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NimzoIndian [E20-59]

Written by GM John Emms

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Welcome to the NimzoIndian, one of the most respected and popular defences to

the Queen's Pawn Opening. Initially based on Aron Nimzowitch's concept of controlling the

centre with pieces rather than pawns, the NimzoIndian (or Nimzo, for short) is now

debated by all of the World's top players. Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand and Karpov have all

had their successes with the Nimzo. This defence demands respect from everyone and it's

withstood its sternest test, the one of time.

All the games given in blue can be accessed via ChessPub.exe, simply head for their respective ECO code.

Contents

1 d4 ¤f6 2 c4 e6 3 ¤c3 ¥b4

4 e3

4 £c2

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a) 0-0

4

5 a3 (5 e4 NimzoIndian: Classical4

0-0

5 e4[E32]) 5

¥xc3+

6 £xc3 b6

 

(6

¤e4

NimzoIndian: Classical4

0-0

5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3[E32]) 7 ¥g5 Nimzo

Indian: Classical 4 0-0 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 b6[E32]

 

b) c5

4

5 dxc5 0-0 (5

¤a6

NimzoIndian: Classical4

c5

[E38]) 6 a3 NimzoIndian:

 

Classical4

c5

5 dxc5 0-0- [E39]

 

c)

4

d5

c1) 5 cxd5 exd5 (5

£xd5

NimzoIndian: Classical4

d5

5 cxd5 Qxd5[E34]) 6 ¥g5

NimzoIndian: Classical4

d5

5 cxd5 exd5[E35]

c2) 5 a3 5

¥xc3+ 6 £xc3 ¤e4 (6

dxc4

NimzoIndian: Classical4

d5

5 a3[E36]) 7 £c2

NimzoIndian: Classical4

d5

5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 Ne4[E36]

4

¤f3 NimzoIndian4 Nf3 [E21]

 

4

£b3 NimzoIndian4 Qb3 [E22]

4

a3 ¥xc3+ 5 bxc3

 

a)

5

c5

6 f3 (6 e3 NimzoIndian: Saemisch 5

c5

6 e3 [E26]) 6

d5

(6

¤c6

Nimzo

 

Indian: SaemischIntroduction and rare lines [E24]) 7 cxd5 ¤xd5 NimzoIndian:

Saemisch5

c5

6 f3 d5 7 cxd5[E25]

 

b)

5

0-0

6 e3 c5 7 ¥d3 ¤c6 NimzoIndian: Saemisch5

0-0

6 e3 c5 7 Bd3 Nc6 [E29]

4

¥g5 h6 (4 5 d5 NimzoIndian: Leningrad[E30]) 5 ¥h4 c5 6 d5 NimzoIndian:

c5

 

Leningrad4

h6

5 Bh4 c5 6 d5 d6[E31]

4

f3 NimzoIndian4 f3 [E20]

 

4

g3 NimzoIndian 4 g3[E20]

4

0-0

4

b6

5 ¤ge2 (5 ¥d3 NimzoIndian 4 e3 b6[E46]) 5

¥a6

(5

¤e4

NimzoIndian 4 e3

4

c5

b6 5 Nge2[E44]) 6 ¤g3 NimzoIndian 4 e3 b6 5 Nge2 Ba6[E45] 5 ¤ge2 (5 ¥d3 ¤c6 6 ¤f3 ¥xc3+ 7 bxc3 NimzoIndianHübner Variation[E41])

 

5

cxd4

6 exd4 NimzoIndian 4 e3 c5 5 Nge2[E42]

 

5

¤f3

 

5

¥d3 d5 (5 NimzoIndian4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3[E47]) 6 a3 (6 ¤ge2 NimzoIndian4 e3 0-

d6

 

0 5 Bd3 d5 6 Nge2[E48]) 6

¥xc3+

7 bxc3 NimzoIndian4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 d5 6

a3[E49]

5

¤ge2 NimzoIndian4 e3 0-0 5 Nge2[E46]

 

5

d5

6 ¥d3 c5

 

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6

b6

NimzoIndian4 e3 0-0 5 Nf3 d5 6 Bd3 b6[E52]

 

7

0-0

7

a3 NimzoIndian: 4 e3 0-0-5 Nf3 d5 6 Bd3 c5 7 a3[E53]

 

7

¤c6

 

7

dxc4

8 ¥xc4 cxd4 NimzoIndian: Main Line 7 0-0 dxc4 8 Bxc4[E54]

8

¤bd7 NimzoIndian: Main Line 7

dxc4

8 Bxc4 Nbd7

 

8

a3 ¥xc3

 

8

dxc4

NimzoIndian: Main Line - 8 a3 dxc4 9 Bxc4 cxd4[E57]

 

8

¥a5

NimzoIndian: Main Line - 8 a3 [E56]

 

9

bxc3 NimzoIndian: Main Line 8 a3 Bc3 9 bxc3 dxc4 10 Bxc4[E59]

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NimzoIndian 4 f3 [E20]

Last updated: 26/06/03 by John Emms

1 d4 ¤f6 2 c4 e6 3 ¤c3 ¥b4

The NimzoIndian Defence is one of the soundest openings available to Black.

4 f3

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The enterprising 4 f3 is a move that confronts the Nimzo headon. If Black does not react energetically White will simply play 5 e4! and win the opening battle. This line has been a particular favourite of the aggressive Latvian Grandmaster Alexei Shirov. For the pinbreaking 4 ¥d2 see SchaufelbergerJaracz/Biel 2000

4

c5

4

d5

5 a3 (5 £a4+?! Saeidi,RRoghani,A/Fajr Open 2001.) 5

¥xc3+

6 bxc3 c6!? (6

c5

see

 

ECO code [E25] 6

¤bd7

Volkov,SRomanishin,O/Batumi GEO 1999.) 7 £c2 7

0-

0 (7 8 e4 gives White very promising play in return for one sacrificed pawn.) 8

dxc4

cxd5 (8 e4 dxe4 9 fxe4 e5! is fabulous for Black, and even more so after 10 dxe5? ¤g4

which leaves White's pawn structure in ruins.) 8

cxd5

9 e4 Golod,V

Rozentalis,E/European Club Ch. 2000.

 

4

d5

is the main alternative.

