Opening Repertoire: Nimzo and Bogo Indian (Everyman Chess-Opening Repertoire): Nimzo & Bogo Indian 1781941092, 9781781941096

International Master Christof Sielecki presents a repertoire for Black based on the Nimzo-Indian and Bogo-Indian defence

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opening repertoire

Nimzo and Bogo Indian Christof Sielecki


First published in 2015 by Gloucester Publishers Limited, North burgh House, 10 Northburgh Street, London EC1 V OAT Copyright© 2015 Christof Sielecki The right of Christof Sielecki to be identified as the author of this work h as been asserted in accordance with the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication m ay be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or tran smitted in any form or by any m ean s, 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.

I S B N : 978 1 78194 109 6 Distributed in North America by Nation al Book N etwork, 1 5 200 N B N Way, Blue Ridge Summit, PA 172 14. Ph : 717.794.3 800. Distributed in Europe by Central Books Ltd., 99 Wallis Road, London E9 5 LN . Ph 44 ( 0 ) 845 458 9911. All other sales enquiries should be directed to Everyman Chess, Northburgh House, 10 Northburgh Street, London EC1V OAT email : [email protected] ; website: Everyman is the registered trade m ark of Random House Inc. and is used in this work under licence from Random House Inc.

Everyman Chess Series Chief advisor: Byron Jacobs Commissioning editor: John Emms Assistant editor: Richard Palliser

Typeset and edited by First Rank Publishing, Brighton. Cover design by Horatio Monteverde. Printed by TJ Internation al Limited, Padstow, Cornwall.

About the Author Christof Sielecki is an International Master and profession al chess coach from Germ any. As a pl ayer he h as competed in the first l eagues of Germ any, Belgium and the Netherl ands, where he manag ed to win the N ation al Team Ch ampionships with his team from Voeren­ daal in 2012. In Germ any h e pl ays on the top board for his hometown club of Din sl aken, and in recent years h e has h elped the team to g ain promotion from the 7th division to the 2nd division . His greatest success as an individual player was winning the Open Tourna­ m ent of Latsch ach 2013, ahead of several Grandm asters and Intern ational Masters. H e is a regul ar producer of in struction al chess videos and a live commentator of top­ level events for on line chess pl atforms like the Internet Chess Club and Chess24. His own YouTube channel ( /chessexpl ained) features more th an 3, 500 chess vid­ eos and has an audience of close to 20,000 subscribers. This is his first book.


About the author


Bi bliography


I ntrod u ction


1 N i mzo- l n d ian: Rare Li nes


2 N i mzo- l n d ian: Sam isch Variation, 4 a3


3 N i m zo-l n d ian: 4 f3


4 N i m zo-l nd ian : Kasparov-Roman i s h i n 4 lbf3 and s g3


s N i mzo- l n d ian: R u b i n stei n Variation, 4 e3


6 N i mzo- l n d ian: Reshevsky Variation, 4 e3 0-0 s lbe2


7 N i m zo-l nd ian: 4 e3 o-o S ..\td 3 cs 6 lbe2


8 N i mzo- l n d ian : Hubner Variation, 4 e3 o-o S 3 cs 6 lbf3 lbc6 7 o-o ..ltxc3 8 bxc3 d 6

1 59

9 N i mzo- l n d ian: Classical Variation, 4 �c2


10 N i mzo- l n d ian: Zurich Variation, Sideli nes and 'i!Vxc3 Set-u ps


11 N i mzo- l n d ian: Zurich Variation, Wh ite Plays ..ltxc3


12 Bogo- l n d ian with 4 2 as


13 Bogo- l n d ian with 4 lbbd2


14 The Catalan Bogo: 1 d4 lbf6 2 c4 e6 3 g3 .i.b4+


I ndex of Variations

43 7

I ndex of Com plete Games


Bibliography Books Practical White Repertoire with 1.d4 and 2.c4, Volume 3, Alexei Komev (Chess Stars 2014) A Strategic Open ing Repertoire for White, John Watson (G ambit 2012) Cha11enging the Nimzo-lndian, David Vigorito (Quality Chess 2007) Chess Openings for Black, Explained, Lev Alburt, Eugene Perelshteyn & Rom an Dzindzich a­ shvili (CI RC 2009) Playing 1 d4 - The Indian Defences, Lars Schandorff (Quality Chess 2012) Tango!, Rich ard Palliser (Everyman Chess 2005) The Kaufman Repertoire for Black & White, Larry Kaufman (New in Chess 2011) The Modern Bogo 1.d4 e6, Dejan Antic & Branimir Maksimovic (New in Chess 2014) The Nimzo-/ndian: Move by Move, John Emms (Everym an Chess 2011) The Strategic Nimzo-lndia n, Ivan Sokolov (New in Chess 2012) A

Electronic Ch - videos by J an Gustafsson & Nicl as Huschenbeth ChessBase Magazine Mega Database 2015 and additional updates from Chess Base New in Chess Yearbook Houdini 4, Stockfish 5 and Komodo 8


Introduction Let m e begin with a confession: I 've always been addicted to chess books. I've bought, browsed through and read so m any th at I 've lost count. This thirst for chess information has influenced my own play a lot. I have changed open­ ing s so often over the years th at there is only very little territory on the wide m ap of chess opening s that I h ave never dared to enter at least once. This has led to my knowledge of the opening s being rather broad, but not very deep for any specific opening . I've never had an opening that I felt particularly attached to, or where I felt I had some special knowledge or unique approach . When the idea of writing a book cam e up in early 2013, I had no idea wh at to write about as I basically pl ayed everything on and off - ag ainst 1 d4, the Queen's G ambit Declined, the Slav, the King 's Indian, the Tango, etc. So wh at to write about? Rather quickly I decided that it should be a bl ack repertoire book against 1 d4. Ag ainst 1 e4 I had already found 'my' reply with 1 ... es, but ag ainst 1 d4 I was constantly switching . So I figured to finally learn one opening in reasonable detail ag ainst 1 d4, I should for once not buy yet another new book, but write one myself. I compiled a small list of points th at a chosen repertoire ag ainst 1 d4 should fulfil : 1) Fundamental soundness; at best White should get a slight edge with perfect play. 2) It shoul d act as a base for further repertoire expansion. 3) Sh aring common strategic themes to simplify the learning of typical middlegames. 4) Possible to play without memorizing huge amounts of forced lines; it should be pos­ sible to find good moves over the board if you forget the concrete line you studied earlier. s) If possible to create some imbal ances to make it easier to play for a win if needed none or only very few lines th at lead to very drawish positions. 6) If possible it should contain lines that h ave not been covered extensively el sewhere. 7) As I want to play it well, I need to like it. All these points reduce the opening s to consider quite a bit. I don't want to go through all the possible opening s and argue why I discarded them for this project, but let's discuss what I ultim ately went for - I settled on one part of the repertoire rather quickly: the Nim­ zo-lndian Defence with 1 d4 tiJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ttJc3 .tb4. The Nimzo offers an excellent balance between soundness and asymmetry. It creates imbal ances without risking anything substantial. Many lines of the Nimzo can be pl ayed with little concrete knowledge of specific variations as the position is rather closed. The Nimzo h as m any sub-variations so it's easy to switch to oth er lines if desired. All this pretty


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

much added up to being the perfect fit for the needs described above.

While scanning the available repertoire style books on the Nimzo, I found out th at al­ most all of them advocate a 'light-squared' approach . Wh at does this mean? Well, they fo­ cus on pl aying either with ... b6 to fi anchetto the light-squared bishop or they occupy the centre with a quick ... ds. The Nimzo is one of the most versatile of all opening s. Because of the initially undefined central structure Bl ack can interpret the opening in various ways. Another way to do thing s is a strategy focused on placing the pawns on dark squares, like cs, d6 and es. This ap­ proach h as not been covered as extensively and is perfectly pl ayable against most white choices on move 4. H ere is a classic example of a dark-squared strategy:

Bl ack's very basic strategic theme behind the dark-squared approach is to trade the Nimzo bishop on c3 and then place his pawns on dark squares, keeping only his 'good bishop' and his pair of knights. The closed centre usually leads to a g am e based more on 8

I n t ro d u c t i o n

ideas and long-term understanding th an o n calculation o r knowledge of concrete lines; there is little need to learn heaps of critical, long variation s. Indeed, lots of lines given in this book are there to illustrate typical ideas and stratagems; they are not included to be learnt by heart in hours of study. I can assure you th at I don 't know all the concrete lines, but studying them while analysing the repertoire increases your ch ances considerably to find the best or at least a good solution over the board. Of course, that is only about h alf of a bl ack repertoire against 1 d4 as the Nimzo n eeds at least one supplementary opening if White avoids it by going 3 tt:'if3 or 3 g 3 . After having decided on a dark-squared approach as the common link, the Bogo-lndian Defence after 1 d4 tt:'if6 2 c4 e6 3 tt:'if3 il..b4+ fitted the bill perfectly. In most lines Black will be able to follow up with ... d6 and ... es, and build the structure that is well known to us from the Nimzo­ lndian . H ere are two main positions th at are part of the repertoire.

A serious practical advantage of the Bogo lines chosen for the repertoire is that 1 d4 tt:'if6 2 c4 e6 3 g 3 , aiming for a Catal an, can be answered in the same style with 3 ... il..b4+ and h as almost no independent value. If you elected to play the Queen 's Indian or a line in the Queen 's G ambit as a partner opening to the Nim zo, you would need to learn an en­ tirely new line just to have an an swer to 3 g3, whereas with the Boga it as almost a 'two­ for-one' solution . This book features some of my own g ames. Since the start of this project I h ave em­ ployed the lines presented here in my tournament g ames whenever possible and appro­ priate. Besides the included g ames with a cl assical tim e control, I h ave pl ayed the reper­ toire in countless blitz and rapid g ames on the internet that are to be found as live com­ m entary videos on my You Tube Channel: /Ch essexpl ained. Testing out your repertoire in internet blitz or rapid games is an excellent way to prac­ tice the lines and arising middlegames. After every gam e do a little reference check with the book to assess your pl ay and possibly learn of improvements to gradually increase your knowledge of the whole repertoire. 9

Op e n i n g R ep e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

I believe that the repertoire presented i n this book is a good choice for the practical player, aiming to get decent positions without studying heaps of theoretical lines and ones that need to be memorized in a tedious process. The repertoire is fundamentally sound and you will be able to find good moves over the board in case you face something you not have yet studied or have simply forgotten . I hope you'll both enjoy the read and your games with the Nimzo and Boga! Christof Sielecki, Duisburg, G ermany, June 2015


C h a pt e r On e

Nimzo-lndian: Rare Lines

1 d4 llif6 2 c4 e6 3 llic3 .tb4

Thi s opening ch apter contains the rarely pl ayed sidelines of the Nim zo. All three moves combined account for less than 10% of all the Nimzo g ames found in Chess Base's Mega Database 201 5. Against those rel atively harmless moves I have chosen easy-to-learn set­ ups th at require little memorization of concrete lines. Learning a complicated line again st the Leningrad with 4 i.. g s , for example, is a waste of time as it is likely that you h ave for­ gotten the details by the time the move is actually pl ayed again st you. Let's have an overview of the three moves. 4 il. d2 always had a kind of wimpish reputation, as White i s m aking a slightly passive looking move m ainly to avoid doubled pawn s. It al so neglects control over d4, so it i s no surprise th at attacking there is amon g st the most popul ar options for Bl ack. However, while you may call 4 il.d2 un ambitious, it for sure very solid - you can 't expect to refute it 11

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - / n d i a n

or gain an advantage. As 4 i.. d 2 does not put any pressure on Black, h e h as quite a number of option s avail­ able. In order to be con sistent with the other chapters there is mostly 4 ... cs, which is solid and good, or the more combative 4, which bears obvious similarities with, or even simply tran sposes to, the Zurich variation ag ainst the Classical . I chose this line because it is strategically most consistent with our other choices and requires little memorization . The g am e S. Kasparov-Bologan (Game 1) gives an overview of how to h andle 4 i.. d 2. 4 'it' b3 is a very rare move that is only occasionally seen as a surprise weapon among st higher-rated players. It is obviously similar to 4 'it' c2, but the queen is simply worse on b3 compared to c2. The m ain problem is th at it neglects the e4-square and often subjects the queen to attacks. I recommend 4 ... cs, directly attacking the weakened d4-pawn, even if 4 is playable and con sistent with our repertoire. 4 ... cs is the better choice, as Bl ack is very comfortable and has reasonable ch ances to obtain even a slight edge if White is not careful. The gam e Fries Niel sen-Ward (Game 2) shows the black strategy in textbook fashion. I t is the oldest gam e in this book, but just too in structive to leave out. 4 i.. g s, the Leningrad Variation, is an old favourite of former world champion Boris Spas­ sky. It never obtained m ain line status, but it is a viable surprise weapon that some players use from time to time. It definitely h as more bite th an the other two lines in this ch apter. Bl ack h as got more than one good reply to the Leningrad, the most popular being 4 ... h 6 s i..h 4 c s 6 ds i.. x c3+ 7 bxc3 d 6 8 e3 e s . O f course there are some move order wrinkles, like 8 ... 'it' e7, but the structure will arise l ater: it's the classical closed centre of the Nim zo. This one can be compared to some other lines, like 4 f3 cs s ds d6 6 e4 i.. x c3+ 7 bxc3 e s . Com­ pared to this line, Bl ack h as obtained two m ain advantages: h e often m an ages to play ... es­ e4 and White's bishop on h4 is often misplaced and exposed to tempo-gainers like ... g s . This line is a good option fo r Black, but I decided again st it. The main reason : i t h as been covered a lot in books before, most recently in The Nimzo-lndian: Move by Move. While looking for an alternative, I discovered an approach th at I even liked better than the classical closed centre Leningrad, leading to a central form ation called the Nimzo­ Benoni. This structure arises frequently in this book and is seen after 4 ... cs S ds exds 6 cxds d6 7 e3 tt:Jbd7.


N i m z o - l n d i a n : R a re Li n e s

The game Onischuk-lvanisevic (Game 3) examines this line in detail. Compared to our lines against 4 i.d2 and 4 �3, this middlegame type is more complicated and should be studied a bit more carefully. While there are a few tactical lines th at require memorization, it m akes the most sense to develop a feel for piece pl acement and typical m anoeuvres.

Game 1

S.Kasparov-V.Bologan Mi n sk Zon a l 2000

1 d4 lll f6 2 c4 e6 3 lt:lc3 i.b4 4 i.d2 lllc6

5 lt:lf3 There al so is 5 e3, keeping the option open to use the knight on e2. After s ... o-o 6 i.d3 (6


Opening R e p e r t o i re: Nimzo an d Boga-In dian

ct:Jf3 tran sposes to the m ain g ame), I suggest the new m ove 6 ... es 7 dS (7 ctJge2 can be an­ swered by 7 ... exd4 8 exd4 dS with a healthy position for Bl ack; in the coming isolated pawn position both the knight on e2 and the bishop on d2 are not optimally placed) 7...0ie7 8 ct:Jge2 a6, whi ch is similar to the game Grigoriants-Vitiugov given in the notes to move Sin Game 21. If you don't like thi s idea, you can also play the more conventional 6 ...d6. An other move is s a3. Black h as a simple an swer in s ... i.xc3 6 .i.xc3 0ie4, with a coming . ct:Jxc3, ... d6 and ... es plan . This is very similar to the Bogo-lndian with 4 .i.d2 'fie? Sg3 0ic6, but in comparison White has lost a m ove here with a2-a3, so Black should have nothing to worry about. For further information on this please see also the note to the move 6 a3, be­ low, which is a more common way to reach this line. ..

s o-o 6 e3 ...

6 'iYc2 d6 is a direct transposition to the Classical Zurich, examined in G ames 25-28. This is probably White's best option. Of course, you might argue that Black should not allow White to tran spose from a 'second-rate' line like 4 i.d2 to the m ain line of the Nimzo. This is probably true on a very theoretical level, but from a practical point of view it makes sen se to pl ay 4 ... 0ic6. Other lines are at best equal anyway and you invest little time in a line you will face very rarely. Another reasonable option for White is 6 a3 .i.xc3 7 .txc3:

a) Here 7 ... d6 i s possible, which in most cases will transpose to the Zurich after 8 'ifc2, but a move that irritates me is 8 b4, which prevents ... es for the moment and expands nice­ ly on th e queenside. It's n ot clear that iVc2 is n eeded here. b) I prefer 7 ...0ie4, which i s similar to the note regarding s a3. The high-level game N.Vitiugov-C.Bauer, European Club Cup, Eilat 2012, continued 8 �c2 0ixC3 9 �xc3 d6 10 e 3 'iYe7 11 .l::!. c l: bl) I now like the straightforward 11 ... es 12 dS 0ib8 13 cs Jtfs or 13 ... tt:Jd7 with about equal pl ay. This central formation i s very standard in our repertoire. It arises frequently in the Zurich variation of the Classical, for example. A positive point for Black in this position 14

N i m z o - l n di a n : R a re Li n e s

i s that h e has already traded two pairs of minor pieces which is h elpful because of his dis­ advantage in space. b2) In the aforementioned g am e Black went 11 ... .ltd7 12 b4 es 13 ds ll'id8 14 cs f6 1 S .lt e 2 li:Jf7 1 6 o-o l:!.fd8 17 li:Jd2 when he was okay, but now became too ambitious with 17 .. .fs 18 ll'ib3 f4? 19 lt:Jas ll'ig s ? which was simply not working tactically. Black now got dism antled swiftly: 20 exf4 exf4 2 1 .l::!.fe1 l:!.f8 2 2 .lth s 'i:Yf6 2 3 'ii'xf6 l:!.xf6 24 .l::!.e 7 with an easy win for White. Fin ally, White has also tried 6 g3 here, but Bl ack can an swer with his standard set-up. The game K.Miton -V. Bologan, Stratton Mountain 1999, saw 6 ... d6 7 a3 .ltxc3 8 .ltxc3 ll'ie4 9 'i:Yc2 ll'ixc3 10 'it'xc3 (this position also m ay arise from S a3 or 6 a3 move orders) 10 ...'ii'e 7 11 .ltg 2 e s 12 ds ll'ib8 13 e4 fs 14 exfs .ltxfs 1 s ll'id2 as 16 b3 ll'id7.

Bl ack enjoys typical, good play. He h as obtained the semi-open f-file and has no bad pieces. Returning to 6 e 3 : 6...d6 7 .i. d3 This is one of those rare cases where White does not transpose to the Classical, which is possibl e with 7 'ii'c 2, or grab the bishops immediately with 7 a3 .ltxc3 8 .ltxc3. Again I rec­ ommend getting rid of the arising bishop-pair as quickly as possible: 8 ... ll'ie4 9 'ii'c 2 ll'ixc3 10 �xc3 transposes to the Vitiugov-Bauer g ame, above. 1 ... es If you are able to pl ay this move without any preparation by ... l:!.e8 and .. :W/e7 or even both, I usually recommend doing so. Freeing the e7-square for the knight on c6 is valuable. 8 ds ll'i e7 9 a3 This allows a very direct and favourable central tran sformation. White's m ain alternative is 9 'i:Yc2, which is answered by the typical 9 ... c6: for example, 10 dxc6 ll'ixc6 11 0-0 h6 12 lt:Je4 .ltg4 13 ll'Jxf6+ 'it'xf6 14 .lte4 .i.xd2 1 S 'it'xd2 .l::!.fd8 with equality in V.Milov-A.Yermolinsky, Moscow 2001. 15

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o ire: N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n 9....i.xc3 10 .i.xc3 bS!

Black m ay al so play slow moves like 10 ... c6, but I like Bolog an's straightforward ap­ proach . 11 b3 bxc4 12 bxc4 t2Jd7 It is now not so easy for White to m ake any progress on the queenside, whereas Black will build up on the kin g side with .. .fs . While the position should be about equal, it seem s that Black's position is somewhat the easier to pl ay. In fact, Bologan quickly gains the ini­ tiative. 13 o -o fs 14 .i.e2 tt:Jg6 15 tt:Jd2 e4!? An interesting choice and Black h ad a wide range of moves/plan s. Bologan's move g ains the es-square, but improves White's bishop and allows a possible t2Jb3-d4. Instead, there were alternatives like 1s ... as with the intention to continue with ... tt:Jcs . 16 g3 tt:Jges 1 1 .i.d4 �gs?! 17 ... "V/i/e7 was probably better to keep an eye on cs, intending ... tt:Jcs/ ... as plan s again. The text does not lead to much . 18 ltc1 tt:Jcs 19 .i.xcs?! The tactical idea in connection with the next move backfires. 19 t2Jb3 ! was much better, with at least equal play for White. 19...dxcs 20 d6?! cxd6 21 tt:Jxe4 fxe4 22 "V/i/ds+ tt:Jf7 23 �xa8 .i.g4 24 "V/i/xe4 .i.xe2


N i m z o - l n d ia n : R a re Li n e s

This is still a tricky position, but the weak light squares around White's kin g are hard for him to h andle. 2S f4 'ief6 26 .l:!.fel i.g4 27 'iec2 i.d7 28 e4 i.c6 29 'ied3 h6 Missing the decisive 29 ... g S ! . 30 .l:!.e3 .l:!.e8 31 .l:!.cel aS 32 h4 a4 33 hS 'iVe6 34 �e2 .l:!.b8 3S 'iVc2 .i.d7 36 .l:!.d3 'ii'h3 37 .l:!.bl .l:!.e8 38 'iee2 i.g4 39 'ii'e3 'iexhs Now White falls apart. 40 .l:!.b7 iVg6 41 ts 'iehs 42 iVf4 iVgs 43 'ith2 tlies 44 .l:!.xd6 iVhs+ 0-1 Summary 4 ..td2 is not a move to lose sleep over. However, it is very solid and cannot be easily refuted or an swered too aggressively. The solution sugg ested h ere fits well with our choice against the Classical 4 'iec2 line and, indeed, often transposes to it.


J.Fries Nielsen-C. Ward Politiken Cup, Copenhagen 1994 1 d4 llif6 2 c4 e6 3 llic3 i.b4 4 'ieb3 cs


Op e n i n g R e p e r t o i re: N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

s dxcs As d4 is attacked, White h as to react. He can al so cover the pawn with S tbf3, after which the most straightforward path for Bl ack is s ... tbe4: a) 6 i.d2 tbxd2 7 tbxd2 "ii'a s 8 dxcs tba6 9 g3 tbxcs 10 'iYc2 i.xc3 11 bxc3 with a slight edge for Black in N.Giffard-T.Sanikidze, Cappelle l a Grande 2010. b) 6 e3 'iYas 7 i.d2 tbxd2 8 tbxd2 cxd4 9 exd4 tbc6 left Black very comfortable in V.Ruban -E. Dragom arezkij, Moscow 1992. c) 6 tbd2 tbxd2 7 i.xd2 tbc6 8 dxcs i.xcs 9 tbe4 ii.e7 10 'iYg 3 o-o 11 i.c3 (original play, but rather time consuming; Black an swers with a pawn sacrifice, leading to unclear com ­ plications) 11 ... e s ! ? 12 i.xe s (12 J:.d1 is probably more prudent when 12 ... 'iYc? 13 c s b S ! ? is unclear) 12 ... tbxe s 13 'ifxes li.b4+ 14 tbc3 d6 1 s °ii'd4 ii.e6 16 e3 'iYas 17 .td3 .l:i.ac8 with enough play to eventually regain the pawn in V.Alekseev-A.Zontakh, Kiev 1999. The other move to cover the pawn is S e3. It looks like a somewh at strang e mix of sys­ tems (who would play �3 in the Rubinstein ?), but is fairly solid and m aybe better th an some other lines after 4 �3. Black can go s ... tbc6 6 tbf3 o-o (6 ... tbe4 is al so possible, but less reliable th an just castling; h ere there follows 7 i.d3 fS 8 o-o ii.xc3 9 bxc3 b6 with interesting play) 7 a3 i.xc3+ 8 'ifxc3 cxd4 9 exd4 (or 9 tbxd4 tbe7 ! ? intending ... d6 and ... e s; Black h as some other moves, of course, but this is an original solution) 9 ... ds, opening up the centre with White behind in development.


N i m z o - l n d i a n : R a re Lin e s

A possible continuation is 1 0 c s ? ! .Ue8 ! , immediately intending . . . e s ! : for instance, after 11 ..ie2 e s ! 12 dxes d4 Bl ack h as excellent pl ay. In stead, a move like 10 ..ig s is probably about equal . s l2Jc6 6 t2Jf3 Black intends ... l2Je4, so 6 ii.g s is a logical move. It will surrender the bishop-pair though, as will become clear after 6 ... h6: a) 7 ..ih4 t2Jd4! ? 8 1\Yd1 (or 8 1\Ya4 b6! 9 t2Jf3 ..ixc3+ 10 bxc3 ttJfs 11 ..ixf6 1\Yxf6 with excel­ lent play) 8 ... ttJfs 9 ..ixf6 (9 ..ig 3 ? l2Je4 is already fatal for White) 9 ... 1\Yxf6 10 .Uc1 b 6 ! (a key motif worth remembering; just taking cs is fine, but this is much more dynamic) 11 cxb6 axb6 12 t2Jf3 ..ib7 with great compen sation for the pawn . Indeed, White faces a h ard time just to stay in the g ame. b) 7 il.. xf6 1\Yxf6 8 t2Jf3 b6 ! ? (again this is the key, although the simple 8 ... 0-0 is fine as well) 9 cxb6 (a move like 9 .Uc1? ! runs into trouble after 9 ...bxcs with ... .t!.b8 to follow; Black h as obtained the two bishops and pressure on the b-file) 9 ... axb6 and now an 'early Sunday morning move' by White cut the gam e short in R.Stern-K.Landa, G erm an League 1997: 10 e3 ?? (instead, after 10 l:tc1 ..ib7 Black h as fine compen sation for the pawn, a key idea being ... ii.cs and ... ttJe s to open up the b7-bishop) 10 ... l:ta3 ! and White resigned. ...


Op e n i n g R ep e rt o i re: N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

I should add th e funny story th at I got the opportunity t o repeat this i n an over-the­ board blitz game. When you pl ay such moves instantly it h as an interesting effect and is highly recommended. 6 tll e 4 7 i.d2 Against 7 e3 both captures on c3 are fine. 1 ...tllx d2 8 tll xd2 fs! •••

This is an important move and one Bl ack needs to remember. Before recapturing on cs he takes e4 under control, thereby preventing any tll e 4 ideas. 9 e3 Alternatively, 9 g3 'iVas 10 l:.c1 b6 ! ? (agai n ! } 11 i.g 2 (if 11 cxb6 tll d4 12 �dl i.b7 with very good pl ay for Black) 11 ... i.b7 12 o-o i.xc3 13 �xc3 �xc3 14 i::tx c3 bxcs 15 tllb 3 d6 with equality in R.Spielmann-M. Euwe, Amsterdam 19 3 2 . 9...i.x cs 20

N i m z o - l n d ia n : R a re Lin e s

O r 9 . . .o-o 1 0 i. e 2 i.xcs 11 o-o b 6 12 a 3 i.b7 13 'it' c2 .l:Ic8 with a very comfortable posi­ tion for Black. H ere White erred with 14 i.f3 ? ! (14 tl:if3 is better) 14 .. .f4 15 b4? fxe3 16 bxcs exd2 17 i.e4 tt:Jd4 18 'ii'x d2 in Z.Pakleza-R.Wojtaszek,Warsaw 2007, and now l8 ... tl:ib3 19 'iVd1 tl:ixcs leaves Black winning. 10 i.e2 b6 11 o -o i.b7 White doesn 't h ave a clear-cut plan in this position, whereas Black h as good central control and the pair of bishops. White decides to get rid of one of the bishops, but in the process strengthens Bl ack's centre. 12 tl:ia4 .l:Ib8 13 tl:ixcs bxcs 14 'ii'c3 'Yi'f6!

The doubled pawn s are no weakness of course. Black improves his central position even more and in addition obtains play on the g -file. 15 'it'xf6 gxf6 16 f4 .l:Ig8 17 g3 i.a8 18 b3 rtle7 19 rtlf2 as 20 a4 A huge concession, but it was difficult to decide between set-ups that are all somewh at better for Bl ack. If White allows ... aS-a4 it is not much fun either. 21 i.f3 .l:Ib6 22 i.xa8 .l:Ixa8 23 rtle2 .l:Id6 24 .l:Ifc1 .l:Id3 25 .l:Iab1 nb8 26 tl:if3 .l:Id6 27 llc3 .l:Idb6 28 .l:Ib2 tl:ia6!


Opening Repertoire: Nimzo a n d 809 0 - l n d ian

The first step in an excellent regrouping. The knight is on its way to e4. 29 ttJd2 ltJc7 30 llb1ttJeS 31�f3 tlld6 It is very difficult j ust to stay put and do absolutely n othing , but probably thi s is what White should h ave done. Breaking out now backfir ed in the end. 32 g4?! fxg4+ 33 'it>xg4 .UgB+ 34 @f3 tt:Jfs 3S @f2 ltJh4 36 J::i,g1 l:!,xg1 37 @xgl l:!,d6 The rook enters, completing a very nice strategic display by Chri s Ward. Black is better and his position much easier to play, but White i s still fighting with chances for a draw. 38 ttJf1l:i.d139 'it>f2 ttJfs 40 'itie2 .Mb1 41 J::i,d3? This drops material and ultim ately the game. I n stead, 41 tt:Jd2 still keeps White in the game. 41 ttJd6 42 ttJd2 .i::th143 e4 llxh2+ 44 'it>d1 .l:!.h4 4S llf3 fs 46 es tt:Je4 47 tt:Jxe4 fxe4 48 l:i,f1 �7 49 'it>e2 �g6 so .:[email protected] Sl l:!,xd7 'it>xf4 s2 .M c7 l:!,h2+ S3 @d1 @e3 0-1 •••

Summary 4 'irb3 is a rare move and most likely will n ever become popular. It is mostly an inferior ver­

sion of 4 'ii'c2 and puts little pressure on Bl ack. Some lines are fairly solid though, like 5 e3, but even here Black obtains equal pl ay and enough asymmetry to fi ght for more than a draw.

Game 3

l.lvanisevic-A.Onischuk World Cup, Khanty-Mansiysk 2011 1 d4 ttJf6 2 c4 e6 3 liJc3 .ib4 4 cs


N i m z o - l n di a n : R a re Li n e s

5 dS Norm al . In stead, s e 3 ? is awful for White after s ...iVas, while s tllf3 more often arises from 4 tllf3 cs S .tg s and is dealt with in the notes to Game 9. s ...exds 6 cxds d6 The Nimzo-Benoni structure. H ere White to my surprise almost exclusively plays: 7 e3 The arising position s seem completely toothless to me, as White is far from achieving any central dominance, the m ain risk with the Benoni structure. A more ambitious approach is 7 f3 o-o 8 e4 l:te8 9 iVd2 a6 10 tt:Jge2 tllb d7 11 lll g 3 bS, which can be compared to Timofeev-Topalov, Eilat 2012 (see the notes to move 7 in G ame 8). White is better off compared to th at g ame, as the knight is not mispl aced on f4, but this still seems like a fine position for Bl ack. The g ame V.Milov-J .Emms, I sle of Man 1994, con ­ tinued 12 a3 .tas 13 .te2 h 6 14 .te3 tt:Jes 1 S 0-0 l:tb8 16 i.f2 .tb6 17 b4 cxb4 18 axb4 .txf2+ 19 'it>xf2 h S 20 h4 g6 21 l:th 1 l:te7 22 l:thcl tllh 7 with about equal pl ay in this unbal ­ anced position. 7 ...tllbd7 Bl ack can al so castle first, with a likely tran sposition. 7 ...tllb d7 allows 8 .tbs, but th at does not seem at all dangerous.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

S .td 3 The most natural move. The altern atives are: a) 8 .tb s and then : al) A simple solution i s 8 ... .txc3+ 9 bxc3 'ifas 10 .i.xd7+ il'ixd7 11 il'ie2 il'ies. This se­ quence is forced after 8 ... .i.xc3+ and Black has a fine position . A sample game: 12 o-o f6 13 .tf4 o-o 14 .txe s fxe s 1 5 il'ig 3 b s 16 'ifc2 .td7 17 f4 exf4 18 Mxf4 Mxf4 19 exf4 Me8 20 Mfl 'i'd8 2 1 'i\Vc1 'ife7 2 2 �a3 .tc8 2 3 'i'as 'ifb7 24 a4 b4 2 5 cxb4 'ii'xb4 26 'ii'xb4 cxb4 and Bl ack went on to win thi s favourable endg ame in V.Neverov-A.Shimanov, St. Petersburg 2012. The queen side m ajority often becomes more significant in th e endgame, giving Bl ack th e upper h and. a2) Very similar i s 8 ... h6 9 .i.h4 .i.xc3+ 10 bxc3 'iWas 11 .i.xd7+ il'ixd7 12 il'ie2, after which Black decided to sacrifice the d6-pawn for good compen sation: 12 ... o-o!? 13 .te7 Me8 14 .i.xd6 "iWa6 1 5 .tf4 il'if6 16 o-o .tfs 17 Mel Mad8.


