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offbeat

nlmzo-

Indian

by Chris Ward

Gloucester Publishers pic www.everymanchess.com


Pirst published in 2005 by Gloucester Publishers pIc (formerly Everyman Publishers
pIc), Northburgh House, 10 Northburgh Street, London EC1V OAT

I
Copyright © 2005 Chris Ward

The right of Chris Ward to be identified as the author of this work has been as­
CONTENTS
serted in accordance with the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic
tape, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of the publisher.

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data


A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

ISBN 1 857443 6 9 1

Bibliography 4
Distributed in North America by The Globe Pequot Press, P.O Box 480,
Introduction 5
246 Goose Lane, Guilford, CT 06437-0480.

All other sales enquiries should be directed to Everyman Chess, Northburgh House, 1 d4 tLlf6 2 c4 e6 3 tLlc3 il.. b4
10 Northburgh Street, London EC1V OAT
tel: 020 7253 7887 fax: 020 74903708
1 The Main Line Open Samisch (4 f3 d5 5 a3 ii.xc3+ 6 bxc3 c5) 9
email: info@everymanchess.com
2 4 f3 dS 5 a3: Alternatives to the Main Line 40
website: www.everymanchess.com

3 4f3: Others 54
Everyman is the registered trade mark of Random House Inc. and is used in this 4 The Stand-alone Samisch (4 a3 i.xc3+ 5 bxc3) 69
work under license from Random House Inc.
5 4 i.g5 (The Leningrad Variation) 85
6 4g3 108
7 4�b3 125
To !J!J brother Edward; thanksfor allyour belp. 8 Very Rare Fourth Moves for W'hite 135

Index of Complete Games 143

EVERYMAN CHESS SERIES (formerly Cadogan Chess)


Chief advisor: Garry Kasparov
Commissioning editor: Byron Jacobs
General editor: John Emms

Typeset and edited by First Rank Publishing, Brighton.


Cover design by Horatio Monteverde.
Production by Navigator Guides.
Printed and bound in the US by Versa Press.
BIBLIOGRAPHY I INTRODUCTION I

Welcome to OJ/beal Nimzo-Indian in which bishop or it could well be that he will gain a
Books
basically I'm going to be taking a look at the lead in development whilst \'V'hite continues
Eay Guide to the Nimzu-Indian, John Rmms (Everyman 1 998)
more unusual white approaches to meeting to move pawns in a quest for central control.
Rncydopaedia orChess Openings Volume b (3rd edition, Sahovski I nformator 1 998)
the Nimzo-Indian Defence: 1 d4 CDfo 2 c4 eo The doubled c-pawn structure immediately
NeJP In OJess 1 d4 K�yb()uk (New In Chess 1983)
3 CDc3 i.b4. crops up in the Siimisch variation character­
Nimzu-Indian Ka.rparOlJ Variation, Chris \V'ard (Everyman 2003)
ised by the move 4 a3.
Nunn's Chess Openings, John Nunn, Graham Burgess, John Emms &Joe Gallagher
(Everyman 1999)
Play the 4 f3 Nimzo-Indian, Yuri Yakovich (Gambit 2004)

Periodicals
Chess In/ormants 1-91
Chess Today
(}JeJSBase AIaga'<jne
ChesJPublishir�g.mm
Ne1J) In Chess Yearbooks 1-73

Databases
Mega Corr 3
The diagram above is the starting position
Mega Database 2005
of the highly respected defence that 1 myself The Siimisch
The Week in Chess 1-535
have employed as Black ever since the word
go. \v'hite's 1 d4 and then 2 c4 was actually I have always been a 1 d4 player as \v'hite,
sneakily preparing for world domination via and as a junior this was the line that I first
e2-e4 too but Black has put the breaks on adopted. Perhaps back then there was the
that plan for now by pinning the c3-knight. hope that mack might fall for 4" ..!ia5?? .s b4
The obvious drawback of 3.".ib4 is that .J¥,b6 6 c5 but, that aside, it just seemed to
Black must be prepared to concede this clarify the situation.
bishop for the knight. In such a scenario it Often in the Nimzo Black takes on c3
could well be that Black 'Will seek a closed without any provocation and in that respect
game where a knight may be superior to a it may seem like a waste of a move to play 4

5
Intr o ductio n
O ffb e at Nim z o - In dian

Austrian GM Rudolf Spielmann. move 3i.g5, a queenside fianchetto is devoid


a3. Indeed it could also be argued that the chapters involve Simisch and 4 f3 intersec­
of point should White easily arrange f2-f3
move is detrimental as a hole is created on b3 tions. That is not always the case though,
and e2-e4. \\'hite has extra pawn options
and \\'hite's dark-squared bishop is deprived thus justifying the inclusion of a 'stand alone'
without his knight on f3 but of course Black
of access to the a3-square. The advantage, chapter for each move each as well.
- certainly need not employ 4...b6?! after 4
however, is that Willte will never have to Barring a couple of the rare fourth move
SLg5.
worry about Black preserving his dark­ alternatives detailed in the book's final chap­
squared bishop, and without having commit­ ter, I have tried everything against the
ted any of his kingside (e.g. a knight to f3) he Nimzo-Tndian, with my teenage years focus­
can now get on with the formation he de­ sing on an earl y COtillter -pin:
sires. That formation often includes a pawn
on f3 and, if allowed, then a pawn on e4 too.
The pieces will slot in around the pawns.
Probably it is a litde harsh to refer to the
many of this book's fourth moves as 'offbeat'
4 'lIib3 (Spielmann variation)
but really it's all relative. Amongst the world's
elite 4 'ii'c 2 and 4 e3 are the most popular
This is a crafty attempt to gain a tempo on
variations, with 4 tiJf3 also having a big fol­
the far more popular 'Classical' variation
lm.ving.
because unlike 4 �c2 it immediately puts the
That's not to say though that top players
question to Black's bishop. Upon the con­ 4 lLlf3 b6 5 i..g 5
haven't dabbled in this book's offerings be­
tinuation 4... i.xc3+(?!) 5 'ji'xc3 one would
cause they most certainly have. Indeed, take 4
have to say that \X'hite's early gueen sortie
f3 for example:
would have been a definite success. White
The Leningrad
would have gained a bishop for a knight
\\�thout compromising his pawn structure
If one assumes that \X1hite intends casding
and without even having to expend time on
kingside then developing the gueenside
a2-a3. The catch is of course that Black
bishop seems a litde illogical at this particular
shouldn't concede his bishop so cheaply, and
juncture. However, 4 SLg5 always held an
indeed after the more sensible 4...c5, for ex­
appeal for me and indeed as a grandmaster I
ample, the white queen is arguably more
returned to it for a period 'With (if I say so
vulnerably placed and certainly in the way of
myself]) excellent results. The justification for

a b-pawn advance. Usually les common lines
prioritising this bishop move is that \Vhite

such as 4 ifb3 are empl yed by strong play­
may not want it locked inside the pawn that
ers only as surprise weapons when they are 4 tiJf3 c5 5 g3
may only make it to e3, and a decision on the
hoping to catch their opponents unprepared.
kingside development hasn't been made vet.
It could cost Black dearly not to take them It's also worth noting here and now that if
4 f3 (Open Samisch) The latter may sound like a lame reason b ut seriously. contemplating ...d7-dS after having already
the fact is that it may depend on how Black
What I do not discuss in this book is 4 included ...b7-b6, Black should be sure to
This kind of updated Samisch was first continues that dictates whether \\'hite wants
CDf3 and, in particular, the follo'Wing two remember the white queen check on a4. I
brought to my attention by the games of the a pawn or a knight on f3 and indeed whether
positions: can tell you that many a (usually!) strong
super-GM Alexei Shirov. \Xfhite immediately the king's knight wants to go to f3, e2 or
player has blundered in this manner.
battles to force his e-pawn to e4 and deem � even h3. See f oll owing diagr ams
1 concentrated on these two positions
this more relevant than 4 a3, particularly if The majority of this book is dedicated to 4
Although the first of the two may share (and indeed the one after 4 tiJf3 0-0 5 JfLg5)
that move can be omitted altogether. The a3, 4 f3 and 4 iLg5 \vhere, as well as transpo­
some of its characteristics with the Leningrad in my recent book entitled Nimzo-Indian MS­
reader will soon discover why there is a ten­ sitions, often similar plans are encountered
there is unlikely to be an exact overlap. That parrJlJ Variation. During my years as an Inter­
dency for 4 f3 and 4 a3 to transpose to the both for White and Black. Other moves are
is because although they both involve the national Master I reached the second posi-
same position and hence why two of the discussed tl10ugh including a favourite of the

7
6
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dian

tion on numerous occasions. However, after In case anyone was wondering, there is no
becoming dissatisfied \vith 4 lbf3 b6 (prefer­ bias shown in dus book. Some W1Ute players
ring to play Black!), I graduated to 4 g3 in­ could easily be tempted by many of lines

I
stead. covered wlulst Black should also be well
prepared. 1 have encountered both sides of
these positions and when it comes to as­
CHAPTER ONE
sessments I am merely telling the truth!
One truth is that dUs is an ambitious pro­
ject. There have been books on the Samisch,
books on the Leningrad and more recently
books on 4 f3 and yet I've attempted to en­
compass these and more into just one text!
Frankly, writing opening books can be a
nightmare as these days there are huge
amounts of practical games available, often
even in what one nught othef\'vi.se deem as
1 d4 .!iJf6 2 c4 e6 3 .!iJc3 �b4 4 f3 d5 5 option) or 8 'iIld3. The advantages that 8
comparative sidelines. The emphasis in this
a3 ..txc 3 + 6 bxc3 c5 'iIld3 has over 8 'iVd2 are that it adds extra
4 g3 book has been on selecting relatively recent
In dus first chapter I'm dealing with the support to e4 and c4, eyes up the b5-square
encounters that demonstrate instructive or
popular position reached after 4 f3 d5 5 a3 and doesn't obstruct the dark-squared
Tn the mal11 my outings with the above interesting ideas. It is always possible to learn
j,xc3+ 6 bxc3 c5, which of course also arises bishop. The disadvantages are that it poten­
position led me directly into the realms of the from strong players' games although the odd
via dIe move order 4 a3 .1i.xc3+ 5 bxc3 c5 6 tially obstructs its own light-squared bishop
Kasparov Nimzo via 4...c5 5 lbf3, ald10ugh it lower level game is included if justified by dIe
f3 dS. The main move for \X1ute here is the and it is vulnerable to attack from Black's
seemed to me that my opponents often me­ entertainment value!
immediate capture in the centre with 7 cxd5, remaining bishop.
chanically played 4...c5 \vithout much Enjoy!
and dUs is the subject of Games 2-11. The Trends dictate that R dxc5 now super­
thought. Indeed I later concluded that Black
advantage of this move is that Black must seded bodl of tlle \vhite queen moves in
was probably better off delaying this move Chris Ward,
make an immediate decision on how to re­ popularity, and it is probably not unfair to
and possibly adopting a set-up pairing ...d7- Beckenham,
capture - in Game 1 \X1Ute refrains from dus say that 8 dxc5 is the main line of the 4 f3
d6 and ...e6-e5 or a quick ...d7-d5. I study the March 2005
capture but Black doesn't face any real diffi­ Nimzo. The big question then is 'what is
alternatives to 4...c5 in Chapter 6.
culties. Black's best response?' In Game 8 Rlack
After 7 cxdS Black has a choice of two re­ plays 8 ...f5, dissuading W1Ute from playing
captures (7 .. :iI!xd5? S e4! isn't worth consid­ e2-e4. More popular, however, is 8...'iIla5
ering). The advantage of 7...exd5 (Games 2- (Games 10-11), immediately hitting the
4) is obvious - 'W1Ute will have to work a weaknesses on c3 and c5. \'Ve end dIe chap­
little hard to get his pawn to e4. In fact White ter ",i.th a look at the rare but logical-looking
normally begins widl dIe modest 8 e3, after R .. ctJd7, which has been used by English
.

which Black can try the tricky 8 ..'iVc7 (Came


. CM and Ninno expert l'vIichaei Adams.
2) or the more usuaIS ..O-O (Games 3-4).
.

7...lbxdS is featured in the majority of Gamel


games here (Cames 5-11) because, put quite G .Sagalchik-V .Akopian
simply, it is much more popular. W1Ute may New York 1998
get a free run at e2-e4, but for now he needs
to bear in nUnd the threat to his c-pawn, 1 d4 .!iJf6 2 c4 e6 3 0Jc3 �b4 4 a3
which is not so easy to deal with as it first .ltxc3+ 5 bxc3 c5 6 f3 d5 7 e3?!
appears. In Games 5-7 W1Ute defends his c­ Actually, it seems a little harsh to be sug­
pawn with either 8 'iIld2 (the least common gesting that this move is dubious, but really it

9
8
Th e M a in Lin e O p e n Samis c h (4 (3 d5 5 a 3 Jl.xc 3 + 6 b x c 3 c 5)
O ffb eat Nim z o - I n dia n

tions whereby a similar structure can be fa­


is a little wet for such a sharp system. \X'hen tLlbd7 1 3 j"bS!? c4 1 4 0-0 would b e fairly vourable for W'hite but here he has wasted
White plays f2-£3 so quickly, ideally he wants unclear but the text merely swaps off a rare far too much time.
to get e2-e4 played in one move rather than developed piece!) 1 1 ...j"d7 12 �xd7+ 1 2 iLxa6 lLlxa6 1 3 lLle2 cxd4
pussyfooting around with e2-e3. tLlbxd7 13 c4 0-0 1 4 f4 bS! (correctly pressur­ Black is prepared to saddle himself with
ising \x'hite, who is severely under­ an isolated d-pawn because of the c-file
developed) 1 S .ii.b2 bxc4 1 6 i.xf6? (Willte is domination that the pawn exchange entails.
worse but this doesn't help the situation) 1 4 cxd4 'iVc4 1 5 ':a2 ':ac8 1 6 0-0 lLlc7
1 6...'�Jxf6 17 iVxc4 'it'aS+ 18 �e2 .!:.ab8 1 9 16....l:!.c6!?, intending to treble tlle major
'it>f2 tLlg4+ 2 0 �g3 tLlxc3 2 1 �xe4 lIfe8 22 pieces on the c-ftle, looks even more con­
'iVd3 c4 0-1 F.Santos Olivera-B.Lalic, Dos vincing but Black clearly wanted to relocate
Hermanas 2004. his knight to sunnier climes.
8 Jl.d3 1 7 a4
After 8 cxd5 tLlxdS 9 tLle2 \'V'hite may 9 . . . b6 After 17 .M.c2 'iVb5 \v'hite's f1-rook
then feel silly about taking two moves to get Supporting the c5-pawn but more impor- doesn't communicate with its compatriot
his pawn to e4. Indeed, whilst 9... cxd4 10 tantly preparing the challenging ... iLa6. quickly enough.
cxd4 CDc6 1 1 e4 CDb6 looks fine for Black Also very reasonable is 9...CDc6 which 1 7 . . JUe8 1 8 lLlg3 g6
because a knight or two can eye up the c4- threatens to embarrass the white queen via Keeping the white knight out of an excel­
Black players who are frightened by square, 1 O...f5!? is also interesting. ...CDaS. Then very ugly for Willte was 1 0 dxcS lent post on f5, but now W'hite has bought
../2JxdS (after cxdS) because of the speed in 8 . . . 'iUc7 tLle5 1 1 .1Le2 'iVxcs 1 2 cxd5 exd5 1 3 �b4 himself some time.
which e2-e4 arrives, may not be so worried There is certainly no compulsion for Black 'i!lc7! 1 4 CDh3 i.xh3 IS gxh3 'i!ld7 1 6 'i!lh4 1 9 iLd2
about recapturing that way next turn as to commit anything yet, although 8... dxc4!? 9 .!:.ac8 1 7 �f2 'i!If5 18 'iVf4 CDd3+ 19 .1Lxd3
\Xlhite will have effectively wasted a tempo. �xc4 �c7 would see him achieving Bogdan 'it'xd3 20 ga2 gxc3 21 �d2 �c2 22 .l:.hdl
7 . . . 0-0 J ,alic's recent position (see the note to .l:!.fc8 23 �e 1 'i!Ic3 0-1 , as seen in P .Mas Re­
Instead 7.. /iJc6 8 .l:i:b1 0-0 includes a Black's previous move) but \vith ...0-0 in for corda-l\LSerrano Pertinez, Barcelona 200 1 .
different approach to the text, but after 9 free. Black has scored very highly from that 1 0 cxd5 exd5
cxdS tLlxdS 10 'iVd2 'iVe7 1 1 �d3 cxd4 1 2 position too, with the second player going on Another drawback of 9 'i!lb3 is that now
cxd4 e S Black's position was definitely to convert the full point after 1 0 tLle2 cxd4 Black threatens a simple fork.
starting to look very satisfactory. Willte has 1 1 'i!lxd4 (already it seems to me that \x'hite 1 1 'ifbl iLa6!
the bishop pair but his own king is starting to is worse as he won't be able to drum up
look shaky on the open board. Indeed enough play to compensate him for his weak
Willte's 'extra' centre pawn wasn't looking quee�side pawns) 11 ...CDc6 12 'iVcs tLld7 1 3
like such a bonus after the continuation 1 3 'i!lbS 4Jce5 1 4 jLa2 CDcS IS 0-0 b 6 1 6 c4
tLle2 exd4 1 4 exd4 �e6 1 S 0-0 .l:i:ac8 1 6 .!:.el �a6 17 'iVb4 .!:.ac8 1 8 iLb2 CDed3 19 iVd2
gfd8, and indeed 17 �h 1 b6 18 f4 "iVf6 1 9 tLlxb2 20 �xb2 CDd3 21 �c3 jLxc4 22 jLxc4 I promised I wouldn't lie to you and I
tLlg3 �xd4 i n fact saw it simply drop off in 'i¥xc4 23 'iVxc4 M-xc4 in G.sagalchik­ won't. Suddenly \'Villte's position is looking a
the game J.Bick-V.l\filov, Biel 2003. YDokhoian, Nabereznye Chelny 1988. bit brighter. enlike Black he has the chance
Similarly to the main game, Black could 9 'it'b3 to exchange off his isolated pawn and he can
'
select the immediate 7.. :iVc7!? The Croatian This doesn't look very attractive but even make Black's queenside a target. His
grandmaster Bogdan Lalic prefers that to \X'hite had to do something about the threats pawn chain from the h- to the d-files con­
7...dxc4 despite the following impressive to his c-pawns. After 9 'iVc2 dxc4 1 0 iLxc4, trols some useful squares and now he is
encounter: 8 j"xc4 'i!lc7 9 'i!lc2 (\vThite had to 1O...b6 is still perfectly plausible but an obvi­ ready to challenge for the c-flle.
deal with the threats on the c-file but should ous danger to W'hite is shown in the follow­ As \v'hite can't realistically avoid the trade, 1 9 . . . lLle6
also consider 9 �a2!? and 10 'i!ld3!?) 9...eS 10 ing: 1l1..jLd7 11 CDe2 cxd4 1 2 cxd4 .!:.c8 0-1 this offer of a swap eliminates \Xlhite's bishop For mack's part, c6 is clearly a much bet­
d5 (probably Willte should eliminate Black's J.Fischer-D.Adla, Badalona 1 993. Yes, the c­ pair, leaving his remaining one locked inside ter square for the knight than a6.
next move by playing 1 0 e4!? himself) file is a big concern and it's worth observing the pawn structure. J ,ater you will see situa- 20 a5 bxa5
1O...e4!? 11 .ltbS+? ( 1 1 fxe4 0-0 12 tLl£3 9 cxdS cxd4! too.

1 1
10
Th e Main Lin e O p e n Samis ch (4 f3 d5 5 a 3 iL x c 3 + 6 b x c 3 c5)
O f fb e a t Nimzo-In dia n

33 .. .lDf 1 +! 34 �g2
And definitely not 20...bS?? 21 Mel, trap­ he would have been perfectly justified! Even
Alternatives are no better, e.g. 34 'it'g4
ping the queen. the straightforward 3U...etJge4 31 etJxe4 etJxe4
'i'c8+ 3S 'i¥ixgS 'iVfS+ 36 �h6 'iUhS mate.
21 .u.c 1 fVa6 22 Itxa5 would leave Black with a superbly posted
34...fVxf4!
With all things considered, probably 22 knight. Note 32 Mxa7 labl 33 'it'n cJJg7,
Even more deadly than the queen and
Mxc8!? Mxc8 23 MxaS leaves W11ite ,'lith the when W11ite's position is really uncomfort­
knight pairing is the queen and two knights
upper hand. able.
'pairing'! Mate is threatened via ...etJe3+.
22.. J:bc 1 + 23 �xc1 '�b6 24 'li'a 1 rIe7 3 1 Itb5?
35 iLf2 tL:le3 + !
25 tL:le2 Itb7 26 tL:lc3
W'hite is getting to grips with the black
isoianis.
26 .. :�c7!? 27 'iVa2
27 etJxdS etJxdS 28 Y.xdS iVc2 29 iVc3
'iVdH 30 �f2 (or 30 �el Mb2!!, with this
9 tL:le2
rook being untouchable and serious prob­
The main alternative is 9 Ma2
lems inevitable on g2) 30... Mc7 is the sort of
counterplay that Black is after.
27 .. :�b8 28 ..te 1 ?!
Black was threatening 28 ...!'!.b2 but there
is definitely the feeling that things are starting
to tum. Instead 28 etJxd5!? etJxdS 29 iVxdS
MbH 30 'it'f2 �xh2 31 Mxa7 looks very 31 Mxa7? is dealt ,vitl1 beautifully by
36 �xe3 iVf3 + !! 0 - 1
plausible as actually Black has the weaker of :
31. .Mxg2+!! 32 'it'xg2 iVb2+ 33 'it'g3 'iixh2+ A lovely way t o wrap things up. Mate will
the two kings. 34 �xg4 'iVg2+ 3S <ll.g3 'iUh3+ 36 �xgS h6+
follow ,'lith 37 ...etJh3.
28 ...Itb2 29 �a4 tL:lg5! 37 'i¥if6 'iVe6 mate, but 31 etJdl!? looks like
some sort of a defence. Black has all the fun Game 2
though.
S .Volkov-A.lstratescu
31 . . . Itxg2+!!
Korinthos 2002
Excellent stuff!
and that sneaky move is a common theme
32 �xg2 tDxe3+
1 d4 tL:lf6 2 c4 e6 3 tL:lc3 iLb4 4 f3 in tl1ese scenarios. The rook guards the sec­
Reiterating my transpositional spiel, our ond rank where it is also available to switch
previous encounter saw 4 a3 but after Black's from one place to another and, perhaps
sixth move we reach the same position any­ above all, it is now no longer vulnerable to a
way. fork on c3. Now Black must decide whether
4 . ..d5 5 a3 ..txc3 + 6 bxc3 c5 7 cxd5 or not to enter an early trade of pawns:
exd5 a) 9...j,fS 10 etJe2 .!2Jc6 1 1 g4 �e6 12 etJf4
The more popular 7. ..etJxdS will be dis­ when, according to Ftacnik, both 12...h6 13
cussed in Games S-11. �d3 0-0-0 14 0-0 gS 1S etJxe6 fxe6 and
With White seemingly playing around the
8 e3 �c7 12...0-U-0 13 gS etJd7 leave \);i'hite with a
edges, Black starts to mount an offensive.
The flexible 8...U-U is covered in the next slight edge. I wouldn't disagree with tlut as
30 f4
two games but there is a case for the text as it certainly he retains his bishop pair. He also
This looks like a really ugly move but the
puts a spanner in W'hite's works. Specifically, has a space advantage, but it's not clear
concept of ...etJxf3+ would have left Black's
White can't develop naturally with 9 �d3? where his king belongs and Black's position
queen and rook combining in awesome fash­ 33 �g3?
(intending 10 lfle2) because it falls foul of is quite solid.
ion. This loses by force but 33 'it'f2 'iVxf4+ 34
9...cxd4 when the queen check on c3 is seri­ b) 9...cxd4!? 10 cxd4 j,fS claims the bl-h7
30 ...tL:lg4 cJJe 2 etJg2! would also leave Black with a
(JUS. diagonal before W'hite has a chance to play
If W'hite was starting to worry here then wicked attack.

13
12
O f fb e a t Nimz o - I n dia n Th e M a in Lin e Op e n Sami s ch (4 '3 d5 5 a 3 �xc 3 + 6 bxc3 c5)

.i.d3. This move is very logical but, at the .i.xe419 M g 1 (or 1 9 nh3 Mc2 2 0 'Yi' d 1 l:'!.fc8 N .Mitkov, Sitges 2000 .
. sion on e4, the obvious downside is that the
Abig name for Black in these ...exdS e3-pawn is weak.
same time, it's double-edged as \X,'hire can when Black had very good compensation for
attack the bishop with his kingside pawns. the piece in Wells-Suba, London 1991, a variations is the Rumanian GM l'vfikhail Suba 1 3 �e2 s..d 7

Time to branch out: game that Black went on to 'W-in) 1 9...�c2 20 and that is why we should take 9...hS, secur­
b 1 ) After 1 1 g4 i.g6 1 2 h4!? the simple it'd1 �fc8 2 1 .nal 'iYh2 when Black is win­ ing the fS-square for the bishop, very seri­
1 2. "h5 1 3 g5 ctJgS 14 ctJe2 ctJe7 is fairly un­ ning, ously. It's easy to see how things could get
clear Jue to some weak white holes. flow­ T can recall grandmaster John Emms and very murky, although after the 10 c4 cxd4 1 1
ever, mack can also dabble in something like myself analysing many of the above lines in lLJxd4 0-0 1 2 cxd5 lLJxd5 1 3 'ifb3 ctJd7 1 4 e4
1 2".ctJbd7!? 13 h5 .tbl (\'<'hite should de­ the days before Fritz arrived on the scene to tDf4 1 5ctJb5 "i¥bs 1 6 �c3 tbe6 17 .i.c4ctJb6
cline the 'offering' 1 3".�e4 and settle for an spoil a lot of the tactics! 1S ..txe6 of Y.Moskalenko-M.Suba, Alicante
edge via 1 4 ilLg2 .td3 15 iVxd3! 'iVxc 1 + 1 6 Regarding other \X'hite ninth moves, 2000 I'm not sure why White offered a draw
�f2) 1 4 .l:Ib2 �g3+ 1 5 �d2 (or 1 5 11f2l1c8 though it solves a development problem it as the threat of ctJc7 with or \\.1thout iLf4
16ctJe2 'ii'c7 17 g5 �c2 1 8 �d2 tbg8 with a makes no sense to seek a bishop trade via 9
looks rather powerful.
bizarre position) 15...4Je4+ (or even itb5+. 9 i..d2 is not very energetic willist the 10 dxc5

1 5...i.e4!?) 16 fxe4 i.. xe4 1 7 ctJe2 �f2 1 8 jury is still out on the 9 g4 0-0 1 0 lLJe2 B.e8
Ith3 lLJb6. I would say that Black gets some 1 1 iLg2 ctJc6 1 2 0-0, as seen III
excitement for his piece but perhaps Wl1ite V,Moskalenko-P.Mascaro March, Mallorca The alternative 13. .J::r e8 also looks very
should try to simplify via 19 �xb6 axb6 20 2000. White's bishops will always have po­ sensible seeing as \XtlUte can't castle because
'iVe1 . tential but I still suspect that most White of 1 4.J:i.xe3!.
b2) 1 1 ctJe2ctJbd7! 12 g4 i..g6 players wouldn't be ecstatic with their short­ 1 4 <t>f2

term control here, Thanks to the control and cover that the
9 lbc6
. . .
f3-pawn offers, the wrute king is quite safe
here.
1 4...lLla5 1 5 �b4 �ac8 1 6 �d 1 litfe8 1 7
�a2lbc4

White takes tlle opportunity to grab the


pawn which leads to a typical Nimzo-Indian
structure. \X''hite has an extra pawn but all
three of his queenside ones arc isolated. If
Black recoups the one on cS then he will
have pressure against the pawn on c3 but in

is quite complex but Black seems to have the interim \Xtbite has control of many useful
his fair share of the play, for example: squares.
b21) 13 h4l::i.c8 1 4 h5 �c2. 10 . . . 0-0 1 1 lLlf4
1\S you will notice a big strategical debate
b22) 1 3 ctJf4 Mc8 14 ..td2 .i.c2 1 5 'iVa 1 in these lines is the tactical versus positional Upon 11 lLJd4 Black should of course not
(Black also had the initiative after 15 Vi'c1 g5 elements that arise from the pawn structure be interested in a trade and should instead
16 lLJe2 h5! in .J.Pomes Marcet-fv1.Suba, Cas­ derived by 9... cxd4 10 cxd4. Although Black prefer 11...ctJeS. I think that generally speaking the key to
tellar del Valles 1994) 1S ...gS 1 6 iLd3 itxd3 gets the isolated pawn on dS, ironically after 1 1 . . . 'i\Va5 1 2 lib3 'iVxc5 this rniddlegame is either not swapping off
1 7 lLJxd3 h5 1 8 gxhS ItxhS was comfortably 1 O...1Lf5 11 g4 .ic2 1 2 'iVd2 h6 1 3 a4 i.h7 Wbite wins this game but as it stands now the queens or at the very least not swapping
better for Black, who \vent on to win in 1 4 .ta3 (this bishop is a real pain!) 14 ...lLJc6 it is difficult to say that Black is worse. Yes, them off under unfavourable circumstances,
B.I IaIldorsson-I.Sokolov, Reykjavik 2000. 15 tbc3 a6 16 x:tcl 'it'a5 17 .te2 0-0-0 18 the white bishops could be very useful in the Here 17...'Ii'c7 isn't unappealing as after 1 8
b23) 13 a4 0-0 14 h4 !hc8 1 5 Ita3 'iVd6 'it'b2l:i.he8 19 �f2 �e6 20 i.c5 �d7 21 i..b 6 endgame but in the meantime the black lLJxdS lLJxd5 19 IIxdS Black would have
1 6 h5 �c2 1 7 '*'d2 4Je4!? (the less radical 'iVb4 22 'Yi'xb4 ctJxb4 23 ctJxd5+ Black had knights can make a nuisance of themselves. 1 9 ....ie6.
1 7".tbb6 is also a consideration) 1 8 fxe4 suffered t.ac6cally too in V.Moskalenko- Although the pawn on f3 prevents an inuu- 1 8 �d4

14 15
Th e Main Lin e Op e n Samis ch (4 f3 d5 5 a 3 :i;,.x c 3 + 6 bxc3 c5)
O ffb e a t Nimz o - In dia n

8..."iVc7 (with the move order 1 d4 lbf6 2 c4 vaded and l3lack is ahvays going to be reluc­
18 lbxd5 isn't that stunning a tactic, e.g.
e6 3 ttJc3 Ab4 4 f3 d5 5 a3 Axc3+ 6 bxc3 c5 tant to play ... g6 because of the dark holes
18...tiJxd5 19 "iVxc5 J:!.xc5 20 Axc4 CLlxc:) 21
7 cxd5 exd5 8 e3 0-0). that would be created.
J:!.xd7 Mxc4 22 Mal ttJa4 23 i.d2 CLlc5 \vith
9 i.d3 1 2 . . . lbe6 1 3 l:ra2!?
approximate equality.
This is available now because there is no Sliding along the second rank is a sensible
1 S . . . tLlb6 1 9 i..d2 i..a4 20 .l:!.b2
immediate threat on c3 by the 'still at home' way to introduce this rook into action.
black queen.
9 .. ':;;:1:eS
The main move here is 9...b6, which is up
next. In this game I just want to illustrate the
lesser-seen alternatives. Aside from the text,
also featured in practice has been 9...lbc6 10
lbe2 J:!.e8 11 0-0. Due mainly to the potential
of building up a big centre, results have been
37 tLld5 ltJe5 3S l:re7 lbe6 39 exf5 gxf5
in W"hite's favour, with one particularly enter­
40 l:rf4
taining continuing 11...�d6 12 tiJg3!? Ad7
This has all been very instructive. Note
13 i:a2 i:ac8 14 �h1 as 15 Maf2 a4 16 Ac2
how l3lack's bishop has been a bystander.
b5 17 e4! cxd4 18 cxd4 dxe4 19 CLlxe4! ttJxe4
40 . . lbe5
. 41 l:rxf5
20 fxe4 tiJxd4 (or of course 20..."iVxd4? 21
20 . . :i\Vxb4? ! A key pawn is bagged.
:d2) 21 Ab2! Mxc2! 22 Mxc2 J:!.xe4 23 Md2 1 3 . . . MeS 1 4 Wh 1
One unfavourable consequence of this is 41 . . . tLld7 42 g4 Me2+ 43 Wg3 Ma2 44
:h4 24 h3! Axh3 25 Wg1! "iVg3 26 i.xd4 White is preparing for e3-e4 and takes
ironing out W"hite's queenside pawn struc­ i..e5 �d2 45 ..td4 1 -0
�e6 27 Ae5! "iVe3+ 28 J:!.df2 "iVb6 29 "iVd6 time out to remove his king from the a7-g1
ture.
"i'xd6 30 Axd6 with W'hite going on to con­ diagonal.
21 axb4 a6 22 b5 lbe4 Game 3
vert the endgame in V.Golod-S.Solomon, 1 4 . . . WhS
After 22...axb5 23 ii.xb5 Ji.xb5 24 Mxb5 V.Tipu-L.Henry
Hoogeveen 1998. Black in turn moves his king so that Axh7
\'\fhite has lost one of the bishop duo but has Canadian Ch., Toronto 2004 10 lbe2 b6 1 1 O-O..tb7? wouldn't be check should he ever get the
significant pressure against both of Black's
I have selected this game primarily to chance to take on d4.
isolated pawns. 1 d4 lbf6 2 e4 e6 3 lbe3 ii.b4 4 f3 d5 5
show the reader just how badly things can go 1 5 .l:l:e2 exd4 1 6 exd4 lba5 1 7 e4
23 il..xc4 dxe4 a3 XLxc3+ 6 bxe3 0-0 7 cxd5 exd5 S e3
for Black if \'V'hite succeeds in his aims. The
Now we have an opposite-coloured bish­ e5
text is too passive and really this bishop
ops scenario but \'\fhite has reasonable win­
should seek a trade on a6.
ning chances because of his superbly placed
1 2lbg3
rook on d4.
24 bxa6 bxa6 25 l:rb6 .lib5 26 e4
I':ow White's kingside pawns and his
bishop work well together by controlling
squares of both colours.
26 . . . MbS 27 J;!.bd6 .i;lb7 2S XLe 1 lbd7 29
..ta3 f6 30 tLld5 tLle5 31 lbe3 r1e7 32 h4
Me6 33 l:i:6d5 l:ree6 34 tLlf5
Black succeeds in maintaining a strong
knight but his other pieces are devoid of
1 7 . ..lbe4
activity.
This is a good square for the knight but
34 . . . .iJf7 35 l:re5 g6 36 lbe3 f5 l3lack actually castled here on move six
after \'V"hite's next move it seems that this is
Upon 36 ...tiJeS 37 J:!.c7 Black would suffer but, for all intents and purposes, through
all that Black has. On the face of it I'm
on the sixth rank and so instead he looks to transposition T am treating it as the more
The f5-square is just begging to be in- tempted to say that Black must really try
get a piece of the action. popular move than the previous game's

17
16
Th e Main L in e Op en Samis c h (4 f3 d5 5 a 3 .fi.x c 3 + 6 b x c 3 c5)
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dian

pawn to e5, thus allowing a blockade on the of ...'iib5.


17...dxe4 but after 18 fxe4 he can't get away light squares, then Black will be happy) 16 1 3 "i¥xd3 ctJc6 1 4 �a2
with 18..:iVxd4 because of 19 iLb2 'i'd7 20 Game 4
tZ:lg3 .l:!.ad8 17 �b2 l:tfe8 18 l:!.ael! (the cor­ 14 .ib2 .l:!.c8 15 Madl cxd4 16 cxd4LDa5
.l:'txf6! gxf6 21 iLxf6+ �g8 22 .s.d2!. Threats Y.Yakovich-O.Campora rect rook as the other one is well placed on 17 e4 'iic7 18 e5 LDd7 19 LDfS lbc4 20 iLcl
include .1i.c4 when Black \vill suffer down the Santo Antonio 2001 the f-file) 18...tZ:le5 19 'iVb3 tZ:lg6 20 tZ:lfS b5 21 f4 tZ:lfS 22 J::!.f3 MeG 23 tZ:lg3 .l::!.cG 24
draughty g-flle. "iYd7 21 'iif3! (\'V'hite is already in an over­ Mffl 'iib6 25 �hl b4 26 axb4 'iixb4 27 fS
18 e5 ctJgS 1 9 f4 1 d4 ctJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ctJc3 iLb4 4 f3 d5 5 whelming position as the threat of tZ:lxg7 is lbb2 28 �xb2 iVxb2 29 iVf3 iVb5 30 lbh5
Very natural, \'lith one obvious plan being a3 .fi.xc3 + 6 bxc3 c5 7 cxd5 exd5 S e3 very hard to meet) 21...l:!.e6 22 d5 J::txe4 23 .l:!.8c7 31 'iig3 g6 32lbf6+ Wh8 33 e6 fxe6 34
to charge this pawn straight down to f6. 0 -0 9 iLd3 b6 tZ:lh6+! (23 .l:!.xe4 tZ:lxe4 24 'iixe4 "iYxd5 25 fxe6 LDxe6 35 'iie5 .sf! 36 ctJxd5+ �g8 37
W1Ute's position is about as good it gets �xd5 l:hd5 26 tZ:lxg7 also does the job for Mxf7 1-0 A.Kalka-W.Rosen, Germany 2003
'without being material up, and it is an ex­ 'W'hite, but this is much prettier) 23...WfS is certainly food for thought but it's not that
tremely nice one to play. (23...gxh6 24 'iixf6 is crushing) 24 .l:!.xe4 convincing. I like the look of the rook
1 9 . . . b5 20 .fi.b1 tZ:lxe4 25 tZ:lxf7 tZ:ld2 26 �xg7+!! '.t>e8 (both swinger as now W1Ute is able to double rooks
Basically 'W'hite is spoilt for choice, \vith 26...Wxg7 27 'iif6+ WfS 28 tZ:le5+ and on either the f-ftle or the e-file.
the ensuing queen and bishop alignment 26...Wg8 27 'iif6 are also devastating) 27 1 4 ...�cS
being a good plan amongst several others. tZ:ld6+ 1-0 G.Lazovic-R.Zelcic, Pula 1999. The 14...iVd7 15 .l:!.e2 MeG 16 i..b2 lId8
20 . . ..tlc7 21 ·t!id3 g6 22 f5 1 2 ctJg3 17 Mdl cxd4 18 cxd4LDe8 19 e4lbe7 20 e5
The only debate at the moment is 'on 12 Ma2!? and 12 g4!? come into the picture a:c8 21 f4 of A.Khalifman-V.Bologan, Pra­
which square is \,('hite going to deliver too, but a swift transfer of the knight is ar­ gue (rapid) 2002 was assessed as clearly better
checkmate?' guably the most appealing. for \'{'hite, and as Black is unable to erect a
22...iLcS 23 llef2 a5 blockade on fS, it is easy to understand why.
1 5 lle2 �e6 1 6 .fi.b2 cxd4 1 7 cxd4 ctJa5
Arguably the main variation "'�thin 1 8 e4!
7...exd5; Black immediately sets about trying
to trade off a set of bishops.
1 0 ctJe2 iLa6 1 1 0-0
Practical play suggests that this is more ac­
curate than 11 �xa6 LDxa6 12 'i'd3 as the
black knight is on a very reasonable track
after 12...LDc7 and, besides, 12..:iic8 is not
bad either.
Although it's logical to want to preserve
the bishop, it takes a brave man to attempt
the likes of 11 �bl .l:!.e8 12 g4 tZ:lcG 13LDg3 1 2 . . . .lTI..x d3
At least Black has been consistent, but I g6 14 Wf2. There are a few of those in Indo­ After 12.. :�d7 probably White's most ac­
doubt that 'VC'hite allocated much time to nesia though, and 14...cxd4 15 cxd4 .s,c8 lG curate is 13 iLf5!? (note that 13 e4? dxe4 14
trying to rebuff Black's queenside adv ances! h4 was double-edged in UAdianto-C.Carma fxe4 cxd4 15 iLxa6 tZ:lxa6 16 cxd4 lbxe4 \,{'hite has made plenty of useful prepara­
24 e6 ! Genting 1995. basically just drops a pawn) 13...'iib5 when tory moves and so there is no need to delay
Putting f7 and hence also g6 under severe 1 1 .. .l::!.e S after 14 Mel �c4, rather than simply 15 this any longer.
pressure. W1Ute has a very simple plan and after .1i.b2, he can try 15 e4!? intending 15...'iixc3 1 S .. J:tec6 1 9 e5 ctJeS 20 f4
24 ... fxe6 25 fxg6 1 -0 11...kxd3 12 "iYxd3 tZ:lc6 13 e4! it starts to 16 iLg5 �xd4+ 17 'iixd4 cxd4 1 8 �xf6 gxf6 Could Black secure a pawn on f5 now,
Despite remaining equal in material terms, get realised. Again pointing out the danger to 19 exd5. In the event of all this, all of a sud­ then he would be okay. However, he can't!
mack decides it is time to throw in the towel. mack was the following: 13 ...cxd4 14 cxd4 den 'VC1Ute would find himself in a com­ 20 . . . ctJc4 21 f5 f6
One can't really blame him for this decision: dxe4 15 fxe4 'iie7 (if White succeeds in pletely winning position! Wnite's pawns are very intimidating and
his king is bereft of useful defenders while maintaining his two pawns abreast then he 13 iLf5 looks sensible against 12..:�c8 too sooner or later W'hite was going to play this
\'V'hite has a huge armada of pieces ready to has excellent chances of keeping the advan­ as there Black doesn't even have the option move himself.
descend. tage; if, however, he is forced to move his e-

19
18
Th e Main L in e Op e n Samis c h (4 (3 d5 5 a 3 i.. x c 3 + 6 b x c 3 c5)
O f fb e a t Nim z o - In dian

home it hard ly seems ideal to want to guard


22 LUh5 The dust has settled and Black has just
c3 with dle queen. However, in anything to
Strong passed pawn though it might be, one pawn for the exchange. As the minor
do with f2-f3 \'<I'hite must remember dlat his
there is no need for 22 e6 as it would con­ piece is a knight his drawing chances are very
king is a trifle exposed, and 8 .id2? is refuted
cede the d6-square. Instead it makes more slim. W'hen up against a ruthless GM that
by 8 ... cxd4 9 cxd4 iVh4+!.
sense to build up pressure against f6 and g7. ttanslates to about 7:ero!
8 . . . f5 ! ?
22 . . . lll x b2 23 .l:Ixb2 J:.c3 24 �e2 32 . . . lLlf6 33 it'c4 'iVf8 34 l:tbe2 Wh8 35
Bearing in mind the aforementioned
Unfortunately for Black, conttol of the c­ a4 h6 36 h3 ttd7 37 't'Vc2 �f7 38 l:e6
queen check, this move is aimed at making it
file is not going to keep the white queen out :S:c7 39 �d3 1:!.d7 40 'iWc2 1'!c7 41 .l:tc6
a\vkward for \X 'hite to get in e2-e4. It is of
of the attack!
'

llxc6 42 �xc6 'it>h7 43 �c2+ �g8 44


course far from forced, and T need to say
24 . . . fxe5 25 dxe5 'ifg5 26 f6! �c8+ �h7 45 �f5+ �g8 46 'i!ie6 LUd5
something about the alternatives:
47 �c8+ �h7 48 'IlVc2 + 'IlVg6 49 Vj'xg6+
a) 8 ... cxd4 9 cxd4 lbc6 (9 ... f5 is again play­
�xg6 50 l:te5 LUc3 5 1 l:te7 lLlxa4 52
able as it pur., the breaks on e2-e4 because of
.l:txa7 lLlc5 53 iJ.c7 lLla4 54 l:tc4 lLlc5 55
that h4 check) 1 0 e4 lbb6 1 1 .ib5 (Black has The continuation 9 c4 lbf6 10 e3 0-0 1 1
J:Ib4 LUd7 56 11d4 LUf6 57 Ird6
nothing to fear from 1 1 i.b2 ctJa4! 1 2 .ib5 ctJh3 ctJc6 1 2 i.b2 highlights some interest­
Nobody said that it wouldn't be a grind
ctJxb2 13 �xc6+ bxc6 1 4 'ifxb2 �a6!) ing aspects about the position. The eS-square
though!
1 1 ...0-0 12 lbe2 i.d7! 1 3 0-0 lbe5!. Black is an outpost while the backward e6-pawn is
57 . . . h5 58 .:txb6 h4 59 �f2 �5 60
forces a trad e of bishops, and the morc an obvious target. However, an inevitable
llb5+ �4 61 l:tb4+ 'iitg 5 62 �f3 Wh5
pieces that get ttaded the more that extra trade on d4 would leave Willte with more
63 lIb6 lDg8 64 Wf4 g5+ 65 m5 LUe7 +
centte pawn is going to be a target radler pawn islands and his strUcrure open to attack
6 6 �e6 LUg8 67 �f7 1 -0
than a sttength. from many different angles. !\fter 12 ...b6 13
Game 5 b) 8 ... iVa5 9 e4! and now: .&l.d1 cxd4 14 exd4 �a6 1 s lbf4 J:i.e8 1 6 'fiic2
b1) U pon 9 ... lbxc3 1 0 �b2 cxd4 1 1 lbe2 lIc8 1 7 �f2 lba5 1 8 cS i.xfl 19 ':hxfl lbd5
Nguyen Chi Minh-E .Van den Doel
\'\Illite would get one of his pawns back. He 20 lbxd5 iVxd5 (F.Kir\vald-D.Gutsche, Ger­
Pressurising g7 further and threatening an Prench League 2003 would still remain one pawn down but would many 2000) another significant feature was
obvious advance.
be, unusually for this variation, in the situa­ the bad bishop versus potentially good
26 .. ..l:l:8c7 27 lLlf4 1 d4 lLlf6 2 c4 e6 3 lLlc3 .fi.b4 4 f3 d5 5
tion of having a lead in development. His knight.
27 'iib 5 �xh5 28 £7+ also looks rather a3 �xc3+ 6 bxc3 c5 7 cxd5 lLlxd5
terrific bishop pair would provide good 9 . . . 0-0 1 0 lLlh3
embarrassing. And so appears the more popular recap-
c ompensation. Black has little to fear from 10 i.. d3 cxd4
27 . . . .:l:c1 28 f7 + ! l'Ixf7 ture.
b2) 9 ...�xc3 1 0 ':b1 \i'xd2+ 11 �xd2 1 1 cxd4 liJc6 12 lbe2 e5 and dle white knight
After 28 .. :�)x£7 Willte would win materi al 8 1Wd2
lbc7 12 dxc5. W'hite has the advantage in isn't exacdy spoilt for choice.
via 29 lbxd5+ (rather than 29 lbh3+? 'ilif5!) .
th es e type of endings: although isolated, 1 0 . . . lLlc6
29 l:.xc1 \\\Vxf4 30 'iWd2 'lWxe5 31 �e 1
\Vhite's queenside pawns can often clamp Due to the weakness on e6, the concept
'ib8 32 �xd5
down on Black; he has a half open e-ftle, and of 10 ... b6 is not quite so atttactive now, al­
often his excellent bishop pair prevents l3lack though 10 ... cxd4 11 cxtl4 ctJc6 12 ':b1 b6 1 3
from ganging up on the c5-pawn. i.. e2 'ifh4+ 1 4 'it> f1 .ib7 1 5 'ife1 'fiie7 1 6 f4
c) 8.JL:Jc6 9 e4 ctJb6 10 �b5 i.d7 11 dxc5 llac8 turned out very nicely for Black in
ctJe5 12 i..e2 lba4 leads to a kind of mix of Nguyen Chi NIinh-Kf ,e Quang, Bagneux
the previous two lines. W'hite's pieces are 2002.
awb.-ward here though, and 1 3 '\tidG f6 14 1 1 .l:lb1
ii.J2 1:1c8 15 .l:tb1 lbxc5 1 6 lbh3 'ife7 17 1 1 c4 liJb6 1 2 d.xc5 tiJd7 13 'ilt'd6 'iff6 14
'fiixe7+ Wxe7 1 8 liJf2 b6 is easier for Black to ki.b 1 J:i.d8 15 'iVd2 ctJxcS 16 �c2 e5 1 7 f4 bG
play as 1 9 0-0 lba4 20 J.::rfc1 lbc4 21 i.xc4 1 8 i..b2 <� b7 1 9 tiJgs \Ii'g6 20 i.. e2 exf4 21
!!xc4 proved i n AJakab-R.Ruck, Hungary ctJf3 fxc3 22 lbh4 iVg5 23 ctJf3 iVxg2 24 .I:l.f1
This is the least common of the three
2002, \'lith Black going on to win. ctJe4 25 c5 lbd2 was a comprehensive black
white options that I will discuss. Given th at
9 e3 victory in D.Kumaran-P.Wells, Hastings
W'hite has plenty of minor pieces still at

2 1
20
Th e M a in L in e Op e n S a m is c h (4 f3 d5 5 a 3 ii, x c 3 + 6 b x c 3 c 5)
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

Thien Hai-Wu Shaobin, Eo Chi tvIinh City


1 991 /92, while upon both 1 1 ..td3 or 1 1 The problem here for W'hite is that his
Game 6 2003 - W'hite has to get his knight out some­
iLe2 Black should trade on d4 and get in light-squared bishop is a litde offside and his
B .Lalic-O .Jovanic how; 10 lbh3 lbbc6 1 1 i.e3 'iVaS! leaves
... e6-e5. dark-squared bishop can't easily guard the cS­
Zadar 2004 \,('hite struggling to hold d4, whilst 10 lbe2
1 1 . . . e5 pawn.
leads to obvious congestion)
1 S iLb2 lbg6 1 9 h4
1 d4 lbf6 2 c4 e6 3 ctJc3 it..b4 4 f3 d5 5
1;'air enough. If White were able to budge
a3 il.xc3+ 6 bxc3 c5 7 cxd5 ctJxd5 S
the go-knight then the e5-pawn would drop.
'iVd3
1 9 . . . h5 20 ctJh3
Again this is difficult to criticise as g5
looks like a good square for a white knight to
make its home.
20 . . . nacS 21 ctJg5 JtgS
Up to now analysis engines prefer \,('hite,
but this is where the likes of Fritz start to
change their mind!
22 >te2
\,('hite certainly can't return the pawn un­
Black could swap on d4 first, but this der favourable circumstances \\lith 22 c6
and now:
game is very instructive. bxc6 23 ..ta6 J::!. b 8 as the pin is extremely
bl) We know that 4 f3 was popularised by
1 2 dxc5 awkward and ironically it is the other bishop
Alexei Shirov and it is always worth studying
It's the same old story. W'hite is sort of that is in most danger (i.e. to ... :b6). The text
8 ... b6, preparing ... ..ta6, looks like the his games. After 1O .. .'ilVa5 1 1 ii.d2 iVa4 1 2
half a pawn up and has the bishop pair, but seems to put the lung in the firing line, but
most obvious way to exploit what is after all 'iV b1 .lli.d7 1 3 lbf3 .lli.c6 1 4 i.d3 lb d7 1 5 0-0
his structure isn't 6rreat and his pieces don't \Xihite hardly desires an invasion of his sec­
another queen move. However, that is up in h6 16 f5! he had done well in the develop­
coordinate well. ond rank and the h I -rook is to some extent
the next game, and here I want to discuss the ment stakes and had already got an attack
1 2 . . . >thS tied to the defence of the h4-pawn.
main alternatives. under way in A.Shirov-Ki.Georgiev, Manila
Sidestepping any potential pins on the 22 . . . a6 23 il.a4 Jtxc4+ 24 <;;!:t e 1 .l'1xc5 25
S . . . cxd4 Olympiad 1 992.
knight. .:ct:c1 l:!.d3 0-1
Although in the main game Black makes a b2) 1O ... b6 1 1 'iVc3 'iVc7 12 lbf3 .lli.b7
1 3 lbf2 ii,e6 14 iLb5 'VIIe 7 1 5 c4 lbf6 1 6
home for his knight on b6, as the c-pawns (12 ... ..ta6 13 .i.xa6 lbxa6 14 0-0 gae8 1 5
�d6 nfdS!
arc still on after 8 ... 0-0 9 e4, the three main ..tb2 'iUb7 1 6 .:rae1 f5 1 7 �d3 tLlc7 1 8 c4
Of course Black shouldn't be tempted to
retreats are: would reach, by transposition, A.Shirov­
take on d6 but the text demonstrates how
a) 9 ...lbc7?! 10 i.e3 lbc6 1 1 lbh3 cxd4 1 2 HOlafsson Reykjavik 1 992, in which W'hite
Black can handle the endgame too.
cxd4 e 5 1 3 d S lbd4 1 4 .i.xd4 exd4 1 5 lbf2 developed a very comfortable initiative) 1 3
1 7 �xe7 lbxe7
�f6 16 Md1 and in A.Bandza-Y.Zhidkov, gbl (in looking for a n improvement, per­
Rimavska Sobota 1 990 \,('hite was able to haps this is where W'hite should start)
round up Black's d-pawn. The problem with 1 3 ... gc8! 14 ..td3 ..ta6 (it looks as though
the knight on c7 is that it prevents Black's Black has lost a tempo by stopping off at b 7
.. :�aS option. It also doesn't control the c6- but now he is ready to utilise the c-ftle) 15
square and can either get in the way of or be �xa6 lbxa6 16 0-0 cxd4 1 7 cxd4 iVc3 18
a liability on the c-fIle. 'iVe2 'iVc4 1 9 �e3 'iVc3 20 'iVe2 'iVc4 21 �e3
b) 9 ... lbe7 10 f4!? (recendy 10 dxcS 'iVa5 l/Z_l/Z T.Hillarp Persson-J.Timman, Malmo
How quickly things can change! W'hite has
1 1 'iVc4 lbd7 12 .i.e3 tLlc6 13 lbh3 'iVc7 1 4 2003 - Black would be fine in the endgame
gone from being a pawn up to a pawn down
..te2 lbaS 1 5 �b4 lbc6 1 6 'iUb5 a 6 1 7 'iVa4 and so instead the outcome is a repetition.
in a short space of time and more material
ctJaS 1 8 gbl lbxc5 1 9 'iVb4 lbd7 20 0-0 lbc6 c) 9 ...tt'lf6 1 0 ..tg5!? (1 0 lbh3 cxd4 1 1 cxd4
looks set to follow. On top of that, W'hite is
21 'iVb2 ctJaS 22 'iVb4 lbc6 23 'iVa4 b5 24 lbc6 12 ii.b2 'ilVe7 1 3 lbf2 l:td8 14 ii.e2 lbh5
no better off development-wise and all these
iVc2 lbb6 was hardly a raging success in Dao 1 5 'iVe3 �c7 1 6 0-0 'iVf4 17 'iVd3 'iVh4 1 8 g3
features combine to provoke a resignation.

