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Two Knights Tango [E10]
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 Nc6 3 Nf3 e6:
Many thanks go to Tomas Bragesjö, who reminded me of this Two Knights Tango line. This variation could easily be relevant to some Nimzo-Indian and Bogo-Indian players, in view of the alternative move order 2...e6 3 Nf3 and now 3...Nc6!?. Here I've focussed on White's most popular move in this position, which rules out any ...Bb4 lines:
Instead 4 Nc3 Bb4 is the Nimzo-Indian, and probably the Zurich Variation after 5 Qc2.
The other main option for White is 4 g3, which is most likely to be played by Catalan players. Here Black has a choice: 4...Bb4+ will become either a Nimzo after 5 Nc3 or a mainline Bogo-Indian after 5 Bd2 Qe7, while 4...d5 5 Bg2 dxc4 transposes to one of the main lines of the Catalan Accepted.
Black's idea is to play a King's Indian, and then try to prove that his extra move (...e6) is more useful than White's extra move (a2-a3). The alternative approach is 4...d5 (see the archives for examples).
5 Nc3 g6 6 e4 Bg7 7 Be2 0-0 8 0-0 Re8!:
This is the move by which Black tries to make use of ...e6. Black's idea is to delay ...e5 for a move and play it under more favourable circumstances. Here we look at three options for White:
a) 9 d5. This pawn advance would certainly be the way to deal with a ...Nc6/...Re8 plan in the normal King's Indian. In the Tango the ...Nc6/...Re8 plan is much more viable, because the extra ...e6 is very useful against d4-d5. Even so, 9 d5 remains a decent try for an edge. See the games Tancev - Arnaudov, Struga 2011, and Nikolov - Arnaudov, Blagoevgrad 2010, for details.
b) 9 Be3 e5 10 d5 Nd4! is Black's main idea, as shown in Kotsur - Narayanan, Chennai 2010.
c) 9 h3 e5 10 d5 Nd4 is very similar to 9 Be3 - see Foisor - Gelashvili, Rockville 2012.
Queen's Indian: 4 e3 [E14]
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 e3 Bb7 5 Bd3 c5 6 c4 g6:
This line of the Queen's Indian often arises via the Colle Opening, and indeed it does in all three games under consideration here. For many years Psakhis's 6...g6 was seen as a good way for Black to create some imbalance in this variation. However, on the evidence of more recent games, perhaps Black gets more imbalance than he bargains for! 7 d5!? is yet another d4-d5 pawn sac in the Queen's Indian, and the evidence so far suggests that it's one of the more dangerous gambits.
The main line runs 7...exd5 8 cxd5 Bxd5 9 e4!:
Ways of declining the pawn offer, such as 7...Bg7, are covered in Hofstetter - Grabliauskas, ICCF email 2006.
Queen's Indian: 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 c5 [E15]
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 c5 6 d5 exd5 7 cxd5:
This is a pawn sac idea we looked at last month, in the game Sargissian - Socko, Warsaw 2012. I'm indebted to my editor, GM Tony Kosten, for alerting me to a thread on the ChessPublishing,com forum which considers the 7 cxd5 line and very dangerous idea for White in it: 9 e4 instead of Sargissian's 10 e4. This thread is definitely worth a look for those interested in the gambit; it certainly seems like further bad news for Black in this line!
Till next time, John
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