N i m z o - l n d ia n : R a re Lin e s

H ere Black was the more comfortable in A. Korobov-V. Kramnik, Tromso 2013. a3) 8 ...o-o 9 tll g e2 a6 10 .ll x d7 .ll x d7 reveal s the idea behind 8 .tbs . Black is in a slightly awkward pin from the g s -bishop, but after 11 o-o h6 12 i.h4 .!:le8 13 °i¥c2 �e7 14 Wh l �es the pin has been broken and White i s struggling to m aintain equality. Where is White's compen sation for the loss of the bishop-pair? He now went for a radical solution with lS f4! ? 'i¥xe3 (lS ... �fS was a simple and g ood alternative, giving Black at least equal chances) 16 l:tf3 �e7 17 tll g 3 .txc3 18 bxc3 .llg 4 19 .i::E.ff1 'iii'e 3 20 h3 tllx ds 21 hxg4 'iii'x c3 22 �xc3 tll x c3 23 .i::l.f3 tll e 4 24 tll x e4 l:txe4 2S .l:!.d1 and this complicated endgame was later drawn in V.Milov-Y. Pelletier, Swiss League 2012. b) 8 tll g e2?! looks inh armonious to me, but it still leads to complicated play: 8 ...0-0 9 a3 .\las (taking would only help White with his l ag in development) 10 l:tb1 h6 11 .th4 tll e s 12 b4 i..b 6 1 3 .i::E.c l and now Bl ack could have obtained a nearly decisive advantage with 13 ... cxb4 (instead, 13 ... i.. g 4? ! was played in S.Conquest-J . Emms, Oakham 1994, which is less clear) 14 axb4 as l S bS a4, one point being 16 tll xa4 .!:Ixa4 17 �xa4 tll d 3+ 18 Wd2 tll x cl 19 tll x cl gS 20 i.. g 3 .\las+ 2 1 �dl tll x ds and Black wins. White certainly can improve on moves 9-13, but Bl ack is fine in any case. Returning to 8 ii.d3 :

8 tll e s Black can al so go pawn-grabbin g with 8 ... �as, as played by the very well-prepared Peter Leko. For this repertoire I prefer not to be too m aterialistic and to focus more on a strategi­ cally coherent repertoire, but if you want to sh arpen the play and go in for tactical compli­ cations, the queen sortie is a good way to do that. Leko's g ame continued 9 tll g e2 tll x ds 10 o-o i.. x c3 11 bxc3 c4 12 .ll c 2 o-o 13 tll g 3 tll x c3 14 'iVh s fs l S e4 tll x e4 16 l:tadl tll df6 17 .txf6 tll xf6 18 'ifh4 �cs 19 .l::!.d4 ds 20 l:tfd1 i.e6 2 1 tll xfs .txfs 2 2 .txfs l:tae8 2 3 g4 l:tes 24 .l::!.f4 h 6 2s gs tllh s 2 6 'iVxh s .i::t exfs 27 l:txfs l:txfs 28 �e8+ 'iWf8 and his opponent, Vladimir G eorgiev, resigned at the I stanbul Olympiad of 2012. 9 tll g e2 h6 10 i..h4 o -o 11 o -o ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

The alternative 11 i.. c 2 tt:J g 6 12 i.. g 3 tt:Jh s 13 o-o leads t o the same thing. 12 i.g3 White will h ave to part with one of his bishops anyway, but 12 i.. x g 6 is probably a worse way of doing so. In J. Kolly-G.Siegel, Zurich 1996, after 12 .. .fxg 6 13 f3 a6 14 tt:Je4 g s 15 tt:Jxf6+ 'ii'xf6 16 i.. g 3 i.. d 7 17 'ii'c 2 .l:rae8 18 e4 'ii'g 6 19 .l:rad1 20 a4 l:tf6 2 1 tt:Jc3 h S White had no clear pl an, whereas Bl ack could easily become active, backed by the pair of bishops and the mobile pawn s on the king side. The coming ... g S-g4 will break down White's centre and kin g position . Indeed, after 22 i.. e 1 .l:rf7 23 i.. d 2 g4 24 @h 1 gxf3 25 gxf3 h4 26 .l:rg 1? (this loses in stantly, but White was in big trouble anyway) 26 ... 'ii'h s 2 7 i.. e 1 'ifxf3+ 2 8 'ii'g 2 .i.g4 White resigned.

Black will bag the dark-squared bishop, n etting him the pair of bishops and removing a piece that puts pressure on d6, the typical weakness of the Benoni structure. 13 .i.c2 White h as tried some other moves too: a) 13 f4 is an ambitious advance, but it should not trouble Bl ack too much: 13 .. .fs ! ? (an interesting concept as Black decides to drop the knight back to f6, controlling the e4square; the simpl er 13 ... tt:Jxg 3 14 tt:Jxg 3 l:te8 is al so playable when White m ay try the ag­ gressive 1 5 'ii'h s , but it is effectively an swered by 1 5 ... tt:Jf8: for example, 16 tt:Jce4 a6 17 a4 .l:i.b8 with complex pl ay and mutual chances) 14 i..f2 tt:Jf6 15 @h 1 i.. d 7 16 h 3 @h 8 17 'ii'c 2 and a draw was agreed in A.Moiseenko-E.Bacrot, San Sebastian 2012. Not exactly a 'forced draw', but by now deviating was not so easy. Both sides have numerous ways to avoid it beforehand, though, the easiest for Black being 13 ... tt:Jxg 3 . b } 13 'ii'c 2 with a choice for Bl ack: bl} Just like in similar positions, the simple way to play is 13 3 14 tt:Jxg 3 tt:Jes with a g ood Nimzo-Benoni ag ain.


N i m z o - l n d i a n : R a re Lin e s

In J .Cooper-B. Parm a, Nice Olympiad 1974, White tried t o establish a knight o n f s by m ean s of lS .ifs .ixfs 16 tt:'ixfs, but Black fought th at in stantly with 16 ... �d7 17 tt:'ie2 h S (17 ...g 6 ? 1 8 tt:'ixh 6+ @g7 19 f4 doesn 't work for Bl ack, but 1 7 ... .l::t a e8 was a viable altern ative) 18 h3 g6 19 f4 tt:'ic4 20 tt:'ih 6+ @g7 (very nice desperado knights; this all seem s to be rather forced after 17 ... h S) 21 �xc4 @xh 6 22 fS �e7 (22 ... �e8 ! was correct, to an swer 23 �f4+ with 2 3 ... g s ! 24 �xd6+ f6 2 S �e6 � S 2 6 tt:'ic3 .ixc3 2 7 bxc3 .l::t a e8 2 8 �d6 'iWc4 and an un­ clear position) 2 3 .i::tf3 (23 �f4+! �g s 24 �xg s+ @xg s 2 s fxg 6 fxg 6 26 tt:'if4 .i::tfs 27 .i::tf3 is better for White) 2 3 ... .l::tfe8 24 fxg 6 fxg 6 2 S tt:'if4 �e4 26 �e2 .i::te s 2 7 .l::t afl .l::tf8 2 8 g4 c4 29 gxh s ? {White, the clear underdog, has put up a great fight, but now breaks) 29 ... .ics ! 30 tt:'ixg 6 .l::t xf3 31 I1xf3 .l::t x ds 32 tt:'if4? (32 @h 2 wasn 't much fun, but was still tough er) 32 ... I:i.g S+ 33 @f2 dS 34 .l::t g 3 �xf4+ and White resigned. b2) 13 .. .fs ! ? leads to the sam e unbal anced structure as seen in Moiseenko-Bacrot, above. After 14 f4 .id7 lS .if2 lDe7 16 e4 .ixc3 17 bxc3 fxe4 18 .ixe4 tt:'if6 19 .ih4 °i!Ve8 20 .ixf6 .l::t xf6 2 1 tt:'ig 3 �f7 Bl ack h as equalized.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

I n J .Timman-M.Najdorf, Reykjavik 1976, the great Dutchman now initiated wild compli­ cation s: 2 2 i.h 7+ @h 8 2 3 l2Je4?! (creative, but probably unsound} 23 ... g 6 24 l2Jxf6 (24 'iib 2 is a typical computer move th at seems to be slightly better than the g ame, although after 24 ... i.f5 25 l2Jxf6 iVxf6 26 iVxb7 l::t d 8 27 �xg 6 l2Jxg 6 Black is nonetheless better, based on the coming ... i.e4 and ... l2Jh4 ideas) 24 ...iVxf6 2 5 i.xg 6 l2Jxg 6 26 .l:tae1 l::t g 8 (White's rooks have no entry points and his m ajority on the king side is h ard to advance) 27 @h 1 l2Jh4 2 8 g 3 l2Jf5 29 'iid 3 iVf7 30 .l:tf2 l2Je7 (provokin g c 4 t o g ain access t o the d4-square) 3 1 c 4 l2Jf5 3 2 .l:!.fe2 b 5 3 3 iVc3+ .l:!.g 7 34 .l:!.e6 (Black's knight was about t o l and o n d4, s o White plays a couple of most likely hectic tim e trouble moves) 34 ... i.xe6 3 5 dxe6 iVb7+ 3 6 @g 1 l2Jd4 3 7 @f2 bxc4 3 8 f 5 l2Jxf5 3 9 iVf6 l2J e 7 and Timman resigned. 13 ...�e7 A very in structive mistake occurred in O.Zier-N .Miezis, Wunsiedel 2012. White reacted badly to 13 ... l2Jxg 3 with 14 hxg 3?.

This recapture leads to problem s for White. His king side structure becomes even more rigid after it, in particular f2-f4 would weaken g 3 and g4 enormously. Moreover, wh at ex­ actly is White's pl an now? After 14 ... l2Je5 15 a3 i.a5 16 f3 a6 17 g4 b5 Bl ack always h as his m ajority to advance. White can try to g et something going on the king side, but it mostly weakens more squares: 18 l2Jg 3 .l:!.e8 19 l2Jce4 i.b6 20 l2Jf5 ? i.xf5 21 g xf5 l2Jc4 22 'ili'e1 l2Jxe3 23 f6 c4 and White re­ signed. The bl ack player in this g ame, GM Normunds Miezis, is probably the leading expert on the Snake Benoni. This line bears some resemblance with th at opening, as far as the general structure is concerned, but in the original Snake Benoni White would never put his knight on e2 or give up his dark-squared bishop. For Miezis, this must have felt like his Snake dream position . 14 'i\i'd3 i.d7 15 l2Jf4 This was the point of i.c2 and iVd3 . 1s ...l2Jhxf4 16 exf4 .l:!.fe8 17 fs l2Jes 18 'ili'e4 f6 28

N i m z o - l n d ia n : R a re Li n e s

Black is very solid here. The only issue is a knight or rook l anding on e6 - with careful play Black avoids this. 19 h3 tlJf7 20 �xe7 .l:!.xe7 2111:Je4 c4 22 a3 .i.cs 23 tlJxcs dxcs 24 .l:!.fe1 .l:!.xe1+ 25 .l:[email protected] 26 .i.f4 b6 27 g4 .l:!.eS 28 .l:!.e4 .l:!.xe4 29 .i.xe4 We7 This fortress is impregnable. 30 .i.bS11:Jd6 31 f3 a6 [email protected] tlJcS 33 .i.c7 bs 34 We3 .i.eS 35 [email protected] 36 .i.bS i.f7 37 gs hxgs 38 hxgs 11:Jb6 39 .i.a7 11:Ja4 40 g6 .i.gS 41 .i.c2 .i.xds 42 .i.xa4 bxa4 43 .i.xcs @es 44 .i.b4 Yz-Yz Summary The Nimzo-Benoni structure is an excellent an swer to the Leningrad. It leads to unbalanced play where Black's ideas seem easier to realize than White's. Very often Black m an ages to g ain the two bishops, giving him a long-term asset to exploit. The repertoire choice h ere is a fine middle-of-the-road approach - it is playable with little memorization of concrete lines, but still leads to a full-blooded battle.


C h a pt e r Two

Nimzo-lndian: Samisch Variation, 4 a3

1 d4 lbf6 2 C4 e6 3 lbc3 i..b4 4 a3

This move initiates the Samisch variation . To be honest, I always thought that this line is close to being incorrect. White even encourages Black to wreck his structure and basi­ cally says: "Go ahead, I don't mind!". However ,while studyin g the Samisch for this book in more detail, I learned th at my initial view about this line was far too negative - Bl ack n eeds to know wh at he is doing in order to obtain a satisfactory position out of the opening. I n some ways the Samisch is the King's G ambit of the Nimzo complex. It neglects struc­ ture and material (c4 is very often simply too weak to hol d for White), in return for attack­ ing ch ances based on the broad centre - a trade-off that at least m akes this line a serious surprise weapon . So just like with the King's G ambit, you better have a respon se prepared 30

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Siim i s c h , 4 a 3

to avoid being attacked with less time on the clock because you don't know or forgot your reply. A word about move orders. The Samisch m ay be played directly on move four, but it can al so be delayed and might occur after the initial moves of the Rubinstein: for instance, 4 e3 o-o S a3 or even 4 e 3 o-o S i.d3 cs 6 a3. The 4 a3 move order offers Black some additional flexibility because he has not yet castled or determined his c-pawn (you might pl ay ... tt:ic6 before ... cs), but for the repertoire I have chosen to cover only one set-up that is playable again st all version s of the Samisch, no m atter on which move White goes for a3. The absolute m ain line for Black again st the Samisch fits the bill, as it includes an early ... o-o and ... cs. Let's examine th e structure of the material : a) 4 a3 i.xc3 + S bxc3 cs 6 f3.

The g ame Sutkovic-Predojevic {Gam e 4) contains all those lines th at typically don't in­ clude e 3 by White, but rather focus on quickly going for f3 and e4 or even more obscure tries. Note th at in this move order Black will often avoid ... o-o, staying flexible with the king and m aybe even going .. o-o-o l ater. b) 4 a3 i.xc3 + S bxc3 cs 6 e3. .


Op e n i n g R ep e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

White's most popular set-up involves an early e 3 , often played via a Rubinstein move order starting with 4 e 3 . The g am e Jobava-Wojtaszek (Game 5) examines all lines except the absolute m ain line with 11 f4. Those early deviations contain some venom, but are all at least equal for Bl ack. That m ain line runs 6 ... 0-0 7 .i.d3 llic6 8 llie2 b6 9 e4 llie8 10 0-0 .i.a6 11 f4 and is analysed in the g ame Richter- Howell (Game 6). It leads to complicated play with ch ances for both sides.


D.Sutkovic-B.Predojevic Med iterranea n O p e n , Rij eka 2011

1 d4 llif6 2 c4 e6 3 llic3 .i.b4 4 a3 .i.xc3 + 5 bxc3 cs


N i m z o - l n d i a n : Sii m is ch , 4 a 3 6 f3 This is the most straightforward move, intending e4 in one move. At first this seem s to be quicker than playin g e3 first and then following up with e4 l ater, but it h as some draw­ backs as well. There are a couple of alternatives: a) In fact the most popul ar move is 6 e3, which after 6 ... 0-0 leads to the m ain line exam­ ined in G ames S and 6. b} A surprisingly popular move is 6 ll:if3, which often arises from 4 ll:if3 cs S a3 �xc3+ 6 bxc3. The combin ation of a3 and llif3 looks suspicious to me; in fact you could argue that White is pl aying the Hilbner variation (Games 16-20), but a tempo down due to a3. Amaz­ ingly some rather strong players went for thi s anyway and after 6 ... ll:ic6 (of course, you can al so play 6 .. o-o or 6 ... 'iVas) 7 e3 (7 �g s ? ! 'iVas ! is embarrassing for White) 7 ... d6 8 �d3 es we tran spose to the realms of the Hilbner. .

Compared to our Hilbner move order, Black has not castled yet and is somewhat faster in the centre. The g am e D.Sutkovic-B.Smith, Sarajevo 2012, saw the white player of our cur­ rent m ain gam e struggling again after 9 e4 cxd4 10 cxd4 �g4 11 ds ll:id4 (Bl ack is fine al­ ready, but the next move g ets White into really big trouble} 12 'ii'a4+? bS 13 cxbs �xf3 14 gxf3 llixf3+ 1s @fl and now 1s ... 'irc8 ! would h ave won outright for Black. c) Another option for White is 6 'i¥c2. This is quite a decent move, intending to go e4 in one move, supported by the queen . I don't see anything like a refutation, so my advice is to just stick to common middlegame plan s, as in the game K.Terrieux-M.Amold, Calvi 2012: 6 ...ll:ic6 7 ll:if3 d6 8 e4 es 9 ds ll:ie7, reaching a familiar structure. Compared to the Hilbner White h as m an ag ed to play e4 in one move, but on the other hand h e pl ayed a3 and 'iVc2, which are not essential either. Let's follow the g ame to see some more typical middlegame motifs: 10 �e2 o-o 11 o-o ll:ig 6 12 ll:ie1 ll:ie8 ! ( .. .fs is the plan as Black needs some active play) 13 �d3 �d7 14 g 3 'irc8 (very logical pl ay, preparin g the key break) 1s ll:ig 2 �h 3 16 f3 fS 17 exfs �xfs 18 f4? (this is too weakening) 18 ... �xd3 19 'irxd3 ll:if6 (19 ...'i¥11 3 ! was even better) 20 fxe s ? (20 fs was not great, but n ecessary) 20 ... llixes 21 'ife2 'ifg4 22 'i¥xg4 llifxg4 33

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

2 3 .if4 tt:Jxc4 2 4 h 3 tt:'if6 2 5 .l:i.fd1 .l:i.ae8 2 6 a4 tt:Je4 - a swift dismantling of White's position . 6 Wic2 is a pl ayable option for White, but as Black just go for a middlegam e you know and try to outplay your opponent. 6'i c6

This is most precise move for our set-up. We don 't need to castle just yet. 7 e4 Once in a while White confuses his move order and pl ays 7 e3?. This is just a main line a tempo down for White, as he usually gets in f2-f4 in one move (see the following g ame). A rare alternative is 7 dS tt:Jas 8 e4 (8 d6 was tried in V. Fedoseev-V.Papin, Tag anrog 2013; in stead of grabbing on c4, Black should have just played 8 o-o 9 e4 tt:'ie8, leadin g to a favourable version of the structure we'll see in G ames 5 and 6), and now 8 ... d6 leads to note 'b' to White's 8th move, below. 1.. d6 8 .i e3 H ere we see the most important drawback of the early expansion with f3 and e4 - the pawn on d4 is weakened, so White cannot develop in the most n atural fashion with .id3 and tt:Je2, as d4 is simply hanging after 8 .id3 . Besides the text, he h as tried: a) 8 tt:Je2 b6 9 tt:'ig 3 tt:Jas 10 f4. This ultra-aggressive, but very weakening set-up was tried in B.Spassky-R.Hubner, Turin 1982, which continued 10 ... 0-0 11 es tt:'ie8 12 .ie3 .ia6. ...



N i m z o - l n d ia n : Siim i s c h , 4 a 3

White is already busted here. He will lose material and keep h i s numerous weaknesses without any significant counterplay. In fact this scenario is a key problem for White in the Samisch in general : if he loses one of his weak pawn s, h e will still be weak on the whole queen side. Those weaknesses are permanent and don't vanish together with the c4-pawn . Pl ay concluded: 13 .i.d3 .i.xc4 14 o-o fS ! (the typical blockading move) 1 5 exf6 lll xf6 16 'i'e2 .i.xd3 17 'i'xd3 'i'd7 18 l:!.ae1 l:!.ae8 19 .tel lll c 6 20 fS exfs 21 lll xfs l:!.xe1 22 l:!.xe1 cxd4 2 3 cxd4 ds 24 'i'h 3 @h 8 2 5 l:!.fl lll e 4 26 l:!.f3 l:!.f6 27 g4 lll e 7 2 8 lt:Jh4 'i'a4 29 l:!.xf6 'i'xd4+ 30 .i.e3 'i'xf6 3 1 gs lllx g s 3 2 'i'd7 lll e 4 3 3 @g 2 ct:Jcs 34 'i'c7 lll e 6 3 5 'i'b8+ lll g 8 3 6 lllf3 'i'g 6+ 37 @h 3 'i'e4 and Spassky resigned. b) 8 ds ct:Jas 9 .i.d3 b6 10 f4? ! (Bl ack was very okay anyway, but this is too much) 10 ... 0-0! and White is in big trouble: for in stance, his position falls apart after 11 lt:Jf3 exds 12 cxds C4 13 .i.c2 ctJb3 . 8 b6 Black intends typical counterplay with ... i.a6 and ... lll a s. An important point is, of course, th at his king is still in the centre which defuses some of White's important ideas. 9 i.d3 The standard respon se to an early 9 'i'a4 is the typical 9 ... 'i'd7, intending ... ct:Jas. This ba­ sically g ains a tempo as White n eeds to avoid the queen trade and must retreat. 9 lll a s Setting up pl ay against c4. Note that Black is not pl aying . . .es just yet, but delays i t until appropriate. ...



Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

10 ctJh3 The alternative 10 'Lie2 ?! takes away the e2-square from the white queen and m akes it even h arder to keep that pawn on c4. In the g am e M.Ezat-A.Kosten, Cairo 2003, Bl ack ob­ tained an excellent position after 10 ... i.a6 11 o-o 'Lid7 12 Ji.f4 "fic7 (12 ... e s ! ? was fin e too) 13 �a4 0-0-0 14 l:i.fb1? (14 ii.g 3 was still okay for White) 14 ... 'Lies ! 15 i.c2 ii.xc4 and went on to win . 10 es With a tempo g ain on the white knight. H ere Black can also play in a more flexible m anner with 10 ... ii.a6. This was played in a yet another Spassky-Hubner encounter, this tim e at Bugojno 1982. There 11 �e2 �d7 ! ? was provocative - Hubner is well known for h i s great defensive skills and h e often goes for material before defending successfully. Here he sets his sights on the a4-square to sn atch the pawn. However, it allows 12 es dxes 13 dxes 'Lig8. ...


N i m z o - l n d i a n : Sii m is c h , 4 a 3

This pawn structure is very static, which i n principle should favour Black. O n the other h and, there is an important weakness on d6 and, of course, losing time with the king's knight is not ideal either. After 14 o-o l:De7 1 S .l:i.ad1 �c7 {avoiding 1 s ... 'i\Va4 16 .ic2 ! �xa3 ?? 17 'i!Vd2 and White wins) 16 .ig s o-o-o 17 l:Df2 .l:i.d7 18 i.. x e7 {well played; White continues with f4 and gets rid of his bad bishop) 18 ....l:i.xe7 19 f4 @b8 20 l:De4 .l:.d7 21 l:Dd6 l:Db7 2 2 l:Dbs ii.xbs 2 3 cxbs l:thd8 24 i.. e 4 play was about equal and the g am e was drawn after 6 3 moves. 11 l:D f2 �d7 There's nothing wrong with 11...i.. a 6 either. The only thing Black needs to avoid h ere is castling too early. White is struggling to find a plan so lon g as the black king is a 'moving target', keeping all options ( ... 0-0-0, ... o-o and staying in the centre) alive. A sample line: 12 o-o l:Dd7 13 �e2 cxd4 14 cxd4 .l:.c8 1s cs .txd3 16 l:Dxd3 dxcs 17 dxcs bxcs 18 .l:tac1 l:Db3 19 .l:.c3 l:Dd4 20 �f2 and White fights for equality. There are multiple options of both sides along the way, but this does illustrate a possible course of pl ay.

12 0-0 White had two more aggressive alternatives: a) A direct way for White to play is the untried 12 f4! ? l:Dg4 {one point of playing ...�d7 be­ fore ... i.. a 6; possible alternatives are 12 ... 0-0 and 12 .....ta6, which are both playable) 13 l:Dxg4 �xg4 14 fxes (14 �xg4 ..txg4 1S fxes dxes 16 dxcs o-o-o is an important move to attack the bishop on d3 and after 17 ..te2 ..txe2 18 'lt>xe2 l:Dxc4 19 cxb6 axb6 20 a4 White is slightly worse) 14 ... dxes {14 ... cxd4 is a more solid choice with about equal chances: for instance, 1S cxd4 dxes 16 dS �xd1+ 17 .l:.xd1 ..ta6 18 cs ..txd3 19 .l:.xd3 bxcs 20 ..txcs l:Db7 2 1 .l:.c3 .l:i.c8 22 ..tb4 @d7 and Black is comfortable) 1S dxcs �xg 2 16 l::tg 1 'iVh 3 17 l:tg 3 �xh 2 18 l::t xg 7 with crazy complications that are hard to assess. A quick possible end to the game is 18 [email protected] 19 J:tg 1 .l:tg8 20 .l:txg8+ @xg8 2 1 �e2 'i!Vh 1+ 22 �f1 'ii'h 4+ 23 �f2 'iVh1+ and a repetition. b) In the g ame J . Diaz del Corral-1 .Csom, Malaga 1981, White went for 12 s which was countered with the very nice 12 ... l:Dg 8 ! ? (typical of Csom 's original style) 13 dxes (this clari-


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

fies the situation in the centre; White's key pl an is the knight tour to ds) 13 ... dxes 14 ll:Jg4 f6 1 5 .i.h4 .i.a6 16 ll:ie3 o-o-o 17 .i.e2 'ii'x d1+ 18 l::!. x d1 l:Ixd1+ 19 'it>xd1 ll:ie7? ! (19 ... ll:ih6! , headin g directly t o d 6 via f7 was stronger) 20 @c2 l::!. d 8 2 1 g4 g s 22 i.g 3 h6 2 3 h4 l::!.f8? ! 2 4 hxg s hxg S 2 5 .Uh 7 and by n o w Black needed t o play precisely t o secure the draw. Black h ad an excellent position before though and the knight retreat followed by .. .f6 is an interest­ ing motif worth remembering. 12....i.a6 13 f4 The principled move, but not the only one. In fact it is not clear if Bl ack winning th e c4pawn is all that devastating: for example, 13 a4! ? .i.xc4 (Black might con sider delaying this with moves like 13 ...o-o or 13 ... ll:ih s) 14 ..txc4 ll:ixc4 1 S s and White's idea of takin g on f6, followed by ll:ig4 is very annoying. Indeed, 1 s ... ll:ih s ! ? (not 1 s ... ll:ig 8? 16 'ii'e2 ll:ias 17 dxes dxes 18 l::!. a d1 'ii'x a4 19 f4 and White's attack is very dang erous, if not decisive) 16 'ii'e 2 ll:ias 17 dxe s dxe s 18 l::!.fd1 'ii'c6 19 l::!. d s f6 20 ..te3 o-o gives White compensation for the pawn . H aving our knights on both as and h s is quite a picture. Playing this position might be not to everyone's taste, but there are alternatives on move 1 3 . In stead o f giving away c 4 immediately, White can al so try t o cover i t for the moment with 13 'ii'e 2. The point is th at 13 ... 1Wa4 14 i.c2 is a nice trick. However, after 14 ... 'ii'c6 1 5 i.d3 0-0 the structure rem ains the same, with Black eyeing the c-pawn s. This position should be at least equal for Black. 13...i.xc4 13 ... exd4 14 cxd4 i.xc4 was another way to grab the pawn. It seem s to be fine as well: for example, 1 s fs (after 1 s es?! ..txd3 16 'ii'x d3 dxes 17 fxe s c4 18 'ii'e 2 ll:id5 Black is better) 1s ... i.xd3 16 'ii'x d3 c4 17 'ii'e 2 'ii'c6 with complicated play. White has some compensation for the pawn, but Black does not face any immediate problems. 14 fxes dxes

15 dxcs?! This is a mistake that con siderably eases Black's play. It probably doesn 't yet lead to an advantage for Bl ack, but 1S i.g s poses far more problems. Now Bl ack can try:


N i m z o - l n d i a n : Siim is c h , 4 a 3

a) 1 5 ... cxd4 16 .i.xf6 gxf6 17 cxd4 .txd3 18 �xd3 �xd4 19 'iYh 3 �d7 20 �xd7+ @xd7 2 1 tb g 4 and White will regain the pawns with equality. b) 15 ... exd4 16 .txc4 lbxc4 17 cxd4 (17 .txf6 ? ! tbe3 18 �f3 g xf6 19 cxd4 tbxf1 20 .l:!.xf1 0o-o 21 dxc5 is good for Black, but not so easy to play due to the open king position) 17 ... cxd4 18 .txf6 tbe3 19 �xd4 �xd4 20 .txd4 tbxf1 2 1 @xf1 0-0 with an equal endgame that still has plenty of play left. c) 1 5 ....Jtxd3 and then : c1) 16 �xd3 exd4 (or the solid 16 ... �d6 17 .txf6 - just in tim e before Black goes ... tbd7 17 ... �xf6 18 tbg4 �d6 19 tbxe 5 o-o 20 tbg4 cxd4 2 1 cxd4 .l:!.ad8 2 2 .l:!.ad1 tbc6, which is a long, but pl ausible line, reaching an equal endgame) 17 cxd4 tran sposes to line 'a', above. c2) 16 tbxd3 tbc4 (16 ... exd4?! 17 tbe 5 �e6 18 �a4+ is just too risky for Black) 17 tbxe5 (the safe move for White; otherwise, there is 17 .txf6 gxf6 18 �f3 exd4 19 �xf6 .l:!.g8 20 tbf4 tbe3 21 .l:!.f3 .l:!.c8 2 2 tbd5 �e6 2 3 �xe6+ fxe6 24 tbf6+ @e7 25 tbxg 8+ .l:!.xg 8 and Bl ack has sufficient compensation in this endg ame) 17 ... tbxe 5 18 .txf6 gxf6 19 dxe5 �xd1 20 .l:!.axd1 fxe5 21 .l:!.d5 o-o 22 .l:!.xe5 .l:!.fe8 with an equal endgame. Overall, 1 5 .i.g 5 leads to very interesting, complex position s. Black h as various good re­ plies that all seem to be about equal, but with lots of play left in the position . 1s ...i.xd3 16 tbxd3 tbg4 17 �e2 o -o 18 cxb6 H ere White h ad some choice, as can be seen from : a) 18 .l:!.f5 ! ? tbxe3 (18 .. .f6 ! ? m aybe gives more winning chances for Bl ack; a possible line run s 19 �xg4 �xd3 20 .l:!.f3 .l:!.f7 2 1 cxb6 lbb3 2 2 .l:!.af1 axb6 2 3 �e6 �xc3 24 �d5 .l:!.a5 25 i.xb6 .l:rxd5 26 .l:!.xc3 .l:!.b5 27 .l:Ib1 .l:!.xb6 2 8 .l:rcxb3 .l:!.xb3 29 .l:rxb3 .l:!.a7 and it's equal after all) 19 tbxe5 �e7 20 �xe3 lbb3 2 1 .l:!.af1 �xc5 2 2 �xc5 tbxc5 2 3 tbc6 and White is active enough to draw, but it is not clear cut. b) 18 i.g 5 f6 19 .Jth4 tbc4 20 cxb6 axb6 2 1 lbb4 �c8 with about equal pl ay as the com ­ ing tbd5 compensates for White's bad structure. 18...tbxe3 19 �xe3 tbc4 20 �g3 f6 21 bxa7 'iWxa7+ 22 @h1


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

This was close to being forced after 18 cxb6. White h as an extra pawn, but Black h as a perfect structure with one pawn isl and as opposed to a four-island structure on White's side. So m any weaknesses are very tough to defend and if one of them drops there are still several left. While White still should be able to hold 'with perfect play', it is very unpleasant to play in a practical g ame. 22 'iVb7 23 .l:.fe1 tbd6 24 .l:.ab1 W/f7 25 .l:.b6? 2 5 tt:Jb4 .l:i.xa3 26 'iVd3 with tt:Jds to come was a better defence. 2s ...'iVc7 26 .l:.b3 'iYc4 Now White falls apart. 27 .l:.b4 'ifxc3 28 a4 'iVa3 That keeps a clear advantage, but the computer shows 28 .. .fs ! as an instant knockout; White's pieces are terribly coordinated. 29 h3 .l:.xa4 30 .l:.xa4 'iVxa4 31 'iYg4 'ifc4 32 tt:Jf2 'iVc8 33 °it'g3 'iVe6 34 tbg4 'it>h8 35 °it'h4 'ifb3 36 tt:Je3 °it'e6 37 .l:.a1 °it'f7 38 .l:.a6 Wlb3 39 .l:.xd6 'iVxe3 40 .l:.d7 .l:.b8 [email protected] ••.