23
22
Th e M a in L in e Open Samisch (4 13 d5 5 a3 iL x c 3 + 6 b x c 3 c 5 )
O f fb e a t Nim z o - In dian

1 5 d5 �xh3 1 6 gxh3 23 iLd3 '!::[c 8+.


ctJxg3 19 hxg3 'iVxg3+ 20 �hl 'iVh4+ 2 1 Under different circumstances 12 SLb2?
16 dxc6? is not a viable option because of 22 1:lg3 lLlxd 5 + !
Wg2 "Yig5+ 22 �h2 "Yih4+ 2 3 Wg2 "Yig5+ 24 might be reasonable as the bishop could
1 6 ...SLxg2 when 17 .l:.g 1? gets slaughtered by 2 2. . .l:!.xe4?! i s not a s tempting a s i t might
Wh2 112_1/2 was Y.Yakovich-S.Kishnev, Mu­ cause some damage pointing towards the
17 ...'iVh4+ 1 8 Wd2 �ad8. seem because after 23 'liIVxe4 "Yif6+ 24 Wb3
nich 1 992) 1 O. .. cxd4 1 1 cxd4 bG 1 2 e5 'iVd5 black king. Here though it walks into
1 6 .. :.�·h4+ 1 7 �d2 ctJd4! 'liIVxal 25 d6 surprisingly Black doesn't have
13 "Yid2 ctJfd7 14 .lii.d3 tLJc5 15 dxc5 "Yixe5+ 1 2 ... ctJa4!, spelling very bad news for the d­
Without a doubt the best way to go. The any checks.
1 6 Wf2 ii1xa1 17 SLe4 t()d7 1 8 SLxa8 ctJxc5 pawn.
text effectively eliminates one of the bishops 23 �xd5
1 9 iLe7 'with a material advantage but still 1 2 . . .f5!
and looks to expose the white king further. Upon 23 exdS Mxe2 the pawn count is
work to be done in S.Volkov-S.lvanov, St The correct move. Black is right to want
1 8 �xd4 exd4 1 9 �xd4 laae8 level but the white king is all over the shop.
Petersburg 1 998. to strike out at \v'hite's pawn centre and, in
A fairly natural selection although 23 . . . �f6 + 24 �e2!
8 ...tLJc6 is of course possible but isn't of conttast to the notes to Wrute's 1 1 th move,
1 9 ....Rac8!?, keeping the white king in the After 24 'liIVd4? .J:rc8+ 25 �c4 b5 26 "iYxfG
much independent signitlcance as after 9 e4 the way he is handling this is to look to ex­
centte looks sensible too. Mxc4+ 27 Wb3 MxfG White faces a grim rook
ctJde7 1 0 SLe3 there i s nothing better than clude ..·..�d7 al together.
20 .l:!.hg 1 �h6+ and pawn endgame.
1 0... 0-0. 1 3 �e2
24 . . . .l:.d8?
9 exd4 0-0 1 0 e4 ctJb6 After 1 3 .l:.d1 ?! Black doesn't have to
transpose to the previously mentioned varia­
tion and can instead tackle 1 3 ... fxe4 1 4 "Yixe4
tbd5 1 5 tbg5?! �f5! as after 1 6 tbxe6 "Yie7
\,\;'hite would be justified in feeling rather
nervous.
Also 1 3 ctJf4 fxe4 1 4 fxe4 eS 1 5 dxeS
'iVg5!? sees Black taking the game to Wrute.
1 3 . . . fxe4
Black certainly can't be worse after
"
13. .. e5!? 1 4 dxeS 'iVxd3 1 5 SLxd3 tbxe5 I G
.lii. c2 fxe4 1 7 tbg5 exB 1 8 .lii.xh7+ Wh8 1 9
0-0 SLf5 either.
2 1 �e3?
1 4 fxe4
After the game Bogdan criticised this After 24 .. :�xa 1 25 i.c4 "iVf6 the likely
After 1O ... ctJe7 again Shirov's 1 1 f4!?, va­ One interesting (far from forced) variation
move, 'W1th the Croatian GM instead claim­ outcome would be a draw but because of
cating the f3-syuare for the knight, would be runs 1 4 \YVxe4 4)d5 1 5 ctJg5 Uf5 1 6 4'lxe6
ing that after 21 Wc2 MD 22 .l:.g3 "Yif4 23 time trouble now both players start to make
very applicable. �'e7 17 iVxf5 ctJxe3 1 8 iVe4 tLJxg2+ 19 �f2
SLd3 White would stand slightly better. mistakes.
1 1 ctJh3 iLxe6 20 Wxg2 nd8 and clearly Black has
However, in light of the tactical response 25 �a2?
Over ten years ago 1 1 ii.e3 ct'\c6 1 2 .¥Le2 compensation for the exchange.
23 . ..tbc4! I'm not sure that I can agree. Cer­ 25 �c4! "iVxal 26 llB .l:.dfS 27 l:!.xf7 ':!'xf7
f5 1 3 Mdl was all the rage but after 1 3...iLd7 1 4 . . . e5!
tainly 1 would feel uncomfortable playing 28 "Yic8+ M£8 29 i.c4+ is 'winning for \vrute
Black was getting his fair share of the results.
Wrute. but Black now returns the error.
\v'hite maintains that attractive pawn struc­
Generally speaking Black clearly has rea­ 25 . . . 'lIff2?
ture but he can't ignore his kingside forever.
sonable compensation for the pawn as \'Vhite Yes, Black could have drawn via 25 ... .!::[c8+
Perhaps critical th�n is 1 4 tbh3 fxe4 1 5 fxe4
has some isolanis and his king is weak. How­ 26 'iit d 1 ii1d4+ 27 .l:.d3 'i!Vg1+ 28 �d2 "iVg5+
eS 16 dS SLxh3 (\XI11ite retains control after
ever, although \'V'rute's centre pawns can be and, although he is probably losing now, a
1 6 ...ctJd4?! 1 7 ii.xd4 exd4 1 8 ctJf2) 1 7 dxc6
blockaded on the dark squares, obviously draw was probably the fair result. The re­
�h4+ 1 8 g3 'iVe7 which to me looks a little
tl1ey offer serious potential. maining symbols are provided by Bogdan
double-edged. If \vrute can obtain an end­
21 . . . .l:!.f7 Lalic, who was probably happy to get the
brame via "Yid6 then he would probably stand
21 ... "iVxh3+? is a mistake because of 22 whole ordeal over with!
quite well but he must guard against ....ig2, �
J:!.g3 iVd7 23 .l:.xg7+! "iVxg7 24 .l:.gl, but 26 �e4 b5 27 �xb5 .l:.e7 + 28 �b3 a6 ! ?
and 1 9 .l:.gl .l:.ad8!? brings home the
21 ...ctJa4+!? is certainh, a candidate because 29 iLe4 + ? ? �h8 3 0 .l:ld 1 .:!:ideS! 31
positioning of the white king.
of 22 "Yixa4? (or 22 <it b3? Mxe4!) 22 ..."Yie3+ 'iVd 5?! �b6+ 3 2 �a2 Ibe4 3 3 lab3 �e7
1 1 . . . ctJe6 1 2 iLe3

25
24
Th e Ma in L in e Op e n Samis c h (4 f3 d5 5 a 3 i- x c 3 + 6 b x c 3 c 5)
Offb e a t Nim z o -In dia n

1 2 . . . lbbc6 a) 13. . �c7!? 14 'ii'f4 (or 14 'tIVd6 when


34 J:!.d2 h6 35 e5! �c5 36 'iWd6 1:!.c2 + 37 �xc4 ctJxc4 24 i.xc5 gxf4 25 gxf4 a6 26
.

\X'hen I originally annotated this game for 14 ...'tIVxd6 15 cxd6 tiJc8 1 6 ttJd4 tt'lxd4 1 7
:!'xc2 'ifxc2+ 38 �b2 'iVc4+ 39 'it'a1 .l::!.d 7 .lac8 27 i.f2 tiJb2 28 Md2 tt'lxa4 29 1h2
Chesspublishing.com I remarked '12 ...0-0 1 3 cxd4 liJxd6 is a level endgame although
'iWc 1 + 40 'it'a2 �c4+ 4 1 �a1 �c 1 + 42 tDxc3 30 l:!.xa6 f5 31 .l::ta3 tt'lb5 32 .l:!.a6 Wf7
a 4 ctJbc6 1 4 �f2 ctJa5 1 5 ·Vi'a2 has previously Black could also continue his gueen­
�a2 'lIi'c4+ 43 Wa 1 % - % 33 ;t>h3 ctJd6 34 i.cs tt'le8 35 flb6 liJf6 36
been assessed as equal by Shirov. One won­ swapping avoidance policy �1 th 14 . :�tb7!?)
exf5 exfs 37 i.d6 'it>g6 38 �e5 tiJd7 39 �a6
.

Game l ders though whether he had 1 3 h4!? up his 1 4... e5! 1 5 'iVg4 O-U 16 'it>f2 tt'la5 17 cxb6
0-1 B.Halldorsson-NDe Firmian, Reykjavik
sleeve in tlle event of 12 ... 0-0 too.' After that '*'Hxb6+! 1 8 �e3 'iic 6!. \v'hite remains a pawn
A. Shirov-'Canchess' 2003 recently demonstrated.
comment came the following encounter: 1 3 up, but that's the end of the good news!
Internet (Simultaneous Display) 2000 1 0 . . . �xf1 1 1 �xf1 lbe7
h4!? �d7 1 4 h 5 f5 1 5 h 6 g6 1 6 exfs ctJxf5 1 7 Threats for Black, including . . .tt'la5-c4 and
dxc5 bxc5 1 8 Wf2 "ite7 1 9 'ii'g5 "ii'f7 20 "iVg4 .. f7-£5, are starting to loom large.
1 d4 lbf6 2 c4 e6 3 tbc3 i-b4 4 f3 d5 5
.

liJd7 21 �g5 ctJd6 22 1:!.adl liJe5 23 'ii f4 b) 1 3. .. "itc8!? 1 4 'ii'e3 O-O! 1 5 cxb6 1Id8! 1 6
a3 i-xc3 + 6 bxc3 c5 7 cxd5 lbxd5 8
ctJdc4 24 'iixf7+ �xf7 25 llh4 ctJxa3 26 l!e4 'it>f2 axb6 1 7 l:tb 1 tiJes 1 8 �xb6 is, for the
�d3 b6!?
ctJac4 27 'it>c1 tiJb2 28 Mxe5 tiJxd 1 29 'it>xd l , time being at least, two pawns for \X'hite, but
The recommended antidote to the more
T.HiUarp Persson-T.Sammalvuo, Swedish both 1 8 ... tiJd3+!? and 1 8 . . . ctJc4! are at least of
advanced of the white yueen move options.
Team Championship 2003. Surprisingly some concern to \X'hite's king and queen.
Black of course needs his gueen's knight to
\\'hite went on to lose in this encounter, but 1 3 . . . h6
be still at home in order to facilitate ... �a6.
of course he definitely shouldn't have. In­ It's logical for Hlack to want to get some
Shirov had big problems against this move
deed the h-pawn lunge seems very worthy of dark-squared control and, in view of Wrute's
which, against top-level opponents at least,
attention. The disadvantage for Black of h-pawn aspirations, prevent weaknesses in
eventually persuaded the Latvian to give up
12 ... 0-0 is that his king is destined to be at­ his camp. This of course may have been the
on 8 'iVd3. Clearly in this encounter he de­
tacked. The advantage (particularly when case if White had got in h5-h6, but all the
cided to give it another whirl.
comparing it to our main game) is that at same it might have been more in the spirit of
9 e4 i-a6 1 0 "ii'd 2 1 2 lbe2
least he gets his king's rook into the game. things to take up the challenge with 1 3...0-0.
Arguably the most ambitious continuation After 1 2 dxcs Black should avoid the end­
1 3 h4! ? Referring back to my comments to Hlack's
here is trying to preserve the bishop pair via game for now with 12 ... tt'ld7!. This type of
1 2th move, Hlack does have an ... f5 break
10 c4. Unfortunately, after 1 0 ... tiJe7 1 1 d5 positional pawn sacrifice is a common theme
available to try and expose the white mon­
exd5 \X!hite is of course unable to recapture in these lines as after 1 3 exb6 axb6 Black
arch situated on the f-file. Possibly a lot rests
with the c-pawn. Hence 12 exd5 U-U when a would have play in the shape of two half­
on the correct assessment of that previously
knight blockade on d6 is inevitable. \X!hite open flies against White's isolated yueenside
mentioned aU-Swedish encounter that comes
has a superb diagonal for his bishop along pawns. In practice Black has preferred
as a direct transposition.
the b2-g7 diagonal and, given time, could 1 3 . . .�xb6 when after 1 4 'iVd4 few would
1 4 Ith3
really get his bishop pair working well to­ disagree that 1 4 ... ctJc5 1 5 'iVb4 'iYa6+ 1 6 c4
gether. However, as things stand he is well �c8 1 7 ctJe2 0-0 offers Black reasonable play.
behind in development and (often a later However, also providing food for thought is
criticism of the 4 f3 line), the white f-pawn the recent 1 4...'ii'a6+ 1 5 'It>f2 e5 1 6 �e3 tDb6
would rather be back home! 1 7 tDh3 tiJc4 l R 'iie2 �b8 19 ndl 0-0 2U
Incidentally 1 0.Jbc7 is not that dissimilar .l:!.a2 'ila4 21 �c2 .l:!.b3 22 lad7 tLlc6 23 J:tb7
and 1O ... tt'lf6!· 1 1 e5!? ttJfd7 1 2 'iie4 cxd4! 13 tt'lb6 24 .l:Ic7 tiJa5 25 l:txa7 tDbc4 26 "JiVd3
The same theme a s discussed after the
'iixa8 ctJc5 1 4 .l::!.b l 'iVc7! is (though not 'iVc6 27 l:.c2 'iics+ 28 iLe3 �xa3 29 'It>g3
possibility of 1 2 dxc5 is applicable here too.
forced) also something that White needs to l:tbb8 30 ..tf2 'i¥a4 31 lIc1 lIbd8 32 'Wie2
Namely, after 1 3 dxcs Hlack should eschew
consider as his queen has severe problems 'ti'c6 33 �gl l:!.d2 34 'ifxd2 tiJxd2 35 1:txa5
the endgame 13. .. bxc5 14 'iVxd8+ kIxd8 1 5
just staying alive. ctJb3 36 :teal 'ifg6+ 37 'It>h4 tZ"ixal 38 lIxa1
�e3 ctJas 1 6 .I:rb 1 ctJc4 1 7 �f2, which is a
W'hile I'm here, 10 'iY'c2 ..¥Lxfl 1 1 'iit>xfl of­ �xg2 39 �c5 .J:te8 40 SLb4 �xf3 0- 1
definite edge to \\'hite, in favour of preserv­
fers White nothing as 1 1 ...tt'le7 1 2 dxc5 bxc5 M.Kirs7.enberg-T.Hinks Edwards, Paris
ing the queens (for now at least). As it hap­
13 ctJe2 0-0 14 g3 tt'ld7 1 5 'It>g2 ctJe5 16 �dl 2004. I certainly wouldn't say that Black was
pens, two ways of doing that have proven This is the other option that 13 h4!? brings
�as 17 Mb 1 iVa6 1 8 a4 :ab8 1 9 SLe3 'iVc4 winning all along, but clearly life isn't easy for
more than adeyuate for Black: with it: the chance of a 'rook swinger'.
20 ctJf4 ctJ7c6 21 it'e2 g5! 22 l'txb8 nxb8 23 \\'hite!

27
26
Th e M a in L in e Op en Samis c h (4 f3 d5 5 a3 iL x c 3 + 6 bxc3 c 5)
O ffb e a t Nim z o - I n dian

Ji.d7 has been reached on a few occasions, ttJbc6 1 2 ttJ f4 0-0 13 e3 ttJg6 14 ttJxg6 �xg6
1 4 .. :�c7 20 �xh6! gxh6 2 1 tDf6 +
and the general opinion is that it is fairly bal­ 1 5 1i.c3 e5 with an eyual position,
Black's play looks a littlc bizarre when it The key to this neat tactic is that there is
anced - \";thite has the bishop pair but Black V.Ragozin-ASokolsky, Kiev 1 954.
comes to thc dcfence of the g-pa\vn. How­ no place for the black king that \vill escape
has the better yueenside pawn structure. c) 9 e4 fxe4 1 0 \lic2 will merely transpose
cver, 14 ... 0-0 1 5 �g3 is surprisingly danger­ the material-winning h4-h5.
As well as 9 ... 0-0, 9 ... f4!? is very playable as to 'a' above unless Black plays something
ous as illustrated by I S ... Wh8 1 6 Mxg7!! 21 . . . We7 22 tDxgS+ l:txgS 23 h 5
10 Ji.xf4?! ctJxf4 1 1 'iVa4+ ctJc6 12 'iVxf4 eS other than 1 0 ...0-0. 1 would have said that it
<l;xg7 17 'iVxh6+ �g 8 1 8 CDf4 - there is no The point of course i s that the pin guaran­
leaves W11ite with an ugly pawn structure and i s a reasonable move order for White to em­
good defence to 1 9 ctJhS. tees the win of the knight.
an embarrassing kingside development, while ploy if he wants to avoid the 9 'iic2 f4!? pos­
1 5 11g3 ngS 1 6 dxc5 bxc5 23 . . .'m 6 24 hxg6 fxg6 25 l:tb 1
10 e4 fxe3 wuuld transpose to 'c' below. sibility, but in fact they could still come to the
Regarding the failure to make this recap­ And why not? The rest is easy.
Also, the intriguing 10 g3 0-0 1 1 c4 ttJe3 1 2 same thing.
ture, �he positional pawn sacrifice would be 25 . . . l:tbS 26 ttxbS tDxbS 27 We2 4Jd7 2S
.i.xe3 fxe3 13 �'c3 CtJc6 1 4 �xe3 e 5 1 5 Mcl
nothing like as good now because Black's f4 e5 29 J:.d3 1 -0
.i1.. fS 16 �h3 0ld4 17 iLxf5 CtJxfS 18 'iVd
own king position is far from secure and his 'iVe7 1 9 ctJh3 e4 20 CtJf4 exf3 21 'iVxo ctJe3
king's rook is out of the game. Game 8
22 Md Mae1l 23 'it>f2 ttJf5 24 'iVd5+ Wh8 25
1 7 'i¥f4 'i¥xf4 T .Hillarp Persson-P . lehikoinen
.l:!.bl g5 26 .l:!.xb7 jlff6 27 MO gxf4 28 l'hf4
At the very least providing W'hite with a Reykjavik 2004 'lib6 29 h4 .laxe2+ 30 Wxe2 0lxg3+ 31 Wd3
simple bishop-For-knight advantage in th e 'li'xf4 32 'iVd4+ 'iVxd4+ 33 c;t>xd4 ttJfS+ 34
endgame; in re trospect perhaps keeping the 1 d4 iLlf6 2 c4 e6 3 tDc3 .li.b4 4 f3 d5 5
<t>e5 ttJe3 35 .l:!.xa7 ttJxc4+ 36 �d5 ctJe3+ 37
queens on would offer Black more play. An a3 �xc3 + 6 bxc3 c5 7 cxd5 4Jxd5 S
'it>c6 ttJf5 38 �a4 .l:!.c8+ 39 <l;b6 Cile7 40 Md4
obvious candidate is 17 . ..liJeS!? but it's not dxc5
Wg7 41 a4 Wf7 42 as '/i_ 1/2 of M.Cebalo­
clear what's going to happen to Black's king. Finally we come to White's main move. LNaumkin, Reggio Emilia 2004 suggests that
1 S tDxf4 nbS S . . . f5 Black has reasonable play for the (roughly!)
1 8. .0-0-0 would be more satisfactory from
.
one-and-a-half pawns deficit.
the perspective of Black's king's rook, but b) 9 c4 �f6!? Yes, 9 e4 fxe4 10 'iVc2 e3 (the best 'some­
the possible variation 1 9 il.e3 c4 20 IIb 1 eS thing' other than 10 ... 0-0) and 9 �c2 f4!? 1 0
21 ctJd5 tZ:\xd5 22 exdS Mxd5 23 �g4 still e4!? fxe3 both rcach the position illustrated
favours W'hite. above. After 1 1 ii.d3 ttJd7 two ubvious
19 tDh5! variatiuns stand out (note I'm not including
12 �xh7?? 'li'h4+!):
c1) 12 c4 'iYa5+! (taki ng advantage of the
fact that White can't use the d2-square) 1 3
<l;n ttJf4 1 4 ii.xe3 ( 1 4 �xh 7 'iVxc5 leaves
\1{:hi te's anl1y mainly undeveloped and cer­
tainly poorly coordinated) 14 ... CtJxd3 1 5
if'xd3 0-0 1 6 WHd6 \lic3!? when Black i s more
The next t\\70 br:imes will investigate
than happy to offload his e-pawn as in its
8... 'Ii'a5 and the chapter ",ill end 'with the
absence Black's pieces will spring to life.
lesser-seen 8 ... CtJd7. Anyway, regarding the
1 0 �d2 (or 10 �gS 'iVxgS 11 cxd5 when There also looks nothing wrong with
text, as usual this muve is aimed at dissuading
each of 1 1 ...exd5, 1 1 ...0-0 and 1 1 ...f4 looks 1 3 ... ttJSf6 intending . . .ttJxcS next. Now we
the advance e2-e4.
playable - even if \v'hite escapes a pawn might see 14 c6 if W'hite decides that he may
9 tLlh3
ahead, that big hole un e3 is always going to as well expend a tempo to split the black
Obvious, but this attack of the g7-pawn is The English GM Peter Wells is a bit of a provide mack with something to work with) guccnside pawns, but that's not a big prob­
also very strong. themetician and it is notablc that he likes this 1 0 ... ttJe7 (or l O. . .ctJd 1 1 �c 1 CtJa4 when lem for Black's potenti ally very active posi­
1 9 . . . tDg6 move. Nevertheless, it is definitely worth
\,(';hite has the usual kingside development tion. Besides, 14 ... CtJc5!? must be okay as well
Almost out of the blue Black is in big taking a brief look at the alternatives:
problems and Black will have no trouble as it looks too greedy to snatch the b-pawn.
trouble, for example 1 9 . . .WfS falling foul of a) 9 'iVc2 0-0 1 0 e4 fxc4 1 1 fxe4 0Jf4 12
regaining one of those c-pawns) 1 1 ttJh3 c2) 1 2 tZJe2 CtJxc5 1 3 0-0 CtJxd3 14 'iVxd3
20 llxg7! Mxg7 21 �xh6. CtJO 'iVc7 13 i.e3 CtJd7 1 4 Ji.c4 ttJxc5 1 5 0-0

29
28
Th e Main L in e O p e n S ii m is c h (4 (3 d5 5 a 3 .i. x c 3 + 6 b x c 3 c5)
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

trebled) isolated c-pawns. It is not too hard a3 �xc3 + 6 bxc3 c5 7 cxdS ttJxd5 S
0-0 1 5 i.xe3 when both 1 5 ... i.d7 and 1 5 seeing as he doesn't, this knight ends up off­ to imagine how they can be weak and easily dxcS 'iia 5
... b6 look fine for Black, who (because o f the side here. Instead 1 2. . . tDc6 1 3 e3 e5 1 4 ii.b2 picked off by enemy rooks, but often they
knight's attack on White's bishop) threatens i.e6 isn't too bad for Black, but putting the can also be a strength. Here is such an occa­
to bring his own bishop to the e2-a6 diago­ clamps on the second player's queenside with sion with the ones on c4 and c5 controlling
nal. It would also settle for a home on b7 or the immediate 1 3 ':b1 !? may be more prob­ some very useful squares. Typically White's
c6. Either way, just as in 'c1 ' Black has noth­ lematic for Black as it is trickier for him to dark-squared bishop works well with them
ing to fear. get his bishop out. Indeed after 1 3 ... e5 1 4 (its enemy counterpart will of course be ab­
9 . . . 0-0 1 0 c4 ! ? tLJd3, upon 1 4 ...l:.b8 White can delay e2-e3 in sent) and, as demonstrated here, the half­
favour of pressurising the e5-pawn further by open b-flle is also a big plus.
15 i.b2. 1 6 . . . g6 1 7 h4 �f7 1 8 iLd4 ttJd7 1 9 g4!
1 3 ttJd3 �d7 Always the Swedish grandmaster's idea -
After 13 ... tLJd7 White will play 14 i.. e 3 his ultimate goal is action for his king's rook.
anyway when Black can't even employ the 1 9 . . .l::te 8 20 gxfS exfS 21 Wf2 �ac8 22
standard positional pawn sacrifice 14 ... b6?! hS
because of 15 c6!. Continuing the chiselling process. I haven't mentioned it before but I'm sure
1 4 .i.e3 22 . . . l::tc 7 23 hxg6+ hxg6 24 l::th 1 the reader observed that 8 ... tLJxc3? 9 'iVxd8+
Also not ridiculous is 14 i.f4 as after The bishop on d4 i s an absolute monster. <it>xd8 1 0 i..b2 tLJa4 1 1 i.. xg7 �g8 12 i.d4
14 ... .l:.ac8 1 5 i.d6 Black can't play 1 5 ... tLJe8? 24 . . . ttJfS 2S ttJeS + �e7 26 l1g 1 gS 27 tLJc6 1 3 ..tf2 is very undesirable. The text
because of 16 i..e 7. ttJxc6 + move attacks c3 with a second piece and
1 4 . . . .lic6 1 S :g 1 Correctly avoiding 27 .l:.xg5?? tLJe6. removes her majesty from the same file as
Not the only plan, but I've noticed that in 27 . . . bxc6 2S .lieS l;Id7 29 ::txgS the white queen.
Far more critical than the bland 1 0 tLJf4. many of his games as White Tiger has a ten­ 9 e4 ttJf6
1 0 . . . ttJf6 dency to seek out the break g2-g4. First up, it is necessary to know that
In view of the unfavourable endgames 1 S . . JidcS 9 ...tLJxc3? 1 0 iVd2 is especially bad for Black
available to Black, probably his better practi­ This looks like a funny move but with c5 in the event of 1 0 ... 'iVxc5? 1 1 i.b2. Not only
cal option is to dabble in something like currently well guarded and the e5-square also is the g7-pawn under threat but 1 1 ...tLJa4
1 0... 'iVh4+!? 1 1 tLJf2 and now: under White's control, it's difficult to make a walks into 1 2 �c1 . Meanwhile, 1 0 ...tLlc6 1 1
a) Though the game ended in a draw, good recommendation. i.b2 lLla4 1 2 'iYxa5 lLlxa5 1 3 .i.xg7 doesn't
1 1 ...tLJf6 1 2 e3 tLJc6 1 3 i.e2 �d8 14 'iVc2 1 6 l::t b 1 exactly lose but it's not great! White has the
tLJd 7 1 5 0-0 tLJxc5 16 i. b2 b6 1 7 tLJd3! 'iVh6 bishop pair, and his dark-squared one in par­
1 8 f4 tLJe4 1 9 :f3! 'iVh4 20 .l:.h3 'ViIie7 21 i.. f3 ticular will rule the roost. Similarly,
(G.Ligterink-G.Miralles Cannes 1 990) was, 9 ..."ii'xc3+? should be avoided as 1 0 .td2
with all things considered, generally deemed 'iVe5 1 1 tLJe2 tiJf6 1 2 i.c3 will quite clearly
to have left White with an edge, the potential favour White - again look out for 12 .. :iVxc5
pressure against g7 and control of the out­ Black's position is collapsing like a deck of 13 ':c1 .
post on e5 being the main reasons. cards. It's all over bar the shouting. Hence Black must retreat his knight, and a
b) 1 1 . .."iVf6!? 12 i.d2 tLJe7 when the c­ 29 . . . ttJxcS 30 lixf5 Iib7 31 l:Ixb7+ ttJxb7 key move for White to look out for is
pawns could still be a pain but Black will be 32 j,h3 ttJd7 33 I:.hS �d8 34 �d4 ttJb6 9 ... tLJc7 1 0 'iYd4! (the same queen centralisa­
able to get some dark-squared control via 35 J:.h7 1 -0 tion could also apply after 9 ... tLJe7 although,
... e6-e5 and can then hopefully complete his as you'll discover in the next game, 10 i.e3
development. Personally, I think I prefer this Game 9 tends to be favoured) . Results have definitely
to 12 ... tLJc3 13 'iVc1 tLJa4 14 i.g5 'iV f7 1 5 S . Vol kov-V .J eremic favoured White here, e.g. 1 0 ... f6 1 1 'iVb4 (the
tLJd3 tLJd7 which White went on to win in Having played the Nimzo-Indian all my Korinthos 2004 most straightforward) 1 1 ...tLJc6 12 'iWxa5
A.Beliavsky-L.Portisch, Amsterdam 1 990. life with both colours I've had a bit of ex­ tLJxa5 1 3 .:rb 1 i.d7 1 4 i.e3 e5 1 5 tLJe2 tLJe6
1 1 iYxdS �xdS 1 2 ttJf2 ttJa6?! perience in positions where White has been 1 d4 ttJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ttJc3 i.b4 4 f3 dS S 16 tLJc1 �e7 17 tLJb3 tLJxb3 18 �xb3 :tab8
Black seeks t o regain his pawn quickly but, saddled with doubled (and sometimes even
31
30
Th e M a in L in e Op e n S ii m is c h (4 f3 d5 5 a 3 � x c 3 + 6 b x c 3 c 5)
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

Black is often advised to turn it into a real


1 9 i.,bS �hc8 20 ..ixd7 �xd7 21 MbS a6 22 'iVd2 'iVxd2 1 4 ..ixd2 CDc6 l S ..te3 I:1d8 1 6
pawn sacrifice in order to get play for his
MaS Itc6 23 �e2 Mbc8 24 Itb1 �8c7 2S ctJc3 merely gives White a risk-free endgame
major pieces) 14 as! bxcS. Now l S a6 c4 1 6
gdl+ �e7 26 MdS when in LKhenkin­ advantage, but 10 ... ctJfd7!? played on this
'iVaS 'iVxaS 1 7 .l:.xaS ctJc6 1 8 .l:.a2 .l:.b8 1 9
A.Ayas Fernandez, Andorra 2004 White had specific move has actually scored rather well
i.,xc4 CDdeS 2 0 i.. e 2 Md8 21 �f2 Mbl 2 2 g4
consolidated his extra pawn and was able to for Black in practical play. Whilst 1 1 'iVd4 0-0
fS 23 �g2 ended up as an eventual victory
grind out a win. 12 'iVb4 'iVc7 1 3 a4 CDc6 14 �a3 CDaS l S
for White in F.Berkes-Z.Almasi, Budapest
Also worthy of consideration is 1 1 f4, ctJh3 b 6 1 6 cxb6 axb6 1 7 'iVb4 ctJc6 1 8 'iVb2
2004. I'm certainly not saying that White is
which recently saw the fascinating 1 1 ...CDc6 CDaS 1 9 �4 CDc6 l/Z_l/Z D.zagorskis­
winning in this variation, but one conclusion
12 'iVc4 eS 13 fS g6 14 i.,d3 ..id7 lS CDe2 J .Nilssen, Copenhagen 1 998 is of independ­
is clear: if White can maintain some initiative
CDe 7 16 fxg6 hxg6 1 7 Mb 1 0-0-0 18 'iVb4 ent significance, 1 1 �b3 0-0 would transpose
then in practice it is better for him to eschew
'iVxb4 19 cxb4 i.,h3 20 gxh3 Mxd3 21 0-0 to the notes to White's next move. Retreating
Black's offering of ... b7-b6 .
.l:.dxh3 22 Mxf6 .l:.xh2 23 CDg3 1:.c2 24 i.,e3 the f6-knight is not such a strange idea as the
Another point is that Black should play
Mc3 2S .i.f2 CDbS 26 .l:.e6 CDc6 27 .l:.xg6 e4-pawn is currently shutting it out of the
with reasonable urgency, as giving White 1 4 . . . l!f8 !
Mxa3 28 CDfS Mah3 29 �g2 .l:.h2+ 30 �f3 action. It's also an interesting concept to hold
time will allow him to consolidate. In particu­ Last turn White had indirectly protected
CDcd4+ 31 .i.xd4 CDxd4+ 32 CDxd4 exd4 33 back on ... 0-0 for a move, even if with the
lar, Black should try to avoid White parking a the cS-pawn via the pin on the rook. This
Mdl .l:.d8 34 Md6 1:.f8+ 3S �g3 I:1h7 36 Mg6 king on e8 it is vulnerable to a check on bS.
knight on dS as was recently the case in move of course simply unpins it.
l:.d7 1/Z_1/2 M.Bluvshtein-V.Kotronias, Hast­ 1 1 �f2 ! ?
G.Lettieri-F.Guido, Verona 200S. Here play 1 5 �c4
ings 2004/0S. continued 1 1 'iVb3 ctJc6 (as I just mentioned, More common is 15 'iVb4, although White
1 0 .ie3 it is better to attack the c-pawn immediately) has hardly set the house on fire regarding
12 ..tbS �c7 13 i.,xc6 'iVxc6 14 ctJe2 eS l S results. That said, after 1S ... ctJc6 1 6 'iVa4 ctJaS
':b 1 .l:.b8 1 6 c 4 i.,e6 1 7 CDc3 I:1fc8 1 8 ctJdS 1 7 'iVb4 ctJc6 1 8 'iVa4 ctJaS 19 'iVbS a6 20
<t>f8 19 0-0 CDd7 20 'iVc3 f6 21 f4! exf4 22 �4 CDc6 21 'iVa4 CDaS the latest finesse of
1:.xf4 i.,f7 23 .l:.bfl .l:.e8 24 i.,d4 .l:.e6 2S eS 22 CDh3 ctJxcS 23 �4 b6 24 �b 1 CDd7 2S
CDxcS 26 exf6 g6 27 �g3 CDd7 28 'iVgs 'iVxc4 i.,xb6 CDxb6 26 �xb6 'iVxc3 27 i.. e2 CDc6 28
29 i.,xa7 .l:.e4 30 Mxe4 �xe4 31 ctJc3 'iVe6 32 Mhc1 'ild4+ 29 �e 1 ! 'iVxb6 30 1:.xb6 gave
i.,xb8 CDxb8 33 'iVh6+ �e8 34 'iVd2 1 -0. For White something to work with in M.Ulibin­
a not-so-high rated player, that was a very R.Tischbierek, Biel 2004.
well handled game. In T.Hillarp Persson-V.Ikonnikov, Barce­
1 1 .. .ct:Jfd 7 ! lona 2003 Black broke with the 16 ... CDaS
1 1 ...CDc6 1 2 'iVb3 'iVc7 1 3 CDe2 eS 1 4 Mb l trend: 16 ... CDceS!? 1 7 'iVd4 CDc6 18 �d6 'iVaS
White has to d o something with his king
CDaS l S 'iVb4 ..te6 1 6 ctJg3 favoured White in 19 'iVg3 CDxcS 20 ctJe2 fS 21 exfS MxfS 22
eventually and this keeps the white queen
S.Volkov-B.Macieja, European Team Cham­ �g1 eS 23 h4 �e6 frankly worked out quite
Also instructive was 10 .l:.bl 0-0 1 1 MbS options open. Nevertheless I do need to talk
pionship, Batumi 1 999. He won't lose his cS­ well for Black, although of course White
'iVxc3+ 12 �f2 'iVeS 13 i.,b2 'iVc7 14 'iVd6 about 1 1 'iVb3 CDfd7!? (Black immediately
pawn yet, and he is only a move away from didn't need to venture his queen into the d6-
CDe8 lS 'iVxc7 CDxc7 16 1:.b3 CDc6 17 f4 fS 1 8 gets to the point of attacking the cS-pawn; on
activating his king's rook. square.
e S I:1d8 1 9 CDf3 CDdS 2 0 g3 CDaS 21 Md3 b6 the debate of which knight, note how
12 Mb 1 !Id8 1 5 . . . ttJc6 1 6 ttJe2 b6 ! ?
22 cxb6 axb6 23 CDd4 ctJb7 24 ..tg2 ctJcS 2S 1 1 ...ctJa6 12 i.,xa6 'iVxa6 1 3 CDe2 eS 14 c4
12 ... b6 is, as we know, thematic but the 1 3 Black doesn't need to play this but what
Mdd 1 i..b 7 26 CDbS .l:.ab8 27 CDd6 when ..ie6 l S 'iVbS i.,xc4 16 'iVxa6 ..ixa6 1 7 �f2
cxb6 axb6 1 4 i.,bS 'iVxa3 l S CDe2 'iVe7 1 6 follows demonstrates the sort of counterplay
White retained an edge throughout in Mac8 1 8 1:.hd 1 �fd8 19 CDc3 �f8 20 a4
Mal Mxa1 1 7 'iVxa1 CDcS 1 8 Mb1 of that can be received through this pawn sacri­
V.Milov-E.Magerramov, Berlin 1 993. The I:1xd1 21 nxd1 b6 22 Md6 �e8 23 as CDd7
M.Ulibin-J .Barkhagen, Stockholm 2002 again fice.
cS-pawn is of far more importance to White 24 axb6 axb6 2S ctJd5 i.. b7 26 cxb6 wasn't
shows the advantage of returning the extra 1 7 cxb6
than its compatriot on c3 which, when pre­ much fun for Black in V.Moskalenko­
pawn to buy time for development. I sound After 17 CDg3 bxcS, 18 �xcS? is unplay­
sent, obstructs activity along the b2-g7 di­ A.Shneider, Lvov 1 985) 12 a4 'ilc7 13 'iVa3
like a broken record, but the bishop pair able because of 1 8 ... ctJaS, but without that
agonal. b6! (surely a familiar theme by now: rather
offers White a slight plus. the black knights gear up for action.
1 0 . . . 0-0 than spending a decade trying to round up
13 "iYb3 W/ic7 14 �d 1 1 7 . . . axb6 1 8 ttJd4 ttJc5
10 ...'iVxc3+ 1 1 �f2 0-0 1 2 ctJe2 'iVaS 1 3 the cS-pawn, as we have seen previously

33
32
Th e Main L in e O p e n S a m is c h (4 f3 d5 5 a 3 SL x c 3 + 6 bxc3 c5)
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

made in the previous game about 9 ... tLJc7, i.e2 iLe6 l S iVc2 tbd7 1 6 0-0 tbaS 1 7 tbd3.
28 94
here 1 0 'iYd4 hasn't proven to be that suc­ Although White guards cS, the bishop on e2
White is getting desperate.
cessful for White because after 10 ... 0-0 1 1 is a little out of it and for Black the c4-square
28 . . . 4:Je4 + ! 29 �e 1 4:Jec3 30 i.xc3
iVb4 Black has available the most satisfactory must count for something.
4:Jxc3 31 �d2
retreat 1 1 ...'iYc7. 1 2 . . . 4:Jec6 1 3 f4! ?
Or of course 31 'iYxc3 Mxd 1 +, netting the
1 0 . . . 0-0
queen. This is turning into a complete
Again 10 ...'iVxc3+?! isn't so hot as after 1 1
nightmare for White.
�f2 0-0 1 2 tbe2 iVa5 1 3 'iVd2 any endgames
31 . . Jbd2 32 �xd2 'iVxe2 + 33 �xc3
will favour White. However, 10 ... tbd7, shar­
.i:.cS + 0- 1
ing ideas with the next game, is slightly dif­
ferent. White should choose between 1 1
'iVd4 or 1 1 'iVb3. Regarding the latter, in con­
trast to the previous game 1 1 ... tLJc6 12 i.b5
iVc7 1 3 tLJh3 0-0 14 liJf2 tLJa5 15 iVb4 tLJc6
1 9 4:JbS 1 6 'iYa4 tLJce5 17 iVd4 tLJc6 18 i.xc6 iVxc6
In retrospect perhaps something like 1 9 19 0-0 b6 20 cxb6 axb6 21 tLJd3 leaves White
tLJxc6 'iYxc6 20 'iYb5 'iYxb5 21 i.xb5 lha3
with nothing to fear. It's the same pawn
22 Md6 would be more prudent, although
structure but he dominates the centre and
actually Black isn't obliged to trade queens. 21 ...Ma5 22 tLJb4 'iVa8 23 tLJc2 Ma4 24 'iVd6 Finally something a little different! Not
1 9 .. :iYeS 20 .te2 l:ta4 21 'iVa2 i.a6
'iYa5 25 tLJb4 'iVeS 26 'iVxeS tLJxeS 27 i.xb6 that it's entirely a new idea as previously we
I'm not saying that White should lose this was easily converted in M.Cebalo-O.Jovanic, have seen Shirov himself employ this move
game but it is quite a tricky position for a Zagreb 2004. in order to ready f3 for the knight.
human to handle. With a rating of well over 1 1 'iVb3 1 3 . . . 4:JaS 1 4 'iVd 1 ! ? .i:.d8 1 S 'iVh S
2600, Mr Volkov is no mug! Mate is forced.
I'm not sure I buy into the 1 1 �b 1 tLJd7 Entertaining stuff. The white queen has
22 c4? ! 12 i.bS Md8 13 'iVb3 tLJeS 14 <;t>f2 i.d7 l S transferred to the kingside where of course
I don't like this move a s although i t sup­ Game 1 0
tLJe2 i.xbS 1 6 'iVxbS liJd3+ 1 7 <;t>g3 'iVc7+ 1 8 the minor pieces still rest at home!
ports the knight, the pawn blocks out the A . Beliavsky-N . Oe Firmian
�h3 Md7 1 9 g3 o f S.Volkov-P .Jaracz, Bad 1 S . . . 4:Jd7 1 6 4:Jf3
queen and relinquishes control of the b4- Sigeman & Co, Malmo 2004 Wiessee 2004 even though White went on to White can see Black's threat but plumps
square.
win. Volkov is undoubtedly a leading expert for development anyway. That said, although
22 . . .fS! 1 d4 4:Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 4:Jc3 i.. b4 4 f3 dS S
in this line but in the same year of 2004 after it seems harsh to actually criticise this move,
Now Black has play on both sides of the a3 SLxc3 + 6 bxc3 cS 7 cxdS 4:JxdS 8
1 1 Mb1 he lost to the greedy 1 1 ... 'iVxc3+ 1 2 possibly 1 6 i.d3!?, intending to meet
board. dxcS 'iVaS 9 e4 4:Je7
�f2 iVxa3 and drew against 1 1 . ...l:.d8 1 2 1 6 ... tLJf6 with 17 iVe2, might have been bet­
23 exfS i.xbS 24 cxbS 4:Jb4 2S 'iYb 1 ? !
iVb3 tLJa6. ter, whilst 1 6 .:td 1 !? also has its plus points.
Given his time again White would proba­ 1 6 . . . 4:Jf6 1 7 'iVh4 tiJxe4 1 8 iLd4
1 1 .. :iVc7
bly opt to bail out with 25 'iYd2 'iYxf5 26 This is a superbly placed bishop which
With the other knight on e 7, again
i.xc5 'iYxc5+ 27 'iie3 'iYxe3+ 28 �xe3 understandably Black is now quite eager to
1 1 ...tLJa6 must be a candidate and actually 1 2
Mxa3+ 29 �f2 ':a2 30 Mhe 1 and a likely
tLJh3 i.d7 1 3 i.e2 !tab8 1 4 i.f4 e5!? l S eliminate.
draw. 1 8 . . . 4:Jc6 1 9 .td3 tiJxd4 20 cxd4
i.xeS tLJxcs 1 6 'iVb4 tLJd3+ 1 7 i.xd3 'iVxeS
2S . . . 4:Jd S 1 8 f4?! 'iVc7 19 'iVxe7? iVxc3+ 20 �e2 i.g4+ White has lost his bishop but has im­
I'm not going to bang on about the two proved his pawn structure.
0-1 V.Jianu-A.Kalinin, Sozina 2004 is a game
bishops here as the threat from the black
White will want to forget in a hurry. 20 . . :iVa S +
queen and knights is obvious!
1 2 .i:.b 1 After 2 0. . .tLJf6 21 0-0 White could easily
26 i.d2 ':xfS 1 2 tLJh3 eS 1 3 tLJf2 tLJec6 i s a n alternative mount a serious offensive. Hence Black en­
And let's not forget the black rooks! sures that his won't be the only king to be
approach when White could still employ 1 4
27 'iVa 1 J:td4! targeted.
M b1 to try to ti e Black down to the defence
A queen swap definitely isn't on Black's 1 0 i.. e 3
of his b-pawn or else travel the road of 1 4 21 �e2?
agenda! Comparing 9 ... tLJe7 to the comments I

35
34
Th e M a in L in e Op en S a m is c h (4 f3 d5 5 a 3 iL x c 3 + 6 b x c 3 c 5)
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

12 'ilb4 'ilc7, Black should of course opt for


It takes too long to castle by hand after ctJd2 .I::! e 7 30 il.c2 gae8 3 1 .I::! g 3 Game ! ! the immediate 1 1 ... 'iVc7! when he stands well
this, and White should instead prefer the Just when it seemed as though White had
A . Beliavs ky-A . K u nte upon either 1 2 'i¥c4 ctJe5 1 3 'ilb4 :d8 (the
(only temporary) self-pin 21 Mb4!. abandoned his attacking aspirations he re­
Pune 2004 d3-square is ripe for an invasion and as usual
21 . . . ctJc3 + turns for more!
White lags behind in development) or 12 a4
Regarding that dodgy white king position, 31 . . . 'iVa6 32 .l:tf 1 'iVe2 33 .i.d3 'iVxf2+ 34
1 d4 ctJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ctJc3 iLb4 4 f3 d5 5 c:t:Jxc5 1 3 'i¥a3 b6 1 4 a5 .¥Lb7 (Mickey went
instead of this 2 1 ...Mxd4!? looks quite prom­ .I::!x f2 Me 1 + 35 gf 1 ctJf4 36 il.c4 ctJe2+
a3 .i.xc3 + 6 bxc3 c5 7 cxd5 ctJxd 5 8 on to win in J . Pomes Marcet-M.Adams,
ising for Black. 37 jl,xe2 .: 1 xe2 38 ctJf3 M8e4
dxc5 ctJd7 ! ? Mainz 200 1 ) .
22 �f2
Black's idea then i s to develop the queen
on c7, although 1 1 c:t:Jh3 'ilc7!? 12 'i¥d6 iVa5
is sneaky! With that in mind, perhaps White's
most flexible is 1 1 Mb l !? as after 1 1 ..:iVc7?!
12 'iVd6!, 1 2 ... iVa5? is unplayable because
...'iVxc3+ will no longer be a fork. Hence
1 1 ...'iVa5 12 'iVb3 'iVc7, returning more to the
realms of our previous game.

Clearly the tide has turned although Nick


I n my opinion the fact that English GM
22 . . . h6 doesn't seem to do quite enough for Black to
Michael Adams has favoured this move
Upon 22 .. .'�Jxb l ?! 23 'iVxh7+ �f8 24 gain the full point.
should make us all sit up and take note. With
Mxb 1 White would have tremendous play for 39 Mf2 .l:t2e3 40 gd2 .l:.xa3 41 d5 Ma 1 +
the text Black shows that he is eager to regain
the exchange. 42 <itf2 �b5 43 .i:1h3
the c5-pawn but prefers not to commit the
23 �b3 The only satisfactory way to avoid the
queen.
\x'hite has a bind on e5 and pieces slowly mate on fl .
9 e4
aiming at Black's king, but he must be care­ 43 . . . jl,d7
A continuation not yet seen is 9 c6!? bxc6
ful. Although Black is yet to complete his Instead 43 ... Mfl+ 44 �g3 Me l 45 d6 .¥Ld7
10 e4. It looks to me as though 10 ... c:t:Jxc3 1 1 1 1 . . . �a5
development, things could easily go horribly looks very powerful, but arguably the main
'iVd4 'iVh4+ (or 1 1 ...'ilf6 1 2 e5!) 1 2 g3 'i¥f6 1 3 Basically it seems that Black has the choice
wrong for the first player as he has more point of interest in this game is White's novel
e5! c:t:Jxe5 1 4 'iVxc3 c:t:Jd3+ 1 5 'iVxd3 'ilxal 1 6 of where he wants the white queen to be
pawn islands and some obvious targets opening approach.
'iVc2 .¥Ld7 1 7 .¥Ld3 i s excellent for White and when he parks his own queen on c7. The
within his own camp. 44 Mh5 f6 45 d6 Mc 1 46 gb2 b6 47
so Black may just have to retreat his knight. immediate deployment encourages some
23 . . . jl,d7 24 �c 1 etJd5 cxb6 axb6 48 �d5
Presumably with a symmetrical pawn struc­ crazy lines, e.g. 1 1 ...iVc7 12 'iVd6 (or 1 2
A considerable number of very natural After the alternative 48 Mxb6 Mc2+ 49
ture (i.e. botl1 sides having isolated a- and c­ .¥Lxd7 Md8!) 1 2 ...'iVa5 1 3 .¥Lxd7 (maybe 1 3
moves are played throughout this middle­ �fl Ma4 White would suffer on the back
pawns) White's bishop pair should give him a Mb1 ! ? i s stronger) 1 3 ...'iVxc3+ 1 4 �f2 'iVxal
game and overall an assessment of 'dynamic rank.
niggling edge, although eventually Black 15 'ilxe7 .¥Lxd7 16 'ilxd7 Mad8 17 'i¥b5 ':d 1
equality' couldn't be far off the mark. Okay, 48 . . . b5 49 ctJd2 .l:te5 50 ':xe5 fxe5 5 1
should be able to arrange ... .¥La6. - White has two pieces for a rook but will
what that basically means then is that White ctJf3 M c 5 5 2 .l:te2 gd5 5 3 ctJxe5 .l:txd6 54
9 . . . ctJe7 1 0 il.e3 0-0 struggle to complete his kingside develop­
has the better of the first half of this game etJxd7 �xd7 55 1:e8 + <itf7 56 :Sb8 gd5
O f course Black could still employ ment.
and Black the better of the second! 57 �e2 �e7 58 h4 gc5 59 g4 llc2 + 60
10 ... 'iVa5 but if he doesn't venture out with it 1 2 'iVb3 'iVc7
25 <itg 1 jl,c6 26 f5 �e3 Mc3 + 61 �f4 .l:.c5 Y2 - Y2
now it won't be chased back later! The alternative 12 ... e5 13 c:t:Je2 'fic7 1 4
\x'hite wants to make further inroads to­ One grandmaster shows another the usual
1 1 jl,b5 .¥Lxd7 �xd7 would transpose to the main
wards the black monarch but now Black will amount of respect. Well, that and Black can't
11 'iVb3?! has less point now as the c3- game.
have the e-file to work with. make much progress without risking things
pawn isn't even attacked. Instead of 11 ... 'ila5 1 3 jl,xd7 il.xd7 1 4 ctJe2
26 . . . exf5 27 �xf5 .I::!e 8 28 'iVf2 �a4 29 on the kingside!

