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It's back to the Nimzo-Indian this month, with a look at some new ideas which have caught my attention.

Download PGN of October '15 Nimzo and Benoni games

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Nimzo-Indian: Karpov Variation [C54]

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

Two recent games in the Karpov Variation really caught my eye.

The first went 11 Ne5 h6 12 Bh4 Nbd7 and now the novelty 13 Nxf7!?:

Black accepted the challenge with 13...Kxf7!? and after 14 Bxe6+! we are treated to a good old-fashioned king hunt. See Bukavshin - Lysyj, Chita 2015, for analysis.

White uncorked an equally amazing idea in Mamedyarov - Hou Yifan, FIDE World Cup, Baku 2015: 10 Bg5 Bb7 11 Qe2 h6

and now instead of retreating the bishop, Mamedyarov played 12 d5!!. This looks very good for White!

Nimzo-Indian: 4 Qc2 b6 [E32]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 2 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 b6 5 e4 c5 6 a3 Bxc3+ 7 bxc3 Bb7 8 Bd3 b5! 9 Qb1:

We recently covered this position after 9 Qb1 in Abello-Kosten, Monte Carlo 2015. In Xiong - Moradiabadi, US Chess League 2015, Black comes up with a brilliant new idea involving a rook sacrifice which seems to be crucial in the assessment of this line.

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 0-0:

This quieter alternative to the sharp line 8...g5 9 Bg3 Ne4 continues to be popular. Mickey Adams has beaten both Shirov and Dreev as Black with 8...0-0. However, his record was spoiled in Laznicka - Adams, FIDE World Cup, Baku 2015. The set-up chosen by Laznicka is a little different to what has been seen in this line, and looks quite challenging for Black.

Nimzo-Indian: 4 f3 c5 [E20]

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

Previously we've seen Topalov twice win with 7...b5 (most recently in Grischuk-Topalov, Stavanger 2015). In a recent game a new idea came to light: 7...a6!? 8 a4 Ba5!. The point of this clever move is revealed in the notes to So - Aronian, 3rd Sinquefield Cup, Saint Louis 2015.

Nimzo-Indian: Tal Variation [E52]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 d5 6 Nf3 b6 7 0-0 Bb7 8 cxd5 exd5 9 a3 Bd6 10 b4 a6 11 Qb3 Qe7:

This is a key mainline position in the Tal Variation. Typically White chooses either 12 Rb1 (preparing a4) or 12 b5 here. However, in two recent games White went for another plan: e3-e4.

In Korobov - Karjakin, World Rapid, Berlin 2015, White chose 12 Ra2!?, a new idea planning Re2 to support the e4 advance. In Cheparinov - Zhigalko, Kocaeli 2015, White played in a very similar fashion, with 12 Re1 Nbd7 13 Ra2. Black has different problems to solve here but did so in both games.

Till next time, John

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