Probably due to time pressure there were some inaccuracies by both sides in the l ast few moves. Black has lost a good deal of his advantage, but still presses on . 41 h6 42 'iYg4 'iVgs 43 'iVxgs hxgs 44 @g3 .l:.b4 45 @f3 'it>h7 46 .l:.a7 .l:.b3+ 47 @f2 .l:.b2+ 48 @f3 .l:.d2 49 .l:.b7 @gs so .l:.c7 @f8 51 .l:.a7 g6 52 .l:.b7 .l:.d3+ 53 @e2 .l:.d4 [email protected] .l:.d3+ 55 @e2 .l:.d8 56 .l:.a7 .l:.e8 57 @f3 .l:.e7 58 .l:.a6 'it>f7 59 'it>g4 .l:.d7 [email protected]?! fs 61 exfs? gxfs 62 'it>e3 .l:.d4 63 .l:.a7+ 'it>e6 64 .l:.g7 f4+ 65 'it>e2 @f6 66 .l:.g8 .l:.a4 67 .l:.f8+ 'it>e6 68 .l:.g8 @fs 69 .l:[email protected] 70 .l:.g8 .l:.a2+ [email protected] 'it>e3 72 'it>g1 e4 73 .l:.xgs .l:.a1+ 74 Wh2 f3 75 gxf3 exf3 76 .l:[email protected] 77 .l:.e8 f2 78 .l:.f8+ 'it>e3 [email protected] .l:.g1+ [email protected] f1'iV 81 .l:[email protected] 82 .l:.d8+ 'it>es 83 .l:.e8+ 'it>d6 84 .l:.d8+ 'it>e7 85 .l:.e8+ 'it>xe8 0-1 ••.

Summary The early f3 and e4 in the Samisch is a viable option for White, but is no big threat to Black if h e knows what he is doing. The key is to avoid early castling and pile up on the c4-pawn .


N i m z o - l n d i a n : Sii m is ch , 4 a 3

At the right moment, the move ... e6-eS can h elp t o block White's ambitions i n the centre and on the kin gside.

Game s

B.Jobava-R. Wojtaszek FI D E World

Cup, Khanty-Ma nsiysk 2011

1 d4 lll f6 2 c4 e6 3 tt::l c3 .tb4 4 a3 .txc3+ 5 bxc3 cs 6 e3 o-o

7 .,td3 This is by far the most popular move, intending to continue with h armonious develop­ m ent with lll e 2 followed by expansion in the centre with e4 and f4. This position will often arise via the move order 4 e3 o-o S a3 or S .td3 cs 6 a3, used by m any Samisch players th at combine this line with the Rubin stein. Some intend to play 4 e3 cs S tt::l e 2, but will go for the Samisch after 4 ... o-o. A rare choice via this move order is 7 lllf3, which after 7 ... d6 8 .td3 tt::l c 6 leads to a posi­ tion that normally arises via the Hilbner line where h as White lost a move with a3. How­ ever this 'tempo loss' has some points and is discussed in the section on the Hilbner - see G am e 16. Once in a while White plays 7 tt::l e 2. The idea is to quickly play lll g 3 and e4. After 7 .td3 the knight often ends on g3 anyway, so this is an interesting try: a) If you want to experiment there is 7 ...�as ! ?, as played in J .Gomez-R. Ponomariov, Trom so Olympiad 2014. After 8 �c2 cxd4 9 tt::l xd4 (9 exd4 ds 10 lll g 3 lll c 6 with ... es coming al so looks fine for Black) 9 ... tt::l c 6 10 a4 ds 11 cxds exds 12 f3 l::t e 8 13 .td2 "fi/c7 14 tt::lb s 'tlfes interesting play arises. b) Th e main move is 7 ... b6. This is very similar to the m ain line and in fact often trans­ poses to it, as with 8 lll g 3 tt::l c 6 9 e4 (the more common 9 .td3 leads to note 'b' to White's


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

9th move, below) 9 ... lll e 8 ! (the typical reaction to the threat of .ig s and/or e4-e S; Black also prepares .. .fs or ... lll d 6 accordin g to circum stances) 10 ..te3 d6 11 .id3, which tran sposes again to the notes to White's 9th move, below. In fact it is difficult not to tran spose, as af­ ter 7 lll e 2 moves other th an the set-up with e4, .id3 and .ie3 (to cover d4) h ardly m ake any sense. 1 lll c6 8 tt:Je2 Again 8 lllf3, transposing to a Hubner with a3, is possible and is discussed in G am e 16. A far more tricky move is 8 e4! ? . This might come as slight shock to the unprepared, but if Black knows this line, it is not dangerous at all : 8 ... cxd4 9 cxd4 tt:lxd4 10 e s 'ii'a s+ 11 @fl lll e 8 ! . ...

N ecessary, a s 11 . . .'ii'x e s?? loses a piece due t o 12 .tb2 and the pin is deadly. After 11 ... lll e 8 ! , 12 .txh 7+ @xh 7 13 'iVxd4 d6 (13 .. .f6 ! ? is also fine) 14 exd6 es lS 'ii'd 3+ e4 16 'iVd4 (also possible was 16 'iVxe4+ ..tfs 17 'ii'd4 lll x d6 with fine pl ay for Black) 16 ... lll xd6 ! ? 17 'iVxd6 ?? l:!.d8 18 ft4 l:!.d1+ 19 @e2 'iVh s+ 20 f3 exf3+ 2 1 gxf3 l:!.xg 1 2 2 l:txg 1 'ii'xh 2+ 2 3 @d1 'iVxg l+ 24 @c2 ..tfs+ 2S @b3 'iVd1+ 26 @a2 'ii'xf3 27 ..tb2 Black might h ave won in A.Yegiazarian-G.Sargissian, Yerevan 2003, such as with 27 ... l:te8. 8 b6 Preparing ... ..ta6 and keepin g the centre fluid. A closed centre set-up similar to the Hubner is less convincing h ere as White h as the knight on e2 and h as not castled yet which is helpful for him. In this very closed set-up White often tries for a very broad advance, including g4 and h4. Let's look at a brief exam­ ple of what to avoid: 8 ... d6 9 e4 e s 10 ds lll e 7 11 f3 lll e 8 12 g4 (that's the problem - without .. .fs Black's position is passive) 12 ... g 6 13 h4 f6 14 lll g 3 lll g 7 l S 'iVe2 iVas 16 .td2 .td7 17 o­ o l:!.f7 18 f4 when White enjoyed a huge space advantage and the initiative in V.Milov­ K. Lemer, Ashdod 2003. Black's position is still fairly resilient, but overall this is just too pas­ sive to recommend. ...


N i m z o - l n d i a n : S a m is c h , 4 a 3

9 e4 This is still the most popul ar move, but some Samisch experts h ave switched to other moves or move orders, usually involving a quick li:Jg 3 . Those move orders look confusing at first, but there is nothing to be particul arly afraid of. I 'll present concrete lines below, but it's useful to remember some general guidelines: 1) If White plays e4, the respon se should always be ... li:Je8 to prevent the pin with s . 2) White m ay sacrifice the d4-pawn . Black can usually take it, but i t is easier t o just ig­ nore the pawn and continue with typical moves. The pawn should only be taken if properly prepared. 3) Besides ... li:Je8, Black plays ... ila6 and usually ... tt:Jas to pressurize the c4-pawn . 4) On f4 Black should h ave .. .fs ready, like in the m ain g ame, or be able to grab the c4pawn under favourable circum stances. S) Black very rarely plays the move ... d6. Even on ile3 Black should investigate going ... li:Jd6 to counterattack against c4 or check for other ways to sacrifice the cs-pawn. This very much depends on the concrete position - just keep in mind th e option to sacrifice the pawn on cs and don't play ... d6 autom atically. Let's now look at some concrete moves: a) 9 o-o usually transposes elsewhere after Bl ack's standard reply 9 ...ila6. Now 10 e4 leads to the m ain g ame, while 10 li:Jg 3 is discussed via the 9 li:Jg 3 move order. b} 9 li:Jg3 ila6 and then : bl} 10 o-o tt:Jas 11 e4 is a sh arp attempt. In stead, the l am e 11 "i-Ve2 can be an swered by the somewh at non -thematic 11 ... cxd4! 12 cxd4 l:.c8 when White will lose c4 without any compen sation, as in l .Santan a-R. Leitao, Sao Paulo 2002. After 11 e4 Black may tran spose to the m ain gam e with 11 ... li:Je8, although 11 ... ..txc4 is al so possible and not as ri sky as in oth­ er lines because the pin with ilg s is less of a problem with the knight on g 3 . Indeed, 12 ilg s h 6 13 i..h 4 loses due to 1 3 ... gs. I think Black should probably take the pawn h ere and not tran spose to the main line - White's compensation looks insufficient to me. On the


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

other h and, i f you feel confused by the various move orders i t is n o problem i f you just play ... lll e 8 whenever White pushes e4. b) 10 e4 lll e 8 11 0-0 al so has been tried, with a direct transposition to the main g ame. White m ay al so cover th e d4-pawn with 11 .ie3, after which 11 ... lll a s 12 'ir'e2 .Uc8 trans­ poses to the notes to White's 10th move, below. 9 lll e S! ...

Once again, e4 always should be an swered by ...lll e 8, avoidin g the .tg s pin . 10 0-0 The m ain move, but there are various possible transposition s of course, such as 10 lll g 3 , which tran sposes t o 9 lll g 3 , above. On 10 .ie3 Black again can avoid the slightly passive 10 ... d6 with 10 ... .ia6. a) The capture 11 dxcs is not to be feared: 11 ... bxcs (11 ... lll e s ! ? is al so perfectly playable) 12 .ixcs d6 13 .id4 'ir'as 14 o-o lll e s 1 s .ixe s dxe s 16 'i¥b3 ? (16 l:i.b1 was still about equal) 16 ... lllf6 17 'i¥b4 'ir'c7 18 'ir'a4 lll d 7 ! was excellent for Black in A.Sansas-E.Nievergelt, Bern 19S7. b) White's main move is actually 11 lllg 3 lll a s ! 12 'iee2 l:i.c8 and then : bl) 13 l:!.c1 'ieh4 (13 ... lll d6 was al so good, but I always h ave a soft spot for those long queen moves) 14 o-o lll d 6 lS e s lll dxc4 and Black was better in A. lpatov- P. Drenchev, Sofia 2010. This g ame concluded 16 lll e 4 lll x e3 17 fxe3 .ixd3 18 1li'xd3 cxd4 19 .Uf3 dS ! 20 exd6 fs 21 lll d 2 llxc3 22 .Uxc3 dxc3 2 3 1\i'xc3 1\i'd8 24 1\i'es �d7 2s llg 3 llf7 26 lllf3 lll c 4 2 7 1\i'd4 'iVhs 28 lll g s es 29 1\i'd1 l:!.d7 30 h4 g6 31 h s .U.xd6 3 2 1\i'c1 'i¥b3 0-1. b2) 13 dS is the alternative, but 13 ... 1li'h4! is an excellent an swer to that move as well (a rare top-level Samisch encounter saw 13 .. .fs ? ! 14 exfs exds l S cxds .i.xd3 16 �xd3 1\i'h4, P.Svidler-V. Kramnik, Paris/St Petersburg 2013; Black was fine h ere, but 13 ... 1li'h4 is even stronger), and after 14 o-o lll d6 lS .U.ad1 fs ! was both very thematic and clearly better for Black in E.Geller-V.Smyslov, Leeuwarden 19S6. 10 .i.a6 ...


N i m z o - l n d i a n : Sii m is c h , 4 a 3

11 lll g 3 The main line of the whole Samisch is 11 f4. This is examined in detail in the following g am e Richter-Howell. Of the alternatives, only the g am e move 11 lll g 3 carries some bite. Let's check some other moves, though: a) A rare move is 11 es, after which I like 11...d6 as White's advanced centre is attacked immediately: 12 1!Vc2 h6 13 l:!.d1 cxd4 (as played in S.Brittner-A.Riazantsev, Ohrid 2009, but m aybe even better is 13 ... dxes 14 dxes 'W/c7 when White h as a hard tim e defending both the C4- and e s-pawn s; in the g am e A.Stefanova-K.Lahno, Krasnoturin sk 2007, the former women's world ch ampion decided to sacrifice the e s-pawn, but after 1S i..f4 lll x e s 16 i.. e 4 Bl ack could h ave played 16 ... l:!.b8 ! with a fine position, based on the point 17 °iWa4 lllf6 ! 18 i.. x es 'W/xe s 19 .tf3 i..b 7, which was not possible in the g ame, where 16 ... l:!.c8 was played which does not cover b7) 14 exd6 (14 cxd4 dxe s 1S dxe s 'W/c7 is about equal as well) 14 ... lll x d6 1s cxd4 l:!.c8 16 cs .ixd3 17 'W/xd3 bxcs 18 dxcs lllfs 19 .if4 1!Vxd3 20 l:!.xd3 and I like Bl ack with the better structure and firm blockade on c6, even if objectively it is about equal . b) The somewhat slow 11 i.. e 3 shoul d be answered by 11 ... lll d 6 ! .


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

After 12 dxcs tl'ixc4 13 i.xc4 i.xc4 Black is already very comfortable and went on to win in F.Elsness-G. Kaidanov, Mallorca Olympiad 2004: 14 l:te1 'ilc7 15 tt:'ig 3 tt:Jes 16 cxb6 axb6 17 'iVd4 bs 18 .l:!.ed1 l:ta6 19 i.f4 d6. Nice play by Bl ack, who is already clearly for choice, but now White miscalcul ated and went 20 tt:'ih s ? ? i.e2 2 1 tt:Jxg 7 .i.xd1 2 2 .i.h6 .i.e2 2 3 'iVd2 Wie7 when he didn't have any serious attacking chances for the material . 11 tt:Jas 11 ... .l:!.c8 was preferred in B.Jobava-M.Neubauer, Rijeka 2010, but the type of position af­ ter 12 f4 f6 (12 ... tt:Jas 13 fs f6 is still very unclear) 13 es fs 14 ds tt:Jas 1 5 Wie2 g6 16 d6 is very tricky for Black, as the pawn wedge on d6 cuts the board in two. Now Jobava l aunched a very dang erous attack: 16... tt:'ig 7 17 .l:!.a2 .l:!.b8 18 a4 'iVc8 19 l:tf3 @f7 20 tt:'if1 l:th 8 21 l:th 3 'iVc6 2 2 tt:'ie3 .l:!.bg 8 2 3 l:th6 tt:'ih s ? {it was already difficult for Black, but this loses on the spot) 24 .l:!.xh s ! gxh s 25 'iVxh 5+ .l:!.g6 26 tt:Jxf5 ! exf5 27 .i.xf5 'iVc8 28 i.e4 {the point) 28 ... i.b7 29 i.xb7 'i/xb7 30 f5 Wie4 3 1 fxg6+ hxg6 3 2 l:tf2+ @g 7 3 3 'iVg 5 'iVh4 34 e6 dxe6 3 5 'iVe 5+ @g 8 36 'iVxe6+ 1-0. ...


N i m z o - l n d i a n : S i:i m is c h , 4 a 3 12 f4 Direct. There's al so: a) 12 1\Ve2 might be too slow for such an unbal anced position and after 12 ...cxd4 13 cxd4 l:tc8 (13 ... etJb3 is the greedy option and while it looks viable, I recommend sticking to th e general rules l aid out above: don 't take the pawn unless properly prepared; h ere is an example anyway: 14 l:tbl ttJxd4 1 S 1We3 e s 16 f4 d6 17 .i.b2 ttJc6 18 ttJfs and White h ad some compensation for the pawn in J .Sikora Lerch-L. Pachmann, Luh acovice 1968) White h as tried: al) 14 cs was tried in l .Zenyuk-C.Bagin skaite, St. Louis 2012, but after 14 ... .i.xd3 1S 1!Yxd3 bxcs 16 dxcs ltJb7 17 .i.e3 ? ! (17 .i.b2 ttJxcs 18 1\Ve3 d6 19 l:tacl was still okay for White) 17 ... ttJxcs Black was better. a2) S6 years before that g am e Efim G eller played 14 .id2 again st Djurasevic, which again offered the d4-pawn . In this concrete case Black should take it, as h e did in the g ame: 14... etJb3 1s l:tad1 ttJxd4 16 1!Yh s ! ? (this sacrifices yet another pawn for in sufficient com­ pensation ; the alternative 16 1\Ve3 etJb3 17 .i.c3 ttJcs 18 .i.e2 also looks better for Black, but White can try to muddy the waters with f4 as usual).

The g ame concluded 16 .. .f6 ? ! 17 .i.c3 g 6 18 1\Yh 6 ttJb3 19 f4 1\Ve7 20 fS 'iWg 7 2 1 1\Yh 3 ttJcs 22 i.e2 es ( Bl ack is still better, but possibly in time trouble G eller outwits his opponent) 2 3 l:tf3 g s 24 1\Vg4 1\Vf7 2 s h4 h 6 2 6 hxg s hxg s 27 ttJh s i.xc4?? (this loses nicely) 2 8 ttJxf6+ ttJxf6 29 1\Vxg s + 1\Vg 7 30 .i.xc4+ ds 3 1 i.xds+ ttJxds 3 2 1\Vxg 7+ @xg 7 3 3 l:txds ttJxe4 34 i.xes+ @f7 3S l:td7+ @e8 3 6 l:txa7 l:tcs 3 7 l:ta8+ @f7 3 8 l:ta7+ @e8 3 9 l:ta8+ @f7 40 lixf8+ @xf8 41 i.d4 libS 42 g4 and Black resigned in E.Geller-B.Djurasevic, Belgrade 19S6. How­ ever, the computer age m akes us fearless in analysis. Bl ack in fact can just take the pawn I (and Houdini) see no serious compensation for two pawns. A sample line 16 ... .i.xc4! 17 i.c3 ttJb3 18 .i.xc4 l:txc4 19 .i.b4 d6 and White runs out of steam quickly. The conclusion is that 12 1\Ve2 does not convince at all . b ) An entirely different approach is 12 dxc s ! ? .i.xc4 ( 1 2 . . ..Uc8, a s in D.Semcesen47

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

B.Lindberg, Vaxjo 2013, is also fine for Black) 13 ..txc4 tt::lx c4 1 4 �a4?! (14 �d4 tt::la s 1S .l:i.b1 tt::l c 6 16 �e3 is equal) 14 ... ds and Black was already slightly better in B.Vigh-J . Palkovi, Hun­ g arian League 199 S . 1 2.....txc4 13 ..txc4 Alternatively, 13 fs ! ? ..txd3 (not the only m ove, but sufficient) 14 �xd3 tt::lb 3 1 s l:tb1 tt::l x cl 16 l:tbxcl l:tc8 17 e s (the only way forward for White) 17 .. .f6 and Black is at least equal h ere. 14 fs In the g ame E.Men sch -L.Murzin, Budapest 1998, White tried 14 �d3, but after 14 ... ds 1S fS cxd4 16 cxd4 l:tc8 17 e s (17 f6? tt::l xf6 18 s dxe4 19 tt::lx e4 tt::lb 2 loses for White) 17 .. .f6 ! his attack does not convince. This direct chall eng e improves somewh at on the game, which ended quickly in White's favour: 17 ... exfs ? 18 tt::lxfs .l:i.c6 19 .l:i.a2 tt::lc 7 20 l:taf2 l:tg6 2 1 �f3 tt::l e 6 2 2 h4 �d7 ? 2 3 h s l:lg s 24 ..txg s tt::l xg s 2 5 �g4 �d8 26 e6 fxe6 27 tt::l e 7+ �xe7 2 8 .l:i.xf8+ and Black resigned. 14...cxd4 Black should in sert this. A l ater ...b s and ... �6 is the m ain reason. In stead, 14 .. .f6 is pos­ sible, but the main g ame makes a good cause for first taking on d4. 15 cxd4 f6 16 l:tbl 16 l:tf4 was pl ayed by, among st others, world junior ch ampion Alexander lpatov. How­ ever, the computer recommendation 16 ... b S ! is much better for Black.

The point is quick counterplay after ... �6: for example, after 17 l:th4 m6 18 e s White h as no compen sation fo r the pawn . 17 a4 is somewh at better, but also not convinc­ ing for White. Jobava's 16 .l:i.b1 is directed ag ainst this ... b s idea. 16...exfs 17 exfs 17 tt::l xfs ds 18 ..tf4 tt::l e d6 is only slightly better for Black. 11...ds 18 l:tb3 'ifd7 19 �hs tt::l ed6 20 tt::l e 2 �f7 21 �h3 l:tfe8 22 tt::l f4 tt::l e 4 23 tt::l e 6 l:tac8 24 �h4 tt::l cd2 48

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Siim i s c h , 4 a 3

2 4... .l:!.e7 ! was winning, preparing t o move the g -pawn, but 2 4... .l:!.xe6? only draws due to 2 5 fxe6 �xe6 26 .:r.h 3 h6 27 .i.xh 6 ! . 25 .i.xd2 llixd2 26 .:r.h3 hs 27 llixg7

27 [email protected] And h ere the cold-blooded 27 ... llixf1 ! was winning, with 28 ... .:.c1 ! the point after 2 8 llixe8. After the capture in the g am e, i t is only a draw. 28 .:r.g3+ @fS 29 �f4 llixf1 30 �h6+ @e7 31 .:r.g1 llie3 32 .:r.xf7+ @xf7 33 �h7+ @fS 34 �h6+ @f7 35 �h7+ @fS 36 �h6+ @f7 Yz-Yz Summary This whole line involving a sacrifice of c4 or d4 looks dubious for White. There are some practical chances, but Black does not need to fear this approach if h e knows wh at h e is do­ ing. If you can call any approach for White 'solid' in the Samisch , it is the main line exam­ ined in the next g ame.

Game 6

M.Richter-0.Howell Wun siedel 2012 1 d4 llif6 2 c4 e6 3 llic3 .i.b4 4 e3 o -o 5 a3 .i.xc3 + 6 bxc3 cs 7 .i.d3 llic6 8 llie2 b6 9 e4 llie8! 10 o -o .i.a6 11 f4 H aving examined all the deviations in Games 4 and s, we tum our attention to White's m ain line. 11...fs


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

This blocks the f-pawn and limits White's bishops. I tried t o m ake the alternatives 11...tLla5 and 11...f6 work to cut the workload a bit, but White's attack seemed too danger­ ous to me, especially in a practical game. 12 exfs At this point White has tried various ways to break through in the centre. As Black, of course, threatens to take on e4 and c4, White cannot pl ay a slow move. Let's have a look: a) 12 tLlg 3 g6 13 i.e3 (the traditional move; the alternative 13 exf5 exf5 14 dxc5 bxc5 l eads back to the m ain g ame) 13 ... cxd4! (the now cl assic procedure of A.Yusupov-A. Karpov, Linares 1993) 14 cxd4 d5.

Countering strongly in the centre. Now 1 5 cxd5 i.xd3 16 'i;\i'xd3 fxe4 17 'iVxe4 'ifxd5 18 'ifxd5 exd5 is fairly forced. Black has comfortably equalized, but in the classic Yusupov­ Karpov g ame, the former world champion obtained an advantage rather quickly: 19 .l:!.ac1 .l:!.c8 20 f5 ttJd6 21 fxg 6 hxg 6 22 .l:!.xf8+ @xf8 23 h4 t2ic4 24 i.g 5 ? ttJxd4 25 h 5 ? gxh 5 26 .l:!.f1+ 50

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Siim i s c h , 4 a 3

@e8 27 lt:Jxh s lt:Jxa3 2 8 lt:Jg 7+ @d7 29 l:If7+ @c6 3 0 .l:!.xa7 tt:Jac2 3 1 .tf6 b s 3 2 g4 b 4 3 3 .l:!.a2 b3 34 l:tb2 @cs 3S tt:Jfs .l:!.g8 36 tt:Jxd4 .l:!.xg4+ 37 @f2 tt:Jxd4 38 .txd4+ @xd4 39 .l:!.xb3 .l:!.e4 40 .l:!.a3 .l:!.e8 0-1. b) 12 e s and then : bl) Black can now play 12 ... tt:Jas, leading to an amazing mess after 13 ds d6 and now even 14 g4! ? is possible. It is very important to know th at 13 ... .txc4 14 .txc4 tt:Jxc4 1 S d6 is a type of position that Black should avoid, at least for practical reasons.

The knight on e8 is stuck and blocks Black's communication on both sides of the board. White h as excellent compen sation. b2) Much simpler and better is 12 ... d6 ! 13 d s ? ! (this is exclusively played, but is not es­ pecially convincing for White; frankly speaking, the coming pawn sacrifice is mostly just a blunder by White, but the yet untested altern atives to 13 dS look quite toothless as well: for in stance, 13 .te3 tt:Jas 14 'i'a4 .l:!.c8 and Black is better) 13 ...exds 14 cxds .txd3 1 S �xd3 dxe s ! (the point and probably the move that most white players missed; this is just an ex­ tra pawn for Bl ack) 16 fxe s tt:Jxe s 17 'i'd1 'i'd7 18 .tf4 tt:Jg6 19 'i'd3 tt:Jf6 20 l:tad1 .l:!.ae8 2 1 lt:Jg 3 tt:Jxf4 2 2 .l:!.xf4 g 6 and the highest-rated player o f all tim e later converted convincingly in J .Werl e-M.Carl sen, Dutch League 2008. c) 12 ds exd s ! (12 ... tt:Jas 13 e s leads to the c4-pawn sacrifice line mentioned in variation 'b1', which is playable for Black, but the alternative 12 ... exds is just better) 13 cxds .txd3 14 'i'xd3 fxe4 1S �xe4 tt:Jd6 follows a forcin g sequence up to now. Black already is substan ­ tially better: for example, 16 'i'd3 (or 16 'i'c2 tt:Jas 17 fs tt:Jac4 followed by ...'i'f6 and ... l:Iae8 with a great set-up for Black in Y.Santiago-P. Drenchev, Varna 2014) 16 ... tt:Jas 17 fS 'i'f6 18 l:tb1 .l:!.ae8 19 lt:Jg 3 tt:Jb3 20 'i'f3 tt:Jxc1 2 1 .l:!.bxc1 .l:!.e s 2 2 'i'f4 tt:Jxfs 23 tt:Je4 'i'e7 24 d6 'i'e8 2 S l:tce1 lt:Jh 6 26 'i'xf8+ 'i'xf8 27 l:txf8+ @xf8 2 8 .l:!.f1+ tt:Jf7 29 tt:Jd2 @e8 30 .l:td1 l:tds 3 1 .l:!.e1+ 'it>d8 and White resigned in T.Radjabov-P. Leko, Monaco (rapid) 2007. Indeed, the whole ap­ proach with 12 ds seem s incorrect to me. 12 exfs 13 dxcs ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

The only serious alternative is 13 lll g 3 g 6 14 dxcs bxcs, tran sposing to the game. 13... bxcs 14 lll g3 g6

A very peculiar structure is now on the board. White h as still got weak pawn s and squares, and lost dynamism in the centre, but al so g ained some things in return . Black h as many weaknesses as well, like dS and d6, and White has some ideas to improve his pieces: for example, .i.e3-f2-h4 and in particular lllf 1-e3-dS. The most important thing, though, is that the concrete idea of... 15 .i.e3 ... attacking the pawn on cs, cannot be m et with an ideal solution . How to cover it? 1s d6 This is a pawn sacrifice. An alternative is 1 5 ...�as 16 .i.e2 lllf6 17 �d6 Itfe8, and now White can draw with 18 �xf6 l:!.xe3 19 tt:lxfs or m aybe try the untested 18 �xcs . In short, 15 ... 'ii'a s is worth investigating if you dislike Howell's pawn sacrifice for some reason. 16 i..xfs The principled move, grabbing the pawn . One year before the white player, the G erman GM Michael Richter, h ad tried 16 l:!.e1 against Axel Smith in Gothenburg : 16 ... �d7 (Smith's move, but Black might al so go for 16 ... tt:lf6 17 h3 �c7 18 �a4 i..b 7 19 ..tf2 l:!.ae8 20 l:!.adl tt:las, as in D.Semcesen-P.Cramling Borlange 2014; Bl ack is a at least equal h ere as well} 17 .i.f2 lllf6 18 lllfl Itae8 19 lll e 3 (White h as employed the typical manoeuvres described above; Black al so h as obtained a h armonious set-up and especially the e4-square to ex­ ploit) 19 ... lll e 7 20 .i.h4 .i.b7 21 l:!.a2 tt:Je4 22 .i.xe4 .i.xe4 23 Itae2 lll c 8 with about equal chan ces. As usual Black's structure is excellent, but the dark squares around the king are an issue. 16...gxfS 17 �dS+ .l:i.f7 18 �xc6 White h as exposed his queen in the process of grabbing the pawn and allowed Black to dominate on the long diagonal and the light squares. 18....i.b7! .••


N i m z o - l n d i a n : Siim i s c h , 4 a 3

The bishop just belongs o n the lon g diagon al . Taking the pawn with 18 . . .i.xc4 might b e possible, but Howell correctly prefers not to misplace the bishop for a very weak pawn . Black went down quickly from here in a recent example: 19 l:Ife1 'iWc8 20 'ii'f3 J::Ib 8 21 l:Iad1 l:Ibb7 22 i.f2 l:!.be7 23 'iWh 5 i.e6 24 fte3 l:!.g 7? 2 5 l:Ide1 lt:Jf6 26 'ii'd 1 'ii'd 7 27 ftd3 �7 2 8 ftxd6 i.d5 29 ftxf6 l:!.xe1+ 30 'ii'x e1 l:!.e7 3 1 �d1 i.xg 2 32 'iWd8+ @g7 3 3 lt:Jh 5 and m ate in J.Carow-S.Grigorian, Oberhof 2013. 19 'iWa4 'iWf6?! This is playable, but I prefer the very straightforward 19 ...h 5 ! . Let's check White's op­ tion s h ere: a) 20 lt:Jxh 5 ? ? 'iWh4 21 lt:Jg 3 l::Ih 7 is an obvious disaster for White. b) 20 l:!.fe1 was played in J .Salimaki-J . Haapasalo, H el sinki 1999: 20 ... h4 21 lt:Jfl .l:tg7 22 .:ta2 h 3 (22 ... lt:Jf6 intending to g o ... lt:Je4 also looks like excellent compensation for the pawn) 2 3 g 3 l:Ie7 24 'i¥d1 lt:Jf6 2 5 i.d2 ? (25 l:!.d2 lt:Je4 2 6 l:!.d3 still holds for White) 2 5 ...'i*'e8 26 l:Ixe7 �xe7 27 �el 'ied7 28 lt:Je3 l:!.e8 29 'iefl 'iec6 30 'iexh 3 'iVh 1+ 31 �f2 l:.xe3 32 i.xe3 lt:Jg4+ 33 'it>e2 i.f3+ 34 @d3 'ii'd 1+ 35 l:Id2 i.e4# was a very nice illustration of Black's chances in this structure. The opposite-coloured bishops, with the dark-squared one oper­ atin g on the weakened lon g diagonal, provide great compen sation . c) 20 l:!.ab1 is probably the best move, attacking the bishop on b7 and threatening f5 in the process.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

In my database this position was reached three times, with Black tryin g three different moves: cl) 20 ... ll'ig7 was pl ayed in N .Pedersen-L.Schandorff, Horsen s 2003. What I don't like about this move is th at it gives up on the ... ll'if6-e4(g4) ideas for the moment. After 2 1 'i!i'd1? ! (21 l:tfd1 h4 2 2 ll'if1 looks better, with about equal play; I believe Black is very com­ fortable in this general structure, though, as h e doesn't need to rush things) 2 1 ... h4 2 2 ll'ih 1 'ili'e8 (22 ... 'ili'f6 ! was even stronger, with an edge for Black) 2 3 lt:'if2 h 3 (23 ...'ili'xe3 24 l:txb7 l::lx b7 2 5 'ili'd5+ Wh 7 26 'ili'xb7 l:te8 is about equal and easier to pl ay) 24 .l:!.xb7 .l:!.xb7 2 5 'ili'xd6 .l:!.c8 26 °*!Vd5+ l:tf7 27 i.xc5 a messy position arose th at White eventually won . c2) 20 ... h4 is the most forcing move. After 2 1 ll'ixf5 (or 2 1 l:txb7 l:txb7 2 2 ll'ixf5 °*!Vf6 2 3 "*!Vc2 l:tf7, which is a very important move; the knight is un stable and White is forced t o play 24 g4 hxg 3 2 5 ll'ixg 3, which is not clear at all, but Black cannot be worse, considering White's rotten pawn structure and not too scary piece activity) 2 1 ... 'ili'f6 the knight on f5 is in slight trouble. Now 2 2 .l:!.xb7 tran sposes to 2 1 l:txb7 above, while 2 2 'ili'c2 (22 g4 can be answered even with 2 2 ... i.e4 and Black will win the exch ange, with unclear consequences) 22 ... i.c6 23 g4 hxg 3 24 lt:'ixg 3 l:tg7 25 f5 'i\i'h4 26 i.f4 (the only move) 26 ... ll'if6 27 i.xd6 i.e4 28 'ii'e 2 i.xb1 29 .l:!.xbl .l:!.e8 30 .l:!.b8 l:txb8 3 1 .txb8 'ili'g 5 32 'ili'e6+ @h 7 33 .ie 5 'ili'e3+ 34 @g 2 'ili'd2+ 3 5 @f3 'ili'd3+ perpetual check occurs. In conclusion, 20 ...h4 is the move for the tactically minded attacker, while the more con­ servative 20 ... ll'ig7 might appeal to fan s of slower, more m ethodical attacks. 20 l:tfel ll'ig7 21 'ili'd1 'ili'g6 There al so was the more aggressive 21 ... h 5 ! ? 22 ll'ixh 5 ll'ixh 5 23 'ii'xh 5 .l:!.g 7 24 .l:!.e2 "*!Vxc3 25 l:tc1 °*!Vd3, giving Bl ack fine compensation . 22 .l:!.a2 The computer likes 2 2 .if2 h5 23 h4 with some advantage for White, but I don't believe it.