4

0-0

What could be more natural than castling? 5 e4 The only logical response. 5

d5

Black needs to hit back at the centre before White gets developed and consolidates

his space advantage. 6 e5 The only natural continuation for White. 6 exd5 8 f4!?

¤fd7 7 cxd5

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Very ambitious White is aiming for a large, powerful centre. See the game Volkov,SVekshenkov,N/Togliatti 2003.

5 d5

A natural Benoni style continuation, although 5 a3 is more in the Saemisch mode.

5

exd5

The more typical approach as seen on this site is for Black to keep things blocked up with

Conceding the bishop for the knight then (particularly doubling

pawns) fits in with the concept of closing the position. '!?' 'Offering a gambit which, in practice, White rarely accepts.'

d6

intending

e5.

5

¥xc3+?!

It seems to me that conceding this bishop without provocation simply leaves

Black a tempo down on the old fashioned Saemisch variation (4 a3). 6 bxc3 d6 7 e4 Golod,VMartinovic,S/Bad Wiessee GER 2000.

5

b5!?

Offering a gambit which, in practice, White rarely accepts. 6 e4 (6 dxe6 fxe6 7 cxb5 d5 gives Black a big centre as compensation for the pawn.)

a) The main line runs 6

b)

bxc4

7 ¥xc4 ¤xd5 8 ¥xd5 (8 exd5? £h4+!) 8

6

0-0!?

Volkov,SGershon,A/Halkidiki 2002.

6 cxd5 d6 7 e4 0-0 8 ¤ge2

exd5

9 £xd5 ¤c6

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8

¤h5!?

A logical idea that we have seen successfully employed before. Black frees his queen to go

Sakaev,KVladimirov,E/Tomsk

to h4 and prepares for the centrepressurising RUS 2001.

f5:

NimzoIndian 4 g3 [E20]

Last updated: 14/01/02 by John Emms

1 d4 ¤f6 2 c4 e6 3 ¤c3 ¥b4 4 g3

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c5 4

5 ¤f3 cxd4 6 ¤xd4 0-0

Black has other moves, including 6

Ne4,

but this is the main line.

7 ¥g2 d5 8 cxd5

8 £b3 ¥xc3+ 9 £xc3 Although this looks like the obvious recapture, in fact originally

8

more popular was for White to keep Black's centre pawns at bay with 9 bxc3. 9 10 ¤b3 Ward,CHurn,R/Malta 2000.

¤xd5

9 £b3!?

e5

This move was first made popular by the young Russian Grandmaster Vadim Zviagentsev, who has had some success with it. The older move is 9 Bd2.

9

¤c6

 

9

Qb6

and 9

Qa5

are also possible.

9

£b6

10 ¥xd5 exd5 11 ¥e3 ¤c6 12 ¤xc6 Ward,CMatthiesen,M/Copenhagen 1998.

10 ¤xc6 bxc6 11 0-0 £a5

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12 ¥d2 ¥xc3 13 bxc3 ¥a6 14 ¦fd1!

This is a very clever move. Black has no worries after 14 ¦fe1 ¦ab8 15 £c2 ¥c4

14 ¦ab8

14 £c5

15 c4

15 e4 ¤b6 16 ¥e3 £h5 Bacrot,EAnand,V/Bastia FRA 2001

Now the tactics begin!

15

£c5

16 cxd5 ¦xb3 17 axb3 ¥xe2

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18

¦e1!

This move was discovered in the post mortem to my game with Nielsen. The inferior

18 ¦dc1? £d6! is better for Black, for example, 19 ¦xc6 (19 ¥e3? cxd5! 20 ¥c5 £b8 21 ¥xf8

£d7 20 ¥f4

exd5 21 ¦d6 £b5 22 ¥xd5 a6 and Black went on to win in AltermanTimman,

¢xf8 and Black is winning, P.NielsenEmms, Copenhagen 1995 ) 19

Elista Olympiad 1998.

18 ¥b5

18 cxd5?

In my opinion this gives up without a real fight. Black has to hold his nose and

jump into the complications of 19 ¦xe2 Nielsen,PSavon,V/Pardubice 1995.

19 dxc6

Sauberli,GDraba,H/IECC Swiss 2000.

NimzoIndian 4 Nf3 [E21]

Last updated: 08/09/03 by John Emms

1 d4 ¤f6 2 c4 e6 3 ¤c3 ¥b4 4 ¤f3 b6

4

¤c6

Essentially then we have a 4 Nf3 Nimzo with 4

Nc6

or kind of a 'two knights

tango'. 5 £c2 d6 6 a3 ¥xc3+ 7 £xc3 Ward,CQuinn,M/Isle Of Man 2000.

4

¥xc3+!?

Matisons,HNimzowitsch,A/Karlsbad 1929.

4

0-0

5 ¥g5 This is the reason why 4

0-0 is not as common as the other two moves this

h7

h6 and

often more reluctant to weaken his kingside once he has already committed his king

there. 5

Be7. Black is

pin can be quite annoying for Black. The only way to break it is to either play

g7g5

c5

weakening the kingside, or to waste a tempo with

6 e3 cxd4 7 exd4 h6 8 ¥h4 see Jobava,BBarsov,A/Abu Dhabi 2003

5 £b3

This line with 5 Qb3 is a particular favourite of the American Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan, who used it four times in his match with Michael Adams.

5

c5

6 ¥g5

6 a3 ¥a5 (6 7 £xc3 0-0 transposes to a Qc2 Nimzo where Black has played an early

8 e3 ¥b7 9 ¦d1 see Szeberenyi,ALopez

¥xc3+

7

c7c5.)

¥g5

h6

(7

0-0

Martinez,J/Budapest 2002.

