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More Nimzo action this month, with a look at recent games in the Classical, Romanishin, Reshevsky, Tal and Karpov variations.

Download PGN of June '15 Nimzo and Benoni games

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Nimzo-Indian: 4 Qc2 d5 Romanishin Gambit [E36]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 d5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 c5!?:

We begin this month with a recent game in the Romanishin Gambit, a line which isn't quite as popular as it was a few years ago when it burst onto the scene, but a few players are still trying it and it does lead to some very interesting positions. Check out Michiels - Ipatov, Montpellier 2015, for a crazy piece sac for Black - it seems to work!

Nimzo-Indian: 4 Qc2 c5 5 dxc5 Na6 [E38]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 c5 5 dxc5 Na6 6 a3 Bxc3+ 7 Qxc3 Nxc5 8 b4 Nce4:

In many ways 5...Na6 is the most logical response to 5 dxc5, in that Black is developing with threat (to recapture on c5) and losing no time with the b4-bishop. However, accurate play (6 a3!) allows White to chase the knight and Black is more or less obliged to gambit a pawn (or sometimes even a piece).

We look at two games here, with contrasting fortunes. In Abdelnabbi - Adly, Cairo 2015, White chooses 9 Qd4 d5 and now 10 cxd5 (instead of the critical 10 c5). White is okay here, as long as he avoids what happens in the game, where his is not okay!

Unfortunately for Black, 9 Qb2 d5 10 c5! d4 11 e3! looks like a very effective response. Black has been struggling to come up with anything here, and the recent game Krysa - Cubas, Asuncion 2015, doesn't really help Black's cause.

Nimzo-Indian: Reshevsky Variation 6 a3 Bd6 [E46]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Nge2 d5 6 a3 Bd6:

For some reason I'd assumed that this move had overtaken 6...Be7 as the main line, so I was a bit surprised to learn that 6...Be7 is still the most popular choice for Black (in my database there are nearly twice as many games with 6...Be7 in 2015). Of course 6...Be7 is perfectly okay for Black, but then I think 6...Bd6 is too!

7 c5 Be7 8 b4 b6 9 Nf4 c6 10 Be2 Nbd7 11 Nd3 a5:

There are numerous different move orders and similar positions, but here's a typical one where White has prevented ...e5 with Nf4-d3 and Black has hit back with ...b6 and ...a5. Now White has to decide how to deal with the threat of ...axb4.

a) In Vaisser - Edouard, Montpellier 2015, White chooses 12 Bd2 and here 12...Ne4!? isn't the most popular response but it worked out well for Black.

b) In Grishchenko - Riazantsev, St Petersburg 2015, White went for 12 Bb2 (via a transposition) and Black got a perfectly decent position with the typical 12...Ba6.

Nimzo-Indian: Tal Variation [E54]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 d5 6 Nf3 b6 7 0-0 Bb7 8 cxd5 exd5 9 a3 Bd6 10 b4 a6 11 Qb3 Qe7:

This line is a very solid option for Black and one which we've already covered in some depth.

In Demuth - Navara, Montpellier 2015, White tried an exchange sac we've briefly touched on before. It's an interesting idea, but Black looks to be okay and it if anything Navara lost because he was trying too hard to win.

Nimzo-Indian: Karpov Variation 9...Nbd7 [E54]

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 Nbd7:

Well, it's not quite the Karpov Variation, but it's very close, it can transpose, and I don't have another name for it! 9...Nbd7 is played far less frequently than 9...b6 but it's not bad. However, in Barsov - Tillyaev, Tashkent 2015, Black ignores the dangers of d4-d5, which is never a good thing to do in an IQP!

Till next time, John

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