N i m z o - l n d ia n : Siim i s c h , 4 a 3

Bl ack should b e fi n e here - how is White's bishop ever going t o become active? 22 ...h5 23 l:i.d2 .l::[ f6 24 l'Llf1 h4 25 h3 :es 26 �e2 l'Llh5 27 �f2 l'Llg3 By now Bl ack h as strong pressure. 2S .l::[ b2 i..a6 2 8 ... l'Lle4!? was also interesting, the point being 29 �xh4? .l::[f7 with ... .i::[h 7 to follow. 29 l'Lld2 .i::[fe6 30 l'Llf3 �f6 31 �d2 .i.xc4 32 .i.f2 .i::[x el+ 33 .ixel �e7 34 .i.f2 'it>g7 35 .i::[ b1 �f6 36 .l::[ d1 l'Lle4 37 .i.xh4 �h6 3S .i.g5 �e6 39 �b2 @gs 40 :e1 .i.d5 41 lLJd2 �f7 42 l'Llxe4 .i.xe4 Black has not pl ayed in the best possible way, probably being in tim e trouble. Indeed, Howell is quite well known for his hazardous time m anagement. Now Bl ack is worse, but the strong bishop on e4 still gives him som e chances to save the g ame. 43 .l::[ d1 �e6 44 �f2 .i::[bS 45 .i::[ d2 @f7

46 'i¥h4


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

4 6 a4 is better here: for example, 4 6 ... 'ifg 6 4 7 a s .l:!.b3 4 8 'iYe2 d S 4 9 l:tb2 and White maintains his extra pawn while reducing some of Black's activity. 46...'iYg6 47 'iff2 '1i'e6 48 '1i'h4 'iYg6 49 'iYf2 l:tb3 Avoiding the direct draw by repetition . so .:tb2 'iie 6 51 'it>h2 as 52 l:txb3 '1i'xb3 53 'ifh4 @e6 54 'ikh6+ @d7 ss 'iig 7+ @c6 56 i..e 7 '1i'xa3 57 '[email protected] 58 'iYxd6 'iYxc3 59 [email protected] 60 'iYb6 'iib4 Yz-Yz Summary The Samisch main line can be dangerous for the unprepared black player or if you don't take it seriously enough. The lines presented h ere are reliable, though, and often even lead to White being in trouble at the end.


C h a pt e r T h r e e

N i m z o - l n d i a n : 4 f3

1 d4 tl:if6 2 c4 e6 3 tl:ic3 i.b4 4 f3

The 4 f3 line. Yes, it has no gen erally accepted n am e that has caught on over the years. It is sometimes called the Kmoch variation, but if you tell someone "I pl ay the Kmoch against the Nimzo", you'll probably earn some puzzled looks. The fact that it is a 'n am eless' line does not m ake it any less dangerous. Indeed, in recent years the trend towards this move has in creased and it is now perceived as one of the sh arpest, yet sound option s for White against the Nimzo. It is quite telling th at Vishy Anand opted for 4 f3 in his 2013 Worl d Championship match against Magnus Carlsen when he desperately n eeded a win. In fact Carl sen has tried a number of lines against 4 f3, finally optin g for one of the lines that I feature below. There are some similarities and even tran sposition s between 4 f3 and 4 a3, the Samisch variation. Both lines are very ambitious in their aim to build a strong centre with f3 and e4, 57

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

takin g control of that very e4-square that Black tries to fi ght for with h i s pieces i n the Nim­ zo. There is the school of thought th at 4 f3 is a more 'precise' version of the Samisch as White will only play a3 when it suits him and not show his cards immediately on move 4, thereby allowing Black to adopt a set-up specifically geared towards fighting the doubled pawn s (the ... b6 and ... ila6 pl an). Ag ain st 4 f3 I think that Black should play very actively, usin g a 'fight fire with fire' ap­ proach - timid play will lead to trouble here. I offer two lines for Black. Both lead to unbal­ anced play, but one of them requires more concrete memorization and calculation, while the other is complicated in a more strategic sense and needs less work at home to play. Both lines start with the move 4 ... cs, which fits well with the repertoire for other ch ap­ ters, as Bl ack opts for a dark-squared pawn form ation . I'd first like, though, to give you a brief overview of the altern atives and my ration ale for why I discarded them as repertoire choices for the book. After 4 f3 the most popular move is 4 ... ds, which leads to S a3 J1Lxc3+ 6 bxc3 cs. This is the choice of most top players. It is quite solid and reliable, but sometimes leads to posi­ tion s that are difficult to pl ay for a win as Bl ack. This point and th e different nature of play compared to our other repertoire choices m ade m e decide ag ainst this line. In stead, 4 ...0-0 h as g ained mom entum recently. The m ain idea of it is to answer the n atural S e4 with s ... ds and Black open s up the position, being the better developed. In fact this encouraged some white players to even avoid S e4 and go S a3, tran sposing to the Samisch . I quite like 4 ... o-o, but it was covered not that long ago in John Emms' Move by Move book and I preferred to present something in my book that had not been covered be­ fore. While searching for a less explored alternative, I tried to m ake 4 f3 cs S dS ..i.xc3+ 6 bxc3 d6 7 e4 es work.

This sets up a typical pawn form ation that usually is quite satisfactory for Bl ack: for ex­ ample, in the Hubner variation of the Rubin stein (see Games 16-20). H ere, however, is the 58

Nimzo - J n dia n :



most advantageous version for White imaginable. H e didn 't need to spend a move on a3, he doesn't have a knight on f3 that is misplaced and he h as not castled yet, so even a quick g4 and h4 plan is sometimes possible. All this adds up unfavourably, so I decided this ap­ proach is not acceptable as a m ain suggestion for the book. However, playin g with 4 ... cs is certainly in the spirit of the book, so this is, indeed, the starting point for the two lines I actually do recommend. The first line is 4 cs 5 dS o-o (Bl ack might al so pl ay s ... bs or s ... d6 and castle on move 6 instead of doin g it the other way around; there is no substantial difference between the move orders) 6 e4 bs. ...

Black allows e4-es which is examined in the gam e Volkov-Pashikian (Game 7). This leads to very sh arp, tactically complicated position s th at you should h ave studied in some detail before you pl ay them. If you prefer a less theoretical workload, then 4 cs 5 dS o-o 6 e4 d6 is the approach to choose. ...


O p e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

This line leads to unbalanced play a s well, but learning i t will take less tim e than the more explosive 6 ... b s . This option is covered in Nakamura-Carl sen (Game 8). Note th at both lines have not only been pl ayed by top players, but also in very important events like the Candi­ dates and the Gashimov Memorial of 2014 - a good argument for our repertoire choices against 4 f3 .

Game l

S.Vol kov-A.Pashikian

Agza m ov Memoria l , Ta s h ke nt 2014

1 d4 ll'if6 2 c4 e6 3 ll'ic3 .i.b4 4 f3 cs s ds White som etimes goes for 5 a3, after which s ... .txc3+ 6 bxc3 tran sposes to the Samisch (see G am e 4). s o-o 6 e4 bs .••

7 es Critical, but there are plenty of altern atives: a) 7 .tg s often leads to the Nim zo-Benoni structure typical of the suggested line in Na­ kamura-Carl sen, below. There are al so di stinct similarities to the Leningrad with 4 .tg s. Bl ack m ay exch ange on dS immediately or insert ...h 6 : a l ) 7 . . . exds 8 cxds l:!. e 8 9 'ii'd 2 (9 .txbs? is punished by 9 . . .tt:'ixe4!) 9 . . .a 6 10 tt:'ige2 d 6 11 ll'ig 3 ll'ibd7 12 .te2 c4 13 o-o .tcs+ 14 Wh l h 6 1 5 .lte3 .txe3 16 'ii'x e3 tt:'ics and Black h ad a satisfactory g ame in S.Mamedyarov- L.Fressinet, Ohrid 2009. a2) In serting ... h 6 first and tryin g to drive the bishop to h4 seem s even better to me though, as avoidin g the exchange with .te3 m akes it more difficult to play ll'ie2-g 3 and h elps Black's cause. Therefore I think 7 ... h6 is the most precise: a21) 8 .i.e3 quickly leads to problem s for White: 8 ...bxc4 9 .txc4 .ta6 ! is an improve-


N i m z o - l n d i a n : 4 f3

m ent on existing g ames. The nice point is 10 .ixa6 tl'ixa6 11 dxe6 (11 �d3 exds ! is al so ter­ rible for White) 11 ... ds ! with excellent pl ay for Black.

For example, 12 a3 .ixc3+ 13 bxc3 dxe4 14 �xd8 .l:!.fxd8 1S exf7+ @xf7 16 fxe4 .l:!.d3 and White will need to be precise to stay in the g ame. a22) Better is 8 Jlh4 exds (in S.Volkov- K.Sakaev, New Delhi 2000, the sharp move 8 ... .l:!.e8 ! ? was tested; this g ame between one of the leadin g experts on 4 f3 and the well­ respected theoretician continued 9 dxe6 .l:!.xe6 10 tl'ige2 g s ! ? 11 .tf2 bxc4 12 a3 .tas 13 h4 g4 14 tl'if4 .l:!.b6 with fantastic complications that might fill pages of analysis that I cannot provide h ere) 9 cxds .l:!.e8 10 tl'ige2 (10 .ixb s ? ? tl'ixe4 finishes White off quickly) 10 ... d6 and Bl ack is fine.

In fact Houdini already gives Black a tangible advantage in this position . I am not so sure about th at, but Black has some easy moves to m ake, like ... c4 and ... tl'ibd7, headin g for cs or e s . White can try: 61

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d ia n

a221) 11 .tf2 is my sugg estion for White to prepare lll g 3 and/or �d2. After 11 ... tllb d7 12 �d2 (not 12 tll g 3 ? ! �as ! ) 12 ... tll e s 13 lllg 3 c4 (Houdini also likes 13 ... �h 3, but th at's too much for my taste) 14 .te2 .td7 interesting, unclear play arises. a222) In stead, the g am e J . Kociscak-V. Babula, Czech League 2013, saw 11 g4? after which the simple 11 ... tllb d7 intending ... tll e s would have given Bl ack excellent play. Babula went 11...c4 ! ? 12 .tg 2 .tcs 13 tll xbs �as+ 14 tllb c3 with great compen sation, but 11 ... tllb d7 is even better. b) White m ay al so break the pin with 7 .td2, but Bl ack quickly g ains play in the centre after 7 ... bxc4 8 .txc4 .ta6 (8 ... tll x ds has not been tried here, but seem s viable as well: for example, 9 .txds exds 10 tll x ds �xd2+ 11 �xd2 fs ! and Bl ack obtain s counterplay; 8 ... .ta6 is much easier to pl ay though and preferable) 9 �xa6 tll x a6 (Bl ack is developed and about to break up White's centre) 10 tll g e2 exds 11 es (the only way to avoid a simple disadvan­ tage). We will now follow J . Rosenthal-Y. Pelletier, Biel 2010, where White put up a strong fi ght ag ainst his much high er-rated opponent: 11 ... �xc3 12 �xc3 d4 13 exf6 dxc3 14 fxg 7 .Ue8 1 s bxc3 �e7 16 �d2 c4 17 @f2 tll c s 1 8 lllf4 �g s 19 .Uhd1 .U e s and here both sides h ave their chances in a practical game. c) Another try for White is 7 a3, which lead to a quick draw in C.Sandipan -A.Motylev, Germ an League 2010: 7 ... �xc3+ 8 bxc3 bxc4 (8 ... �as is just one of many possible devia­ tion s; in the g ame Motylev chooses a simple, logical approach, leading to a type of position similar to an old line, but with White's queen side rather weak) 9 .txc4 tll x ds 10 .i.xds exds 11 �xds tll c 6 12 tll e 2 .ta6 13 @f2 .Ub8 14 .Ud1 �as 1 s .i:ta2 �xe2 16 .Uxe2 �xc3 17 �e3 tll d4 18 .txd4 cxd4 19 �xd4 �xa3 20 .i:ta1 �e7 2 1 �xa7 �e s 2 2 h3 ds 2 3 exds and V2-V2. d) After 7 illh 3 Black can again switch back to the old pl an with ...tll x ds, as in this posi­ tion type the white knight needs to go to e2 - on h3 it does not h elp much with th e fight for the centre. So we have: 7 ...bxc4 8 ..txc4 tll x ds 9 �xds exds 10 �xds .i.a6 ! 11 �g s (not 11 �xa8 ? �4+ 12 @d1 tll c 6 and Black will obtain a very strong, probably winning attack) 11 ... �6 12 @f2 tll c 6.


N i m z o - l n d i a n : 4 f3

The computer still thinks it's around equal, but ask White's king and knight wh at they think about that. It's just much simpler to play for Black at least. The g am e J . L. H ammer­ R.Hess, Moscow 2011, continued 13 l:thb1 .l:tae8 14 ..ie3 lll e s 1S a3 ..ic4 16 lt:Ja4 'ifh8 17 �dl ..ib3 18 �fl ..ixa4 19 axb4 ..ic2 20 bxcs fs 2 1 ..if4 ..ixb1 22 �xbl fxe4 23 b4 exf3 24 gxf3 'ifhs 2s Wg 3 lll g 6 26 'ifb3+ @h 8 27 ..id6 .l:tf6 28 lll g s h6 29 lt:Je4 .l:txe4 30 fxe4 .l:txd6 3 1 cxd6 �es+ 3 2 @h 3 �xal 3 3 �f7 �f6 34 �xd7 �f3# 0-1. Magnus Carl sen 's schoolmate and second allowed the m ate h ere, ending an exciting battle. e) There are al so g ames with 7 lt:Jge2, but 7 ...bxc4 8 a3 ..ias 9 lt:Jf4 ..ia6 saw White strug­ gling for any compensation in R.Van Ketel -1. Rausis, Leiden 2014. Right, back to 7 es now. Here the most popular and reliable move for Bl ack is: 1 lll e 8 There al so is 7 ... lllh s ! ?, which was Ivan Sokolov's recommendation in his book The Stra­ tegic Nimzo-lndia n about the Rubin stein variation. How does Sokolov reach this position via the Rubin stein ? Well, have a look: 4 e3 b6 s f3 ! ? o-o 6 e4 cs 7 ds b s ! 8 es lllh s ! ?. ...

Now: a) 8 ..ie3 is Sokolov's main line, which continues 8 ...bxc4 9 f4 exds 10 �xds lll c 6 11 a3 ..ias 12 ..ixc4 ..ib7 "with active play for Bl ack", but in fact Black is almost already winning here. The toughest defence seem s to be 13 lt:Jh 3 (not 13 lt:Jf3 ? ..ixc3+ 14 bxc3 lll a s 1 S �d3 ..ixf3 16 gxf3 �4+ 17 @d1 lll x c4 18 �xc4 � 3 and White is in the middle of a disaster) 13 ... .l:tb8 ! 14 �d3 �4+ 1s @fl lt:Jd4 16 b4 ..ixg 2+. I will stop the line here as it is not rele­ vant for the whole issue. The fin al position of Sokolov's line is just a clear edg e for Black, so White must improve earlier. b) I think th at 8 g3 is tougher for Black. Now 8 ... bxc4 (8 ... .l:te8? ! , as played in H . Briseid­ S.van Eijk, Oslo 2011, is not sufficient) 9 ..ixc4 ..ia6 10 ..ixa6 lll x a6 when White h as a couple of moves that m ake sense. The most testing seem s to be 11 dxe6 dS ! ? (11...fxe6 12 f4 g 6 13 lt:Jf3 is playable, but looks better for White), reaching a position more th an worthy of a dia­ gram . 63

Op e n i n g R ep e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

After 12 exf7+ (if 12 exd6 l::t e 8 ! , showing th at i t is important to b e quick a s Black; if White is given time to stabilize the position, the weak squares and strange pieces on a6 and hS will tell, but h ere Black enjoys hug e compensation after 13 e7 c4 14 g4 i.xd6 l S gxh s �xe7+ 16 @fl tt:J c s ) 12 . . .l::t xf7 13 a 3 i. a s 1 4 @f2 tb c 7 1 s f4 g 6 16 'it>g 2 .l:!.b8 it's quite messy, but probably better for White. The whole 7 s ! ? line is well worth investig ating, but risky for Black. If he doesn 't obtain very concrete play, the knight might well just find itself stranded on h s . Funnily enough Black has al so tried not t o move the knight at all and t o sacrifice it. In­ deed, 7 ... exdS ! ? is playable as well, and then 8 exf6 d4 9 a3 �as 10 b4 dxc3 11 bxas.

This crazy-lookin g sequence is forced after 7 ... exds. Now 11...l::t e 8+ 12 @f2 �xf6 13 l::t a 2 b4 14 l::t e 2 .l:!.f8 lS tt:Jh 3 tt:Jc6 16 tt:Jf4 i.a6 17 axb4 cxb4 18 tt:Jds �4+ 19 g3 �xc4 20 l::t c 2 �cs+ 2 1 i.e3 �xas 2 2 �xa6 �xa6 2 3 tt:Jc7 'iYc4 24 tt:Jxa8 dS was a total mess in K.Mekhita­ rian-E.L'Ami, Trom so Olympiad 2014. I have extensive analysis on this sacrifice, but you have to draw the line somewh ere, so we'll return to my m ain recommendation, 7 ... tt:Je8:


N i m z o - l n d ia n : 4 f3

8 f4 other moves don't convince: for example, 8 dxe6 fxe6 9 cxbs a6 (8 cxbs a6 9 dxe6 fxe6 reaches the sam e position) 10 f4 axbs 11 i.. d 3 c4 12 i.. c 2 ds 13 tt:Jf3 lZ'ic6 14 i.. e 3 was T.Radj abov-A. l stratescu, Antalya 2004. I don't believe this line can pose m any problems as Black obtains good pl ay in the centre. 8 exds 9 cxds 9 'ifxds?! h as been tried once, but it didn't work out well in W.Spoelman-M.Adam s, German League 2012. Let's h ave a look at this g ame after 9 ... lZ'ic7: a) 10 iVd1 is not very in spiring : 10 ...bxc4 1 1 i..xc4 .l:te8 12 @f2 (not attractive, but what el se?) 12 ... ..ll a 6 13 ..ll d 3 (or 13 i.. x a6 tt:Jbxa6 14 tt:Jf3 c4 with ... ds next and advantage to Bl ack) 13 ... ds ! 14 exd6 i..x d3 15 'ifxd3 c4 16 'ifxc4 'ifxd6 with excellent play for Black. b) Spoelman played 10 'ifd6 i..b 7 11 i.. e 3 (11 tt:Jf3 i.. xf3 12 gxf3 tt:Jc6 is al so clearly better for Black) 11 ... bxc4 12 ..ll x cs i.. x cs 13 'ifxcs tt:Jba6 and Adam s had a strong attack. 9 d6 10 tt:J f3 ...



Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - J n d i a n 10...c4 The latest g ames sugg est th at this is now perceived as the most promising course for Black. 10 ... l2Jc7 is the alternative. The m ain difference is, of course, that it allows 11 .id3, look­ ing at Black's deserted kingside. After 11...c4 (11 .. .fs ? ! was Mich ael Adam s' surprising choice ag ainst Alex Fier in Gibraltar; after 12 0-0 c4 13 .ic2 we reach the same position as after 11 ... c4, but 12 a4! ? is a way for White to improve) 12 .ic2 (tryin g to deviate with 12 .ie4?! fs 13 exf6 �xf6 was already better for Bl ack in E .Toth-D.Navara, Pardubice 2012) 12 .. .fs 13 o-o .ib7 (13 ... g 6 was recently tried in A.Timofeev-A.Demianjuk, St Petersburg 2014; while there seem s to be no clear drawback, Black does not need to play this move just yet and developing looks more natural to me) 14 @h 1 ttJba6 15 a4 i.. x c3 16 bxc3 b4 17 l2Jd4 g6 the aforem entioned game A.Fier-M.Adam s, Gibraltar 2014, concluded 18 cxb4 dxe s 19 ttJxfs gxfs 20 d6 l2Je6 2 1 fxe s �4 2 2 i.. xfs I:rxfs 2 3 l:f.xfs 'ith 8 24 d7 l:f.d8 2 5 @g 1 tLlb8 26 �d6 �g4 27 I:rg s �e4 2 8 i..d 2 l:f.xd7 29 �xe6 �d4+ 3o @f1 �d3+ 3 1 @g 1 �d4+ 3 2 @f1 V2V2. Crazy complication s where both sides could h ave won at some point. In short, 10 ... ttJc7 is a viable but very sharp additional option for Black. 11 a4 This is played almost exclusively. In a recent gam e K.Grigoryan -A. Pashikian, Yerevan 2014, White tried 11 .ie2. Black now has some option s, but the game move looks fine: 11 ... 'iW1>6 12 a3 (12 a4 l2Jd7 tran sposes to our m ain g ame) 12 ... ..tas 13 �d4?! (13 a4 b4 14 ttJbs c3 was better, with a sharp, unbalanced position) 13 ...tLlc7 14 .id2 l2Jd7 15 �xb6 l2Jxb6 (White's centre is now crumbling) 16 exd6 .ixc3 17 dxc7 .ixb2 18 .l:!.b1 c3 19 .ixb s ? ? (19 .tel was not fun, but necessary) 19 ... .ifs 20 .l:!.xb2 cxb2 2 1 @f2 ttJxds 2 2 .ias l:f.ac8 2 3 ttJd4 bl� 24 l:txb1 .ixb1 and White resigned. 11...l2Jd7 In the key game th at put this whole line on the map, A.Shirov-V. Kramnik, Sh anghai 2010, the 14th world ch ampion played 11 ... .ig4, which was not repeated even once after­ wards, probably influenced by the result. There is room for ideas, though, after 12 axbs dxe s ! ? (a new idea; Kramnik's 12 ... ttJd7 wasn 't the reason for his defeat, but rather the time trouble th at he got into) 13 fxe s lLld7 and now:


N i m z o - J n d i a n : 4 f3

a) 14 .flxc4?? ilxf3 15 �xf3 �4+ is easy. b) 14 .tf4 tDc7 15 .txc4 tDb6 16 .te2 tDcxd5 and I'd rather be Black. c) 14 �d4 ilxf3 15 gxf3 can be met by 15 ... tDC7 or 15 ... ilc5 ! ? 16 �xc4 l:tc8, which also looks shaky for White. Black g enerates good play following 17 �f4 �e7 18 .te3 tDxe5 19 ilxc5 l:txc5 20 �f2 tDf6.

I like Black here, although Houdini, as so often, just claims dead equality. 12 ile2 Trying to castle certainly m akes sen se: a) 12 axb 5 dxe5 13 fxe 5 ? ! tDxe 5 ! 14 tDxe5 �4+ 1 5 @e2 tDd6 is a quick road to disaster for White, given by Igor Stohl. b) 12 ild2 dxe s 13 fxe s �e7 14 axb 5 tDxe s 1 5 tDxe s �xes+ 16 �e2 �d6 17 �xc4 tDf6 looked like excellent compensation for Bl ack in S.Volkov-1 . Bukavshin, Kh anty-Mansiysk 2013. 67

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n 12 ...'ii'b6

'No castle for you!' (see Seinfeld, Season 7, Episode 6). 13 axbs dxes This seems even better than 13 ... tll c 7, which was played a few weeks earlier in S.Mamedyarov-S.Karjakin, Khanty-Mansiysk 2014: 14 'ii'd4 i.b7 (14 ... 'ii'xd4 1 5 tllxd4 dxes 16 tll c 6 ! ? is an additional option for White compared to the m ain g ame) 1 5 i.d2 i.xc3 16 bxc 3 ? ! (16 i.xc3 was better, with a dynamically bal anced g am e) 16 ... dxe s 17 fxe s i.xds 18 i.e3 'ii'xb s and White's compen sation was in sufficient. Karjakin's 13 ... tll c 7 is no worse th an 13 ... dxes, but is more complicated to handle. 14 fxes tll c 7 This position is fine for Black, and White n eeds to tread carefully with the exposed cen­ tre and uncastled kin g . 15 i. xc4 A very natural move. If White g oes 15 'ii'd4, just like Mamedyarov did again st Karjakin, Bl ack h as 1s ...1!Vxd4 16 tllx d4 tll x ds (16 ... tllx es 17 o-o i.xc3 18 bxc3 tllx ds 19 .ltd2 leads to the same position) 17 i.d2 i.xc3 18 bxc3 tll x es and White h as just about enough play to keep it equal : for in­ stance, 19 o-o .ig4 20 .ixg4 tll x g4 2 1 lfa4 tllb 6 2 2 lfa6 tllf6 2 3 .Ufa1 tll e 4 24 .iel tll d s 2 5 .Uxa7 .l:i.xa7 26 llxa7 .l:i.e8 27 @f1 tll e 3+ 28 @g 1 tll d s with a repetition . Supportin g e s also comes into con sideration : 1 5 i.f4 tll xbs 16 1!Vd2 .Ue8 17 i.e3 (17 .ixc4 tll d 6 leads to 16 i.f4, an alysed below) 17 ... i.cs 18 .ixcs tll x cs 19 tll xbs 'ii'xb s and Black is fine in this still very sh arp position . A crazy (obviously computer generated) sample line runs 20 o-o tllb 3 21 'ii'f4 tllx al 22 tll g s l:i.f8 23 i.xc4 �6+ 24 @h 1 i.a6 25 d6 .txc4 26 'ii'x c4 �3 27 'ii'e 4 'ii'c 2 28 'ii'd s h6 29 tll xf7 �3 30 tll xh 6+ @h 7 31 �e4+ g6 32 llxal @xh 6 3 3 e6 'ii'xb2 and, of course, 'o.oo' as expected. Jokes aside, these positions are very sharp and tough to figure out, especially over the board. If you prefer a (relatively) calmer life, please check Game 8. -


N i m z o - l n d i a n : 4 f3 1s ...l:Ie8

Now White erred. 16 �e2?? 16 e6 fxe6 17 dxe6 tt'lf6 obviously leads nowhere for White, but after 16 .tf4 tt'lxbs 17 �d2 tt'ld6 18 .td3 tt'lxe s 19 tt'lxe s f6 20 .te2 fxe s 2 1 .te3 White keeps the bal ance. Lining up the king and queen on the e-file was now duly punished:'lxes! 17 tt'lxes �d4 18 .te3 18 @f1 l:Ixes 19 �d3 J:Ifs+ is even worse. 18...�xes 19 b6 Again st the desperate 19 d6, Bl ack should pl ay 19 ...�xe3 20 �xe3 l:Ixe3+ 2 1 @d2 l:Ixc3 (not 21 ... J:Ie4? 22 .td3 l:i,d4 23 dxc7 .i.f5 24 @c1 l:Ixd3 25 b6 .txc3 26 bxc3 l:Ixc3+ 27 @d1 J:Ib3 28 l:Ixa7 l:Ixa7 29 bxa7 l:[a3 3o @e2 J:Ixa7 31 J:Id1 and White escapes to a pawn-down endg ame) 22 bxc3 .txd6 2 3 J:Ihfl .te6 24 .txe6 fxe6 2 5 c4 .tc5 and Black has a clearly bet­ ter ending. 19....tg4 20 �xg4 �xe3+ 21 '1£td1 .txc3 22 bxc3 tt'lxds 23 l:Ixa7 �xb6 24 l:Ixa8 'ii'b1+ 25 @d2 �b2+ 0-1 White resigned, facing mate next move. Note th at Pashikian is an excellent theoretician who often helps Levon Aronian with his preparation. Summary 13 ... dxe5 is l ooking like yet another problem for White in this line. The variation with s ... o-o and 6 ... b5 is an excellent way for Bl ack again st the 4 f3 system . Play can become very sharp, so it's not a natural choice for more cautious players, but do note th at both Kramnik and Adam s have played it - they are not exactly the kind of players who tread in unsound wa­ ters. Even if you usually prefer a more strategic battle this line should be considered - it's of­ ten just fun to play with good development and the attack on White's exposed centre. If


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

you are not convinced by now ... well, th e following gam e presents an altern ative for Black again st 4 f3 line th at is less committal, but still leads to unbalanced pl ay.

Game B

H.Naka m u ra-M.Carlsen G a s h i m ov Memori a l , S h a mki r 2014

1 d4 lllf6 2 C4 e6 3 lbc3 ..tb4 4 f3 cs 5 dS o -o 6 e4 d6

6 ...b5, as suggested in the previous game, might be too wild for some readers, so I decided to include this less forcing, but still interesting alternative. It usually leads to a Nimzo-Benoni structure, but if White allows it, Black still has the Blumenfeld-style ...b5 up his sleeve. 7 ..t d2 I have chosen this as the m ain move as it was tried in the most recent top-level encoun­ ter, h ere by N akamura. Th e two alternatives, however, have seen more outings over the years: a) Maybe the most n atural-looking move is 7 ..td3. H ere Bl ack has a pleasant choice be­ tween the familiar Blumenfeld/Benko move of G am e 7 and the more conventional Benoni set-up: al) The Benoni-style way to play is 7 ... lllb d7, which is a low m aintenance choice: 8 lll g e2 lll e 5 9 o-o (9 5 h 6 10 i.h4 exd5 11 cxd5 c4 12 ..tc2 i.c5 led to a fine position for Bl ack in S.Mamedyarov-S.Grigoriants, Moscow 201 5) 9 ...exd5 and now: all) 10 exd5 has been tried by the ever-creative Viktor Moskalenko. It does not seem too scary for Bl ack though: 10 ... lll x d3 (simply 10 ... a6 11 a4 .l::i. e 8 seem s satisfactory) 11 1!Vxd3 lll e 8 12 f4 f5 13 b3 a6 14 a4 ..td7 15 i.b2 ..ta5 16 lll d 1 1We7 17 lll g 3 g6 18 .l::i. a 2 lll g 7 19 i.a1 .l::i. a e8 20 .l::i.e 2 1!Vf7 2 1 .l::i.f3 i.d8 22 .l::i.fe3 i.f6 was l ater drawn in V.Moskalenko-B.Shpilker, Noril sk 1987. 70

N i m z o - l n d i a n : 4 f3

a12) White, of course, h as al so tried 10 cxds, but after 10 ... c4 11 .tc2 .tcs+ the point of Black's set-up is revealed; the bishop occupies a strong post. In M.Yudkevich-L. Portisch, St Petersburg 2012, the Hun garian veteran scored a quick win after 12 'it>h 1 a6 13 lll d4 .td7 14 f4 lll g 6 1S .ie3 tl.c8 16 'iVd2 bS 17 t!.ae1? b4 18 lll d 1 .l:!.e8 19 lll c 6 .txc6 20 dxc6 �6 2 1 e s ? dxes 22 .txg 6 h x g 6 2 3 .txcs 'iVxcs 2 4 fxe s t!.xe s 2 S .l:!.xes 'iVxe s 26 'iVxb4 lll g 4 27 g 3 'iVe2 and facing m ate i n a couple of moves, White resigned. a2) The m ain move, however, is the Blumenfeld-like 7 ... b s .

