d5.

Here Black has a choice:

b1) 8...d5 is covered in Tomashevsky - Zvjaginsev, Moscow 2010.

b2) 8...d6 is covered in Romanov - Efimenko, Eilat 2012.

Nimzo-Indian: 4 e3 d5, 5...e5!? [E40]

Pieniazek - Sulypa, Legnica 2012, produced a very unusual move-order, 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 d5 5 Bd3 e5!?:

What's this? A kind of delayed Albin Counter Gambit? Whatever it is, it looks perfectly fine for Black.

Nimzo-Indian: 4 Qc2 d6 [E32]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 d6:

4...d6 can be compared to 4...0-0 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 d6, but here Black delays castling. One merit of this move order is that it seems to take some sting out of 5 e4, and this isn't trivial, of course, given the rise in importance of the line 4...0-0 5 e4. See Abdalla - Mekhitarian, Santos 2012, for more details, including a piece sacrifice novelty for Black!

Nimzo-Indian: Vitolinsh Gambit [E32]

Let's follow down the path of one of the main lines of the Vitolinsh: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 0-0 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 b5 7 cxb5 c6 8 Bg5 cxb5 9 e3 Bb7 10 Nf3 h6 11 Bh4 g5!?

This is Black's most aggressive move (the quieter option is 11...a6 12 Bd3 d6 13 0-0 Nbd7), and one which Naiditsch has chosen on numerous occasions already. See Turov - Naiditsch, Warsaw 2012, for details.

Nimzo-Indian: Leningrad Variation [E31]

The following game is a good example of what can happen when one player makes a subtle mistake in such a positionally complex line:

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Bg5 h6 5 Bh4 c5 6 d5 Bxc3+ 7 bxc3 d6 8 e3 e5 9 Bd3 Qe7 10 Ne2 Nbd7 11 0-0?!

Castling here somehow doesn't feel quite right. Black's response in Grover - Sundararajan, Kolkata 2012, is convincing enough, but it's possible that Black could have punished White more quickly by seizing the initiative on the kingside.

Happy New Year to everyone! John

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