For 7 see Campos Moreno,JAdams,M/Cala Galdana 2001 (ECO code E21).) 8 ¥h4

g5 9 ¥g3 g4! The idea of Black's previous play. Moving the knight simply leaves the

d4pawn hanging, so White is forced to sacrifice material. 10 ¤d2 cxd4 11 ¤b5

¥b7

¤e4

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(11 12 ¢xd2 ¤e4+ is also possible.) 12 ¤c7+ (For the alternative 12 0-0-0 see the game

¥xd2+

Disconzi da Silva,RLeitao,R/Sao Paolo 2001.) 12

¢f8

a)

13 ¤xa8 ¥xd2+ (but not 13

¤xd2

14 £d3 ¤b3+ 15 ¢d1 ¤xa1 16 £xd4 ¦h7 17 b4) 14 ¢d1

¥b7 looks good for Black, for example: 15 ¤c7 £g5 16 ¤b5 ¥f4 17 f3 ¥xg3 18

fxe4 ¥e5 19 ¤xa7 ¥xe4 20 £xb6 ¢g7 and White cannot develop his kingside

b)

13 ¦d1 13

¤xd2

14 ¦xd2 (Of course not 14 £d3?? ¤f3#!) 14

¥xd2+

15 ¢xd2 ¥b7 see

GretarssonAdams/Reykjavik 2003

 

6

¥b7

6

¤c6

7

d5 ¤a5

8 £c2

h6

9 ¥h4

¥a6 (9

g5

10 ¥g3 ¤xc4 11 0-0-0 Horvath,C

Weinzettl,E/Melk AUT 1999.) 10 e4 g5 11 ¥g3: Wells,PKoneru,H/Millfield ENG

2000.

 

6

h6

7 ¥h4 g5 8 ¥g3 g4 9 ¤d2 cxd4 the bishop on b4 is en prise.

 

7 ¦d1

7 a3 ¥a5 8 dxc5 The 'justification' behind 6 a3 the b6pawn is pinned to the bishop on

This pawn sacrifice looks very

good for Black, who develops with a gain of time. 9 £c2 Campos Moreno,J

Adams,M/Cala Galdana ESP 2001.

b7. However, this has all been seen before

8

¤a6!

0-0 7

8 e3 cxd4 9 exd4 ¥xf3

Given that this move is recommended in my book "Easy Guide to the NimzoIndian", I thought should give it a go. White is saddled with doubled and isolated pawns on the kingside, but can hope to exploit the open lines to whip up an attack against the Black king. I have to admit that I now believe more in White's chances than I did before this game.

10 gxf3 ¥e7 11 ¦g1 ¦e8 12 ¥e2

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Sokolov,IEmms,J/Hastings Premier 1998.

NimzoIndian 4 Qb3 [E22]

Last updated: 14/01/02 by John Emms

1 d4 ¤f6 2 c4 e6 3 ¤c3 ¥b4 4 £b3

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This is much less usual than 4 Qc2, but has found occasional favour with players such as Piket and Malaniuk.

4

c5

5 d5 0-0 6 f3

White makes plans to support his big centre. Given time he could consolidate things and emerge with a comfortable space advantage. Alas for him things are not going to be that simple: Bergsson,SOlafsson,H/Reykjavik ISL 2000.

NimzoIndian: Saemisch Introduction

and rare lines [E24]

Last updated: 12/10/03 by John Emms

1 d4 ¤f6 2 c4 e6 3 ¤c3 ¥b4 4 a3

In some ways the Saemisch Variation (4 a3) could be regarded as the most critical response to the Nimzo. In effect White is calling Black's bluff. He is questioning Black's entire opening strategy. White says "You have pinned my knight with the intention of capturing it. I'm prepared to spend a whole tempo to force you to do what you want!". Russian Grandmaster Artur Yusupov remains one of its avid supporters.

4

¥xc3+

5 bxc3 c5

5

b6

6 f3 Preparing a big centre with e2e4. 6

¤c6

Black's play here is very logical. He

6 f3

6

d5

immediately sets about attacking the c4pawn, the main weakness in White's

position. 7 e4 ¥a6 8 ¥d3 (8 e5 ¤g8 is the main alternative.) 8 Donaldson,J/Las Vegas 2002.

Rudelis,G

¤a5

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6

d6

7 e4 ¤c6 8 ¥e3 b6 9 ¥d3 ¤a5 Black begins his attack against the weak point in White's position the c4pawn. 10 f4 Creating an impressive pawn centre. (Or 10

¤h3 ¥a6 11 £e2 £d7 12 e5 dxe5 13 dxe5 ¤g8 14 0-0 ¤e7 15 ¦ad1 £c7 16 ¥g5 0-0-0 17 ¤f2

and White was a bit better in the game SpasskyHuebner, Bugojno 1982.) 10 ¥a6

11 ¤f3 Murali Krishnan,BPrasad,D/Nagpur IND 2002.

¤c6 6

7 e3?! It just doesn't make any sense here not to play 7 e4 as after all that is what

A typical plan. Black is not after

Na5

he can pressurise the weakest of the doubled cpawns. 8 ¥d3 0-0 9 ¤e2 ¥a6

Saric,INikolac,J/Pula CRO 2001.

fianchettoing his bishop but rather playing it out to a6 where combined with

this Saemisch system is all about. 7

b6

7 e3

White's normal move here is 7 cxd5 see E25.

0-0 7

8 cxd5 ¤xd5 9 ¥d2 ¤c6

see Martic,ZZaja,I/Rabac 2003.

NimzoIndian: Saemisch 5

7 cxd5 [E25]

c5

6 f3 d5

Last updated: 07/09/02 by John Emms

1 d4 ¤f6 2 c4 e6 3 ¤c3 ¥b4 4 a3 ¥xc3+ 5 bxc3 c5 6 f3 d5

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This position is more often reached via the move order 4 f3 d5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 c5.

7

cxd5 ¤xd5

 

7

exd5

is rarely seen, but of course it's perfectly playable for Black, for example 8 e3 £c7!

9 ¦a2 cxd4 (9 10 ¤e2 ¤c6 11 g4 ¥e6 12 ¤f4 gave White an edge in Georgadze

¥f5

Lerner, Lvov (zt) 1990) 10 cxd4 ¥f5 11 g4 (11 ¤e2 ¤bd7 12 g4 ¥g6÷ when Black can

hope for good counterplay down the cfile, WellsSuba, London 1991 ) 11 h4!? see Erdogan,HSelbes,T/Ankara 2002.

¥g6

12

8

£d3

This queen move was popularised by the Latvian Grandmaster Alexei Shirov. Now that the c3pawn and d4pawn are adequately protected, White plans to kick away the Black knight with e2e4. 8 dxc5 £a5 9 e4 ¤e7 Black can also retreat to f6 and c7, but grabbing the pawn with

walks into a nasty pin with 10 £d2 After 10 11 ¥b2 ¤a4 12 £xa5 ¤xa5 13

(9

¤xc3

¤c6

¥xg7 White is clearly better.) 10 ¥e3 0-0 11 £b3 £c7 Milov,VGruenfeld,Y/Israel

1993.