White now h as a choice: a21) Accepting with 8 cxb s ? ! h as been tried, but leads to very lively piece play for Black and more th an adequate compensation . The g ame O.Touzane-S. Kiselev, Podol sk 199 1, went 8 ... exds 9 exds a6 10 tt:Jge2 (10 bxa6 ? leads to trouble after 10 ... tl.e8+ 11 tt:Jge2 �6 and Black h as great compensation ; in this structure the ds-pawn is very likely to fall) 10 ... �6 11 bxa6 lllb d7 (or 11, like in the note above) 12 .tf4 tl.e8 13 @fl lll e s 14 .tbs .txa6.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

Now White finds him self in a deadly crossfire and after 1 s a4 �xbs 16 axbs l:i.xa1 17 'i'xal ..ixc3 18 ttJxc3 ttJd3 19 i.. g 3 c4 20 ttJe4 ttJxe4 2 1 fxe4 'i'd4 22 b6 'i'xe4 2 3 h4 'i'e3 24 l:i.h 3 'i'xb6 2S 'i'a4 'i'e3 26 'i'a1 hs 27 'i'b1 he resigned, being about to get m ated. a22) Much more solid and critical is 8 ltJge 2 : a 2 2 1 ) 8 . . .ltJbd7 ! ? has been the choice o f Sergei Kisel ev, the m ain early practitioner of this line. It leads to interesting g ambit play: 9 dxe6 (the principled reply; a subsequent ... ttJes would have forced a central commitment anyway) 9 .. .fxe6 10 cxbs ttJe s 11 ..if4 lLixd3+ 12 'i'xd3 ds with good compen sation for the pawn . In addition, this type of position is much simpl er to play for Black than for White, who n eeds to watch Black's centre and bishop-pair. This was all pl ayed in V.Moskalenko-S.Kiselev, Moscow 1996, where Bl ack man aged to win yet another nice g am e with his pet line after 13 exds exds 14 o-o d4 1 S ltJe4 ttJxe4 16 fxe4 ..i e 6 17 b3 l:i. c 8 18 l:i.ac1 ..i a 3 19 l:i.cdl c 4 20 'i'xd4 .ii. c s 2 1 'i'xc s l:i.xcs 2 2 llxd8 llxd8 2 3 ..ie3 ? (the very computerish m ove 2 3 lLid4! would have secured the draw) 23 ... l:i.xb s and Bl ack converted 20 moves l ater. a222) However, the simple 8 ... exds 9 cxds (9 exds? is a mistake; after 9 ... bxc4 10 ..ixc4 tLlbd7 11 0-0 ttJes Bl ack has excellent piece play and the dS-pawn is a long-term target) 9 ... c4 10 ..ic2 leads to good play as well. Now 10 ... 'i'b6 is the easy move to play, but the pawn sacrifice 10 ... ..ics ! ? of V.Shishkin-S.Arkhipov, Moscow 1996, is al so interesting. Bl ack has a wide array of attacking option s here.

White h as tried two moves here: a2 2 2 1) 11 ttJd4 was pl ayed in J.Barkhagen-Zhu Chen,Sing apore 1990. The later women's world champion, just 14 years old at the tim e and unrated, responded with a very interest­ ing pawn sacrifice: 11 ... tLla6 ! ? (a simpler way to pl ay would have been 11 ... l:i.e8 12 o-o .ii. c s 13 ..ie3 tt:ibd7 14 'iYd2 as with sharp play; 1 S ttJcxb s ? runs into 15 ... ttJxd S ! ) 12 a3 .ii. c s 13 ttJdxb s ? (this is too greedy; better would h ave been 13 ..ie3 tLle7 14 o-o as with sharp play typical of the Nim zo-Benoni) 13 ... ..id7 14 a4 tLlb4 (White is in serious trouble now; h e needs to defend accurately) 1 S lLia3 (good defence; other moves would have led to even more dif72

N i m z o - l n d ia n : 4 f3

ficulties: for instance, lS .tg s ? lt:Jh s ! and .. .fs will lead to a decisive attack) 1 S ... .tf2+ 16 @f1 .l:.ac8 17 .tb1 and Black has very good compensation h ere. However, in the g am e the young Chinese player soon lost the thread and l ater the g ame. a2222) 11 a4 is the most critical move. Now 11...bxa4 ! ? (better than Korchnoi's 11 ... lt:Jbd7 ?!) worked out well for Black in P.Milicevic-M.Pucarevic, Belgrade 2006, as White erred immediately with 12 lLid4?! (my suggestion for an improvement would be 12 .tgs lt:Jbd7 13 �d2 as 14 .ie3 to en able castling, but it should not trouble Bl ack too much : for example, 14 ... lt:Jcs l S .txa4 lt:Jfd7 16 o-o lt:Jes with mutual chances) 12 ... a3 1 3 @fl .i.d7 14 .l:.b1 axb2 1S .l:.xb2 as and Black was quickly winning. To sum up, 7 .i.d3 has been unpopular in recent years for good reason s: Black obtains active play with 7 ... bs or he m ay choose more con servative options th at are fine as well. b) Therefore the m ain move in recent years is 7 lt:Jge2.

This became popul ar when the 8 lt:Jf4 idea was di scovered. However, Topalov's new con­ cept introduced in 2012 (8 ... a6 !) breathed new life into the whole line. Again, Black should respond with 7 ...b s . Now only 8 lt:Jf4 poses a real threat, but we still need to check the al­ ternatives: bl) After 8 lt:Jg 3 Bl ack h as more th an one possibility, but a simple solution is 8 ...bxc4 9 .txc4 �as, which was recently played in E.lnarkiev-1 . Lysyj,Vladivostok 2014. Following 10 .i.d2 .i.a6 11 .te2 lt:Jbd7 12 o-o .txe2 13 lt:Jgxe2 exds 14 exds c4 Bl ack was already better due to the weak pawn on ds. b2) 8 a3 .tas and then : b21) The crazy 9 b4! ? cxb4 10 lt:Jxbs was tried by Russian Champion Sergey Volkov against Bocharov in Abu Dhabi 200S. Here 10 ...bxa3+ was played by Bocharov, leading to a real mess, but my suggestion is 10 ... exds 11 cxds b3+ 12 i.d2 lt:Jbd7 13 lt:Jbd4 b2 14 .Ubl lt:Jes.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

While this i s still very messy, it does seem fine for Bl ack. b22) 9 'll g 3 is quite similar to 8 'll g 3 and rather harmless. b23) 9 dxe6 i.xe6 (I'm not sure what is wrong with 9 .. .fxe6! ?; maybe 10 lllf4 is the prob­ lem, but 10 ... a6 ! ?, which is similar to our m ain g ame, seem s okay for Black, and if 11 cxb5 d5 ! } 10 cxb 5 d5 11 exd5 lll x d5 {Bl ack certainly has some compensation for the pawn) 12 i.d2 lllf6 13 lllf4 i.f5 14 i.e2 l!e8? is natural enough, but now the concrete 15 g4! .ig 6 16 lll x g 6 hxg 6 17 o-o was better for White in A.Aleksandrov-A.J ankovic, Dubai 2009. 9 ...i.xe6 should not be too bad, but 9 .. .fxe6 seems more to the point. b3} 8 'llf4 was the m ain argument again st 7 ... b5 before Topalov introduced his novelty, 8 ... a6 ! . The traditional move here was the passive 8 ... e5 and after 9 lllfe2 bxc4 10 lll g 3 lllb d7 11 .ixc4 'llb 6 12 .ie2 c 4 Black had no concrete counterplay i n S.Volkov-D. Bocharov, Kazan 200 5 . It's not a terrible position for him, but pl aying this way is an unattractive pro­ spect. After 8 ... a6 we have:


N i m z o - l n d ia n : 4 f3

b 3 1) Captures fail for White: for in stance, 9 dxe6 fxe6 and Bl ack h as g ained the c6square for his knight. A logical line: 10 a3 .tas 11 .te3 li:Jc6 12 cxbs axbs 13 .txbs li:Jd4 with excellent pl ay for Black. Alternatively, 9 cxbs can be m et with the simple 9 ... e s (9 . . . axb s ! ? 1 0 .txb s l!Yas is also worth investig ating i f you prefer a more complicated posi­ tion) 10 li:Jd3 .txc3+ 11 bxc3 axbs and Bl ack is okay. b32) In M.Richter-V. Babula, Pardubice 2013, a new move was tested: 9 i.e2 exds (9 ... e s ! ? is not that thematic, but comes into consideration as well) 10 cxds (10 li:Jfxds li:Jxds 11 iVxds .l:!.a7 is an interesting alternative that should be okay for Black; the white queen is exposed and allows Black's pieces to develop with tempo) 10 ... li:Jbd7 11 0-0 li:Jes 12 Wh l i.d7 13 li:Jd3 li:Jxd3 14 l!Yxd3 h 6 1 S g4?! and here 1 s ... c4 16 iVc2 i.cs would h ave given Black fine pl ay. b33) In the stem g ame A.Timofeev-V.Topalov, Eilat 2012, there followed 9 .id2 exds 10 cxds (10 li:Jcxds li:Jxds 11 li:Jxds i.xd2+ 12 l!Yxd2 li:Jc6 is already slightly more comfortable for Bl ack) 10 ..., which is a g ood move, preparing ... b4 in response to a4.

After 11 i.e2 (in stead, 11 a4 b4 12 li:Jce2 li:Jbd7 13 li:Jg 3 tt:Jes 14 b3 l:!.e8 1S .te2 i.b6 shows a dilemm a for White: how to get the king out of the middle? for in stance, 16 i.e3 c4! ? 17 i.xb6 iVxb6 18 .txc4 li:Jxc4 19 bxc4 as with huge compensation for Black) 12 o-o li:Jes 13 @h 1 c4 Bl ack enjoyed a very comfortable position . Timofeev's next moves, though, made it rather too easy for Topalov. We will follow the g am e to the end as it illus­ trates various typical ideas and motifs nicely. Following 14 b3 b4 there are: b 3 3 1) 1 S li:Jb1 was toughest: for example, 1 S ... c3 (1s ... i.b6 ! ? is another nice, m aybe bet­ ter option; after 16 .txb4 g s 17 li:Jh 3 i.xh 3 18 gxh 3 li:Jh s we reach a mess that un surpris­ ingly Houdini assesses as 'o.oo', although I'd still rather be Black) 16 i.e1 li:Jfd7 17 a3 tt:Jcs 18 axb4 i.xb4 19 .txc3 .l:!.b8 with probably insufficient compen sation for Black. b 3 3 2 ) In the g am e 1S li:Ja4? c3 16 i.e3 i.C7 17 a3 as was played.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

White is i n terrible sh ape here. He's got the offside piece on a4 and no active play at all . After 18 .tbs .Ub8 19 'i!Ve2 h6 20 .Ufd1 Wle7 2 1 axb4 axb4 2 2 .Ud4 g s 2 3 tllh 3 .txh 3 24 g xh 3 .Uxb S ! 2 S W/xb s .Ub8? ( 2 s ... tllxf3 ! was winning : for in stance, 26 'i!Vxb4 .tas ! 2 7 W/c4 tt:Jxd4 2 8 W/xd4 .l:i.b8 ! or 26 .Uxb4 .l:i.b8 2 7 'i!Vc4 .Uxb4 2 8 'i!Vxb4 Wies 29 .Ua2 tt:Jxds ! , which i s all very computer-like and easy to misjudge for a human) 26 Wie2 tllh s 27 h4 tt:Jf4 (Bl ack is still fine, of course; the exchange means little with the knight stuck on a4) 2 8 W/f2 Wif6 29 hxg s hxg s 3 0 .Udd1 .td8 3 1 .Ua2 Wih 6 3 2 Wig 3 Wh 7 3 3 .U g 1 tllfg 6 34 .Uf2 Wlh s 3 S f4 tll d 3 3 6 .l:i.ff1 .tf6? (very likely in tim e trouble, both pl ayers understandably miss important points) 3 7 .ta7 l:!.b7 38 W/xd3 .Uxa7 39 .Ug 3?? (39 es just wins, the point being 39 ... dxes 40 fxg s .td8 41 d6 and it's over) 39 ... tll xf4 (now Black is winning ! ) 40 .Uxf4 gxf4 41 es+ @h 6 Timofeev resigned due to 42 .Uh 3 .th4 43 exd6 l:Id7 and White has ran out of g as. Black will pick up d6 and dS, and win with the c3-pawn . Topalov's innovation 8 ... a6 ! h as revived this m ethod of play and Black often gets good play in Benoni/Blumenfeld style. Let's now, though, return to 7 .td2 and the main g ame: 7 bd 7 Certainly not a bad move, but there are alternatives. Indeed, the best option seem s to be the direct 7 ... exds 8 cxds tllh s ! .


N i m z o - / n d i a n : 4 f3

Now White h as tried various moves, but none impress: a) 9 g4? �4+ 1o @e2 tl:ig 3+ 11 hxg 3 'it'xh 1 12 @f2. Amazingly this position was reached in L.Aronian ( !)-Z. Efimenko, Warsaw 2005, where Black could have secured a big advantage with 12 ... c4 1 3 i.e3 �2+ 14 .tg 2 tl:id7 1 5 tl:ige2 tt::J e s 16 'it'd2 tl:id3+ 17 @f1 i.d7. Black's queen is more annoying for White than in danger of being trapped. b) 9 g 3 ? ! fs 10 f4 (10 i.g2 tl:if6 11 tt::J g e2 fxe4 12 fxe4 tl:ibd7 is al so excellent for Bl ack) 10 ... �e8 11 i.e2 i.xc3 12 i.xc3 'it'xe4 13 tl:if3 l:te8 and White had in sufficient compen sa­ tion in F. Bilobrk-R.Zelcic, Zadar 2013. c) 9 tt::J g e2 fS 10 �c2 b S ! ? (of course, 10 ... tt::i d 7 is fin e as well) 11 o-o-o?! (11 e s ! ? tl:id7 ! 12 e6 tl:ib6 is very messy and unclear) 11 ... i.xc3 12 bxc3 fxe4 13 fxe4? (13 tl:ig 3 ! tl:if6 is better for Black, but at least puts up a fight) 13 ... i.g4 14 l:te1 tl:id7 15 tl:ig 3 tt::J x g 3 16 hxg 3 tt::J e s and Black soon won in J.Gomez Esteban-K.Supatashvili, Debrecen 1992. d) 9 'it'e2 is not the most n atural-lookin g move, but White needs to do something about ... �4+ (unless you are Levon Aronian and just go 9 g4). Once again, after 9 .. .fs (better than the 9 ... bs of D. Pantaleev- B.Gulko, H avirov 1968) 10 0-0-0 (there is no other move really, but now Black is spoilt for choice) 10 ... l:te8 (10 .. .fxe4 and 10 ... tl:if6 are good as well) 11 'it'f2 fxe4 12 tl:ixe4 i.xd2+ 13 'it'xd2 tl:if6 14 l:te1 tt::J x e4 1 5 fxe4 tl:id7 16 tl:if3 tt::J e s Bl ack is in good sh ape. All in all, this line looks like a fine and aggressive reply to 7 i.d2, and probably should be preferred over Carl sen's choice in the m ain g ame. Therefore the further course of the gam e is o f l e s s theoretical interest, but is still very valuable a s a demon stration h o w play might develop in this typical Nimzo-Benoni structure. 8 tl:ige2 8 tl:ih 3 should be answered by 8 ... exds 9 cxds tt::J e s 10 tt::if2 c4 11 i.e3 a6 with typically sharp Nimzo-Benoni play. s tt::i e s ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i re : N i m z o a n d B og o - / n d i a n

Technically a novelty, but it will lead to familiar structures. 9 ctJg3 exds 10 cxds .i. d7 Carl sen wants to g et in a quick ... bs and without allowing White to reach a position such as the one seen in Milov-De Firmian above. However, d7 is an important square too for Black's knights and a few moves l ater the bishop will retreat. The engines like 10 ... c4! ? for Black, leading to unbalanced play, such as with 11 .i.e3 (11 f4 lL'id3+ 12 .i.xd3 cxd3 13 'iVf3 .l:!.e8 gives Black good activity in the centre) 11 ...'iYc7 12 .i.e2 .tcs .

This is a typical idea th at should b e perfectly fine for Black. 11 a3 12 .i.e2 bs!? 13 o-o Taking on bS is not a good idea: 13 lL'ixb s ? .i.xb s 14 .i.xb s c4! and White is in trouble. 13 ...c4 14 .i.e3 .i.b6 15 'iVd2 .l:!.b8 16 lL'id1 Black has manag ed to obtain an interesting position with mutual chances. His pros78

N i m z o - l n d i a n : 4 f3

pects are no worse than White's. 16...i.cS? The world champion intends to in stall a knight on d3 with ... ll'if6-d7-c5-d3, but this is very time-consuming. One of the Benoni style moves like 16 ... h s ! ?, 16 ...�e8 or 16 ... as was probably to be preferred. [email protected] U seful and un avoidable in the lon g run . 11 18 f4! Seizing the initiative. White is better now and Nakamura's powerful play soon leaves Carlsen on the ropes. 18...ll'ig6 19 i.xb6 �xb6 20 ll'ie3 ct::J cs 21 i.d1 ll'id3 Black has m an aged to g et a knight to d3, but White h as achieved a big advance in the centre and on the king side, leaving Black under huge pressure. 22 fs li:Jgf4 23 a4 a6 24 ct::J g4 hs 25 lt:Jf2!? The forcing 2 5 �xf4 was also very good for White, but Nakamura's choice is entirely suf­ ficient. 2s ...'i:Yf6 2 s ... ll'ixf2+ 26 VWxf2 li:Jd3 27 VWe3 is no improvement.

26 ll'ixd3? N akamura misses his ch ance to score his first win ag ainst Carl sen after h aving lost a ton of g ames in recent years: 26 ll'ixh s ! was excellent for White. After 2 6 ... ll'ixh s 2 7 ll'ixd3 cxd3 28 as �b8 29 i.xh s, with d3 dropping, White should win this position. 27 'ife3 I:i.b7 28 ll'ixhs?! It was more precise to play 2 8 axbs axbs first, in order to go 29 lt:Jxh s 'ifh 6 30 'i!Vd4 and White is still much better. 28...'iVh6 Being greedy with 28 ... VWxb2 ? 29 f6 allows a decisive attack for White.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

29 �xh6 Now 29 �d4 is not so clear at all due to 29 ... bxa4 ! ? which shows why exchanging on move 28 was better. 29 ... gxh6 30 axbs axbs 31 .i.c2

31 tt:Jes? Both players were short on time. In stead, after 31 ... tt:Jxb2 it will probably end in a draw; White h as enough play ag ain st Black's kin g to compen sate for the duo of passed pawn s. A long line given by Stockfish runs 3 2 tt:Jf6+ Wg 7 3 3 tt:Jh s+ @h 8 34 .l:i.a6 .l:i.d8 3 5 .l:i.fa1 b4 3 6 l:l.c6 b3 37 .i.xb3 cxb3 38 l:l.a8 tt:Jd3 39 l:l.cxc8 .l:i.xc8 40 l:l.xc8+ Wh 7 41 lbf6+ Wg 7 42 tt:Jh s+ and it's perpetual check. 32 l:l.a6 l:l.d8 33 tt:Jg3? 33 .l::!. a 8 was much better for White, but N akamura was al so in tim e trouble. 33 ... l:l.bS 34 l:l.a7 b4 35 tt:Je2 .i.d7 36 l:l.fa1? 36 tt:Jd4 kept the balance, but this position is murderous to play with little tim e left. Now Carlsen takes his chance. 36 3 7 h3 l:l.dc8 38 'lt>h2 Accelerating the downfall, but White's position was beyond saving anyway. 38 ... c3 39 lZJd4 cxb2 40 l:l.b1 l:l.c4 41 tt:Jxbs l:l.xc2 .••



N i m z o - l n d ia n : 4 f3

42 tt:Jd4 42 tt:Jxd6 .l:!.d8 ! al so win s, avoiding 42 ... tt:Jd3 ?? 43 tt:Jxf7 .U.c1 44 tt:Jxh6+ @h 8 45 .U.xb2 tt:Jxb2 46 tt:Jg4 and all bets are off. 42 l:td2?! 42 ... b3! was much quicker, but the text still wins. 43 tt:Jc6 l:te8 44 l:[a4 tt:Jd3 45 tt:Jxb4 tt:Jf2 46 l:ta2 tt:Jd1 47 l:txdl l:txdl 48 l:txb2 l:txe4 49 tt:Jc6 @g7 50 f6+ @xf6 51 l:tf2+ 'it>g6 52 tt:Jd8 l:te8 0-1 N akamura resigned as 5 3 tt:Jxf7 l:txd5 sees the knight soon being trapped on f7. •••

S u m m a ry

Compared to the approach of G ame 7, this line requires somewhat less bold play, but you still need to be willing to sacrifice m aterial for the initiative. In my opinion 4 f3 n eeds to be fought with aggressive play and both our lines certainly fit the bill.


C h a pt e r F o u r

Nim z o-lndi an: Ka s pa rov­ Ro m a n i s h i n 4 t2Jf3 and 5 g 3

1 d4 tl'if6 2 c4 e6 3 ll:Jc3 �b4 4 tl'if3

This move has become more and more popul ar ever since the 1980s. It is a very flexible choice. White does not determine where h e intends to develop his king's bishop (g 2 or d3), and al so keeps open the option of playing �g s . The Catalan-style plan with g3, initially developed by Rom anishin, was used with great success by Gary Kasparov in his matches with An atoly Karpov. The flexibility of 4 ll:Jf3 m ean s th at Black's respon se needs to be con sidered with move order issues in mind. Black has a wide choice, so here's another overview of wh at I re­ jected and the rationale behind it: a) 4 ... b6 is a popular system amongst players who combine th e Nimzo with the Queen's Indian . Our repertoire is more focused on a dark-square strategy, so 4 ... b6 does not fit well . 82

N i m z o - J n d i a n : Kasp a r o v- R o m a n is h i n , 4 tDf3 a n d 5 g 3

b ) 4. . .d s tran sposes t o the Queen's G ambit, Ragozin Defence - again a bit out o f charac­ ter and far too complex to play against 4 0,f3 if you don 't already pl ay it as a partner open­ ing with the Nimzo, as with 1 d4 ti'Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 0,f3 ds 4 ti'Jc3 .i.b4. c) 4 ... cs s g 3 cxd4 6 tt'Jxd4 o-o 7 .i.g 2 dS is the main line at the top level and very solid for Black. The main drawback for m ere mortals is th at some lines are not much fun to pl ay and hardly winnable ag ain st decent play: for example, 8 cxds tt'Jxds 9 'i\Yb3 'i!Yb6 10 .i.xds exds 11 i.e3 i.xc3+ 12 �xc3 �a6 13 �d3 �xd3 14 exd3, as in M.Carl sen-V.Kramnik, London 2011. Kramnik drew after sufferin g for a further 41 moves. I see no point in allowing such a prospectless structure for a repertoire if there are more interesting choices. d) 4 ... cs 5 g3 cxd4 6 tt'Jxd4 tt'Je4 is similar to my suggestion, but there are differences, one being that 7 �c2 ! ? is possible. This can get tricky for Black rather quickly: for instance, 7 ... �as 8 i.g 2 tt'Jxc3 9 0-0 and White has all the fun . e) 4 ... c s 5 g 3 i.xc3+ 6 bxc3 �as is a fun line and pl ayable without learning too much concrete lines. It is a rather fresh idea th at was recommended in The Nimzo-lndia n: Move by Move. John Emms' coverage is still quite up to date, so there is little point in exploring that line again here. f) With the Zurich variation being the repertoire choice against 4 �c2, 4 0,f3 ti'Jc6 is an excellent alternative to 4 ... cs. The main reply is in fact 5 �c2 with a direct tran sposition to the Zurich . There are som e alternatives for White, like 5 i.g s and 5 e3, which were covered in Richard Palliser's book Tango! and his lines still seem valid to me. Instead of mostly copy­ ing and refreshing his coverage, I decided though to present a different system that h as not been covered before in a book. These are the m ain altern atives to my choice. They are all pl ayable, so feel free to select one of them if you dislike my line. I know it probably seems weird to some that I list all these altern atives, but I feel it m akes sense to have a g eneral overview of how my selected repertoire relates to the other options that are available. Now to wh at I actually recommend. 4 cs s g3 ti'Jc6 6 i.g2 tt'Je4 is my repertoire choice. ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

The coverage is split into two g ames: a) 7 'iVd3 and all rare lines up to this point are covered in Moiseenko-Gaprindashvili (Game 9). Black follows up with 7 ... cxd4 8 tt:Jxd4 tt:Jxc3 9 bxc3 tt:Jes and obtains a very at­ tractive position in my opinion . He inflicts th e typical Nimzo doubled pawn s, but retains the dark-squared bishop. 7 'iVd3 is con sidered defanged nowadays, but you still face it from tim e to time, probably because white players often confuse it with s ... cxd4 6 tt:Jxd4 tt:Je4 7 'iVd3, which is entirely different upon closer in spection. b) 7 .i.d2 is the m ain move for White. Now I recommend 7 8 'iVxd2 cxd4 9 lt:Jxd4 'iWb6, which sees Black seizing the bishop-pair and later often setting up a H edgehog type of form ation. I believe this leads to interesting, strategically unbal anced pl ay, as analysed in N akamura-Ponomariov (Game 10). Please note th at learning 4 ... cs as a reply to 4 tt:lf3 mean s th at you also h ave a response ready to 4 g 3 , as 4 ... cs will usually just tran spose after 5 tt:lf3 . The only other try is the un­ common 5 ds, after which th ere is s ... tt:Je4 ( s ... exds 6 cxds o-o 7 .i.g 2 d6 with a Nimzo­ Benoni is fine as well) 6 .i.d2 (avoiding 6 'iVc2 ? 'iVf6 ! ) 6 ... .i.xc3 7 .i.xc3 lt:Jxc3 8 bxC3 d6 9 .i.g 2 es, as in M.Cebalo-D.Velimirovic, Budva 1981, with a comfortable position similar to the Hilbner variation .

Game 9

A.Moiseenko-V.Gaprindashvili Koca e l i 2002 1 d4 tt:lf6 2 c4 e6 3 tt:lc3 .i.b4 4 tt:lf3 cs

5 g3 This is pl ayed most of the time, but there is nothing wrong with 5 e3, of course. It tran sposes to the Rubin stein, but with an early commitment of the knight. We now can 84

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Kasp a ro v- R o m a n is h i n , 4 ti:if3 a n d 5 g 3

easily transpose to our Rubin stein reply, the Hubner variation, by castling or playing s ...ti:ic6. In the 4 e3 move order I prefer to castle first (4... o-o), due to the somewhat annoy­ ing line 4 ... cs s ti:ie2, but here with the knight committed to f3 you could delay ... o-o for a while. This h as some points, but it is not essential to study these subtleties. A less threatening but occasionally played move is S .i.g s . Black has a couple of good replies, but I like the straightforward s ... .i.xc3+ 6 bxc3 ..Was 7 .i.d2 (not attractive, but 7 'ilfc2 might l ead to the sam e thing with 7, after which White needs to go 8 .i.d2 anyway) 7 ... tl:ie4 8 ..Wc2 ti:ixd2 9 'i!Vxd2 o-o 10 e4 d6 11 .i.e2 ti:ic6 12 l:td1 e s . Black h as reached the fa­ miliar Hilbner structure and l ater won the rather unevenly-matched g ame A. Linares­ B. Lalic, Coria del Rio 2006. There al so is s ds, but it seem s to determine the central pawn s a bit too quickly. A flexi­ ble reply is s ... d6 6 .i.g s (giving the position a Leningrad flavour; the alternatives are all a bit passive, like 6 .i.d2, for instance, when Black can simply aim for the same Benoni struc­ ture, asking White wh at the bishop is doing on d2) 6 ... h6 7 .i.h4 exds (of course, the closed centre structure is possible as well: 7 ... .i.xc3+ 8 bxc3 es leads to a m ain line Leningrad as suggested in the Nimzo Move by Move book) 8 cxds and now both the solid 8 ... o-o and the aggressive 8 ... g s 9 .i.g 3 ti:ie4 are fine for Black. For example, after the l atter play m ay go 10 l:tc1 'ilVf6 11 �3 o-o 12 e3.

H ere 12 ... hS?! (12 ... ..ltfs is even better for Black; according to Houdini, White's best is 13 ti:id2 ti:ixd2 14 @xd2, which probably no hum an would ever play) 13 .i.d3 .i.fs 14 .i.xe4 .i.xe4 1S ti:id2 .i.xg 2?? 16 .l:!.g 1 .i.f3 was seen in A.Kopasov-J . Kochetkova, Pardubice 2009. Now the rather simple 17 ti:ixf3 ..Wxf3 18 .i.xd6 win s for White, but in the g ame 17 ..th4 was played and White even lost quickly after it. Finally, a move th at is pl ayed surprisingly often is S a3, which after s ... .i.xc3+ 6 bxc3 leads to a Samisch with a knight on f3 . This was examined in the notes to the game Sutkovic-Predojevic in the Sami sch chapter. s ti:ic6 ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

6 .t g 2 This is the main move by far. Sometimes White tries 6 ds, after which 6 ... i.. x c3+ 7 bxc3 lll a s is a logical reply. The cen­ tre is now closed and the g3 move does not work well with the weak pawn on c4. We will follow the g ame Huang Qian- I . Krush, Khanty-Man siysk 2012: 8 'lld 2 o-o 9 i.. g 2 d6 10 o-o 'll g 4! ? (going for the weakness on c4; there was al so nothing wrong with the standard plan of ... l:tb8 to prepare ... b6 and ... i.. a 6) 11 e4 (White is going for a pawn sacrifice to m aximize her activity) 11...lll e s 12 f4 'll e xc4 13 lll xc4 lll x c4 14 dxe6 fxe6 1 5 'ife2 bS 16 .l:i.d1? (16 a4! was necessary, with compensation for the pawn) 16 ... .tb7 17 ii.d2 a6 18 i.. e 1 'ife7 19 i..f2 �h 8 20 a4 i.. c 6 by when Black was better and went on to win the g ame. 6 'll e 4 7 'ifd 3 Surprisingly 7 'ifc2 has been played only three times according to my database. After 7 ... cxd4 we have: a) 8 'ifxe4 dxc3 9 o-o gives White some but probably not enough compensation for the pawn . b) 8 lll x d4 ! ? lllx c3 9 bxc3 (or g lll x c6 dxc6 10 bxc3 ii.cs and Black is fine) 9 ... lllxd4 10 'ifd2 reaches a strange position. ...


N i m z o - / n d ia n : Ka s p a r o v- R o m a n is h i n , 4 lLJf3 a n d 5 g 3

Following 1 0... lLJc2+!? ( a wi se choice I think; in stead, 1 0... 'iic 7 11 cxb4! ? 'iix c4 12 o-o lLJxe2+ 13 @h 1 lLJxc1 14 J:tfxc1 'i!Va6 1S l:tc7 gives White hug e compensation for the two pawns and there is quite some new ground to explore after 7 'iic 2) 11 'iix c2 .i.cs 12 0-0 0-0 13 l:\.b1 l:tb8 14 .i.f4 d6 15 l:\.fd1 a draw was agreed in E.Ubil ava-M.Suba, La Roda 2013. Black is certainly fine in the final position . c) 8 a3 was played in the original g am e for this line, J.Stocek-P.Vavrak, Slovakian League 2008, where after 8 ... .i.xc3+ 9 bxc3 ds?! (I don't like combining exchanging on c3 with ... ds, at least in cases where Bl ack is not already up at least a pawn; opening the centre and weakening the dark squares even more cannot be too great again st White's bishops) 10 lLJxd4 lLJd6 11 cxds lLJxd4 12 cxd4 exds 13 o-o .i.e6 14 'iVb3 'iVb6 1 5 'iix b6 axb6 16 .i.f4 @d7 17 .i.xd6 'it>xd6 18 l:tfb1 .l:ta6 19 .l:tbS 'it>c6 20 .l:tab1 .l:td8 2 1 .i:t5b3 White went on to win . My suggested improvement o n the g ame is 9 . . .'iia s 10 0-0 lLJxc3 11 e3 'iia4 (11 . . . dxe3?? loses to 12 .i.b2) 12 'iid 3 (12 'i!Vxa4 lLJxa4 13 exd4 is probably al so some compen sation for White, but is less clear than 12 'iid 3) 12 ... ds 13 cxds lLJxds 14 .i.b2 o-o (14 ...b6 ! ?) 15 .l:tac1 .i.d7 (1s ... dxe3 ? ? 16 lLJg s g6 17 lLJxh 7 ! is a quick knock-out) 16 lLJxd4 lLJxd4 17 .l:tc4 'iia 6 18 'i!Vxd4 f6 19 l:.fc1 .i.c6 and it remains complicated, White h aving compensation for the pawn . 7 'iic 2 doesn't look too bad for White, but by now you should have an idea how to re­ spond. 1 cxd4 ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n di a n

8 ll:ixd4 Instead, 8 'i'xe4 dxc3 9 o-o is untried and would transpose to 7 'i'c2, above, where White h as some but probably not enough compensation for the pawn . 8 ll:ixc3 9 bxc3 ll:ies 10 'i'c2 10 'i'e3 leads to good play for Black after 10 ... ll:ixc4 11 'i'd3 ll:ies 12 'i'e3 .td6, avoiding the draw and keeping the extra pawn : for example, 13 0-0 a6 14 'i'C7 and Black will untangle with a clear advantage. 10 i.e7 ...


