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Standing in for John this month, I've taken a look at some fascinating recent Benoni encounters, as well as a couple of critical lines of the Bogo-Indian.

Download PGN of September '15 Nimzo and Benoni games

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Czech Benoni 5...Nbd7!? [A56]

The young Uzbek Grandmaster Jahongir Vakhidov has a number of tricky sidelines in his repertoire, including 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 e5 4 Nc3 d6 5 e4 when he quite likes 5...Nbd7!?:

By holding back on ...Be7, Black can meet 6 g3 with 6...g6. We'll take a look in Abdulla - Vakhidov.

Modern Benoni 5...0-0 6 Nf3 e6!? [E70]

Black can try to pick and choose which lines of the Modern Benoni he wants to see by beginning with 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 g6 4 Nc3 Bg7 5 e4. Here he normally prefaces ...e6 with 5...d6 and 6....0-0, as occurred in an entertaining recent rapid encounter between Nils Grandelius and Sune Berg Hansen, but even 5...0-0 6 Nf3 e6!? has been seen too of late:

This bold approach was the choice of the ever well-prepared Indian GM Baskaran Adhiban, so must be taken seriously, although I'm not so sure I'd want to take Black after 7 e5!. We'll see why in the notes to Wagner - Adhiban.

Modern Benoni 7 Bf4 Bg7!? 8 Qa4+ [A61]

Adhiban also stars in our first actual Modern Benoni encounter, Nezad - Adhiban, where a topical line was seen: 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 c5 4 d5 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 Nf3 g6 7 Bf4 Bg7!? 8 Qa4+ Bd7 9 Qb3 b5 10 Bxd6 Qb6 11 Be5 0-0 12 e3 c4 13 Qd1 b4:

Theory used to consider that 14 Nb1 was the right retreat, but Adhiban manages to obtain reasonable play after it, which helps to explain the recent trend for 14 Ne2!?, placing the ball back into Black's court from what I can see.

Modern Benoni 7 Bf4 a6 [A61]

By no means everyone has switched back to 7...Bg7 with 7...a6 8 a4 Bg7 9 h3 0-0 10 e3 still pretty popular:

White risks little this way, but I'm not sure he should allow Black to equalise as easily as 10...Re8 11 Be2 Ne4! appears to, as we'll see in Hammer - Hillarp Persson.

Modern Benoni: Old Classical 11 Re1 Ne5 [A77]

We complete our Modern Benoni tour not quite with a Knight's Tour, but rather 7 Nd2 Nbd7 8 e4 Bg7 9 Be2 0-0 10 0-0 Re8 11 Re1 Ne5:

This is quite an important position for the Classical, with 12 Nf1!? an unusual try in Dreev - Ivanisevic, where Black countered well with 12...c4, preparing a typical pawn sacrifice with ...Nd3.

Bogo-Indian 4 Bd2 Qe7 5 g3 Bxd2+ [E11]

In the solid and flexible 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 Bb4+ our guide this month is the new Russian Champion, Evgeny Tomashevsky. Twice this year has 'the Professor' defended 4 Bd2 Qe7 5 g3 Bxd2+ 6 Qxd2 Nc6 7 Nc3 d5 as Black:

The critical test must be 8 Ne5 and in Vitiugov - Tomashevsky Black was out-prepared, but had he remembered his own preparation would have drawn somewhat more easily than he actually did.

Bogo-Indian 4 Nbd2 0-0 5 a3 Be7 [E11]

A much sharper and equally topical line is 4 Nbd2 0-0 5 a3 Be7, as also played by Tomashevsky and recommended in Christof Sielecki's fine recent book for Black, Opening Repertoire: Nimzo and Bogo Indian. The latest trend here is 6 e4 d5 7 e5 Nfd7 8 Bd3 c5 9 Qc2 h6 10 0-0!? Nc6 11 Nb3 cxd4 12 Re1, keeping e5 under control:

MVL was happy to take White twice against Tomashevsky in the World Cup, but objectively Black should be fine after 12...dxc4 13 Qxc4 Nb6, as we'll see in Vachier Lagrave-Tomashevsky.

That's all for now. I'm sure the Nimzo will make a reappearance next month! Richard

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