8

b6

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The recommended antidote to 8 Qd3. Shirov had big problems against this move, which eventually persuaded the Latvian to virtually give up on 8 Qd3. Black plans to annoy

the White queen with

Bc8a6.

9 e4 ¥a6 10 £d2 ¥xf1 11 ¢xf1 ¤e7 12 ¤e2 ¤bc6

12 0-0

13 a4 ¤bc6 14 ¢f2 ¤a5 15 £a2 has previously been assessed as equal by Shirov.

0-0

One wonders though whether he had 13 h4!? up his sleeve in the event of 12

too.

13 h4!?

13 dxc5 13

13

£c7!?

h6

14 ¦h3

ShirovKarpov, Biel 1992.

Shirov,Acanchess/Internet USCF 2000.

NimzoIndian: Saemisch 5

[E26]

c5

6 e3

Last updated: 24/12/03 by John Emms

1 d4 ¤f6 2 c4 e6 3 ¤c3 ¥b4 4 a3 ¥xc3+ 5 bxc3 c5 6 e3

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With this move White plans development before erecting an imposing centre.

6

b6

7 ¥d3

Now White is ready to play e4 without having to play f3, so Black prevents this.

7

¥b7

8 f3

All very natural so far. Once again White is ready to erect a strong central pawn front.

After 8 ¤f3 Black could consider either 8

Be4

and 8

Ne4.

8

¤c6

9 ¤e2

Now 9

0-0

transposes to ECO code E28.

NimzoIndian: Saemisch 5

7 Bd3 b6 [E28]

0-0

6 e3 c5

Last updated: 24/12/03 by John Emms

1 d4 ¤f6 2 c4 e6 3 ¤c3 ¥b4 4 a3 ¥xc3+ 5 bxc3 0-0 6 e3 c5 7 ¥d3 b6 8 ¤e2 ¥b7 9 f3 ¤c6 10 e4 ¤e8

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Typical play from Black the pin threat of Bg5 is prevented and the knight can be reintroduced via d6.

11 0-0

We have now reached a position very similar to the very main line of the Saemisch, but there are two subtle differences: White has played an extra f2f3 and Black has

played

Bb7 is not ideal

because Black usually goes straight to a6 with this bishop. Nevertheless, if anything

White plays an early f2f4 in the Saemisch. On the other hand,

In White's case this is almost a loss of a tempo because very often

Bc8b7.

I still think this difference slightly favours Black he can often use the extra time to

play a quick

planning to meet 12

dxc5 with 12 ¤e5!

Rc8.

After 11 ¥e3 Black can play solidly with

d6, but I prefer 11

¥a6!?,

11 ¦c8!

Adding indirect pressure to the c4pawn. I suspect that Black has nothing to fear after 11 Rc8 and the practical examples have so far supported my view.

Naturally 11

¥a6

is also possible, when 12 f4 transposes to the main line of the Saemisch

(with each player having made an extra move).

11 ¤a5

see Geller,EEuwe,M/Zurich 1953.

12 f4 f5 13 ¤g3 g6 14 dxc5 bxc5 15 ¥e3 ¤a5

was okay for Black in ErikssonNordstrom, Linkoping 1996.

NimzoIndian: Saemisch 5

0-0

6 e3 c5

7 Bd3 Nc6 [E29]

Last updated: 08/09/03 by John Emms

1 d4

1 ¤f6

2 c4 e6 3 ¤c3 ¥b4 4 a3 ¥xc3+ 5 bxc3 0-0 6 e3 c5 7 ¥d3 ¤c6

XIIIIIIIIY

9r+lwq-trk+0

9zpp+p+pzpp0

9-+n+psn-+0

9+-zp-+-+-0

9-+PzP-+-+0

9zP-zPLzP-+-0

9-+-+-zPPzP0

9tR-vLQmK-sNR0

xiiiiiiiiy

The main line of the Saemisch Variation.

8 ¤e2 b6 9 e4 ¤e8!

This move again, sidestepping the possible pin with Bg5 and preparing

10 0-0

Nd6.

10

¥e3 is an interesting sideline see Adams,NShapiro,D/Philadelphia 2002.

10

e5!? With e4e5 White opens more lines of attack against the black kingside. It's a

10

highrisk strategy because White's own king is still in the centre. 10 Nimzo Saemisch/10 e5!?

¥a6

11 f4 f5

¥a6

see

XIIIIIIIIY

9r+-wqntrk+0

9zp-+p+-zpp0

9lzpn+p+-+0

9+-zp-+p+-0

9-+PzPPzP-+0

9zP-zPL+-+-0

9-+-+N+PzP0

9tR-vLQ+RmK-0

xiiiiiiiiy

12 ¤g3

12 exf5 White tries to open up the position as much as possible to suit his bishops. 12 exf5

¥f2 £d7 16 ¤g3 g6 Aleksandrov,A

13 dxc5 bxc5 14 ¥e3 £e7 (14

d6

15

Balashov,Y/St Petersburg 2000.) 15 ¥f2 ¤c7 16 ¤g3 g6 17 ¦e1 ¤e6

XIIIIIIIIY

9r+-+-trk+0

9zp-+pwq-+p0

9l+n+n+p+0

9+-zp-+p+-0

9-+P+-zP-+0

9zP-zPL+-sN-0

9-+-+-vLPzP0

9tR-+QtR-mK-0

xiiiiiiiiy

Yusupov,AShapiro,D/Philadelphia USA 2002.

12 d5!? This is a relatively fresh idea. White offers a pawn and plans to close the position

as well! At first this doesn't look like a good deal, but in fact it transpires that Black

will be struggling for space. 12

¤a5

13 e5 Milov,VPolgar,J/Moscow RUS 2001.

12 g6!?

Black bolsters the f5pawn. Karpov did much to popularise this move in his two famous encounters with Saemisch expert Yusupov.

13 ¥e3

Keeping the tension in the centre.

Again White can open the position with 13 exf5 exf5 14 dxc5 bxc5 15 ¥e3 see Pedersen,NSchandorff,L/Horsens 2003.

13

cxd4!?

14 cxd4 d5!?