This is the position Black was aiming for. White's pawn structure is a wreck and Bl ack has kept the dark-squared bishop to protect his weaknesses. White's trumps are the strong pieces on g 2 and d4 and pressure on the b-file. In practical play I believe Black's position is much easier to h andle, a view also supported by statistics: Black scores clearly above 50% from here. 88

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Ka s p a ro v- R o m a n is h i n , 4 Ci'Jf3 a n d 5 g 3

1 1 �b3 White has al so tried some other moves: a) 11 �a4 0-0 12 .l:tb1 d6 ! (an important motif; Black often simply gives up the b7-pawn to g et rid of the g 2 -bishop and will reg ain the pawn on c4 later with good play) 13 i.xb7 (if White doesn 't take, there is not much point in �a4 and .l:!.b1, but Black is now better) 13 ... .l:!.b8 14 .i.e4 .l:!.xb1 15 i.xb1 �c7 16 f4 i.b7 17 0-0 Ci'Jxc4 and Black went on to win in T.Anton-A.Kolev, Alben a 2011. b) A similar story is 11 .l:tb1 Ci'Jxc4 12 i.xb7 i.xb7 13 .l:txb7 �c8 14 .l:tb3 0-0 1 5 0-0 �a6 and Black had excellent play in J . Parker-M.Suba, Dublin 1991. The game continued 16 e4 .l:!.ac8 17 �e2 .i.cs 18 Ci'Jf3 �a4 19 i.f4 d6 20 Ci'Jg s e s ?, which allowed a bolt from the blue.

White had the am azing 21 Ci'Jxh 7 ! . Black now can draw with 21 ... exf4 22 Ci'Jf6+ ([email protected] 7 2 2 � s+ @g8 2 3 i.h 6 is also a draw), or continue with 21.. ..l:!.fd8 2 2 i.g s @xh 7 2 3 i.xd8 .l:!.xd8 24 .l:!.b4 i.xb4 25 �xc4 �c2 26 11Vxb4 �xa2, which doesn't really play for a win . In­ stead, 2 1 i.c1? returned the favour and after 21...�d7 2 2 Ci'Jf3 i.b6 2 3 .l:!.d1 �g4 24 @g2 fS Black was winning . 11 0-0 12 i.f4 In stead, 12 o-o often leads to the sam e position as in the main g am e after 12 ... �c7 13 i.f4 d6, but an entirely different and strategically risky approach is 12 f4 Ci'Jc6. . . .


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

Now: a) 13 o-o? tll a s 14 'iVa4 was pl ayed in l . Kovalenko-0. Budnikov, Khm elnitsky 2009. Now Black could simply pl ay 14 ... 'iVc7, winning c4 and probably the g ame as White has no com ­ pen sation at all after l S i.e3 a6 (but not 1 s ... tt:Jxc4?? 16 tllb s) 16 i.f2 .Ub8 17 .Uabl tll x c4. b) 13 i.e3 is better, but I still don 't think Black is in any danger. Indeed, it rather seem s ag ain that White is struggling to prove any compensation for his bad structure: 13 ... 'iVc7 (13 ... tt:Jas 14 'ifa4 a6 fails to lS tllb 3 when Bl ack must return to c6) 14 tllb s �8 lS cs b6 (White's 12th weakened the light squares con siderably, so Bl ack aim s for an exchange of bishops) 16 cxb6 axb6 17 c4 tll a s 18 'ifd3 i.b7 and Black was already much better in D.Stamenkovic-5.Mareco, Campin as 2011, which concluded 19 o-o i.xg 2 20 @xg 2 �7+ 21 @f2 .Ufd8 2 2 .Uab1 'iVc6 2 3 .Ufc1 .Udc8 24 tll d4 'iVa4 2s tllb s tllx c4 26 'iVxd7 i.a3 27 .Ud1 i.f8 28 a3 h s 29 'iVd3 e s 30 i.cs+ 3 1 @el .Ud8 3 2 'iVxd8+ .Uxd8 3 3 .Uxd8+ @h 7 34 i.d2 'iVc2 3S .l:tc1 'iVe4 36 e3 lt:Jxd2 0-1. 12 'iVc7 13 o -o 1 3 lt:Jf3 was the choice of the inventive Serbian G M Igor Miladinovic ag ainst Alexander Graf in Ohrid 2011. It doesn 't seem too threatening, though: 13 ... i.d6 (or 13 ... d6 to keep it more complex) 14 lt:Jxes i.xes 1s i.xe s 'iVxe s 16 .l:td1 .l:!.b8 17 'iVa3 bs 18 cxbs .l:!.xbs 19 o-o .l:!.as 20 �2 .l:!.cs 2 1 .l:!.d4 'iVc7 and Black was already slightly the more comfortable. He went on to win a marathon g ame of 129 moves. 13 d6 13 ... a6? is bad for Black after 14 tt:Jf3 tt:Jxf3+ 1S i.xf3 e s (1s ... d6 16 i.e3 is similarly de­ pressing) 16 .i.e3 .i.cs 17 i.xcs 'iVxcs 18 .l:!.fdl 'iVc7 19 �4 as 20 'iVd6 'iVxc4 21 'iVxe s .l:!.a6 22 i.ds 'iVg4 2 3 .Ud4 d6 24 'iVe3 'iVfs 2 s .l:!.ad1 b s 2 6 .l:!.e4 'iVf6 27 .l:!.e7 .i.e6 2 8 .l:!.xe6 fxe6 29 i.b7 .l:!.aa8 30 .i.xa8 .l:!.xa8 3 1 .Uxd6 .l:!.c8 32 .l:!.xe6 and by now he h ad to resign in B.Gulko­ Y.Bal ashov, Tallinn 1983. 14 tt:Jbs N ecessary, as otherwise Black pl ays ... a6 and picks up c4 for nothing. ...



N i m z o - l n d i a n : Kasp a ro v- R o m a n is h i n , 4 tf:::.f3 a n d 5 g 3

14 �cs ...

This is a critical position . 1 5 .i.e3 White has some other moves available: a) An un successful try is 1 5 .i.xe s?, which in stantly gives Black a di stinct advantage of the bishops and the still better structure. In the gam e N.Gaprindashvili-5.Melia, Tbilisi 2009, Black failed to convert though after 1 s ... dxe s 16 a4 by pl aying 16 ... .i.d7?, which al ­ lowed the equalizing 17 �4! �xb4 18 cxb4 .i.xb4 19 .i.xb7. In stead, 16 .. .fs ! intending ... e4 is much better for Black. b} 1S tf:Ja3 is not a move th at creates a huge impression, but it covers C4 and keeps the ten sion . After 1 s ... .td7 (the most logical and probably the best move, although 1 s ... tf:Jg4 was al so interestin g in A. Barsov-M.Devereaux, Port Erin 2003, and if 16 h3 es 17 i.c1 tf:Jf6 18 tf:Jc2 .l:!.b8 19 .i.e3 �as with about equal ch ances) White has:


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

bi) 1 6 'iYb4 was tried i n T. Lanchava-M.Lomineishvili, I stanbul 2003, and after 1 6 ....l:!.ac8 17 .l:!.fd1? (White needs to play 17 i.xb7 'il¥xb4 18 cxb4 l:.b8 19 .tg 2 l:.xb4 20 l:.fd1, trying to simplify to a draw) 17 ... b6 (now it's a one-way street - White simply suffers on the c-file) 18 l:.ac1 l:.c7 (18 ... l:.fd8 was even better) 19 i.e3 ? (19 lZ'ib s is the toughest defence, but not much fun either; after 19 ... .txb s 20 cxbs .l:tfc8 Black is still pressing) 19 ... 'il¥xb4 20 cxb4 .l:!.fc8 2 1 .tf4 .ta4 22 .l:!.d4 g s 2 3 .td2 dS White's position fell apart. b2) 16 .l:!.ab1 i.c6 (simple and good; Black could al so pl ay the more complicated 16 ... .l:!.ab8: for example, 17 i.e3 'ilVas 18 'iYb4 'il¥a6 19 .txb7 .l:!.xb7 20 'il¥xb7 'il¥xa3 21 i.d4 .tf6 22 .txes i.c8 23 i.xd6 'il¥xd6 24 'il¥xa7 'il¥c6 and Bl ack is better) 17 'iYb4 was seen in V.Jianu-S.Macak, Plovdiv 2008. Bl ack pl ayed 17 ... lZ'id7 with a fine g ame, but h e h ad the op­ portunity to change the structure with 17 ...'il¥xb4 18 cxb4 as 19 bS .txg 2 20 �xg 2 .l:!.fc8, leaving Bl ack for choice. c) What el se is there? An untried computer suggestion is 1 S 'il¥a3 ! ?.

The point is th at 1 s ... lZ'ixc4 (1s ... 'il¥xc4? is not advisable; after 16 .txe s dxe s 17 'il¥xe7 'ilVxbs 18 .l:!.fd1 it's not clear how Black is going to untangle and White is clearly better) 16 'ilVxcs dxcs 17 ttJc7 .l:!.b8 18 lZ'ids either win s the exch ange after 18 ... exds 19 .txb8 .te6 20 .tf4 b6, or after 18 ... ..ll d 6 19 ..ll x d6 lZ'ixd6 20 lZ'ie7+ �h 8 2 1 .l:!.fd1 lZ'ic4 2 2 lZ'ixc8 .l:!.fxc8 2 3 .l:!.d7 White h as enough compensation for the pawn. The former line is still pl ayable for Black (in fact it's close to full compensation), but not very attractive as you can h ardly hope to win from this position. The best reply seems to be 1 s ...'il¥xa3 16 lZ'ixa3 and now 16 ... gs, as c4-cS was threatened. After 17 i.c1 (to cover a3; 17 ..ll e 3 ds win s a pawn for Black, although this isn't so clear: for example, 18 .tel lZ'ixc4 19 lZ'ixc4 dxc4 20 .te3 and White has compensation for the pawn, but probably no more th an that) 17 ... .l:!.b8 complicated, probably about equal pl ay arises. Back to 1 S i.e3 : 1s 'i!Yxc4 ...


N i m z o - l n d i a n : Kasp a r o v- R o m a n is h i n , 4 tDf3 a n d 5 g 3

1 6 tfJxa7? After this Black is better. White has a better alternative in 16 f4 a6 17 tiJa3 (17 tiJxd6 ! ? �xb3 18 axb3 ..ixd6 1 9 fxe s ..ixes 2 0 ..id4 ..ic7 21 lfa4 is given by Houdini with compen sa­ tion ; I am not sure if it is enough, but it is more serious compensation than in the actual g ame) 17 ...�xb3 18 axb3 tiJg4 19 ..id4 dS (19 ... es is al so interesting) 20 e4 tiJf6 21 exds tfJxds 2 2 tiJc4 ..id7 23 ..ixds exds 24 tiJb6 .Uad8 25 tiJxds and White eventually drew in N.Batsiashvili-N.Khurtsidze, Tbili si 2007. Somehow this line seem s to be hugely popular in G eorgian chess as there are many g am e references from G eorgian players. 16 ... ds 11 ..id4 17 tfJxc8 .Ufxc8 18 .Ufe1 bs is al so better for Bl ack and 17 .l:!.fe1?! is even worse th an the g ame: 17 ... ..id7 (now the knight on a7 is a bit stranded) 18 .Uab1 .Ufb8 19 ..id4 ..ia4 20 'ifb2 tiJd7 2 1 tfJbs e s 2 2 ..ie3 .Ua6 and White i s struggling to stay in the g ame. 11 ...�xe2 18 tfJxcS .Ufxc8 19 �xb7 tiJc6 20 .Ufe1 �a6 2 1 �xa6 .Uxa6


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - J n d i a n

Black enjoys an excellent endgame. With the weaknesses on c 3 and a2, it i s only a m at­ ter of tim e until a pawn drops. 22 ..te3 ilf6 23 .l:!.ab1 ll:Jes 24 Jtd4 ll:Jc4 2 S .l:!.e2 ilxd4 26 cxd4 .l:!.ca8 27 .l:!.b4 ll:Jd6 28 ii.fl g6 29 .l:!.bb2 .l:!.a4 30 .l:!.ed2 ll:Jfs 31 .tbs .l:!.xd4 Okay, c3 was the one to go first. 3 2 .l:!.dc2 .l:!.a3 33 .l:!.c7 hs 34 'it>g2 ll:Jd6 3S ile2 'Et>g7 36 .l:!.d7 ll:Jfs 37 h3 .l:!.da4? 37 ... @f6 was better in order to answer 38 l1bb7? with 38 ... l:Id2, winning instantly. 38 .l:!.bb7 lZ'ih6 39 ..td1 .l:!.a8 40 ..tb3 Now White is alive again. Black is still better, but it's become more difficult. 40 ... @f6 41 g4 hxg4 42 hxg4 gs 43 f3 @es 44 @g3 .l:!.c8 4S .l:!.e7 .l:!.c3 46 .l:!.e8 fs 47 .l:!.b6 ll:Jxg4 48 .l:!.exe6+ @d4 49 .l:!.b4+ Wcs so .l:!.b8 lZ'ie3 s 1 @f2 f4

s2 @e2? 52 .l:!.g 6 was a tougher defence: for example, 52 ... l:Icxb3 53 axb3 .l:!.a2+ 54 @g 1 g4 5 5 .l:!.xg4 ll:Jxg4 56 fxg4 Wd4 5 7 l:i.e8 and White retains drawin g ch ances. s2 ... ll:Jc4 52 ... @d4! was even better, but the text move keeps a big advantage. S3 .l:!.g8 .l:!.a7 S4 .l:!.xgs .l:!.h7 S S ilxc4 .l:!.h2+ S6 @d1 .l:!.xc4 S 7 .l:!.e2 .l:!.xe2 S8 @xe2 .l:!.c2+ S9 @e1 @d4 60 .l:!.fs @e3 61 .l:!.es+ @xf3 62 a4 .l:!.a2 63 l:i.xd s .l:!.a1+ 64 @d2 .l:!.xa4 6S l:i.h s .l:!.e4 66 .l:!.h3+ @g2 67 .l:!.h4 @g3 68 .l:!.h8 f3 69 .l:!.g8+ @f2 70 I:i.g7 .l:!.d4+ 71 @c3 .l:!.d8 72 @c2 @e2 7 3 .l:!.e7+ @f1 74 @c3 f2 7S .l:!.g7 l:i.d s How m any rook endgames end exactly like this? Just for fun I m ade a reference check to find out that exactly this position was reached on two other occasions. 76 @c4 .l:!.d1 77 @c3 @e2 78 .l:!.e7+ @f3 79 .l:!.f7+ @g2 80 .l:!.g7+ @h3 0-1 Summary Black is happy to see the move 7 �d3, which allows him the better pawn structure without giving up the bishop-pair. White h as some compensation for the structural deficits, but this line is much simpler to play for Bl ack. 94

N i m z o - / n d ia n : Kasp a ro v - R o m a n is h i n , 4 t:Df3 a n d 5 g 3

Game 1 0

H.Naka m u ra-R. Ponoma riov

Wijk a a n Zee 2011

1 d4 t:Df6 2 c4 e6 3 t:Dc3 .ib4 4 t:Df3 cs 5 g3 t:Dc6 6 .ig2 t:De4 7 i.d2

I believe that this is best h ere. 1 t:Dxd2 The capture on d2 leads to the quite uncommon scenario th at Black is the one with the bishop-pair in the Nim zo. It al so involves setting up a H edgehog type of structure th at might not be everybody's cup of tea. If you prefer a more 'Nimzoish ' position then 7 ... .ixc3 might be the move for you. Black inflicts the typical doubled c-pawns on White. This move is perfectly suited to pl ay for a win as the position becomes strategically unbalanced after 8 bxc3: a) 8 ... o-o 9 o-o t:Das was played in the rapid g ame L.Aronian-V.Anand, Mainz 2007 : 10 ..tf4 dS 11 cxds t:Dxc3 12 �d3 cxd4 (12 ... t:Dxds 13 ..td2 c4 14 �c2 bS leads to very double­ edged pl ay where White enjoys promising compen sation for the pawn) 13 dxe6 .ixe6 14 t:Dg s g6 1 5 t:Dxe6 fxe6 16 e3 t:Dc6. Anand is known to h ave a soft spot for knights, as we can see. H ere White's bishops provide good play though, easily compensatin g for the m aterial deficit. This line is possible if you don 't mind defending for a while or if you believe your opponent won't n avigate this type of position well, but it does seem like a risky choice. b} I recommend 8 .. .fs, which surprisingly h as only occurred twice in practice. ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

In those g ames the bl ack set-up was not tested at all, so I looked for some white im­ provements to get a better picture: b1) One critical line th at I found is 9 dxc5 'iVa5 10 i.. e 3 ! {something simple like 10 o-o 'iVxc5 11 'iVa4 b6 is fine for Bl ack) 10 ... 0-0 {10 ... 'iVxc3+ 11 llid2 lt:ixd2 12 .U.c1 llif3+ 13 @f1 llixh 2+ 14 .l:.xh 2 'iVf6 1 5 .tf4 is not clear, but White has very good compen sation for the pawn in this admittedly very computerish line) 11 0-0 llixc5 . In this complex position there are m any possibilities. Very often Black win s one of the c-pawns like after 12 lt:id4 lt:ie4 13 �3 llixc3, but White has definite compen sation . b2) White may al so castle first, 9 0-0. Black aim s at the c4-pawn in the long run, as with the bishop on g 2 this pawn is very weak, so 9 . . b6 is logical : b 2 1 ) In the game N .Zhukova-E. lturrizaga, Caleta 2012, Bl ack had no problem s after 10 llie5 ? ! llixe 5 11 dxe5 i..b 7 12 f3 (keeping the bishop with 12 i.. e 3 does not lead to much either after 12 ... 'iVc7 13 'iVd3 h 6 and it's about equal, but not dull} 1 2 ... lt:ixd2 13 'iVxd2 'iVc7 14 .U.fd1 o-o-o 1 5 f4 i.. x g 2 16 @xg 2 and now both the 16 ... 'iVc6+ of the actual gam e an d 16 ... g 5 ! ? are fine for Black. b22) A try to improve for White is 10 i.. e 3, suggested by Houdini. Black h as a couple of options in respon se: .


N i m z o - l n d ia n : Kasp a r o v- R o m a n is h i n , 4 ti:Jf3 a n d 5 g 3

b 2 2 1) The greedy 1 0... 0.xc3 n eeds t o b e checked: 11 �c2 ti:Je4 12 dxcs 0.xcs 1 3 .l:i.ad1 o-o and right now, before Black completes his development, White n eeds to go 14 ti:Jes 0.xe s ! 1 5 .ixa8 .ia6 16 .i g 2 �c7. This seem s pl ayable for Black, although I understand th at it's probably not 100% compensation. b222) 10 ... .ib7 11 dxcs bxcs 12 �c2 is a solid alternative, very similar to 10 ... 0-0. b223) 10 ... 0-0 is my main line: 11 dxc s bxcs (11 ... .ia6 12 0.g s ! is close to but not entirely equal at the end after 12 ... 0.xg s 13 .ixg s 'ii'x g s 14 'ii'x d7 .ixc4 15 cxb6 �e7 16 .ixc6 �xd7 17 .ixd7 axb6 18 a4 .l:i.fd8 19 .ibs l:tdc8) 12 'ii'c 2 .ib7 13 .l:i.fd1 14 .l:i.ab1 l:tb8 with com­ plex play.

White's structure on the queen side is obviously very weak, but he h as good, active pieces and temporary targets on cs and d7 to aim at. If Black is given just one or two tempi, he would be much better, so the exact assessment mostly depends on concrete play. Summing up, 7 ... .ixc3 8 bxc3 fs ! ? reaches almost unexplored territory. It is riskier than 97

Op e n i n g R e p e r t o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

the g am e continuation, but certainly worth an alysing and testing in practice. 8 �xd2 cxd4 9 tbxd4

In this position Black has a choice of moves, but the structure in the end is usually al ­ ways the same. The bishop will retreat to e7, usually followed by ... d6 with a Hedgehog-like set-up. I have selected ... 9 �b6 ... as the repertoire choice. The alternatives are: a) 9 ... 0-0 was played in a top-level encounter, N .Vitiugov-V.lvanchuk, Reggio Emilia 2011/12. The creative Ukrainian tried a different approach for Black, pl aying with .. .fS : 10 a3 i.. e 7 11 o-o ttJes 12 b3 a6 13 .l:!.fdl �c7 14 tbe4 fS ! ? {very combative; in stead the normal 14 ... d6 followed by ... .l:!.d8 and ... .i.d7 leads to the same type of position as in the m ain g ame) 15 tbc3 .Ub8 16 e4 fxe4 17 tt:Jxe4 b6 18 �e2 .i.b7 19 f4 tt:Jc6 20 tbf3 tbas 2 1 J:!.d3 .txe4 {probably 21 ... .l:!.bd8 was better, but in the g am e Black was not doing badly either) 22 �xe4 tbb7 23 b4 tbd6 24 �e2 t1Jf7 25 �d2 .l:!.fd8 26 .l:!.el as 27 �c3 axb4 28 axb4 .l:!.bc8 29 tbd2 tbd6 30 l:!.c1 tbxc4?? (a bl ackout that shouldn't h appen even in time trouble, but it happens to all of us) 31 tbxc4 and lvanchuk resigned. The plan with .. .fs might be a good choice if you want to generate some imbal ance in the position . b) 9 ... tbes 10 b3 (or 10 tbc2, which might lead to the sam e position after, for example, 10 ... .te7 11 b3 o-o 12 o-o a6 13 l:!.fd1 d6) 10 ... 0-0 11 o-o a6 12 tbc2 .i.e7 13 .l:!.fdl d6 and now: bl) A conventional approach is 14 .l:!.ac1, as played in E.Gh aem Maghami-S.Sul skis, Tromso Olympiad 2014. However, if you know Sulskis, you expect the unexpected: 14 ...l:!.b8 15 tbe3 fs ! ?. ...


N i m z o - l n d ia n : Ka s p a ro v - R o m a n is h i n , 4 ti'Jf3 a n d 5 g 3

H ere we go ... After 1 6 a4 f4? ! 17 gxf4 0i g 6 1 8 f5 0,f4 a mess arose that eventually ended in a draw. I don 't trust this idea, but it shows that Black h as ways to stir up trouble even from this seemingly modest set-up. b2) 14 �e3 ! ? is an interestin g plan , played in S. Ern st-E.L'Ami, Am sterdam 2012. It's an unusually concrete approach to this position, intendin g 0ia4-b6. After 14 ... �c7 15 ti'Ja4 0id7 16 .l:!.acl .l:!.b8 17 �a7 (the logical follow-up; it seem s unlikely though that thi s very sturdy black position can be cracked by piece pl ay alone) 17 ... ti'Jc5 ? ! (Bl ack should wait with 17 ... l:td8; there are no concrete threats at the moment and 18 ti'Jb4 is countered by 18 ... "ifas) 18 0ib4! (this is very strong now, intending 0ic6) 18 ... i.d8 (ugly, but the only move) 19 ti'Jxcs dxcs 20 :xd8 �xd8 21 �xb8 cxb4 now 22 "iff4 would h ave led to a rather one-sided affair with a distinct white advantage. As a general conclusion, Bl ack is rather flexible with his concrete move orders starting at move 9. You can vary your pl ay h ere - it is more of a set-up than a m atter of concrete lines. 10 0ic2 If White wants to keep the knight on d4, there only is 10 e3. Then 10 ... ti'Je s 11 b3 o-o 12 o-o �as ? ! (provocative, but this backfired in the gam e J . L. H ammer-G. Kaidanov, Philadel­ phia 2012; Black successfully tried to induce a queen side expansion by White, but suffered) 13 �fcl a6 14 a3 .i.e7 15 b4 °i¥d8 16 cs (Black obviously wanted White to play this, but I'd prefer an earlier ... .i.e7 and ... d6 set-up; the next couple of moves are very logical, leading to a nice advantage for White) 16 ... ds 17 cxd6 �xd6 18 0ie4 �d8 19 ti'Jcs saw Kaidanov defend successfully, but this position is not much fun to play. Just 12 ... .i.e7 followed by ... d6 would have stopped White's queen side play. In stead, after 10 ti'Jb3 Bl ack has the rare opportunity to start some concrete play with 10 ... as ! ? . This more or less forces White to sacrifice a pawn with 11 c s ! ? (11 o-o a4 12 0ic1 a3 looks rather un appealing for White) 11.. . .i.xcs 12 ti'Jxcs �xcs 13 0ie4 �4 14 ti'Jd6+ @e7 1S o-o-o �xd2+ 16 :xd2. 99

Op e n i n g R e p e rto i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - J n d i a n

This is quite forced after the g ambit. White h as enough compen sation, but probably not more than that. The g am e Wan g Yue-Yu Vangyi, Danzhou 2011, continued 16 ... Itb8 17 Ithd1 lll e s 18 h 3 b s 19 b3 f6 20 ..ie4 lllf7 2 1 lll xf7 @xf7 2 2 l::t c 2 fs 2 3 ..if3 ds 24 l:!.c7+ @f6 (Black h as m ade some obvious progress, but it is still not easy to play; the g ame remains roughly balanced) 2 5 Ita7 a4 2 6 @b2 axb3 27 axb3 Itd8 2 8 Itel ..id7 2 9 @e7 30 e3 Wd6 3 1 ..ie2 b4 3 2 f4 l::tb 6 3 3 h4 g 6 34 ..id3 h 6 3 5 ..ic2 Itc6 3 6 Itcb7 l::t c 3 3 7 l::t xb4 l::t x e3 3 8 l::tb 6+ @ c s 3 9 l::tbb7? (only this, played close t o move 40, h ands Black a clear advantage; 3 9 l::tb a6 was still not at all clear) 3 9 . . ...ic6 (39 . . . ..ie8 ! ) 4 0 l:i. c 7 @b6 4 1 b 4 d 4 42 ..ib3 d3 43 il.a4 l::te 2+ 44 @c3 l::t a 2 45 bS l::t xa4 and Wang Yue resigned. 10 ... as is a g ood, concrete move, but be prepared to defend for a while if you intend to employ it. 10 ..te7 11 o-o o-o 12 Itab1 •..

Wh at m akes this position difficult to handle for White is the fact that his dark-squared bishop is missing. H edgehog-style positions usually need to be attacked by buildin g up a 1 00

N i m z o - l n d ia n : Ka s p a ro v - R o m a n is h i n , 4 CiJf3 a n d 5 g 3

big centre and even advancin g pawns on the flanks, with f4-fS or g4-g S, for example. These plan s are far riskier for White to employ without the bishop, as the dark squares are then seriously weakened. However, for Bl ack it is also not at all easy to formulate a straightforward plan of pl ay. He mostly needs to react to White's plan s, but h as a hard time to do anything active on his own, as pawn breaks are difficult to arrange. The centre break ... d6-dS is close to impossible to play, but sometimes you can get ... b7-b5 in. In general I think a set-up with ... .id?, ... l:tfd8 and ... .l:i.ac8 is fine to start with and then wait to see what White comes up with . Let's look at a couple of alternatives for White to g et a feel for the play: a) 12 Wh 1 with a choice: al) 12 ... a6 13 f4 (going directly for the king; as mentioned before, weakening yourself like this entail s some long-term risk, but is n evertheless dang erous to face; we will now follow the gam e N .Sulava-D. Kuljasevic, Zagreb 2012) 13 ... �c7 14 l:tad1 l:td8 (this is slightly provocative, inviting White to play f4-fS and I think Bl ack's g ame is difficult to play after it; therefore it m akes sense to look for other moves, with altern atives being the pawn sacrifice 14 ... b s ! ? and preparing this move with 14 ... .l:i.b8) 15 fs (remove the queens from the board and Black is close to winning, but with the queen s on the situation is rather unclear) 15 ... CiJes 16 �f4 f6 (I think this was Bl ack's idea with delaying ... d6 and playing ... l:td8; the knight on es is excellently placed, of course, but White h as definite attacking chances) 17 CiJe3 �as 18 �4 and now:

a11) Best was 18 ... CiJf7 ! ?, securing the kin g side and in some cases placing the queen on e s . After 19 � S ! (19 il.e4, as in the g ame, is now an swered by 19 ... CiJg s) 19 ... .l:i,f8 (White's threat is revealed after, for in stance, 19 ... .l:i.b8 20 CiJeds ! ! exds 21 .ixds .l:i.f8 22 .l:i,f4 bS 23 .l:i.h4 h6 24 .l:i.g4 .ib7 2s �g 6 .ixds+ 26 CiJxds CiJg s 27 CiJxe7+ @h 8 2 8 h4 and White is win ­ n i n g ) 20 l:td4 CiJg s 2 1 .l:i.h4 �d8 22 .l:i,d1 �e8 Black has repelled the attack and is fine. a12) In the actual g ame 18 ... .l:i.b8? failed to very strong, concrete play: 19 .ie4! h 6 20 CiJg4 CiJxg4 (20 ... CiJf7 21 �S al so wins for White) 21 'i'xg4 b s 22 �g 6 .tb7 23 J:If4 (23 fxe6 1 01

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

dxe6 24 'ml 7+ @f7 2 5 tt:Jds ! exds 26 cxds l::t g 8 27 i.fs win s for White as well) 2 3 ... b4 and now there was a forced win :

a121) The spectacul ar 24 .l:!.dS ! ! win s outright: 24. . .exds (it's quite am azing that 24 ... .txds 2 5 l::t g 4 i.f8 26 lt:Jxds exds 27 i.xds+ leads to exactly the sam e position as 24 ... exds) 25 l::t g 4 i.f8 26 tt:Jxds i.xds 27 .i.xds+ @h 8 28 'fliif7 and White wins. a122) Sul ava missed his shot for a brilliancy, but after 24 l::t g 4? .i.f8 2 5 i.xb7 bxc3 26 i.e4 cxb2 (Black is now better, but I guess the very complicated nature of the g am e had taken its toll on the clock; the rem aining moves contain some errors by both sides) 27 'fliixf6 ? (27 'it>g 2 is still very unclear) 2 7 ... 'ifa4? (27 ... exfs ! ) 2 8 .l:!.b1 'fliixc4 29 'f!iig 6 dS? 30 i.d3 (now it's over as White breaks through) 30 ...'fliic l+ 31 @g 2 exfs 32 'i¥e6+ @h 8 33 'ifxfs @g 8 34 .l:!.f4 Black resigned. A great fight, illustrating th at giving up the dark squares and e s in particul ar m ay look terrible at first, but also gives White attacking chances. I think Black should investigate the alternatives on move 12 or 14, keeping the rook on f8 for the mo­ m ent. a2) Another recent example saw the similar 12 ... d6 13 f4 i.d7 14 J::t a d1 .l:!.fd8 1 5 lt:Je3 i.f8 16 tt:Je4 J::t a c8 17 b3 a6 18 fs tt:Je s .

