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In this month's update we look at some new and forgotten ideas in the Nimzo-Indian, 4 e3, 4 Qc2 and 4 g3 variations.

Download PGN of November '14 Nimzo and Benoni games

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Nimzo-Indian: 4 e3 0-0 5 Nge2 [E46]

4 e3 0-0 5 Nge2 c6:

5...c6 is a move we've come across before on this site. In most cases Black intends to follow up with ...d5, but first he makes sure the bishop can retreat and stay on the b8-h2 diagonal, something which it is unable to do in the main line, 5...d5 6 a3 Bd6 7 c5 Be7.

The main line runs 6 a3 Ba5 7 b4 Bc7 and here White has two main options:

a) 8 Ng3 is covered in Costachi - Doros, Calimanesti-Caciulata 2014.

b) 8 e4 is covered in Khachiyan - Molner, ICC INT 2014.

Nimzo-Indian: Karpov Variation 10 Qe2 - 13...Qxc3 pawn grab [E54]

4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 c5 6 Nf3 d5 7 0-0 cxd4 8 exd4 dxc4 9 Bxc4 b6:

One of the more critical lines of the Karpov variation runs 10 Qe2 Bb7 11 Rd1 Bxc3 12 bxc3 and now the pawn grab 12...Qc7 13 Bd3 Qxc3. As we've seen previously, Black might well be okay here with accurate play. However, it's definitely not a line to go into without serious prep, as Nakhbayeva - Kostyuchenko, St Petersburg 2014, demonstrates all too painfully for Black.

Nimzo-Indian: Dutch Variation 8 Ne5 [E43]

4 e3 b6 5 Bd3 Bb7 6 Nf3 Ne4 7 0-0 f5 8 Ne5:

8 Ne5 is slowly becoming more and more popular (it's also Houdini's first choice...). This year we looked at 8...0-0 9 Ne2 (Debashis-Amin, Dubai 2014) but in a more recent game White chose the more natural 9 Nxe4 - see Graf - Kniest, Bad Wiessee 2014, for details.

Nimzo-Indian: 4 Qc2 c5, 7...Qb6!? [E39]

4 Qc2 c5 5 dxc5 0-0 6 a3 Bxc5 7 Nf3 Qb6!?:

The rare 7...Qb6 can be compared with Romanishin's 5...Bxc5 Nf3 Qb6. It's essentially the same idea - Black temporarily misplaces the queen to force White into blocking the c1-bishop with e3. The only difference here is that a2-a3 and ...0-0 have been included. One might think that this should favour Black, but in fact in some lines the fact that Black has committed to castling helps White.

8 e3 Be7 9 Bd3 d6 and now:

a) The steady 10 0-0 is covered in Zhou Weiqi-Zhao Jun, Taizhou 2014.

b) The sharp 10 b4 Nbd7 11 Bb2 a6 12 g4!? (and also similar g4 ideas) is covered in Greenfeld - Zak, Corfu 1991.

Nimzo-Indian: 4 g3 0-0 [E20]

4 g3 0-0 5 Bg2 d6 6 Nf3 Bxc3+ 7 bxc3 Nbd7 8 0-0 Rb8:

Earlier this year we looked at the game Shomoev-Kryvoruchko, Yerevan 2014, where this 8...Rb8 idea, planning ...b6 and ...Bb7 or ...Ba6. worked out well for Black. Rambaldi - Delchev, Bad Wiessee 2014, provides a counterbalance. Rambaldi's 9 Qa4 is more subtle than it looks and White soon builds up a dangerous attack.

Till next time, John

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