XIIIIIIIIY

9r+-wqntrk+0

9zp-+-+-+p0

9lzpn+p+p+0

9+-+p+p+-0

9-+PzPPzP-+0

9zP-+LvL-sN-0

9-+-+-+PzP0

9tR-+Q+RmK-0

xiiiiiiiiy

Yusupov,AKarpov,A/Linares 1993.

NimzoIndian: Leningrad [E30]

Last updated: 13/05/03 by John Emms

1 d4 ¤f6 2 c4 e6 3 ¤c3 ¥b4 4 ¥g5

XIIIIIIIIY

9rsnlwqk+-tr0

9zppzpp+pzpp0

9-+-+psn-+0

9+-+-+-vL-0

9-vlPzP-+-+0

9+-sN-+-+-0

9PzP-+PzPPzP0

9tR-+QmKLsNR0

xiiiiiiiiy

The Leningrad Variation (4 Bg5) is not popular these days, but is due a return to fashion. Notable exponents of the Leningrad include Victor Korchnoi, Jan Timman and the Russian Grandmaster Evgeny Bareev.

4

c5

4

h6

5 ¥h4 c5 6 d5 b5 This 6

b5

gambit line that reminds me of the Blumenfeld Gambit:

7 dxe6 (7 e3 ¥b7 see Leningrad Nimzo: 4

d5 9 e3 0-0 10 ¥d3 see Ward,CHinksEdwards,T/4NCL England 2000.

h6

5 Bh4 c5 6 d5 b5 7 e3 ) 7

fxe6

5 d5 d6 6 e3

8 cxb5

6 f3 h6 (6

exd5

7 cxd5 0-0 8 e4 h6 see Mohandesi,SBarsov,A/Leuven 2002 ) 7 ¥d2?!

Although the consistent 7 Bh4, maintaining the pin is obviously the main move, it is easy to see why some club players may be attracted to this continuation. The logic

may be that the bishop has fulfilled its role of helping to secure a big centre and it can now return evidently with a job well done, simultaneously preventing doubled pawns: Parker,JLautier,J/Mondariz ESP 2000.

This plan is often

preceded by

important idea is

chasing the bishop away from g5. However, another very

'Normal' for Black is now

Bxc3+,

followed by

e6e5

or

Qd8e7.

h7h6,

6

exd5

6

£e7

XIIIIIIIIY

9rsnl+k+-tr0

9zpp+-wqpzpp0

9-+-zppsn-+0

9+-zpP+-vL-0

9-vlP+-+-+0

9+-sN-zP-+-0

9PzP-+-zPPzP0

9tR-+QmKLsNR0

xiiiiiiiiy

7 ¤ge2 A remarkably uncommon old variation. It's logical to support the knight but I suppose the drawback is the temporary incarceration of the lightsquared bishop:

Cooper,JGiddins,S/Birmingham ENG 2000.

¥xc3+ 6

7 bxc3 £e7 8 ¤f3 e5 9 ¤d2 h6 10 ¥h4 g5 11 ¥g3

XIIIIIIIIY

9rsnl+k+-tr0

9zpp+-wqp+-0

9-+-zp-sn-zp0

9+-zpPzp-zp-0

9-+P+-+-+0

9+-zP-zP-vL-0

9P+-sN-zPPzP0

9tR-+QmKL+R0

xiiiiiiiiy

11 ¥f5!

An important move, taking control of the important long b1-h7 diagonal.

(11 would be answered with 12 ¥d3! and it's White who take control.) 12 h4

¦g8 13 hxg5 hxg5 Bareev,EBeliavsky,A/USSR (ch) 1990.

¤bd7

7 cxd5 ¤bd7 8 ¥d3

The critical move, offering a pawn sacrifice to swiftly complete development.

£a5 8

Now Black has threats against both d5 and c3, so White must give up a pawn.

9 ¤ge2 ¤xd5 10 0-0!

Offering a second pawn.

10

¥xc3

11 bxc3

XIIIIIIIIY

9r+l+k+-tr0

9zpp+n+pzpp0

9-+-zp-+-+0

9wq-zpn+-vL-0

9-+-+-+-+0

9+-zPLzP-+-0

9P+-+NzPPzP0

9tR-+Q+RmK-0

xiiiiiiiiy

A crucial position has arisen. White has given up one pawn and another is on offer. In return, White is ahead in development, Black has yet to castle and White has the bishop pair in an open position. No real evaluation has been made of this position and there hasn't been too much practical experience at the highest level. My hunch is that most GMs would rather not play this position as Black. If White avoids the early silly tricks on his bishops then he has good chances to mount a serious initiative

see Nimzo Leningrad: 4

c5

5 d5 d6 6 e3 exd5 7 cxd5 Nbd7/Summary 2001.

11 ¤xc3? ¤xc3 12 bxc3 c4! and Black wins a piece. This is a typical trick for Black.

NimzoIndian: Leningrad 4

h6

5 Bh4

c5 6 d5 d6 [E31]

Last updated: 14/01/02 by John Emms

1 d4 ¤f6 2 c4 e6 3 ¤c3 ¥b4 4 ¥g5 h6 5 ¥h4 c5 6 d5 d6 7 e3 ¥xc3+ 8 bxc3

XIIIIIIIIY

9rsnlwqk+-tr0

9zpp+-+pzp-0

9-+-zppsn-zp0

9+-zpP+-+-0

9-+P+-+-vL0

9+-zP-zP-+-0

9P+-+-zPPzP0

9tR-+QmKLsNR0

xiiiiiiiiy

The main line of the Leningrad.

8

9

£e7

¤bd7

9 ¥d3 e5

10 ¤f3 (10 ¤e2 10 11 0-0 ¤xd3 12 £xd3 Patino Romaris,JOms Pallise,J/Vila

¤e5

Real ESP 2001 ) 10

¤b6

11 0-0 Ward,CGligoric,S/Malta 2000.

10 ¤e2

10 ¤bd7

This whole line seems rather convincing for White and it would appear that if Black wishes to escape the pin then the immediate

may be the solution. Indeed then 11 ¥g3 ¤bd7 12 f3 is considered to be equal by

10 g5

most text books whether Black continues with 12

Rg8

or 12

e4!?.

11 f4!? g5

The recommended response which I might now venture to suggest needs reconsidering.