1 02

N i m z o - l n d ia n : Kasp a r o v- R o m a n is h i n , 4 ti'Jf3 a n d 5 g 3

Black has a resilient position due t o h i s dark-square dominance and after 1 9 fxe6 fxe6 20 ti'Jc2 W/c7 2 1 'ii'g s h 6 2 2 �S dS eventually won in S. Ern st-M.Turov, Wijk aan Zee 2013. b) In the following g am e White chose a much more con servative approach : 12 .l::t a cl .l:!.d8 13 b3 d6 14 .l:!.fd1 .td7 1 S Wie3 "i¥xe3 (1s ...'i!Vc7 was possible, to keep more tension) 16 ti'Jxe3 .te8 17 .J::t d 2 a6 18 tl'Ja4 .l::t ab8 19 ti'Jb6 'it>f8 20 .l::t c d1 ti'Jes 21 a4 ti'Jd7 (this is all very sol­ id for Black, but h e has no con structive plan ; he can easily defend his only weakness on d6, but it's hard to generate some positive play of his own) 22 as ti'Jxb6 23 axb6 .l:!.dc8 24 b4? ! .tc6 2 S .i.h 3 .td8 (after 2 s ... .te8 26 .tg 2 .td8 White struggles against the bishops, whereas in the g ame White is given the chance to sacrifice on c6) 26 llxd6 .i.e7 27 l:!.xc6! .l::t x c6 28 cs .txcs ! (not 28 ... 'it>e8? 29 .tg 2 .l:!.cc8 30 tl'Jc4 when Black, facing the threat of ti'Jas, needs to sacrifice on cs anyway and under much worse conditions) 29 bxcs .U.xcs 30 f4 We7 3 1 .tg 2 as 3 2 .U.d8 3 3 .txb7 .l:!.b8 34 .te4 .l:!.xb6 3 5 .td3 .l:!.b4 3 6 ti'Jc2 .U.b8 3 7 ti'Je3 .U.b4 3 8 ti'Jc2 .U.b8 39 ti'Je3 .U.b4 and a draw was agreed in A.Lauber-R.Wojtaszek, Stockholm 2009. c) 12 .l::tfd1 .l::t d 8 13 .U.acl d6 14 ti'Ja4 "i¥c7 1 S ti'Je3 .tf8 16 ti'Jc3 b6 ! ? (16 ... a6 is hit by 17 ti'Jcds and White is better) and h ere: cl) 17 ti'Jbs ! ? "i¥d7 18 ti'Jxd6 .txd6 19 .l:!.c3 is a very computerish line. Black can defend with 19 ... .txg 3 20 .U.d3 .txh 2+ 21 'it>h l .tf4 2 2 "i¥c2 (or 2 2 .U.xd7 .txd7 23 "i¥c2 .te8 and Black has enough for the queen) 2 2 ... "i¥c7 2 3 .l::t x d8+ ti'Jxd8 24 .txa8 .td6 with about equal chanc­ es. c2) The more hum an move is 17 "i¥c2 .

1 03

Op e n i n g R ep e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - / n d i a n

This was played i n A. N aum ann-P.Schlosser, Austri an League 2012: 1 7 ... .tb7 1 8 .te4 g 6 19 tbcds �8 2 0 tbf6+ @h 8 2 1 �a4 tbe7 22 �c2 .tg 7 2 3 .txb7 �xb7 2 4 tbe4 (White h as tried with piece pl ay to provoke weaknesses) 24 ... �c7 (here Black could simplify with 24 ... ds 2 s cxds tbxds 26 tbxds lixds 27 tbd6 lixdl+ 28 .l:rxd1 �d7 and White's activity is only temporary with ... .tes or ... .tf8 to come at the right mom ent; there is nothing wrong with keepin g the ten sion like in the g ame though) 2S b3 liac8? ! (2s ... l:Id7 intending ... liad8 and eventually ... ds was simpler) 26 �1 (26 �d2 @g8 27 tbxd6 .l:rb8 is not clear at all due to the self-pin, but was the way to go for White if he wanted to play for a win) 26 ... a6 27 .l:rc2 h 6 ? (again, 27 ... .l:rd7 was correct) 2 8 licd2 tbc6 29 tbxd6 (now White is just winning, but spoilt it, probably in time trouble) 29 ...lib8 30 �e4 @g8 3 1 h4 ttie s 3 2 hs? fs 3 3 �g 2 g xh s 34 cs bxcs 3 S tbec4 tbxc4 3 6 tbxc4 .l:rxd2 3 7 .l:rxd2 lid8 3 8 lixd8+ �xd8 3 9 �f3 h4 40 g xh4 �xh4 41 �c6 �g4+ 42 @fl � 3 + 43 @g 1 �g4+ 44 @f1 � 3 + 4S @g 1 V2-V2. 12 ... d6 13 b4 Typically direct play by Nakamura. In the g ame Wan g H ao-Yu Vangyi, Danzhou 2011, a slower approach again led to noth­ ing for White after 13 lifdl lid8 14 e3 .td7 l S b3 .l:rac8 16 .l:rbcl Jle8 17 h 3 a6 18 tbd4 Jlf8. This is very resilient set-up. On a very good day Black might even be able to use the e8bishop to play, but it n eeds to be timed perfectly - often this advance just weakens the queen side. After 19 @h 2 �as 20 tbce2 �a3 21 tbc2 �as 22 tbcd4 �a3 23 tbc2 �as 24 tbcd4 �a3 the g am e was already agreed drawn ; White h as no risk-free plan to make any h eadway. 13 ....l:td8 14 @h1 .td1 1 5 tbe3 .i.fS 16 bs ttia s 17 f4

1 04

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Kasp a r o v- R o m a n is h i n , 4 ti'Jf3 a n d 5 g 3

A very interesting plan, combining queen side play t o drive the knight t o as with ad­ vancing the f-pawn . 17 ... "fic7 18 .l:!.fc1 l:!.ac8 Simple and good. The computer is greedy as usual and wants to grab: 18 ... ti'Jxc4 19 ti'Jxc4 "fixc4 20 .txb7 .l:!.ab8 21 ..if3 "fies and Black is, indeed, fine. 19 ti'Je4 b6 20 l:!.c2 h6 21 l:!.f1 fs Stopping f4-fS . White already n eeds to be careful here, as Bl ack has long-term assets like the bishops and c4 to play against. 22 ti'Jf2 g6 2 3 ti'Jd 3 i.g7 24 l:!.fc1 ..ieS 25 ti'Jd1 "fie7 26 �b4 l:!.c7 27 e4 fxe4 28 i.xe4 "fif6 29 ..if3 i.f7 30 ti'J1f2 "fid4

Black is better h ere, but Nakamura is tactically alert as usual. 3 1 ti'Jes ! i.xes 3 1 ... dxe s 3 2 .l:!.d1 is the point. Funny enough, this is playable for Black after 3 2 ... exf4 3 3 1 05

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

I:i.xd4 I:i.xd4 a s h e h as very good play for the queen . Ponomariov's move does win a pawn though . 3 2 fxes �xes 3 3 l'Llg4 �g7 34 I:i.d1 White h as got rid of the bishops and has some active pieces. 34 ... hs 3s l'Llf2? 3 5 l'Lle3 keeps the fight going . 3 s ... �es? 35 ... ds ! is winning for Bl ack. In the coming moves there are more mi stakes, but most likely both players were in tim e trouble by now. 36 I:i.e1 'iVd4 37 I:i.d1 'iVes 38 I:i.e1 �fs 39 ..te4 �cs 40 �b2 �gs 41 .i.d3 es 42 l'Lle4 'iVe1 43 I:i.f1 @g1 Y2-Y2 There might follow 44 �cl ..txc4 (or 44 ... I:i.dc8 45 .l:f.cf2 ..txc4 46 .i.xc4 l'Llxc4 47 l'Llf6 and White h as enough play against the black kin g to equalize) 45 ..txc4 dS 46 I:i.f6 I:i.xc4 47 �g s �e8 48 I:i.cf2 .l:f.xe4 49 I:i.f7+ 'iVxf7 50 I:i.xf7+ @xf7 5 1 'iVxd8 and it will end in a perpetual. Summary 7 ..td2 is a solid choice for White. Black may go into the Hedgehog-like m ain line, as played in the m ain g ame, or investig ate the more Nimzo-like alternative given on move 7. Both options lead to very different position types; a great feature of this very versatile opening is that it does not determine the pawn structure early on.

1 06

C h a pt e r F i v e

N i m zo- l ndia n : R u b i n st e i n Va r i a t i o n , 4 e 3

1 d4 tt:lf6 2 c4 e6 3 tt:lc3 .tb4 4 e3

The Rubin stein variation is one of two m ain lines of the Nimzo- lndian Defence, the oth ­ er being th e Classical variation with 4 'i!Vc2, as examined in Chapters 9-11. With 4 e3, White signal s his intention to develop th e king side. Note th at in the first three moves, Bl ack has m ade three moves th at prepare short castling, while White has m ade zero moves in th at regard. The secondary idea of the Rubin stein is to pl ay S tll e 2, covering c3 with th e knight to avoid a doubled pawn on c3. The general approach of our repertoire is to set up a dark-squared pawn centre with moves like ... cs, ... d6 and ... e s . How to set up such a formation ag ain st the Rubin stein? There is one line that fits perfectly with our strategy: the Hilbner variation. 107

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d 8 09 0 - / n d i a n

This is the cl assic m ain line position of the Hubner variation . How t o reach it? There are two sensible ways to go: a) Via 4 ...0-0: 1 d4 lbf6 2 c4 e6 3 lbc3 i.b4 4 e3 o-o S i.d3 cs 6 lbf3 lbc6 7 o-o ilxc3 8 bxc3 d6 9 e4 es. b) Via 4 ... c s : 1 d4 lbf6 2 c4 e6 3 lbc3 i.b4 4 e3 cs S ild3 lbc6 6 ttJf3 ilxc3 7 bxc3 d6 8 0-0 es 9 e4 o-o. Which is the preferable move order to choose? The m ain difference between the two move orders becomes obvious when we examine the reply S lbe2 to both . It is essential to understand that Bl ack shoul d never then take on c3 as it accelerates White's development while giving up the bishop-pair. Let's examine 4 ... cs s ttJe2 first.

White now threaten s to force the trade on c3 with 6 a3. This m eans that moves like s ... o-o or s ... ds don't do the job. Bl ack h as two options I con sidered: 108

N i m z o - l n d i a n : R u b i n s te i n Va r i a t i o n , 4 e 3

a ) Going s . . .cxd4 t o free retreat squares for the bishop. I discarded this because o f 6 exd4 o-o 7 a3 ile7 8 tt:lf4 ds 9 cxds tt:Jxds 10 tt:Jcxds exds and White retains a nagging edge in a position th at does not fit well with our general dark-squared approach . I looked for deviations in this line, but didn 't h ave any success. b) The second, more interesting option is to play the entirely different s ...b6 to facilitate 6 a3 ilas. It leads to fairly unique positions that offer good counterplay for Black. Now let's check 4 ... 0-0 S tt:Je2.

H ere Black delays ... cs, so retreating the bishop is easily possible. In fact I found that the move s ... l:te8 leads to very interesting play after 6 a3 ilf8, which keeps the pawn structure in the centre very flexible. Black can play ... ds if appropriate, but often ... d6, ... es and/or ... cs is possible for a dark-squared strategy. In comparison to 4 ... cs S tt:Je2 b6 6 a3 ilas, this line is al so simpler to learn in my opinion. Ultimately I decided to go for the 4 ... 0-0 move order, which is also by far the most popu­ lar choice among the top players. One reason for this is the flexibility of this move, as you later can easily add an additional line to your repertoire: for example, the Karpov variation (4 e3 o-o S i.. d 3 cs 6 tt:Jf3 dS 7 o-o cxd4 8 exd4 dxc4 9 .i.xc4 b6). The Hilbner variation and 4 ... 0-0 S tt:le2 l:te8 will be two cornerstones of our repertoire, but what el se is there in the Rubinstein? The only substantial and non -transpositional op­ tion is the .i.d3 and tt:le2 set-up. Against this there is no real altern ative to the main reply which usually leads to an isolated queen's pawn for White.

1 09

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

This is a typical position for this line. The m ain distinct feature of this IQP situation i s the knight on e2, which is a less threatening square for i t th an f3. Our whole Rubinstein coverage is divided into three parts: Ch apter 6: 4 e3 o-o s tt:Je2 (the Reshevsky Variation); Ch apter 7: 4 e3 0-0 S .td3 cs 6 tll e 2; Chapter 8: 4 e3 o-o s .i.d3 cs 6 tt:lf3 tt:lc6 7 0-0 .txc3 8 bxc3 d6 (the Hubner Variation).


C h a pt e r S i x

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Re s h evs ky

Va ri a t i o n , 4 e 3 o - o 5 ttJ e 2

1 d4 liJf6 2 C4 e6 3 liJc3 i.b4 4 e3 0-0 5 liJge2

This is a popular line for White named after Samuel Resh evsky. The idea is obvious: White avoids doubled pawns on the c-file and intends to recapture on c3 with th e knight. In g eneral almost all lines with li:le2 in the whole Rubin stein complex sh are one ch aracter­ istic: Bl ack shoul d not capture because doing so speeds up White's development. The e2knight blocks the light-squared bi shop and very often n eeds to move ag ain to prepare cas­ tling. It is very important to h ave something prepared ag ainst s li:le2, because it is the choice of all the recent 1 d4 white repertoire books by the likes of Schandorff, Watson and Komev. I actually think their choice is mostly determined by the fact that s li:le2 is easier and short111

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o ire : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n di a n

shorter to present i n a book than the alternatives - i t i s not a set-up that promises White anything special in a theoretical sen se. It will, however, almost invariably lead to a complex g ame with chances for both sides. Let's begin with an overview of the material : a) s ... ds is the big m ain line, but it h as been covered a lot, most recently by John Emms in The Nimzo-lndia n: Move by Move. The beauty of a flexible m ain line opening like the Nimzo is the abundance of lines and strategies to choose from . For this book I decided to avoid s ... ds, not for the sake of quality (Black is fin e h ere), but for variety's sake. b) s ... c6 ! ? is a relatively new line that has only recently become popul ar. I consider it to be the only sound altern ative at move S besides the m ain line and my repertoire choice, s ... l::t. e 8. I went for the rook move for the somewhat irrational reason that I 've always h ad a soft spot for the elegant, retreating concept to f8 at such an early stage. If you, however, dislike my choice, I'd like to point you to s ... c6 - it is fully sound and less explored th an the main line. c) As already spoiled above, our repertoire move is s ... l::t. e 8.

Black anticipates that he will need to retreat the bishop and clears the f8-square for it. After a subsequent ... ds by Black, the rook is nicely placed in the possible Carl sbad structure for an exchange on dS or helping to prepare ... e6-es if White does not take on ds. Except for the m ain line with 7 ds, all lines after s ... l::t e 8 are covered in the g am e Gonzalez Vidal­ Ortega (Game 11). s ... l::t. e 8 6 a3 i.f8 7 ds is White's m ain try for an advantage, grabbin g space in the centre. Black often will attack the centre l ater with ... c6 or transpose into a Benoni structure with ... cs. The beauty of this line is that the ... l::te 8 and ... i.f8 set-up fits into m any different pawn structures. I think that Black h as no problems h ere, unlike Schandorff who cl aim s a small edge for White. The g am e Avrukh-Wojtazsek (Game 12) discusses this in detail.


N i m z o - l n d ia n : R e s h e vs ky Va ria t i o n , 4 e 3 o - o 5 tfj e 2

Game 1 1

Y.Gonzalez Vidal-M.Ortega C u ba n Cha m pion s h i p, Sa nta Clara 2014 1 d4 tfjf6 2 c4 e6 3 tfjc3 i.b4 4 e3 o-o 5 tfjge2 .l::l.e S 6 a3 Sometimes the white player does not know the s ....l::l.e 8 line and plays 6 g3, as happened to yours truly in a game in the Belgium League in 2001. My opponent Denis Luminet replied with the normal 6 ... ds. Only now did I understand that 7 cxds is answered by 7 ...'i!Vxds ! , which l e d t o 8 .l::l.g 1 � S 9 h 3 es 1 0 g4 'tlih4 11 .i.g 2 tfjc6 12 dS tfje7 13 'iWb3 .i.xc3+ 1 4 tfjxc3 c6 1S d6 .i.e6 16 'i!Vxb7 tfjedS with great compensation for Black in M.Bluvshtein-A.Onischuk, Montreal 2009. Yes, this was actually played in an all-GM g ame. My g ame in Belgium went, instead, 7 �3 cs 8 cxds 'ii'x ds 9 �xds exds with a comfortable position for Black. 6 ....i.fS

This is a very flexible approach . Black now might pl ay ... d7-dS or employ other central set-ups like ... d6 and ... es with an Old Indian flavour. In some cases even a Benoni structure is reached - more on that l ater. 7 e4 White's most ambitious approach . He h as many alternatives, of which 7 dS is the main line and will be examined below in Avrukh-Wojtaszek (Game 12). If White does not want to advance in the centre there are two knight moves to prepare castling . Let's examine: a) 7 tfjg 3 ds is the simplest respon se, giving Black easy play. There also is the Old Indi an ­ like 7 . . .d 6 8 .i.d3 e s with completely different play. It is not a 'clear equalizer', but leads t o a complicated strategical struggle. After 7 ... ds White faces the question : to take or not to take. In most cases he exchanges on ds, but he doesn't have to: al) 8 .i.e2 is important because it has been recomm ended in two recent books. It is giv113

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n di a n

given i n John Watson's A Strategic Opening Repertoire for White and by Alexei Kornev i n his A Practical White Repertoire with 1.d4 and 2.c4, which certainly increases the ch ances that you will face it. Black h as tried various moves after 8 i.e2 : all) My m ain recomm endation is 8 . . . dxc4 9 o-o (or 9 i.xc4 cs 1 0 dxcs 'iVxdl+ 11 'it>xdl i.xcs with equality in R.Hungaski-P.Harikrishna, Phil adelphia 2011, and nevertheless Black went on win - sometimes dull equality doesn 't guarantee a draw) 9 ... cs 10 dxcs i.xcs 11 i.xc4 a6.

In this quiet position White h as tried a few moves: a111) 12 b4 is Kornev's line, with his assessment of a slight advantage for White based on the 12 ... i.e7 13 i.e2 of V.Epishin-T. Polak, Dresden 2007, where Black now played 13 ... as. That was not a bad move, but 13 ... i.d7, intending ...i.c6 and ... tllb d7 equalizes comfortably. a112) A similar set-up was seen in a recent g am e, Y. Kuzubov-Y. Kryvoruchko, Lvov 2014, where White deviated with 12 i.e2 i.e7 13 i.d2 i.d7 14 °iWc2 i.c6 15 e4 tllb d7 16 i.f4 .l:k8.


N i m z o - l n di a n : R es h e vs ky Va ria t i o n , 4 e 3 0 - 0 5 t:fJ e 2

Black has clearly equalized. a12) As 8 ...dxc4 leads to very sound, but al so dry positions, I'd like to point out the 8 ... g 6 ! ? of L.J aim e Montalvan-J .L.Hammer, Gibraltar 2008. H ere 9 o-o .i.g7 10 �c2 b6 11 b4 (in stead of the game's 11 e4 t:fJc6 12 .i.e3 t:fJxe4 13 t:fJgxe4 dxe4 14 'iVxe4 .i.b7 with equal, but interesting play) 11 ... ii.b7 12 i.b2 is given as a slight advantage for White by Kornev. I agree, but I'd also like to point out th at all pieces are on th e board and it will be a compli­ cated g ame. It is still a good position to play for a win against a lower-rated player or in situations where 8 ... dxc4 is just too equal . In some recent g ames Bl ack has al so tried the other fianchetto with 8 ... b6, so there's enough scope to fight if the situation calls for it. a2) By far the more popul ar choice on move 8 is the switch to a Carl sbad structure with 8 cxds exdS : for example, 9 b4 (or 9 i.d3 t:fJbd7 10 b4 a6 11 �3 c6, as was played in M.Wiertzema-V. Epishin, Deizisau 2003; White now committed an in structive mistake: 12 a4? as ! 13 bs cs - Black opens the position in his favour; note the rook on e8 opposin g White's king o n e1 - 1 4 t:fJxds cxd4 1S o-o t:fJxds 16 �xds t:fJ c s with a substantial advan­ tage for Black that Vladimir Epishin converted in 3 2 moves) 9 ... c6 10 .i.d3 t:fJa6 11 0-0 t:fJc7 12 f3 t:fJe6 13 t:fJce2 g6 14 .i.c2 as 1S .l:!.b1 axb4 16 axb4 b6 17 e4 cs, with a sharp, but bal­ anced struggle in S.Bekker Jensen-E.L'Ami, H elsingor 2012. Bl ack's knight journey to e6 was noteworthy. With the set-up of ... lie8 and ... .i.f8 this makes a lot of sen se. b} The other knight move is, of course, 7 l:iJf4, after which I feel Black should go 7 ... d6 in order to kick this piece with ... e s (of course, you can play 7 ... ds as well: for example, 8 cxds exds 9 .i.d3 t:fJc6 ! ? 10 o-o t:fJe7 11 .td2 c6 12 'iVc2 g6 13 b4 a6 14 a4 t:fJfs 1s bs as 16 t:fJa2 .i.d7 17 bxc6 bxc6 18 t:fJc1 t:fJe4 with about equal chances in B.Lalith-A.Aleksandrov, Nagpur 2012; the c6 weakness is not so easy to attack, while Black will initiate king side counterplay).

Following 8 .i.e2 (8 .i.d3 es 9 t:fJfe2 isn't dangerous; there is even 9 ... ds to simplify to a drawish position) 8 ... e s 9 dxe s dxes 10 �xd8 �xd8 11 t:fJfds t:fJe8 ! 1 2 o-o t:fJa6 13 .l:!.d1 .i.e6 14 t:fJe4 c6 1 S t:fJdc3 ii.e7 if anything Black was the more comfortable in L.Schandorff­ P.H.Niel sen, Aalborg 2006. 115

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

c) 7 g 3 aim s for the same structure as after s ... ds 6 a3 i.. e 7 7 cxds exds - the positive difference from Black's point of view is the slightly better placement of the bishop on f8 as opposed to e7. After 7 ... ds (the normal move, but if you want to vary and set up a closed position you may also play 7 ... d6 followed by ... es; it's an Old Indian set-up where White doesn't h ave anything special besides the usual extra space, and if you want to play a long g ame with all the pieces on the board you can consider this) 8 cxds (delaying this with 8 i.. g 2 doesn't improve White's chances: for example, 8 ... c6 9 b3 b6 10 o-o i.. a 6 11 cxds, as was pl ayed in F.Meyer-T. H enrich, G erman League 1991; Bl ack recaptured with the e-pawn, but I like 11 ... cxds even more when Black has an easy g ame) 8 ... exds 9 i.. g 2 as 10 o-o c6 we reach a typical set-up.

This g eneral position type is not dependent on concrete move sequences, but on posi­ tional understanding . It is heavily recommended to study some games with it, also from the s ... ds move order as the pawn structure is identical . Black is certainly okay, but the po­ sition rem ain s complicated for a long time. One key point is that very often Black n eeds to pl ay ... cs to obtain counterpl ay in the centre only after White h as played f3 to prepare e3e4. Some examples: a) A funny early misstep by White h appened in the g am e S.Bekker Jensen-J.L. H ammer, Borup 2008: 11 tt:'if4 tt:'ia6 12 f3 ti:Jc7 13 e4 cs ! (usually this is played right after f3, not wait­ ing for White to play e4, but h ere the delayed ... cs sets White some tricky problems) 14 e s ? (14 i.. e 3 is not great, but was pl ayable) 1 4. . . cxd4 l S �xd4 tt:'id7 16 tt:'id3 .l::!.x e s (the strang e point, winning a pawn ; however, the computerish 16 . . .b6! intending . . .i.. a 6 and . . .tt:J c s is even stronger, with an almost decisive advantage for Black) 17 f4 Ite8 18 tll x ds tt:Jxds 19 �xds �6+ 2o @h 1 ti:Jf6 2 1 �f3 i.. g 4 and Black was close to winning. b) The most principled move is 11 f3 which duly gets answered by 11 ... cs ! . Here Black even h as the option of playing ... tt:'ic6, compared to the example above where ... ti:Ja6 was played before White started the central play. Now it is difficult for White to find a direct plan . In the g am e H . N akamura-P.H. Nielsen, Oslo 2009, the aggressive American no.1 tried 116

N i m z o - l n d i a n : R es h e vs ky Va ria t i o n , 4 e 3 o - o 5 tt:J e 2

the ambitious 12 g4 ti:Jc6 13 g s tt:Jh s 1 4 f4, but Black obtained good pl ay ag ain st the white centre with 14 ... �g4 1 S h3 �xe2 16 tt:Jxe2 cxd4 17 tt:Jxd4 tt:Jxd4 18 'iWxd4 ti:Jg 3 19 .l:!.el, and now 19 ... tl:Je4 would h ave been comfortable for Bl ack. White's advances have created m any weaknesses all over his position . Let's now return to 7 e4. Black cannot allow any further expansion and so strikes back in the centre: 7, d5 ..

This approach is very much in line with our repertoire in the Bogo with 4 ti:Jbd2 0-0 S a3 �e7 6 e4 ds (see Chapter 13). Instead of this active move, Bl ack m ay also get creative with ideas like 7 ... d6 8 f3 a6 9 �e3 c6 10 g4 bS, as in R.Montecatine Rios-L.Oll, Marchen a 1990. This ... d6 approach is certainly theoretically worse th an going for 7 ... ds, but rem ains an interesting option to 'just pl ay chess' early on . 8 es ti:Jfd7 9 cxd s White needs to commit the c-pawn now. H e can grab more space with 9 cs, but Bl ack is ready to cl arify things on the queen side immediately. His lead in development often allows him very aggressive play with sacrifices again st White's exposed centre after 9 ... b6 (9 ... as as in M.Matuszewski-M.Bartel, Poznan 201s, is also fine) 10 b4 as:


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

a) 11 i.e3 axb4 12 axb4 �xa1 13 �xa1 bxcs 14 bxcs f6 1 5 f4 fxes 16 fxe s lll c 6 is okay for Black. Note his ideas for counterplay like 17 g 3 {or 17 i.f2 lll c xes 18 dxes i.xcs with serious compen sation for Black) 17 ... i.xcs 18 dxcs lll dxe s, intending ... d4. Black h as fantas­ tic compensation here and is even clearly better. b) 11 �bl axb4 12 axb4 bxcs 13 bxcs and I don't see any worries for Black after 13 ... i.a6 or the aggressive 13 .. .f6 14 f4 fxe s 15 fxes lll c 6, with sacrificial ideas in mind like 16 g 3 lll dxe s 1 7 dxes i.xcs and White won't have much fun . 9 exd s H ere White has tried almost all the logical moves. 1o f4 The most common response. White has al so tried 10 g 3 c s 11 f4. It's h ard to get by without this move for White, as the centre is very exposed. In H . Koneru-T. Kosintseva, Mos­ cow 2011, the multiple Russian Olympic medallist now played 11...cxd4, but 11...lll c 6! first would h ave been even stronger. ...


N i m z o - / n d i a n : R es h e vs ky Va ria t i o n , 4 e 3 o - o 5 liJ e 2

White must now fight for equality, probably without success. The only move is 1 2 ..te3 (other tries like 12 ..tg2? cxd4 13 liJxd4 liJdxeS ! 14 fxe s l:Ixes+ 1 s liJce2 'iWb6 16 liJf3 l:Ie8 lead to a vicious attack th at is winning for Bl ack; the key motifs are .....tfs and ... dS-d4-d3 to increase the pressure - this type of position is well known from the French Tarrasch with 3 liJd2 liJf6 and a l ater f4 and g 3 expansion) 12 ... liJb6 (the point; this knight will find a great spot on c4, h arassing White's dark-squared bishop) 13 .i.g 2 (13 dxcs? liJc4 14 .i.f2 .ifs 1S 'iib 3 liJ4xeS ! 16 fxe s d4 becomes an exercise in dodging bullets for White and one not to be recommended) 13 ... .i.fs with excellent pl ay for Bl ack. White has al so experimented with clamping down on the cs-square with 10 b4 as and now: a) Surprisingly bad is 11 l:!.b1? axb4 12 axb4 liJc6 13 liJxdS (13 b s is simil arly terrible due to 13 ... liJcxe s 14 dxes liJxe s and the combined threats of ... dS-d4 and ... ..tfs win for Black) 13 ... liJdxes 14 dxe s ..tfs 1s l:!.b3 l:!.xes 16 liJe3 ..txb4+ and Black win s after 17 liJc3 �f6 ! with the ideas of ... l:!.xe3 and ... l:!.es-as-a1. b) 11 bS is the only move, even though White's plan to stop ... cs h as failed. After 11...cS 12 bxc6 (the overambitious 12 f4 liJb6 leaves White's centre terribly exposed with several essential squares weakened) 12 ...bxc6 13 g 3 c s 14 2 cxd4 1s liJxd4 liJxes 16 0-0 ..tg4 17 'iWb3 ..tcs 18 ..te3 .i.xd4 19 ..txd4 liJf3+ 20 .i.xf3 .i.xf3 2 1 liJbs ..te2 2 2 l:!.fc1 ..tc4 2 3 l:Ixc4 dxc4 24 �c3 liJc6 2s .i.xg 7 �g s 26 ..tf6 �xbs 27 �f3 h s 28 ..tc3 l:!.e6 29 a4 'iWg s White re­ signed in J.Le Roux-M.Oleksienko, Guingamp 2007. 10 cs 11 .i.e3 liJc6 ...

12 dxcs White is running out of moves and takes on cs. The greedy 12 liJxdS? does not work due to 12 ... cxd4 13 ..txd4 (or 1 3 liJxd4 liJdxe s and Black wins) 13 ... liJdxes 14 ..txe s liJxes 1 s fxe s �4+ 16 liJg 3 (16 g 3 �e4 17 l:!.g 1 'iWxe s is a winning attack for Black; the combined threats of ... .i.cs and ... l:!.d8 are too much for White to cope with) 16 ... l:Ixes+ 17 ..te2 .i.cs followed by ... ..tg4 and Black wins. 119

Op e n in g R e p e r t o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - / n d i a n

Instead, w e examined 1 2 g 3 lllb 6 via 1 0 g 3 , above. 12 ... lllx cs A good alternative for Black is 12 ... i.xcs 13 i.xcs (again, 13 lll x ds is not working, this time due to 13 ... lll c xe s ! 14 fxe s �4+ 15 lll g 3 l:txes with the big threat of ... lllf6; Black is fine) 13 ... lllx cs 14 b4 (the only m ove; 14 lllx ds ?? i.fs 1 5 lll e c3 lll x es win s on the spot for Black) 14 ... d4 and here: a) 1 5 lllb s ? lll e 6 (15 ... lll xe s is al so very interesting) 16 lll d 6 l:te7 and White is in trouble the ideas of ... d3, .. .f6 and ... lllxf4 are too much to h andle. b) 1 5 bxcs dxc3 (improving on 1 5 ...�as, as played in S.Bekker Jensen - N .Pedersen, Aal­ borg 2006) 16 �xd8 l:txd8 17 lllx C3 lll d4 18 @f2 lllb 3 with about equal chances. Houdini even comes up with the unbelievable 12 ... g s ! ? in order to destroy White's cen ­ tre at all costs. Black is clearly spoilt for choice h ere. 13 lll xd s White grabs the pawn as the alternatives don't impress either: for example, on 13 b4 Black hits out with 13 ... d4! 14 lll xd4 lll xd4 1 5 �xd4 �xd4 16 i.xd4 lllb 3 17 J:td1 as (an im­ portant motif to g ain counterplay) 18 bxas i.g4 19 i.e2 i.xe2 20 lllx e2 l:txas and Black is fine in thi s complicated position . H e will win the pawn back and has the b-pawn as an as­ set. 13 ... i.g4 14 J:tc1 White n eeds to tread carefully. There isn't any way to untangle the kin g side, as 14 g 3 ? ? i.f3 painfully demon strates. 14...lll e 4

Keeping the initiative with a natural move. 14 ... lll x es ! ? is al so possible, but is not entirely clear: 15 i.xc s ! (otherwise, White comes close to losing ) 1 s ...l:tc8 ! 16 fxe s i.xcs 17 b4 l:txe s 18 .l:.xcs l:txcs 19 bxcs .l:.xds 20 �cl (here Black h as a draw at least, but I couldn't find a win) 20 ... 21 �f4 �4+ 22 'it>d2 'i¥d8+ 2 3 @e1 °ilfh4+ is one plausible route t o a repetition . 1 20

N i m z o - l n d i a n : R es h e vs ky Va ria t i o n , 4 e 3 0 - 0 5 tlJ e 2

15 tlJdc3 Again, the only move to not g et wiped out quickly. 15 b4? as or 15 'iVd3 ? i.fs will prob­ ably not l ast to move 2 5 . 1s ... 'iVh4+ 1 6 g3 'iVh6 17 tlJxe4 This initiates a long sequence of moves th at is almost forced. After 17 i.g 2 Bl ack's attack is very strong, but maybe only good enough for equality with best play. A fun line now is 17 ...1Iad8 18 'iVc2 tlJxc3 19 'iVxc3 'iVg 6 20 h 3 l:Id3 2 1 hxg4 1Ixc3 22 tlJxC3 'iVxg4 2 3 Wf2 when White is nicely coordinated and probably h as enough for the queen . 17 ... i.f3 18 tlJf2 Not strictly the only move, but a very understandable choice. White now becomes coor­ din ated for the first time in the g ame. 18 ... i.xh1 19 tlJxh1 tlJxes 20 fxes 'iVxe3 2 1 'iVd4 'iVxd4 The arisin g endgame is about equal . Black could h ave kept the queen s on the board with 2 1 ... 'iVg S ? ! , but 2 2 'iVf4 � 5 2 3 tlJf2 .l:!.xes 24 g4 'iVg s 2 5 'iVxg S .l:!.xg s 26 i.g 2 ultimately reaches a worse endgame and even more problematic is 21 ... � 6 ? ! 22 tlJf2 'iVxh 2 ? 23 i.h 3 ! ; keeping the queen on h as led to it being devoid of squares. 22 tlJxd4 l:Ixes+ 2 3 i.e2 l:Iae8 24 I:Ic2

The only move, as ... i.cs was a threat. 24 ...I:Ics 25 tlJf2 l:Ixc2 26 tlJxc2 i.cs 27 @f1 g6 28 tlJd3 i.d6 29 i.f3 I:Ie7 30 tlJcb4 'iii> g 7 3 1 tlJd s l:Ie8 32 @f2 f s 3 3 tlJc3 I:Ie7 34 tlJd s l:Ie8 3 5 tlJe3 i.c7 The database h as 3S ... i.e7 instead, but then White just takes on b7. I think 3S ... i.c7 was played, allowing ... i.b6 in respon se to the capture on b7. 36 tlJd s i.d6 3 7 b4 l:Ic8 38 i.d1 a s 39 i.b3 axb4 40 axb4 l:Ia8 41 tlJcs i.xcs+ 42 bxcs I:Ias 43 tlJf4 @f6 44 i.ds l:Ixcs 45 i.xb7 Yz-Yz


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

Summary 7 e4 leads to very sh arp pl ay in which Bl ack often obtain s excellent attacking chances. The alternatives on move 7 are much more solid for White, but don 't trouble Black much . The ... I1e8 and ... i.f8 set-up is very flexible and works nicely with a range of pawn structures, including ... ds for a Carl sbad centre and creative tries with ... d6. A sterner test of Bl ack's approach is 7 ds, which is examined in the following g ame.