37
36
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n
Th e Ma in L in e Op e n S a m is c h (4 f3 d5 5 a 3 i.. x c 3 + 6 b x c 3 c 5)

Summary
way and the 1 8 'iia4 lLJa5 1 9 i.. f2 �fd8 20
The first conclusion to draw from this extensive chapter is that 7 cxd5 is White's best move. I
Mxd8+ �xd8 21 CLJg3 of E.Ovod-V.Sanchez
Martin, Oropesa del Mar 2000 doesn't really started with this ... d7-d5 and ... c7-c5 variation first because it is considered to be the main line,
constitute an improvement. and the big question revolves around how Black should recapture after 7 cxd5. My opinion is
that taking back with the knight is rock-solid, but against sensible white play it is extremely
difficult for Black to win such positions. Invariably, White tries to consolidate an extra c-pawn
after 8 dxc5 (the eighth move queen options haven't achieved great results in practice) and
retains the two bishops, but ironically in many games most of his efforts are spent trying to
manoeuvre his remaining knight to a good square. If dxc5 has occurred, Black always has the
semi-pawn sacrifice ...b7-b6 in his armoury.
Regarding specifics, Adams's 9 ... lLJd7 (see Game 1 1) encourages rare (for this line) and in­
teresting complications. However, although not committing the black queen has a certain ap­
peal, it could be that my simple (though yet to be seen) 10 c6!? promises White a small but
lasting edge. The chances are that with best play there is still a draw, but it is far from clear that
1 4. . .e5!?
that is the case after 7 ... exd5. Those lines are far more double-edged and, although my gut
1 4 ... lLJc6 has proven to be okay in practice
too, e.g. 15 c4 (1 5 0-0 e5 16 �fd 1 lLJa5 1 7 feeling is that the truth lies with White, often he is living on a knife-edge. He could easily build
up a big centre when his beautiful bishop pair watches while the heavy pieces destroy the black
'iib4 lLJc6 1 8 'iib3 lLJa5 1 9 'iib4 lLJc6, J .Cox­
J .Emms, London 2005, can hardly be 1 8 . . . CZJa5 1 9 'iVb4 ttJxc4 20 i.. f 2 'iVc6 king. On the other hand, he could get lumbered with a bad bishop while Black invades down
20 ... a5 and 20 ... b6 are obvious alternatives; the c-ftle! 7 ... exd5 is arguably dubious but offers Black the best winning chances. Frankly
deemed as a winning attempt for White, but
though, if he is dead set on defeating 4 f3 then he might be better off investigating the ideas of
it does also highlight Black's difficulties in they both look reasonable but are unlikely to
the next two chapters.
reaching positions in which he can create change the outcome of this game.
winning chances) 1 5 ... e5 1 6 lLJc3 �ab8 21 ttJg3 g6 22 ttJf 1 l!fd8 23 lIxd8+
1 d4 lLJf6 2 c4 e6 3 lLJc3 i.b4 4 f3 d5 5 a3 i.. x c3 + 6 bxc3 c5 7 cxd 5
(1 6 ... lLJd4?! 17 i.. xd4 exd4 18 lLJd5 'iix c5 1 9 lIxd8 24 �xb7
7 e3 Game 1
�xb7 d3 2 0 'iib4 was a successful smash­ White grabs a pawn but Black's counter­
-

7 . . . lLJxd 5
and-grab raid in M.Bluvshtein-T.Roussel play soon becomes self-evident.
7 . . . exd5 8 e3 (D)
Roozmon, Montreal 2002) 17 lLJd5 'iYa5+ 1 8 24 . . . �xb7 25 lIxb7 l;!d 1 26 ith4 ttJd2 27
8 . . . 'iic 7 Game 2
�f2 f5 1 9 exf5 i.. xf5 20 �hdl �d8 2 1 �gl �f2 lIxf 1 + 28 �e2 lIb 1
-

8 . . . 0-0 9 i.. d 3: 9 . . . b6 Game 4; 9 ... �e8 - Game 3


�h4. Well, objectively I suppose White is
-

8 dxc5
slightly better, but actually Black went on to
8 �d2 - Game 5
win in M.Ulibin-A.Cherniaev, Biel 2004.
8 �d3 (D) : 8 . . . b6 Game 7; 8 . . . cxd4 - Game 6
Mind you, Alexander plays a lot in England
-

8 . . . �a5
and he is a very slippery customer!
8 ... lLJd7 Game 1 1 ; 8 . . . f5 Game 8
1 5 lIb 1 lIab8 1 6 0-0 ttJc6
- -

9 e4 (D) lLJe7 Game 10; 9 . . .lLJ f6 Game 9


16 ... i.. e6 17 'iib 5 (1 7 c4 CLJc6 1 8 �fd 1
- -

would transpose to our main game) 1 7 ... lLJc6


1 8 �fdl �fd8 1 9 c4 �xdl+ 20 �xd l 'iia 5 21
�b3 �a6 22 �d5 CLJa5 23 'iib 5 CLJxc4 24
�xa6 bxa6 25 �d3 was roughly equal in
R.Palliser-D.Gormally, British Rapidplay
Championship, Halifax 2004.
1 7 lIfd 1 .i.e6 1 8 c4 Black is a piece for a pawn up but it is that
The pawn is of course weak here and des­ pawn that saves White's blushes.
tined to drop off. However, it only got in the 29 c6 ttJb3 30 i..f6 ttJd4 + V2 - V2

8 e3 8 'iVd3 9 e4

38 39
4 f3 d 5 5 a 3 : A l t e rn a ti v e s to th e M a in L in e

i. b7 12 ctJe2 feels like a pleasant Queen's a6.


Gambit Declined for White in which ex­
pending a tempo on a2-a3 was worth it to

I
net Black's dark-squared bishop. With all due
respect to the players involved, it's not the

CHAPTER TWO highest level encounter, but 12 ... Me8 13 iLf2


Mc8 1 4 0-0 'VJIie7 15 ctJg3 ctJf8 16 ctJf5 'VJIid7
17 g4 LDe6 1 8 i.g3 g6 19 i.e5 LDh7 20
LDxh6+ �f8 21 f4 c5 22 f5 gxf5 23 i.xf5
Me7 24 �xh7 1 -0 B.Szabo-M,Tamas, Buda-
pest 2004 clearly demonstrates how things
4 f3 d 5 5 a3 : Alternatives can quickly go sour for Black.
to the Main Line 7 cxd 5
7 �g5 isn't as attractive now because
Black can try to punish White for his poor 9 etJe2 c5
development. Specifically. Black should not The point of 8 ...i.f5 was to take first dibs
play 7 ... b6? which, in line with my comments on the bl -h7 diagonal (upon 8 ... c5, as we
1 d 4 ct:Jf6 2 c 4 e6 3 etJ c 3 �b4 4 f 3 d5 5
to 6 ... b6?!, would j ustify White's play. Instead know, White could have made it his own
a3
he should aim to hit White's queenside more with 9 �d3) . White is up for the challenge
Whilst the majority of this chapter will be
quickly, and 7 ... c6 8 LDh3 ttJbd7 9 LDf2 'VJIiaS though and intends to try and punish Black
spent looking at Black's options of preserv­
(a pawn on b6 prevents this possibility) 1 0 for his boldness.
ing his dark-squared bishop, in the first cou­
'VJIid2 dxc4 1 1 e 4 b S 1 2 i.e2 cS! 1 3 dxcS As a taster for the main game, check out
ple of games I want to take a look at him
i.b7, as seen in LManor-E.Rozentalis, Israel 9 ...Me8:
conceding it as in the main line of Chapter 1
1 999, looks like a very sensible approach. As a) I bet the world's greatest player was
but then employing alternatives to the stan­
you will see in the next game, the Lithuanian miffed by 1 0 ctJ f4 c5 1 1 g4 �xg4?! 12 fxg4
dard move 6 ... c5.
GM is quite keen on this ... c6 move, but after ctJe4 1 3 h4 ctJc6 1 4 ..tg2 LDxc3 1 5 'VJIid3 cxd4
In Game 12 I investigate the conse­
7 i.g5 it is no surprise that 7 ... c5 has its fol­ 16 0-0 'VJIixh4 17 exd4 ttJe4 1 8 iLe3 Mad8 19
quences of Black's castling (relatively) early,
lowers too. Mabl ttJf6 20 :f3 'VJIixg4 21 'sxb7 ttJa5 22
while Game 13 then concentrates on the
Of course 7 e3 is possible but, just as I Mxa7 CDc4 23 ttJxdS?? ttJxdS 24 �f2 (pre­
apparently anti-positional pawn advance
commented in the very first game of the sumably here he realised that after 24 'VJIixc4
6 ... c6. 6 0-0
book, it's not very ambitious. ttJxe3 25 'VJIixf7+ �h8 Black was guarding g7
. . .

Of course Black is under no obligation to I would first like to mention that after
7 exd 5 and hence he had thrown away a winning
6 ... b6?!, 7 cxd5 exd5 8 e3 0-0 9 �d3 c5 1 0
. . .

exchange on c3 and there is a certain logic to


With ... 0-0 taking the place of the previous position!) 24 ... ctJd6 25 Mg3 'iVf5 26 'VJIixf5
keeping the bishop given that White has ctJe2 would transpose to the 6. . .c 5 7 cxd5
chapter's ... c5, now 7 ... ctJxd5? is just a mis­ ttJxf5 27 Mb3 ttJf4 28 ,Sbb7 ttJd6 29 :d7
weakened his kingside with f2-f3, even if this exd5 section of the previous chapter. Here
take because of 8 e4!. An amusing hunting ttJxg2 30 �xg2 Mxd7 31 Mxd7 ttJe4 32 iLel
means White can build up a centre. In Game 9 ... �a6 10 ..txa6 LDxa6 1 1 'VJIid3 'VJIic8 12 ctJe2
sequence runs 8 ... LDxc3 9 'VJIib3 'VJIixd4 1 0 ttJf6 0-1 G.Kasparov-N.Bradbury London
14 I take a look at the provocative 5 ... i.d6, c5 1 3 0-0 :e8 14 LDg3 'VJIib7 1 5 Ih2 b5 1 6
..tb2 'iVe3+ 1 1 i.e2 ctJd5 1 2 'iVxe3 LDxe3 1 3 (simultaneous display) 1 983, but knowing
while the final two games in this chapter Me2 b 4 1 7 cxb4 cxb4 1 8 Mb2 Mab8 1 9 �d2,
�f2 ctJc2 14 Mc1 - yes, the knight i s trapped! Neil I'm sure he would have been very sym­
concentrate on the more popular move where White craftily bagged a pawn in
8 e3 iLf5 pathetic!
5 ... i.e7 . I.Novikov-R.Furdzik, New York 2002, is not
If Black played for a quick ... c7 -c5 (i.e. b) 10 LDg3 �g6 1 1 i.d3 ..txd3 12 'iYxd3
of serious independent significance. How­
now!) then we would return to the realms of ttJbd7 1 3 0-0 c6?! is too passive and White's
Game 12 ever, it's probably fair to say that 'W'hite can
the previous chapter. That aside, Black must position has all the potential. He can build up
V . Moskalenko-J . Lopez Martinez take advantage of Black's inferior move order
play actively in order to avoid simply reach­ a big pawn centre and swing his knight into
Paretana 1 999 by playing 7 i.g5!? It is of course very nice
ing an inferior QGD. Specifically, Black action. Come to think of it, it's as if I wrote
to get the bishop outside the pawn chain (i.e.
should try to do something with this bishop the script!: 1 4 Mb l 'VJIic7 1 5 e4 LDb6 1 6 e5
1 d4 etJf6 2 c4 e6 3 etJc3 �b4 4 f3 d 5 5 move it before playing e2-e3), and 7 .. .I:tJbd7
and this is the alternative to bringing it out to ttJfd7 1 7 f4 f6 1 8 ttJh5 fxe5 1 9 'VJIig3 Me7 20
a3 �xc3 + 6 bxc3 8 cxdS exdS 9 e3 h6 10 �h4 0-0 1 1 �d3

41
40
4 f3 d 5 5 a 3 : A lt e rn a t i v e s to t h e M a in L in e
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

Black's remaining bishop but in fact there is


fxes ctJf8 21 i.gs ':£7 22 ctJf4 l:Ie8 23 l:.f2 whereas it's going to take ages for the extra
method in his madness. Black bolsters the
ctJe6 24 ctJxe6 gxe6 25 z:rbfl l:Ixf2 26 'i¥xf2 black b-pawn to have an impact.
ds-pawn but actually intends the standard
h6 27 'iVf8+ 1 -0 H.Nordahl-M.Egeland, Alta
... b7-b6 and ... i.a6 plan that in the long term
2003.
could actually leave White with the only
Similarly, there is 9 ... ctJbd7 10 g4 (essen­
bishop and a bad one at that! In particular
tially White tends to choose between this or
the move ... c7-c6 makes available a ...'iVas
ctJg3, or of course both!) 1 0 ... ctJxg4?! (again a
option should White get fruity with his dark­
litde suspicious; unless there is anything con­
squared bishop and, after a future cxds,
crete, pieces are always going to be better
... cxds, means that a black rook or two can
than pawns) 1 1 fxg4 'iWh4+ 12 <iitd2 i.e4 1 3
get action down the c-ftle.
�gl ctJb6 1 4 .:tg3 lLJc4+ 1 5 <iite 1 gae8 1 6
7 'iVc2 ! ?
ctJf4 gs 1 7 lLJh3 fs 1 8 gxfs i.. xfs 1 9 i.xc4
a) Regarding m y comments to Black's
dxc4 20 lLJxgs �xh2 21 'YWf3 <iith 8 22 'YWg2 26 it..x g7 + ! �xg7 2 7 tZJf5 + �g6 28 previous move, the tame 7 e3 (arguably de­
'iVh4 23 l:Ia2 i.g4 24 l:If2 l:Ixf2 25 <iitx f2 tZJxd6 ':xe3 29 f4 serving a '?!') tends to fIt in with Black's
IH8+ 26 �gl hs 27 e4 1 -0 V.Malaniuk­
The immediate 29 ctJxb 7 was on too but plans, for example:
V.Dydyshko, Minsk 1 988 - Black only man­ 1 3 . . . tZJb6
I'm just being pedantic. The point is in the a1) The immediate 7 ... b6 is playable but
aged a few checks. This knight wanted the c4-square and
bag. after 8 cxdS cxdS Black mustn't forget what
10 g4 Black didn't want to saddle himself with an
29 . . . b6 30 h4 i.. b3 31 f 5 + <;t>h5 32 .l:.f4 could otherwise be an embarrassing queen
Easily the most testing move and the sort isolated d-pawn via 13 ... cxd4.
I:Ig3 33 tZJe8 1 -0 check on a4. Hence he will probably have to
of reason why players choose 4 f3 in the fIrst 1 4 dxc5!
casde before employing ... i.. a6 anyway, al­
place! Unfortunately White is ready to take ad­ Game 1 3 though incidentally 9 i..b s+ i.. d7 10 i.. d3
1 0 . . . i.. d 7 vantage of the situation. This move is more
Y . Yakovich-G . Tunik lLJc6 1 1 lLJe2 es! is another idea to look out
Firsdy, 1 0 ... ctJxg4? 11 fxg4 'iVh4+ 1 2 <iitd 2 about acquiring the d4-square than grabbing
Russian Ch., Krasnodar 2002 for.
i.e4 13 l:Ig1 is never going to be adequate. a pawn.
a2) 7 ... 0-0 8 i.d3 (8 lLJh3 b6 9 cxds cxds
The really provocative move is 1 0 ... �g6. 1 4 . . . tZJa4 1 5 'ifd4
1 d4 tDf6 2 c4 e6 3 ctJc3 i.. b4 4 f3 d5 5 1 0 a4 �a6 1 1 i.xa6 ctJxa6 12 "iYd3 'iVc8 was
Now 1 1 h4 h6 12 lLJf4 lLJbd7 is a tough one This outpost would be an excellent home
a3 i.xc3 + 6 bxc3 c6 also very reasonable for Black in H.Nordahl­
to call. In fact 1 3 lLJxg6?! fxg6 14 i.. d 3 'iVc7! for any white piece.
E.Rozentalis, Gausdal 2003 - White's bishop
is slighdy worrying for White as he has plenty 1 5 . . . 'i¥a5 1 6 95 tZJe8 1 7 tZJf5 'i¥xc5
isn't that bad a piece but the c3-pawn will
of weaknesses in his camp. Perhaps some­ After 17 ... lLJxcs 18 'YWb4! Black would be
have to remain in place) 8 ... b6 9 cxds (9 ctJe2
thing like 13 ':gl could be tried instead, but forced to iron out White's pawns.
i.. a 6 10 cxds cxds is a transposition, while
theoretically speaking the more cautious 1 1 1 8 'iVxc5 tZJxc5 1 9 a4
the jury is out on 9 e4, which is a gambit now
ctJf4 ctJbd7 1 2 �g2 Mc8 1 3 0-0 i s held in White has the bishop pair and generally
because after 9 ... dxe4 1 0 fxe4 ctJxe4 there is
higher regard, e.g. 13 ... lLJb6 1 4 l:Ia2 l:Ic7 1 5 the more active position; playing Black would
the check on h4 to consider; probably White
h3 l:Ie8 1 6 h 4 h6 1 7 lLJxg6 fxg6 1 8 �d3 z:rc6 be no fun.
continues with 1 1 lLJf3, which is a pawn for
19 a4 ctJh7 20 dxcs ':xcs 21 'YWxg6 lLJf8 22 1 9 . . . tZJc7 20 .ta3 tZJ7a6 2 1 tDe7 + �h8
Black but from White's angle it looks better
'YWd3 'YWxh4 23 �a3 �c7 24 as lLJc4 25 22 c4!
than the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit!) 9 ... cxds
"iYxds+ <iith8 26 �S �es 27 'YWb4 ctJe6 28 Eliminating one of White's two weak­
10 lLJe2 �a6 1 1 .ixa6 ctJxa6 12 0-0 ctJc 7 1 3
a6 b6 29 �c1 lLJxe3 30 'iVd6 lLJc4 31 �d3 nesses and Black is about to eliminate the
'iVd3 "iVc8 1 4 e 4 "iVa6 1 5 'iVc2 lIac8 1 6 es
z:recs 32 l:Ie2 l:Isc6 33 .nfe1 ctJf8 34 !le8 and other!
lLJd7 1 7 f4 f6 1 8 i.. b 2 'YWc4 19 a4 fxes 20
White went on to win in V.Malaniuk­ 22 . . . i.xa4 23 cxd5
This idea pioneered by Rozentalis looks fxeS Mxfl+ 21 gxfl Mf8 22 �xf8+ tUxf8 23
LNaumkin, Tashkent 1 987. The material situation remains level but
on the face of it very odd. Black has traded lLJf4 bs 24 axbs lLJxbs when the presence of
1 1 i.g2 i.. c6 1 2 0-0 tZJbd7 1 3 tZJg3 now White has only one pawn island.
off his dark-squared bishop, but rather than a bad bishop and having to deal with an out­
White's bishops lay in waiting while the 23 . . . I:Ife8 24 d6 I:tad8 25 i.b2! l:.'txd6
putting pawns on dark squares he appears to side passed pawn led to White's downfall in
knight looks for a good home. I wouldn't No doubt Black could see what was com­
be planting them on light squares instead! M.Kantorik-K.Sundararajan, Olomouc 2004.
fancy Black's position here as White has an ing but the white knight was going to return
This policy doesn't seem so appealing to b) In view of this White should adopt a
obvious expansion plan on the kingside to fS anyway.

43
42
4 f3 d5 5 a 3 : A l t e rn a ti v e s to th e M a in L in e
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

playchess.com 2004 with 1 1 . . .�g4, but after Mxf6 on moves 1 8 and 19 but, barring those
more direct approach. Central domination is pOSItion have nevertheless taught m e that 12 �b2 �xf3 13 gxf3 ctJh5 14 0-0-0 White (and White's missed opportunity on move
typically White's plan and, aside from the they are very double edged. White's light­ should have been very happy with his posi­ 1 5), a draw is on the cards.
main move (7 'iVc2), White can also consider squared bishop can get a little shut in whilst tion. However. I suspect that 1 1 ... Me8! is
7 e4!? straight away. After 7 ... dxe4 8 fxe4 the eventual advance e4-e5 will donate the critical, intending to meet 12 e5 with 12 ... c5!
White is threatening to advance his e-pawn excellent outpost on d5 to a black knight. 13 �e2 cxd4 as 14 exf6?? runs into 14 ... d3.
further. Nobody in their right mind would For Black's part he will always be looking to Note that 12 �d3 ctJxe4 1 3 0-0 f5 14 Mel
consider taking that pawn - the greedy try and arrange ... c6-c5 in order to try to real­ ctJd7 1 5 �xe4 ctJf6 is an amusing sequence
8 ... ctJxe4 9 'iVg4! ctJf6 1 0 'iVxg7 Mg8 1 1 'iVh6 ise his extra pawn advantage. that would also be fIne for Black.
should probably be good for White as Black 8 e4 1 1 .. .lie8 1 2 �d3
could easily suffer on the dark squares. Upon 8 cxd5 cxd5 9 e4 Black should re­ 12 cxd4 c5! transposes to my previous
Compared to similar positions that could be spond with 9 ... dxe4 10 fxe4 e5!. Following 1 1 note.
reached via the French Defence, e.g. 1 e4 e6 d5 White has a half-open f-file to work with, 1 2 . . . dxc3 1 3 0-0
2 d4 d5 3 ctJc3 �b4 4 a3 �xc3+ 5 bxc3 but he also has more pawn islands and con­
ctJxe4 6 'iVg4 ctJf6 7 'iVxg7 Mg8 8 'iVh6, sequently Black has some attractive potential
White also has the bonus of a half-open f­ blockading squares for his knights.
fIle. 8 . . . dxe4 9 fxe4
20 "iVxc3 "iVxc3 21 �xc3 c5 22 h3 Mc8
Thus the thematic response is 8 ... e5!. Now
23 a4 t2Jb8 24 Jtxb8 Mxb8 25 a5 Ird8 26
9 ctJf3 'iVa5 10 'iVd3 exd4 1 1 �d2 dxc3 1 2
�f5 Jtxf5 27 Mxf5 \tf8 28 Me5 Md 1 + 29
�xc3 'iVd8 1 3 'iVxd8+ �xd8 has occurred in
�h2 t2Jd7 30 Mee3 Md4 3 1 Mcd3 Mxd3
a number of Volkov games. It looks as 32 Mxd3 �e7 33 �g3 t2Je5 34 axb6
though he believes in it, with 14 ctJg5 �e6 1 5 axb6 35 Mc3 g5 36 �f2 Y2 - Y2
�e2 ctJa6 1 6 0-0 � e7 1 7 Mad 1 ctJc5 1 8 e5
ctJfd7 1 9 Md6 ctJa4 20 �b4 c5 21 ctJxe6 fxe6 Game 14
22 �g4 ctJf8 23 �e 1 h6 24 �h5 g6 25 �h4+
M . Norberg-R . S asata
�e8 26 �xg6+ ctJxg6 27 Mxe6+ �d7 28
Md6+ �c8 29 Mxg6 ctJb6 30 Mt7 1 -0
Correspondence 1 999
1 3 . . J:�xe5! ?
S.Volkov-P.Genov, Korinthos 2002 being After 1 3 ...ctJg4 14 �xh7+ �h8 1 5 ctJg5! 1 d4 t2Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 t2Jc3 �b4 4 f3 d5 5
one successful attempt. There are plenty of 'iVd4+ 16 �hl ctJxe5 1 7 �f4 ctJbd7 1 8 Mae 1 a3 i.d6
possible improvements for Black along the White would have a tremendous initiative,
way though, with ... ctJxe4 worth looking into 9 . . . e5 and so instead Black sacrifIces the exchange.
on either move nine or ten. Black must get this move in before White 14 t2Jxe5 "iVd4 + 1 5 �h 1
7 . . . 0-0 does. Although this pawn isn't guarded, Instead I prefer 1 5 'iVf2! 'i¥xe5 1 6 �e3
When your minor pieces are still at home needless to say White isn't going to jump at when the threats of �d4 and Mae1 make it
there is always going to be some concern, but the chance to acquire two sets of doubled diffIcult for Black to complete his develop­
nevertheless 7 ... b6 8 cxd5 cxd5 9 e4 feels isolated pawns! ment.
attractive for White as Black doesn't have 1 0 t2Jf3 exd4 1 5 . . . "iVxe5 1 6 �f4
time right now for ...�a6 and the e-pawn is 10 ... ctJbd7 1 1 �d3 c5 12 0-0 gives away Black currently has three pawns for the
on the march. less ground, but with the tension in the posi­ exchange, but White's big lead in develop­
Another advantage of 6 ... c6 is that after tion Black has problems developing his own ment and, indeed, excellent pieces leave him
7 . . . dxc4 8 e4 b5 9 a4 the b5-pawn is well bishop. On the other hand White has a su­ as slight favourite.
supported. In this instance 6 'iVc2 is defI­ perb dark-squared bishop, and even after a 1 6 . . . "iVa5 1 7 �d6 �e6 1 8 Mab 1 b6 1 9
nitely a pawn sacrifIce and reminds me a lot future advance of d4-d5 he has good chances .l:ibc 1 t2Jbd7 Coming clean, the truth is that this game
of certain Semi-Slav lines. White's compensa­ to do something on the kingside. Now Black has got this move in, his posi­ did in fact involve 5 ... �e7 (the subject of the
tion is clear: he has a lovely central pawn duo 1 1 e5 ! ? tion is rock-solid. No doubt White had con­ next game), but as it quickly transposes to
and a fantastic unchallenged dark-squared After 1 1 cxd4 Black tried to attack White's sidered sacrifIcing the exchange himself with 5 ... �d6 I've doctored the scoresheet a little.
bishop. My own experiences in this type of centre in the game S.Lahtela-'Anfaenger2',

45
44
4 (3 d 5 5 a 3 : A l t e r n a ti v e s to th e Main L in e
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

because o f 1 3 .i.e3. centralised in the endgame.


Anyway, regarding this slightly odd-looking 8 . . . ..txc5
c) Probably the best practical try for Black 1 4 'iib 5 tbd4
retreat, it's actually got some sneaky ideas
is 10 ...CDc6!? and only after 1 1 f4 play Black can't avoid a queen trade without
behind it. It eyes up a few of White's dark
1 1 ... iVb6. It's not clear whether Black really compromising his position.
squares (a black queen check on h4 would be
has enough after 12 CDf3 i.f2+ 13 �e2, but a 1 5 'iix b6 tbxb6 1 6 i.d3 l:td8 1 7 ..te3
nice around about now!) and supports the
trick worth watching out for is 1 1 CDe4?!
central challenge ... e6-eS. Also, an interesting
iVaS+! - White's queen is loose.
comparison can be made with the Queen's
1 1 f4
Gambit Declined after 6 .i.gs �e7 . Yes,
Black has effectively lost two tempi by mov­
ing his bishop three times. However, White's
gained free moves are a2-a3 (useful unless
White wanted to castle queenside) and f2-f3
(probably detrimental, particularly if he loses
his dark-squared bishop).
6 e4 9 e5!
A number of strong players seem to prefer A pawn is u p for grabs immediately o n dS,
6 cS .i.e 7 7 b4 (7 e4?! now is too greedy and but 9 CDxdS CDxdS 10 iVxdS iVb6 leaves
is well met by 7 ... dxe4 8 fxe4 eS! as the d­ Black with super compensation for the pawn.
1 7 . . .'�Jf3 +
pawn can't advance because of the hanging Even in the game White is weak along the
c-pawn), which of course gains considerable b6-g1 diagonal but at least the text forces a White was threatening to completely solid­
space on the queenside. Now eS becomes a black piece to retreat. ify via 0-0-0 and, though the text doesn't
1 1 . . . i.xg 1 work, neither did the 17 ...ctJb3 18 Mdl Mxd3
big square and White certainly would rather 9 . . .'�Jfd7
After 1 1 ...iVb6 1 2 CDf3 .i.f2+ 13 �e2 CDcS 19 l:ixd3 .i.fS 20 CDe4 ctJal 21 �xb6 axb6 22
not have his pawn on f3. Something like There is no future in 9 ... CDhS because after
14 b4 l:[d8 15 bxcS ..txcS 16 l:ibl 'iYaS a �e2 ..txe4 23 l:Id4 1 -0 of Y.Yakovich­
7 ... b6 8 e3 (arguably Black was better after 8 1 0 'iYxdS iVh4+ 1 1 g3 CDxg3 1 2 hxg3 'iYxhl '
'playing it safe' human-style advantage can be D.Piza Cortizo, Cordoba 1 99 1 .
�gS bxcS 9 bxcS h6 1 0 .i.xf6 �xf6 1 1 f4 (or 12 . . :iVxg3+ 13 �dl i.xg1 14 i.bS+ when
achieved via 17 l:ibS lIVxbS+ 1 8 CDxbS l:ixdS 1 8 gxf3 ':'xd3 1 9 ..txb6 axb6 20 l:.d 1
CDd7 12 iVa4 c6! 1 3 �c1 iVc7 1 4 e3 gS !? in at the very least CDe2 is available to gain a
19 CDc7 gd7 20 CDxa8 b6 21 ..te3 .i.b7 22 ':'xd 1 + 21 �xd 1 �e6
T. Hillarp Persson-A.Beliavsky, Malmo 2004) significant material advantage) 1 3 iVxcs the
i.xcs bxcS 23 �e3 i.xa8 24 �bS. However, Funnily enough now Black has that
8 ... 0-0 9 i.. d2 c6 1 0 f4 as 1 1 CDf3 i.a6 looks white queen both attacks c8 and protects the
I suspect that Fritz and co could come up bishop-for-knight advantage, but neverthe­
like a reasonable sequence with a draw being gl -knight.
with bigger advantages along the way. less it's the extra pawn that is the decisive
agreed after 12 .i.xa6 CDxa6 1 3 CDeS axb4 1 4 1 0 'iVxd5 0-0
1 2 ':'xg 1 'iVb6 factor.
CDxc6 iVc7 1 5 CDxe7+ iVxe7 1 6 axb4 in Or:
Not for the first time Black can regain his 22 tbe4 �f8 23 �e2 ':'c8 24 �d 1 �e 7
S.Volkov-J .Gustafsson, playchess.com 2004. a) After 10 ... i.. xgl 1 1 Mxgl iVb6, the sim­
pawn via 1 2 ...'iYh4+? 13 g3 'iVxh2, but 14 25 tbd6 'fJ"c7 26 f5 ..tb3 27 �d3 ..tc4 28
Tempting though it may be, taking the plest is 12 'iYd6 !: 12 ...iVxgl ? 1 3 CDdS CDc6
iVg2 merely offers him the prospect of a tbxc4 lIxc4 29 �e3 .:tc2 30 �b3 1 -0
pressure off the centre with 6 cS hasn't (and 13 ...iVcs 14 CDc7+ �d8 1 5 �gS+ f6 1 6
grim ending.
proven to be a great winning attempt. CDe6+) 1 4 CDc7+ �d8 1 5 .i.gS+ f6 1 6 exf6 is
1 3 ':'h 1 Game 15
6 . . . c5 curtains for Black, whilst a queen swap on d6
This seems preferable to 13 CDe2, al­ A . Summe rscale-L . Yu dasin
6 ...dxe4 7 fxe4 eS is surprisingly rare, and I is a pawn-up ending and more for White.
though we mustn't forget that now White W orId Open, Philadelphia 2002
can't see any particular reason for that. Surely Instead of 1 1 ...iVb6, going it alone with the
can't castle!
Black has nothing to fear from the endgame queen via 1 1 ...iVh4+? 12 g3 'iVxh2 13 Mg2
1 3 . . .'�Jc6 1 d4 tbf6 2 c4 e6 3 tbc3 i.b4 4 f3 d5 5
8 dxeS �xeS 9 iVxd8+ �xd8, whilst the 'iYhS leaves the rest of Black's pieces looking
After 13 ... ctJcS?! a favourable endgame a3 ..te7
defendable structure after 8 dS is the subject silly, and both 14 iVd6 and 14 e6! leave
was forced via 14 b4 ctJe6 1 5 ctJa4 'iYc7 1 6 This isn't as provocative as the previously
of the next game. White well in control and probably close to
i.. e3 CDc6 1 7 'iYd6 i n B.Gelfand-B.Spassky, seen S ... �d6, but White is obviously going to
7 cxd5 exd 5 8 dxc5 winning.
Linares 1 990. As well as the extra pawn continue to work on his central pawn struc­
The antidote to 8 eS is of course 8 ... cxd4 9 b) Upon 1 0 ... 'iYb6, 1 1 CDe4! is a powerful
White always has that bishop pair, whilst his ture all the same.
iVxd4 CDc6 1 0 .i.bS (or 1 0 iVe3? d4) response as after 1 1 ...0-0! 1 2 CDxcS Black
'exposed' king can easily find itself nicely 6 e4 c5
1 0 ...iVe7 . can't avoid a queen swap with 12 ... CDxcS

46 47
4 f3 d5 5 a 3 : A l t e rn a t i v e s to th e Main L in e
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

more lines.
isn't compelled to do that though, and indeed
20 . . . lb6xe5 21 fxe5 'iVc6
9 ... ttJc6 10 'iYxdS 0-0 1 1 i.e3 CDdxeS 1 2
Black dare not consider 21 ... 'iVxeS, e.g. 22
'iVxd8 l:.xd8 1 3 <it>f2 occurred in J .Ehlvest­
i.g6 l:.d8 23 l:.ae l �c7 24 i.f7+ <it>h8 2S
L.Yudasin, New York 2003. With all things
i. d4 with a fantastic position for White and
considered, White's queenside pawn majority
a devastating threat of i.xg7+.
probably gives him the edge.
22 VJNf2!
b) 9 tjjx dS cxd4 10 tDxe7 iilxe7 1 1 f4 f6
Threatening 'iVf7+ but also simply trans­
when White should probably choose be­
ferring the queen to the kingside.
tween 12 'iVxd4 fxeS 13 iile3 tDc6 14 tDf3
22 . . . �e6 23 i.d4 ':f8 24 'iHg3 �xf 1 + 25
and 12 tDf3 fxeS 13 �c4!?, neither of which
l:Ixf 1 'iVe8
theory has been able to make a definite as­
Necessary to prevent 'iYg6, but now \Xt'hite
sessment on.
has got the wind between his sails.
1 3 exf6 SLxf6 1 4 'iff2 lbc6 26 l:if6 !
6 ... dxe4 7 fxe4 eS appears in the next
Although the black rook is already on a A s the g-pawn is pinned this rook threat­
game, but for now we see Black striking at
good file, perhaps it would have made more ens the h6-pawn and is of course invulner­
White's centre once more with ... c7-cS.
sense for Black to hassle the white king while able where it stands.
7 e5
he had the chance. Indeed something like 26 . . . �h8 27 'iYh4 'iVd7
If those handling the white side of the
14 ... l:.e8+!? 1 5 tDe2 CDc4 1 6 l:.a2 iilaS+ 1 7 b4 Now 27 ... gxf6 would have been crushed
opening are impressed with his chances in
iila4 might have been irritating for White. by the reply 28 'iYxh6+ <it>g8 29 'iVh7+ <it>f8
the previous game then they could also give 7
1 5 0-0 ii.xc3 30 �cS+.
cxdS exdS 8 dxcS a whirl as 8 ... i.xcs 9 eS is a
Mixing things up but also conceding an 28 �f5 !
direct transposition. Black does though have
important bishop. White i s looking to get his dark-squared
a practical alternative at his disposal in the
1 6 bxc3 'iVf6 1 7 'iVc2 h6? ! bishop in on the act. 28 ... i.xfS 29 �xh6+
form of 8 ... d4, when I'm not sure that White
1 7 ... i.fS! is thematic, but I suppose after gxh6 (or 29 ... <it>g8 30 l:.h8+ <it>f7 31 l:.xa8) 30
should get embroiled in the likes of 9 tDbS
1 8 i.. xfS 'iVxfS 1 9 'iVxfS l:.xfS 20 l:.e 1 Black e6+ is just what White has in mind!
i.xcs 10 i.f4 0-0 1 1 tjj c7 tjj h S. Instead 9 9 . . . cxd4
can kiss goodbye to any realistic winning 28 . . J:re8 29 lbe6 ! l:Ixe6 30 'iVg4
tjj a4 0-0 10 tjje 2 tjj c6 1 1 b4 looks critical. It is very tempting to lure the queen into
chances - a draw is the most likely outcome.
I'm suspicious as to whether Black has the centre but there is also an argument for
1 8 �e3 lbc4 1 9 �c5 ne8
enough for the pawn, although 1 1 ... bS 1 2 9 ... tjj c 6 10 tDf3 cxd4 1 1 tDxd4 0-0 as 1 2
cxb6 axb6 1 3 tjj f4 i.b7 1 4 i.bS tDa7 I S ttJxdS? runs into 1 2. . .ttJdxeS! 1 3 tDxe7+
i.d3 i.c6 1 6 0-0 tjjb S 1 7 'iVc2 l:.c8 1 8 'iVe2 'iYxe7 14 fxeS 'iVh4+. Also after 12 i.e3 there
tjj c3 19 tjjxc3 dxc3 20 i.e3 went from what is no compulsion for Black to park his knight
looks like a position of strength to 20 ... i.d6 on b6, and indeed 12 ... tDcS is very plausible.
21 i.a6 �b8 22 tjjd 3 'iVc7 23 l:.fc1 i.xh2+ Hence to keep the pressure on Black (in par­
24 <it>n tjjh S 25 i.f2 i.. a4 and what doesn't! ticular forcing a decision on the c6-knight)
Black went on to win in J .Ehlvest-L.Yudasin, White might care to try 12 �bS!?
New York 2003 after 26 bS Mfd8 27 CDb4 1 0 'iVxd4 lbb6
Md2 28 'iVxd2 cxd2 29 Mxc7 �xc7 30 <it>e2 Yes, the drawback of Black's previous
d 1 iii + 31 Mxd 1 tjj f4+ 32 <it>e 1 tjj xg2+ 33 move is that he must guard the isolated d­
<it>d2 Md8+ 34 ttJdS i.xd l 3S <it>xdl tjj f4. pawn before he can gain that tempo on
The rook is pinned to the queen and so
7 . . . lbfd7 8 cxd 5 exd5 9 f4 ! ? White's queen.
this nets significant material. A wonderful
Bolstering eS and facilitating ttJf3, this has 1 1 i.. d 3 0-0 1 2 lbf3 f6
20 lbe5! demonstration of the power of the bishop
a certain appeal to it. Nevertheless, by way of It seems logical to strike out at White's
Black has four pieces attacking this square pair by the English G M.
alternatives White should also consider: centre but this advance weakens Black's
whilst White only defends it once. Neverthe­ 30 . . . 'iVb5 31 �xe6 'iYb 1 + 32 �f2 'iVc2 +
a) 9 dxcS �xcS transposes to the conten­ kingside and doesn't solve the problem of
less, it is an excellent move for opening up 33 'fge2 'iVc 1 34 ii.xd5 'iVf4+ 35 'i'f3 1 -0
tious position of the previous game. Black the isolani.

49
48
4 f3 d5 5 a 3 : A l t e rn a t i v e s to th e M a in L in e
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

iLb4+ 2 0 �f1 h 5 2 1 g5 h4 22 ctJe3 0-0-0 23 improvement.


V.Milov-V.Gashimov, Antalya 2004, I quite
ctJg2 iLh5 24 ctJgxh4 g6 25 iLd 1 f6 26 gxf6 1 0 i.f2 + 1 1 <;te2
Game 1 6
. . .

like the novel idea of 10 i.d3 i.c5 1 1 h3


'iVxf6 27 'iVc2 'iVf8 28 ':h2 i.e7 29 ':f2
C . Van Buskirk -R . Del Pilar iLxf3 12 'iVxf3 c6 1 3 iLg5 ctJbd7 14 0-0-0,
iLxh4 30 ctJxh4 iLxd1 31 ':xd 1 'iVc5 32
Agoura Hills 2004 which proved successful for another of the
ctJxg6 ctJxc4 33 ':d3 ':h7 34 iLc1 ':e8 35 d6
opening's leading exponents, Ukrainian GM
cxd6 36 ':c3 ctJdb6 37 iLa3 'iVc7 38 'ii'd3
1 d4 ttJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ttJc3 �b4 4 f3 d5 5 Konstantin Lerner, back in 1 990.
�b8 39 ':f6 ':f7 40 ':f5 ':xf5+ 41 exf5 e4 42
a3 il.e7 6 e4 dxe4 7 fxe4 e5 c) 8 ... a5 has the advantage of halting b2-b4
'iVd4 'iVf7 43 iLxd6+ �a8 44 ctJe7 ':d8 45
but, whilst it also provides Black's dark­
ctJd5 'iYxd5 46 'iVxd5 etJxd5 47 ':xc4 etJe3+
squared bishop with a retreat along the c5-a 7
48 �e2 etJxc4 49 iLe 7 ':d2+ 50 �e 1 e3 51 f6
diagonal, it does give White time to get his
etJe5 0-1 C.Garcia Palermo-L.Galego, Sao
act together. The continuation 9 ctJf3 i.g4 1 0
Paulo 2002. Talk about an exercise in con­
iLe3 ctJa6 looks plausible, but i n fact a s far as
trolling and giving away squares! Presumably
I can see it has only ever occurred once in
14 b5 would be the first move under the
practice: 1 1 'iVa4+ iLd7 12 'iVc2 ctJg4 1 3 iLg1
microscope as the c5-square is a nice prize.
iLc5 14 iLxc5 ctJxc5 1 5 h3 ctJf6 16 ctJxe5
Frankly this is a ridiculous position for just
'iVe7 17 ctJxd7 �xd7 18 iLd3 and White
a few moves into the game. White has a
went on to win in an endgame in
knight on the rim and his king looks silly on
D.Tyomkin-D.Contin, Saint Vincent 2002.
e2. On the other hand, Black's developed
d) 8 ...ctJg4 is the move that I had been
knight and bishop are precariously placed
ready to play when I first learnt of 4 f3, but
and he knows that the white pawns are al­
Planting a pawn here prevents White's in fact it is inaccurate. White obviously won't
ready cramping him and have serious poten­
pawn advance, and of course 8 dxe5? would fall for 9 h3? iLh4+, whilst 9 ctJf3 iLc5 is
tial.
be extremely ugly for White now. merely a transposition to our main game.
What would you do here?
S d5 However, White can punish his opponent
1 1 f5
. . .

The structure now reached dictates that through 9 b4!. This keeps Black's bishop out
Well, I don't know whether or not you se­
there is a very interesting middlegame ahead. of c5 and, try as he might, Black is unable
lected it, but arguably the most promising
White has serious pawn potential on the gain that square back, for example 9 ... a5 1 0
variation for Black is 1 1 ...b5!?, intending 12
queenside up to d5 and could conceivably ':b1 axb4 1 1 axb4 ctJa6 1 2 c5!. Actually
1 0 ttJa4 cxb5 i.d7. The point is that after 1 3 ctJc3
put the half-open f-file to good use too. 12 ...ctJxb4 is an interesting concept but,
My first memory of this line was the thrill­ Black has safe retreats available (e.g.
However, in the short-term White is very rather than 13 ':xb4 ctJf2!?, White can keep
ing 1 0 b4?! iLf2+ (only the really materialistic 13 ... i.b6) , whilst 1 3 'iVb3 a6!? should see him
weak along the c5-g 1 diagonal and Black has the initiative via 13 d6!? cxd6 14 ':xb4 dxc5
would consider 10 . . . etJf2? 1 1 'iVc2 etJxh1 1 2 not being afraid to make a permanent pawn
a number of ways to try and exploit that. 1 5 iLb5+. Black will have three pawns for the
bxc5, and even then only until the penny sacrifice. Furthermore, Black has scored
S i.c5 piece, but with juicy squares such as d5 and
. . .
dropped that the cornered knight probably good results after 1 2 h3 bxa4 13 hxg4 iLg3
Clearly the text gets straight to the crux of f5 around, I prefer the pieces. Instead Black
wouldn't get out!) 1 1 �e2 c5! 12 etJb5 (the 14 ':h3 iLf4 1 5 i.xf4 exf4 although objec­
the matter but Black has a number of other could settle for 9 ... iLg5, but even a trade of
escape plan is 12 h3 iLd4!) 12 ... a6! 1 3 'iVa4 tively the position is rather unclear.
approaches too: 'bad' for 'good' bishop doesn't disguise the
axb5!! 14 'iVxa8 i.d4! 1 5 etJxd4? cxd4 1 6 Theoretically speaking, alternatives are in­
a) 8 ... c6 9 ctJf3 0-0 10 i.d3 i.g4 all seems fact that Black will at some stage have to
'iYxb8 0-0 (it's a whole rook but with the ferior. After 1 1 .. .i.h4?! 12 g3 i.e 7 13 h3 ctJf6
too automatic for my liking and both 1 1 h3 come to terms with White's strong queenside
white queen caught offside and White's other 14 'iVc2 0-0 1 5 �f2 (S.Ernst-J.Van der Wiel,
and 1 1 0-0 here have scored well for White. pawns.
bits at home, the white monarch is at Black's Leeuwarden 2001) Black was obviously in
b) Similarly, 8 ... 0-0 9 ctJf3 i.g4 doesn't do 9 ttJf3 ttJg4
mercy) 17 �e1 'iVh4+! 18 g3 'iVf6 of the game but White's king had started to sort
much for me either. Mind you, although 1 0 I'm giving this as the main line, but the al­
V.Malaniuk-V.Ivanchuk, USSR Champion­ itself out and I like that queenside pawn ma­
h 3 iLxf3 1 1 'ii'xf3 a s 1 2 i.d3 iLc5 1 3 ': b 1 c6 ternative 9 ... iLg4 should be given respect.
ship, Moscow 1 988. Black went to win and I jority. Another line is 1 1 .. .i.d4?! 12 etJxd4
14 iLe3 ctJbd7 15 0-0 iVb6 16 iLxc5 'ii'xc5+ One particular game that has piqued my in­
was all set to travel down this road if allowed. exd4 1 3 'iVxd4 0-0 14 h3 'iVh4 1 5 g3! 'iVh5 1 6
17 �h2 a4 18 ':bd1 ctJb6 19 'iVg3 ctJfd7 20 terest is: 10 h3 iLh5 1 1 g4 iLg6 12 b4 iLe 7
However, it never came up and since then 1 0 iLg2 etJe5+ 1 7 g4 (A.Shirov-R.Dautov, Dau­
iLe2 ':fd8 21 ':f3 'iVe7 22 'ii'f2 cxd5 23 cxd5 1 3 iLd3 as 14 b5 ctJbd7 1 5 iLc2 iLd6 1 6
etJa4 has become recognised a s a significant gavpils 1 9 89) when Black was forced to sacri-
':ac8 24 ':£1 saw White go on to win in 'ii'e 2 'ii'e 7 1 7 i.b2 ctJb6 1 8 ctJd1 ctJfd7 1 9 a4

51
50
4 f3 d5 5 a 3 : A l t e rn a t i v e s to th e M a in L in e
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

Summary
fice a piece on g4 but he didn't get enough 1 6 . . . h5 1 7 'iVe4
I don't like Game 1 2 for Black one bit, but I am willing to concede that there is method in
for it. Possibly White could have done better
Black's apparent positional madness in Game 1 3 .
1 2 h3 �g3 than this, but it's harsh to criticise him for
In theory, preserving the dark-squared bishop after S . . . dS 6 a3 is very logical, but it seems
12 . . .fxe4 13 hxg4 iLg3 IS simply a consolidating.
now that White has fine-tuned his responses. An attractive centre is built up and Black's coun­
transposition. 1 7 . . . h4 1 8 �d2 0-0 1 9 i.d3
terplay on and around f2 can probably be rebuffed. Definitely an area for future study though.
1 3 hxg4 fxe4 1 4 "iVc2 Now it is Black's king that is the centre of
With the black bishop having switched di­ attention.
1 d4 CLlf6 2 c4 e6 3 CLlc3 .i.b4 4 f3 d5 5 a3 iLe7
agonals, it makes sense to reintroduce the 1 9 . . . g6 20 c5 �g7 21 etJc3
S ... .i.xc3 + 6 bxc3 (D)
queen's knight. However, although both 14 White has the better pawn structure and
6 . . . 0-0 Game 1 2
CLlcS and 1 4 CLlc3 are reasonable, the text the better pieces.
-

6 . . . c6 Game 1 3
21 . . . c6 22 1!af 1 etJa6 23 f4!
-

places the queen on a good square.


S ...iL d 6 Game 1 4
1 4 . . . exf3+ 1 5 gxf3 'iVf6 This pawn is of course untouchable be­
-

6 e 4 CD) dxe4
Regarding my last comment, not now cause of a ..td4.
6 . . . cS Game 15
l S ... 0-0?? because of 1 6 'iVxh7+. 23 . . . cxd5 24 etJxd5 'iVc6 25 "iYxe 5 + �h7
-

7 fxe4 e5 (D) Game 16 -

6 . . . bxc3 6 e4 7 . . . e5

1 6 i.e3 26 "iYh 5 +
16 Mxh7 was possible but ironically then Effectively terminating the proceedings,
16 ... 0-0!? provides good counterplay, e.g. 1 7 just as 26 �d4 would have too.
..tg2? .i.xg4!. 26 . . . �g8 27 etJe7 + �g7 28 i.. d 4+ 1 -0

53
52
4 f3: O th e rs

6 tDge2 e5 7 d5 tDe7?? 8 'iVa4+ although I to my knights and then suffer for having
can tell you that amazingly strong players 'weak' pawns. Indeed, ironically I gave up the
have been known to drop pieces in this opening as White just for those reasons!
manner) 6 a3 Black does have the option of However, the reality of the situation is that in

I
the intermezzo 6 ... exd4. However, the 7 axb4 those days I was competing at a much lower

CHAPTER THREE dxc3 8 b5 tDe5 9 f4 tDg6 10 e5 tDe4 1 1 tDf3


'iVe7 1 2 bxc3 d6 1 3 .id3 tDc5 1 4 0-0 dxe5 1 5
level. Stronger players tend not to play ball
regarding conceding outposts; the truth is
f5 tDh4 1 6 .ia3 tDxf3+ 1 7 'iVxf3 'iVd6 1 8 that actually it is the white pawn structure
'iVe3 'iVxd3 1 9 'iVxe5+ tDe6 20 fxe6 .ixe6 2 1 that tends to have the more dynamism.
Mad 1 1 -0 o f V.Moskalenko-R.Mateo, Sitges S i.g5
2004 suggests that it is a risky policy. Black This encounter is only a blitz game but
4 f3 : Others could have grabbed a hot pawn early on but I nevertheless shows exactly the points that I
fancy those White bishops and that big pawn want to make. However, a similar flow can
centre. be seen after 8 .ie3 'iVe7 (incidentally 8 ... 0-0
In my opinion the negative side of 5 a3 is 9 tDe2 tDaS 10 tDg3 .ie6 1 1 dS .id7 12 cS
that with 6 ... b6 Black can transpose back into 'iVe7 1 3 c6! bxc6 14 'iVa4 cxdS 1 5 'iVxaS saw
final game of this chapter Black adopts the the realms of a normal Samisch and, specifi­ White convert his material advantage in
1 d4 ttJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ttJc3 ..ib4 4 f3
ambitious pawn sacrifice 5 ... b5. cally, to a line covered in the first game of the A.Gorovets-V.Dydyshko, Minsk 2004) 9
In this chapter I take a look at some
next chapter. .id3 tDb8 1 0 tDe2 c5 1 1 d5 tDh5 1 2 g4 tDf6
slightly more unusual black tries after 4 f3.
Game 1 7 5 . . . i.xc3 + 6 bxc3 e5 1 3 tDg3; namely, White has expansion plans
The first two games feature 4 ...tDc6 - Black
As Black's c-pawn is obstructed, now on the kingside and even the following steps
develops another piece and remains uncom­ S . Vol kov- M . Bartel
6 ... d5 would be a positional error. However, to intercept those didn't disrupt the overall
mitted for the moment about his central playchess.com (blitz) 2004
as previously mentioned, 6 ... b6 7 e4 .ia6 is a aim: 1 3 ... h5 14 g5 tDh7 1 5 h4 g6 1 6 Ma2 'iVc7
plans. After 5 a3 .ixc3+ 6 bxc3, in Game 1 7
perfectly plausible continuation that comes 1 7 Mf2 (clearly White is gearing up for the
Black decides to erect a solid centre with the 1 d4 ttJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ttJc3 i.b4 4 f3 ttJc6
under the microscope in the next chapter. big f4 break when he'll have plenty of places
moves ... d7 -d6 and ... e6-e5. In Game 1 8
7 e4 d6 to invade) 1 7 ...'iVas 1 8 'iVb3 tDd7 19 0-0 f6
White opts to play the immediate 5 e 4 and
20 f4! fxg5 21 fxg5 MfS 22 .ie2 a6 23 Mxf8+
Black replies by striking back in the centre
tDhxf8 24 tDxh5! (and then there's this sort
with the sharp 5 ... d5!?
of sacrifice, always in the offing when the
Game 1 9 witnesses 4 ...0-0, which is ar­
opponent is operating under cramped condi­
guably even more provocative than 4 ... tDc6.
tions) 24... b5 25 tDf6+ cJ;; e 7 26 tDg8+ cJ;; d8 27
Black allows White to grab his big centre
h5 bxc4 28 'iVb2 gxh5 29 .ixh5 cJ;; c7 30 tDf6
whilst simultaneously telegraphing his per­
tDxf6 31 Mxf6 .id7 32 g6 and White went
manent king position. However, castling
on to win in CVan Buskirk-R.Hermansen,
early does favour Black if the central situa­
Agoura Hills 2004.
tion becomes unstable because his king is
S h6
safer than White's, which generally stays on
. . .