12 fxg5 ¤g4 13 ¤g3

XIIIIIIIIY

9r+l+k+-tr0

9zpp+nwqp+-0

9-+-zp-+-zp0

9+-zpPzp-zP-0

9-+P+-+nvL0

9+-zPLzP-sN-0

9P+-+-+PzP0

9tR-+QmK-+R0

xiiiiiiiiy

Misanovic,VHunt,H/Batumi GEO 1999.

NimzoIndian: Classical 4

[E32]

0-0

5 e4

Last updated: 30/10/03 by John Emms

1 d4 ¤f6 2 c4 e6 3 ¤c3 ¥b4 4 £c2

XIIIIIIIIY

9rsnlwqk+-tr0

9zppzpp+pzpp0

9-+-+psn-+0

9+-+-+-+-0

9-vlPzP-+-+0

9+-sN-+-+-0

9PzPQ+PzPPzP0

9tR-vL-mKLsNR0

xiiiiiiiiy

At this moment 4 Qc2 is probably the most popular answer to the NimzoIndian, and it's witnessed in some heavyweight Grandmaster battles between the likes of Kasparov, Anand and Kramnik. 4 Qc2 appeals to players who like the bishop pair and a healthy pawn structure. Initially popular earlier this century, when it was adopted by World Champions Capablanca and Alekhine, it drifted out of fashion when defensive resources were found for Black. It seemed that White was wasting too much time in the opening, just to avoid the dreaded doubled pawn complex. However, in the 1980s, the efforts of the American Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan, together with its adoption by Kasparov, meant that the Classical Variation was suddenly catapulted into the position as the main test of the Nimzo.

4

0-0

Black's most popular and reliable response to 4 Qc2.

b6?! 4

5 e4

5 e4!: Popovic,JStojanovic,M/Kragujevac YUG 2000.

Up until the last couple of years this logical looking move has hardly been played. However, recently it's been used by Ivan Sokolov, Nigel Short, as well as Kramnik, so it must be treated with some regard. Ivan Sokolov even had the audacity to wheel out 5 e4 after condemning it quite openly in his book "NimzoIndian Defence Classical Variation", so he either revels in bad positions, or he's had a change of mind! My own view is that 5 e4 is a bit underrated, and we're likely to see a lot more of it in the future.

5

d5

5

c5

6 a3 (6 e5 cxd4 7 a3 £a5 This virtually forces White into a very unclear exchange sacrifice, after which Black's queen ends up in the corner and Black's king is quite

 

exposed. 8 axb4 £xa1 9 exf6 dxc3 10 fxg7 ¦e8 11 bxc3 b5 see Xu Yuanyuan

Vijayalakshmi,S/Calicut 2003.) 6 Lezcano,J/Politiken Cup 2001.

¥xc3+

7

bxc3

d6

8

dxc5?

Ward,C

5

d6

is the solid option: 6 a3 ¥xc3+ 7

bxc3 e5

8

¥d3 c5

9

¤e2 ¤c6 10 d5

¤e7

 

Ivanisevic,INisipeanu,L/Istanbul 2003

 

6

e5 ¤e4 7 ¥d3

 

7 a3 Asking the question of the Nimzo bishop, but falling even further behind in

development. 7

10 cxd4 £a5+ 11 ¢f1 ¤c6 12 ¤e2 ¥d7 (12 13 axb4 £xa1 Shariyazdanov,A

Rashkovsky,N/Oberwart 2002 ) 13 ¦b1 f6 14 cxd5 exd5 El Gindy,EPavlovic,M/Linares 2003.

10 ¤e2 cxd4 11 cxd5 exd5 12 f3 ¤xc3 13 ¤xd4 ¤e4+ 14 ¢e2 £c3 15 ¥xe4

£xa1 with crazy complications see El Gindy,ESimutowe,A/Abuja 2003.

a)

¥xc3+

8 bxc3 c5 9 ¥d3

9

cxd4

£a5

¤b4

b)

9

c5 7

XIIIIIIIIY

9rsnlwq-trk+0

9zpp+-+pzpp0

9-+-+p+-+0

9+-zppzP-+-0

9-vlPzPn+-+0

9+-sNL+-+-0

9PzPQ+-zPPzP0

9tR-vL-mK-sNR0

xiiiiiiiiy

8 cxd5!

It's this simple move which has breathed life back into this variation for White. Earlier both 8 a3 and 8 dxc5 had been tried, neither with any particular success.

exd5 8

9 ¤ge2 cxd4 10 ¤xd4 ¤d7!? 11 f4 £h4+

Kramnik also suggests 11

Ndc5

and 11

Qa5

as possibilities for Black.

11 ¤dc5

12 0-0 ¥xc3 13 bxc3 Ward,CHorvath,J/Malta 2000.

12 g3 £h3

12 ¤xg3?

13 £f2! ¤c5 14 ¥c2 ¤ce4 15 ¥xe4 wins material for White.

13 ¥f1 £h5

XIIIIIIIIY

9r+l+-trk+0

9zpp+n+pzpp0

9-+-+-+-+0

9+-+pzP-+q0

9-vl-sNnzP-+0

9+-sN-+-zP-0

9PzPQ+-+-zP0

9tR-vL-mKL+R0

xiiiiiiiiy

Kramnik,VAdams,M/Cologne 1998.

NimzoIndian: Classical 4

0-0

5 a3

Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 [E32]

Last updated: 29/07/03 by John Emms

1 d4 ¤f6 2 c4 e6 3 ¤c3 ¥b4 4 £c2 0-0 5 a3

White's most popular move, immediately asking the question to the bishop on b4.

5

¥xc3+

6 £xc3

 

XIIIIIIIIY

9rsnlwq-trk+0

9zppzpp+pzpp0

9-+-+psn-+0

9+-+-+-+-0

9-+PzP-+-+0

9zP-wQ-+-+-0

9-zP-+PzPPzP0

9tR-vL-mKLsNR0

xiiiiiiiiy

6

¤e4

6

d6

Signalling the solid approach. Having conceded his darksquared bishop, Black logically aims to place his pawns on darksquares to complement the one still left. 7 ¥g5 Ivanchuk,VNikolic,P/Monaco 2000. (7 f3 see Sasikiran,KKorchnoi,V/Bled

2002.)

6

b5!?

An interesting alternative to the tried and tested 6

b6.

