ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
There's both Nimzo and Queen's Indian analysis in this month's update: some new ideas in the 4 Qc2, 4 e3 and 4 f3 Nimzo, as well as a brief look at the 4 g3/7 Re1 Queen's Indian.

Download PGN of July '15 Nimzo and Benoni games

>> Previous Update >>

Nimzo-Indian: 4 Qc2 c5, 7...a6!? [E39]

We begin this month with some recent interest in the rare line 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 c5 5 dxc5 0-0 6 a3 Bxc5 7 Nf3 a6!?:

Although ...a6 is a common enough idea for Black, it's quite unusual in this position. All indications would be that Black is heading for a Hedgehog structure with ...Be7, ...d6, ...Nbd7 and ...b6, but two things are worth noting: 1) White can try to disrupt this plan and 2) Black has another idea too.

In Nazaretyan - Chekhov, Sochi 2015, White played the natural 8 Bf4, planning Rd1, and here Chekhov unleashed 8...b5!?, a Benko-style gambit!

In Riazantsev - Chekhov, Kaliningrad 2015, White instead opted for 8 Bg5. This time Chekhov did aim for the Hedgehog set-up with 8...Be7, but Riazantsev was able to upset Black's plans with 9 Rd1 d6 10 c5!.

Nimzo-Indian: 4 e3 d5 Botvinnik-Capablanca Variation [E49]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 d5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 c5 7 cxd5 exd5 8 Bd3 0-0 9 Ne2 b6 10 0-0 Ba6:

A few GMs have started to use the 4...d5 move order 1) to avoid 4...0-0 5 Nge2 and 2) because they are happy to enter the Botvinnik-Capablanca Variation. Of course this variation can be reached via a number of different move orders, and in this particular one White hasn't yet committed to f2-f3. Most of the time f2-f3 is exactly what White does here (or 11 Bxa6 Nxa6 with f2-f3 soon to follow). However, 11 dxc5!? is another option, with White's idea being to open the position after 11...bxc5 12 Bxa6 Nxa6 13 c4!. See Rakhmanov - Sagar, Teplice 2015, for details.

Nimzo-Indian: 4 f3 c5 [E20]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 f3 c5 5 d5 0-0 6 e4 d6 7 Nge2 b5:

Topalov likes this line for Black and so far has scored 2/2 with it, with Grischuk being his more recent victim. After 8 Nf4, Topalov varied from 8...a6 which was his choice against Timofeev in 2012. This time he went for 8...exd5 and achieved another perfectly acceptable position. See Grischuk - Topalov, Stavanger 2015, for details.

Queen's Indian: 4 g3 Bb7, 7 Re1 [E17/18]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Be7 6 0-0 0-0 7 Re1:

Kramnik has played this rook move quite a few times, both in this position and the similar one in the English vs the Queen's Indian, with White's knight on c3 and the d-pawn back on d2. With 7 Re1 White adds support to the e4 advance while holding back, for the moment at least, on Nc3.

In Tunik - Mammadova, Golden Sands 2015, Black chooses the logical-looking 7...d6?!, planning to meet 8 Nc3 with 8...Ne4, but there's a problem with Black's approach which Tunik demonstrates, as others before have done so.

If Black wishes to play the ...Ne4 vs Nc3 plan, a better preparatory move is 7...Na6:

In Bacrot - Fedorchuk, Montpellier 2015, after 8 Nc3 Ne4 Bacrot chose the rare move 9 Qc2!?. This seems to invite Black to gain time with ...Nb4, but White's idea is that the knight will become misplaced later on and this certainly deserves some consideration.

The main alternative for White is 8 Ne5, offering to swap off the light-squared bishops rather than knights. After 8...Bxg2 9 Kxg2, 9...c5! is now considered to be the best response, and Black's play in Shimanov - Alekseev, Kaliningrad 2015, is very convincing indeed.

Till next time, John

>> Previous Update >>

Feel free to share your ideas and opinions on the Forum (the link above on the right), while subscribers with any questions can email me at