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A break from the Nimzo-Indian this month, as we take a look at a few games in the Queen’s Indian and Bogo-Indian. Despite theoretical pressure by White in some lines, and an overall decline in popularity in recent years, the Queen’s and Bogo-Indian both remain decent choices for Black, with numerous relatively low-maintenance repertoire options.

Download PGN of June ’22 Nimzo and Benoni games

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Queen’s Indian: 4 g3 Ba6 5 Qc2 [E15]

4 g3 Ba6 5 Qc2 Bb7 6 Bg2 c5 7 d5:

It could be argued that this gambit is one of a number of reasons for the overall decline in popularity of the Queen’s Indian at grandmaster level. Even though reliable defences for Black have been discovered, it remains a difficult line to meet over the board and therefore not to everyone’s taste.

The recent game Baum, J - Stefansson, H is a good example of the practical problems Black faces. 7...exd5 8 cxd5 Nxd5 9 0-0 is the sharp and complex main line, which Black needs to know well. However, even Baum’s 8 0-0!?, a rare choice, contains some danger, and White quickly gained an advantage.

Queen’s Indian: 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Bb4+ [E16]

4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Bb4+ 6 Bd2 Be7 7 Nc3:

Although we’ve covered the ...Bb4-e7 idea for Black in similar positions, 6...Be7 is new to this website. The point is to meet 7 Nc3 with 7...c6! Black aims for a Catalan set-up, and one where the Bd2/Nc3 formation restricts White’s options. After 8 0-0 0-0, White can accept a transposition into a Catalan with 9 Qc2 d5 or 9 Bf4 d5, or choose the critical option 9 e4 d5:

which is analysed in the game Svane, R - Van Foreest, J.

Queen’s Indian: 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Be7 6 0-0 0-0 7 Re1 [E17]

4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Be7 6 0-0 0-0 7 Re1 Na6 8 Nc3 Ne4 9 h4!?:

The idea of h2-h4 is something we’ve studied previously in similar positions (for example, 8 h4!?), and it seems to work well on move nine too - see the notes on a convincing win for White in Eljanov, P - Rozentalis, E.

Queen’s Indian: 4 e3 Bb7 5 Bd3 [E14]

4 e3 Bb7 5 Bd3 c5 6 0-0:

The main line here is 6...Be7 7 Nc3 cxd4 8 exd4 d5 and now 9 cxd5 Nxd5 10 Ne5! 0-0 11 Qg4! is the most challenging, as we’ve seen previously.

In the recent game Aravindh, C - Erigaisi, A, Black instead chose 6...cxd4 7 exd4 d5, immediately aiming for the IQP, but clearly there’s some danger in doing so before developing the dark-squared bishop. After 8 cxd5! Nxd5 9 Nc3 Nxc3?! 10 bxc3 a familiar type of structure is reached:

However, this is a particularly favourable version for White, and following 10...Nd7 11 Ng5! Black was already in some trouble.

Queen’s Indian: 4 e3 Bb7 5 Bd3 d5 [E14]

4 e3 Bb7 5 Bd3 d5 6 cxd5 exd5 7 0-0 Bd6 8 Nc3 a6 9 b3 Nbd7 10 Bb2:

5...d5 continues to be a reliable option for Black against the 4 e3 Queen’s Indian, and the resulting positions are especially important because they can be reached via numerous move orders (for example, the QGD with an early e3). Fixing the pawn structure with 6 cxd5 is a trade-off which removes pawn play options for both sides, for example c4-c5 by White and ...dxc4 for Black.

In the diagrammed position Black typically castles and strives for kingside action in a position offering level chances. However, it seems that this isn’t the only plan! With 10...Qe7!? it becomes apparent that Black isn’t just delaying castling - he might castle long! See the notes to Krishna, C - Aravindh, C for analysis.

Bogo-Indian: 4 Nbd2 0-0 5 a3 Be7 6 e4 d6 7 Be2 Nfd7 [E11]

4 Nbd2 0-0 5 a3 Be7 6 e4 d6 7 Be2 Nfd7 8 b4 e5:

6...d6 remains an interesting alternative to 6...d5, and one which we’ve seen before. Black’s intention is to play ...e5, reaching an Old Indian set-up where White’s knight on d2 is sub-optimally placed. Previously we’ve considered 8 0-0 and 8 Nb1, but the space-gaining 8 b4, enabling Bb2, has been White’s most popular choice in practice.

In Jumabayev, R - Kovalev, V, White chose 9 Bb2 and the evidence suggests that Black gains enough counterplay as long as he opens the position in the centre with a timely ...exd4.

Blocking the centre with 9 d5! seems to be the most challenging move for Black to face, and this was clearly demonstrated in a recent game. After 9...a5 10 Bb2 c5 11 b5!:

White completely blocked the queenside, reasoning with some justification that there will be enough action on the other wing to force a breakthrough. See the notes to Boyer, M - Harutyunyan, R, a model game by White.

Till next time, John

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