Black offers a pawn for a

lead in development, although in practice, White often soon returns the favour. 7

cxb5 7

2000. 8 a4 This is a very doubleedged way of hanging on to the extra pawn because

White incurs obvious queenside weaknesses. See Van Wely,L

Iordachescu,V/Istanbul 2003.) 8

Hummel,PWard,C/Oakham ENG

9 ¥xb5 ¤e4: Van Wely,LNikolic,P/Wijk aan Zee NED

c6

8 ¥g5 (8 e3 8

cxb5

cxb5

(8

h6?!

2000.) 9 e3 (9 e4? can be met by 9 Kramnik. (10 ¤f3 for example) 10

¤xe4!)

9

¥b7

10 f3!? This is a new wrinkle from

h6 11 ¥xf6 £xf6

XIIIIIIIIY

9rsn-+-trk+0

9zpl+p+pzp-0

9-+-+pwq-zp0

9+p+-+-+-0

9-+-zP-+-+0

9zP-wQ-zPP+-0

9-zP-+-+PzP0

9tR-+-mKLsNR0

xiiiiiiiiy

Kramnik,VAdams,M/It, Dortmund 1998.

7 £c2 f5 8 ¤h3

8

e3 There is no doubt that the black knight on e4 is somewhat of an annoyance to White and that explains why he generally opts to hold back on Nf3. The pawn break f2f3

is just the man for the budging job but White must beware Kishnev,SAdams,M/Solingen GER 2001.

Qh4+.

8

b6

8

¤f3 8

b6

Adianto,Ude Firmian,N/Biel 1995.

8

d6

9 f3 ¤f6 10 e3 e5

 

XIIIIIIIIY

9rsnlwq-trk+0

9zppzp-+-zpp0

9-+-zp-sn-+0

9+-+-zpp+-0

9-+PzP-+-+0

9zP-+-zPP+N0

9-zPQ+-+PzP0

9tR-vL-mKL+R0

xiiiiiiiiy

Black now has his fair share of the centre and can easily develop his pieces. As is so often the case in the Classical variation, White can point toward his bishop pair (minus structural weaknesses) to offer him a long term advantage: Ward,CAdams,M/Redbus KO 2001.

NimzoIndian: Classical 4

0-0

5 a3

Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 b6 [E32]

Last updated: 12/08/03 by John Emms

1 d4 ¤f6 2 c4 e6 3 ¤c3 ¥b4 4 £c2 0-0 5 a3 ¥xc3+ 6 £xc3 b6

XIIIIIIIIY

9rsnlwq-trk+0

9zp-zpp+pzpp0

9-zp-+psn-+0

9+-+-+-+-0

9-+PzP-+-+0

9zP-wQ-+-+-0

9-zP-+PzPPzP0

9tR-vL-mKLsNR0

xiiiiiiiiy

Black simply prepares to develop his bishop along the long diagonal.

7 ¥g5

7 ¤f3 ¥b7 8 e3 d6 9 ¥d3 ¤bd7 10 0-0 ¤e4 gives Black good counterplay see Huss,AKosteniuk,A/Silvaplana 2003.

7

¥b7

XIIIIIIIIY

9rsn-wq-trk+0

9zplzpp+pzpp0

9-zp-+psn-+0

9+-+-+-vL-0

9-+PzP-+-+0

9zP-wQ-+-+-0

9-zP-+PzPPzP0

9tR-+-mKLsNR0

xiiiiiiiiy

¥a6!? 7

This ambitious move is the invention of the Lithuanian Grandmaster Rozentalis.

Instead of occupying the long diagonal, Black immediately hits the c4pawn, so often a target for Black in the Nimzo. This idea is relatively fresh, and the much of

the theory in this line is still developing. 8 e3 (8 ¤f3 8 9 e3 ¤bd7 10 ¥d3 c5

Schandorff,LRozentalis,E/Aarhus 1997. 8 £f3!? A relatively new way of meeting

Ba6. 7

diagonal and attacks the rook on a8. The idea is to interfere with Black's smooth

development on the queenside. 8 9 e3 ¥b7 10 £f4 see Beaulieu,ERoussel

d6

White takes advantage of the fact that there is no black bishop on the long

¤c6

Roozmon,T/Montreal 2003. 8 ¤f3 can be seen in SchandorffRozentalis, Aarhus 1997) 8 opting for a setup involving Bd3 and Ne2. 9 ¤bd7

d6

9 ¥d3 Here we see White

XIIIIIIIIY

9r+-wq-trk+0

9zp-zpn+pzpp0

9lzp-zppsn-+0

9+-+-+-vL-0

9-+PzP-+-+0

9zP-wQLzP-+-0

9-zP-+-zPPzP0

9tR-+-mK-sNR0

xiiiiiiiiy

10 £c2 This move is relatively new, and it looks quite a clever idea to me. Black can get a lot of play against c4, so the idea of Qc2 is to go Qc2a4 at the right moment, forcing the Black bishop to retreat to b7, thus relieving some of the pressure on c4. It's that simple. Of course White could also carry on developing as usual, for example (The older move 10 ¤e2 doesn't seem to cause Black too many problems:

Herraiz Hidalgo,H

10

h6

11

¥h4 c5

12 b4

cxd4 13

exd4 ¦c8 14 £b3

e5

see

Zarnicki,P/Havana 2002.) 10

h6

11 ¥h4 c5 12 ¤e2 ¦c8

XIIIIIIIIY

9-+rwq-trk+0

9zp-+n+pzp-0

9lzp-zppsn-zp0

9+-zp-+-+-0

9-+PzP-+-vL0

9zP-+LzP-+-0

9-zPQ+NzPPzP0

9tR-+-mK-+R0

xiiiiiiiiy

13 £a4 The queen arrives at a4 just in time. Now if the bishop retreats, White no longer

7

c5

needs to worry about c4. Instead of this Black prefers to defend it. 13 cxd4

Ivanov,SKomarov,D/Vrnjacka Banja YUG 1999.) 14 exd4 14 Gustafsson,J/Bled SLO 1999.

(13

¥b7

¤b8

Atalik,S

XIIIIIIIIY

9rsnlwq-trk+0

9zp-+p+pzpp0

9-zp-+psn-+0

9+-zp-+-vL-0

9-+PzP-+-+0

9zP-wQ-+-+-0

9-zP-+PzPPzP0

9tR-+-mKLsNR0

xiiiiiiiiy

This is a perfectly playable alternative to the more popular options of 7

Ba6.