This is probably necessary sooner or later


e 1 for a period of time while White com­
but, although back rank mates are pre­
pletes his kingside development. 5 a3
vented(!), this insertion is definitely a weak­
The final two games here concentrate on Although it is quite possible that the same
When I was a junior, playing the Nimzo ness. Whilst it's logical to put pawns on the
4 ... c5. As White seems to be in the market position will be reached via either 5 a3 or 5
against the likes of the Samisch just seemed opposite colour from the remaining bishop,
for giving away dark squares, striking out in e4, in fact both move orders have their up­
so easy. Swap off the bishop for the knight, this pawn is now a target itself. Also, if
this manner is perfectly logical. Its obvious sides and their downsides. Regarding 5 e4,
block things up and let the steeds rule the White's remaining knight makes it to f5,
drawback though is that White is encouraged one drawback is that it encourages the com­
world. Simplistic in the extreme, it was a there will be no budging it via ...g7 -g6.
to cramp Black further with 5 d5. In Game plications of the next game (namely 5 ... d5!?) .
surprisingly accurate outlook as my oppo­ 9 i.e3 'iVe 7 1 0 i.d3 0-0 1 1 ttJe2 b6
20 Black exchanges on c3 and follows up Also after 5 . . .e 5 (by the way I'd like to think
nents would frequently concede great squares Black's main form of counterplay is going
with a quick ... tDh5 and ... f7 -f5, while in the that none of the readers would fall for S ... d6

55
54
4 f3: O th e rs
O ffb ea t Nim z o - In dia n

remains 1n complete control as Black still tre.


to be the pressure that he can exert against direction that is so impressive and indeed
can't capture the knight because of the g-file 6 exd 5
the most forward of White's doubled c­ instructive.
pin. That aside, her majesty is slowly (but not Taking immediately forces Black to
pawns. 20 . . . g6 21 Mg 1 tbh7
that slowly!) making her way across to the h­ emerge with a pawn on ds. While I'm here
1 2 tbg3 ':e8 1 3 0-0 The problem with this type of position for
file. though, observe the cheapo 6 eS etJg8 7 a3
The key to handling these pOSItions for Black is finding anything constructive to do.
33 . . . CUh7 34 g5 �xc3+ 8 bxc3 dxc4 9 �xc4? etJxeS! 1 0 dxeS
White is to maintain the tension in the centre Against a skilled opponent usually the only
"iVh4+ 1 1 g3 "iVxc4.
of the board for as long as possible. There is thing available is to sit back patiently and wait
6 . . . exd5 7 e5 CUg8 8 ..te3 ! ?
no need to make the cs-conceding advance for an opportunity to block things up for a
8 f4 etJge7 9 a 3 �aS 1 0 b4 �b6 1 1 �bS
d4-dS sooner than is necessary. draw!
as 12 bxas 1:.xaS 13 etJge2 0-0 14 �e3 �g4
1 3 . . . tba5 1 4 a4 22 h4
1 5 a4 etJ fS 1 6 "iVd2 etJxe3 1 7 'iUxe3 etJe7 felt
Three typical ways for Black to attack the Unfortunately there always seems to be
very comfortable for Black in S.Volkov­
c4-pawn are via a knight on as, a bishop on one more available break or sacrifice that
A.Barsov, Panormo 2002, but this opening
a6 and a queen on a4. The text prevents any White can attempt. Anyway, enough of the
had some contentious points. White proba­
possibility of the queen move. abstract and back to the game! White contin­
bly erred in chasing Black's dark-squared
1 4 . . . ..ta6 1 5 �e2 e5 1 6 CUt5 �t8 1 7 g4 ues with his kingside initiative.
bishop to a different, useful diagonal and
22 .. .'�h8 23 Mg2 i.d7 24 Ma2 CUb3 25
should have settled for 9 �e3! instead. Prior
�b2 cua5 26 �d2 !
to that though, 8 ...ttJh6!? is arguably more
accurate as then 9 �e3?! can be met by
34 . . . �h8 9 ...ctJg4.
Not the world's most attractive retreat, 8 . . . CUge7
but 34 ... 'iUd8 35 1:.xh7 �xh7 36 1:.h2+ �g8 8 ...ctJh6 could still be worth a whirl in
37 'iUh4 was hardly desirable either! view of 9 �xh6?! 'iUh4+ 1 0 g3 'iUxh6. Of
35 CUxd6 �t8 36 Mh6 Med8 37 CUxe8 1 -0 course White could try 9 g4 to keep the
knight out of the action, but with 9 ... fS avail­
Game 1 8 able (amongst others) it all looks a bit ran­
S . Volkov-S . l onov dom.
Russian Ch., St Petersburg 2004 9 t4 i.a5
9 ...0-0 1 0 � f2 f6 11 CDf3 fxeS 12 fxeS
As the cS-square is now occupied by a
1 d4 CUt6 2 e4 e6 3 CUe3 i.b4 4 t3 CUe6 ctJg6 13 �e2 ctJf4 was fine for Black in
black pawn, 17 dS is possible too as Black no
5 e4 d 5 ! ? S.Shkliar-M.Lushenkov, Samara 2003; I'm
longer has the option of a later ... etJcS. I told you that pawn o n h6 would b e a
not sure what this apparent obsession is with
1 7 . . . Mae8 weakness and that, after it was placed there,
this seemingly anticipatory � f2.
It could well be that even in this fast time ...g7-g6 would be impractical!
1 0 �d 2
limit the super-GM had observed 1 7 ... cxd4 26 . . . CUb3 27 i.xh6 'fie7
In my opinion the 1 0 �f2 0-0 1 1 �e2 f6
18 cxd4 1:.ac8 19 cS!, which in the event of 27 ...etJxd2 28 �xf8 is basically just a
1 2 CDf3 fxeS 1 3 fxes CDg6 1 4 0-0 ctJf4 of
19 ... �xd3 20 'iUxd3 bxcS 21 dxcs dxcS 22 pawn; Black can't dabble in 28 ...etJxf3 be­
S.Volkov-S.Ivanov, Krasnoyarsk 2003 is
�S would be completely winning. cause of 29 �xd6.
slightly better for White than the line given in
1 8 d5 28 �t2 �xh4+
the previous note as Black has used up a
Making the rook on c8 look silly. Not only Black regains his pawn but an open h-flle
tempo on the move ... �aS. Nevertheless
is it not going to get its c-flle action, but it is a high price to pay.
Black didn't seem to have much trouble
also blocks the retreat square of the bishop. 29 Mh2 �t6 30 �g 2 �g8 31 i.e3 CUg5
drawing.
1 8 . . . Me7 1 9 �h 1 32 CUt5 ! gee8 33 �g3
1 0 . . . 0-0 1 1 0-0-0
Gearing up for g-flle play! 33 �xgS "iVxgS 34 "iVh3 would have been
Certainly an ambitious approach! White
1 9 . . . i.e8 20 cug3 immediately terminal as 34 ... 'iUf6 35 "iVh7+
Striking out i n the centre i n this way i s the still has that strong pawn on es but Black has
I could be slightly critical of specific ele­ �f8 36 'iUh8+ is mating and there is nothing
most testing examination of White's big cen- some handy squares.
ments of White's play, but it is the overall but a spite check on d . That said, White

57
56
4 13: O th e rs
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

different Black paths each looking reason­


able:
a) 8 ... c5 9 cxd5 exd5 and now:
al) 10 i.d3 ctJc6 1 1 ctJe2 cxd4 12 cxd4 f6 !
1 3 exf6 (the problem with 13 f4!? is that after
1 3 ... fxe5, if White recaptures with the d­
pawn then 14 ... ctJc5 brings Black a lot of
action, whereas 14 fxe5 leaves White with
difficulty castling; for example, 1 4... ctJb6 1 5
ctJf4 ctJxd4 1 6 i.. x h7+ �xh7 1 7 "iVxd4 'iVh4+
1 8 g3 'iVg4 and now if 1 9 O-O?! then 19 ...g5!)
1 3 .. :iVxf6 14 0-0 ctJb6 15 �e3 i.f5. Black
has a slight edge which he was ultimately able
S e4 to convert to the full point in J .Baron Rodri­
1 1 . . . f6 1 2 .i.d3 fxeS 1 3 fxeS .i.fS 1 4 Ruthless! White threatens ctJf6+ and if 5 a3 is of course also possible and will guez-LCheparinov, Zaragoza 2004: 1 6 llb l
tiJf3 'iid 7 1 S i.xfS l:txfS Black takes the rook that same move will be transpose to variations considered in the next 'iVe7 1 7 � f4 "iVxa3 1 8 �xf5 .sxf5 19 i.. c7
I have a great deal of sympathy for Black mate! chapter. ctJc4 20 l:txb7 ctJe3 21 'iVaI 'iVd3 22 ctJg3
in this game as he seems to be cruising along 27 . . .l:IfS 28 g4 �f3 29 tiJf6 + ! Wf7 S . . . dS Mf7 23 .l:.fb 1 l:tc8 24 j"e5 Mxb 7 25 �xb 7
okay until, all of a sudden, wham and he's After 29 ... gxf6 30 'iVxg6+ �f8 31 l:th8+ Of course Black can't take a back seat for­ ctJxe5 26 dxe5 �d2 0- 1 .
clearly worse! In retrospect I suspect that it's �e 7 White has a choice of mates. ever, and this challenging push is critical. a2) The position after 1 0 f4 has occurred
down to way he handles his knights. I like the 30 'tie2 6 eS surprisingly rarely. Upon reflection (and tak­
repositioning of the queen's knight that Black 30 M 1 h6! would have been bone crushing, Probably more accurate than 6 cxd5 exd5 ing into account the previous note) it occurs
soon engages in but it is his king's knight that but the text is also adequate to force the win. 7 e5 because then 7 ... ctJe8 is an option too. to me that it could be critical. It's not too
becomes aw1..'Ward. After 15 ... ctJxf5 I don't 30 . . . tiJxeS 31 tiJxd7 'iix d7 32 g6+ �xg6 Here 8 f4 c5 9 ctJf3 ctJc6 1 0 �e3 i.g4 1 1 difficult to envisage White's position becom­
believe that Black is worse. 33 'iVc2 + Wf7 34 dxeS i.xe3 �e2 ctJc7 and a plan o f parking the knight ing enormous if he can get developed and
1 6 <;t>b 1 tiJd8 1 7 �c 1 tiJe6 1 8 "ikd3 c6 1 9 on e6 is an idea that has proven to be quite ram his f-pawn down Black's throat. On the
tiJe2 l1af8 20 h4! ? successful for Black. other hand, it's probably not that difficult for
One certainly can't be critical of White's 6 . . . tiJfd 7 Black to erect a solid blockade or two on
aggressive play though. With the e6-square currently occupied, squares such as f5 and e6.
20 . . . tiJg6? ! now 6 ... ctJe8 isn't as attractive. b) 8 ... dxc4 9 f4 (and not 9 �xc4? ctJxe5!
Presumably Black had always intended 7 cxd S 10 dxe5 iVh4+ which is a trap that I'd like to
this when opting to recapture on f5 with the 7 a3 �xc3+ 8 bxc3 think that you would have remembered!)
rook, but placed here this steed soon be­ 9 ... ctJb6 10 a4!? (probably a better practical
comes a liability. option than the 10 ctJf3 ctJc6 1 1 "iVc2 f5 12
21 tiJg3 �Sf7 22 tiJg S ! tiJxgS 23 hxg S a4 ctJa5 1 3 �a3 l:te8 14 Ma2 ctJd5 1 5 i.c 1 c5
And suddenly Black's h-pawn is a real 16 �e2 "iVc7 17 0-0 b6 of A.De Santis­
cause for concern. A.Rotstein, Arco 2003) 10 ... a5 1 1 ctJf3 Ji.d7
23 . . . 'ilie6 12 j"a3 �e8 13 i.c5 when White had some
Highlighting the danger, check out 3S :xg7 + ! but not a stunning amount of play for the
23 .. :iVg4 24 l:txh7! �xh7 25 Mhl+ �g8 26 A cute way to wrap things up! pawn in A.Lauber-D.Lopushnoy, Budapest
'iVxg6 Me8 27 'iIIh7+ �f8 28 g6 when White 3S . . . �xg7 36 'iih 7 + 1 -0 1 997.
is surely winning. c) 8 ... f6 9 exf6 ctJxf6 10 �d3 c5 11 ctJe2
24 Ith3! Game 1 9
b6 (initiating a familiar bishop-trading plan)
Now the plan is simple: target h7 with S . Vol kov-N . Vekshen kov 1 2 0-0 .i.a6 1 3 cxd5 �xd3 14 "i¥xd3 exd5 1 5
everything he's got! Russian Team Ch., Togliatti 2003 �g5 c 4 1 6 iVc2 t2Jc6 1 7 t2Jg3 ¥i'd7 with ap­
24 . . . i.b6 2S ktch 1 �d7 26 ':xh7 l:tff7 27 strikes me as being too slow, with three proximate equality in D.Tyomkin-
tiJhS! ! 1 d4 tiJf6 2 c4 e6 3 tiJc3 i.b4 4 f3 0-0
59
58
4 f3: O t h e rs
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

�e3 l:.xds 21 'iVe4 ttJ fs+ 22 'iVxfs .i.b6+ 23 could have handled it better!) .
D.Rogozenko, Internet 2001 . .i.g1 (note that 1 5 4:Ja4 dxe3 1 6 ttJxcs 'iVf2+
�e2 'iVf2 mate of D.Palo-A.Maksimenko,
7 . . . exd 5 1 7 �d3 l:.dS+ is of no use), but I don't think
Germany 2004! I'm sticking with the main
I'd fancy White's defensive task after the
game as there are no obvious improvements
simple 1 s ... l:.dS.
for White but, as this recent encounter
9 . . . i.a5
proves, Black could be spoilt for choice.
9 ... .i.xc3+ 10 bxc3 transposes to that rare
14 i.e3
but possibly critical position that I have pre­
I f the d4-knight moves then the queen
viously mentioned. Here though Black takes
check on f2 is a killer.
advantage of the move order to preserve his
14 . . . i.g4 + 1 5 4:Jf3 d4!
bishop.
1 0 4:Jf3
After 10 b4 cxb4 1 1 axb4 .i.xb4 12 .i.d2
ttJb6 1 3 .i.d3 ttJc6 the sacrifice of a pawn
hadn't really aided White in the overall
38 �h3 lIxe2 39 l:lxe2 ':b3 40 ':e4 �h7
scheme of things - Black went on to win in
41 ':e 7 ':xa3 42 l:lxf7 �g6 43 ':d7 ':a6
8 f4 J .Carleton-A.Corkett, British League 2000.
44 ':c7 �f6 45 �h4 g6 46 h3 �f5 47
As we soon see, the target in White's Although White can effectively force
':f7 + 'iit e 5 48 ':e7 + 'iitf 5 49 ':f7 + �e5
structure is his d-pawn. An obvious solution Black to part with his bishop via 10 dxcs,
50 ge7 + �f6 5 1 ':c7 ':b6 52 ':xa7
to bolstering it comes in the form of S a3 then 10 ... .i.xc3+ 1 1 bxc3 ttJxcs still leaves
':b4 + 53 g4 g 5 + 54 'iitg 3 h4+ 55 �g2
.i.xc3+ 9 bxc3. Then, however, Black may be him with all of his pieces at home!
':b2 + 56 'iitf 1 �e5 57 gc7 ':c2 58 ':f7
able to transpose back into note 'a' to 1 0 . . . cxd4 1 1 4:Jxd4
�d4 59 ':e7 ':c5 60 ':e6 �d5 61 ':f6
White's seventh move via 9 ... cs 1 0 .i.d3 ttJc6 1 1 'iVxd4 is no better, with 1 1 ...ttJc6 1 2
�e4 62 �f2 ':c2 + 63 �e 1 'iit e3 64 �d 1
1 1 ttJe2 cxd4 12 cxd4 f6!, although the im­ 'iVxds walking into the tactic 1 2. . .ttJdxes!.
Black is relentless and rightly so as the text ':c5 65 ':f7 lId 5 + 66 �c2 ':d2 + 67 �c 1
mediate 9 ... f6!? also looks quite interesting.
recoups the sacrificed material. ':h2 68 ':f5 ':xh 3 69 ':xg5 ':g3 70 ':h5
After 1 0 exf6 it is probably better to recap­
1 6 i.xd4 i.xf3 + 1 7 �xf3 i.xd4 h3 71 g5 �f2 72 g6 �g2 0-1
ture with the knight rather than the queen,
Yes, the material situation is now level but
although the intermezzo 10 ... l:.eS+!? looks Came 20
the es-pawn looks set to drop off and the
like throwing a spanner in �1Ute's .i.d3 and
less said about the white king's positioning V . lvanchuk -I . Csom
ttJe2 works! Observe, also, how 10 f4 fxes 1 1
the better! Yerevan 1 989
dxes is punished by 1 1 ...ttJxes! 1 2 fxes 'iVh4+
1 8 g3 'iVh 5 + 1 9 �g2 'iVxe5 20 'iVf3 4:Jc6
1 3 �d2 'iVf4+. Well, what does White expect
21 i.b5 i.xc3 1 d4 4:Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 4:Jc3 i.b4 4 f3 c5
after wasting all his time moving pawns?
Simple chess! Black has done all the hard
8 . . . c5
work and now there's no need to be flashy.
This of course is the advantage of 4 ... 0-0
22 i.xc6 bxc6 23 'iVxc3 'iVe2 +
over 4 ... ttJc6: the c-pawn is free to put
That said, given the exposed nature of the
White's centre under pressure.
white monarch, Black still retains more win­
9 a3 1 1 . . . 4:Jxe5 ! !
ning chances by preserving the queens.
Previously there has been quite a big de­ Given time to consolidate, positionally
24 �h3 gab8 25 ':he 1 'iVh5 + 26 �g2
bate over the likes of 9 ttJf3 ttJc6, in which White would hold all of the cards. Right here
'iVd 5 + 27 �h3 'iVh5 + 28 �g2 'iVd 5 + 29
Black is probably doing okay. After you've and now, tactically he doesn't!
�h3 ':b3 30 'iVe5 iVd7 + 31 �g2 ':fb8
played over the main game though, return 1 2 fxe5 'iVh4 + 1 3 �e2
32 ':e2 ':3b5 33 iVe7 'iVd 5 + 34 �h3
here and check out the possibility of 9 ... cxd4 13 g3? 'iVe4+ is a simple fork.
'iVh 5 + 35 �g2 'iVxe 2 + 36 'iVxe2 ':xb2 37
10 ttJxd4 ttJxes!? 1 1 fxes 'iVh4+ 12 �e2 .i.cs 1 3 . . . i.b6!
Me 1 h5
1 3 .i.e3 .i.g4+ 14 ttJf3 d4. Compared to the Also quite conclusive was the 1 3 ... .i.g4+
Two extra pawns will be enough to win
position with the white pawn on a3 and the 1 4 4:Jf3 ttJc6 1 5 h3 .i.xf3+ 1 6 gxf3 d4 1 7
the rook ending (although I think Black 5 d5 i.xc 3 +
bishop on b6, White does have available 1 5 4:Jds l:.adS 1 S .i.g2 d3+ 1 9 'iVxd3 ttJd4+ 20

61
60
4 f 3 : O t h e rs
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

have something to play with. He may arrange pears to be the refutation of his audacious
Given that Black intends ... ctJh5 anyway o8c6 38 llxh5 i,c4 39 g 6 i, e 6 4 0 Mh8+ i,g8 the break f3-f4 or manoeuvre his knight to f5 opening play. The [list thing to note is that
he can make this trade almost at any stage. 41 e6 dxe6 42 i,f6 e5 43 Mxg8+ �xg8 44 via g3. Still, there may be one or two techni­ recapturing on e6 leads to a grim ending via a
On the other hand, if he wanted to strike out Mh1 1 -0 LKhenkin-R.Kholmov, Voskre­ cal problems (for example checks on h4, a queen trade and g3-g4, netting the f4-pawn.
with ... b7-b5 (as in the next game) then of sensk 1 990. bishop to h3, a knight to f4) that will mean 9 fxg3
. . .

course showing his cards by given up the b) 10 ...iVf6 1 1 g4 exd5 12 gxh5 d4 13 i,g2 that White has his work cut out, and there The f4-bolstering 9 ... iVf6 is the main al­
bishop now would be silly. o8c6 14 0-0 h6 1 5 e5 iVe6 1 6 f4 0-0 1 7 o8e4 may be the odd individual out there who ternative but after 1 0 o8e2 fxg3 1 1 i,g2
Irrespective of Black's decision to delay or b6 1 8 f5 iVxe5 1 9 i,f4 iVxf5 20 i,xh6 iVe6 would try to defend Black's position. Black is clearly worse if he lets White recap­
not to delay ...i,xc3+, after 5 ... ctJh5 the main 21 o8f6+! gxf6 22 i,d5 1 -0 M.Montroig­ S e4 ture on g3; for example, 1 1 ...iVxe6 1 2 hxg3
alternative to the cautious g3 seen in the E.Chery, correspondence 1 997. 8 o8h3 is by no means ridiculous but the o8f6 1 3 g4 0-0 14 g5 o8e8 1 5 o8f4 iVe5
main game is 6 ctJh3!? I can remember ana­ c) 1 0 ...iVd4 11 iVc1 (to show the sort of text gets straight to the point. which, in Silman-Kane, San Francisco 1 982,
lysing the likes of 6 ... i,xc3+ 7 bxc3 iVh4+ 8 uphill struggle Black faces, he is currently two S f4
. . . White went on to win, though not via the
ctJf2 iVxc4 9 e4 iVxc3+ 1 0 i,d2 pawns up but even Fritz prefers White!) The variations after 8 ...iVf6 9 f4! are not fairly straightforward 16 iVd5+.
1 1 ...exd5 12 i,c3 iVa4 13 iVg5 d6 14 iVxh5 very appetising for Black: On the other hand, 1 1 .. .gxh2 12 Mxh2 g6
d4 15 i,d2 i,e6 16 i,e2 o8c6 17 0-0 0-0-0 1 8 a) 9 ...iVxc3+ 10 i,d2 iVd4 when both 1 1 13 exd7+ still favours White as whichever
Mfel c4 1 9 f4 f6 20 i,d1 iVa3 2 1 i,g4 1 -0 o8f3 'iVxe4+ 1 2 �f2 and 1 1 i,g2 o8f6 1 2 way Black recaptures, White can park the
M.Marin-V.Vehi Bach, Roses 1 992. When o8e2 'iVxc4 1 3 Mel iVxa2 1 4 Mxc5 0-0 1 5 e5 queen on d5 when moves such as i,g5 and
push comes to shove, the pawns never seem o8e4 (or 15 ...o8xd5 16 llxd5 exd5 17 i,b4) lld 1 or 0-0-0 will flow.
to match up to the pieces when so much is 16 o8c3 o8xc3 1 7 Mxc3 leave Black's queen 1 0 iYd5 !
going on. out in the cold and White's pieces looking The d5-square is a great square for White,
6 bxc3 4.Jh5 dominant. and on here the white queen is a monster.
b) 9 ...o8xg3 10 hxg3 iVxc3+ 1 1 i,d2 1 0 g2
. . .

iVxg3+ 12 �e2 fxe4 1 3 iVb3, as seen in 1 0 ...iVh4 11 i,g5! g2+ 1 2 �xh4 gxh1iV 1 3
J .N ogueiras-S.Kindermann, Dubai Olympiad iVxh5+ g 6 1 4 iVe5 is game over, but i n my
1 986, again sees a piece preferable to pawns, opinion 10 ... o8f6!? 1 1 exd7+ i,xd7 12 'ilie5+
particularly as Black has difficulty developing �f7 1 3 hxg3 'iVa5 poses more problems;
when I was coaching the Barbados na­ his queenside. White is a pawn up and has a strong kingside
tional men's team. In all fairness I didn't Incidentally, the position after 8 ... 0-0 structure, but Black's lead in development
appreciate that the simple 6 g3 was good for could be reached in a few different ways but offers him at least some chances.
White and was trying to make greed pay for the outcome is the same. Namely 9 e5!, leav­ 1 1 "iVxh 5 + g6 1 2 'iVe5 iYh4+
Black in what I thought was the critical 6 ing both of Black's knights looking dumb. O f course not 1 2 ...gxh 1 'iii? 1 3 'iVxh8+
o8h3!? In fact it's irrelevant what I had pre­ 9 dxe6 ! �e7 14 i,g5+.
viously thought because then and indeed 1 3 �e2 gxh 1 'if
now I understand that the pawns aren't
worth the suffering for Black. Three practical The purpose of this move is twofold:
examples demonstrate this: firstly, to set up a nifty check on h4 (that
a) 10 ... iVe5 (the line I'd fruitlessly spent can't be stopped by g2-g3 because of
most of my time on) 1 1 1lc1 ! b6 (and specifi­ ... ctJxg3) and, secondly, to free up the f-pawn
cally 1 1 ... d6 but my advice is don't waste so that it can have a say in the centre.
your energy!) 12 g4 o8f6 13 f4 iVc7 14 g5 7 g3 f5
o8g8 15 i,c3 �f8 16 d6 'iVd8 17 iVd2 h6 1 8 This doesn't appear to work, but regarding
iVb2 1lh7 1 9 g6 fxg6 20 llg1 o8f6 21 1lxg6 something like 7 ... d6 8 e4 e5 9 i,d3 0-0, the
'iVe8 22 llg1 iVf7 23 i,d3 i,a6 24 i,b1 o8e8 reader will already know my reservations
25 e5 iVxf4 26 i,xh7 iVe3+ 27 �d1 iVf3+ 28 about this sort of position. Black can't easily
�e1 iVe3+ 29 �d1 iVf3+ 30 �c2 iVxf2+ 31 play ... f7 -f5 because of the eventual fork g2-
�b 1 iVxb2+ 32 �xb2 g5 33 h4! o8g7 34 g4. On the other hand, although this is a Unfortunately (that is for Black!) this ap-
hxg5 h5 35 llc2 ctJf5 36 i,xf5 exf5 37 llh2 semi-closed position White always seems to

63
62
4 f 3 : O th ers
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

It is still a pawn offering and that's where exdS 1 0 "iYxdS CDc6 1 1 0-0 i,a6 1 2 Mf2 was
1 4 'iVxh8+ cj;;e 7 1 5 'iVg 7 + cj;; x e6 1 6 g3 fS 8 eS!, whilst the delayed pawn sacrifice
we start covering some of White's options: played in M.Simantsev-G.Golovchenko,
ii.h3+ r,;t>d6 1 7 'iYf8 + cj;; c 7 6 ... bS is discussed in the notes to Black's next
a) 7 cxbS?! exdS 8 exdS Me8+. I can't be­ Serpukhov 2004. Although Black wasn't
Also visual is 17 ... �eS 18 i,f4+! 'ii'x f4 1 9 move.
lieve any self-respecting 1 d4 player would compelled to play in this way a clear com­
'fie7 mate - Ivanchuk has calculated per­
really want to travel this road and a rare ex­ parison can now be made with our main
fectly.
ample shows why: 9 �f2 d6 10 i,c4 ctJfd7 game. White has managed to castle and has
1 8 i.f4+ 'iVxf4
1 1 i,f4 CDb6 1 2 i,b3 a6 1 3 CDge2 c4 14 i,c2 been able to protect his b-pawn along the
After 1 8 ... �b6 19 Mb1+ �a6 20 'ii'x c8 the
i,cS+ lS �f1 axbS 16 CDxbS CDa6 1 7 a3 i,b 7 second rank with his rook. His knight, how­
two black queens are powerless to stop
1 8 CD bc3 CDc 7 19 i,e4 fS 20 i,xfS CDcxdS 21 ever, is placed in a worse position as on h3 it
White's mating threats. Hence Black's deci­
'fic2 'fih4 22 g3 "iYhS 23 i,g4 'fif7 24 CDxdS neither supports its partner on c3 nor con­
sion to give up one of them.
CDxdS 2S �g2 "iYxf4! (I can see you are trols the d4-square.
1 9 'iYxf4+ d6 20 Md 1 ct:Jc6 21 'iYxd6+
tempted by the delayed gambit already!) 26 Aside from 6 ... 0-0 there are no sensible al­
cj;; b6 22 'ifg3 !
CDxf4 CDe3+ 27 �h3 CDxc2 28 Mac 1 CDd4 29 ternatives with, for example, 6 ...i,b 7?! (fi­
Mxc4 CDxf3 30 CDd3 CDgS+ 0- 1 A.Vlaskov­ anchettoing against a wall of pawns is at this
V.Timofeev, Smolensk 1 992. moment definitely too committal) 7 i,gS h6
b) 7 i,d2 (solid but hardly inspirational!) 8 i,h4 bxc4 9 i,xc4 exdS 1 0 exdS i,xc3+ 1 1
7 ... bxc4 8 i,xc4 i,a6 9 b3 exdS 10 CDxdS bxc3 0-0 1 2 CDe2 d6 1 3 Mb 1 leaving White
6 e4
CDxdS 1 1 i,xdS 'figS!? (dynamic but unfor­ with a simple bishop-pair advantage and
Black is trying to undermine ds and so
tunately only really forcing a draw) 1 2 i,xb4 Black's remaining bishop looking silly in
White rightly ignores the offered pawn in
'fixg2 13 i,xcs 'fif1+ 1 4 �d2 'fid3+ l S �e1 I.Khenkin-P.Eljanov, Andorra 2003.
order to bolster his centre. On occasion as
'fif1+ 1 6 �d2 'fid3+ 1 7 �e1 VZ_l/Z S.Volkov­ 7 .ltxc4 ct:Jxd5
Black I have been known to wheel out the
A.Gershon, Halkidiki 2002. Restricting White's responses to one (i.e.
Blumenfeld Counter Gambit (1 d4 ctJf6 2 c4
c) 7 i,gS h6 8 i,h4 Me8!? (not forced but White can't now recapture with the pawn
e6 3 CDf3 cS 4 dS bS) and I can tell you that
there is an interesting appeal to maintaining because of ...'fih4+) .
in comparison 6 dxe6?! fxe6 7 cxbS dS would
and indeed even building up the tension in 8 �xd5 exd 5 9 �xd5 ct:Jc6
be like a dream! The bishop is active on b4
the centre) 9 dxe6 Mxe6 when the position is
Black's remaining queen i s trapped. whilst White's pawn is blatantly detrimentally
double-edged and surely offers Black more
22 . . . h5 23 i.xc8 ':xc8 24 ct:Jh3 h4 25 placed on f3 .
chances than in our main game.
'iff2 1 -0 6 . . . bxc4
d) 7 es exds 8 exf6 d4 9 a3 i,as 1 0 b4
Having now studied all the available data it
Game 2 1 dxc3 1 1 bxaS 'fixf6 1 2 'fidS. If I were consis­
seems to me as though Black may find more
tent about my piece versus pawns comments
F . Berkes-Cao Sang joy in the ' ... bS gambit delayed'. In other
then I would have to favour White (though
Hungarian Ch., Budapest 2004 words, castling earlier and then playing ... bS
admittedly things are a bit different here).
or reaching the same position via 6 ... 0-0 now.
Although the 12 ... b4 1 3 i,gS 'fie6+ 14 'fixe6
1 d4 ct:Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 ct:Jc3 i.b4 4 f3 c5 5
fxe6 lS i,e 7 CDa6 16 i,xf8 �xf8 17 i,d3
d5 b5
'sb8 18 CDe2 dS 19 � f2 d4 20 axb4 ctJxb4 21
A bold move that I would really like to see
i,xh7 i,a6 22 Mhc1 i,xc4 23 CDxc3 dxc3 24
working. Unfortunately, just like so many
'sxc3 i,a6 25 'sxcs i,d3 26 ,Shs g6 1 -0 (be­
opening variations these days, it seems to
cause of the check on h8, White can just take 1 0 ct:Jge2
lead to a relatively forced sequence that ulti­
this pawn on g6) of N.Legky-D.Levacic, The recent try 10 i,f4 0-0 1 1 i,d6 is, if
mately favours White.
Cannes 1 993 would appear to justify that anything, worse because after 1 1 ...,Se8 White
Regarding S ... O-O 6 e4 I can only reiterate
assessment, Black isn't actually compelled to can't take the pawn on cS anyway due to
that I don't like the idea of trying to block
sacrifice the piece. Instead both 7 ... ctJhs and ... i,xc3+ and ... 'fiaS. Hence 12 CDge2, when
things up (e.g. 6 ... i,xc3+ 7 bxc3 d6 8 i,d3 eS
7 ... CDe8 encourage White to overplay his 1 2 . . . i,a6 1 3 � f2 'fif6 14 a3 i,aS lS b4?!
9 ctJe2). Meanwhile, 6 ... ctJhS at best trans­
hand. cxb4 16 axb4 i,b6+ 17 i,cs CDxb4 1 8 i,xb6
poses to a bad line of our previous game
e) 7 CDh3 bxc4 8 i,xc4 CDxdS 9 i,xds ctJxdS 19 CDxdS 'fib2 20 Mxa6 axb6 21 Mxb6
(mind you, most of them were bad!) after 7

65
64
4 f 3 : O th e rs
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

I like this continuation although it is diffi­ the trick. On g6 the knight attacks the rook
'iVd2 was certainly entertaining, with Black qualms about meeting 1 3 ...'iVc8 with 1 4 cult to find fault with 24 'iVd5! Mab8 25 and threatens ctJe7+. In case it had escaped
eventually grinding out the win in I .Spiric­ 'iVxd7! a s his rooks are connected and Black 'iVxd7 as Black's pieces coordinate poorly. your attention, the troublesome steed can't
C.Nanu, Obrenovac 2004. can't avoid a trade of queens. 24 . . . �b6 25 f6 be taken because of 'iVg7 mate!
1 0 . . . i.a6 1 1 �f2 0-0 1 2 lId 1 �a5 1 4 �e3 Yes, White is getting straight to the point; 33 . . . lIe6 34 "iVc8 + lIe8 35 "iVf5
J ust as in the game, 1 2 ...'iVb6 is well met This transposes to the note to Black's 1 2th namely the defenceless black king. White appears to be toying with his oppo­
by 13 iLe3 when the threat of a2-a3 is em­ move, but with ... iLa5 thrown in for free. As 25 . . . gxf6 26 exf6 lIe8 27 "iVxd7 lIe3 + nent. I suppose he is but nevertheless he has
barrassing for the black bishop. The c-pawn the c5-pawn is hanging, though, it isn't much 28 �f4 lib4 + a clear plan of progression.
is pinned and a target. of a gain. The knight was not really en prise as 35 . . . �d8 36 "iVg5 �xf6 37 ct:Je7 + �h7
1 4 . . . lIfb8 1 5 �xc5! 28 ... Mbxe2 29 'iVc8+! Me8 (or 29 ... .,td8 30 38 "iVxh 5 + �g7 39 ct:Jf5 + �g8 40 ct:Jh6 +
If I wasn't so impressed with the game 'iVxd8+ Me8 31 'iVd5 with complete control �g7 41 "iVxf7 + �xh6 42 "iVxf6 +
continuation I would also suggest that there and a continued attack) 30 'iVg4+ �f8 3 1
is an argument for defending the b-pawn. 'iVg7 i s of course mate!
1 5 . . . "iVxb2 1 6 lIab 1 �xc3 29 �f5 lIbe4 30 ct:Jf4 lIe5 + 31 �g4
16 ...'iVc2? 17 Mxb8+ Mxb8 18 Md2 is a lI3e4 32 �h3
significantly inferior way of parting with the Again the knight is immune to capture be­
queen. cause of the back rank threats.
1 7 lIxb2 lIxb2 32 . . . h 5
Black only has a rook and a piece for the
queen at the moment but, because of the
attack on the white knight he is destined to
secure some more material. However, White
1 3 �g 5!? has factored all of this into the equation.
1 3 a3 (to eliminate ... ctJb4) 1 3 ...Mb8 14 1 8 lId3 �xd3 1 9 "iVxd3 �f6 20 f4!
iLg5 is similar, and after 1 4 ...'iVc8 1 5 Mab1
After a wonderful demonstration of han­
Me8 (S.Volkov-M.sorokin, Ekaterinburg
dling the deadly queen and knight duo, the
2002) there is no obvious reason why White
rest is like a walk in the park!
can't j ust grab a pawn. Indeed 1 6 'iVxd7
42 . . . �h7 43 "iVf7 + �h6 44 g4 lIe2 45
(rather than the actually played 1 6 iLf4 Mb7)
"iVf6 + �h7 46 g5 li8e7 47 �g4 lig 2+
1 6 ... 4.Je5 17 'iVxc8 Mexc8 1 8 ctJd5 �h8 1 9
48 �f3 lIge2 49 h4 lI2e6 50 "iVf5 + �g8
4.Jc1 seems to consolidate White's position,
51 "iVd5 �g7 52 �f4 Me 1 53 "iVd4+ �g8
with 19 ... c4 only offering some sort of Benko 3 3 ct:Jg6 54 h5 lIf7 + 55 �g4 lIfe7 56 "iVd5 + �f8
Gambit style compensation. 33 4.Jd5 is less visual but should also do 57 h6 lI 1 e5 58 "iVd8 + �f7 59 h7 1 -0
I have mentioned before that Tiger's ideas
are often worth taking on board, but possibly
1 3 'iVh5 Mb8 14 4.Jg3 iLc7 1 5 f4 4.Jb4 1 6
4.Jf5 4.Jd3+ 1 7 Mxd3 iLxd3 1 8 'iVg4 g6 1 9
ctJd5 .,txe4! was pushing the boat out a tad White is not interested in the d-pawn right
too far in T.Hillarp Persson-B.Ahlander, now. Black may have two rooks for the
Skara 2002. It looked like interesting stuff queen but White's promising kingside pawn
though, and at the end of the day he emerged structure and better pieces tip things in his
with a draw. favour.
Most humans would be uncomfortable 20 . . . ct:Jb4 21 �xb4 lixb4 22 �f3 lIb2 23
dealing with 1 3 'iVxd7 4.Jb4 as Black has e5
some good minor pieces. Queen and knight are a deadly combina­
1 3 . . . "iVb6 tion and this duo is about to weave its magic.
Now though White should have no 23 . . . .td8 24 f5

67
66
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

Summary
An important conclusion to come from this chapter is that blocked positions aren't actually

I
that attractive a prospect for Black because White can always drum something up on the king­
side, and often play against the c4-pawn is all that the second player has. I never used to like
the concept myself, but upon reflection (and the study of numerous games) instead I recom­
mend to Black employing the challenging ... d7-dS in some form or other.
CHAPTER FOUR
The 4 ... c5 5 d5 lines are quite exciting, but it looks as though White has them reasonably
well under control.

1 d4 tDf6 2 c4 e6 3 tDc3 .tb4 4 f3 c5


The Stand-alone Samisch
4 ... 0-0 (D) Game 1 9
-

4 ... tDc6 (D) (4 a3 iLxc3 + 5 bxc3 )


5 a3 Game 1 7
-

5 e4 Game 1 8
-

5 d 5 b5 (D) - Game 2 1
5 ... i.. x c3+ Game 20
-
1 d4 l2Jf6 2 c4 e 6 3 l2Jc3 ii.b4 4 a3 26-27 feature the most popular move 5 ... c5,
i..xc3 + 5 bxc3 although you will see that there is more than
In this chapter we look at positions that one move order to reach the traditional main
can either only be reached via 4 a3 or ones line 4 a3 i.. xc3+ 5 bxc3 c5 6 e3 0-0.
where White plays 4 f3 but then forgoes the
opportunity to play an early e2-e4 in favour Game 22
of a quick a2-a3. Z . Martic A Jan kovic
-
.

After 4 a3 i.xc3+ 5 bxc3, Black has quite Zadar 2004


a few reasonable options. In Game 22, for
example, Black chooses 5 ...tDc6 followed by 1 d4 l2Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 l2Jc3 .i.b4 4 f3 l2Jc6
a quick-ftre attack on the c4-pawn with ...b7- 5 a3
b6, ... .ta6 and ... tDaS. Game 23 features a Yes, it doesn't seem clever to be kicking
4 . . 0-0
. 4 . . l2Jc6
. 5 . . . b5
game of my own where I employ the move off a chapter entitled 'The stand alone
5 ... tDe4!? I must confess that originally I Samisch' with a 4 f3 encounter, but I men­
adopted this move against the Samisch be­ tioned in the previous chapter that this game
cause there seemed to be hardly any theory sort of belongs here because White has es­
on it; now it could well be one of the main chewed the chance to flick in 5 e4. Of course
contributing factors to 4 f3 being much more there are going to be several similarities and
popular these days than 4 a3. In Game 24 I possible transpositions/overlaps between 4
take a look at Black's less testing ideas; in a3 and 4 f3, but the bottom line is that in the
other words, lines where Black just tries to former White doesn't have to go for a quick
achieve a blocked position and shows no f2-f3 - the slower e2-e3 was the main line
urgency to attack White's c4-pawn. when I was a junior (see Game 27) . Anyway
In the last three games of the chapter I I'm getting ahead of myself1
consider more mainstream options for Black. 5 . . . �xc3 + 6 bxc3
His choice in Game 25 is perfectly logical - The strict 'stand-alone Samisch' move or­
Black castles before deciding on his approach der to reach this position would be 4 a3
in the centre. The only downside is that, as .txc3+ 5 bxc3 tDc6 6 f3.
we have seen before, there are certain dan­ 6. . .b6!?
gers to committing the king so early. Games There i s a n obvious weak point i n White's

69
68
Th e S t a n d- a lo n e S a m is c h (4 a 3 Si. x c 3 + 5 b x c 3)
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

side 9 ttJh3!? ttJaS 10 "ifa4 is perfectly plausi­ tries to punish Black's lack of a dark-squared
position and Black intends to pressurise it pieces and i s worth remembering. A knight ble. White does have his space advantage and bishop.
asap! on the rim is not dim when kept company by the two bishops but it just seems to be a bit
a queen and bishop! of a drag to have to defend the c4-pawn in
b) As Sergey Volkov featured heavily as this manner. Now a particularly interesting
White in the previous chapter, it also makes nugget of information is that GM Vladimir
sense to check out what he does here. \Vell, Tukmakov has twice played 1 0 ..."ife7 !?
in the last couple of years he has tried 8 �gS against the same opponent!:
h6 (8 ... 'iVc8 9 �d3 ttJaS 1 0 'iVe2 d6 has a) 1 1 �d3 0-0-0 12 ii.gs f6 13 .i.h4 'iVf7
scored quite well for Black too) 9 ii.h4 ttJaS 14 0-0 ttJe7 15 f4 ttJfS 16 ii. f2 dS! 17 exd6
10 eS gS 1 1 i.. f2 ttJhS 12 cS ii.xfl 13 �xfl ttJxd6 1 8 fS exfS 19 ii.g3 ii.xc4 20 ..txfS+
fS 14 ttJe2 'iVe7 1 5 g3 bxcS 1 6 �g2 ttJc6, �b8 with a better pawn structure and an
which eventually led to a draw in S.Volkov­ extra pawn, F.Liardet-V.Tukmakov, Geneva
M.Brodsky, Dubai 2003 1 997.
c) Another Volkov game went 8 ttJh3 b) 11 cS i.. xfl 12 Mxfl f6 (incidentally
ttJaS 9 cS ii.xfl 10 Mxfl d6 1 1 ii.gs 'iVd7 1 2 12 ... "ifh4+ 13 gf2 ttJe7 14 ii.gs "ifhS 1 5 cxb6 1 0 . . . g6 1 1 fS
7 e4 Si.a6 cxd6 cxd6 1 3 �f2 ':c8 1 4 �gl l:!xc3 1 5 axb6 1 6 ..txe 7 �xe 7 1 7 "ifb4+ �e8 1 8 �fl Rather than grovel with 1 1 cS, White goes
The added bonus of being able to capture ii.xf6 gxf6, which also eventually led to a ttJc6 19 "ifc4 ':as eventually turned out well all in.
the c4-pawn is that it often entails eliminating draw in S.Volkov-E.Shaposhnikov, St Pe­ for Black in G.Puyou-O.Panno, Olavarria 1 1 . . . exfS 1 2 'i¥g3 ..ixc4 1 3 .i.gS f6
White's bishop-pair advantage at the same tersburg 2004. Azul 2001 ; I'm certainly not claiming that Unfortunately for White, Black's dark­
time. Nothing terribly convincing then, and I'm Black is winning here or in such positions, squared suffering is only going to be mini­
8 eS forced to conclude that overall the chances but he always has a structural advantage to mal.
Though it is to the point, clearly Black's are about level but White must play actively work with as even if White gets in c4-cSxb6, 1 4 exf6 CLJxf6 1 S .i.xc4
approach is very provocative. On the face of to prevent Black from simply exploiting after ... axb6 White is still saddled with what 1 5 'iVeS+ is of course met by the simple
it this would appear to be the acid test, but those weaknesses. will be a target a-pawn isolani) 13 f4 ttJh6 1 4 1 S ... �f7.
the reality is that White scores poorly with 8 8 . . .'�jg8 ii.e3 ttJg4 1 5 i..g1 0-0 1 6 0-0-0 ttJc6 1 7 gfe 1 1 S . . . CLJxc4 1 6 �h4 0-0 1 7 CLJf3
eS. That said, even reflecting upon the alter­ fxeS 1 8 dxeS ttJh6 19 g3 gab8 20 ttJgS ttJfS
natives, results in general don't look that 21 gd3 bxcS 22 ttJe4 c4 23 ii.cs d6 24 "ifxc6
great for White: cxd3 25 i.. b4 �b6 26 "ifc4 gfb8 27 'iVxd3 as
a) 8 ii.d3 is obviously possible, but after 28 ii.xaS dS 0-1 F.Liardet-V.Tukmakov, Ge­
8 .. /baS 9 'iVe2 d6 1 0 ii.gs h6 1 1 ii.h4 one neva 1 996.
simple plan is 1 1 ... 'iVd7!? aiming for ... 'iVa4 Incidentally, after 9 ii.d3 ttJaS 10 'iVa4 an­
and further pressurisation of the c4-pawn. other idea worth remembering is 10 ... 'iVc8!?
possibly intending ... 'iVb 7 -c6.
Regarding White's ninth move selection in
our main game, I'm sure this push would be
the choice of a many club players, who
would be eager to bring their knight out to a
more natural square. The problem is of
Yes, Black can afford to return home and course that, as things stand right now, White 1 7 . . :iVe8 +
still have a two-piece lead in development! is lacking somewhat in the development de­ White couldn't gang up on f6 with any­
Note the alternative rim is much worse as partment! thing else and now Black uses this check to
after 8 ... ttJhS? 9 ttJh3, g2-g4 is a very awk­ 9 . . .tDaS 1 0 'iVg4 escape the pin.
ward threat. 10 'iVa4 does look after the pawn but is 1 8 �f 1 'i¥f7
9 f4 debatable whether the queen has a big future This has all been fairly effortless for Black,
Perhaps I'm sounding a little bit negative there. The text is more ambitious as White who has basically just found himself two
This is a very instructive set-up of black regarding White's chances, but on the plus
71
70
Th e S t a n d - a lo n e S a m is ch (4 a 3 i.. x c 3 + 5 b x c 3)
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

pawns up for nothing. It's effectively all over d8'iY 'iYg1+ 49 �f5 'iYb1+ 50 <it>f6 1 -0 Hai-Nguyen Thanh Binh, Vietnamese
I.Sokolov-M.Adams, Reykjavik (rapid) 2003. Championship, Thua Thien Hue 2000. Black
now but the rest of the game is worth view­
ing. Mickey is a fantastic player and in my opin­ probably has to play 1 1 ... e5 now or else re­
1 9 lIe 1 liJdS 20 �f2 lIfe8 21 i.f4 liJb2 ion the best handler of the Nimzo-Indian consider his set-up and revert to 7 ... 0-0, in­
22 liJgS liJd3 + 23 �g3 �g7 24 i.eS around; hence this victory should carry some tending ... d7 -d6 and ... e6-eS instead.
liJxeS 2S dxeS l:txeS 26 'iic4 f4 + 27 weight! However, it was a rapidplay game, 7 . . . b6
and besides Black has two other sensible As we know, offering that choice: either
�g4 hS+ 28 Wh4 ':xgS 29 �xgS 'iYf6 +
30 �h6 alternatives to consider. the simple fianchetto or the pressurisation of
Firstly, 6 ... c5 has the idea of a swift .. .'iVa5, c4 via ... iLa6.
but 6 ... f5 must also figure highly in the reck­ 8 f3
oning. Certainly 7 'iYh5+ g6 8 iVh6 'i¥g5 9 Far from forced, the interesting sequence
'iYxg5 tiJxg5 1 0 f3 tiJf7 1 1 a4 d6 1 2 as e5 1 3 8 iLd3 i.. b7 9 ttJe2 'iYgs 10 ttJf4 'iVh4 1 1 0-0
.,id3 c 5 1 4 tiJe2 tiJc6 1 5 d 5 tiJ e7 1 6 i.. d 2 gS 12 tiJe2 g4 1 3 d5 was double-edged in
.,id7 17 0-0 Wd8!? (the 'Levenfish' style king V.Feldman-L.Jones, Warwick Fiji 2002.
6 'iic 2
manoeuvre to protect the queenside that we Though outside the realms of this book, this
In case you'd overlooked my introduction
will soon see more of) 1 8 .,ic2 <it>c7 was fine is reminiscent of the 4 e3 b6 variation in
to 5 ... tiJe4!?, I will say again that Black isn't
for Black in G.Pieterse-A.Miles, Amsterdam which I have had a lot of experience. My
threatening to take on c3 just yet because of
1 988. White doesn't gain from a queen trade personal preference is for Black.
the knight-trapping 'iYc2. Hence there is ac­
and instead 7 'iYc2 would transpose back into 8 . . .'iVh4 + !
tually no compulsion for White to defend his
our main game.
pawn just yet. The text therefore is mainly to
6 . . . fS
force Black to make a decision about his
There is no diagram error - the white king knight.
really is on the h6-square, and amazingly Clearly 6 e3 is the main alternative. Then
there are still nearly twenty more moves to White players trying to get an opening edge
go! should probably take a closer look at 6 ... 0-0 7
30 . . . c6 31 'iVd4 �f7 32 'iVxf6 + �xf6 33 .,id3 f5 8 tiJe2 tiJf6 (also of interest is 8 ... b6
�h7 liJxc3 34 g3 gS 3S h4 gxh4 36 gxf4 9 0-0 .,ia6 10 a4 c5 1 1 tiJg3 tiJxg3 12 fxg3
liJdS 37 �xh4 �f7 38 lIhh 1 liJf6 + 39 tiJc6 1 3 �a2 tiJa5 1 4 �af2 d5, which Black
Wh6 lIh8 + 40 �gS ':g8 + 4 1 �fS lIg3 went on to win in T.Taylor-S.Sulskis, Los
42 lieS l::tx a3 43 lihe 1 liJdS 44 WgS Angeles 2003; of course things are never
�g3 + 4S �xhS liJf6 + 46 �h4 1:.g4+ 47 simply black and white(!), but often Black has
Wh3 lixf4 48 �e 7 + Wg6 0-1 a choice of whether to adopt a ... d7 -d6 and
9 g 3 liJxg3 1 0 "iVf2 f 4 1 1 liJh3
... e6-e5 plan or to go with the ...b7-b6 that
Game 23 Upon 1 1 exf4 the knight can escape via f5
facilitates either ...iLb7 or ... iLa6)
7 e3 with White's pawn structure having been
G . House-C .Ward 9 0-0 d6 1 0 tiJg3 tiJc6 1 1 e4 tiJe 7 1 2 �a2
7 tiJf3 0-0 8 e3 b6 9 iLd3 �b 7 leaves shot to bits.
Jersey 2002 c5 1 3 �e2 �d7 14 ':fe1 �c8 1 5 exf5 tiJxf5
Black with a very comfortable game, and I suppose White has a little compensation
16 ttJxf5 exfS 17 d5 �c7 1 8 �c2 ttJhS 1 9
attempts to spice things up via 10 ttJd2 ttJxd2 for the exchange after 1 1 hxg3 �xh1 or 1 1
1 d4 liJf6 2 c4 e6 3 liJc3 i.b4 4 a3 iLd2 h 6 20 f3 b 6 21 a 4 'iYf6 2 2 'iYa2 a s 23
1 1 iLxd2 i.xg2 12 :gl iLf3 13 :g3 i.h5 1 4 e4 g5 1 2 hxg3 'iYxh 1 , but there is no realistic
i.xc3+ S bxc3 liJe4 ! ? 'iYb1 �b7 24 l'::te7 1:1f7 25 �xf7 'iYxf7 26 g4
e4 ultimately backfired after 1 4. . .f4 1 5 �gl e5 chance of the black queen being trapped.
This knight isn't actually threatening to tiJf6 27 iLxf5 i..xf5 28 'iVxf5 �e7 29 z:.xe7
16 dxeS 'fie7 17 'fic 1 'fixeS in V.zilberman­ 1 1 . . . liJfS 1 2 liJxf4 'iix f2+ 1 3 �xf2
take the c3-pawn because of 'iYc2 but White 'iYxe7 30 �f2 'iVe8 31 g5 hxg5 32 i.xg5
V.Andreev, Dniepropetrovsk 2003. White has regained his pawn but the pres­
can't budge it just yet with 6 f3? because of 'iYxa4 33 iLxf6 gxf6 34 'iYg6+ �h8 35 'iVxf6+
Perhaps the sharpest continuation is 7 ence of two isolated rooks' pawns and a set
6 ...'iYh4+. Thus Black makes it difficult for �h7 36 'iYe7+ Wh8 37 'iVxd6 'iYc2+ 38 �g3
ttJh3!? when 7 ... b6 8 f3 tiJf6 9 e4 fxe4 1 0 of doubled c-pawns mean that he is definitely
White to arrange f2-f3, whereas he will be 'iYxc3 39 'iYf8+ <it>h7 40 d6 �eS+ 41 �g4
fxe4 iLb7 1 1 �d3 saw White close to obtain­ worse off in the structure stakes.
able to employ his own f-pawn relatively �d4+ 42 f4 a4 43 'iYf7+ �h6 44 d7 a3 45
ing a very big position already in Dao Thien 1 3 . . . 0-0
quickly. 'iYf8+ �g6 46 'iYg8+ �h6 47 'iYg5+ �h7 48

73
72
Th e S ta n d- a lo n e S a m is c h (4 a 3 iL x c 3 + 5 b x c 3)
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

36 'iif b3 g6 37 i.e3 Mf 1 38 Md8 l:tb 1 + tussle over e4 is now the critical theme in the
up camp on d 5 either.
39 �c2 l:th 1 40 l1e8 + �e7 41 �xe7+ position: 1 0 ... b6 1 1 f3 i.. a6 1 2 fxe4! (an im­
24 axb4 d 5 ! ?
�xe7 42 iLg 1 b5 provement over 1 2 tiJxe4 tiJxe4 1 3 i.. xe4
This 'mixing things up' move was what I
Mxe4!? 14 fxe4 'iYh4+, which would offer
had been planning. The idea is to try and
Black compensation for the exchange)
make \X-'hite's centralised king out as a weak­
1 2 ... i.. xc4 1 3 'iYf3 tiJbd7
ness rather than the strength that it would be
in most endgames.
25 dxe5 dxe4 26 fxe4
This leaves the e-pawn(s) isolated, but 26
f4 ctJf5 would see the black knight and pawn
combine well to deprive White of squares.
26 . . J�xe5 27 �g4 ctJg6 28 �d 1 l:.fe7 29
l:td4 .l:h5 30 iLg1
During this game I had it in mind to ulti­ 30 h4 looks like a better defence. Al­
mately hit White's f-pawn although, as is though I was trying to win throughout, it's
usual for such positions, c4 is a target too. only now that Fritz starts to believe that
This is the move that White so dearly
1 4 iLd3 ctJc6 1 5 �g 1 i.a6 1 6 c5 Black might have the upper hand!
would have loved to achieve himself. Al­
The advantage of a c4-c5xb6 is that it un­ 30 . . . �c7 31 �d2 cJ;;f 7
though the black rook looks funny in the
doubles the pawns and thus eliminates a
corner, White uses plenty of resources to and now there's the amazingly cheeky 1 4
weakness. The disadvantage is that an ... axb6
keep it jailed, and in all fairness I had calcu­ Ma2!?, a s seen i n G.Kaidanov-A.Onischuk,
leaves Black with a half-open file for which
lated that White wouldn't be able to win it. Chicago 2002. The premise of this outwardly
to pressurise White's a-pawn.
43 h3 shocking move is that the likes of 14 ...i.. xa2
1 6 . . . �xd3 1 7 ctJxd3 d6 1 8 cxd6
To illustrate the significance of Black's last 1 5 i.. xa2 tiJf8 1 6 0-0 this time offers White
A lesser evil than 1 8 cxb6 axb6!.
move, note that 43 .i.xa7 Mxh2+ 44 �b3?? excellent piece play for the exchange. Indeed,
18 . . . cxd6 19 e4 ctJh4 20 �g3 e5
ctJc4 would have seen White walking into a aside from the dark-squared bishop, all of
mating net. White's pieces are well placed.
43 . . . a6 44 �d 1 h5 45 'iife 2 h4 46 i.c5 + 7 . . . e5
We6 47 :g2 �xh3 48 iLd4 l:tg3 49 1:.xg3
hxg3 50 �f 1 ctJc4 51 �g2 ctJd2 52 �xg3
ctJxe4 + 53 �f4 �d5 0-1
Initially in this endgame I had been a little
Game 24
nervous that, rather than merely placing the
V . Moskalenko-J . G onzalez Rodriguez
king and rooks to avoid forks, White might
somehow be able to activate them so as to Barcelona 2003
create a passed pawn or attack my queenside.
1 d4 e6 2 c4 ctJf6 3 ctJc3 i.b4 4 a3
I knew, however, that the danger of that
�xc3 + 5 bxc3 d6 6 e3
would pretty much be averted once my king
was centralised. Presumably White was intending to meet
Ideally Black should be trying to fix his
5 ... 0-0 with 6 e3 when 6 ... d6 would have
opponent's pawns on dark squares, but with 32 1:.g3 ctJe5 33 l:td5? !
transposed to this game. Given the move
a well-supported centre there is no need for Probably White should have been able to
order that occurred here though, White Although after trading his dark-squared
\Vhite to oblige. get a draw, but his passive defence doesn't
could certainly have opted for 6 f3 too. bishop it is logical for Black to place his pawns
21 �e3 �f7 22 'iif e 2 lie8 23 ctJb4 ctJxb4 quite cut it.
6 . . . 0-0 7 i.d3 on dark squares, this whole plan is a little slow
I didn't really want to help iron out 33 . . . We6 34 1:.d4 11h4 35 �c2 llf4
A similar occurrence to the main game is 7 for my liking. Indeed, in my opinion both the
\'\-wte's pawns like this, but on the other Infiltrating with the rook makes sense, al­
ctJe2 e5 8 tiJg3 Me8 9 iLd3 e4 1 0 .i. b 1 . The 7 ... tiJbd7 8 e4 b6 9 tiJe2 c5 10 0-0 of
hand I didn't want the white knight setting though 35 .. ,cDc6 looks quite strong too.

