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Please accept my apologies for such a late update this time. October was an extremely busy month for me which included a 12-day coaching trip at the European Youth Championship in Batumi, Georgia. I very much hope to be back on course in November (i.e. this month!).
This update checks out some recent Nimzo Indian and Queen's Indian games, including three from the recent FIDE Grand Prix events in Baku and Tashkent.

Download PGN of October '14 Nimzo and Benoni games

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Nimzo-Indian 4 Qc2 d5 5 cxd5 exd5 6 Bg5 h6 [E35]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 d5 5 cxd5 exd5 6 Bg5 h6:

In Caruana - Gelfand, Tashkent 2014, Caruana avoided a theoretical battle here and instead chose the quiet line 7 Bxf6 Qxf6 8 e3. Actually, although very natural, 8 e3 is much less common than 8 a3, and it gives Black an extra option which Gelfand accepts. Black seems to be fine here.

Holt - Yu Yangyi, Las Vegas 2014, continued 7 Bh4 c5 8 dxc5 and here Yu Yangyi chose 8...0-0!?.

Black has done well with this move, which is becoming a serious alternative to the main lines after 8...g5. Ths idea is simply ...Be6, ... Nbd7 and then recapture on c5. So far White hasn't shown much against this, and he doesn't in this game either.

Nimzo-Indian 4 Qc2 c5 5 dxc5 0-0 6 a3 [E39]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 c5 5 dxc5 0-0 6 a3 Bxc5 7 Nf3:

The game Vidit - Repka, World Junior Open, Pune 2014, is a good example of what can happen if one side inadvertently mixes two systems. In this position Black's most popular choice is 7...b6, the Macieja Variation, but here Black chose 7...Nc6 8 Bg5 and only now 8...b6. This slight change certainly seems to help White more than Black.

Nimzo-Indian 4 Qc2 0-0, Keene's 6...Qe8 [E32]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 0-0 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 Qe8:

Keene's 6...Qe8 continues to get a few appearances here and there. I don't think I'd want to have 6...Qe8 as the main move in my repertoire, but it can certainly be effective as a surprise weapon. See Stojanovic - Perunovic, Kraljevo 2014, for analysis.

Nimzo-Indian Sämisch Variation 4 a3 Bxc3+ 5 bxc3 Nc6 [E24]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 a3 Bxc3+ 5 bxc3:

The pure (accelerated?) form of the Sämisch Variation is rare these days, perhaps because Black has so many decent options, so it's always a bit of shock to get it. In fact, after a recent game I checked my database and realised it was only the second game with 4 a3 in it! (Though I'm sure I must have faced 4 a3 in other games not on the database). In Karayiannis - Emms, London League 2014, I chose 5...Nc6 6 e3 0-0 7 Bd3 e5 8 Ne2 e4, which looks okay for Black.

Queen's Indian 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 c5 6 d5 [E16]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 c5 6 d5 exd5 7 cxd5!:

This pawn sac is giving Black huge problems - it seems to be making 5...c5 virtually unplayable at the moment (and maybe forever). Gelfand - Andreikin, Baku 2014, turns out to be a crushing win for White, and it's easy to imagine that Andreikin walked into this line unknowingly.

Queen's Indian 4 g3 Ba6 5 Qb3 [E15]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Ba6 5 Qb3 Nc6 6 Nbd2 Na5 7 Qc3 c5:

Vachier Lagrave-Karjakin, Tashkent 2014, is a good example of deep preparation and defence at the highest level. Karjakin is willing to sacrifice a pawn early on for a dark-square blockade and Vachier Lagrave is unable to break it. This approach certainly won't appeal to everyone, but at that elevated level a draw with Black is always the first goal.

Till next time, John

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