Black immediately strikes at the centre and postpones the decision about where to place the lightsquared bishop. It may even remain on c8 for quite a while. 8 dxc5

It's not imperative for White to capture on c5, but this does seem to be the most

bxc5 9 f3

popular move for White. Other sensible ideas include 8 e3 and 8 Nf3. 8 ¤c6 see Golod,VKacheishvili,G/Las Vegas 2002.

Bb7 and 7

8 f3

White places the e4square under his control at the expense of making his kingside look a little funny. 8 e3 White chooses the setup with e3, f3, Bd3 and Ne2

a) 8

d6

9 f3 ¤bd7 10 ¥d3 c5 11 ¤e2 ¦c8 12 £b3!? Richter,WEmms,J/Bundesliga 1997.

(12 0-0 is probably slightly inaccurate see Tsai,CDonaldson,J/Seattle USA 2002)

b) 8

h6

9 ¥h4 d6 10 f3 Blacking the long diagonal so that the bishop can be developed to

8

h6

it's post at d3. 10

again the cpawn remains a target. Black will step up the pressure with such moves

as

¥a6 14 ¦c1 cxd4 15 exd4 d5 Flear,GSummermatter,D/Chiasso 1991) 13

£b3 d5 Burmakin,VOlafsson,H/Istanbul 2003) 14 Leko,P/Dortmund 2002.

15 £xd4 Bareev,E

¥a6 14 b4 (14

thrown in as well. 12 ¤e2 ¦c8 13 0-0 (13 £d2

11 ¥d3 c5! This is the way to play for Black here. Once

¤bd7

Rc8

and

Ba6,

with perhaps

d5

cxd4

d5 8

9 e3 ¤bd7 Privman,BHebert,J/Philadelphia USA 2001.

9 ¥h4 d5

Still the main line, Black prevents White from playing 10 e4.

10 e3 ¤bd7

XIIIIIIIIY

9r+-wq-trk+0

9zplzpn+pzp-0

9-zp-+psn-zp0

9+-+p+-+-0

9-+PzP-+-vL0

9zP-wQ-zPP+-0

9-zP-+-+PzP0

9tR-+-mKLsNR0

xiiiiiiiiy

10 ¦e8

exd5, when the rook

will be effective on the efile. 11 ¥d3 ¤bd7 12 ¤e2 c5 13 cxd5 cxd4 14 ¤xd4

¤xd5 15 ¥xd8 ¤xc3 16 ¥h4 (16 ¥xb6?! is not good see Kniest,O

Hracek,Z/Pardubice 2002.) 16

is slightly unusual. Black anticipates the sequence cxd5,

¤e5

see Gurevich,MKosten,A/Bordeaux 2003.

11 cxd5

When this move was first played it seemed that Black could reach a comfortable equality. However, the fact that players such as Kasparov and Kramnik are playing the white side of this line, means there's obviously been some discoveries made here for white players.

11 ¤h3 It looks a bit strange to develop this knight on h3, but it leaves the way clear for the

f1-bishop to develop, and the knight can enter the game via f2 or f4. 11 Gurevich,MEmms,J/Gent 1991.

c5 12 cxd5

11 ¤xd5

12 ¥xd8 ¤xc3 13 ¥h4

13 ¥xc7 ¤d5 14 ¥d6 ¤xe3 is fine for Black.

¤d5

13 14 ¥f2

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14 c5

The other possibility for Black here is 14

f5!?.

15 e4

15 ¥b5 ¤5f6: KramnikAdams, Linares 1999.

15 ¤f4

Certainly ambitious. Instead 15

15 ¤e7

16 ¥b5

Ne7 is a safe retreat.

16 ¥b5 ¥c6!? Topalov,VLeko,P/Cannes FRA 2002.

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Sokolov,IHansen,C/Malmo SWE 2001.

NimzoIndian: Classical 4

Qxd5 [E34]

d5

5 cxd5

Last updated: 14/01/02 by John Emms

1 d4 ¤f6 2 c4 e6 3 ¤c3 ¥b4 4 £c2 d5

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d5 4

is a counterattacking line in which Black tries to take immediate action against White's early queen move. This line can lead to extremely sharp positions.

5 cxd5 £xd5 6 ¤f3

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6 e3 Preventing the queen swap that may come with 6 Nf3 Qf5 is probably a more

7 ¥d2 ¥xc3 8 ¥xc3 Kind of reminiscent of a

Queen's Gambit Chigorin Defence, Black gets to keep his queen centralised at the

expense of the bishop pair. 8

games in this system see White converting his bishop pair advantage in the endgame

9 ¥xd4 ¤c6 10 ¥c3 0-0 11 ¤f3 Typically

ambitious way for White to play. 6

c5

cxd4

or Black doing enough to hold. 11

¦d8

(11

b6

Shipov,SShort,N/Port Erin HUN

1999 ) 12 ¥e2 £e4 Ivanchuk,VGelfand,B/Monaco MNC 2001.

6

£f5

This idea of the Ukrainian Grandmaster Oleg Romanishin has really put 5

Qxd5 on the

map. On first sight it looks a little strange to offer the exchange of queens at the cost

of doubled pawns, but it appears that the pawn on f5 helps to keep a grip on the all important e4square.

7 £xf5

This continuation hardly sets the pulses racing, but more and more White players may look to try and grind out some endgame advantage. 7 £d1!? This move was the invention of Boris Gelfand. White simply aims to develop and show that the Black queen is badly placed on f5. Black must proceed actively to

justify his early play. 7

c5

Sokolov,IKortschnoj,V/Dresden 1998.

exf5 7

8 a3 ¥e7 9 ¥g5 ¥e6 10 e3 c6 11 ¥d3 ¤bd7 12 0-0

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Kasparov,GKramnik,V/Linares ESP 1999.

NimzoIndian: Classical 4

exd5 [E35]

d5

5 cxd5

Last updated: 12/10/03 by John Emms

1 d4 ¤f6 2 c4 e6 3 ¤c3 ¥b4 4 £c2 d5 5 cxd5 exd5

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This is more adventurous than the solid 5

Qxd5.