75
74
Th e S ta n d - a lo n e S ii m is c h (4 a3 iL x c 3 + 5 b x c 3)
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

CiJd5 23 ttJf5 and 22 d5 were better. a) 6 e3 c5 transposes to Game 27, al­


P.Bergen-O.zoler, Graz 2002 and the 7 ... CiJc6 1 1 . . . tlJbd7 22 . . . gxf6 23 tlJh5 tlJd7 24 d5 though Black could also consider forgoing
8 CiJe2 e5 9 e4 �e8 1 0 £3 CiJe7 1 1 0-0 CiJg6 1 2 1 1 ...CiJxe4 12 .ixe4 d5 transposes to the 6 ... c5, instead concentrating on a quick ...b7-
�e3 "iie7 1 3 "iid2 of C.Minzer-G.Gonzalez, previous note. b6 and ... ..ta6 etc.
La Coruna 1 995 favour White because he has 1 2 tlJg3 b) 6 f3, reaching a position I have previ­
clear-cut play on the kingside. I have spoken Preserving the knight with a view to a ously alluded to, has been White's most
previously about the dynamism in White's timely invasion of Black's kingside. popular choice in practice. Recently 6 ... CiJe8!?
structure in these semi-closed positions and 1 2 . . . d5 1 3 f3 ':e8 1 4 iLd3 has been scoring rather well in practice.
no doubt I will do so again! White could also have considered preserv­
8 tlJe2 ing the bishop pair and castling by hand via
One advantage of not taking time out with 14 �f2. However, as White's central pawn
f2-£3 is that White can prepare to make the push is inevitable, he has something concrete
aggressive lunge f2-f4 in one turn. to work with anyway.
8 . . . e4 1 4 . . . ..txd3 1 5 'ii'x d3 e5
If Black could maintain this pawn here Black does his best to dissuade e3-e4, but
then things would actually look quite rosy for White is in no hurry and the dark-squared The bishop finally says 'hello' but all may
him as White's c4-pawn would remain a tar­ bishop is happy to bide its time. not be as it seems.
get. Unfortunately, White is quick to chal­ 1 6 0-0 ::te8 1 7 Itb 1 b6 1 8 ..tb2 24 . . . f5 25 1i'f3 'iid 6
lenge it. 25 ... �xe4!, intending to meet 26 'iixf5?
9 iLe2 with 26 .. .'iVc5+ 27 �h 1 "iie 3!, is a far better
9 .ib1 is also possible, and indeed 9 ... .ie6 defence but it doesn't change my opening
10 CiJg3 ..txc4 1 1 CiJxe4 CiJxe4 12 .ixe4 assessment! Black avoids an awkward �g5 pin and fa­
could easily be a variant of our main game. 26 ':f 1 l':te2 27 'ii'b3 cilitates a possible ...CiJe8-d6 relocation to add
Now 12 ... d5 13 iLd3 ..txd3 14 "iixd3 c5 1 5 27 .if6!, threatening amongst other things further pressure to c4. Now 7 e4 b6 is stan­
0-0 c4 1 6 'iVb1 'iid 7 1 7 f3 CiJc6 1 8 e 4 i s a e4-e5, would have secured the point dard, when divisions appear:
similar type of position to the one we en­ smoothly. The less said about what occurs b 1) 8 a4 CiJc6 9 i.. a3 d6 when both 10 ..td3
countered in Chapter 1 . I like White's centre now the better! (1 0 f4 ..ta6 1 1 CiJ£3 ttJa5 12 CiJd2 c5 13 ..td3
and clearly it has potential: 1 8 ... f5 1 9 e5 CiJa5 27 . . J:txb2? cxd4 14 cxd4 'iif6 1 5 .ib2 "iVxf4 clearly saw
20 a4 ttJb3 21 �a2 l1n 22 iLa3 �e8 23 iLd6 27 .. .'iVc5+! 28 �h1 �xe4 could well have White's dark-squared bishop misplaced on a3
f4 24 g4 fxg3 25 hxg3 'iWh3 26 'ii'e 1 �e6 27 been very bad news for White. in M.Cebalo-M.Palac, Zagreb 2004) 1O ... ..ta6
llh2 "iif5 28 g4 'iid3 29 f4 l:.d7 30 f5 gave 28 'ii'x b2 'iVe5 29 'iYb5 1 -0 1 1 CiJh3 ttJa5 1 2 "iie2 c5 1 3 d5 'iVh4+ 1 4 CiJf2
White a powerful attack in A.Cherniack­ It took me a long while to understand this exd5 15 cxd5 .i.xd3 16 'ii'xd3 f5!,
J .Rasin, Boylston 1 995. type of position. Originally I thought that Game 25 A.Kretchetov-LIbragimov, Las Vegas 2004.
9 . . .�e6 10 tlJg3 ..txe4 1 1 tlJxe4 Black had to be fine but now I appreciate H . H ofstra -V . l konnikov b2) 8 CiJh3 iLa6 9 .ig5 (or 9 e5 ttJc6 10
that White's position has all the potentiaL .ig5 f6 11 exf6 CiJxf6 1 2 .id3 e5 with more
Vlissingen 2000
Still, accuracy is required as a premature life in the position; it is a fairly open one and
queen trade, for example, could leave White 1 d4 tlJf6 2 e4 e6 3 ctJe3 i.. b4 4 a3 White has the two bishops, but he also has
with a duff bishop in an ending. i..x e3 + 5 bxe3 0-0 6 tlJf3 ? ! an inferior pawn structure that Black intends
1 8 . . . 'iVe7 1 9 e4! The fact i s that after the move order 1 d4 to exploit) 9 ...f6 1 0 .ie3 CiJc6 1 1 i.d3 CiJa5
There is no time like the present! CDf6 2 c4 e6 3 CiJc3 i.. b4 4 CiJ£3 0-0, theory 12 c5 ..txd3 13 'ii'x d3 d5 14 cxd6 CiJxd6 1 5
1 9 . . . dxe4 20 fxe4 exd4 21 exd4 doesn't even consider 5 a3 as it is far too CiJf4 'iWd7 1 6 d 5 exd5 1 7 'iixd5+ 'ii'n 1 8 'it>f2
Suddenly White has ferocious attacking slow. Hence obviously 6 CiJ£3, as played here "iix d5 19 exd5 c6 1/2_1/2 S,Volkov-G.Timosh­
possibilities, with one simple threat being e4- (reaching the same position), is not remotely enko, Tusnad 2000.
e5 and 'ii'f3. threatening either. b3) 8 .id3 iLa6 9 f4 ctJc6 10 CiJf3 CiJa5 1 1
21 . . . tlJf8 22 ':xf6 White should choose either 'a' or 'b' in the "iie 2 (or 1 1 e 5 f5 1 2 "iie2 d5 1 3 a4 c5 with
This sacrifice was always going to tempt­ following alternatives: similar complex play in M.Cebalo-
ing, but if truth be told perhaps both 22 e5
77
76
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n Th e S ta n d- a lo n e S a m is c h (4 a 3 i.. x c 3 + 5 b x c 3)

21 i.. e4? ? That said, surprisingly the above position


B.Chatalbashev, Reggio Emilia 2005, which 6 . . . b 6 7 i..g 5 il.b7 8 e 3 d6
incidentally Black went on to win) 1 1 ...c5 1 2 Having not long ago written Nimzo-Indian IS seen very rarely these days. Basically the
d 5 f5 1 3 e5 d6. Kasparov Variation) which heavily featured 1 story seems to be that Black decides whether
d4 lLJf6 2 c4 e6 3 CDc3 �b4 4 CDf3 b6 5 i.g5, or not to allow a further incursion by the e­
I can also tell you that a3 is a waste of time. pawn but, that aside, gets on with the usual
Indeed, in one of the main lines Black even pressurisation of the c4-pawn. A couple of
opts to voluntarily concede his dark-squared notable examples are:
bishop without any provocation. a) 7 ... 0-0 8 e5 lLJe8 9 f4 b6 1 0 CDf3 iLa6 1 1
9 .td3 ttJbd7 1 0 ttJd2 i.d3 f5 1 2 d5 CDa5 1 3 'iVe2 d6 1 4 dxe6 dxe5
1 5 fxe5 "iVe7 1 6 g4!? with an extremely dou­
ble-edged game in P.Harikrishna-J .Werle,
Nakhchivan 2003.
b) 7 ... d6 8 CDe2 (8 iLe3 b6 9 iLd3 'iVd7 1 0
lLJe2 i.a6 1 1 0-0 lLJa5 1 2 e 5 dxe5 1 3 dxe5
21 . . Jhe4! 0-1 iLxc4! 14 iLxc4 lLJxc4 1 5 i.xc5 'iVxd 1 1 6
Oops! The check on g6 and the 'big one' lIfxd 1 CDxe5 saw Black stick impressively to
on e4 will terminate the proceedings. a simple plan and then easily go on to con­
Tension in the centre is a common theme in
this line, and it's probably fair to say that vert the full point in M.Sadler-J .Howell,
Game 26
there were equal chances in P.Acs-Z.Almasi, London 1 988) 8 ... b6 9 CDg3 CDa5 1 0 f4 0-0 1 1
I . Saric-J . Nikolac e5 lLJe8 1 2 i.e3 iLa6 1 3 iLd3 iLxc4 14 0-0 f5
Hungarian Championship, Budapest 2004.
Frankly, the alternatives to 6 f3 and 6 e3 Pula 2001 1 5 exf6 CDxf6 1 6 "iVe2 i.xd3 1 7 "ifxd3 'iVd 7
aren't much cop, but I thought that I would 1 8 :ae 1 �ae8 was essentially just an extra
White is really mixing his plans. Typically 1 d4 ttJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ttJc3 .i.b4 4 f3 c5 5 pawn for Black in B.Spassky-R.Hubner Turin
include them for purpose of completion. So,
this retreat is made with the bishop still on f1 a3 il.xc3 + 6 bxc3 1 982.
other moves seen before are:
c) 6 �g5 c5!? (by no means the only move as White prepares f2-f3 and e3-e4 (note, The typical stand-alone Samisch move or­ 7 . . . b6
but I like this attempt to punish White's non­ without having wasted time on a2-a3) . Here der would be 4 a3 iLxc3 5 bxc3 c5 6 f3, Surely meat and potatoes for the reader by
existent kingside development) 7 e3 "iVa5! we also have to factor into the equation the reaching the same position. now! Black is not fianchettoing his bishop,
6 . . .ttJc6 7 e3?! but rather playing it to a6 where, combined
(unpinning and pinning! White's next move hanging pawn on g2.
is a mistake but . ..ttJ e4 was coming other­ 1 0 . . . h6 1 1 i.. xf6 Given that White made the preparatory 4 with ... lLJa5, he can pressurise the weaker of
wise) 8 iLxf6 "iVxc3+ 9 �e2 'iVxc4+?? (this Given that he's started, frankly he may as f3 this seems kind of pointless. It just doesn't White's doubled c-pawns.
was a bit of overkill though!) 1 0 �e 1 ?? Ouck­ well have finished (i.e. 1 1 i.h4!? would have make any sense here not to play 7 e4 as after 8 i.. d 3 0-0 9 ttJe2 �a6
been more in the spirit of things) . With the all tllat is what this Samisch system is all
ily White returns the error; 1 0 �d2 was a
significantly better move!) 1 0 ..."iVc3+ 1 1 �e2 text, out of the window goes the bishop-pair about.
gxf6 12 CDf3 lLJc6 1 3 dxc5 "iVxc5 14 CDd2 b6 advantage and all that remains is an inferior
1 5 �e1 CDe5 1 6 g4 iLb7 1 7 lIg1 'iVc3 1 8 g5 pawn structure!
CDf3+ 1 9 �e2 CDxg 1 + 20 <it'e 1 CDf3+ 0- 1 1 1 . . . ttJxf6 1 2 f3 e5 1 3 0-0 ge8 1 4 ':e 1
M.Barahona-E.Bastidas Rodriguez, Guaya­ e4! 1 5 il.b 1
quil 2003. The likes of 1 5 fxe4 CDxe4 1 6 CDxe4 �xe4
d) 6 'iVc2 c5 7 CDf3 d6 8 �g5 h6 9 �h4 17 iLxe4 ':xe4 are too ugly to contemplate
CDbd7 10 e4 e5 1 1 lId1 "iVe7 1 2 d5 :e8 1 3 but the text fares no better.
iLd3 CD f8 1 4 0-0 CDg6 1 5 iLg3 CDh5 reached 1 5 exf3 1 6 gxf3 ttJh 5!
. . .

a closed position that does favour Black in Preparing to make White suffer down the
C.Salifert-T.Polak, Aschach 1 993 as White g-ftle.
has few prospects of getting his f-pawn into 1 7 ttJf 1 iVh4 1 8 i.c2 Me6 1 9 d5 Mf6 20
gear; indeed it is his opponent who has all 'iVe2 :e8 10 e4
the kingside play. The pressure mounts and White cracks. White has effectively lost a tempo with the

78 79
Th e S t a n d- a lo n e S a m is c h (4 a 3 iL x c 3 + 5 b x c 3)
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

4 . . . 0-0 5 a3 �xc 3 + 6 bxc3 c5 although the position reached transposes to


way he has handled the position, and now his draw. I suppose that this was the old main line the instructive previous game.
kingside play should surely be too slow. of the Samisch. Playing ... c7 -c5 at this point 9 . . . ct:JeS
1 0 . . . tLJeS offers Black the chance of getting the queen A standard retreat; its primary aim is to
10 ... d6 looks very sensible but this is an­ out, but as that is a rare occurrence I would avoid the annoying pin iLg5, but Black can
other move that we have already seen em­ also go along with the immediate 6 ... b6. The also now deploy his f-pawn whenever he
ployed before; with this retreat Black pre­ intention though is not to meet 7 iLd3 with might want.
vents .tg5 from being an awkward pin. 7 ... �b7 because 8 f3 d6 9 ttJe2 c5 1 0 e4 1 0 0-0 iLa6 1 1 f4 f5
1 1 f4 f5 etJfd7 1 1 0-0, as seen 10 C.J\finzer­
1 1 ...'iVh4+!? 12 g3 'iVh3 would interfere R.Kasimdzhanov, Benidorm 2004, to my
with White's kingside intentions and mind sees the bishop misplaced. No, instead
1 1 ... ttJa5 gets straight to the point, but it is Black's idea is 7 ... ttJc6 8 ttJe2 i.. a6 9 0-0 ttJa5
difficult to criticise the text. 10 e4 etJe8 with similar ideas to the main
1 2 tLJg3 game but without ... c7-c5. There are clearly
Or 12 e5 ttJa5 when White isn't really go­ chances for both sides, but the 1 1 f4 f5 1 2
ing anywhere. 21 �xf 1 hxg6 22 'iVxg6 + �hS 23 a4 exf5 exf5 1 3 etJg3 g 6 1 4 c 5 i..x d3 1 5 'iVxd3
1 2 . . . tLJd6 1 3 0-0 cxd4 14 cxd4 fxe4 1 5 23 'iYh6+ 'iVh7 24 'iYxc6 'iVd3+ 25 �f2 d5 16 cxd6 etJxd6 1 7 a4 ttJdc4 1 8 �a3 'se8
lDxe4 lDxe4 1 6 i.xe4 'iYxd4+ allows Black to pick up the rook in 19 i,b4 'it'd5 of H.Pecorelli Garcia-LCsom,
the corner and still return for check-blocking Cienfuegos 1 985 should be a warning to
duties. White of how things can go positionally
23 . . . Vi'h 7 24 'iVxc6 l:tacS downhill .
Winning, just as 24 ... 'iVd3+ would have 7 �d3 This position has occurred many times in
been. practice, and very often Black players have
25 'iVb5 'iVxh2 26 'iVxd5 l:txc 1 + ! 27 l:.xc1 allowed White's f-pawn to progress further in
'iVxf4+ 0-1 favour of going after the c-pawn. I know I
Black picks up the rook and White doesn't wouldn't!
get a perpetual. 1 2 d5!?
With this move White is basically sacrific­
Game 27 ing a pawn for more space. Certainly, neither
V . Milov-J . Polgar 12 exf5 exf5 1 3 dxc5 bxc5 14 �e3 'iVa5 nor
FIDE World Ch., Moscow 200 1 1 2 etJg3 g6 !? have previously given White any
1 6 . . . d5! advantage in practice.
1 6 ... .txc4 1 7 i.. xh7+ �xh7 18 'iYc2+ is 1 d4 tLJf6 2 c4 e6 3 tLJc3 �b4 4 e3 1 2 . . . tLJa5 1 3 e5
less clear, and the text keeps on top of the Here we have the Samisch coming via a 4 All part of White's master plan.
tactics. e3 Nimzo. Regarding the traditional move 1 3 . . . .itxc4
1 7 cxd5 exd5! order 4 a3 iLxc3+ 5 bxc3 c5 6 e3, another 7 . . . tLJc6 S tLJe2 b6 9 e4 Black has nothing better to do than accept
1 7 ... iLxf1 1 8 dxc6 would be a silly ex­ thought that occurs to me is the idea of de­ Getting straight to the point. Instead 9 the pawn, and the greatest ever female player
change to take, even with the possibility of laying ... 0-0, for example 6 ... b6 7 .td3. Now CLJg3 commits the knight a little prematurely takes up the challenge.
1 8 ... iLe2. 7 ... �b7 8 f3 etJc6 9 ttJe2 'sc8 has been seen and 9 ... �a6 1 0 e4 etJe8 1 1 'iVh5 f6 1 2 e5 f5 14 �xc4 tLJxc4 1 5 d6
1 S i.b 1 before but surely it would make more sense 1 3 �g5 'iVc7 1 4 ttJe2 d6! 1 5 etJf4 'iVd7 1 6 Not only has White jettisoned a pawn but
Clearly 1 8 iLd3 iLxd3 19 'iVxd3 'iYf6 20 to hurry into a ... .ta6 and ... etJa5 plan instead. : d1 cxd4 1 7 cxd4 CDxd4 1 8 exd6 'iVxd6 1 9 now he closes off the position. Usually that
.t b2 ttJa5 is a simple bad bishop versus good The disadvantage, however, of leaving the 0-0 etJf6 2 0 'iVh3 'sac8 2 1 ,Sfe 1 iLxc4 22 would be good news for knights but the one
knight scenario and so White tries to keep king on e8 is that after, say, 7 ... ttJc6 White iLxc4 'sxc4 23 etJxe6 etJe2+ 24 �f1 'iYxe6 25 on e8 isn't so sure!
some tricks going instead. can play 8 e4!? when a further advance of the :!xe2 'se4 saw �'hite successfully rebuffed in 1 5 . . . b5
1 S . . . i.xf 1 1 9 'iVh5 g6 20 i.. x g6 'ij'd7 ! e-pawn will embarrass the knight. Compared LBern-S.Busemann, correspondence 1 993. If Black had her time again (and perhaps
Black keeps his cool. Taking the bishop to the first game of this chapter the retreat Needless to say, 9 f3?! is redundant now, she will!?) this move might be changed as the
here would have conceded a perpetual check ...ttJg8 doesn't really appeal!
81
80
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n Th e S ta n d- a lo n e S a m is c h (4 a 3 i.. x c 3 + 5 b x c 3)

queenside soon gets opened up to Black's White can sneak his way in! flattened by White taking with something on yet he can do nothing.
detriment. 15 ... g6!? has been suggested as an 25 c4! 'ii b 8 e6.
34 �e2 �b 1 +
improvement to give the king's knight some Black dare not allow something like
breathing space but the key idea is to keep 25 ... bxc4 26 'iWxc4 l:tb8 27 'iYxa4 'iYxb3 28 There is no solace in the endgame as after
the queen's knight as a blocker by retreating 'iWxd7 but she is struggling to keep all ends 34 ... 'iWxe2 35 ttJxe2, because of the attack on
it via as to c6. covered. the b6-knight, the d7-pawn is doomed.
35 'iVf 1 'iVe4
26 ct:Jd2
35 ... 'iWxf1+ 36 'iitxfl gxf4 37 ttJe2! is still a
problem.
36 �e2 �b 1 + 37 �g2
White had repeated moves to help reach
the time control - he never intended suc­
cumbing to the draw.
37 . . . �g6 38 fxg5 c3 39 'iVc2 'iVb4 40
l'Ib7 46 . . . Itxf2 +
In view of the outrageous missed oppor­ Upon 46 ...iVxe3 47 .s:xe6+ tZJf6 48 'ifxf6+,
tunity for Black that this game throws up, 40 mate follows shortly with Black's major
�c7! may have been more accurate. pieces powerless to help.
40 .. Jlc4 41 ltJxe6 dxe6 42 IIxb6 'iYb2 47 iVxf2 �xe5
1 6 a4! a6 1 7 'iYd3 g6 43 'iVd3 11f4 47 ... 'iVxf2+ 48 �xf2 'iVc2+ 49 �e3 'iYe4+
17 ... 'iYc8 18 �a2 llb8 19 ii.e3 llb6 20 26 . . . ltJb6 Now things get crazy. Whilst 43 ... c2 loses 50 �d2 doesn't generate a perpetual check as
ttJc1 ttJcxd6!? 21 exd6 ttJxd6 is a possible This appears to give the pawn back to 44 'iYxc4 cl'iY 45 iVxe6+ �xg5 46 h4+ the white king is able to run for the hills.
solution to Black's cramped position but cheaply, but ':'bl was on its way. �g4 47 'iYg8+ ttJg7 48 'iYxg7+ �h5 49 48 "iVe8 + ! �xg5 49 'ikxe6
after 22 axb5 axb5 23 �a7 the piece is 27 cxb5 c4 28 ct:Jf3 ct:Jh5 29 g3 'iWxh7+ iYh6 50 'iWxf5+ 'iWg5 51 'iWxg5 mate, This eliminates Black's checks, although
probably preferable to the pawns. 'Knights on the rim are dim', and this one any old computer(!) would spot 43 ... �g4!! 44 49 h4+ �h6 (or 49 ...�g4 50 'i¥f3 mate) 50
1 8 axb5 axb5 1 9 �e3 �xa 1 20 �xa 1 has gone from one rim to another! �f3 ttJf4! 45 gxf4 llxf4+! 46 �xf4 'iVxf2+ 47 �xe6+ looked more impressive.
The more pieces that are swapped off, the 29 . . . 'iVb 7 30 :a3 'it'g7 31 ct:Jd4 cJi;f7 32 'iff3 'ifxb6 48 'ifxc3 'iYf2+ 49 'iYf3 'iWxh2+ 49 . . .iVxe6 50 l:txe6 f4 51 l:te5 + �g6 52
more noticeable Black's 'out of the game' iVa 2 with a drawn queen ending! ':c5 f3 + 53 �xf3 iVh 1 + 54 �e3 1 -0
kingside pieces become. No prizes for guessing where White in­ 44 'iVe3 c2 45 d7 cHi' 46 d8'ii' The checks have dried up and Black is the
20 . . . 'iYb6 21 ct:Jc 1 tends to invade now! Black has two queens and is on the move, exchange and two pawns down.
Continuing the quest to pound the c5-
pawn.
21 . . . ct:Jg7
After 21 ...'iYc6 22 ttJb3 the tactic
22 ... ttJxe5? 23 fxe5 c4 fails miserably to 24
ttJd4 cxd3 25 ttJxc6 dxc6 26 iLg5. However,
22 ... g5!? might be worth a punt.
22 ct:Jb3 �c8 23 .i.f2 ct:Jb2?
In view of the visual sequence 23 ... h6 24
'ii'f3 �h7 25 �a8 l:.c6 26 'iYh3! b4 27
'iVxh6+!! 'iitxh6 28 �h8 mate, one can see
why Black is eager to try and seal off the a­
flie. Alas, the text ultimately doesn't achieve
its aim. 32 . . :tWe4 33 l'Ia7 g5
24 'iVc2 ltJa4 Finally Black tries to break out of the
24 ... tZJc4 25 iVa2 b4 26 iVa4! shows how bind. In case you hadn't noticed, 33 ... c3? is

82 83
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

Summary
At top level tournament chess these days 4 a3 is significantly less popular than 4 f3, and I guess

I
the main reason is that the a-pawn advance could be seen as a waste of time whereas preparing
the central push e2-e4 is much more constructive. However, the chapters up to now have
shown that Black has other options when not immediately forced to concede his bishop, so
obviously the story is not that straightforward. One clear difference is that in the (original)
CHAPTER FIVE
Samisch variation Black has the option of 5 ...4:Je4!?, and that is yet to be refuted. Whilst the
:Milov-Polgar encounter (Game 27) understandably generated a lot of interest, whether Black's
knight ends up back on e8 or g8, I quite like the idea of a quick pressurisation of the vulnerable
c4-pawn even without the inclusion of ... c7 -c5.
4 � g 5 (The Lenin g rad
1 d4 Cbf6 2 c4 e6 3 Cbc3 iLb4 4 a3 iLxc3 + 5 bxc3 (D) c5 Variation )
5 ... Cbc6 6 f3 b6 Game 22
-

5 ... Cbe4 Game 23


-

5 ... d6 Game 24
-

5 ... 0-0 Game 25 1 d4 4Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 4Jc3 �b4 4 �g5 grandmaster, I myself have employed it a few
-

6 e3 The idea of 4 ..tg5 always appealed to me times and I probably will do again. Neverthe­
6 f3 etJc6 (D) as a junior, although ironically I enjoyed fac­ less, it is more likely to be used as a surprise
7 e3 Game 26 ing it as Black too! It's definitely an ambitious weapon (not that it's going to be much of a
-

7 e4 Game 26 (notes) variation as White ignores the pin on his own surprise now) than as a permanent main line.
-

6 0-0 (0) 7 iLd3 Game 27 knight and instead pins Black's. The kingside I like the aggressive attitude of 4 .tg5, but
. . . -

development is temporarily neglected, al­ it could be argued that the move itself is a bit
though White might argue that's because he premature. The main problem that you will
hasn't yet decided where those pieces want to discover by reading this chapter is that Black
go, whereas he wants his bishop outside the has a variety of ways to meet it and it is far
pawn chain before playing e2-e3. Compared from clear that any of them is particularly bad.
to the Nimzo/Queen's Indian Hybrid of 4
Cbf3 b6 5 iLg5, White may prefer to place a Game 28
pawn on f3 but, on the other hand, Black is V Danilov-H . H ernandez
.

not committed to a queenside fianchetto. Pedrido 2004


There are two truths that I want to share
with you. The first is that this book was a 1 d4 tDf6 2 c4 e6 3 4Jc3 �b4 4 i.g5 c5
5 bxc3 6. . . tDc6 6 . 0-0
. .

very ambitious project. Just as witl1 the


Samisch, whole books have been written on
4 iLg5 (well, actually not that many) and so it
is inevitable that I will be criticised for cover­
ing this whole variation in just one (albeit
long) chapter. However, coming to my res­
cue is the second truth, which is that the
Leningrad's popularity has dwindled in recent
years. I emphasised in the Introduction that
my focus is on more recent games and mod­
ern approaches, and the fact is that these
days the Leningrad is rarely employed at the
highest levels. You will notice that even as a

85
84
4 JL g 5 ( Th e L e n in g ra d Va ria t io n )
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

more solid still and this type of position will leaves the black queen hitting c3. I n fact the
Some opt to play 4... h6 now and some time is 5 ... 4Jxd5?! 6 �xd8 4Jxc3 7 'iVb3
be discussed in more detail throughout the position after 10 �c2 ttJbd7 doesn't seem to
don't. More often than not, positions trans­ 4Je4+ 8 �dl 4Jxf2+. Black gets a bit of ma­
chapter) 1 1 h4 have cropped up in tournament play for sev­
pose at some stage but as the reader will terial but the likes of 9 �c1 �xd8 1 0 'iVg3!
eral years, with 1 1 f4 ttJb6! 12 i.b3!? g5 1 3
soon appreciate playing through this chap­ 4Jxh1 1 1 'ilVxg7 :e8 12 g4 d5 13 �g2 4Jf2
.i.g3!? 'ilVe7 1 4 ttJ e 2 .i.g4 1 5 a4 0-0-0 1 6 h3
ter's games, there are advantages and disad­ 1 4 'iVf6+ lIe7 1 5 'iVxf2 dxc4 1 6 4Jf3 4Jd7 1 7
i.h5 1 7 ..th2 'unclear' being the assessment
vantages of moving the h-pawn. �c2 � e 8 1 8 'iVh4 f6 1 9 g 5 f5 2 0 : d l c3 21
of Ivanchuk from a game that actually saw
5 d5 g6 hxg6 22 'iVh8+ 4Jf8 23 �d8+ 1 -0
Black wind up with the slightly better posi­
First up, it should be understood that the (L.Vicary-M.Horvat, correspondence 2000
tion after 12 'iVe2 �g4 13 'ii fl g5 14 fxg5?
text advance is necessary and that 5 e3? is a demonstrate that Black's pieces aren't so hot
ttJh5! (V.Ivanchuk-V.Topalov, Wijk aan Zee
mistake in view of the simultaneously pin­ when still at home.
2001).
ning and unpinning 5 ... 'iVa5!. A recent en­ 6 ..th4 �xc3 + 7 bxc3 e5
However, instead the simple 11 tLJe2 is
counter saw 6 i.xf6 (there's no prizes for I am more used to seeing this and Black's
likely to return us to the realms of our main
guessing what Black intended next, and in­ next move played the other way round but,
game and possibly even a direct transposi­
deed 6 4Jge2 4Je4 would be very aWh-ward aside from the fact that White could now try
tion.
for White) 6 ... .i.xc3+ 7 bxc3 'ilVxc3+ 8 d6, probably it doesn't make much differ­
1 0 ttJe2 ttJbd7
(comparing this to the similar - but with key ence.
when Black can enter the complications of I would prefer 10 ...g5 here to avoid the
differences! - Kasparov Nimzo line 1 d4 8 e3 d6 9 i.d3
1 1 ...g4 12 h5! or keep a little more dark­ option that White now doesn't take.
4Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 4Jc3 .i.b4 4 4Jf3 0-0 5 �g5 c5
squared control via 1 1 ... l:.g8!? 1 1 'iib 1
6 e3 'iVa5 7 �xf6 i.xc3+ 8 bxc3 'iVxc3+, here
b) 9 ... 'iVa5 1 0 'iVd2 4Jbd7 1 1 �d3 4Jb6 1 2 The next game investigates 1 1 f4!? which,
there is now no knight to block the check; as
.i.xf6 gxf6 1 3 tLJe2 'iVa4 ( a reason for the in terms of specifics, I believe is a better
'iVd2 leaves the rook hanging, White's next
swing in popularity to the 4Jf3-d2 manoeu­ move. However, that doesn't negate the va­
move is forced) 8 <it>e2 'iVb2+ 9 �el (actually
vre was that on this square the knight covers lidity of this game as Black could have played
for harmonious kingside development rea­
e4; of course on d2 it also protects the c4- ... e5-e4 or ...g7-g5 earlier.
sons, I think that I would have preferred 9
pawn, but in what follows White is evidently 1 1 . . . �d8
<it>f3; it's fair to say though that White's
prepared to jettison that and more material in This is the second main reason for the
opening hasn't been a raging success!)
exchange for kingside action) 14 4Jg3 h5 1 5 queen move. Rather than castling into a po­
9 ... gxf6 10 4Jf3 'iVc3+ 1 1 4Jd2 cxd4 12 :c1
0-0 h4 1 6 4Je4 <it>e 7 1 7 f4!? f5 1 8 fxe5! fxe4 tential attack on the kingside, the black king
'iVas (M.Keiser-D .saiboulatov, Charleroi
1 9 'iVf2 f5 20 'iYf4 �d8 21 'iVg5+ �c7 22 travels to c7 where it also perfonns the useful
2004) . Clearly worse here, White actually got
'iVg7+ �d7 23 exd6+ �xd6 24 'iVf6+ <J;;c7 25 function of guarding the b-pawn.
back into the game before losing anyway!
'iVe5+ �d8 26 'iYxh8+ �c7 27 'iVe5+ <it>d8 28 1 2 a4 a 5
5 . . . h6 When I was a junior this was the position
d6 exd3 29 lhf5 �e6 30 'iVf6+ 1 -0 T.Taylor­ This looks like a n ugly move t o make but
Other than gaining more space, an impor­ that I always associated with the Leningrad.
G.Hill, Los Angeles 2003. a white pawn on as would be very annoying.
tant point behind White's last move is that This bishop move was played to facilitate
c) 9 ... 4Jbd7 10 'ilVc2 'iVe7 1 1 i.. d 3 g5 1 2 It would prohibit Black from ever going
5 ... 'iVa5?! can now be met by 6 .i.xf6 as the 4Je2, and from there the knight may later
.i.g3 b 5 sees a crazy mix o f many o f this ... b7-b6 and the threat would always be there
bishop protects the knight on c3 (although find its way to g3 to hit e4 or to jump into f5.
chapter's plans. of a5-a6 to grasp the c6-square.
with the bishop on g5 instead of h4, 6 �d2 These days the concept of bringing the
9 . . :iie 7 1 3 kIa2 �c7 1 4 l:[b2 g5 1 5 .ltg3 e4
with 7 a3 to follow may also be good) . Re­ knight to d2 via f3 is more in vogue, and that
As you will soon see, this move often fea­ I am more used to Black's last two moves
garding the trade on f6, the recent 6 .i.xf6 plan will be discussed in Game 30.
tures before ... e6-e5 when Black appears to being inserted earlier, but the moves them­
gxf6 7 'iVc2 d6 8 e4 e5 9 .i.d3 4Jd7 1 0 4Jge2 9 f3 often transposes to the old main lines
be keeping his options open as to whether to selves come with pros and cons: ...g7 -g5 es­
f5 1 1 exf5 4Jf6 1 2 0-0 'iVd8 13 4Jg3 .i.xc3 1 4 (i.e. the ones where .i.d3 and 4Je2 are still on
keep the position blocked or not. One reason caped the pin but weakened the kingside and
'iVxc3 0-0 1 5 :ael b 5 1 6 b 3 b 4 1 7 'iVd2 �h8 the cards). However, some semi-independent
to place the queen here is to support the in particular conceded a big hole on f5; ... e5-
18 f4 4Jg4 1 9 h3 exf4 20 hxg4 fxg3 21 f6 1 -0 possibilities include:
further advance of the e-pawn, although in e4 gained space and vacated the e5-square
(E.Julia-F.Benko, Buenos Aires 2004) was a) 9 ...g5 1 0 i.g3 e4 (the almost ancient(!)
fact even now 9 ... e4!? is a serious candidate. but the pawn is a target on e4 and White's
very impressive from White's point of view. 10 ... 'iVe7 1 1 �d3 4Jbd7 12 ttJe2 1:!g8 13 'iVc2
White can't take this pawn because of the dark-squared bishop has far more scope
Just so that it doesn't come as a shock, still h5 14 h4 g4 15 l:.b l �d8 16 a4 �c7 of
unpinning ...g7 -g5, while 10 .i.xf6? 'iVxf6 now.
rearing its dubious ugly head from time to J .Timman-L.Polugaevsky, Linares 1 985 is

87
86
4 iL g 5 ( Th e L en in g ra d Va ria tio n )
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

special. O n the other hand, the text gets


because of 22 ... 'iVe5, and instead White really straight to the point and sets about making
goes for it. Black regret not inserting ...g7 -g5 earlier.
21 Mxb6! ! 1 1 . . . g5
The text is a stunning move although the The 1 1 ...exf4 12 exf4 g5 1 3 �f2 ttJg4 1 4
theme isn't new. Coincidentally, it was seeing 0-0 tDxf2 1 5 �xf2 ttJf6 1 6 tDg3 .tg4 1 7 'iVel
this same combination after having previ­ ttJh5 1 8 .t f5 .txf5 19 Me2 1 -0 of J.Parker­
ously concluded that a breakthrough was M.O'Cinneide, Dublin 1 993 shows why it is
practically impossible that persuaded me to detrimental to open the e-flle, but I'm not
take up the Leningrad again. enamoured by the text either. 1 1 ...g5 has
21 . . . ttJxb6 22 'iHb5 been played on the vast majority of occasions
With a dual threat of 'iVc6+ and 'iVxc5+. but my preference is definitely for White.
22 . . . ttJe8 1 2 fxg5 ttJg4
22 ...Ma6! is probably the most challenging 3 4 f3 In light of how this game pans out, I'd
1 6 .tc2 ttJe5 1 7 lIb5! defence although 23 'iVxc5+ �d7 24 'iYb5+ It feels like a travesty of justice that Black have to say that 12 ... ttJh5!? is a better practi­
Black can't now take the c4-pawn because �d8 25 ttJd4 looks worrying, and to show escapes with a draw, but that might not have cal try; rather than attacking the e3-pawn the
of .:t.xc5+. The d-pawn being pinned (with the strength of White's compensation, check been the case in the event of 34 g4 ..th7 35 knight stops its enemy number from getting
the knight absent from e5) plays a big part in out 25 .. .'iVd7 26 f3 'iVxb5 27 cxb5 �a8 28 �b1 ! . too fruity. Now 1 3 ttJg3 (1 3 e4?! hxg5 1 4
what follows. fxe4 - the pawns are accruing! 34 . . . ttJd6 35 ..td3 .i.xe4 36 �xe4 ttJxe4 .tf2 ttJf4 was certainly okay for Black in
1 7 . . . ttJed7? ! 23 'iVxc5+ �b7 24 'i¥c6 + rJi;a7 25 c5! 37 fxe4 �b6 38 �f2 �c6 39 �f3 �d6 L.Perdomo- E.Real de Azua, Buenos Aires
This is hardly progressive and 1 7 ... Ma7, in­ Time for the cavalry! 40 rJi;g4 <;toe5 41 rJi;xg5 c4! 42 g4 rJi;xe4 2001) 1 3 ... CLlxg3 14 .txg3 hxg5 1 5 'iVc2 ttJf6
tending to meet 1 8 �xe4?! with 1 8 ... �d7, 25 . . . dxc5 26 nb 1 Mg6 43 �f6 �d3 44 �xf7 rJi;xc3 45 g5 �b3 1 6 ..tf5 ttJh5 1 7 0-0 �xf5 1 8 :xf5 ttJg7 1 9
looks like a better way to go. After 26 ...iVb 7 27 'iVxc5 Black has a rook 46 g6 c3 47 g7 c2 48 g8'i¥ c 1 'i¥ Y2 -Y2 'iVa4+ �d8? 2 0 la f2 f5 21 .:t.b1 f4?! 22 .:t.tb2!
1 8 h4 for two pawns, but e4 is about to drop off was bad news for Black in Z.Basagic­
Attacking on two fronts; this is the move and his poorly coordinated pieces must face Game 29 R.Tischbierek, Ohrid 2001 , but 19 ... �f8
Black must expect when ... g5 is employed. the prospect of ttJd4. V . M isanovic-H . H u nt looks safer and earlier 1 8 ...ttJxg3 can't be
Nevertheless, quite a nice idea here is 1 8 h3!? 27 d6! significantly worse.
Euro. Women's Team Ch., Batumi 1 999
with a plan of �h2, and tDg3-f5. 1 3 ttJg3 ttJxe3 1 4 'i¥f3 hxg5 1 5 'ilHxe3
1 8 . . . Mg8 1 9 hxg 5 hxg5 20 0-0 1 d4 ttJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ttJc3 iLb4 4 �g5 c5 gxh4 1 6 ttJf5
Rather audacious given the recent opening 5 d5 h6 6 �h4 d6 7 e3 �xc3 + 8 bxc3 White has sacrificed a pawn, but this is a
of the h-flle, but White apparently wants his 'ii e 7 9 iLd3 e5 1 0 ttJe2 ttJbd7 1 1 f4 ! ? wonderful square for the knight.
king's rook for active duty on the queenside. 1 6 . . . 'iif 6 1 7 0-0
20 . . . b6

27 . . . MXd6
As 27 ... 'iVd8 28 'iVxc5 ttJxd6 29 'iVxa5+
�a6 30 ttJd4 looks pretty awesome, Black
prefers to return material.
28 iLxd6 'iVxd6 29 ':'xb6 'ii x c6 30 l:txc6 The first game i n this chapter saw 1 1
.i.a6 31 ttJg3 Mc8 32 Mxc8 .i.xc8 33 'iYb 1 , whilst 1 1 ttJg3 ttJb6! isn't anything Already the reader should start to see the
Now 21 �h2 �h8 22 CLlg3 doesn't work ttJxe4 iLf5

89
88
4 iL g 5 ( Th e L e n in g ra d Va ria tio n )
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

'iVd1 i.g6 2 2 ':'f2 a 6 2 3 1;1efl ctJfd7 2 4 �b2 �d3 �f8 1 4 f3 ..t h S I S l;I b 1 b 6 1 6 e 4 with
attraction of 1 1 f4!? Without too many The fork on g4 prevents White from plac­ b5 2S �a 1 l;Ih8 26 cxb5 axbS 27 Jtxb5 �g7 the better chances with White (he has a firm
pawns in the way, White's pieces flow. ing her king on the g-flie. 28 i.xd7 ctJxd7 29 lbc4 l;Ia6 30 "iVg4 l;Iha8 grip on fS) in I.Lempert-K.Lerner, St Peters­
1 7 . . . ttJf8 1 8 l:ae 1 ! 24 'iVf6 �g8 25 iLc2 31 �xd6 'iVf6!! burg 1 993.
Most would probably have set about dou­ A devastating check on a4 is threatened, c) 10 ...gS 1 1 �g3 ctJhS 12 ctJd2 fS is a little
bling rooks on the f-ftle, but whilst that plan leaving Black in a hopeless situation. different, with 1 3 ..te2 ctJg7 14 f4 0-0 1 S �f2
has an obvious appeal to it, the text also sets 25 . . . b5 26 cxb5 .l:.g4 27 iLf5 1 -0 hS 16 h4 gxf4 1 7 exf4 lbd7 being fairly
Black a few problems. equally balanced in C.Gokhale-A.Zatonskih,
Came 30
1 8 . . . iLxf5? Kapuskasing 2004.
Few would blame the leading English lady S . Mohandesi-E . Kengis 1 1 ttJd2
player for wanting to remove this knight, but Sautron 2003
now Black seems to pretty much lose by
force. 1 d4 ttJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ttJc3 i.. b4 4 i.. g 5 c5
1 8 ... ctJg6 19 llf2 �d8 on the face of it 5 d5 d6 6 e3 h6 7 i.. h 4 i..x c3 + 8 bxc3
looks like a better practical try. However, as "fie7 9 ttJf3 e5
Black's pieces are poorly coordinated, White Again Black closes the centre. In the three
looks justified in trying 20 ctJxd6!? 'iVxd6 21 games that follow this one, Black is not so
.i.xg6 fxg6 22 'iVg5+: 22 ...�c7? drops the eager to do this. and White resigned in K.Sasikiran­
queen to 23 �f6 and 22...'iVe7 23 'iVxg6 1 0 'iVc2 R.]anssen, Calicut 1 998.
leaves the black rooks relative bystanders, the Obviously 10 �d3?? would run into a b) 12 �e2 lbbd7 1 3 h4 0-0-0 (of course
bishop nowhere to go to and the king stuck fork, and so the text is the best way to keep this is also not possible with the bishop on
in the middle. Black's bishop out of the immediate action. c8) 14 'iYa4 �b8 1 5 'iVbs a6 1 6 'iVb3 �a7 1 7
1 9 .l:.xf5 "ile7 White has his knight's relocation in mind, but f3 e4 1 8 1;1b1 b6 1 9 f4 ctJg4 20 ctJfl gxf4 21
19 .. .'iIVh6 walks into 20 1;1xe5+! dxe5 21 the immediate 10 ctJd2 can be punished by Ji.xf4 l;Ihg8 22 g3 :tb8 23 .i.xg4 ..txg4 24 1 1 . . . \t>d8
'iVxe5+. 10 ... g5 1 1 �g3 Jtf5!? ..txh6 ctJe5 25 �f4 tiJd3+ 26 �d2 b5 27 So here we go again with the standard
20 l!ef 1 ctJh2 .i.d7 28 Ji.g5 "iVe5 29 ..tf4 tiJxf4 30 manoeuvre. Instead, upon 1 1 ... e4 12 iLe2
gxf4 l;Ig2+ 3 1 �c1 iVh5 32 �b2 l;Ixb2 33 Black can of course still go with 1 2 ...gS 1 3
'iVxb2 bxc4 34 'iVd2 'iVxh4 3S ':g1 'iVd8 36 �g3 �d8 when White would have to make
"iVc2 'iYa5 37 �d2 "iVa3 38 l;Ib1 J:!g8 0-1 that usual choice of castling (e.g. 14 0-0 �c7
S.Ditiatev-S.Shipov, Cherepovets 1 997. 1 S f3 exf3 16 1:.xf3 ttJg4?! 1 7 ttJe4 ttJdeS 1 8
I make no apologies for including all of �xeS ttJxeS 1 9 1;1f6 �d8 2 0 :tafl a s 21 �hS
the moves to these games because, from an �b8 22 h3 ttJxc4 23 l;Ixf7 'ireS 24 'iVd3 CDb6
entertainment point of view, I'm sure you'll 2S c4 in which Black had got into a bit of a
agree that it was worth it! tangle in S.Matveeva-M.Maric, Belgrade
1 0 . . . ttJbd7 2000) or turning to usual 14 h4!?
It strikes me that some of Black's options However, something less common is
are much of a muchness with a tendency to 1 2 ... 0-0!? 1 3 0-0-0 :e8. This looks like a very
transpose down the line. Nevertheless, within sound way for Black to play and I especially
The black bishop operates well along the some specific alternatives there are some like the 14 �b2 bS!? 1S cxbS a6 16 a4 �b7
20 . . . .l:.c8 h7 -b 1 diagonal, and if White arranges e3-e4 different ideas: 17 c4 axbS 1 8 axbS "iVeS+ 19 �b3 ttJxdS! 20
20 ... �h7 loses to 21 �5f3 'sg7 22 'iVh6, then Black will be able to challenge with ... f7- a) 10 ... �d8 1 1 lbd2 �c7 12 �d3 g5 1 3 ..ig3 "iVf6 21 "iVb2 ttJc3! of G.Gaertner­
and 20 ... ctJg6 to 21 �xf7 'iVxf7 22 :'xf7 fS. As it happens, that situation never came .i.g3 lbhS when each of 1 4 h3, 1 4 0-0 and 1 4 P.Wells, Oberwart 1 995. To avoid the one
�xf7 23 't'ih3. The text is no better though. up in two of the many wins that Black has 0-0-0 has previously been assessed b y theory way traffic of the game White might wheel
21 .:txf7! "fixf7 22 .l:.xf7 �xf7 achieved from this position: as 'slightly better for White'. Similar ideas out 14 g4!? instead.
Black has two rooks for a queen but her a) 12 f3 e4 13 h4 J:!g8 14 hxgS hxgS 1 S feature in our main game. After 1 1 . ..gS 12 ..tg3 Black still has those
remaining pieces lack cohesion. fxe4 iLxe4 1 6 't'ia4+ lbbd7 1 7 0-0-0 �f8 1 8 b) 10 ... �g4 1 1 ctJd2 gS 1 2 .i.g3 ctJbd7 1 3 ... �d8 and ... eS-e4 moves, but 12 ... ttJhS 1 3
23 'iVf3 + �e8 l;Iel lbe5 1 9 iLe2 iLxg2 2 0 Mh2 iLe4 2 1
91
90
4 i.. g 5 ( Th e L e n in g ra d Va ria tio n )
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

highlights Black's own ambitions. He feels queen making a real nuisance o f herself,
iLd3 tLJdf6 is a little different. As Black's
that it is worth donating a pawn in order White is not going to be able to make any­
1 2th move obstructed the h-pawn, now 1 4
generate play down the e-file and give his thing of that extra pawn. Instructive stuff]
0-0 seems reasonable, but a n interesting at­
queen the eS-square. 48 �g 1 % - %
tempt at refutation was 1 4 h3!? intending
25 ii.xe4 'iVe5
iLh2 and g2-g4. The other big idea is that
From here her majesty could invade fur­ Game 3 1
after 14 ...tLJxg3 (perhaps Black should avoid
ther into g3 and the white monarch could get C . Ward-J . Levitt
the opening of the f-file via 1 4... .:g8 with the
a little nervous. There shouldn't really be British Ch., Torquay 1 998
intention of meeting i s �h2 with the inter­
anything to panic about though.
cepting lS ...g4) i s fxg3 tLJhS (l S ...g4 1 6 �fS
26 We2 ii.d7 27 i.. d 3 h5 1 d4 ttJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ttJc3 i.. b4 4 i,g5 c5
gxh3 1 7 gxh3 ':g8 1 8 i.. xc8 ':xc8 1 9 'iffS
Throwing more temporary wood on the Very hot off the press is the 4 ... h6 5 iLh4
':c7 20 ':£1 ':g6 21 g4 'ifd7 22 �e2 'iVxfS 23
fire in the name of activity. c5 6 dS d6 7 e3 exdS 8 cxdS 0-0 9 iLd3 'ife7
MxfS �f8 24 ':a£1 �g7 2S �d3 was very
28 gxh5 f5 29 Wf2 �h6 30 g3 1 0 tLJge2 iLg4 1 1 f3 iLxc3+ 12 bxc3 iLhS 13
passive for Black in E.Agrest-R.Akesson,
This looks a little wet but there is no ob­ e4 tLJbd7 1 4 0-0 of A.Ker-G.Thornton, Wan­
Skara 2002) White can sacrifice the pawn via 1 6 . . . liJf6 1 7 0-0-0 i.. d 7 1 8 liJe4 ttJxe4 1 9
vious way for White to make his material ganui 2005. Incidentally, with his bishop pair
16 O-O! tLJxg3 17 s'f3. Should the knight re­ i.. xe4 'i¥e8 2 0 lIde 1 a6
advantage count. The relative positioning of and attractive centre, this is clearly better for
treat then i.. g6, :la£1 and probably tLJe4 will Correctly resisting the temptation of
the queens summarise the extent of the White, but to be honest it is of very little
feature anyway. However, 1 7 ... e4 1 8 tLJxe4 20 ... bS?! 21 cxbS iLxbS 22 c4 iLd7 23 �d2!?
compensation involved. theoretical interest.
tLJxe4 19 �xe4 i.. d 7? (1 9 ...g4 20 hxg4 iLxg4 when it is Black's king rather than White's
30 . . . 'iYh8 31 Wg2 l1xh5 32 nxh5 'iYxh5 In the system that Black employs in the
21 ':f4 i..h S would be a slightly better de­ who may regret the opening of the b-file.
33 J:.h 1 'iVf7 34 e4 main game you will see that the priority is
fence, but the momentum is with White) 20 21 Wd2 �b8 22 l:tb 1 b6 23 i.. f 5
This is White's extra pawn but as well as ...'iVaS over ... 0-0, and Jon also prefers to
:la£1 ':f8 21 i.. g6! left White with a comfort­ 23 1:.h5, intending to double on the h-flie,
what follows, I would have thought that ei­ leave the white bishop on gS for reasons that
able plus in A.Yusupov -R.Slobodjan, Nus­ looks like a sensible plan but ideally White
ther of 34 ...g4 or 34 ... f4 is also adequate. later become clear.
sloch 1 996. would like at least four rooks. Indeed there
34 .. Jle8 35 J:.b 1 :b8 36 exf5 �xf5 37 5 d5 d6 6 e3 exd 5 7 cxd5 liJbd7
1 2 i.. d3 g5 could easily be repercussions of abandoning
"iVe2 ii.d7 38 nh 1 IU8 39 �e4 'iVf6 40
A typical flow of play is something like the b-file.
�h7 1If7 41 lbf7 "iix f7 42 'iVd2 'iVg 7
12 ... :le8 13 f3 �c7 14 ':b1 tLJb6 is e4 gS 1 6 23 . . . i.. a4 24 'iYb2
�f2 tLJhS 1 7 tLJ£1 tLJf4 1 8 tLJe3. Black retains
his good bishop and f4 is a nice square for a
knight. However, it isn't an outpost as fS is
for White. Indeed, K.Sasikiran-M.venkatesh,
Mumbai 2003 slightly favoured White as he
can play on either side of the board; one or
even both of a2-a4 and h2-h4 could figure as
White tries to make the most of the b- and h­
flies.
1 3 Si.g3 liJh5 14 f3 liJxg3
14 ... tLJf4 is ..tf1 ! doesn't get anywhere
8 i.. d 3
and it is wise to take this bishop before it
runs away. Indeed, if iLf2 is allowed then h2- Theoretically, eliminating the possibility of
Some pieces have come off but the main ... tLJe4 has always been deemed the most
h4 will appear later whilst the black knights 24 . . . e4! ?
thing is that the queens remain. critical, although I need to mention others.
will struggle to fmd good homes. Despite White's potential play o n either
43 'iVd3 b5 44 cxb5 axb5 45 �f2 'iVh8 Firstly, after 8 iLbS Black can choose:
1 5 hxg3 �c7 1 6 g4 the h-flie or the b-flie, because of the danger
46 �g 1 'iVe5 47 Wg2 'iYh8 a) 8 ... 0-0 9 tLJge2 tLJeS 10 a3 ..txc3+ 1 1
Of course the price of doubling White's g­ of a backlash I suspect that a draw is the
Yes, the strong Latvian grandmaster has tLJxc3 ctJg6 1 2 'if f3!? a6 1 3 iLe2 (perhaps
pawns is the donation of a half-open h-flie. most likely outcome if Black just sits (and
correctly calculated that, with too many White should settle for 1 3 iLxf6 'ifxf6 14
The text appears to fix the target h6-pawn plays ... h6-hS should the white rook ever
weaknesses elsewhere and with the black 'ifxf6 gxf6 1 5 iLd3 with a structural edge)
whilst securing the f5-square. leave the h-flie) . The text sacrifice, however,

