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This month we return to more theoretical lines, and a look at some new developments in the Nimzo-Indian, Queen's Indian and Bogo-Indian.

Download PGN of November '12 Nimzo and Benoni games

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Nimzo-Indian: 4 Qc2 d5 [E35]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 d5 5 cxd5 exd5 6 Bg5 h6 7 Bh4 c5 8 dxc5 g5 9 Bg3 Ne4 10 e3 Qa5 11 Rc1:

After a long period where it seemed Black was easily holding his own in this main line, 11 Rc1 came along and breathed some new life into White's chances. Initial results have been good for White, but Black may just have found an answer. See Vitiugov - Topalov, Eilat 2012, for details.

Nimzo-Indian: 4 Qc2 0-0 5 e4 [E32]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 0-0 5 e4 d6 6 e5 dxe5 7 dxe5 Ng4 8 a3!?:

8 a3!? is a new idea, first played by Iweta Rajlich. White turned to this nuance after the realisation that 8 Nf3 Nc6 9 Bf4 Nd4! is fine for Black. In Krysa - Hernandez Guerrero, Mar del Plata 2012, White gambits a pawn for a quick initiative.

Nimzo-Indian: 4 f3 c5 5 d5 [E20]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 f3 c5 5 d5 d6 6 e4 0-0 7 Nge2 b5!?:

This is one of several....b5 ideas for Black in this line (another is 5...b5). White's most popular response has been 8 Nf4!?, a sophisticated idea first played by Alexei Shirov. Basically, White is willing to use up two moves with his knight in return for Black resolving the tension and closing the centre, which inevitably restricts his counterplay in a position where White enjoys more space. Topalov, however, refuses to play ball, and his idea of 8...a6!?, keeping all the tension, looks like an important novelty in this line. See Timofeev - Topalov, Eilat 2012, for analysis.

Nimzo-Indian 4 e3: Karpov Variation [E54]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Nf3 c5 6 Bd3 d5 7 0-0 dxc4 8 Bxc4 cxd4 9 exd4 b6 10 Bg5 Bb7 11 Ne5:

Now 10 Bg5 Bb7 11 Ne5 is White's most direct try in the Karpov Variation, after which the position may quickly become critical. Following 11...Bxc3 12 bxc3 Nbd7 13 Nxd7 Qxd7 14 Bxf6 gxf6, Shirov played the uncharacteristically passive 15 Be2?! against Naiditsch, when more violent methods by White are urgently required. See Shirov - Naiditsch, Eilat 2012, for Black's convincing reply plus analysis of more dangerous options for White.

Queen's Indian: 4 e3 [E14]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 e3 Bb7 5 Bd3 c5 6 0-0 Be7 7 Nc3 cxd4 8 exd4 d5 9 cxd5 Nxd5 10 Ne5!:

10 Ne5! is White's only critical try in a line which would otherwise lead to a comfortable IQP for Black. The position after 10 Ne5 has always been a difficult one for Black to play, and it feels even more precarious after this game, where Mark Hebden's 16 Rfc1! (first suggested by Richard Palliser) looks like an important development, see Hebden - Morrison, 4NCL 2012.

Nimzo-Indian/Queen's Indian Hybrid [E13]

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 b6 4 Nc3 Bb4 5 Bg5 Bb7 6 e3 h6 7 Bh4 g5 8 Bg3 Ne4 9 Qc2 Bxc3+ 10 bxc3 d6 11 Bd3 f5 12 d5:

In this well-known position, 12...Na6 has recently overtaken 12...Nd7 as Black's main move. However, there are other tries, including the largely forgotten 12...Qf6, and the evidence from Sasikiran - Korobov, Eilat 2012, suggests that this queen move is another decent option for Black.

Bogo-Indian: 4 Nbd2 0-0 [E11]

Finally this month, a kingside hack option for White in the Bogo-Indian: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 Bb4+ 4 Nbd2 0-0 5 a3 Be7 6 e4 d5 7 e5 Nfd7 8 Bd3 c5

Normal procedure here is 9 cxd5 exd5 10 0-0, but of late a number of grandmasters have tried the ultra-aggressive 9 h4!?, with some success. See Cheparinov - Mchedlishvili, Leon 2012, for details.

Till next time, John

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