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More Nimzo action this month. There's coverage of 4 Qc2 and 4 e3, plus an unusual and interesting idea for Black against the Kasparov Variation.

Download PGN of July '12 Nimzo and Benoni games

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Nimzo-Indian: 4 Nf3 Ne4!? [E21]

We begin this month with a look at Carlsen - Ivanchuk, Astana 2012. This game caught my eye, chiefly because Ivanchuk employed a rare line against the Kasparov Variation which I had previously studied for a Dangerous Weapons book:

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Nf3 Ne4!?

Black's idea is to cement the knight on e4 with a quick ...f5, reaching a kind of Dutch (in fact, there are even transpositions).

The main line runs 5 Qc2 f5 6 g3 b6 7 Bg2 Bb7. Here Carlsen chose 8 Nd2!, the most critical option, while 8 0-0 is covered in Romanov - Turov, Dagomys 2008.

Nimzo-Indian: 4 Qc2 d5 5 cxd5 exd5 [E35]

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 11 Rc1!?:

11 Rc1!? is the move which Morozevich used to surprise Carlsen last month. Already there have been two more games with the rook move; both feature the Indian GM Abhijeet Gupta as White, and both are wins for White! See Gupta - Sethuraman, Philadelphia 2012, for more details.

Sumets - Buckley, e2e4, London 2012, provided a very rare line: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 d5 5 cxd5 exd5 6 Nf3 c5 7 dxc5!?

This position looks "normal" but in fact it's hardly ever been seen, and after the game's logical continuation 7...d4 8 a3 Ba5 9 b4 dxc3 10 bxa5 Qxa5 we are in completely new territory!

Nimzo-Indian: 4 Qc2 0-0 [E32]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 0-0 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 d6 7 Bg5 Nbd7 8 e3 b6 9 Nf3 Bb7 10 Nd2 Rc8 11 b4 h6 12 Bh4:

Black's play in Galliamova - Kosintseva, Kazan 2012, was very convincing and is well worth checking out. In this typical type of position Black usually goes for ...c5. Kosintseva chooses the alternative pawn break, 12...e5!? and soon gets a very nice position, seemingly without much effort.

Nimzo-Indian: 4 e3 0-0 Karpov Variation [E54]

Finally this month, two games in the Karpov Variation, with contrasting fortunes for White and Black, 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 d5 6 Nf3 c5 7 0-0 dxc4 8 Bxc4 cxd4 9 exd4 b6:

In the first, Jakovenko - Yu Yangyi, St Petersburg 2012, White actually slips into a worse position after 10 Qe2 Bb7 11 Rd1 Bxc3 12 bxc3 Qc7 13 Bd3 Nbd7 14 c4 Rfe8 15 Bg5?! e5!.

The second game, Bosiocic - Ludwig, Philadelphia 2012, continues in a similar fashion, but the slight differences in 10 Bg5 Bb7 11 Re1 Bxc3 12 bxc3 Nbd7 13 Rc1 Qc7 14 Bd3 Rfe8 15 Bh4! are in White's favour, and this time it's White who wins in model fashion.

Till next time, John

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