92 93
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n 4 iL g 5 ( Th e L e n in g ra d Va ria tio n )

13 . . . ctJe5 14 'iYf4 'iVb6!? 1 5 .,txf6 'iYxb2 1 6 8 . 'iVa5


. .
Instead 10 ... c4 1 1 ii.xc4 i.xc3 (1 1 ...tD5b6 White's bishop pair giving him a n endgame
After the less testing 8 ...'iYe7 9 tDge2 h6 is no big deal here as White can avoid losing advantage in H.Eisterer-J . Rigo, Vienna 1 986.
0-0 'iYxc3 1 7 .,te 7 ctJg6 1 8 'iYxd6 �e8 1 9
1 0 .,th4 0-0 1 1 0-0 a6 12 tDg3 ctJeS 1 3 tDf5 a piece by either of 12 Ji.b5 or 12 Ji.d5) 1 2 1 2 iLc2
�d8 .,tg4 2 0 .,txg4 .l:taxd8 21 'iYc7 'iYc4 22
ii.h5 'iYxd5 23 Madl 'iYgs 24 i.. xg6 hxg6 25 �xf5 14 i.xf5 White's bishop pair and extra 'iYxd5 'iYxd5 1 3 Ji.xdS Ji.xb2 1 4 .l:tabl tDb6 The c-pawn is out of bounds in view of 12
central pawn left him on top in R.Hiibner­ gives White the choice of 15 .,txf7+, 1 5 �xc4?? tDSb6!, the double attack vindicating
'iYxb7 and an eventual draw in D.Glavas­
j .Wintzer, Germany 2002. Ji.xb7 and 1 5 lixb2 tDxd5 1 6 �dl , all offer­ Black's decision to leave White's bishop on
D.Rajkovic, Bajmok 2001 .
9 etJge2 ing pleasant endgames . gS by not inserting ... h7 -h6 earlier.
b) 8 ... h6 !? 9 ii.h4 ii.xc3+ (9 ... 0-0!? 1 0
Also 1 0 . . . tDxc3 1 1 bxc3 i s inaccurate as Others have tried 12 i.. fS but with no
ctJge2 ctJe5 1 1 a 3 .,ta5 1 2 0-0 tDg6 1 3 ii.g3
Black can't flick in ... c5-c4 as in the main great success. Indeed 12 ... 0-0 13 iVd2 ctJxc3
ctJh5 14 Mb 1 a6 1 5 .,td3 tDxg3 16 hxg3 ctJe5
game. Hence 1 1 ...i.. x c3 12 ctJxc3 'iYxc3 when 14 tDg3 ctJb6 1 5 Ji. f6 i.. xf5 1 6 Ji.xc3 1Wc5, as
was also fine for Black in F.Vallejo Pons­
1 3 .,te2 0-0 14 'iYxd6 'iVeS l S 1Wxe5 tDxe5 1 6 seen in A.Yuneev-R.Dautov, Russia 1 989,
J .Parker, Mondariz 2000) 10 bxc3 'iYa5 1 1
Ji. e7 Me8 1 7 Ji.xc5 i s a n endgame edge. The looks rather speculative to me and certainly
�xd7+ ctJxd7 1 2 tDe2 tDe5 1 3 0-0 .,td7 1 4
recent 13 i.. b 5 f6 14 ii. f4 'iVaS 15 ii.xd7+ didn't get anywhere.
a4 'iYa6 1 5 .,tg3 'iYc4 with an unbalanced
�xd7 16 i.. xd6 also looks interesting, al­ 1 2 . . . etJxc3
position that Black actually went on to win in
though 1 6 ...Mc8 17 1Wd5 ':c6?! 1 8 .l:tfd l Previously much time had been spent ana­
YKruppa-M.Ivanov, St Petersburg 2002.
c) 8 ... 'iiVa5 9 i.. xd7+ tDxd7 10 tDge2 'iiVc 7 'iVb6? 1 9 Ji.xcs 'iYc7 2 0 Ji.d6 l:.xd6 21 'iYxd6 lysing the complications of 12 ... 0-0 13 ctJg3
(1 0 ... ctJe5 is the acceptable old move but the 'iYxd6 22 .l:txd6 wasn't the greatest ever de­ (13 ii.h4 tDxc3 1 4 ..txh7+! �xh7 i s 'iYc2+
fence in K.McPhillips-P.Makepeace, Millfield �g8 1 6 tDxc3 gave White reasonable play for
English GM's priority seemed to be making
something of his queenside majority whilst 2004. the pawn in F.Gonzalez Velez-A.Ayas
1 1 bxc3 Fernandez, Barbera 1 997, but Black could try
facilitating a possible preservation of his
The advantage of 8 ii.d3 over 8 ctJf3 is Not that it really crossed my mind, but 1 1 1 3 ... ctJeS instead) 13 ...h6 14 ..txh6, but the
dark-squared bishop) 1 1 0-0 a6 12 f4 (until of
that the bishop prevents a ...tDe4 incursion ctJxc3?? tDxc3 1 2 bxc3 c4 is a bit of a disas­ text diminishes the importance of those re­
course White gives him something to think
about!) 12 ... 0-0 1 3 Mf3 :Le8 14 Mg3 tDf8 1 5 and the knight is left flexible with the option, ter. White lost this way in M.Machius­ sults which, by the way, were fairly promising
e4 �h8 16 fS . Certainly enterprising play by as taken here, to slide to the supportive D.Rajkovic, Baden 1 987, and it is definitely a for White.
square e2. However, this whole set-up is trick worth remembering. 1 3 etJxc3 'iVxc3
White, but with 16 . . . f6 17 .,th4 b5 1 8 .l:tg4 g5
1 1 . . . c4! Definitely not 13 ... 'iVxg5? 14 tDe4 as d6
19 �f2 'iYf7 20 h4? i.. x c3 21 tDxc3 b4 22 essentially a gambit by White as his (in this
ctJe2 h5! 23 .l:tg3 .sxe4 he had overplayed his instance, my!) d5-pawn is thrown to the drops with check.
hand in P.short-J.Levitt, Bunratty 2001 . wolves. 14 'iix d6
Secondly, 8 tDge2 is solid and it's sad that 9 . . . etJxd5 14 �c1 'iVa5 1 5 ii. f4 0-0 16 i.. xd6 does
the 8 ... 0-0 (8 ... ctJe5, with one idea being to Declining the gambit via 9 ... .,txc3+ 1 0 look playable but it's hardly stunning and
exploit the d3-square, is possible, and 9 a3 bxc3 0-0 1 1 0-0 .l:te8 leaves White with a Black could really test White's resolve
c4!? certainly looks like fun) 9 a3 .,ta5 1 0 small but easy advantage whether he opts for through 1 5 . . . dS (although then 16 iVg4! does
,Sbl ctJe5 1 1 b4 ii.f5? was proven to b e a bit the 1 2 a4 a6 1 3 .,txf6 tDxf6 1 4 c4 of look like 'game on'!) .
too optimistic by 12 e4! cxb4 13 axb4 i.. b 6 W.Braun-A.Hellmayr, Vienna 1 986 or
14 exf5 i.. x f2+ is �xf2 tDfg4+ 16 �gl plumps for 12 c4 immediately.
'iYxg5 17 'iVc1 'iVxf5 18 'iVf4 'iYg6 19 ctJg3 f5 1 0 0-0
20 h3 ctJe3 21 i.. e 2 �ac8 22 Mb3 tDc2 23 Offering a second pawn is the correct way
�h2. Very entertaining stuff, but Black had to go.
nevertheless seen his activity snuffed out in 1 0 . . . iLxc3 ! ?
B.Korsus-B.Wittje, Germany 2003. Ironically my opponent offered a draw Instead 1 1 ...h6 12 ii.h4 tDxc3 13 tDxc3
here and also later implied that I had perhaps 'iYxc3 is just as my notes to 10 ... tDxc3 as the
Finally, 8 ctJf3 h6 9 �h4 0-0 10 i.. d 3 ctJb6
1 1 e4 Me8 12 0-0 g5 13 tDxg5 !? hxg5 14 played on a bit too long in a 'drawn' position; insertion of ... h 7 -h6 and �h4 doesn't change
the point is that he could be right. There is much. Now 14 Ji.e2 0-0 1 5 'iYxd6 'iYe5
ii.xg5 MeS 15 f4 .l:txgS 1 6 fxg5 tDg4 was a
an appeal to the compensation that White (1 5 ... .l:te8 incurs more pressure after 1 6 ::tfd 1
fascinating experience in J .Richardson­
gets, but I have been unable to locate a sig­ 'iYe5 17 Ji.b5) 16 'iYxeS tDxe5 17 �e7 .l:te8
S.MacDonald Ross, London 1 995 but surely
18 i.. x c5 Ji.g4 19 f3 Ji.e6 20 ::tfc1 left
Black should employ 8 ... 'iiVa 5!? nificant improvement on the main game.

94 95
4 iL g 5 ( Th e L e n in g ra d Va ria tio n )
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

ctJxf6+ gxf6, leaving Black with an abysmal 1 7 lIg1 lIxb6 1 8 g4 'iVe5 l/Z_l/Z J .Hjartarson­
1 4 . . . 'iVe5 'iVe7 8 i,d3 ctJbd7. Now 9 ctJe2 runs into
pawn structure) 9 ctJxc3 ctJbd7 (very strong H.Stefansson, Reykjavik 1 994. A surprisingly
14 ... f6 1 5 'iVe6+ �d8 1 6 gfd1 looks far 9 ... exd5 1 0 cxd5 'iVe5!.
players have fallen for this trick before, as the premature result given the exciting way both
too dangerous, and Black needs to stop the
9 ... dxc4 10 i,xc4 i,e6 1 1 ctJb5 i,xc4 1 2 players handled the opening.
mate threat on e7.
ctJxd6+ �f8 1 3 ctJxc4 ctJc6 1 4 0-0 o f V.Hort­ b) 8 Mel ctJbd7 9 dxe6 'iVxe6 10 a3
1 5 i.f4 'iVxd6 1 6 i.xd6
A.Miles, Porz 1 982 proves) 10 ctJxd5 'iVd8 1 1 i,xc3+ 1 1 lIxc3 ttJe4 1 2 Mc2 g5 13 i,g3
Black is a pawn up, but his king is stuck in
i,e2 (Black's d-pawn is backward whilst tiJb6 1 4 i,d3 ctJxg3 1 5 hxg3 i,d7 16 b3
the middle and White retains those two bish­
White has an outpost on d5 and the bishop 0-0-0 1 7 �f1 d5 1 8 'iVe2 dxc4 19 bxc4 'iVf6
ops.
pair; one wouldn't expect the game to end 20 ctJf3 i,e6 2 1 �gl lId7 which, in view of
1 6 .. .liJf6 1 7 e4 iLd7 1 8 e5 ctJd5 1 9 iLe4
quite as abruptly as it does but it is clear that, his superior piece coordination and queen­
iLe6 20 l:i.fe 1 e3
not even a pawn down, White already has side pawn structure, was much better for
20 ... b5? is far too loose, and indeed 21 a4!
quite a big advantage) 1 1 ...h6 12 i,h4 g5 Black in S.Vijayalakshmi-P.Motwani, British
a6 22 lId 1 tiJe 7 23 i,xc6+ tiJxc6 24 axb5 is
(escaping the pin but creating problems on a Championship, Edinburgh 2003.
virtually winning. Also, 20 ... ctJb6 2 1 i,xc6+
different diagonal) 1 3 i,g3 ctJe4 14 'iVc2 8 . . . exd5 9 exd5 ctJbd7
bxc6 22 a4 is definitely a niggling advantage
ctJxg3 1 5 hxg3 tiJf6?? Oosing, but arguably 9 ... 0-0 10 a3 i,a5 1 1 'iVa4 i,d8 was very
for White and so instead my grandmaster
the best solution! Black's position is lousy) 1 6 similar in the game F.Canabate Carmona­
opponent keeps things tight at the back and The key point is that Black is attacking the
'iVc3 1 -0 J .Cooper-S.Giddins, British League M.Suba, Villa de Albox 200 1 , when White
opts to defend the opposite-coloured bish­ bishop on g5 as well as the d5-pawn, and he
2000. decided to solve the problem of his awk­
ops ending. can therefore pretty much secure the bishop
5 iLh4 e5 6 d5 d6 7 e3 'iVe7 wardly placed knight with the bizarre 1 2
21 iLxd5 iLxd 5 22 l:i.xe3 iLe6 for the knight without compromising his
ctJg1 . However, after 1 2. . .a6 1 3 ctJf3 ctJbd7
I tried my best here, I really did, and per­ pawn structure, for example:
14 'iVd 1 b5 it feels like White had wasted too
haps there are different ways in which White a) I was watching 1 1 i, f4 'iVxd5 12 i,b5
much time and 1 5 b4?! i,b7 1 6 i,e2 lIc8 1 7
can try to make Black suffer. However, the 'iVxd1+ 1 3 lIxd1 a6 14 i,xd7+ i,xd7 1 5
lIel lIe8 1 8 0-0 ctJb6 1 9 i,xf6 'iVxf6 20 'iVb3
bottom line is that this endgame is probably lIxd6 0-0-0 1 6 f3 i,e6 when i t was played in
cxb4 21 axb4 ctJc4 22 Mfd 1 i,b6 23 ctJd4?
just a draw. R.Sheldon-S.Prudnikova, Women's Olym­
ctJxe3 ! 0-1 justifies that conclusion.
23 f4 g6 24 �f2 l:i.e8 25 l:i.d 1 a6 26 g3 piad, Yerevan 1 996, and Black went on to
1 0 a3 i.a5
h5 27 iLb4 l:i.d8 28 l:i.ed3 l:i.xd3 29 l:i.xd3 win a superior ending.
i.d7 30 l:i.e3 i.e6 31 a4 �d7 32 a5 l:i.e8 b) 1 1 i,xf6 ctJxf6 1 2 i,b5+ �e7 1 3 c4 a6
33 �e3 iLb5 34 iLe5 �e6 35 �d4 f6 36 14 i,a4 b5 15 cxb5 i,d7 16 Mb 1 axb5 1 7
.se3 .sd8 + 37 i.d6 .se8 38 iLe5 l:i.d8 + i,xb5 'iVxd5 1 8 'iVxd5 ctJxd5 1 9 i,c4 tiJb4
3 9 �e3 l:i.d 1 40 exf6 + �xf6 4 1 iLe7 + with a much better ending for Black in
�f7 42 i.g5 :d7 43 �b4 l:i.e7 44 l:i.e4 O.Kirsanov-J .Emms, British League 2001 .
i.d3 45 ':d4 i.f5 46 �e4 gxe4+ 47 However, regarding the alternative 5 ... d6,
8 ctJge2
�xe4 �e6 48 �e5 V2 - V2 note that Black must be careful to flick in
8 ctJf3 and 8 i,d3 are most likely to trans­
... i,xc3+; if he doesn't know what he's doing,
pose either to the closed lines of Game 30
Game 32 the delay could be fatal. For example, 6 e3
(i.e. in the event of a blocking ... e7 -e5) or to
J . H enri ksson- Peng Zhaoqin 'iVe7 7 tiJge2 exd5? (7 ...h6 is preferable, al­
the more open excitement of the encounter
Rilton Cup, Stockholm 2004 though it won't transpose to our main game
that follows this one. However, regarding the
as White should make the black queen move
latter, note that there is no opportunity for
1 d4 ctJf6 2 e4 e6 3 ctJe3 i.b4 4 iLg5 h6 again; indeed 8 i,xf6 'iVxf6 9 a3 i,xc3+ 1 0
Black to snatch the d5-pawn (8 ... i,xc3+ 9 Basically this is the problem with 8 ctJge2.
Basically this game features the idea of ctJxc3 i s simply a little better for White be­
bxc3 exd5?! 1 0 cxd5 g5 1 1 i,g3 ctJxd5?? fails White's intention was to use that knight to
Black placing his queen on e7 but then opt­ cause of his space advantage) 8 a3! .
to 12 i,b5+) . Thus the only independent recapture on c3, but of course with 'iVa4 not
ing not to block things up with ... e6-e5. By This is very attractive pawn sacrifice, a s
alternatives to the text are: being check, Black is no longer compelled to
leaving out ... h6 and thus i,h4, Black retains demonstrated b y 8 ... i,xc3+ (kind of forced
a) 8 'iVc2, e.g. 8 . ..ttJ bd7 9 dxe6 'iVxe6 1 0 make this concession.
the option of another trick but could also be as 8 ... i,a5 fails to 9 i,xf6 'iVxf6 10 'iVa4+
0-0-0 i,xc3 1 1 'iVxc3 0-0 1 2 ctJe2 b 5 1 3 ctJf4 1 1 'iVa4 i.d8!
tricked himself. To help me explain, firstly i,d7 - or 1 0 ... ctJc6 1 1 cxd5 winning the
'iVe8 14 i,xf6 ctJxf6 1 5 cxb5 a6 1 6 b6 lIb8 Black is still not obliged to play ball and
check out 4... c5 5 d5 i,xc3+ 6 bxc3 d6 7 e3 knight - 1 1 'iVxa5 b6 1 2 tiJxd5 bxa5 1 3

97
96
4 iL g 5 ( Th e L e n in g ra d Va ria tio n )
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

ing a pawn. Now I believe I understand the With the trusty bishop-pair advantage and
this bishop will find its way back into the 5 d 5 j:.xc3+ 6 bxc3 d 6 7 e 3 h 6 8 .i.h4 position more and consider 1 0 ... ttJb6 to be a lead in development, I naturally wanted the
game. 'iYe 7 9 iLd3 lLlbd7 10 lLlf3 quite reasonable. position to be as open as possible.
1 2 e4? ! As Black hasn't castled there is some justi­ Instead Black still has the option of 14 . . . dxe5 1 5 lLlxe5
I suspect that this (especially in conjunc­ fication in trying to punish him via 10 dxe6. returning to the realms of this chapter's early
tion with White's next move) is a little too The point is that 10 ... fxe6 allows the check encounters via the closing 1 0 ... e5, and spe­
ambitious, and instead White should focus on g6, whilst 10 ... iVxe6 1 1 ttJe2 would see cifically to Game 30 following 11 ttJd2.
on solving the problem of his 'in the way' this knight aiming to occupy d5 via f4. That 1 1 0-0
knight. explains the 1 1 ...g5 12 ..tg3 ttJe5 13 0-0 ..td7 I make no apologies for including this
1 2 . . . 0-0 1 3 f4 b5!? of A.Yuneev-L.Yudasin, Leningrad 1 9 89, game as it has some instructive points and I
1 3 ...iVe8, threatening ... ttJxe4, and the which Black went on to win but not before really enjoyed it! However, in light of the
slower 13 ... a6 also looked good but I like both sides had their chances. notes that follow, possibly 1 1 dxe6!? ..txe6
Black's style! As usual White has to choose which track 12 0-0 could be employed instead. As far as I
1 4 "iVxb5 g 5 ! ? 1 5 fxg5 lLlxe4 1 6 0-0-0 he wants his king's knight on, and although can see this sequence is yet to be tried out in
hxg5 1 7 j:.g3 .i:.b8 1 8 'iVd 3 lLldf6 there is no longer a compatriot on c3 to sup­ tournament play but it looks like a sensible
Now Black's pieces start to surge forward. port, 10 ttJe2 can't be too bad. However, the way of avoiding Black's 1 1 th move im­
1 9 h4 g4 10 ... 0-0 (1 0 ... ttJe5 1 1 h3 ..td7 12 f4 ttJxd3+ provement.
Ensuring that there will be no play down 13 iVxd3 exd5 14 ..txf6 iVxf6 15 cxd5 iVh4+ A nice square for the knight, which is ef­
the h-file and that the spotlight will be en­ 1 6 g3 iVe7 1 7 e4 0-0 1 8 g4 Mae8 1 9 ttJg3 f5! fectively guarded by the Me 1 pin.
tirely on the white king. saw White get punished for still having his 1 5 . . . .i.e6? !
20 1:.e 1 j:.f5 king in the centre in J .Cantos Conejero­ Presumably my famous opponent har­
A.Delchev, Albacete 2001) 1 1 0-0 ttJe5 12 f4 boured some ideas of castling queenside. but
ttJg6 1 3 ..txg6 fxg6 1 4 iV d3 exd5 1 5 cxd5 this takes too much of a liberty. I was expect­
..tf5 16 iVd2 Mae8 of S.Boehm-K.Thiel, ing 1 5 ... 0-0 and, considering myself to have
Leverkusen 1 998 has previously been as­ very reasonable compensation, was in the
sessed as slightly better for Black, and I process of choosing between 16 Mfe 1 and 1 6
would go along with that. f4 (perhaps with 'iif3 and Mae1 t o follow)
1 0 . . . lLlb6 when this move appeared on the board.
1 6 �a4+ !
Throwing a spanner in the works. Now
1 1 . . . exd 5 ? ! the black king is caught in a crossfire. I al­
Grabbing the pawn is very risky, and ways teach juniors to look out for checks,
1 1 ... e5! is a much safer alternative. The black and I'm glad that I was on the ball here!
knight looks a little silly on b6 but the advan­ 1 6 . . . �f8
21 lLld 1 ? tage of sealing off the centre now is that Ugly, but 16 ... ..td7 17 ttJxd7 iVxd7 1 8
This loses straight away, but White had an White has shown his cards by committing his Mfe 1 + i s no better.
unenviable position. king to the kingside. This feature is exploited 1 7 1:.ae 1 ! ?
21 . . . lLlxg3 22 "iVxg3 "iVe4! in the variation 12 ttJd2 g5 1 3 ..tg3 h5 14 h4 Here I had my longest think o f the game
And all of a sudden the white monarch ttJg4!, although with that in mind 14 £3! is and, as it transpires, the time spent was a
appears to be getting mated. more accurate. Now 1 4 ... h4 1 5 ..tf2 g4 1 6 worthwhile investment! I left a rook on f1
23 �d2 "iVc2 + 24 We3 1:.e8 + 0- 1 iVe 1 ttJg8 1 7 fxg4 ..txg4 1 8 h 3 probably fa­ because I was anticipating that Black would
When you have finished playing over this voured White in S.Dolmatov-E.Geller, Mos­ have to turn to ...g7-g5 in order to try to
Game 33 game you will understand how pleased I was cow 1 987 but I wonder whether Black gave solve his problems. In that instance (indeed
C . Ward-S . G ligoric with it, although already at this point I was much thought to 1 6 ...g3!? 1 7 hxg3 h3. It cer­ the way the game panned out) I wanted util­
Malta 2000 out of my theory. When this was played at tainly looks very plausible. ise the f-file for some rook action.
the time I thought that it was extremely pro­ 1 2 cxd5 lLlbxd5 1 3 e4 lLlc7 14 e5 1 7 . . . g5 1 8 .tg3 lLlfd 5 1 9 f4!
1 d4 lLlf6 2 c4 e6 3 lLlc3 j:.b4 4 .tg5 c5 vocative and I simply couldn't resist sacrific-
99
98
4 iL g 5 ( Th e L e n in g ra d Va ria tio n )
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

even 8 ... bS. However, presumably also criti- a4 b4 1 7 etJb3 'iVc7 1 8 as bxc3 1 9 'iVxc3 e4
I wasn't worried about my c-pawn, al­ note.
cal is 8 ... exdS 9 cxdS gS (9 ... etJbd7, just as 20 f4 which Black actually went on to win in
though it's true that I could also have consid­ As you'll see in this offbeat system, dearly
we've seen before, is less greedy!) 1 0 .tg3 S.Khoroshev-A.Erikalov, Novosibirsk 200 1 .
ered 19 c4. 6 ... 0-0 and 6 ... d6 are interchangeable. How­
etJxdS 1 1 etJge2. The weak squares around A t this point, however, the advantage must
1 9 . . . gxf4 20 iLxf4 ctJxf4 21 "iVxf4 ever, in a similar vein (i.e. black castling) but
Black's king form much of White's compen­ be with White.
with a different configuration of white pieces
sation, but I'm particularly interested by 1 0 iLg3
is the continuation 7 e3 .txc3+ 8 bxc3 eS 9
1 1 .. .'iVf6 (rather than the 1 1 ...�g7?! 12 .tc2
'iVc2 etJbd7 1 0 .td3 0-0 1 1 etJe2
.te6 13 e4 etJf4 14 etJxf4 gxf4 l S .txf4 'iVf6
1 6 'iVf3 etJc6 1 7 .txd6 that was just a pawn
extra for White in H.Lehmann-H.Golombek,
Zevenaar 1 96 1) 12 0-0 .txc3 13 bxc3 .tg4
14 'iVd2 .txe2 l S .txe2 etJxc3 1 6 .tf3 which,
despite Black's being two pawns ahead, Fritz
seems to like for White even after 1 6 ...etJc6
17 Mfel etJa4 18 Mab 1 etJeS 19 .txb7 Mab8
20 .txeS 'iVxeS. Now White regains his sec­
ond pawn via 21 'iVaS etJb6 22 'iVxa7 but
after 22 ... etJdS 23 'iVa3 etJb4 24 .tf3 'iVe6 2S
Now White's position is one of complete
Mb2 g4 Black actually went on to win in the
strength and, amongst other things, 22 etJg6+
game D.Rogozenko-T,Tolnai, Debrecen 1 0 . . ..txc3
.

is threatened.
1 992. Probably Black is wise to take this knight
21 . . . �e8 (White chooses the etJe2 option rather
8 . . . e5 now whilst it still compromises the white
Or 21 ...�g7 22 etJxf7 'iVxf7 23 'iVg3+. than the main game's etJf3-d2; I'm sure
After the alternative 8 ... exdS 9 cxdS etJbd7 pawn structure. Amazingly, as far as I can see
22 ctJxf7 you've noted by now that these are the main
10 .te2 White has managed harmonious this is the first time that this exact position
Ironically 22 'iVa4+ would again have been two set-ups) 1 1 ...Me8 12 f3. Now 12 ...gS 1 3
kingside development compared to the same has ever been reached.
extremely strong, but I was never going to be .tg3 e4!? i s a rarity. You won't find 1 4 .txe4
pawn structure of Game 32. His king's 1 1 bxc3 "iVa5
able to resist the temptation of this visual etJxe4 lS fxe4 etJf6 16 eS dxeS 17 h4 etJg4 1 8
knight doesn't protect its partner but And it's still unique here ...
continuation. �d2 bS! 1 9 e 4 bxc4 2 0 'iVa4 .td7 21 'iVxc4
10 ...'iVaS 1 1 0-0 .txc3 12 bxc3 'iVxc3 is ask­ 1 2 "iVc2
22 . . . �d 7 23 ctJe5 + 1 -0 Mb8 22 Mabl? Mxbl 23 Mxbl gxh4 24 .tel
ing for trouble, and 1 3 etJd2 etJb6 14 a4 'iVeS And hence here too, which however is
White's position is crushing and a lot of 'iVgS+ 2S �d3 'iVe3+ 26 �c2 .ta4+ 27 �b2
l S .tf3 .td7 16 .tg3 'iVe7 17 e4 Mfd8 1 8 slightly surprising as the structure is very
fun to play. There was no way that I was Mb8+ 28 �al Mxbl+ 29 �xbl .tdl 0- 1
Mel .te8 1 9 'iVb3 'iVd7 2 0 a s etJc8 21 etJc4 typical of the Leningrad. The key difference
going to be content with just 23 etJxh8, as for J.Richardson-C.Ward, Charlton 1 995 on any
'iVbS 22 'iVc2 etJh7 23 .tg4 'iVa6 24 .te2 bS (and the main diverging characteristic of this
starters I could win an exchange or more other databases, and I was quite pleased by
2S axb6 'iVb7 26 etJaS 'iVxb6 27 Meb l 1 -0 game) is the unusual positioning of the black
with etJg6 next go anyway. this original effort. Of course, on another day
a .Petkevich-S.Kislov Voronezh 1 997) was king. I never thought I'd ever hear myself
the black monarch might suffer because of
certainly one way to get it! saying that ... �d8-c7 is normal but in this
Game 34 those kingside pawn advances.
9 ctJd2 g 5 ! ? opening it really is!
V . Erdos-Z . l lincic 7 e3
Definitely aggressive but also kind of in­ 1 2 . . . ctJbd7 1 3 gb 1
Budapest 2004 In the few documented practical outings
evitable as it is the only convenient way of In this particular position I think I prefer
that have occurred White has tried 7 Mel and
escaping the pin. The obvious drawback of 1 3 .te2 with a likely follow-up plan of h2-h4.
1 d4 ctJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ctJc3 iLb4 4 iLg5 h6 7 etJf3, but presumably 7 f3 intending e2-e4
its employment here compared to the likes of White should be eager to open the h-flle and,
5 iLh4 c5 6 d5 0-0 should be a consideration too.
Games 28 and 30 is that the black king is on with that in mind, I also see nothing espe­
This committal move is relatively rare in 7 . . d6 8 ctJf3
g8 and thus advancing the kingside pawns cially wrong with the immediate 13 h4!? g4
.

this position as Black usually holds back on I don't want to give the impression that
could ultimately be punished. 1 4 hS either. Black's pawn is a little stranded
deciding where to place his king. Though this everything is new though, as the position
Also of interest is the more restrained on g4 and the h4-square could prove very
hadn't been employed for a good three years, after 8 .td3 brings us well back onto the
9 ... etJbd7 10 'iVc2 'iVaS 1 1 .td3 .txc3 1 2 useful for White.
the fact that it is a strong grandmaster wheel­ transpositional map. Then Black has tried the
bxc3 Me8 1 3 f3 a6 1 4 0-0 b S l S .tfS Mb8 1 6 1 3 . . . ctJh5!
ing it out should make us sit up and take standard 8 ... .txc3+ 8 bxc3 eS, 8 ... etJbd7 and

101
1 00
4 JL g 5 ( Th e L e n in g ra d Va ria tio n )
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

31 . . .iVa3 32 'fixg S + Mg6 33 ct:JhS+ it is on h4. It doesn't look that big a problem
Black takes his chance to play this while This rook proves to be poorly placed on
4.JxhS 34 'iYxhS i.xg4 3S fxg4 'iVd3 ! though and overall the ' ... h7-h6 or not?' de­
he can. White's last move was certainly not a this square and I can only assume that it was
bate is probably not that important.
bad one in principle, but perhaps it was lack­ played to avoid the variation 21 ctJf1 e4!? 22
S �h4 cS 6 dS b S ! ?
ing accuracy. Back to the topic of the black .i.xe4 ctJxe4+. However, whilst 23 fxe4 i.xg4
king, and if he hadn't already castled a typical 24 ctJg3 l:.ae8 is far from clear, actually 23
plan would be the good old ... �d8-c7 ma­ 'iVxe4!? 'iYxa2+ 24 Wg1 looks vaguely prom­
noeuvre. As you should know by now, the ising, e.g. 24 ... i.. a 6 25 ctJg3 when White is
king is usually safer on c7 than g8 and it also attacking with that deadly duo and the rook
frequently provides the useful function of on h1 has a shout too. In the line 25 ...l:.ae8
guarding the pawns on b7 and d6. 26 ctJf5+ �f8 27 'iVd3 .i.xc4 28 'iVd1 the
1 4 �d3 ct:Jdf6 1 S 0-0 �d8 1 6 f3 knight is a real giant on f5.
Other ideas include 16 'ube1 , as part of a 21 . . . i.. d 7 22 ct:Jf 1 h S !
plan to arrange f2-f4, and 1 6 .i.f5, which is Eliminating a n obvious weakness and re­
very possible here because after 16 ... �xf5 1 7 minding White that his rooks are no longer
'iYxf5 Black can not seek a trade of queens connected.
Now White's position i s all over the place.
due to the hanging b7-pawn and/or the dan­ 23 gxhS l:.xh S 24 1IxhS 4.JxhS 2S i.fS
His queen is offside, his pawns are weak, his
ger to d6 via ctJe4. This is the square that White always
rook is attacked and his king is vulnerable. I have been known t o play the Blumenfeld
1 6 . . . ct:Jxg3 1 7 hxg3 �g7 1 8 <;t>f2 looked most likely to invade on, but all is not
Taking everything into consideration, not Counter Gambit (1 d4 ctJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ctJf3 c5
Clearing the way for major piece play that well at home for the first player.
great! 4 d5 b5) on the odd rare occasion and
along the h-ftle. 2S . . . �a4 26 'iYd3 i!h8 27 �g4 4.Jf6 28
36 Me2 lif6 + 37 �e 1 'tlVc3 + 38 �d2 though with obvious similarities, this should
1 8 .. Jlh8 1 9 :th 1 �a5 iVf5 l:lh6 !
iVc 1 + 0-1 be a better version. Black has the option to
It's the to-ing and fro-ing of the black
It's goodnight Charlie (mate comes via unpin with ... g7 -g5, but his own pin on the
queen that leads one to the conclusion that it
...'iVf1 or ...iVxe3 next turn) ! white knight turns the heat up in the centre .
is White who is dictating the course of this
7 dxe6
game. Probably a fair assessment would be Game 35 This move accepts the pawn offering but
somewhere between equal and slightly better
C . Ward-T . H i n ks-Edwards is far from forced:
for White but the game continuation proves
British League 2000 a) 7 e3 when:
that he can easily go wrong.
a1) 7 ... 0-0 8 'iVf3! .i.b7 9 i.xf6 'iixf6 1 0
20 g4 b6
1 d4 4.Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 4.Jc3 �b4 4 iLgS h6 'i¥xf6 gxf6 1 1 0-0-0 was a n endgame edge to
It is less common to employ the gambit White in Timman-Yusupov, Hilversum 1986;
that follows without this insertion, but it is Black's b7-bishop is shut out of the game
possible. The advantage is that a future and his knight struggles too.
... ctJe4 will hit the bishop and thus White a2) 7 ... bxc4 8 i.xc4 .i.b7 9 Jtxf6 (Black
may be inclined to volunteer i..xf6, e.g. 4 ... c5 was threatening ... g5) 9 .. .'iixf6 10 ctJge2 'iYh4
Black is destined to lose his g-pawn but
5 d5 b5 6 dxe6 fxe6 7 cxb5 0-0 8 e3 'iVa5 9 1 1 'iVb3 as 12 a3 a4 1 3 'i¥a2 i.xc3+ 14 ctJxc3
this rook now provides excellent cover.
.i.xf6 �xf6 1 0 'iVc 1 a6! 1 1 bxa6 lDxa6 1 2 0-0 1 5 0-0 again with a niggling edge for
Meanwhile, back at the ranch White has
ctJf3 ctJc 7 1 3 ctJd2 d5 with very reasonable White.
some problems with his own queenside.
play in P.Steneskog-P.Carlsson, Malmo 2004. a3) 7 ... �b7 8 dxe6 (8 'iVf3?! bxc4 9 i..xf6
29 ct:Jg3 'iYxc3 30 .a:e2
The disadvantage though may be more rele­ 'i¥xf6 1 0 'iVxf6 gxf6 looks good for Black)
After 30 iVxg5+ �g6 31 ctJf5+ Wf8 White
vant and is highlighted in the deviation 8 8 ... fxe6 9 cxb5. Though this could transpose
would find himself with no checks and with
ctJf3 .i.b7 9 %!tc1 'i¥b6 1 0 .i.d2!? i..x c3 1 1 to our main game through 9 ... d5, now Black
his queen and rook both attacked.
.i.xc3 'iVxb5 1 2 e3 which White went on to has other options, e.g. 9 ... 0-0 10 ctJf3 (1 0 a3!?
The black queen now looks committed to 30 . . . i.. d 7 ! 31 l:.c2
win in K.Sasikiran-R.Burnett, Hampstead .i.a5 prevents the plan that follows, although
the queenside, but this was necessary to free After 31 'iVc2 'iYxc2 32 'uxc2 .i.xg4 33
1 998. I am talking about the option of the the negative side is that this bishop can drop
the bishop from its defensive shackles. fxg4 the most accurate is 33 ... Wg6! - Black
bishop retreat that White doesn't have when back to c7 later to help attack the white king)
21 l:lb2? ! will enter an endgame at least one pawn up.

1 03
1 02
4 iL g 5 ( Th e L e n in g ra d Va ria tio n )
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

provements: 1 2 a3 i,aS 1 3 ttJ f4 'ifb6 1 4 CLlg6 l::!fe8 l S


10 ... 'iVaS 1 1 i,xf6 l::!xf6. This position was 'iVf3 fS (the 9 ... exdS 10 0-0-0 i,xc3 1 1 l::!xdS
a) 10 ... d4?! again looks premature in view 0-0 e S 1 6 CLla4 'ife 6 1 7 f4 exf4 1 8 exf4 ttJg4
reached in G.Campos-R.Markus, correspon­ 'iVe7 12 bxc3 d6 of N.Murshed-S.Tiviakov,
of 1 1 exd4 cxd4 1 2 a3 i,aS 13 b4. 1 9 fS 'iVe3+ all looks kind of plausible too,
dence 1 999. Black has pressure on both Calcutta 1 993 has previously been assessed as
b) 1 0 ... a6 1 1 ttJge2! c4 12 i,c2 axbS 13 0-0 although not then the 20 i, f2?? ttJxf2 21
white knights and, even with ... d7 -dS avail­ 'unclear'; just what you wanted to hear!) 1 0
ttJc6 14 CLlxbS eS lS b3 i,g4 16 h3 i,hS 1 7 l::!x f2 i,e 1 ! of P.Rietra-TDorland, Dieren
able, the option to contemplate conflrming 'iVhS+ �e7 1 1 d6+ ctJxd6 1 2 i,xd6+ �xd6
i,xf6 l::!xf6 1 8 bxc4 dxc4 1 9 'ifxd8+ ctJxd8 1 981 .
the pawn as a sacriflce via ... a6. 13 0-0-0+ �e7 14 ttJxbS ctJc6 l S h4 g4 1 6
20 CLlec3 l::!b 6 21 a4 and White was essen­ 1 2 . . . 'iYe8
b) 7 'iVc2 exdS 8 cxdS d6 9 e4 a6 10 i,e2 ttJe2 'iVe8 1 7 'iVxe8+ l::!x e8 1 8 ttJc7 when all
tially just a pawn up in N.Short­ Escaping the pin, this move is also de­
0-0 with a reasonable Benoni-style position the flreworks frittered out into a dynamically
A.Aleksandrov, European Team Champion­ signed to intercept the White's aforemen­
in R.Gumerov-A.Shestoperov, Tula 2004. In equal endgame in D.Rogozenko-P.Charbon­
ship, Pula 1 997. Black (who perhaps tioned CLlf4-g6 idea.
fact, come to think of it, it's an ideal Snake neau, Internet 2001 .
shouldn't let \x'hite have a second bite at the 1 3 iLg3 e5
Benoni for Black (1 d4 ctJf6 2 c4 cS 3 dS e6 4 To summarise then, aside from the 6 e4
cherry and could instead employ 13 ... 'iVaS or Black's main compensation lies with his
ctJc3 exdS S cxdS i,d6 intending ... i,c7 -as) , counter gambit, there is a reasonable argu­
13 ... l::! a S!?) had his counterplay well nullifled, extra centre pawn and so advancing these
although that's not saying that much! ment for White relinquishing his d-pawn to
although this encounter ended in disaster as, pawns makes sense.
c) 7 f3?! bxc4 8 e4 exdS 9 exdS 'iVe7+! 1 0 accept Black's offering on the grounds that it
confused by the new style time control, Nigel 14 a3 iLa5 1 5 'iYb 1
�f2 (or 1 0 i,e2 'iVeS!) 1 0 ... i,xc3 1 1 bxc3 is difflcult to keep his centre together any­
later actually lost on time whilst putting the
ttJe4+ when 12 fxe4 'iVxh4+ 13 �e3 'iVf6 14 way.
flnal touches on a won ending!
'iVd2 0-0 l S i,xc4 d6 1 6 i,bS a6 1 7 i,a4 7 . . . fxe6 8 cxb5 d5
c) 10 ... 'iVaS 1 1 i,xf6 l::!xf6 12 CLlge2 a6 1 3
i,d7 18 i,c2?? 'iVgS+ 0- 1 V.Luciani­ 8 ...0-0 9 e3 dS would transpose, but
bxa6 i,xa6 1 4 i,xa6 'ifxa6 l S 0-0 CLlc6 1 6 a3
N .Aleksic, Pescara 2004 flnished even earlier 9 .. :iVaS !? is deflnitely worth investigating.
i,xc3 1 7 CLlxc3 l::!b 8 1 8 b4 cxb4 1 9 axb4
than it should have done. The point is that after 1 0 i,xf6 l::!xf6 1 1 'iVc 1
'iVc4 20 bS! ttJb4 21 'iVd2 again just with an
d) 7 cxbS gS 8 i,g3 ctJxdS (A.Kharitonov­ Black hasn't committed himself to either
extra pawn for White, G.Gaertner­
TNyback, Chalkidiki 2003 continued ... d 7 -dS or ... i,b 7. Though the former is
M.Grundherr, Austria 2000.
8 ... exdS 9 e3 i,b7 10 ctJge2 'iVe7 1 1 a3 likely eventually, in this position 1 1 ... a6 has
Overall then, nothing substantially better
i,xc3+ 12 bxc3 ttJe4; it depends on whether scored quite well in practice. Instead 1 0
than what Black actually played.
Black feels that it is worth the tempi to keep ctJge2 was a more recent attempted im­
1 1 ctJge2 ctJbd7
his pawns undoubled) 9 l::! c 1 when Black provement, when 10 .. :iVxbS 1 1 'iVc2 dS 1 2
This looks natural but two old references
should have his fair of his play after 9 ... i,b7, 0-0-0 i s a tough one to call: Black has the
are:
although 9 ... ttJf6, preparing to deploy the d­ better centre but more pawn islands; he has a
a) l 1 ...eS 12 a3 i,aS 13 0-0 i,b6 14 CLla4 Eyeing the g6-square and preparing 16 b4.
pawn, was tried in D.Rajkovic-A.Beliavsky, half-open b-ftle but a hole on g6. After
ctJbd7 lS ctJxb6 axb6 1 6 b4 'ifc7 17 f4 e4 1 8 If Black's c-pawn is traded off then the
Yugoslavia 2000. 1 2 ... 'iVaS 1 3 a3, in S.Mohandesi-C.Mackenzie,
i,c2 l::! fd8 1 9 'iVd2 ttJf8 2 0 l::! fd1 l::!d7 21 power of his centre is signiflcantly dimin­
e) 7 e4 Leuven 2003 Black mixed things up further
i,b3 �h8 22 a4 ttJg6 23 i,xf6 gxf6 24 l::!ac1 ished as he can never really afford to concede
with 13 ... i,d7. Although he went on to lose
'iVd6 2S as l::! ad8 26 'ifa2 ttJe 7 27 bxcS bxcS the d4-square to a white knight.
you'd have to say that, both with or without
28 'iVa3 when White inexplicably proposed 1 5 . . . iLb6
this move, his chances are not worse.
an immediately accepted draw in TSorensen­ Although there will be some sceptics,
9 e3 0-0
L.Winants, Haderslev 1 981 . didn't actually select this game as the main
9 ... d4?! 10 exd4 cxd4 1 1 a3 i,aS 12 b4
b) 1 1 ...d4 1 2 exd4 gS 1 3 i,g3 (although example of the ... b7-bS gambit because it was
dxc3 1 3 bxaS 'iVxaS 14 'ifc2 is clearly in
pieces are usually better than pawns in the one of my wins! The truth (believe it or not)
White's favour.
opening/ middlegame, I wouldn't say that is that it does appear to be quite theoretically
1 0 iLd3
this would be the case in the event of 1 3 important. Black has had plenty of opportu­
Despite the 'knights before bishops' open­
dxcS gxh4 1 4 c 6 i,c8 l S 'ifb3!?) 1 3 ... i,xg2 nities to deviate (as has White) although,
ing principle, this is more accurate than ttJf3
14 l::!gl i, f3 l S a3 i,xc3+ 1 6 bxc3 cxd4 1 7 apart from possibly 9 ... 'ifaS, there has been
because it retains the option of ttJge2.
cxd4 a6 1 8 h4 looked a bit ropy for Black in nothing that could be categorically classed as
1 0 . . . iLb7
D.Rogozenko-R.Pogorelov, Odorheiu Secui­ an improvement. If one believes that Black's
Although I certainly wouldn't blame
esc 1 992. big pawn centre is an adequate counterbal­
(declining Black's gambit in favour of of­ Black's defeat on this move, at the very least
1 2 0-0 ance for \X'hite's queenside pawn majority
fering one of his own!) 7 ... gS 8 i,g3 ctJxe4 9 here is a chance to ponder possible im-

1 05
1 04
O ffb e a t Nim z o In dia n 4 .i. g 5 ( Th e L e n in g ra d Va ria tio n )

Summary
(and it's certainly not clear that this is the danger. For example, although 23 ... �c8 24
The Leningrad remains a dangerous weapon for the club player, but in
case) then we need to come up with a good .txc8 :bxc8 gives Black more space in recent times at the
highest levels its popularity has dwindled. Whatever the rating of the competito
move for him (sooner rather than later!). which to operate, in fact 25 b6! axb6 26 ctJb5 rs involved
though, a Nimzo-Indian exponent should always be prepared to deal with
Here Black retreated his bishop in antici­ looks like a timely return of the pawn. One 4 .tg5. Arguably the
most exciting lines for him are the ones involving a ... b7-b5 gambit, the likes
pation of b2-b4 but perhaps this is the mo­ way to fend off (at least temporarily) White's of which Yusu­
pov, Beliavsky, Tiviakov and Short have all been known to employ. Mind
ment to reconsider. Certainly 15 ... .:.ac8 and plan is through 23 ...Ma8!? Now if Black you, Nigel appeared
happy with the white side of that line too (see the notes to Game 35),
1 5 ...'iVe7 should come into Black's thoughts. could get a knight to g5 then he would be and whether or not
Black gets enough for the pawn is still open to debate.
However, 1 5 ... e4!? has a record in practical doing well. However, I'm not sure he can
In contrast, playing a la Jon Levitt (Game 31) is not going to win over the
play of 1 00%: 1 6 Jtc2 �xc3 1 7 bxc3 tDe5 1 8 with accurate white play, and indeed 24 �a4 audience but it's
been tough for White to prove a significant advantage against the ... exd5
a4 tDh5 1 9 i..x e5 'iYxe5 20 'iYdl �ad8 21 lD8h7 25 'iVc2 'iVa 26 f4! is another variation and ... ctJbd7 lines.
Indeed, in the modern Leningrad it seems that short castling for Black should
'iid2 ctJf6 22 ctJf4 ctJg4 23 h3 g5! 24 hxg4 that seems to suit White. certainly not be
written off.
gxf4 25 exf4 (25 f3!? appears to deal better 23 b6!
The main line, however, is probably still the closed positions that this chapter
with Black's pawn advances although would kicked off
with. They tend to involve a ... �d8-c7 manoeuvre; the king can be very
anyone then care to suggest 25 ... d4!?; crazy usefully positioned
here but both sides should pay heed to the sacrifice in Game 28 as clearly
stuff, and to avoid all this perhaps White there is a possible
way through for White on the queenside.
should have left his knight on e2 and gone
with something like 22 as instead) 25 ...�xf4
1 d4 ctJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ctJc3 .i.b4 4 i.. g 5 c5 5 d5 h6
26 �dl d4 27 cxd4 cxd4 28 l:.c1 :dffi 29
5 ... d6 Game 3 1
�e2 �g7 30 'i¥b2 l:l4f6 31 �c4 ':d8 32 'i¥d2
-

6 i.h4 CD) .txc3 +


e3 33 fxe3 'iVg3 34 �dl and when White
6 ... d6 Game 32
resigned (arguably prematurely) in view of
-

6 ... 0-0 Game 34


... l:lxf1+ and ... dxe3, G.Todorovic-P.Nikac,
-

6 . . . b5 Game 35
Kladovo 1 992.
-

7 bxc3 d6 8 e3 e5
1 6 b4 c4 1 7 .i.g6
8 . . :iWe7 CD)
This tempo is required to prevent Black
9 ctJf3 Game 30
getting in ... d5-d4. White's next plan will be 23 . . . ttJxg3 24 hxg3 axb6 25 a6 i.. a 8
-

9 i.. d 3 Game 33
to further reduce Black's control over this The bishop would obviously prefer to
-

9 i.. d 3 'iVe7 1 0 lDe2 lDbd7 (D) 1 1 'VWb 1 Game 28


key central area by pushing away the dark­ protect the d-pawn, and 25 ... i.. c 6 26 b5 is
-

1 1 f4 Game 29
squared bishop. nothing but a delaying tactic.
-

1 7 .. :�e7 1 8 l:.d 1 1:1fd8 1 9 a4 ttJf8 20 a5 26 a7


iLc7 21 i..f 5 l1ab8 22 'iVb2 tDh5? The key point that I alluded to earlier is
The first real mistake of the game. This is that the c8-square isn't available to the black
a reasonable idea but is played under the rook because of the placing of White's
wrong circumstances. The game continuation bishop.
suggests that Black can't really afford to re­ 26 .. J:tb7 27 tDxd5
move a defender from d5, but problems only So this pawn drops and with it goes
really mount there because of the lack of Black's whole position.
squares for the black rook. You'll have to 27 . . . 'ilf7 28 iLe4 i.. d 6 29 ttJdc3 b5 30
play over the main game first to understand 1:1a6 1 -0
exactly what I'm talking about, but briefly I White is in no hurry to take the exchange 6 i.h4 8. . . 'iYe 7 1 0. . . ttJbd7
would say that Black would have better prac­ just yet and I had sort of envisaged 30 ... i.. e 7
tical chances with 22 ...g6 instead, the point 31 �xd8 �xd8 32 i.. d 5 as being the end.
being that after 23 i.c2, 23 ... ctJh5 is okay. Coincidentally, Black also obviously decided
However, more testing is 23 i.. h 3!? when the that there was no other way to grovel on and
problem for Black is still this b5-b6 and a5-a6 so threw in the towel here and now.

