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This month I'm focusing entirely on the Queen's Indian Defence, so that I can cover some recent ideas in this opening. There's been lots of action, and it was difficult to know which games to include or to leave out. Certainly I'll be returning to have another look at the Queen's Indian very soon.

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

Download PGN of May '11 Nimzo and Benoni games

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Queen's Indian 4 a3 Ba6 [E12]

We begin with 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 a3 Ba6 5 Qc2 Bb7 6 Nc3 c5 7 e4 cxd4 8 Nxd4 Bc5 9 Nb3 Nc6 10 Bg5 Nd4 11 Nxd4 Bxd4 12 Nb5!?:

From here the critical line runs l2...Be5 13 f4 Bb8 14 e5 h6 15 Bxf6 gxf6 16 Nd6+ Bxd6 17 exd6. In the recent game Ivanchuk - Bocharov, Olginka 2011, the Ukrainian Grandmaster came up with a new plan for White. It looks very effective, and he won quite convincingly.

I feel that move order nuances are important in this line, and these are examined both in the Ivanchuk game and Podkriznik - Baklan, Kallithea 2008, where Baklan's 17...f5! might prove to be more accurate than the 17...Rc8 chosen by Bocharov.

Queen's Indian 4 g3 Ba6 5 Qa4 [E15]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Ba6 5 Qa4 Bb7 6 Bg2 c5 7 dxc5 bxc5 8 0-0 Be7 9 Nc3 0-0 10 Rd1:

5 Qa4 continues to be a solid choice for White against 4...Ba6. White certainly isn't blowing Black off the board, but he's creating enough small problems to keep Black occupied, as shown in a few recent games.

In Gonzalez Garcia-Corrales Jimenez, Toluca 2011, Black chose 10...a6 11 Bf4 d6, but White caused problems with the direct 12 b4! attempting to exploit the "slowness" of 10...a6.

Sebenik - Pogorelov, Donostia 2011, went instead 10...Qb6 11 Bf4 Rd8 12 Rd2 d6 13 Rad1 h6 and here 14 Qb3! Ne8 15 e4, followed quickly by e5, again set Black problems which are not easily solved over the board.

The key point to recognise in these lines is that Black is usually fine (at least equal) once he consolidates, so White should be looking to play as energetically as possible.

Queen's Indian 4 g3 Ba6 5 b3 [E15]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 b6 4 g3 Ba6 5 b3 b5 6 cxb5 Bxb5 is a good line to play if Black wants to unbalance the position. He does fall slightly behind in development but enjoys more central control after the exchange of pawns.

One of the main lines continues 7 Bg2 d5 8 Nc3 Ba6 9 0-0 Nbd7 10 Re1 Bb4 11 Bd2 c5!?:

This advance is clearly desirable from a positional point of view, but is Black sufficiently developed to successfully carry it out? The evidence from the game Houska - Griffiths, 4NCL 2011, where White comes up with an important new idea, suggests not.

Queen's Indian 4 g3 Ba6 5 Nbd2 [E15]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Ba6 5 Nbd2 d5 6 Bg2:

Black normally plays 6...Be7 here, but there's also the option of 6...Bd6!?. This more active development of the bishop has worked out well for Black in some games, but White's choice of 7 b3 c5 8 0-0 0-0 9 e4! in Rogers - Greet, 4NCL 2011, looks very convincing.

Queen's Indian 4 g3 Bb7 [E17]

Finally this month, an interesting novelty for White in one of the old main lines: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Be7 6 Nc3 Ne4 7 Bd2 0-0 8 d5 f5 9 Qc2 Nxd2 10 Nxd2 e5:

Previously when reaching this position White has simply castled one way or the other, but in Palliser - Adair, 4NCL 2011, White offered a pawn sac with 11 g4!?. Black should probably accept this offer, because in the game he declines and soon ends up in a clearly worse position.

Till next time, John

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