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Hi everyone,
The Nimzo dominates this month.
John-Paul Wallace takes a look at a few lines of interest in the super-solid Hübner Variation, while I check out some unusual possibilities that White can play in the Classical Variation if he is keen to avoid the mountains of theory building up in the main lines.

Remember, if you have any opinions, ideas or questions, please either make yourself heard at the Forum (the link above on the right) or subscribers can email me at

Download PGN of June '07 Nimzo and Benoni games

Nimzo-Indian 4 Qc2 0-0 5 e4

We kick off the action with Lomineishvili - Khukhashvili, Tbilisi, 2007, in which White employs the super-ambitious 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 0-0 5 e4!?. Following 5...d5 6 e5 Ne4 7 Bd3 (more recently White players have favoured 7 a3 Bxc3+ 8 bxc3 c5 9 Bd3) 7...c5 White played 8 Nge2!?:

This wrinkle might cause Black players a bit of a rethink. With 8 Nge2 White hopes to exploit the little differences to the position caused by the delay in exchanging on d5. Traditionally the main line has run 8 cxd5 exd5 9 Nge2 cxd4! 10 Nxd4 Nd7 11 f4 but Black has more than one good continuation here. For example, 11...Ndc5 12 0-0 Bxc3 13 bxc3 Qa5 as played in Ward-J.Horvath, Malta 2000 (see the archives for Chris Ward's annotations to this game).

Nimzo-Indian 4 Qc2 d5 5 cxd5 exd5

What does White do if he really can't face the thought of challenging his opponent in the well-trodden and very tactical main lines? Here are three offbeat but in my opinion playable alternatives to the usual 6 Bg5 c5 7 dxc5 h6 8 Bh4 etc.

In Drasko - Roeder, Cutro 2007, White opts for the immediate 6 a3!?:

The reasoning goes: this is played on move five, so why not a move later?

In Kasimdzhanov - Korchnoi, Sochi 2007, the former FIDE World Champion went for 6 Bg5 c5 7 Nf3!?:

If White is looking to avoid the main lines with 7 dxc5, there's certainly some logic behind 7 Nf3. White keeps control of d4 and in some lines he can claim an edge due to the weakness of Black's IQP.

Finally, in Matveeva - Lahno, Sochi 2007, White tried 6 Bg5 c5 7 a3!?:

Out of the sidelines 6 a3, 6 Bg5 c5 7 Nf3 and 6 Bg5 c5 7 a3, perhaps it is this line which forces Black to be the most careful.

Nimzo-Indian: Hübner Variation

by John-Paul Wallace

In this month's survey I shall be taking a look at the Hübner variation, a super solid line that has easily stood the test of time. It was very popular in the 80s but is now seen less often because White players generally seek to avoid it altogether! However, there is something interesting about the move order needed to play the Hübner that needs to be pointed out, which also explains why it is seen less often nowadays. In order to play the Hübner one must begin with 4...c5 (rather than the main line 4...0-0) but then White can play 5 Ne2! which avoids the Hübner and, worse still, offers quite good chances for the advantage. Thus it is not only White who avoids the Hübner, but also Black because they realise that they probably won't get to play it anyway! The other issue is that 4...c5 5 Bd3 Nc6 6 Ne2 is also a popular system, and incidentally it too avoids the Hübner. I have noticed, however, that at lower levels (non-GM) there are quite a few White players out there that allow it, and out of the 3 Nimzo games I played so far this year 2 of these games were Hübners.

In our two games we take a look at the system with 4 e3 c5 5 Bd3 Nc6 6 Nf3 Bxc3 7 bxc3 d6 8 e4 e5 9 h3 h6:

Graeme Buckley now continued with the standard 10 Be3 b6 11 d5 Ne7 12 Nd2 against me when I employed the interesting 12...Nh7 (Buckley - Wallace, Brentwood Open, 2007). In the other game in this variation Richardson tried the rare 10 0-0 against Greet, provoking 10...g5! which seems to give Black an excellent game (Richardson - Greet, 4NCL 2007).

Instead, in the game Cooper - Gordon, 4NCL 2007, White resurrected an old line, 9 d5 Ne7 10 Nd2:

and gained an advantage although later he lost. However, I have pointed out how Black could have improved his play in the opening stage.

Finally, the creative Russian GM Aleksandrov has been successful a few times now with his pet system 9 0-0 e5 9 Nd2 0-0 10 Re1!?:

In this system's most recent test GM Parligras responded with 10...cxd4 11 exd4 exd4 12 exd4 and now 12...Nxd4 would have been critical (Aleksandrov - Parligras, Dresden 2007).

Till next time, John