106 107
4 g3

6 . . . d6 LLJg4 1 4 f4 <it>fS (or 14 ... g6 1 5 'iVf3 ctJxe5 1 6


Black must decide how he wants to de­ fxe5 'iYxg5 1 7 iVf6 'iYxf6 1 S exf6 e5 1 9 i.d5!
velop his queenside and in particular his re­ c6 20 <it>d2 cxd5 21 B.h6 Me6 22 llah1 ':xf6
23 MhS+ <it>g7 24 :1 h7 mate!) 1 5 0-0-0 i.a6

I
maining bishop. The major alternative
to ... d7-d6 and ... e6-e5 is to try to get the 16 MhS+ <it>e7

CHA PTER SIX bishop out to b7 or a6. The continuation


6 .. .'=tJc6 7 LLJf3 MbS (7 ... LLJa5 looks premature
in view of S iVa4 b6 9 LLJd2 MbS 10 LLJb3) S
iVd3!? b6 9 i.g5 brings back some very nice
memories for me. After 9 ... h6 W'hite has the
attractive response 1 0 h4!?
4 g3

1 d4 tZJf6 2 c4 e6 3 tZJc3 ii,b4 4 93 a complete omission of ... c7 -c5 are perfecdy


Certainly in my time as a chess profes­ playable and, to be perfecdy frank, are the
1 7 'iYd6+!! and a juicy checkmate.
sional, 4 g3 is the continuation that I have reason why I personally lost much of my
A game that I won on route to my first
employed most as W'hite against the Nimzo­ enthusiasm for 4 g3. However, new plans
GM norm continued instead with 10 ... i.a6
Indian. In this line pioneered by Romanishin, crop up all the time and some fresh ideas
1 1 LLJe5 hxg5 12 LLJxc6 dxc6 13 hxg5 g6 1 4
White fianchettoes his king's bishop in order have giving me some cause for a re-think!
gxf6 iVx f6 1 5 i.xc6, leaving White a pawn
to make Black's life a litde difficult regarding up. After 1 5 ... e5 1 6 ..ta4 c5 1 7 lIh4 MfdS 1 S
developing his queenside. The bishop will sit Game 36
The basic idea is that if the piece sacrifice Md 1 cxd4 1 9 cxd4 exd4 20 Mxd4 Mxd4 21
pretty on g2, operating nicely on the long di­ C . Ward-B . G u lko
is accepted then Black will get into trouble iVxd4 I eventually went on to convert the
agonal, which of course includes a nice view Politiken Cup, Copenhagen 1 996 down the h-f.tle. However, W'hite's h-pawn endgame in C.Ward-D.Leuba, Bern 1 993.
of the centre. The fact that White has no early advance is more than just a cheapo as with­ 7 tZJf3 tZJc6
obligation to advance his e-pawn means that 1 d4 tZJf6 2 c4 e6 3 tZJc3 iLb4 4 93 0-0
out a dark-squared bishop Black will find it 7 ... LLJbd7 is not a ridiculous move, but still
the dark-squared partner on c1 will not be Capturing on c3 first is fine. However, it is
tricky escaping the pin. 10 ... MeS 1 1 LLJe5!? Black has some problems activating his
obscured, and in this line the advantage of the sensible to tuck the king away before advanc­
and now: bishop. A recurrent theme running through­
bishop pair often means quite a lot. ing the d-pawn or at least ensuring that iVa4+
a) Upon 1 1 .. .LLJa5 both 12 i.xf6!? iVxf6 out this book is that just because Black has
From the diagrammed position the major­ won't be embarrassing!
13 g4 and 12 g4 look encouraging; regarding knights rather than bishops, he shouldn't
ity of my opponents responded with 4 ... c5 5 ii,g2 i.xc3 + 6 bxc3 always be happy to obtain a closed position.
the latter, now 1 2 ... d6 13 i.xf6 gxf6 (observe
which, after 5 LLJf3, transposes direcdy into 1 3 ... iVxf6 1 4 g5 hxg5 1 5 hxg5 iVxg5 1 6 Indeed, the S 0-0 .l:teS 9 LLJd2 l:.bS 10 e4 e5
the 'Kasparov Nimzo-Indian', and that itself MhS+!) 1 4 LLJxf7 <it>xf7 1 5 iVh7+ <it>fS 1 6 g5! 1 1 f4! LLJfS of C.Ward-H.Jensen, Copenha­
is more commonly reached via the move iVd7 17 iVhS+ <it>f7 1 S iVh7+ <it>fS 19 iVhS+ gen 1 997 is not the sort of cramped scenario
order 4 LLJf3 c5 5 g3. While the variations <it>f7 20 iVxf6+ <it>gS 21 i.c6!! (clearing the g­ that Black should be aiming for. I played the
that stem from that position are outside the file) 21 .. .lUS 22 i.xd7 ':xf6 23 gxf6 i.xd7 obvious 12 f5 here, but I could equally have
scope of this book, I do want to concentrate 24 Mg 1 + <it>fS 25 .l:.g7 was seen in the game held back on that for a while.
on the other playable alternatives to 4 ... c5. S.Makarichev-A.Sokolov, Moscow 1 9S2 - Very provocative is the rather cheeky
If a Nimzo player intends to meet 4 LLJf3 after all the fireworks W'hite went on to con­ 7 ... b6 that English GM Jim Plaskett once
with 4 ... c5 then to avoid having to learn any vert the endgame. played against me. That game continued S
more theory I guess treating 4 g3 in the same b) One neat variation that I can recall LLJd2 c6 9 0-0 e5 1 0 a4 as 1 1 c5 bxc5 12 dxe5
way makes perfect sense. However, in my memorising from the very old New In Chess 1 dxe5 13 LLJc4 (C.Ward-J .Plaskett, Hastings
opinion the plans discussed in this chapter d4 Krybook is 1 1 ...LLJxe5 12 dxe5 hxg5 13 hxg5 1 995/99) when I felt that my two bishops
with either ... d7 -d6 or ... d7 -d5 and a delay or
1 09
1 08
4 g3
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

Adding extra tension to the centre and giving much respect. In view of 29 ...�c4 30 l:.d7!,
offered me adequate compensation for 'half a to win to secure my first GM norm (i.e. in the white queen somewhere to flee to. White should really play on.
pawn'. Looking back at it now though, cer­ that same Swiss tournament) reached this 1 1 . . . e4 1 2 'iYc4 + �h8 1 3 lbb3 lbf6 1 4
tainly 1 1 f4!? is a candidate, while these days a exact position. Play continued 1 0 CDd2 CDa5 cxd6 cxd6 1 5 f3 Game 37
less trusting Chris Ward may prefer S CDe5!? 1 1 CDb3 �a6 12 CDxaS bxa5 13 �c6 CDd7 1 4 White is naturally interested in opening up G . Fish-A . Lau ber
as White may just be able to rescue the po­ iLb5 iLb7 1 5 c5 dxc5 1 6 iLa3 f5 1 7 f3 1:.f7 the position and, in particular, obtaining Germany 200 1
tentially cornered bishop following any ex­ 1S dxc5 CDe5 19 'iid4 'ii f6 20 f4 CDc6 21 some air for his light-squared bishop.
change sacrifice. 'iixf6 gxf6 22 Jtc4 MeS 23 nab 1 JtaS 24 1 5 . . . 'iVe7 1 6 ..tg5 1 d4 lbf6 2 c4 e6 3 lbc3 �b4 4 g3 0-0 5
8 'iYd3 l:.fd 1 �g7 25 �f2 l:.fe 7 26 e3 �g6 27 l:.d2 Placing further pressure on e4. i.. g 2 i.. x c3 + 6 bxc3 d6 7 4.Jf3 4.Jc6 8 0-0
�g7 2S h3 �g6 29 1:.bd 1 �g7 30 .1Le2 �g6 1 6 . . . .te6 1 7 'ifa4 l1ae8 1 8 fxe4 fxe4 1 9
31 Jtf3 1:.bS 32 Jte2 �beS 33 1:.g1 h5 34 lba5
l:.dd1 e5 35 Jtd3 �dS 36 g4 e4 37 gxh5+ This game was played in my pre Grand­
�xh5 3S i.e2+ �h6 39 ':xdS CDxdS 40 ':d 1 master days and I was honoured to be play­
CDc6 41 �b2 ':eS 42 c4 CDb4 43 �xf6 CDd3+ ing such an illustrious opponent who was not
44 �g3 �g6 45 iLd4 when, after plenty of only just a famous super-GM, but also a lead­
cagey play, I had bagged an extra pawn which ing exponent of the 4 g3 Nimzo himself. I
in a nervy ending eventually proved enough suspect that White should be a little better
in C.Ward-J .Ambroz, Bern 1 993. I do believe here, although perhaps the text is a little sim­
that White has an edge in such lines. plistic. Both 19 'sab 1 and 19 'iVb5!? arguably
9 lbd2 keep Black under more pressure.
Part of White's plan, but in any case 1 9 . . . lbxa5 20 'iYxa5 �c4 21 nae 1 b6 22
something was necessary to avoid the ... eS-e4 'iVa4 d5
Although I was aware that S 0-0 (see the fork. Taking stock of the diagrammed position,
next game) was the main line here, I always 9 . . . lbd7 the white bishop can be very influential on
used to prefer this move. My logic was that The 9 ... 'iie 7 10 0-0 ':eS 1 1 e4 b6 12 i.. a3 g2 but the downside of the fianchetto is that
although I fully intended to get in e2-e4 and Jta6 1 3 f4 'iid7 1 4 fxe5 dxe5 1 5 d5 CDa5 1 6 the c4-pawn is more vulnerable. Black is
hopefully £2-f4, I wanted my queen on d3 Jtb 4 CDb 7 1 7 ':xf6 gxf6 1 S 'iifl c 5 1 9 Jth3 about to put another pawn onto an opposite
before employing a likely CDd2. By delaying 'iie 7 20 �a3 CDd6 of G.Yan Laatum­ colour from his remaining bishop, but a
committing my king (or rather my king's V.Chuchelov, Belgian League 1 997 is inter­ blocked position could favour either side.
rook!), those .1Lg5, ... h6, h4!? ideas remained in esting, but White didn't get enough for the The advantage of having a pawn on g3 is that
the equation too. Above all, I don't think I exchange. Instead of effectively wasting time the g-pawn supports an f2-f4 push. Remem­
liked the idea of my opponent parking a pawn with the bishop, 12 f4! would have been ber, in the majority of occasions White will
on e4 himself, although we'll soon see why more to the point. want to meet ... exf4 with gxf4 as this keeps
that may not be such a big problem anyhow. 1 0 0-0 f5 1 1 c5 control of the e5-square.
I do feel though that the immediate S 8 . . .e 5
CDd2?! is a little premature, and a rare outing of Black secures his bishop on c4, which at­ The most obvious move, although others
mine in which I was Black against my own pet tacks e2. However, whilst one of White's have also appeared in practice:
variation continued S ... e5 9 dS CDaS 10 e4 b6 rooks is tied down to the defence of the e2- a) S . J.:.eS 9 I:[b 1 ,SbS 10 JtgS b6?!
.

1 1 iLa3 �a6 12 iLfl CDd7 (G.Van Laatum­ pawn, the other is experiencing some ex­ (White's interesting idea was to meet 10 ... h6
C.Ward Hastings 1 996). White has handled citement along the f-file. with 1 1 �xf6 'iVxf6 12 CDd2 when after the
this all wrong: he has conceded the c5-square 23 i.h3 �f7 24 Mf5 �ef8 25 l:te5 �b 7 knight-protecting 1 2 ... .td7, White would
cheaply and struggles to defend his c4-pawn. 26 'i¥a3 have time to flick in 1 3 f4, inhibiting ... e5;
8 . . . e5 Threatening Jte6. nevertheless, the doubled f-pawns that Black
Personally I see no reason for Black to de­ 26 . . . 'iYa6 27 'i!Vxa6 .txa6 28 �xf6 gxf6 soon gets are definitely undesirable) 1 1 CDd2
lay this although, as previously mentioned, 29 �xd 5 � - � CDa5 12 CDe4! iLb7 13 ctJxf6+ gxf6 14 i.h4
S ... .:bS 9 0-0 b6 is the other main plan. As it Here I probably showed my opponent too iLxg2 15 �xg2 d5 16 e4 dxe4 17 'iVg4+ <it>hS
happens, the actual final game that I needed
1 1 1
1 10
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n 4 g3

21 'iVxeS+ �h7 22 ctJe3 dxc4 23 .l:.bS 'fid6 with some very attractive options, including
I S 'iVf4 �g7 1 9 .l:.bS! cS 20 dxcS hS 21 cxb6 ideas White may have had of eliminating a
24 .l:.xfS i..xfS 25 'fixaS i,g6 26 'iVdS. The 1 4 ctJxd6 and 14 i,gS.
eS 22 'iVxe4 axb6 23 �f3 ctJxc4 24 .l:.dS 'fie7 weakness through c4-cS; Black now appears
greedy 26 'fixa7 should also win but the main 1 2 tLlxe4 dxc5
25 'iVxhS 'fie6 26 .l:.fdl .l:.aS 27 i.. xf6+! 'fixf6 vulnerable along the g2-aS diagonal but he
point has been made. The white knight was The only other way to solve the d-file
(or 27 ...�xf6 2S 'fih6+ �e7 29 .l:.d7+ 'iVxd7 has that situation well under control) 13 eS
the boss and White went on to win in problems was through the tricky 12 ... JtfS 1 3
30 'fih4+ �e6 31 �xc4+ �e7 32 'fih4+ �e6 i.. d7 1 4 'fidl
A.Moiseenko-T.Taenaev, Krynica 1 997. This 'iVxdS :'eS. However, after 1 4 'fib3 i,xe4 1 5
33 'fig4+ fS 34 'iVg6+ �e7 35 'iVg7+) 2S
is an instructive game that demonstrates why Jtxe4 ':xe4 1 6 'fixb7 'iVeS 1 7 cxd6 cxd6 I S
'fig4+ �fS 29 'iVxc4 .l:.acS 30 'fib4+ �g7 31
White can certainly consider conceding his Jt e 3 it's doubtful that Black has quite
.l:.d6 'iVfS 32 .l:.xb6 .l:.hS 33 h4 e4 34 'iVd4+
fianchettoed bishop. enough for the pawn.
�gS 35 1:f6 'iVg4 36 .1:.f4 1 -0 A.Moiseenko­
c) 9 ctJe 1 'fie7 10 ctJc2 ctJaS 1 1 ctJe3 (a 1 3 �g 5!
S.Halkias, Mureck 1 995.
good square for the knight, although it has
b) S ...ctJaS 9 cS dS 10 ctJd2 i.d7 1 1 f3
been time consuming to get it here and it is
JtbS 1 2 .1:.e l b6 1 3 cxb6 axb6 1 4 e4 1:eS 1 5
also somewhat in the way!) l 1 ...cS 12 'iVa4
e S ctJd7 1 6 f4, when Black had the better
'iVc7 1 3 dxeS dxeS 1 4 ctJdS ctJxdS 1 5 cxdS
pawn structure but White had a kingside
i,d7 1/Z_ 1/Z I.Miladinovic-K.Sakaev, Tivat
initiative in A.Bagonyai-R.Brajovic, Bucharest
1 995 (although clearly there is play left in the
1 995. Approximately equal chances then,
position!).
although White could probably improve with
1 0 ctJeS!?, and perhaps 9 'iVd3 is more accu­
rate too. 14 ... dxeS! (Black sacrifices the exchange
c) S ... 'iVe7 9 cS dxcS 10 Jta3 ltJd7 1 1 ctJd2 with the expectation being that White will
.l:.dS 12 ctJe4 ctJb6 13 i.. x cs 'iVeS 14 'iVc2 suffer on the light squares around his mon­
with a comfortable advantage for White, arch in the absence of the fianchettoed
T.Reich-B.Stark, Augsburg 200 1 . bishop) 1 5 i,xaS 'iVxaS 1 6 ctJc2 ctJxc4 1 7
d) Finally, upon S. . ..l:.bS White should i"gS ctJdS I S ctJb4 i,e6 1 9 'iVf3 h6 20 Jtc1 Really throwing the cat among the pi­
choose between 9 'fic2, 9 'iVd3 !? (for exam­ as 2 1 ltJc2 fS 22 'iVd3 'iVc6 23 f4 e4 24 'fid4 geons!
ple, 9 ... b6 10 ctJd2 i"b7 1 1 ctJb3 :'eS 12 e4 .l:.dS 25 g4 .l:.d6! 26 'fif2 ctJxc3 27 Jte3 'iVd7 1 3 . . . tLlxc3
eS 13 dS!? ctJe7 14 f4 ctJg6 15 fS as seen in 2S Jtd4 ctJbS 29 JteS ctJxeS 30 fxeS .l:.d2 3 1 13 ...f6 would have walked into the stan­
B.Gulko-A.Sokolov, USSR 1 9S5) or 9 cS!?, .l:.e2 .l:.xe2 3 2 'fixe2 ctJd4 33 'fif2 ctJxc2 0- 1 dard tactic 1 4 'iVxdS+! 'iVxdS 1 5 ctJxf6+.
which leaves White spatially well off in the I.Sokolov-B.Kurajica, Sarajevo 1 9S7. 1 4 'iVe 1
case of both 9 ... dS 1 0 ctJeS!? ctJxeS 1 1 dxeS b) 9 'iVc2 .l:.eS 10 dxeS (the 10 l:d1 ?! e4 1 1 This was always going to be hard to resist,
9 . . e4 1 0 tLld2 lIeS although 1 4 JtxdS ltJxd l 1 5 Jtxc7 ctJb2 1 6
ctJd7 12 'iVd4 and 9 ... dxcS 10 i"a3 b6 1 1 ctJgS i" fS 1 2 'fia4 'iVcs 1 3 dS ctJeS 1 4 cS
.

10 ... dS 1 1 c4 .l:.eS (it's also not clear why ctJxcS .l:.xe2 1 7 .:tfe 1 should also leave White
dxcS bS 1 2 ctJd4. ctJed7 15 c6 bxc6 16 dxc6 ctJb6 17 'iVb3 dS
Black can't just guzzle that d4-pawn now) 1 2 with a nice initiative. Note here the paralys­
9 c5 ! ? I S a4 h6 19 aS ctJc4 20 h4 .l:.bS 21 'iVa2 1:.bS
i.b2 Jte6 was a bit murky in L.Valdes­ ing effect that White's light-squared bishop
Increasing the tension in the centre seems 22 .l:.xdS .l:.xdS 0-1 of A.Botsari-P.I<iriakov,
A.Rodriguez Cespedes, Cuban Champion­ can have on Black's queenside.
to me to be the most promising of White's Halkida 1 996 is exactly the sort of reason
ship 1 995, although White should also con­ 14 . . . f6 1 5 ..txf6 ! gxf6 1 6 'iVxc3 tLld4 1 7
options, but again it is useful to take a look why as White I was always reluctant to allow
sider 1 1 f3!? and 1 1 ':bl !? Nevertheless, our 'iYxc5 .l:te5
other practical alternatives: a black pawn to e4) 1 0 ... dxeS 1 1 ii.gS h6 1 2
main game casts a cloud over 1 O .. .l:.eS, and This appears to lose in a fairly straightfor­
a) 9 .l:.el .l:.eS 10 e4 exd4 1 1 ctJxd4?! (the .l:.fdl 'fie7 1 3 Jtxf6 'iVxf6 1 4 ltJd2 'iVe7?! (the
.

possibly 1 0... JtfS is more accurate as well. ward manner, but nothing seems to be ade­
pawn sacrifice 1 1 cxd4!? ctJxe4 12 i"b2 is queen was better off where it was on f6 sup­
1 1 d5! quate. Upon 17 ...ctJxe2+ I S �h1 a big threat
more in the spirit of things and, looking back porting the steed on c6; I don't believe that
Ensuring that things get opened up. is 'iVhS, hitting the black knight and threaten­
at this game, I'm sure White wishes he'd tried Black should be worse after the simple
1 1 . . . tLlxd5 ing ctJxf6+. That aside, the steed could get
it!) 1 1 ...ctJaS (again Black is not interested in 14 ... Jt fS) 15 .l:.ab1 fS?! (aggressive, but as
Black's kingside attack plans never really bear The point was of course that 1 1 ... ctJeS al­ trapped behind enemy lines, with I S ... fS 19
ironing out White's pawns and instead directs
lows the simple 12 ctJxe4 whilst l 1 ...ctJaS .l:.adl 'iVe7 20 'iVxe7 .l:.xe7 2 1 ctJf6+ �g7 22
his attention towards the most advanced of fruit, this only serves to restrict the scope of
leaves the knight offside after 12 'iVa4. In­ ctJdS :'d7 23 .l:.fel being one possible con­
the white c-ftle isolanis) 12 'fia4 b6! (as well Black's bishop) 1 6 ii.dS+ �hS 17 Jtxc6!
deed 12 ... b6 13 ctJxe4 ctJxdS leaves White tinuation.
as protecting the knight, this puts paid to any bxc6 IS 'iVa4 e4 19 ctJf1 'iVcs 20 .l:.dS! cxdS

1 12 1 13
4 g3
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

Catalan variation of the Queen's Gambit "iVxc5 1 5 .:Ic1 , as in I.Miladinovic-R.Ferretti,


1 8 lbxf6 + ! 'iYxf6 1 9 'ii'xd4 .te6 20 f4 ter studies the more cautious approach (spe­
Declined but with key differences: Rome 2004) 9 .:Ixd 1 �xc5 10 ctJe5 ctJc6 1 1
krf5 21 'iVxf6 krxf6 22 .txb 7 cifically 6 cxd5 and 6 'iVb3).
6 . . . dxc4
ctJxc4 h 6 1 2 �e3 �xe3 1 3 ctJxe3 e 5 14 �xc6
Overlapping with my book on the Nimzo­ bxc6 15 .:Id6 (C.Ward-T.Bjornsson, Reykja­
Indian Kasparov Variation) I have never been
vik 1 998) . White's light-squared bishop al­
impressed with Black's position after 6 ... c5 ways exerts that awkward pressure against
(equally as often reached via 4 ctJf3 c5 5 g3 Black's queenside and the option is often
0-0 6 �g2 d5) . I've j ust never found it very there for a bishop takes knight on c6 to split
ambitious and my own results against it are the black pawns.
excellent. For example, 7 cxd5 ctJxd5 8 �d2 A rare continuation, but incorporating a
ctJc6 (or 8 ... cxd4 9 ctJxd5 �xd2+ 10 "iVxd2 standard Catalan theme, is 7 ... �d7 8 ctJe5
"iVxd5 1 1 "iVxd4 "iVa5+ 12 "iVd2 'iVb6 13 ctJe5 �c6. The position after 9 e4 �xc3 10 ctJxc6
.:Id8 14 ctJc4 "iVc7 1 5 "iVa5 b6 1 6 "iVe5 "iVxc4 ctJxc6 1 1 bxc3 is double-edged: White has
1 7 �xa8 �a6 18 � f3 ctJc6 19 �xc6 "iVxc6 the bishop pair but has yet to regain that
20 0-0 f6 21 "iVe3 .:IdS 22 .:Ifd1 with basically pawn. Black should choose between 1 1 ....:Ib8
1) White's queen's knight has been com­ to prepare ... b7-bS and 1 1 ...e5 to challenge
White is now two pawns up with an ex­ just an extra exchange for White, C.Ward­
mitted to c3. This steed will not be able to White's domination in the centre.
ceptionally attractive pawn majority on the A.Salem, Lloyds Bank Masters, London
regain the lost c-pawn and it also obstructs 8 ':e 1
kingside. 1 993) 9 ctJxd5 "iVxd5 (or 9 ... �xd2+ 1 0 ctJxd2
what is otherwise a typical "iVc2xc4 manoeu­ White's 8 .:Ie1 clearly gets the e-pawn un­
22 .. J�b8 23 .:tab 1 Wg7 24 a3 .tg4 25 exd5 1 1 dxc5 .:Ie8 1 2 0-0 "iVe 7 where I sus­
vre. der starter's orders but it is often not clear
krfc 1 c6 26 i.a6 1 -0 pect 13 e3 or 13 �xdS may be the most pre­
2) Black's bishop is on b4 rather than e7. whether White would rather have his rook
cise but after 1 3 ctJb3 "iVxe2 14 "iVxe2 .:Ixe2
Game 38 I t may have to retreat if it wants to be pre­ on e1 or dl . Either way, vacating of the £1 -
15 .:Ife 1 .:Ixe1 + 16 .:Ixe 1 �e6 1 7 f4 g6 1 8
served or be used to escape any pin on the square for the bishop i s often a useful im­
C . Ward-J .Timman .:Id1 .:Id8 1 9 <;t>f2 <;t>g7 20 <;t>e3 I went on to
f6-knight. On the other hand, on b4 it does provement to the white position.
European Club Ch., Breda 1 998 convert a comfortable ending in C.Ward­
have an option to trade on c3 and it ob­ 8 e3 is a slower approach, after which
A.Lavie, Lloyds Bank Masters, London 1 992)
structs the "iVa4xc4 idea. 8 ... ctJd5 9 "iVc2 �e7 1 0 .:Id1 can nevertheless
1 d4 lbf6 2 c4 e6 3 lbc3 i.b4 4 g3 d5 5 1 0 �xb4 ctJxb4 1 1 0-0 .:Id8 (or 1 1 . ..cxd4 1 2
7 . . . ct:Jc6 reach some fairly unclear positions; for in­
i.g2 0-0 ctJxd4 "iVd7 1 3 ctJb3 .:Ib8 1 4 a 3 ctJa6 1 5 ctJa5
"iVc7 16 b4 .:Id8 17 'iVb3 �d7 1 8 .:Iac1 'iVb6 stance, 10 ... ctJdb4 (or 10 ....:Ib8 1 1 e4 ctJcb4
And just as a final reminder, 5 ... dxc4?? is
19 .:Ifd 1 �b5 20 .:Ixd8+ "iVxd8 21 �xb7 1 2 'iYb 1 ctJxc3 1 3 bxc3 ctJd3) 1 1 'iVe2 tlJd3
not too bright here in view of 6 "iVa4+!.
�xe2 22 "iVe3 � b5 23 �xa6 �xa6 24 ctJc6 12 ctJd2 e5 13 ctJxc4 ctJxc1 1 4 .:Iaxc1 exd4 1 5
6 ct:Jf3
1 -0 C.Ward-P.Jaton, Mont St Michel 1 994) �xc6 bxc6 1 6 .:Ixd4 "iVe8, P.Uhoda­
1 2 dxc5 �d7 1 3 a3 "iVxd1 14 .:Ifxd1 ctJd5 1 5 A.Yusupov, Netherlands 1 998. This certainly
ctJe5 �b5 1 6 �xd5 exd5 1 7 .:Id2 f6 1 8 ctJf3 isn't forced though, and Black players may
as 19 ctJd4 �d7 20 b3 g5 21 .:Ic1 with the wish to study the 8 ....:Ib8 9 "iVc2 b5 10 a4 a6
extra pawn eventually telling in C.Ward­ 1 1 axb5 axb5 12 ctJg5 ctJe7 1 3 ctJce4 tlJxe4
P.Byway, British Championship, Swansea 14 ctJxe4 �b7 1 5 b3 f5 16 bxc4 �xe4 1 7
1 995. �xe4 fxe4 1 8 c 5 'iVd 5 1 9 "iVb 1 �c3 2 0 .:Ia7
You can see why I consider it a rather pas­ ctJc6 21 .:Ixc7 �aS 0- 1 of N .Gaprindashvili­
sive line for Black, and typical characteristics J .Ehlvest, Tallinn 1 998. Often Black has that
are the occasional black isolated d-pawn and choice of ....:Ib8 or ... ctJd5.
Just as with 6 ... c5, I'm also not a fan of The other main move is 8 �g5 and that
nearly always the struggle to develop the
7 ... c5 as I believe that White can secure a appears in the next game.
queenside.
comfortable middlegame or endgame advan­ 8 . . . ct:Jd5
7 0-0
tage via 8 dxc5!; for example, 8 ..."iVxd 1 (or Justifying my previous remark on the sub­
This game and the following one delve Taking the c-pawn on offer is a much
8 ... ctJc6 9 ctJd2 �xc5 1 0 ctJxc4 "iVe7 1 1 �g5 ject, here Black should make a decision over
into the intricacies of this Catalan-style pawn more challenging route to take and, as stated
h6 12 �xf6 "iVxf6 1 3 ctJe4 "iVe7 14 ctJxc5 the text or 8 ... .:Ib8
sacrifice, whilst the final outing in this chap- previously, now the position resembles the

1 15
1 14
4 g3
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

b3) 9 ... h6 1 0 a3 Yl.e 7 1 1 h3 ctJa5 12 iLe3 a) 1 0 e3? ctJcb4! 1 1 'iVe2 ctJd3 12 Mf1 c5
obviously have been better. It's an imbal­
ctJb3 13 Mb 1 c5?! (it's natural for Black to 13 dxc5 ctJxc3 14 bxc3 'iVc7 1 5 ctJd2 'iYxc5
anced position and after the possible 13 'iVa4
want to undouble the extra c-pawn, but this and there could be no disputing that Black
i.b6 1 4 ':ad l ctJa5 I'd have to say that the
is a little premature) 14 dxc5 ctJxc5 15 ctJe5! was clearly better in N.Giffard-J .Speelman,
phrase 'dynamic equilibrium' springs to
i.d7 16 ctJxc4 iLc6 17 'iVc2 b5 18 Mbd1 with Berlin 1 980.
mind !;
a clear advantage to White in T.Vasilevich­ b) 10 a3 and now:
a4) 9 ...i.e7 is sensible and not unlikely to
A.Maric, Ulcinj 1 997. bl) 1 0 ... ctJa5 1 1 e4 (1 1 iLd2 ctJb3 12 Mad1
transpose to the variation 'b3' below.
Backtracking a move, 8 ...MeS has appar­ Mb8 13 e4 ctJxd2 14 Mxd2 ctJxc3 15 'iYxc3 b5
b) 9 e4 ently only ever been played once. Despite an 16 'iVe3 Mb6 17 Mel i.. b7 1S h4 Md6 19
eventual white win, 9 e4 e5 1 0 d5 ctJa5 1 1 Mcd1 'iVa8 20 d5 exd5 21 exd5 ':e8 22 ctJe5
'iVa4 i.xc3 1 2 bxc3 b6 1 3 ctJd2 'iVd7 1 4 'iVc2 i.f6 23 f4 a6 was no better for \x-'hite in the
c6 1 5 i.a3 i.b7 looked more than fine for more recent encounter T. Vasilevich­
Black in C.Ward-J.Richardson, Isle of Man H.Olsen, Copenhagen 2004; in my opinion
1 996. Looking at it now, perhaps White Black is simply a pawn up!) 1 1 ...ctJxc3 1 2
in which case it is White who has a choice: should switch plans back to 9 a3 or 9 i.g5 bxc3 ctJb3 1 3 M b 1 b 5 1 4 i.. f4 i. b7 1 5 a4 a6
a) 9 a3 when: instead, the question then being which of 16 h4 h6 1 7 Mbd 1 �d6 I S ctJe5 'iVe7 19 'iVe2
a1) 9 ... �xc3 10 bxc3 ctJa5 1 1 Mb1 b6 1 2 Me 1 or ... Me8 is more useful. Wh7 20 'iVg4 Mad8 21 h5 WhS. Now Black is
e4 does leave White with good compensation 9 iVc2 �e7 ready to play ... c7-c5, so White tried 22 ctJg6+
for the pawn as a black knight on b3 won't Black has no intention of playing ... i.. x c3 fxg6 23 e5 i.xe5 24 Mxe5 �xg2 25 Wxg2 g5
be a serious problem. Now 12 ... h6 1 3 ctJe5 now. Not only would that concede the valu­ 26 Mxe6 'iYf7 27 i.e3 ctJc5 2S dxc5 Mxdl 29
�d7 14 g4!? ctJh7 15 h4 �e8 16 h5 b5 17 a4 able dark-squared bishop but it would donate 'iVe4 'iVxh5 (0-1 J .Vilela-A.Yusupov, Cien­
ctJc6 1 8 i..a3 b4 1 9 ctJxc6 i.xc6 20 i.xb4 to White control of the b4-square. In con­ fuegos 1 979) and evidently it failed. I reiter­
could hardly have gone much better for in and now: trast, this retreat makes that square available ate that this sort of thing is typical for this
me in C.Ward-Erwando, Beijing 1 993/94, b1) 9 ... MeS 1 0 i.f4 ctJxd4!? 1 1 'iVxd4
to a black knight. variation. Black will eventually realise his
whilst 12 ... i.b7 13 �g5 h6 14 i.h4! 'iVe8 'iVxd4 1 2 ctJxd4 e5 13 i.. e 3 exd4 14 i.xd4 c5
extra pawn and there often comes a point
(14 ... g5 15 ctJxg5! hxg5 16 i.xg5 with e4-e5 1 5 i.e3 Yl.e6 16 ':ed 1 i.xc3 17 bxc3 b6 1 S
where White has to go for it!
up next is the big idea) 15 i.xf6 g:x f6 16 ctJd2 i.f4 MbdS 1 9 i.d6 i.g4! saw Black ulti­
b2) Similar, and also worth comparing
Wh7 17 i.f1 b5 1 8 'iYf3 f5 19 'iVf4 was defi­ mately go on to utilise her significant queen­
with 'c', is the 1 0 ... ctJb6 1 1 Md l ctJa5 12 Mbl
nitely good value in O.Romanishin-V.Savon, side majority in T.Vasilcvich-C.Peptan, Is­
i.d7 1 3 ctJe5 i.eS 14 i.e4 f5 15 i.f3 'iYcs 16
Yerevan 1 976. tanbul 2003, but 10 e5!? must be more to the
e4 c5 17 i.e3 cxd4 18 i.xd4 i.c5 1 9 exf5
a2) 9 ... i.d6 10 'iVa4 e5 1 1 d5 ctJd4 1 2 point.
i.xd4 20 Mxd4 Mxf5 21 Mel ctJc6 22 ctJxc6
ctJxd4 exd4 1 3 'iVxa7 dxc3 1 4 'iVxb8 �e5 1 5 b2) 9 ... b5!? 10 e5 (the 10 i.f4 i.. b 7 1 1 h3
i.xc6 23 i.g4 Mf6 24 ctJe4 i.xc4 25 'iYxe4
bxc3 i.xc3 1 6 i.f4 ctJxd5 1 7 Mad 1 �xe 1 1 S ctJc 7 1 2 ctJe5 ctJd 7 1 3 g4 ctJxe5 14 dxe5 a6 1 5
'iVc5 26 i.xc6+ �hS 27 'iVe5 'iVc6 28 Mf4
�xd5 i.e6 1 9 'iVxb 7 i.. a5 20 'iVb5 with a i.e3 ctJc6 1 6 f4 'iVe 7 1 7 'iVe 2 i.c5 1 8 'iVf2
Mxf4 29 'iVxf4 c3 30 bxc3 1/2_ 1/2 of EVan
clear advantage to White, S. Kindermann­ i..x e3 1 9 'iVxe3 Mfd8 20 Mad 1 ctJb4 21 'iVe2
Beers-P.Wells, Antwerp 1 997. With all things
M.Suba, Dortmund 1 9S1 is a game I once ctJd3 22 Mf1 'iVb4 0-1 of G.Van Laatum­
considered this was a fair result - White, who
had in my notes. P.Kiriakov, Hastings 1 998/99 never really
could also have considered 1 4 d5!?, gets
a3) 9 ... i.a5!? is rare but most definitely a saw White get going on the kingside)
J 1 0 ctJe4 some play for the pawn.
candidate. Following 10 e4 h6 1 1 e5 ctJd5 1 2 10 ... ctJd5 1 1 ctJg5 i.. e 7 is the sort of position
From \X-'hite's point of view, the decision c) 10 h4 h6 1 1 a3 (this is of course similar
i.. d2 ctJde7 1 3 ctJe4 i.. b 6, u p against a grand­ I always had my doubts about. White always
to play this type of position (i.e. a pawn for to 1 0 a3) 1 1 ...ctJb6 1 2 i.e3 i.d7 13 Mad1
master opponent, a pupil of mine went for has vague attacking chances but Black usually
some play) is down to matter of taste. I just i.cs 14 dS! cxdS 15 i.xb6 axb6 16 ctJxdS
broke with 14 i.xh6?! but alas 14 ...gxh6 1 5 has that rock of a knight on d5 and menacing
eventually decided that it wasn't very tasty! i.d7 17 'iYxc4 Me8 1 8 'iVc3 and White defi­
ctJf6+ Wg7 1 6 ctJh5+ WhS 1 7 'iVel ctJgS 1 8 queenside pawns. I can recall feeling grateful
Actually, although I employed this move nitely obtained a reasonable advantage in
Me4 ctJxd4 1 9 ctJxd4 f5 20 Mh4 �xd4 21 that after 12 h4 ctJcb4 13 i.e4 f5 14 exf6 my
against three grandmaster opponents, per­ R.Vera-A.Franco Alonso, Linares 2002. Per­
ctJf6 Mxf6 22 exf6 'iYxf6 saw his attack fizzle opponent accepted a draw in C.Ward­
haps it is not best. Let's take a look at some haps there is something to be said for this
out in R.Cole-V.Kupreichik, Aarhus 1 997. A R.Fyllingen, Gausdal 1 993, and this is the
other tries: controlled approach, although Black's play
calmer move than the bishop sacrifice would sort of variation that put me off 4 g3.

1 1 7
1 16
4 g3
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

iYf6 Alas, ... l1c8 is next and my final attempt is


looks a litde passive and one would have game. I actually went on to win this endgame
a feeble one!
thought that a ... ctJa5-b3 manoeuvre should but my general feeling is that, although I was
37 �g4 �xg4 0- 1
feature somewhere. better at some stage of the middlegame,
1 0 . . . ctJdb4 1 1 'iVc3 probably Black's position was superior for Game 39
The problem with 1 1 'iVxc4?! now is the majority of the early part. Basically, it's
J . G onza lez G a rcia-S . Tiviakov
1 1 ...'iVd5! because after 12 'iVxd5 exd5 1 3 j ust a mess; if I'd had more than an evening's
ctJc3 Black has 1 3 ... ctJc2. preparation then I most certainly wouldn't
Mallorca Olympiad 2004
1 1 . . . b5 1 2 a3 ctJd5 1 3 'iVc2 have repeated this variation as I do in the
1 d4 tDf6 2 c4 e6 3 tDc3 �b4 4 g3 0-0 5
All this to-ing and fro-ing by White was main game.
.tg2 d5 6 tDf3 dxc4 7 0-0 tDc6 8 .tg5
designed to sidestep ... ctJxc3. Not that I think Incidentally, previously the 13 ... h6 14 .td2
it was worth it! .td7 1 5 l1ad1 l1b8 1 6 .tel b4 17 ctJc5 ctJxd4
1 3 . . . �d7 1 8 ctJxd4 .txc5 19 'iVxc4 VIiIe7 20 .txd5 exd5
21 'iVxd5 l1fd8 22 'iVc4 .txd4 23 l1xd4 .te6
1/2_1/2 of C.Ward-A.Yusupov, European Club
Black has the bishop pair and White has a
Championship, Eupen 1 994 hadn't seen me
ridiculously placed knight! Rather than grimly
prove an edge for White either, although my
defend b2, I again opted to concede material.
illustrious opponent was never going to be a
23 lixe5 'iYxe5 24 ctJf4 life8 25 'iVd 2
pushover!
liab8 26 �f3 nb6!
1 4 ctJeg 5 ctJf6 1 5 h4
Unfortunately Black finds a good way of
And so here we go with more speculative
making his exchange count.
kingside play. To me it always seemed to be
27 ':c 1 ':f6 28 �g2 ':xf4
the same story!
Yes, giving it back, this time wrecking my
1 5 . . . h6 1 6 ctJh3 1id6 1 7 i..f4 ctJd5
pawn structure. 8 . . . h6
29 'iVxf4 li'xf4 30 gxf4 �f5 This is the most solid response but, going
on the accuracy of this game, Black should
Sooner or later Black needs to make a de­
probably opt for something else if he is eager
cision on this bishop and this looks just as
to win. One alternative is to ignore this pin
good as 13 ... .tb7. Amazingly, two of the
and continue with 8 ...!lb8, preparing ...b7 -b5.
fives times that the position after 1 3 'iVc2 has
In that instance White has some interesting
ever been reached occurred within two days!
possibilities:
The other was with 1 3 ... .tb7 and continued
a) 9 !lel b5 10 b3!? h6 (upon 10 ... cxb3
14 .td2 l1b8 15 l1ad 1 h6 16 .tel ctJa5 1 7
both 1 1 'iVxb3 and 1 1 ctJe4 leave Black, and
ctJe5 'iVe8 1 8 ctJc5 .txc5 1 9 dxc5 ctJc6 20
particularly his knights, under pressure) 1 1
ctJxc6 'iVxc6 21 e4 ctJf6 22 .te3 ctJg4 23 .td4
.txf6 VIiIxf6 1 2 bxc4 bxc4 1 3 ctJe4 'iVe7 14
e5 24 .tc3 l1fc8? 25 l1d5 'iVg6 26 l1d2 .tc6
l1xc4 ctJa5 15 !le l l1d8 16 'iVc2 .tb7 1 7 e3
27 f3 ctJf6 28 .th3 'iVh5 29 �g2 l1d8 30
.ta3 1 8 l1b1 .td5 19 ctJe5 .td6 20 'iVc3
l1ed 1 l1xd2+ 31 l1xd2 'iVg5 32 'iVd1 ctJh5 33 More sensible play. Fair swaps are just go­
.txe5 21 'iVxa5 and White's structural supe­
�f2 'iVe7 34 .tb4 ctJf6 35 �e2 l1a8 36 'iVg1 ing to promote the importance of Black's
Black dominates the open e-fUe and it's riority slighdy outweighed Black's bishop pair
as 37 .tc3 .td7 38 .txd7 ctJxd7 39 l1d5 f6 extra pawn, and rather than retreat I engaged
only a matter of time before that queenside advantage in A.Moiseenko-L.Christiansen,
40 c6 ctJb8 41 l1xb5 ctJxc6 42 'iVc5 'iVe6 43 in some dubious tactics!
majority will have a big impact. Internet 2004.
'iVd5 ctJd4+ 44 �e3 'iVxd5 45 l1xd5 ctJb3 46 1 8 i.. x h6 ? ! gxh6 1 9 e4 e5
31 a4 a6 32 axb5 axb5 33 lia 1 b) 9 e3 b5 10 ctJd2 .td7 1 1 ctJce4 .te7 12
f4 exf4+ 47 gxf4 l1e8 48 e5 fxe5 49 fxe5 �f7 Not surprisingly Fritz isn't impressed by
Could anyone blame me for wanting some ctJxf6+ .txf6 1 3 .txf6 'iVxf6 14 b3 e5 1 5
50 l1d7+ l1e7 51 e6+ �xe6 52 l1xe7+ �xe7 my sacrifice and would quite happily enter
activity? bxc4 exd4 1 6 cxb5 l1xb5 1 7 ctJb3 l1b4 1 8
53 .txg7. To be brutally honest, I think that 19 ...ctJb6 20 e5. My opponent prefers the
33 . . . b4 34 ga7 c3 35 bxc3 bxc3 36 !lel l1d8 1 9 'iVc2 l1b6 1/2_1/2 F.Levin­
C.Ward-V.Bogdanovski, European Club more human neutralising response.
':xc7 c2 M.Wahls, Bundesliga; White's active play
Championship, Breda 1 998 was a pretty poor 20 dxe5 ctJxe5 21 ctJxe5 i.. x e5 22 exd 5

1 19
1 18
4 g3
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

j"h3. Both sides have had their little tactical \Xfhite's superior pawn structure eventually
never looked like amounting to more than a though as there doesn't appear to be any episodes, but a neutraliser has always been on told in an emphatic collapse: 30 Mc2 h6 31
draw. need to hurry, 14 Mfdl is sensible. hand. Mdc1 Mc8 32 g4 etJd6 33 ifg3 �g8 34 h4
c) 9 a3 j"xc3 (9 ... j"e7!? makes a lot of 1 2 ctJxe5 ctJxe5 1 3 dxe5 'iVe7 20 . . . .te6 21 .:txd 2 �xc4 22 �f 1 ! �xf 1 j"n 3S Mc3 etJe4 36 j"xe4 Mxe4 37 f3 Me6
sense now too that \Xfhite has weakened the 13 ... Mxd 1 ?! 14 exf6 MXc 1 lS MXc 1 would % -% 38 etJfS Mxe2 39 etJxh6+ �g7 40 etJfS+ �g6?
b3-square) 1 0 bxc3 h6 1 1 j"xf6 'iVxf6 1 2 leave \Xfhite with a superior endgame as
41 hxgS j"e6 42 Mxc6!! 1 -0.
etJd2 e S 1 3 e 3 exd4 14 exd4 b S l S ctJe4 'iVg6 Black still has difficulty developing his
b) 6 ... cS!?
1 6 ctJcS etJd8 1 7 Me 1 etJe6 1 8 MeS Mb6 1 9 queenside.
etJxe6 j"xe6 2 0 MCS when \Xfhite should have 1 4 'iVh5
just about enough compensation for a draw
but actually went on to win in J .Nilssen­
D.Palo, Koge 2004.
Another lesser-seen move is 8 ... j"e7. This
unpins the knight and thus avoids \Xfhite's
etJe4 ideas. Now 9 e3 (the usual purpose of
this move is to vacate the e2-square for the
queen and to protect the d-pawn to enable
the f3-knight to go walkabout) 9 ...ctJdS 1 0
j"xe7 'iYxe7 1 1 etJd2 etJb6 1 2 'iVe2 etJaS 1 3 Black offered a draw knowing full well
b3 cxb3 1 4 axb3 etJc6 l S j"xc6 bxc6 1 6 MaS that the 23 'iYxb 7 intermezzo would come
'iVb4 17 MCS eS! was if anything very slightly before the bishop is recaptured. and now:
better for Black in A.Moiseenko­
bl) 7 a3 j"aS! 8 etJf3? cxd4 9 etJxd4 eS! 10
O.Budnikov, Kharkov 1 999. Instead 13 'iVhS \Xfhite opts to hang on to his eS-pawn as Game 40 etJc2 d4 and yes, that was a free piece in
fS is a tough one to call; \Xfhite has some the alternative 1 4 'iVe2 'iYxeS l S 'iYxc4 j"d6 J . Nilsse n-N . D e Firmian G.Fish-A.Morozevich, Alushta 1 993. It's
reasonable pieces and squares but Black con­ would see Black escaping with two bishops.
Politiken Cup, Copenhagen 2003 amazing that such an early natural move (8
tinues to hang onto that extra pawn. 1 4 . . . �xc3
etJf3?) can be such a mistake, but that's just
9 �xf6 'iVxf6 1 0 ':c 1 Now though this bishop had nowhere to
1 d4 ctJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ctJc3 Jtb4 4 g3 0-0 5 the way it is! With the white queen out on b3,
run, whilst the white knight threatened to
�g2 d5 6 cxd5 d4 is simply too vulnerable.
hop into dS.
This is certainly one way to make sure that b2) 7 dxcS etJc6 8 j"gS h6 9 cxdS exdS 10
1 5 ':xc3 ':d2
Black doesn't snatch the c-pawn (as in our j"xf6 'iVxf6 11 j"xdS etJd4 1 2 'iVdl when
lS ... j"e6 16 f4 (I think I prefer the white
previous two games), and 6 'iYb3 is another. 12 ... Md8!? looks attractive but 12 ... etJbS 1 3
pawns in the major piece ending arriving
Regarding the early queen sortie though, her M C 1 j"xc3+ 1 4 bxc3 etJxc3 l S 'iVd 2 etJxdS 1 6
from 1 6 j"xb7 Mab8 1 7 j"a6 Mxb2 1 8 j"xc4
majesty does have a tendency to get into hot 'iVxdS Md8 left Black with excellent compen­
j"xc4 1 9 Mxc4 Mxa2 20 Mfc1 , but it's proba­
water. Black has two ways to try to exploit sation for a measly pawn in J .Pisulinski­
bly a draw) 16 ... Md2 17 j"e4 (presumably
this, with the second obtaining particularly K.Panczyk, Bydgos2cz 1 990.
\Xfhite didn't fancy 1 7 fS Mxg2+!? 1 8 �xg2
good results: 6 . . . exd 5
j"dS+ 19 �gl 'iYxeS) 1 7 ...Mad8 1 8 fS was a
a) 6 ... etJc6 7 ctJf3 ctJe4 8 'iVc2 etJd6 9 cxdS 6 ... ctJxdS 7 j"d2 etJc6 8 etJxdS j"xd2+ 9
riskier road for Black to take in
exdS 10 0-0 j"fS 1 1 'iVb3 j"xc3 12 'iVxc3 'iVxd2 exdS has also been seen before, but I
K.Oreopoulos-S.zagrebelny, Thessaloniki
Me8 13 Mel j"e4 1 4 Mdl f6 lS j"f4 etJfS 1 6 prefer the text.
2004, but that game ended in a draw anyway!
Mac1 gS 1 7 j"d2 etJd6 1 8 j" e 1 'iVd7 1 9 j"fl 7 ctJf3 c6
Looking to ultimately regain the c-pawn 1 6 .:tb 1 'iVb4 1 7 a3 'iVb5 1 8 .:td 1 'iVxb2
j"fS 20 'iVb3 etJe7 21 j"b4 c6 22 etJel as 23 This bolstering move is probably inevita­
with the rook. Or 18 ... 'iVxeS 19 'iVf3. Black doesn't want
j"cS b6 24 j"a3 Mab8 2S etJg2 j"h3 26 iff3 ble, and certainly 7 ... j"g4 (aggressive but
10 . . . .:td8 1 1 e3 e5 a white queen or rook on his back rank but
etJe4 27 ctJe3 j"e6 28 j"g2 �g7 29 j"xe 7 leaving the b7 -pawn unprotected) 8 0-0
Black now enters a pretty forcing varia­ his bishop is tied to the defence of his b 7 -
Mxe7 (O.Romanishin-V.Ivanchuk, Yerevan etJbd7 9 'iVb3! saw Black suffer without it as
tion, but I don't believe that 1 1 ...'iVe7 1 2 'iVe2 pawn.
1 989) was I would say approximately equal he was forced to concede his dark-squared
etJaS 1 3 etJeS j"d7 constitutes an improve­ 1 9 �xc4 'iVxe5 20 'iVf3
throughout, but I guess the feature of bishop In LMiladinovic-S.Hondrogiannis,
ment. \Xfhite can win back the c4-pawn, al- Of course not 20 'iVxeS?? Mxdl+ 21 j"fl

12 1
120
4 g3
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

another typical grandmasterly retreat. 2 6 �c3 liJc7


Thessaloniki 1 999. The text prevents 9 lLJe5 but nevertheless
1 1 'i¥c2 liJfS If allowed this knight would head for c4
The pawn on c6 obviously supports d5, 8 ... ne8 must also be sensible. Play could
The usual stop off point for the knight in or f5 via b5 and d6.
but it also covers the b5-square and offers easily turn out as in our main game, whereas
the QGD Exchange variation. From here the 27 a4 llaeS 2S ttJc2 liJaS 29 'ifxb6 liJxb6
the black queen some options. However, it the 8 ... ..td6 9 lLJel ':e8 10 f3 lLJbd7 1 1 lLJd3
knight may emerge on g6 or could have 30 b3 liJcs 31 �f2 liJd6 32 h4 f6 33
could be held back for a move or so, with i.. c 7 12 �bl a6 13 b4 lLJf8 14 lLJf2 h5 1 5
other options from e6. On its new location ctJa3 �f7 34 b4 a6 35 l1b 1
7 . .J�e8 certainly not ridiculous either. .J:.b2 h4 o f R.Albrecht-V.Eingorn, Bad Wi­
though, it no longer obstructs the bishop. I f White could swap the knights off and
S 0-0 essee 2003 was certainly something a litde
1 2 �f4 �f5 1 3 .ixd6 get in b4-b5 then he could make something
different. Lunging with the h-pawn is cer­
White gets to trade off his 'bad' bishop, of his structural advantage. However, there
tainly an idea worthy of Black's considera­
but Black isn't losing any sleep over the fact are a few technical problems involved in
tion, whilst in general White should strive to
that he is left with his light-squared bishop obtaining a successful minority attack.
get in b2-b4-b5 or e2-e4.
here as at the very least it can give itself up 35 . . . liJf5 36 lbc2
9 liJe 1
for a knight. One being that he needs to defend his e­
As Black's previous move took away an
1 3 . . :iVxd6 1 4 a3 liJe6 1 5 e3 liJg5 pawn.
attractive post for this knight, White dabbles
36 . . . liJd6 37 liJa3 b5! ?
in a spot of repositioning. Instead 9 a3 i.d6
10 b4 a6 1 1 'iVb3 'iVe 7 12 .s.e 1 lLJe4 13 lLJxe4
'iVxe4 14 ..tb2 'iVg4 15 e4 dxe4 16 lLJe5
lLJxe5 17 dxe5 i.e7 1 8 i.xe4 i.. e6 19 "iVc2
"iVh5 20 i.. d 4 .s.fd8 21 ..tb6 l:[d7 22 .s.ad 1
l:.xd1 23 'iVxdl 'iVxd1 24 .s.xd 1 g6 25 f4 f6
As White against the Queen's Gambit 26 exf6 i.xf6 27 .l:.d2 �e8 ended drawn in
Declined I have always been fond of the J .Agirretxe San Sebastian-J .Gomez Esteban,
'Exchange variation' (1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 lLJc3 Portugalete 2004.
lLJf6 4 cxd5 exd5 5 ..tg5) . There is obviously 9 . . . I:teS 1 0 liJd3
a similarity in the structure here but there
also some key differences:
1) Black's dark-squared bishop is on b4
Black has excellent control over the e4-
rather than e7. It would probably rather not
square, and there are some holes in White's Again refusing the repetition.
give itself up for a knight, and thus time is
kingside that he can try to probe too. 3S liJc2
eventually going to have to be expended on a
1 6 llae 1 1i.h3 1 7 f3 �xg2 1 S �xg2 liJe6 38 �xc6 .s.xe3 39 .s.xd6 l:.xa3 would en­
retreat.
White would dearly love to get in e3-e4 courage a double rook invasion of the sev­
2) The usual pin i.g5 doesn't fit in well
but, as his d-pawn is always likely to hang, enth rank, but I'm not that keen on allowing
with a kingside fianchetto as after ... h7-h6 the
that probably won't happen. a black knight to set up camp on c4 either.
bishop only gets trapped if it retreats to h4.
1 9 liJa4 liJd7 20 :c 1 I:te 7 21 iYb3 'fIc 7 3S . . . liJc4 39 a5
3) White's light-squared bishop has essen­
22 liJb4 iYd6 23 lbd3 "iilc 7 24 lbb4 liJb6 I think it's fair to say that White's inten­
tially been fianchettoed against a wall of
Good lad! Black spurns a repetition of tions were pretty clear throughout this game.
black pawns. On d3 this bishop may restrict
moves to go for a win. Unfortunately Unfortunately, Black is running out of ways
the activity of its opposite number, but as it 1 0 . . . �d6
though, if that is going to happen he really to make progress.
stands here the early cxd5, ... exd5 has merely After 1 0 ... .ixc3 1 1 bxc3 lLJe4 12 'iVc2
needs to play on the kingside and he seems 39 . . . h 5 40 I:te 1 �e6 41 liJa 1 f5 42 liJb3
provided Black's light-squared bishop with lLJb6 13 f3 lLJd6 1 4 lLJf2 .if5 1 5 e4 .ig6 1 6
to have become sidetracked. �f7 43 liJc5 MaS
some options. i.f4 Black's position was solid 1n
25 liJxb6 'i¥xb6 N ow Black has to go on the defensive and
4) Whilst a 'minority attack' is not out of I.Miladinovic-A.Kanengoni, Elista 1 998.
Structurally 25 ... axb6?? would be better so the die is cast.
the question for White, the location of his However, those white bishops always have
but, in view of 26 lLJxd5!, tactically it's not! 44 liJd3 <iitf 6 Y2 - Y2
light-squared bishop means that the c4- potential and inroads have already been made
square is potentially much weaker. in the centre. I think it makes more sense to
S . . . liJbd7 preserve the bishop and 1O ... .if8 would be a

1 23
1 22
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

Summary
I'm not too impressed with this last game as a winning attempt for White but Games 38-39
certainly question whether or not he gets enough compensation if he leaves his c-pawn to be
taken. The only real question is whether Black can hack playing these Queen's Gambit De­
clined style positions. Indeed, if White plays the Catalan against the QGD (1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3
lLlf3 lLlf6 4 g3) then he may have more experience in this type of position. On the other hand,
perhaps the Semi-Slav variation 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 lLlc3 c6 4 lLlf3 dxc4 5 g3 bears just as many
CHAPTER SEVEN I
similarities as it is definitely a gambit.
\Xfhat is clear is that against 4 g3, Nimzo-Indian players shouldn't automatically transpose to
the Kasparov stuff via 4 ... c5 5 ctJf3 as he could well do better. The lines without ... c7 -c5 and 4 iVb3
... d7-d5 seen in Games 36-37 also come with a solid reputation, although my personal opinion
is that White holds the initiative there.

