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Some more Nimzo and Benoni action this month, including yet another g4 lunge by White in the Nimzo and Chris Ward's annotations to the game of the tournament at the British Championship.

Download PGN of September '14 Nimzo and Benoni games

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Nimzo-Indian 4 Nf3 Bxc3+, 6 g4 [E21]

Last month we looked at 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 Nc6 5 Nf3 d6 6 g4!? (see the notes to Mamedyarov - Ivanisevic, Tromso 2014). This month we turn our attention to another g4 by White: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Nf3 Bxc3+ 5 bxc3 d6 6 g4!?

If anything this 6 g4 looks more dangerous than the 6 g4 in the Zurich Variation as Black has lost some resources with the exchange of his dark-squared bishop. See Naiditsch - Meier, Baden Baden 2014, for analysis.

Nimzo-Indian/Queen's Indian Hybrid 5 Bg5 h6 6 Bh4 g5 7 Bg3 Ne4 [E13/E21]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Nf3 b6 5 Bg5 h6 6 Bh4 g5 7 Bg3 Ne4:

Black normally chooses the 6...g5 move order as a way of avoiding the line 6...Bb7 7 Nd2 line. The question is, does White have anything better than transposing into main lines? In Vallejo Pons-Aronian, Bilbao 2014, the Spanish GM tried something different with 8 Qd3 f5 and now the novelty 9 h4!?, but Aronian's response proved to be more than adequate.

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

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Nge2 d5 6 a3 Bd6 7 c5 Be7:

In general Black's theoretical standing and results are good in this line. Cruz - Svetushkin, Linares 2014, is something of a rarity in that it's unusual to see a game where Black gets into so much difficulty early on.

Modern Benoni: 7 Nge2 [A65]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 e6 4 Nc3 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 e4 g6 7 Nge2:

Many thanks to Chris for providing in-depth annotations to Ward - Hebden, which won the best game prize at the 2014 British Championship.

Modern Benoni: Old Classical Variation 9...Re8, 10...Nbd7 [A77]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5 4 d5 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 Nf3 g6 7 Nd2 Bg7 8 e4 0-0 9 Be2 Re8 10 0-0 Nbd7:

The main continuation here remains 11 a4 Ne5 12 Qc2, but 11 h3 is another viable option, enabling White to meet ...Ne5 with f2-f4. A critical line is 11...a6 12 a4 g5 13 Nc4 Nxe4 14 Nxe4 Rxe4 15 Nxd6! - see Dreev - Panarin, St Petersburg 2014, for analysis.

Modern Benoni: Fianchetto Variation 9...Re8 [A62]

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 g3 c5 4 d5 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 Nc3 g6 7 Bg2 Bg7 8 Nf3 0-0 9 0-0 Re8:

Finally this month, here is a couple of quick wins for Black, just to remind us all of the Modern Benoni's attractions.

In Yanayt - Huschenbeth, Greensboro 2014, White chooses the non-committal 10 h3 and Black reacts with the typical 10...Ne4 11 Nxe4 Rxe4. Black is soon fine and then seizes the advantage when White makes a common mistake of expanding too quickly. That said, White does have some chances of an advantage in this line - see the analysis for details.

Modern Benoni: Fianchetto Variation 11 Nd2 Main Line [A64]

Rosenkilde - Jepson, Borup 2014, doesn't bring anything new to the table, but it's a good example of how Modern Benoni players can benefit when their opponent's knowledge of the opening is a bit patchy. 10 Nd2 a6 11 a4 Nbd7 12 Nc4 Ne5 13 Na3 Nh5 14 e4 f5!:

This is only very slightly different from a critical mainline position, but the differences are enough to swing the assessment firmly Black's way.

Till next time, John

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