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In this update the Nimzo-Indian takes a back seat (apart from the final game) while we cover some new developments in the Queen’s and Bogo-Indians, including a line of the Queen’s Indian which looks much more like the Queen’s Gambit Declined!

Download PGN of October ’18 Nimzo and Benoni games

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Bogo-Indian 4 Nbd2 0-0 5 a3 Be7 6 e4 d5 7 e5 Nfd7 8 Bd3 [E11]

4 Nbd2 0-0 5 a3 Be7 6 e4 d5 7 e5 Nfd7 8 Bd3 c5 9 h4 g6 10 0-0!?:

The aggressive 9 h4 has become White’s most popular choice in recent years. However, following it up with 9...g6 10 0-0!? is very rare. It feels counter-intuitive to castle kingside so quickly after h2-h4, especially since 10 h5, by far the most popular move, is such a tempting possibility. However, castling does allow White to support the centre, and in particular the e5-pawn, with Re1. In effect, White is playing the 9 0-0 line and arguing that the insertion of h4 and ...g6 helps him more than it helps Black. See the recent game Ding Liren - Saric, I for analysis.

Returning to the position after 8 Bd3, the recent game Peralta, F - Suarez Pousa, D serves as a severe warning for Black, who must challenge White’s centre immediately with 8...c5. In the game Black instead chose the slower 8...b6? and was soon regretting his decision. After 9 h4! h6 10 Bb1!:

lining up a queen and bishop battery with Qc2, it’s very possible that White’s advantage is already decisive!

Queen’s Indian 4 a3 Bb7 5 Nc3 d5 6 Bg5 [E12]

4 a3 Bb7 5 Nc3 d5 6 Bg5 Be7 7 e3 0-0 8 Qc2:

The main line of the Petrosian Variation after 4...Bb7 5 Nc3 d5 is 6 cxd5 Nxd5, but there’s no reason why White can’t play 6 Bg5 instead. It’s like a Queen’s Gambit Declined, Tartakower variation, albeit one where White has spent a tempo on the only semi-useful a2-a3. It’s not quite as simple as that, though, because in comparison to QGD Black hasn’t yet played ...h6. In Parligras, M - Bosiocic, M, White took advantage of the delay in ...h6 by meeting 8...h6 with 9 Bxf6!?. In the QGD Tartakower, White sometimes exchanges on f6 even after retreating to h4, so 9 Bxf6 looks like a logical choice here. After 9...Bxf6 10 cxd5 exd5 11 h4!:

We’ve now reached a QGD Tartakower where a2-a3 is actually an extra move for White, who has gained a tempo by avoiding Bh4 before exchanging on f6. Just as in the QGD line, White has aggressive intentions on the kingside, including g2-g4-g5.

Queen’s Indian 4 a3 Bb7 5 Nc3 g6 [E12]

In a recent game Black tried the unusual 5 Nc3 g6 6 Qc2 d5!?

It looks like Black is playing a mix of numerous different openings (Queen’s Indian, QGD, Grünfeld!). After 7 Bg5 Bg7 8 e3 0-0 9 Be2 dxc4 10 Bxc4 Nbd7 White delayed castling in favour of 11 Rd1!:

intending to meet ...c5 with d4-d5. See Dreev, A - Iturrizaga, E for details.

Queen’s Indian 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Bb4+ [E16]

3...b6 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Bb4+ 6 Bd2 a5 7 0-0 0-0:

5...Bb4+ 6 Bd2 a5 is a line which has been used more than once by GMs Richard Rapport and Wang Yue. After 8 Bf4, 8...Be7 is virtually forced, as White was threatening to trap the bishop with c4-c5. A typical continuation is 9 Nc3 Ne4:

The obvious 10 Qc2 is White’s most popular choice here, and we’ve previously looked at the similar 10 Qd3 (in Ding Liren-Rapport,R/Sharjah 2017). Another idea for White is 10 Nb5!?. The knight can be chased back to c3 with ...c6, but White can argue that the new weaknesses created are worth the time spent moving the knight. However, in the recent game Xiong, J - Le Quang Liem, White had something different in mind...

Queen’s Indian 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Be7 6 0-0 0-0 7 Nc3 Ne4 8 Qc2 [E19]

4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Be7 6 0-0 0-0 7 Nc3 Ne4 8 Qc2 Nxc3 9 Qxc3:

The old main line of the 4 g3 Queen’s Indian is a rare guest at the highest level these days, as virtually all of the top grandmasters prefer 8 Bd2. Nothing much has changed to the theory of 8 Qc2, but it was interesting to see how Vladimir Kramnik played it as Black when faced with an opponent more than 200 rating points below him. Kramnik chose 10...d6 10 Qc2 f5! 11 d5 e5 12 e4 Bc8:

reaching a King’s Indian pawn structure in the centre. In the event, Kramnik was unable to gain any winning chances as Black (a perennial problem with this main line), but do look out for a model game by Bent Larsen in the notes. See Brunello, S - Kramnik, V for analysis.

Nimzo-Indian: 4 Qc2 b6 [E32]

3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 b6 5 e4 c5 6 e5 cxd4 7 a3 Bxc3+ 8 bxc3 Ng8 9 cxd4 Bb7:

4...b6 remains a good if risky way to reach some imbalance against the 4 Qc2 Nimzo, and it was interesting to see Nakamura try it at the Olympiad. Previously we’ve seen 10 Ne2 here (Arnaudov,G-Volokitin,A/Struga 2014), but Nakamura’s opponent chose 10 Nf3. The f3-square is obviously the most desirable post for the knight, but it does offer Black the chance to further unbalance the position with 10...Bxf3!, an opportunity that Nakamura wasn’t going to pass on. See Baules, J - Nakamura, H for analysis.

Till next time, John

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