1 d4 lLlf6 2 c4 e6 3 lLlc3 �b4 4 g3 0-0 5 i.,g2 (D) d 5


5 ... �xc3+ 6 bxc3 d6 7 lLl f3 lLl c 6 (D)
8 0-0 - Game 37 1 d4 ctJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ctJc3 i.. b4 4 'iYb3
8 'iVd3 Game 36
- The truth about this move is that it is the
6 lLlf3 poor relation to the Classical variation, with
6 cxd5 - Game 40 the one advantage that it does have over 4
6 . . . dxc4 7 0-0 lLlc6 (D) 8 �g5 Game 39
- 'iVc2 being that Black's bishop is under im­
8 .::re I Game 38
- mediate attack. Indeed, should Black respond
with 4 ... ii.xc3+?, then after 5 'iYxc3, having
saved on a2-a3, White could view the open­
ing as a categorical success. Of course Black
shouldn't be so obliging, and the 4 ... c5 of this
chapter's first three games is the most princi­
pled response. The reason for this is that
White is now weak on d4 and his queen can
prove to be vulnerably placed too. Unfortu­ 5 dxc5
nately, most of this chapter is probably best Relinquishing a centre pawn but creating a
used to aid sleep, and arguably the most in­ half-open d-file.
teresting move, 4 ... a5 (Game 44), is probably The advance 5 dS is asking a bit much as
5 i..g 2 7. . . ctJc6 7. . . ctJc6
just inferior. White is in danger of overextending. \Xfhilst
Black could consider the immediate 5 ... b5!?,
Game 4 1 very convincing was the 5 ... 0-0 6 f3 b5!? 7
J . Fries N ielsen -C . Ward cxbS exdS 8 �d2 d4 of S. Bergsson­
Politiken Cup, Copenhagen 1 994 H.Olafsson, Reykjavik 2000.
5 . . . ctJc6
1 d4 ctJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ctJc3 �b4 4 iVb3 c5 Game 43 looks at the alternatives to this
One drawback of the early white queen natural move. Note for now though that
move is that the d4-square is weakened. Also, Black can regain the c5-pawn at any time.
on b3 rather than c2 her majesty gets in the 6 ctJf3
way of a b-pawn advance and is vulnerable to Preventing a possible ... lLld4; 6 �gS IS
attack from a ... ctJaS thrust as well as a covered in the next game .
... lLld4. 6 . . . ctJe4 ! ?

1 25
1 24
4 'ilJb 3
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

20 a4? ! lId3 4.Jd6


6 ...'iVa5 7 i.d2 'iVxc5 8 e3 0-0 9 a3 .i.xc3 tiJa4
Conceding b4 was hardly desirable but i f
10 i.xc3 ctJe4 is an alternative solid ap­ I was naturally very happy with the ultimate
... a5-a4 had appeared, White's b-pawn would
proach, but arguably 1 1 i.d3 ctJxc3 12 'iVxc3 outcome of this game. I have sympathy for
have been a target. Of course it is now any­
b6 13 0-0 ..tb7 14 l:.fd1 �ac8 15 l:.ac 1 Mfd8 my opponent's decision to seek out my bishop
way, but at least White can dream of parking
16 b4 'iVf8 left White with a slight nibble in but, as you'll soon see, exchanges seem to help
a knight on b5 and one day attacking Black's
J .Piket-L.Ljubojevic, Monte Carlo 1 994. my structure. Black's way of tackling 4 'iVb3
a-pawn. Unfortunately, we don't deal in
here clearly offers some winning chances but,
dreams and this is reality!
objectively speaking, if White just did some­
20 . . . tiJb4 21 .i.f3 .:i.b6 !
thing sensible now like parking a rook on d 1
then he shouldn't be worse.
1 2 . . . lIb8 1 3 4.Jxc5 bxc5 1 4 'ikc3 'iVf6 1 5
'iYxf6
15 i.h5+ is possible but the black king
won't be unhappy in the centre.
1 5 . . . gxf6 Now the knight is heading for the e4-
Now Black has three pawn islands com­ square; this would completely paralyse White.
pared to White's two, but I was pleasantly 42 tiJd2
surprised as to just how useful the half­ Hence White opts to concede a pawn and
opened knight's flies became. effectively the game.
1 6 f4 lIg8 42 . . . z;th 1 43 e4 lixh2 + 44 �d 1 �h4 45
7 i.. d 2
!If3 f5 46 e5 4.Je4 47 4.Jxe4 fxe4 48 1:lf 1
Preventing the queenside pawns from be­
�f7 49 �e2 �g6 50 lId 1 �f5 51 !:rxd7
ing splattered.
This rook prepares to inf.tltrate White's �xf4 5 2 l:Ic7 llh2+ 53 cJtd 1 �e3 0-1
7 . . . 4.Jxd2
position.
Instead 7 ... ctJxc5 8 'iVc2 0-0 9 a3 i.xc3 1 0
22 i.xa8 ftxa8 23 �e2 lId6 Game 42
..txc3 as 1 1 b3 f5 1 2 e 3 b6 1 3 i.e2 ii.b7 1 4
Yes, adding insult to injury, it is Black who V . Kosyrev-A . Mastrovasilis
0-0 left White with the two bishops in
has achieved the 'rook swinger'! Aeroflot Open, Moscow 2004
D.Garcia Roman-A.Ayas Fernandez, Mislata
24 lIfc1 �d3 25 l:tab 1 lIb8 26 4.Jf3 �d6
2003; I definitely prefer my move!
That was fun but now it's time for plan B! 1 d4 4:Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 4.Jc3 i.. b4 4 'iib 3 c5
8 4.Jxd2 f5
27 lIc3 �db6 28 �b2 4.Ja6 5 dxc5 4.Jc6 6 i.. g 5
Slightly different was the 8 ... 0-0 9 e3 ..txc5
The start of a long but rewarding journey.
10 i.e2 b6 1 1 l:td 1 f5 12 ctJf3 'iVf6 13 0-0 g5
29 4.Jd2 4.Jc7 30 �b 1 4.Je8 31 �f3 4.Jd6
of L.Christiansen-J .Speelman, Munich 1 992.
32 g4
Clearly Black can play to win here, although
This looks like desperation but White's
he certainly has some weak points in his 1 7 g3
pieces are extremely passive and, in conjunc­
camp. The d7 -pawn is a target whilst White This pawn was a target on g2, but now it
tion with a possible ...Mb4xa4 plan, Black
should try to park a knight on d6. Indeed it is in the way of the 'rook swinger' l:.f3-h3
intends plonking his knight on e4.
was my eagerness to keep a white knight out that would have been perfect for hitting my
32 . . . fxg4 + 33 �xg4 ':'g8 + 34 �f3 4.Jf5
of e4, thus avoiding the likes of 9 ctJde4 f5 1 0 isolated h-pawn.
Sadly for White it is Black who gets to use
a3 'iVa5 1 1 l:td1 fxe4 1 2 axb4 ctJxb4 1 3 e3 1 7 . . . i.a8 1 8 b3
the g-file first.
'ii'x c5 14 ctJxe4 'iVas 15 ctJc3, that lead me to And now the same thing has happened on
35 �f2 ttJh4
8 ... f5. the queenside. For the foreseeable future at
A black rook is destined to infiltrate down
Incidentally 8 ... ..txc5 9 e3 b6 1 0 ctJde4 0-0 least, my isolanis look safe from the atten­
either of the g- or the d-files.
1 1 i.e2 i.e7 1 2 Md1 a6 1 3 0-0 'iVc7 14 l:.d2 tions of the enemy rooks.
36 !Ig 1 !Ixg 1 37 �xg 1 !Id6 Preventing Black's king's knight from hav­
f5 also worked out okay for Black in J .Piket­ 1 8 . . . �e7 1 9 �f2 a5
Black is coming at White from all angles. ing the same involvement that it did in the
Ki.Georgiev, Corfu 1991. What's more, now my 'weakness' is being
38 4:Jf 1 l:td 1 39 �f2 4.Jf5 40 �e2 l:tb 1 41 previous game. Note that because White has
9 e3 iLxc5 1 0 i..e 2 b 6 1 1 0 - 0 i.. b 7 1 2 used as a weapon!

127
1 26
4 'ii b 3
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

Aside from the text and the 5 ...tlJc6 of the on light squares. After 1 4 e 4 d 6 1 5 l:.d2 'iic7
no d-pawn, now the unpin/pin 6 ... 'iVa5 is working with.
two previous games, the other move played in 1 6 l:.fd 1 a6 1 7 tlJd4 l:.fd8 1 8 'iVd3 i"f8 1 9
well met by 7 iLxf6. 1 1 . . . f5 1 2 g3 ..tb7 1 3 ..tg2 0-0 1 4 0-0
this position is the simple recapture 5 ... iLxc5. 'iVh3 e5 2 0 tlJf5 tlJxe4 21 tlJxe4 i"xe4 22
6 . . . h6 'iig4 1 5 b3 .i::i:a d8 1 6 Mcd 1 ..ta8
As developing the queen's knight protects the tlJe3 b5 White had to work hard just to draw.
This is the simplest route to clear equality, The last few moves have been fairly natu­
bishop anyhow, it seems a shame to move the Upon 13 tlJxe4, a recapture with the knight
with 6 ... iLxc5 7 tlJf3 b6 8 e4 (White could ral and this retreat is to place the bishop on a
bishop again so soon, but there is certainly an should transpose to the Keith Arkell game
also settle for 8 e3, but not for the first nor protected square so as to avoid tlJe5.
argument for it. Compared to the similar line above, whilst 1 3 ... iLxe4 should also be fairly
the last time the white queen is not best 1 7 'iie 2 ..tb4 1 8 l2Jb5 a6 1 9 l2Jbd4 l2Jxd4
in the Classical variation (4 'iVc2 c5 5 dxc5 equaL
placed on b3) 8 ... iLe7 9 iLe2 iLb7 10 e5 tlJg4 20 Mxd4 'iih 5
iLxc5), White queen is detrimentally placed in b) 6 ... 0-0 7 i"g5 i"e7 (7 ... tlJc6 8 e3 b6 9
1 1 iLf4! the more lively option seen in that it obstructs the b-pawn. Also, if Black l:.d1 i"e7 1 0 i"d3 i"b7 1 1 0-0 h6 1 2 i"h4
V.Akopian-A.Shneider, USSR Champion­ wants to get in ... b7-b6 and ... iLb7 before tlJa5 1 3 'iVc2 l:.c8 14 'iVe2 i"xf3 15 gxf3 d5
ship, Moscow 1 99 1 . committing the b8-knight then obviously this 1 6 cxd5 tlJxd5 1 7 i"xe 7 tlJxc3 1 8 i"xd8
Incidentally 6 ... tlJd4 7 'iVa4 iLxc3+ 8 bxc3 makes sense too. After 6 tlJf3 typically there is tlJxe2+ 1 9 i"xe2 l:.fxd8 was also rock-solid
tlJc6 is not that clever as White's trebled a branch in proceedings (although not surpris­ in the drawn game J .Piket-B.Gelfand, Monte
isolated pawns control many useful squares ingly transpositions are common): Carlo [blindfold] 2001) 8 e4!? (easily the most
and are not easy to remove. a) 6 ... b6 7 iLg5 iLb7 and now: aggressive approach) 8 ... d6 (the provocative
7 �xf6 a1) 8 e3 iLe7 9 iLe2 tlJa6 10 0-0 tlJc5 1 1 8 ... h6 9 i"xf6!? JLxf6 1 0 e5 i"e7 1 1 i"d3
Black gets too much action after 7 iLh4?! 'iVc2 tlJce4 1 2 tlJxe4 tlJxe4 1 3 iLxe7 'iVxe7 tlJc6 1 2 0-0 b6 1 3 l:.ad1 a6 14 iLb1 'iVc7 1 5
g5! 8 iLg3 tlJe4. 14 l:.fd 1 0-0 15 tlJd2 tlJxd2 16 l:.xd2 l:.fc8 1 7 'iVc2 ultimately saw White capitalise o n his
7 .. :iYxf6 8 Mc 1 'iVd1 l:.c7 1 8 iLf3 l:.b8 1 9 i"xb7 l:.bxb7 20 space advantage in J .Piket-L.Zsinka, Corfu
The structurally preferable move. Upon 8 'iVa4 'iVc5 21 l:.ad1 g6 22 g3 b5 23 cxb5 d5 1 99 1 ) 9 i"e2 tlJbd7 1 0 0-0 b6 1 1 l:.fe1 a6 1 2
tlJf3 iLxc3+!, whichever way White recap­ 1/2_1/2 J.Galianina Ryjanova-K.Arkell, Cap­ iLfl 'iVc7 1 3 'iVc2 i"b7, reaching the formi­
tures, when the trebled pawns appear Black 2 1 'iid 1
pelle la Grande 2002 was a not very thrilling dable 'hedgehog' structure in A.Lein­
can always make the pawn deficit permanent O r 21 l:.fd 1 i"c6, when White can't do
but also not an uncommon scenario for this V.Epishin, Philadelphia 1 998.
with ... b7-b6 !? Such a continuation (similar much as his own queen is unprotected.
system; if White lacks ambition then with 6 ..td2
to a theme we encountered in Chapter 1) 21 . . . �c5 22 l2Je5 'iixd 1 23 Mdxd 1 d6 24
sensible play Black can easily equalise. 6 a3 i"xc3+ 7 'iVxc3 tlJxc5 transposes to a
guarantees adequate play on the queenside. l2Jd3 Y2 - Y2
a2) J.Piket-A.Karpov, Roquebrune (rapid) main line of the Classical where perhaps
8 . . . �xc 5 9 e3 b6 1 0 l2Jf3 'iig 6 1 992 followed along similar lines, but after 8 Black may have been railroaded into his
Game 43
l:.d 1 0-0 9 e3 iLe 7 1 0 iLe2 tlJa6 1 1 0-0 tlJc5 wrong variation (i.e. 4 'iVc2 c5 rather than the
V Epishin P N ielsen
-

1 2 'iVc2 tlJce4 4 ... 0-0 or the 4... d5 that he may prefer) . If


. .

Hastings 2003/04 that is the case then he should opt for


6 ... i"xc5 instead, when 7 tlJf3 is comparable
1 d4 l2Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 l2Jc3 �b4 4 'iib3 c5
to the lines I have just discussed under
5 dxc5 l2Ja6
5 ... i"xc5 only with White having expended
time on a2-a3. Repeating a familiar theme,
very reasonable is the 7 ... b6 8 i"g5 i"b7 9 e3
i"e7 1 0 i"e2 0-0 1 1 0-0 tlJc5 1 2 'iVc2 tlJce4
of M.Hochstrasser-F.Jenni, Silvaplana 2003.
Note that 7 ... 0-0 8 i"g5 i"e7 allows White to
get in 9 e4, with 9 ... h6 10 i"h4 d6 1 1 i"e2
tlJc5 12 iVc2 as being played in the game
Attacking the g2-pawn and thus making V.Kosyrev-A.Aleksandrov, Internet 2004.
life difficult for White's remaining bishop. Ironically, perhaps Black should not attempt
1 1 'iic 2 the Dutch GM made the surprising deci­ to dissuade White's e-pawn from moving
White's solution is to propose a queen sion to concede the bishop pair with 1 3 two squares if he wants the game to have
trade. A swap here and now doesn't look i"xf6 1 3 . . .tlJxf6 and then to put his pawns more of an unbalanced feel!
much for White, but there is that d-ftle to be
1 29
1 28
4 'ii b 3
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

O f course 8 ... ctJxc5?? 9 'iVxb4 ctJd3+ perhaps 1 9 ...e 5 to seek a possible knight out­
6 . . . 0-0 1 5 ... f5 1 6 ctJb5 a6 1 7 ctJbd4 as 1 8 ctJe5 'iff6 doesn't work now as the queen is protected. post on d4. Things would be fairly unclear
Though some of the moves are the same 1 9 ctJdf3 I;Iad8 20 ctJd3 �c6 21 ctJd4 �a8 22 9 'iix c3 tDxc5 1 0 f3 d6 1 1 i.g5 though and so instead Black errs on the side
you will notice that, compared to our main f3 ctJxd3 23 'iVxd3 ctJc5 24 'iVc3 f4 25 exf4 11 b4 is possible, but with White's king­ of caution!
game, 6 .. YJlie7 7 a3 �xc3 8 'ifxc3 ctJxc5 9 f3 'iVxf4 26 ctJb3 ctJa4 27 'iVd2 �c6 28 ctJd4 side development being so poor such an 20 gd2 tDb3 Y2 - Y2
as 10 e4 d6 1 1 ctJe2 0-0 12 ctJg3 h6 1 3 �e2 �b7?? 29 b3 (overlooking 29 'iVxf4! I;Ixf4 30 expansion could easily backfire.
�d7 14 0-0 a4 wastes a bit too much time. ctJxe6; we shouldn't read too much into this 1 1 . . . i.d7 Game 44
Although it does seem attractive to fix blitz game but I'm still going to leave you Compared to the line I just gave in the N Pedersen -S . Kristjansson
.

White's queenside pawn structure in this with the rest of it as the general flow is a note to 6 ...'ife7 , here Black has forgone pawn Budapest 2002
manner, in fact the knight isn't guaranteed a good indication of how Black can be ground moves in favour of swift piece development.
permanent home on c5 as there are things down) 29 ... ctJc5 30 'iVxf4 I;Ixf4 31 g3 I;Iff8 32 Things could easily go horribly wrong for 1 d4 e6 2 c4 tDf6 3 tDc3 ..tb4 4 "iVb3 a5
going on elsewhere. Indeed 1 5 e5! dxe5 1 6 f4 Wfl 33 .tf3 .txf3 34 ctJxf3 d6 35 I;Ife 1 White, and I'm sure this concept was very
'ifxe5 leaves White with two excellent bish­ ': fe8 36 h4 I;Id7 37 Wg2 I;Ied8 38 h5 rJ;;e7 39 much taken into consideration in the route
ops (particularly the dark-squared one). One f5 e5 40 g4 rJ;; f6 41 rJ;;g3 I;Ib8 42 I;Id5 I;Ic8 43 this game takes.
big threat is ctJf5, and now 16 ... ctJa6 17 �e3 ctJd2 I;Ic6 44 a3 We7 45 I;Ie3 rJ;;d 8 46 b4 axb4 1 2 e4
ctJe8 18 I;Iad 1 f6 19 'ifd4 �c6 20 �d3 ctJec 7 47 axb4 ctJb7 48 g5 hxg5 49 rJ;;g4 rJ;;e 7 50 The Spielmann vanation expert decides
21 �c2 I;Iad8 22 'ifg4 f5 23 'iVf4 I;Ixd1 24 rJ;; xg5 ctJd8 51 rJ;;g6 We8 52 b5 I;Icc7 53 ctJe4 against the greedy 12 'iVd4 �a4 1 3 'iVxd6
I;Ixd1 I;Id8 25 I;Ixd8+ 'iVxd8 26 'iVe5 saw ctJfl 54 f6 gxf6 55 ctJxf6+ rJ;;e 7 56 ctJxd7 'iVxd6 14 ':xd6 I;Ifd8 and who could blame
White turn his domination into points (well, ':xd7 57 I;If3 Wf8 58 h6 rJ;;e 8 59 h7 ctJh8+ 60 him? With more than half of White's army
one!) in V.Epishin-R.Pogorelov, Catalan Bay Wh6 We7 61 I;Id1 rJ;;e6 62 I;Ig1 e4 63 I;If8 1 -0 still at home, such pawn grabbing is asking
2004. V.Epishin-V.Bologan, playchess.com 2004. for trouble.
7 gd 1 'iie 7 Recently I must confess to being a bit 1 2 . . . ..ta4 1 3 gd2
dismayed when preparing for a tournament 1 3 �xf6 gxf6 may double a set of black
and observing so many Internet blitz games kingside pawns, but that bishop is one of the
on the likes of Mega Database 2005. How­ few pieces in play! Guarding the bishop and certainly putting
ever, in all fairness I believe that weaker play­ 1 3 . . . tDb3 1 4 gd 1 tDc5 1 5 gd2 tDb3 1 6 the clamp on any of White's queenside ex­
ers can find a lot of instruction in encounters J:d 1 gfc8 pansion plans for the foreseeable future.
of such a type between two strong players as Aside from this and 4 ... c5, a couple of other
the positional play (rather than all the tactics) ideas have appeared in practical play:
is often of a good quality. The instinctive a) 4 ... ctJc6 5 ctJf3 (not falling for 5 a3?
judgement calls of the top players are cer­ ctJxd4! 6 'iVxb4? ctJc2+) 5 ... d6 6 a3 �xc3+ 7
tainly something to learn from.
'iVxc3. We have now reached a position that
8 a3
could have come from a Classical Nimzo (4
'ifc2) , a Kasparov Nimzo (4 ctJf3) or even a
'Two Knights' Tango' (1 d4 ctJf6 2 c4 ctJc6).
A useful move that includes a sneaky idea.
Planning for ... e6-e5, Black's structure is very
Black is now threatening to take on c5 with
solid but theoretically speaking White has a
the knight as the bishop wouldn't really be en
very slight edge because of his bishop pair
prise on b4 because of the knight check on
advantage.
d3. I still feel that it is my duty to talk about
Although 4 ... c5 is probably the 'best' way
the likes of 7 ... �xc5 8 ctJf3 b6 9 �g5 �b7 Suddenly fancying his chances, Black es­ to deal with 4 'iVb3, there is also an element
10 e3 �e7 1 1 �e2 h6 12 �h4 ctJc5 1 3 'iVc2 chews the draw by repetition here as he ap­ of taste present in Black's decision making.
ctJfe4 14 �xe7 'ifxe7 1 5 0-0 again. It is really pears to go for the win. In the previous variation, for example, 5 ... d5
difficult to believe that White has much of an 1 7 tDe2 tDc5 1 8 J:d 2 tDb3 1 9 J:d 1 tDc5 is possible if Black is happy with that whole
advantage (if indeed any) in this type of posi­
In truth, not for very long though! Black QGD scene. After 6 �g5 dxc4 7 'iVxc4 'iVd5
tion but there is clearly one super-GM who
could have tried the aggressive 19 ... b5 or 8 'iVxd5 ctJxd5 9 I;Ic1 �d7 10 e4 ctJxc3 1 1
perseveres with this variation. Check out 8 . . . i.. x c3
131
1 30
4 VJli b 3
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

the way that White has handled this opening, Although Black's bishop is dominant now,
bxc3 �a5 12 �d3 f6 1 3 �e3 e5 1 4 ctJd2 employ 7 g3, 7 �g5 or even the move that is
and I think that we should just let him get on I really don't think that this was necessary.
�b6 1 5 ctJb3 0-0-0 1 6 �e2 Black actually utilised in the main game.
with it! The simple 29 ... ,S,b3 was fInc.
went on to win in L.Van Wely-V.Bologan, Maybe Black should settle for 6 ... d6, but I
14 . . :iWgS 1 5 lih3 ! 30 lixd3!
playchess.com 2004, although that wasn't don't like the 7 ctJf3 b6 8 b3 �b7 9 �b2
Consistent! I suspect that Black had expected 30
really down to the opening. ctJbd7 1 0 e3 �a7 1 1 ctJd2 c5 1 2 �e2 'i'a8 1 3
1 5 . . . libS 1 6 lig3 'iVfS 1 7 i.d2 b6 1 S 'i'xd3 iVxg4 when there is a pawn plus
b) 4 ... iVe7 5 �g5 b6 is slightly reminiscent f3 'i'b8 1 4 0-0 o f N.Pedersen-LCsom, Buda­
i.e3 i.a6 plenty of compensation for the exchange.
of a Bogo-Indian, only after 6 a3 �xc3+ 7 pest 2002 as Black's queenside looks awk­
30 . . . i.e4 31 ida3
iVxc3 �b7 White has no need to commit his ward.
knight to f3. Indeed 8 f3 d6 9 ctJh3 h6 1 0 7 VJlig3! ?
�h4 ctJbd7 1 1 e 3 c 5 1 2 dxc5 bxc5 1 3 �e2 Black's previous move was obviously de­
d5 14 �f2 0-0 15 0-0 again left White with a signed to prevent the �g5 pin, but now the
minute plus in L.Christiansen-A.Karpov, h-pawn becomes a target itself. The immedi­
Wijk aan Zee 1 993. Now the position has ate threat though is to the g7 -pawn.
Classical traits and once more it's the bishops 7 . . . g5
that have the potential. Unattractive, but nevertheless somewhat
5 a3 better than 7 ... 0-0? 8 �xh6.
White could of course consider 5 �g5 S h4!
and 5 ctJf3 but this gets straight to the point. Correctly exploiting Black's pawn weaknesses
5 . . . i.xe3 + and his lack of a dark-squared bishop. S . . . g4
Black was a strong player, but I don't buy 9 e4! ?
1 9 b4
the 5 ... �e7 6 e4 d6 7 ctJf3 e5 8 iVc2 ctJbd7 9
I'm not so sure about White's next few This and the similar idea 31 iVf3 were
b3 0-0 1 0 �e2 �e8 1 1 0-0 of V.Malaniuk­
moves, and the more mundane 1 9 d5!? probably what Black had overlooked.
A.Onischuk, Hamburg 1 993. Black may just
makes more sense to me. 31 . . . .txe2 32 �a S + 'iit e 7 33 ldXgS tLlf6
as well have played the Old Indian (1 d4 ctJf6
1 9 . . . axb4 20 axb4 i.b7 21 VJlie2 liaS 22 34 lihS tLlxg4 35 'iitd 2
2 c4 d6 3 ctJc3 ctJbd7 4 e4 e5) from the offl
O-O-O? ! In this endgame, one pawn is not going to
I must confess that what fIrst attracted me
Unbelievable stuffl be enough compensation.
to 4 ... a5 was the possibility of 5 ... a4?! 6 iVxb4
22 . . . 'iitd S 35 . . . i.f3 36 'iite 1 h5 37 i.e1 dxe5 3S
ctJc6 7 iVc5 (defInitely best!) 7 ... �a5 8 ctJb5
With or without the ridiculous placing of bxe 5 e6 39 i.g 5 + f6 40 .l:i.h7 + 'iitfS 41
ctJe4 9 iVh5 ctJxd4 1 0 �b 1 ctJc2+ 1 1 �d 1
both kings, 22 ... b5! battling for the d5-square i.f4 e5 42 dxe5 fxe5 43 i.g3 tLlf6 44
ctJxf2+. I remember analysing these sort of
would be a good positional move here. lia7 tLlg4 45 lia3 .td5 46 lia7 �eS 47
crazy lines with ] ohn Emms before we were
23 tLlh3 ligS 24 lixgS 'iVxgS 25 tLlf4 b5! lih 7 tLlf6 4S lihS + 'iitf 7 49 .txe5 tLle4 50
both Grandmasters, and I have to say that
He's found it now though, and here the .td4 'iitg 6 51 .l:i.fS i.f7 52 lidS i.d5 53 f3
I'm disappointed that it seems nobody has
situation is rather unclear. tLlg3 54 lid6 + 'iit h 7 55 lif6 i.e4 56 'iitf2
ever played this. I don't blame them though, I can't vouch for the quality o f my books,
26 e5 tLld5 27 tLlxd5 i.xd 5 2S g4 lia3 tLle2 57 i.b2 b4 5S .l:i.xe6 tLle3 59 i.xe3
as despite being a bit of fun it is probably but even the harshest of critics would have to
29 i.b2 lixd3? 1 -0
complete rubbish for Black, who looks set to acknowledge that I do pick some entertaining
get a knight or two trapped in a corner! games!
6 VJlixe3 h6 9 . . . tLlxe4 1 0 VJlixg4 tLlf6 1 1 VJlig7 'iit e 7 1 2
Regarding that previous fantasy variation, 'iVg3
my idea had been to get in ... a5-a4 for free. Twelve moves into the game and White's
Of course 6 ... a4 is possible now but, al­ main army languishes at home. Black's situa­
though the existence of the en passant rule tion is no better though, with just a knight
means that White's queenside pawns are and a king to show in terms of development.
fIxed, this seems a bit time consuming. To go 1 2 . . . d6 1 3 i.d3 tLlbd7 1 4 VJlif3
with his bishop pair White has a free hand in I think I might have preferred a knight
the centre. SpecifIcally, as a reply White could move here but there is a defInite appeal to

1 33
1 32
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

Summary
In my opinion 4 'iYb3 isn't a serious try to get an advantage from the opening. However, given

I CHA PTER EIGHT r


that 4 ... c5 is probably the best response, if White is in a solid mood, it could be extremely diffi­
cult to defeat. Having said all that, Epishin is just one strong grandmaster who seems to be
persevering with it, and Black often needs to be comfortable with a hedgehog formation to put
up a good defence.
Rarely a variation for excitement lovers!

1 d4 ctJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ctJc3 �b4 4 'iYb3 (D) c 5


4 ... a 5 - Game 44
Very Rare Fourth
5 dxc5 (D) ctJc6
5 ... ctJa6 - Game 43 M oves for White
6 ctJf3 (D) - Game 4 1
6 jLg5 Game 42
-

1 d4 ttJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ttJc3 �b4 worked then this book and indeed every
Here I want to tie up all the loose ends book ever written on the Nimzo- Indian
starting with the amazingly cheeky 4 e4? I f would be made redundant. It doesn't!
you are a Nimzo-Indian player then you In light of trendy lines such as the Semi­
could easily go through your whole life with­ Slav's 1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 ctJf3 ctJf6 4 e3 e6 5
out encountering any of the lines that follow, ctJc3 ctJbd7 6 'iYc2 �d6 7 g4!?, I thought it
and I strongly urge White players to stay well might only be a matter of time before 4 g4?!
away from this chapter's contents!

Game 45
4 "fib3 5 dxc5 6 ttJf3
V . Chemin-J . Su nye N eto
Brazilian Ch. , Sao Luis 1 98 1

1 d 4 ttJf6 2 c 4 e 6 3 ttJc3 i.b4 4 e4?

(see diagram) was wheeled out against the


Nimzo. Surprisingly there seemed to be no
trace of it until I located 4...ctJxg4 5 e4 f5 6
ct:Jh3 0-0 7 f3?! 'iVh4+ 8 �e2 in the game
J .Hvenekilde-E.Bang, Copenhagen 1 973.
The less said about that the better, except
that the enigmatic pipe-smoking Mr Hve­
This is a pretty old game to be using con­ nekilde was clearly a man ahead of his time!
sidering I promised to base most of my lines 4 . . . CZJxe4
on modern ideas. However, if this move To consider anything else would be pure

1 35
1 34
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n Ve r y R a r e Fo u r th Mo v e s fo r Wh i t e

lunacy, and indeed 4 ... d6?? 5 'iVa4+ tZJc6 6 d5 with the worse structure and up against the a novice playing White has no real theoretical etJxd3 1 3 ':xd3 exd5 14 cxd5 �a6 of
got all it deserved in R.Schoengart-A.Cotaru, two bishops on a reasonably open board. knowledge of 3 ... iLb4 then this is going to be W.zichler-D.Paashaus, Bad Zwesten 1 998.
Hamburg 1 997. 1 3 . . . d 5 ! 1 4 exf7 + �xf7 1 5 �xd3 .ta6 a popular response. The logic of course is Back to 7 'iVg4, we have 7 ...etJxc3 (7 ... f5 8
5 �g4 that the text unpins the knight and prevents 'iVxg7 'iVf6 9 iVxf6 etJxf6 1 0 f3 is objectively
The only justification for White's apparent the doubling of the c-pawns. It's a bit harsh a bit better for White) 8 'iVxg7 �e7 9 bxc3
contempt of the Nimzo. However, com­ to call it a bad move but the reason why it is 'iVg8 10 'iVh6 iLb7 1 1 f3 'iVg6 12 'iVe3 with
pared to the next game's notes to 4 iLd2 b6 5 virtually never seen at high levels is because it equal chances in O.Jakobsen-Cu.Hansen,
e4!? �xc3 6 �xc3 tZJxe4 7 'iVg4, White isn't seriously lacks ambition. Although it pur­ Vejle 1 982.
going to get a chance to take on g7 because ports to win a bishop for a knight without a2) 5 f3 iLxc3 (not forced, but the imme­
of the problems on c3. compromising the pawn structure, that is not diate 5 ... d5?? is of course not possible be­
5 . . . CLJxc3 actually the reality; after a ... iLxc3, iLxc3 cause of 6 'iVa4+) 6 iLxc3 d5 7 e3 iLa6 8
trade Black will have available ... etJe4 to, if iVa4+ 'iVd7 9 'iVxd7+ etJbxd7 1 0 cxd5 �xfl
desired, redress the minor piece balance. As 1 1 �xfl and whichever way Black recaptures
it is generally the case that White has a space (the knight in the case of Z.Nikolic-I.Csom,
advantage in this 1 d4 opening, it is not in his Nis 1 981) it's no great shakes for White.
interest to encourage fair swaps and, besides, b) 4 ... 0-0 5 a3 iLxc3 (gaining control of
Black's point: a6-fl is a tasty diagonal! Black may well prefer his knight on e4 to the e4-square is the most obvious but
1 6 �xd5 + �xd5 1 7 cxd5 Mad8 1 8 .te3 White's dark-squared bishop. 5 ... iLe7 6 e4 d5 7 e5 etJe4 8 etJxe4 dxe4 9
Mxd5 0- 1 Although 4 ... d5 would not be ridiculous �c3 f6 1/2_ 1/2 N . Ostojic-S.Martinovic, Bel­
White's cause is a hopeless one. here and 4 ... c5 has also been seen, I'd prefer grade SCG 2004 is food for thought) 6 iLxc3
to focus on two more Nimzo-style plans: etJe4 7 'iVc2 (or 7 ':cl d6, for example 8 etJf3
Game 46 a) 4... b6 'iVe7 9 g3 etJxc3 1 0 ':xc3 e5 and Black had
F . Vanlerburgh-C . Ward easily equalised in A.Ascic-E.Dizdarevic,
Porec 1 998 and actually went on to win)
Ghent 2004
6 a3 7 ... f5
6 �d2 0-0 7 bxc3 iLe7 8 iLh6 iLf6 9 etJh3 1 d4 CLJf6 2 c4 e6 3 CLJc3 .tb4 4 CLJf3
e5! 10 �e3 exd4 1 1 iLxd4 iLxd4 12 cxd4 d5 Although 4 etJf3 is the specific move here
1 3 'iVf3 dxc4 14 iLxc4 'iVxd4 was no im­ (destined to transpose next turn), I just want
provement in c.Risueno-G.Jimenez, to stop for a moment to talk about 4 �d2.
Albacete 1 99 1 , and of course 6 'iVxg7?? is
rubbish in view of 6 ... etJe4+ 7 �e2 iVf6.
6 . . . .te7 7 bxc3
Or 7 'iVxg7? iLf6.
7 . . . .tf6
7 ... 0-0 8 iLd3 f5 9 'iVe2 iLf6 was equally
adequate in M.Roeder-G.Volpert, Unter­ and now
franken 1 987 - White is simply a pawn a 1) 5 etJf3 would transpose to our main
down. ( game.
8 .td3 b6 9 CLJe2 c5 1 0 �e4 a2) 5 e4!? iLxc3 6 iLxc3 etJxe4 7 iVg4 is when Black has no worries in any of the
This would be an excellent move were the the same theme seen in the first game of this three different white approaches:
black king on h7. Unfortunately, it's not! chapter, but under better circumstances; b 1) 8 etJf3 d6 9 g3 b6 (9 ... etJc6 and the
1 0 . . ,ciJc6 1 1 d5 CLJe5 1 2 dxe6 That's not saying an awful lot but at least plan of playing for ... e6-e5 is also reasonable)
I could criticise this move but I would just here White hasn't got real problems on c3. 10 iLg2 etJxc3 1 1 'iVxc3 iLb7 1 2 c5 �d5 1 3
I had this move played against me many
be splitting hairs. 4 e4? is a complete failure! times when I was a young junior and I'm Instead of this, bizarre and not to be recom­ 0-0 iVf6 1 4 cxd6 cxd6 1 5 etJh4 �xg2 1/2_1/2
1 2 . . . CLJxd3+ 1 3 �f 1 sure that other relative beginners can relate mended is the 7 iVf3?! �b7 8 0-0-0 iVg5+ 9 H.Schaufelberger-O.Cvitan, Switzerland
13 'iVxd3 dxe6 leaves White a pawn down, �c2 etJc5 10 d5 0-0 1 1 h4 iVg6+ 1 2 iLd3 2004.
similar Nimzo-Indian experiences. Indeed, if

137
1 36
Ve r y R a re Fo u r t h Mo v e s fo r Wh i t e
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

threat that Black's last move carried is evi­ This rook is heading for e4. Black has by
b2) 8 g3 d6 9 iLg2 �xc3 1 0 �xc3 �d7 6 a3 i.. x c3 7 i.xc3 tDe4 8 'iVc2 0-0
dent in the following variation: 14 ii.e2 a4 1 5 far the better pieces and will soon be plenty
1 1 �f3 'iie7 12 l:tc1 e5 again with equality, Unless the el -square is vacated to facilitate
'iVa2 exd5 1 6 cxd5 .:laS! 1 7 .!tc4 'iVa8 when of pawns up too.
and the 1 3 0-0 e4 14 �d2 �f6 1 5 e3 c6 16 f3 a retreat, Black can always redress the
the d5-pawn will drop.
I/Z_I/Z of H.Schaufelberger-P.Hardicsay, Bala­ bishop-for-knight balance with ... �xd2.
14 . . . 4.Je4 1 5 'iic 2 4.Jc5 1 6 .te2 e5 Game 47
tonlelle 2004 suggested that both players However, I was in no hurry to take White's
Black's bishop is currently locked out on D . K ud ischewitsch-I . Manor
concurred! bishop; the knight is an excellent piece on e4
b7 but it has an obvious way back into the Israel Team Ch., Ramat Aviv 2000
b3) 8 e3 b6 9 �e2 .tb7 10 f3 'iih4+! 1 1 and White has his work cut out trying to
game.
g3 'iVh5 1 2 iLg2 �xc3 1 3 'iVxc3 i..x f3 1 4 budge it.
1 7 h4? ! 1 d4 4.Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 4.Jc3 ..tb4 4 Vi'd3
�f4 'iVg4 with very minimal play for the 9 e3 d6 1 0 ':d 1 tDd7
One can understand why White played
pawn, D.Cavero Cavero-Z.Franco Ocampos,
this move but it is wildly optimistic. Probably
Javea 1 992.
he should just sit back and take his medicine.
4 . . . b6 5 ..td2?!
1 7 . . . i.. c 8
Although 4 �f3 shouldn't strictly speak­
This and ... f7-f5 were on my mind in any
ing belong in this book, in my recent Nimzo­
case and White's previous move wasn't going
Indian Kasparov Vanation I really only focussed
to put me off.
on 5 iLg5 here (with 5 g3 getting a small
1 8 4.Jg5 f5 1 9 f4
mention) . Therefore this game gives me an
It's very logical for White to want to fix
excellent opportunity for completion in that
some pawns on dark squares, but now White
department whilst also being able to cover 4
will experience difficulties on the e-ftle .
.td2. Regarding this move now, perhaps the
1 9 . . . exf4 20 exf4 Vie8 !
symbol '?!' is a little unfair but, as I have al­
Looking to invade down the e-ftle but also
ready implied, my own experiences of such a
eying up the a4-pawn. I'm going to finish off this book with an­
move for White in the Nimzo is that it rarely I certainly toyed with the idea of
21 b3 'iVe3 ! other odd move. Its offbeat nature justifies
causes Black any problems. 1 0 ...�xc3 11 'iVxc3 iLxf3 1 2 gxf3 �d7 with
Suddenly White's position collapses: he its inclusion and at least it is a game between
5 . . . i.b7 the intention of bringing the queen out to h4
can't guard both his b-pawn and his f-pawn. two strong players and in the same millen­
or f6. Yes, I was happy with the concept of
22 1:{f1 nium!
mixing things up but I was also attracted to
the road I took. Before I go into detail about the text
1 1 d5 though, for completion let me eliminate all
Things work out quite nicely for Black de­ the other dregs!:
spite this being the thematic approach. White a) 4 'iVa4?!
wants to open up the c3-g7 diagonal and shut
out my bishop on b7.
1 1 . . .tDxc3 1 2 'iVxc3 tDf6!
With my f-pawn at home rather than on
f5 (where it had previously seemed destined
to end up) I am not remotely weak on e6.
Hence the decision to test White's mettle.
Okay, a confession here: the real move 1 3 'iib3
order to this game was 1 c4 b6 2 �c3 ii.b7 3 Hardly desirable, but after the alternative
22 . . :+i'xb3
d4 e6 4 �f3 ii.b4 5 i.. d2 �f6. Had the game 1 3 dxe6 fxe6 Black would have reopened the
I was also attracted by the idea of
really come via the text moves, I may have diagonal for his bishop as well as having an f­
22 ...'iVg3+ 23 l:t f2 h6 but decided it was sim­
selected 5 ... 0-0 over 5 ... .tb7 on the grounds ftle to play with.
pler to net pawns rather than the exchange.
that it is more flexible. Of course it would be 1 3 . . . a5! 1 4 a4
23 'iix b3 4.Jxb3 24 l:td3 4.Jc5 25 lIa3 h6 Given that I was never likely to cover 4
very harsh to criticise the also very obvious This is an incredibly ugly move but, as
26 4.Jf3 ii.d7 27 ..td 1 .l:i.ae8 + 0- 1 'iVd2?, this is the only remaining queen move!
5 ... �b7 . well as helping to secure the c5-square, the

1 38 1 39
Ver y R a r e Fo u rth Mo v e s fo r Wh i t e
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

transpose to a main line of the Classical, but this was always going to be tempting. It's too
Unlike 4 iVb3, it doesn't get in the way of the how the queen often comes here and White's
instead a retreat along the diagonal seeks to late for the ... c7 -c6 idea now as effectively
b-pawn. However, whilst it does attack the light-squared bishop could still come out to
punish White more. White will have executed a successful minor­
black bishop, it doesn't support the knight. d3 if the queen recaptures on c4 in the near 5 . . . exd5 6 �b 5 + ity attack.
Thus it is never likely to compare with the future.
Classical (4 iVc2) as a2-a3 isn't a threat. Now 4 . . . d5
4 ... c5 5 ttJf3 ctJc6 6 e3 0-0 7 �d2 b6 8 �d3 Switching to a QGD set-up makes sense,
�b7 9 0-0 d5 10 cxd5 exd5 1 1 �b5 iVc7 1 2 although 4 ... c5!? also looks like a good way of
�xc6 �xc6 1 3 � 3 a s 1 4 a 3 c 4 1 5 �c2 exposing the white queen. Now:
.td6 had highlighted the poor positioning of a) 5 d5 0-0 6 �d2 exd5 7 cxd5 d6 8 g3 b6
her majesty in G.Sull-Z.Hajnal, Hungary 9 �g2 �a6 10 'iVc2 ttJbd7 1 1 ctJh3 l::. e 8 1 2
1 999 and I suspect that Black could do even ttJf4 �xc3 1 3 bxc3 g5 1 4 ttJd3 l::. xe2+ 1 5
better. �xe2 ttJe5 1 6 �d1 �xd3 1 7 'iVa4 b 5 1 8
b) 4 .tf4 �a6 'iVd7 1 9 �c 1 b4 20 �a5 a6 0- 1 was
pretty impressive in V.Mikenas-P.Keres,
Moscow 1 949
b) 5 dxc5 ttJa6!? 6 a3 ttJxc5 7 'iVc2 �xc3+
8 'iVxc3 0-0 leaves Black a tempo up on the
I would have said 'A kingside fianchetto 1 6 h4 i.f5 1 7 'iVd 2 0-0-0 1 8 ..tg2 �b8
equivalent Classical line because the white
would ultimately see the light-squared bishop 1 9 4:Jf4 ..te6
queen has triangulated!
biting on granite so instead White vacates the Required to protect the d-pawn.
On top of this, a transposition back into
d3-square for it.' However, read on! 20 4:Ja4 f6 21 4:Jxb6 cxb6 22 4:Jxe6
the Classical could easily occur, say, after 6 . . . 4:Jc6 'iVxe6 23 'iVd3 g5
4... 0-0 5 a3 �xc3+ 6 'iVxc3 but the feeling is
Black gets to develop another piece, al­
that Black should be striving for more.
though in truth he would rather not obstruct
his c-pawn. In queen's pawn openings, c­
pawns (be they white or black) are used to
attack or to support the centre.
As this is neither pinning nor unpinning, it 7 i.g5 h6 8 i.xf6 �xf6 9 e3
is difficult to justify it right now (if ever) .
9 'iVxd5? �e6 10 'i¥e4 'i¥xd4 clearly fa­
This move is not to be confused with 1 d4
vours Black who would have the bishop pair
ttJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ttJf3 b6 4 �f4, which was a
and a big lead in development.
favourite variation of the English GM Tony
9 . . . �d6 1 0 4:Jge2 a6 1 1 'iYd3 4:Je7 1 2 a3
rviiles.
..ta5
After 4 �f4 Black has several very satis­
The other bishop makes it to f5 soon
factory plans but one very entertaining game
anyway. Regarding this one, tl1ere is no point
(particularly from Black's point of view!) was
in trading on c3 because the other knight is Structurally White stands better. However,
4 ... 0-0 5 e3 d6 6 �d3 �xc3+ 7 bxc3 �e8 8
waiting to replace its compatriot. his problem is what to do with his king.
ttJe2 ctJbd7 9 h3 e5 10 �h2 b6 1 1 g4 �b7 5 cxd 5
1 3 b4 .ib6 1 4 g3 a5 24 .ih3 �d6 25 �e2 .t'.ldg8 26 .t'.lac 1 Itd8
12 :g1 ttJe4 1 3 g5 f6 14 gxf6 :xf6 1 5 �c2 5 �g5 shouldn't be worse for White al­
I think I prefer 1 4 ... c6!? as it offers other 27 .t'.lc3 g4 28 .ig2 � - �
exd4 16 cxd4 ctJxf2 17 �xh7+ �h8 1 8 � f5 though 5 ... c6 (certainly not forced) 6 ttJf3
possibilities to this otherwise 'out of it' In my opinion White should play on, al­
ctJe4 19 ctJg3 ctJg5 20 0-0-0 'iVxe3+ 21 �b 1 ctJbd7 7 e3 'iVa5 was a Cambridge Springs
bishop. Black is probably slightly better here. though he has a hard graft ahead of him and
ttJf3 22 :d3 'iVe7 23 'iVg2 ttJxg1 24 �xb7 but with the white queen on d3 rather than
1 5 b5 h5 whether he would actually win is a different
'iVe1+ 25 �c2 :xf5 26 ttJxf5 �f2+ 27 �b3 c2. Now the 8 �xf6 ttJxf6 9 ctJd2 0-0 1 0
With White still to sort out his kingside matter.
l::.b8 28 'iVe4 ctJc5+!! 29 dxc5 bxc5+ 30 �c3 �e2 l::. e 8 1 1 0-0 e 5 1 2 ctJb3 e 4 o f
'iVb2 matc!, J.J ansson-J .Tisdall, Asker 1 9 88. G.Grassmehl-M.Usachyi, Bad Liebenzell
4 'iVd3 has a little more sense. We have 1 996 proved that to be an inferior square.
seen in the kingside fianchetto variations Upon 5 a3, 5 ... �xc3+ 6 'i¥xc3 ctJe4 would

14 1
1 40
O ffb e a t Nim z o - In dia n

Summary
%at can I say? In one way 4 e4(?) is critical, but basically it's rubbish. Discounting 4 ctJf3, of
all \X'hite's fourth move alternatives covered here, I would have to say that 4 'iVd3 is the 'least
bad'! Black doesn't have the advantage after that (well, not yet anyway!) but has several reason­
able responses available. Essentially then, a warning to \X'hite players: Keep clear!

1 d4 ctJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ctJc3 iLb4 4 'iVd3 (D) - Game 4 7


INDEX OF COMPLETE GAMES I
4 e 4 (D) Game 4 5
-

4 ctJf3 - Game 4 6
4 iLd2 (D) - Game 46 (notes)

Beliavsky.A-De Firmian.N, Sigeman & Co, Malmo 2004 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34


Beliavsky.A-Kunte.A, Pune 2004 . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
. .

Berkes .F-Cao Sang, Hungarian Ch., Budapest 2004 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 .

Chemin.V-Sunye Neto.J, Brazilian Ch., Sao Luis 1 98 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 35


D anilov.V-Hernandez .H, Pedrido 2004 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . .. . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
. . . . .

4 VJlid3 4 e4 4 i.. d2 Epishin.V-Nielsen.P, Hastings 2003 /04 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . 128


. . . . .

Erdos .V-Ilincic.Z, Budapest 2004 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . .. ... . . . 1 00 . . . .

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. .

Fries Nielsen.J-Ward.C, Politiken Cup, Copenhagen 1 994 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... . .. . . . 125


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. . .

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.. . ..................................... 93
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