Game 1 2

B.Avrukh-R. Wojtaszek F re n c h Tea m C h a m p i o n s h i p 2011

1 d4 lLif6 2 c4 e6 3 lLic3 i.b4 4 e3 o-o 5 tLige2 I1e8 6 a3 i.f8 7 dS The most popul ar move. 1 d6 ...

I like this move the most, but you can al so investigate 7 ... as with the idea of ... tLla6-cS. If you don't like the Benoni structures of the m ain line, this is a viable altern ative. 8 g3 White n eeds to play this or move the knight on e2 again to develop the king side and prepare castling. In a couple of g ames White tried 8 dxe6, but it's hard to believe strengthening Black's centre can pose too m any problems. R.Rapport-J . L.Hammer, Achaea 2012, saw 8 .. .fxe6 9 lLig 3 ds 10 i.e2 c6 with about equal pl ay. I al so like 10 ... cs to m ake c6 available for the knight. More testing is 8 lLig 3, intendin g to set up a classical centre with e4, i.e2 and if n eces­ sary f3. This might lead to a set-up quite similar to other lines in the Nimzo, like 4 f3. Black's position is quite flexible, so there is more th an one plan available. It is obvious, 122

N i m z o - l n di a n : R es h e vs ky Va r i a t i o n , 4 e 3 o - o 5 ttJ e 2

however, that White h as neglected development, s o attackin g the centre with 8 ... c 6 seems very logical to me. After 9 ii.e2 cxd5 (very principled, but there is room for creativity: for in stance, with the yet untested 9 ... g 6 ! ?} 10 cxd5 exd5 White has: a) An original move is 11 ttJh 5, but after 11 ... ttJxh 5 12 i.xh 5 d4! 13 �xd4 ttJc6 14 'iYa4, instead of 14 ... ttJe5, as pl ayed in F.Vareille-A. Bleunven, French League 2009, the simpl e 1 4. . .g 6 with . . .i.g7 and . . .i. e 6 t o follow seem s quite comfortable t o m e . b } O f course, the more obvious reply is 11 ttJxd5 and after 11...ttJxd5 12 �xd5 ttJc6 13 o-o we reach the critical line given in Schandorff' s book. He cl aims a slight edge for White, but I don't see any problems for Black. Why should h e be worse? He's even slightly better devel­ oped and d6 i s no weakness at all, while the knight on g 3 and bishop on cl are passive. We can continue 13 ... g 6 (simpler to h an dle and preferable to 13 ... i.e6 14 'ifb5 a6 1 5 �xb7 i.d5, which has been seen twice and 16 ii.f3 l:ta7 17 �xa7 ttJxa7 18 ii.xd5 is assessed as better for White by Schandorff; I am not sure about that, but maybe White's position is the easier to play) 14 l:tdl i.g7 and here: bl} 1 5 l:tbl i.e6 16 'ifb5 a6 (16 ... �c7 ! ? is simple, as well as comfortable for Bl ack} 17 �xb7 ttJa5 18 'ifb4 i.b3 19 i.d2 i.xdl 20 l:txdl ttJc6 2 1 �a4 'ifb6 2 2 i.f3 l:tac8 and it is not clear if Black can convert his slight material edge, although h e ultimately succeeded in S.Brunello-R.Wojtaszek, Wijk aan Zee 2014. b2} White should prefer 15 �xd6, despite 15 ... i.e6.

This gives Black excellent reversed Catal an-style pressure thanks to his bishops, espe­ cially the one on g7. After 8 ttJg 3, if you'd like to explore a more offbeat alternative you can deviate with 8 ... g 6 ! ? 9 i.e2 h 5 10 o-o exd5 11 cxd5 h4 12 ttJh 1 c6 13 f3 ttJxd5 14 ttJxd5 cxd5 15 'ii'x d5 ttJc6 16 ttJf2 i.e6, as was played in N . Dzagnidze-T.Kosintseva, Gaziantep 2012. Black is already better here, so White n eeds to improve earlier. Overall, the 8 ttJg 3 line does not seem too troublesome for Black. 8 exd s ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

This is the most straightforward move, headin g directly for the Benoni structure. 9 cxd s cs

10 dxc6 White avoids the Benoni structure and in stead steers the g ame into 'h anging pawn s' territory. The Benoni needs to be carefully examined, though, so let's take a look after 10 i.g 2. In general I don't consider this form of Benoni to be dangerous, as a White set-up with e3 and tll g e2/ i.g 2 is hardly good in the Modern Benoni. White is ages away from any central break, but let's look at some practical examples - the precise move order is not too important: a) 10 ... tllb d7 11 o-o g6 (or 11 ... a6 12 a4 'Vilic7 13 'Vilic2 l:tb8 14 as bs 1 5 axb6 'Vilixb6 16 .l:f.a3 tlle s 17 b3 g6 18 h3 i.g 7 19 i.d2 'Vilib4 20 tllb 1 'Vilibs 21 tllb c3 '1Wd3 22 '1Wd1 WDfs 2 3 f4 lll d 3 24 e4 �5 25 g4 tll x g4 26 hxg4 i.xg4 with a complicated position that is much easier to play as Black, D.Yang-T.Gel ashvili, Wheeling 2012) 12 b4 a6 13 bS tll e s 14 e4 i.g7 15 l:tb1 tllfd7 16 bxa6 .l:rxa6 17 tllb s tllb 6 18 tll e c3 tll e c4.


N i m z o - l n d i a n : R e s h e vs ky Va r i a t i o n , 4 e 3 0 - 0 5 ti:J e 2

This had l e d t o characteristically unclear struggle i n D.Bocharov-E.Alekseev, Tyumen 2012. b) 10 ... g 6 11 o-o .ig 7 12 e4 ti:Jbd7 13 l:!.b1 a6 14 b4 b s 1 5 h3 cxb4 16 axb4 ti:Jb6 17 .ie3 ti:Jc4 18 .id4 .ib7 19 f4 ti:Jd7 20 '1i'd3 l:!.c8 2 1 @h 2 W/e7 2 2 .ixg 7 @xg 7 and it was roughly equal once again in this unbal anced situation in A. Kashlin skaya-T. Kosintseva, G aziantep 2012. 10. . bxc6 11 .ig2 d s 12 o-o tt:Jbd7 13 '1i'c2 White has also tried 13 ti:Jd4 h ere, reaching a level ending after 13 ... .ib7 14 b4 tt:Jes 15 l:!.b1 Wid7 16 W/c2 l:!.ac8 17 .U.d1 .ia6 18 tt:Ja4 .ic4 (this highlights White's dilemma; it is hard for him to go ahead without playing b2-b4, but that weaken s c4 considerably, allowing a bl ack bishop or knight to use this outpost) 19 .ib2 tt:Je4 20 tt:Jf3 tt:Jxf3+ 2 1 .ixf3 tt:Jg s 2 2 .ig 2 Wig4 2 3 l:!.d4 tt:Jf3+ 24 .ixf3 W/xf3 2 5 .l!f4 Wih s 26 l:!.h4 Wig 6 2 7 W/xg 6 hxg 6 in D.Yan g ­ Y.Shulman, Wheeling 2012. 13 ... ti:Jes 14 h 3 Vladimir Epishin played 1 4 .U.d1 again st Peter Wells in Ohrid, 2001. Just like with other moves, Black is not troubled too much . After 14...Wib6 15 h 3 (15 ti:Ja4 W/a6 does not h elp White at all : for in stance, 16 tt:Jd4 .ig4 17 f3 .ih s 18 b4 .ig6 19 W/b3 .U.ab8 when Black is the more harmoniously placed and White h as numerous weaknesses to attend to) 1 s ... g6 16 tt:Jd4 cs!, grabbin g the initiative while not risking too much . .

Following 17 tt:Ja4? (this is too ambitious; in stead, 17 ti:Jde2 .ib7 is still about equal, be­ cause 18 tt:Jxds ? tt:Jxds 19 .ixds tbf3+ 20 .ixf3 .txf3 is far too risky for White) 17 ...Wid6 18 ti:Jb s W/c6 19 tt:Jbc3 .ixh 3 ? (very tempting, but 19 ... ..tfs ! 20 '1i'e2 c4 is the correct way to pun­ ish White; he is pretty much tied down here without any active play) 20 .ixh 3 ti:Jf3+ 2 1 'it>f1 d4 2 2 e4?? (22 tt:Je2 holds for White and probably it should end in a perpetual), winning straight away would h ave been 2 2! 2 3 tt:Jxe4 l:!.xe4 and White can't defend against ... l:!.ae8 and/or ... W/a6+. In the game Wells played 22 ... dxc3 and only drew after missing some further chances to increase his advantage. 125

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

14 ... h s 1s b3 l:!.bs 16 l:!.d1 h4 Strong play by Wojtaszek. Houdini al so likes 16 ... i.. d 7 17 e4 (one careless move like 17 tt:Jd4? is enough to send White to the verge of defeat after 17 ...'iVc8 18 Wh 2 cs 19 tt:Jde2 i..fs 20 'iVa2 tll d 3 and h e is in complete disarray) 17 18 tt:lxe4 dxe4 19 i.. x e4 'iVb6 20 b4 i..xh 3 and Black h as won a pawn . It is not entirely clear, though: for instance, 2 1 i.. e 3 �a6 22 i..f4 cs 23 tll c 3 .ig4 24 l:!.el and White has con siderable piece activity. 17 f4 In stead, 17 g4 gets immediately punished by 17 ... tt:lfxg4 18 hxg4 i.xg4 already with a decisive attack for Black. 11 ... tbed1 18 g4 .ics

19 gs? 19 tll d4 is better, with about equal chances. From a practical point of view though, I would prefer to be Black due to his safer kin g position. After 19 ... .ixd4 20 l:!.xd4 (20 exd4 .ia6 shoul d be okay too) 20 ... .ib7 21 b4 cs an interesting struggle lies ahead. 19 ... tt:Jhs 20 tt:ld4 .ixd4 21 l:!.xd4 lll g 3 White is now in trouble, as this knight is irritating. 22 wh2 2 2 b4! ? tllf8 2 3 bs .ifs 24 'iVf2 tt:le6 2s l:!.d1 tt:Jcs 26 bxc6 lll d 3 27 'iVa2 d4 is tough to de­ fend for White. 22 ...'iVe7 23 tt:la4 'iVe6?! It seem s that 23 ... 'iVd6 ! was much better: 24 b4 tllf8 25 tt:Jcs tt:lfs 26 l:!.d3 tt:Jxe 3 ! is one point behind the queen placement. 24 .id2 tllf s 2 s l:!.e1!


N i m z o - l n d i a n : R es h e vs ky Va ria t i o n , 4 e 3 0 - 0 5 0. e 2

Maybe this is wh at Bl ack missed when h e played 2 3 . . .iVe6. With this strong move, White gets back into the g ame. 25


..ia6 26 .l:tb4 .l:txb4 2 7 axb4 0.g3 2 8 0.c3 'iYd 6 29 .l:ta1 d4?

29 ... .ic8 was still about equal . 30 exd4?

After 30 .l:txa6 ! dxe3 31 i.xe3 .l:txe3 32 .l:txc6 White is even now much better. The point is 32 ... iVxf4?? 33 .l:tc8+ 0.f8 34 0.ds iVe s 3 5 .l:txf8+ @xf8 36 iVcs+ @g8 37 0.xe3 0.f1+ 38 @g1 iVxe3+ 3 9 @xf1 and White wins. 30 i. e 2 3 1 d 5 cxd 5 3 2 0.xd 5 i.f1 3 3 .l:t e 1 .l:txel •••

33 ... I!.e6 is better, but it's not a very hum an move. The endgam e reached in the actual gam e seems to be a draw, albeit a pawn down for Bl ack. 34 i.xel .ixg2 3 5 'ii'x g2 0.b6 36 0.xb6 axb6 37 .ixg3 hxg3+ 3 8 @xg3 iVxb4 39 iVaS+ @h7 40 'iYd 5 iVe1+ 41 @g4 'iYe2+ 42 'iYf3 'ife1 43 'iYd 3+ g6 44 h4 'ifg1+ 45 @f3 iVh1+ 46 @e3 �xh4 47 @e4 'iYe1+ 48 @d4 iVc1 49 iVe3 'ii'c 5+ 50 @d3 'iYb5+ 5 1 @c3 @gs 5 2 'iYd4 'iYa 5+ 5 3 b4 'iYa 1+ 5 4 @c4 b 5 + 5 5 @d 5 'iYc1 5 6 'iYe4 'iYcS 5 7 'iYd4 'iYd 7+ 58 @e4 'iYe6+ 5 9 @d3 'iYb3+ 60 @e4 Yz-Yz Summary

Th e m ain line with 7 dS is more testing th an the earlier alternatives examined before. However, the Polish no.1 Radosl aw Wojtaszek h as shown the right way ag ainst both 8 0.g 3 and 8 g 3 . Black open s up the centre in both cases, utilizing his good development. A princi­ pled alternative for White is the Benoni structure after 10 ..ig2, but this type of Benoni with a passive knight on e2 can't be too troublesome for Black.

12 7

C h a pt e r S eve n

N i m zo- l n d ia n : 4 e 3 o-o

5 .i.. d 3 c s 6 ltJe 2

1 d4 tt:lf6 2 c4 e6 3 tt:lc3 i.. b4 4 e3

o-o 5 i.. d 3 cs 6 tt:Jge2

This is one of the 'nameless' lines in chess. It h as been pl ayed thousands of times, but there is still no player's name or geographical spot connected to it. It is a kind of anti­ Hubner, though - the knight covers c3 to avoid the doubled pawn s. Unlike in the Reshevsky line with s tt:Je2, White h as fluent developm ent in this line. I have to admit that th e 'nameless line' is a slight annoyance for our repertoire's strate­ gical con sistency. In the majority of lines selected for the book Black employs a dark­ squared strategy, based on the moves ... cs, ... d6 and ... e s , the prime example being, of course, the Hubner. Ag ain st 6 tt:le2 such an approach is simply not advisable. I h ave tried to make lines like 6 ... d6 or 6 ... tt:lc6 followed by 7 ... d6 work, but without any success. Compared 128

N i m z o - l n d i a n : 4 e 3 o - o 5 i.. d3 cs 6 lb e 2

to the Hubner, Black is just con siderably worse placed, a s there is no chance t o inflict dou­ bled pawns and on top of that, the knight is better placed on e2 than on f3 in this very closed structure, as the f-pawn is an important asset th at shoul d be ready to be moved at the right moment. In the end I decided th at the 'main line' is the m ain line for a reason, so 6 li:Jge2 ds is my repertoire choice. This almost invariably leads to an IQP position for White. The special ch aracter of this line is defined by the position of White's knight on e2. The usual spot for this piece in an IQP situation is f3, but don 't assume that on e2 it is worse all the time. It has got some points on this square, mostly the indirect influence on the ds-square with moves like li:Jf4 at the right mom ent. The m ain negative drawback is, of course, that the aggressive move !Des, which often is the start of successful IQP play, is out of the picture. It is important to understand too that in the i.. d 3 and tf:Je2 IQP complex move orders look nightm arish at first, but in general Black's set-up is quite similar all the time, so don 't despair. The presentation of this line is org anized into three games. We begin with 6 ... ds 7 cxds cxd4 8 exd4 li:Jxds 9 o-o li:Jc6.

The g ame Tom ashevsky-Predke (Game 13) analyses all earlier deviations after 7 cxds, as well as White's set-ups without the i..c 2 and 'iWd3 battery from h ere on move 10. White's m ain approach in the IQP positions with 7 cxds is, however, setting up th at bat­ tery with i..c 2 and °ii'd 3. These lines (also on move 9 without castling) are discussed in Sokolov-Gundavaa (Game 14). In stead, 7 0-0 cxd4 8 exd4 dxc4 9 i.. x c4 is a different form of the IQP.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

This somewhat less popular option i s h andled i n exemplary fashion by Bl ack i n Sokolov­ Swiercz (Game 15).

Game 1 3 E.Tomashevsky-A.Predke R u s s i a n H ig h e r Lea g ue, Ye k a t e ri nb u rg 2013 1 d4 4Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 4Jc3 ..ib4 4 e3

o-o 5 ..id3 cs 6 4Jge2 d s 7 cxd s cxd4 8 exd4 Once in a while 8 4Jxd4 is played. Ag ainst it, I recommend the active 8 . e s ! ? 9 4Jde2 ltJxds with about equal play. ..

s ltJxd s ...

The most natural move, of course, and by far the main line. There is a certain drawback to this move, though : the resulting position s require some theoretical knowledge, as we will see, and there is at least one line where Black has no winning ch ances at all . This m ade me look for altern atives. I found 8 ... 'iYxds 9 0-0 and now the novelty 9 .. 'i¥d7 ! ? . .


N i m z o - l n d i a n : 4 e 3 o - o 5 .ii.. d3 c5 6 tiJ e 2

I know, i t does not look like the most natural move ever, but it seems absolutely play­ able and allows us to leave the trodden path s early. Bl ack intends to play ... b6 followed by ... .ii.. a 6 or ... .ii..b 7, according to circum stances. Often White will prevent an early ...b6, so ... l:!.d8 and ... tiJc6 comes first, putting some pressure on d4. The bishop on b4 usually re­ treats to e7, as .ii. g s is a very natural move for White. Let's look at some lines of my analysis. White obviously h as m any moves at his disposal : a) 10 .ii. g s .ii.. e 7 11 J:!.c1 tiJc6 (11...b6? ! 12 .ii.. xf6 .ii.. xf6 13 li.. e 4 is uncomfortable) 12 .ib1 l:!.d8 (one idea of this line is early pressure on d4; White now m akes a pawn sacrifice out of it) 13 �d3 tiJxd4 14 l:!.fd1 tiJxe2+ 1S �xe2 �e8 16 l:!.xd8 .i.xd8 17 'iYd3 and White h as enough compen sation; he will probably regain a pawn on b7 or after ...tiJds at some point. b) 10 'iYc2 .ii.. e 7! (I think this the most precise; now ... tiJc6 will also threaten ...tiJb4, so White will need to play a3 at som e point) 11 l:!.d1 (to protect d4, but al so to support d4-dS breaks) 11...tiJc6 12 a3 l:!.d8 (12 ... b6? 13 dS exds 14 tiJxdS ! is a disaster to be avoided) and:


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

bl) An interestin g approach is 13 i.. c4, directly going for d4-dS. After 13 ... lLids (13 ... 'W/e8 ! ? is also interesting) 14 lLixds (this does not lead to much, but I don't think White has anything great here: for example, 14 i.. a 2 lLixc3 lS bxc3 b6 seem s fin e for Bl ack) 14 ... exds lS i.d3 g6 16 i.e3 b6 White only h as a very slight edge in this symmetrical posi­ tion. b2) White has m any moves besides 13 i.. c4, but Houdini's m ain move is 13 i.f4 ! ? b6 14 .l::t a cl i..b 7 1 s ds exds 16 i..f s 'W/e8 17 ltJb s (a direct assault; the following sequence is not completely forced, but shows some typical play) 17 ... lLib4 18 'Wic7 i.. a 6 19 lLied4 i.. xbs 20 lLixbs 'Wixbs 2 1 'W/xe7 d4 22 .l:!.c7 'Wids 2 3 .l:!.xd4 ltJc6 24 'W/xd8+ lLixd8 2s .l::t x ds lLixds 26 .l:!.c4 lLixf4 27 .l:!.xf4 g6 28 i..h 3 lLic6, reaching an equal position. Quite a long line, but it shows that an early d4-dS often leads to tactically sharp battles in this line. c) 10 a3 i.. e 7 11 'W/c2 seem s less preci se than the immediate 10 'W/c2 as now Bl ack is able to play 11 ...b6. Slow moves net nothing h ere, so 12 ds ! ? is best and after 12 ... i..b 7 (12 ... exds 13 .i.g s h6 14 i..xf6 i.. xf6 lS i..h 7+ 'it>h 8 16 lLixds ! reveal s the point of White's play, al­ though it's not 100% clear: 16 ...'W/xds 17 i.. e 4 'Wies 18 i.. x a8 i..fs 19 'i!Vd2 ltJd7 20 i..f3 'Wixb2 2 1 'W/xb2 i.. xb2 2 2 .l:!.a2 i..f6 and White is better here, but it's still a fight, if not a line to rec­ ommend though) 13 dxe6 'Wixe6 White is slightly the more active, but I think it will fizzle out: for example, 14 ltJf4 'Wic6 l S i.. e 3 .l:!.d8 16 .l:!.adl lLia6 (16 ...lLibd7 17 lLifdS is White's idea) 17 .l:!.fel i.. d 6 18 f3 and I don't see anything special h ere - the position is equal . d) 10 lLie4 i..e 7 and now:

dl) 11 ii.g s leads to simplification : 11...lLixe4 (11 ... lLids ! ?) 12 i..x e7 'Wixe7 13 i.. x e4 lLid7 ! (13 ... .l:!.d8 14 'W/c2 g 6 l S .l:!.adl is l ess precise, as now 1 s ... ltJd7 16 'W/c7 is very annoying) 14 .l:!.cl lLif6 l S i..f3 .l:!.d8 with comfortable play for Black. d2) 11 'W/c2 is more dang erous: 11 ... g6 12 i.. g s lLixe4 13 i.xe7 'Wixe7 14 i.. x e4 lLid7 l S 'Wio (1s .l::t a cl lLif6 16 i..f3 .l::t d 8 is similar t o 11 ii.g s above and just equal) 1 s . . ..l:!. e 8 16 .l:!.acl lLif6 17 'Wixe7 .l:!.xe7 18 i..f3 .l:!.b8 and Black will untangle with ... b6. e) 10 i.. c 2 i.. e 7 11 'W/d3 lLic6 12 a3 and h ere: 132

N i m z o - l n d i a n : 4 e 3 0 - 0 5 i.. d3 cs 6 CiJ e 2

el) Black has interesting tactical idea i n 12 ... b5 ! ?.

However, 13 i.. g 5 (13 �xb5 CiJxd4 14 CiJxd4 ifxd4 1 5 .l:!.d1 ifc5 is equal) 13 ... g 6 14 .l:!.acl (14 iff3 .i.b7 ! ! is a great resource, intending 15 .ixf6 CiJxd4 16 iff4 .i.xf6 17 'iVxf6 CiJxe2+ 18 CiJxe2 ifc6 19 CiJf4 ifxc2) 14 ... .l:!.d8 15 iff3 CiJd5 16 i.. x e7 CiJcxe7 17 CiJe4 highlights a draw­ back of ... b5. e2) The sounder choice is 1 2 ...b6 13 .l:!.d1 i..b 7 14 CiJf4 .l:!.ad8 1 5 d5 exd5 16 CiJfxd5 (16 CiJcxd5 'it>h 8 17 ife2 �e8 fizzles out to equality) 16 ... 'it>h 8 17 "VWe2 CiJxd5 18 CiJxd5 .i.c5. Now White m ay initiate a forced sequence with 19 � 5 g 6 20 ifxh 7+ 'it>xh 7 2 1 CiJf6+ 'it>g7 2 2 CiJxd7 .l:!.fe8 2 3 i.. g 5 .i.d4! (the point) 2 4 .i.xd8 ll.xd8 2 5 .i.a4 I!.xd7 26 I!.d2 @f6 27 Itel I!.d6 28 .i.xc6 .i.xc6 29 I!.xd4 l:Ixd4 30 1Ixc6+ 'it>g7 and Black will draw this endgame. Some of the given lines above are quite long and complicated, but a novelty at such an early stage in a rather non-forcin g position offers a wide scope of possibilities. The new idea 9 ... ifd7 ! ? is worth exploring if you want to look for an early way out of known theory. I could not find a way to obtain a substantial advantage for White, but still I strongly advise doing some analysis on your own to get a feel for the arising positions. Back to the standard 8 ... CiJxd5 : 9 0-0

Th e m ain move, but White has tried a direct attack without castling as well. For these attempts please see the g ame Sokolov-Gundavaa, below. 9 CiJc6 ...


Op e n i n g R ep e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

This is the absolute m ain position of the whole ..td3 and lt:Je2 IQP complex. White now has a hug e range of moves; it almost seem s as if all the moves that don 't blunder m aterial have been tried. This wide choice m akes learning the line somewhat tricky for Black, but he usually can follow a general regrouping pl an, consistin g of the moves ...:es, ... g 6 and ... ..tf8-g7. The bishop on c8 is sometimes developed via b7, but quite often Bl ack m anages to play ... e6-eS to use it on its original diagonal, for exampl e, on e6. Let's h ave a look at the enormous variety of moves now - but don't be scared: this whole line rewards understandin g of the position far more than knowledg e of any con­ crete lines. So my advice is to g o through the lines below and study some more annotated g ames to g ain a better feel for the arising middlegames. If you man age th at, you will find good moves over the board and won't need to learn them by heart. Just a quick addition al idea: what about the move 9 ... :e8 ! ? here? This h as only been pl ayed a couple of times, but seem s logical enough. If Black wants to go ... .i.f8 and ... g6, why not prepare this immediately? H ere 10 ..tc2 (10 a3 ..tf8 11 lt:Jxds exds is about equal) 10 ... lt:Jc6 tran sposes to 10 ..tc2 after 9 ... lt:Jc6 below. I don 't want to deeply explore yet an­ other sideline, but it's something to analyse if you want a surprise early on. On move 10 White n eeds to decide between the classic IQP battery with ..tc2 and �d3 or other pl ans. The next gam e, Sokolov-Gundavaa, examines the ..tc2 and �d3 ideas, while this g am e analyses the less violent lines. 10 ..te4 Tomashevsky is an expert on the Rubinstein, so his choice is interesting. Usually if White avoids 10 ..tc2 or 10 a3 with ..tc2 to follow, the m ain alternative is the simplistic 10 lt:Jxds exds 11 lt:Jf4, which leads to the well -known 'ram' pawn structure with total symme­ try in the centre.


N i m z o - l n d i a n : 4 e 3 o - o 5 i.. d3 cs 6 tLJ e 2

Of course, i n this structure piece activity is key and quite often the little tempo edge from being White secures him a slight advantage that Bl ack needs to defend ag ainst care­ fully. He should equalize, but this line is somewhat annoying, especially if you want to pre­ serve some chances to pl ay for a win. After 11 ... i..d 6 White might try: a) 12 .U.el i.. xf4 (a novelty by Tomashevsky; like m any top pl ayers he plays the Nimzo with both colours) 13 i..xf4 �f6 14 � S ! (oth erwise, ... .i.fs solves all Black's problems) 14 ...h 6 1 5 (after 1 5 .i.e3 ile6 16 .l:!.ad1 .l:!.fe8 Black is rock-solid once again) 1 s ...'LJxe s 16 "i;\Yxes "i;\Yxes 17 .l:!.xes .U.d8 and White is slightly better, but Black should hold with some pre­ cise moves. After 10 'LJxds it is very hard to create any winning chances, but in term s of equality Bl ack is not in serious danger. Here 18 .U.c1 i.. e 6 19 f4 .U.ac8 20 .U.xc8 i.. x c8 2 1 .l:!.el ild7 22 .U.c1 .U.c8 23 .U.cs b6 24 .U.xc8+ (24 .U.xds ile6 25 .U.d8 is just equal as well) 24 ....i.xc8 led to a draw a couple of moves l ater in S.Atalik-E.Tom ashevsky, Loo 2013. b) After 12 i.e3 Black should proceed in similar fashion to m ain line: 12 ... .i.xf4 13 .i.xf4 �f6 14 .i.e3 i.fs (the key idea; Black tries to exchange the light-squared bishops, so in or­ der to try something, White avoids the trade) 15 i.. e 2 .U.fe8 16 "i;\Yd2 "i;\Yg 6 17 .U.fel as 18 a3 a4 19 .U.acl 'LJas 20 �4 'LJc4.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

Black h ad equalized comfortably h ere i n N . Khurtsidze-G.Sargissian , Caleta 2012. The only drawback: as in this g ame, a rating advantage of about 2 S O points for Black is m ean­ ingless as the position is so simplified that there is no life left in it. The other move to have a look at is 10 �c2, after which there is no reason to deviate from the usual formula of playin g 10 ... g6, intending to play ... l:!.e8 and ... ..tf8 to set up the fianchetto l ater. Now 11 l:!.d1 l:!.e8 12 ..te4 ..tf8 13 'ii'd 3 ..tg7 14 �f3 transposes into 10 ..tc2 l:!.e8 11 �d3 g6 12 l:!.d1 ..tf8 13 �f3 ..tg7 14 ..te4, which is discussed in the n ext g ame. A funny tran sposition, but it shows that ...l:!.e8, ....�.f8 and ... g 6 is the almost universal re­ spon se to various moves by White, often leadin g to similar or even identical position s via different specific move orders. Let's return to the m ain g ame's 10 ..te4, after which Black replied: 10 ll'lf6 In fact the by-now-well-known set-up startin g with 10 ... l:!.e8 is viable h ere as well . After 11 �d3 g6 12 �f3 (this is a key difference to other lines examined before; the pressure on dS is increased much quicker h ere) 12 ... ll'lxc3 13 bxc3 ..tf8 (the computer prefers 13 ... ..td6 with about equal play, but after ... l:!.e8 and ... g6 the retreat to f8 is just more natural ; there is a concrete issue with it, though) White might try: a) 14 ..txc6? ! grabbing a pawn, but giving up the star bishop: 14 ... bxc6 1S �xc6 ..td7 16 �f3 l:!.c8 17 ..tf4 ..tg7 18 ll'lg 3 ..tc6 19 �e3 e s 20 dxes g s 2 1 ..txg s �dS reveal s some great, dynamic play by Bl ack. ...


N i m z o - l n d i a n : 4 e 3 0 - 0 5 .i d3 cs 6 0. e 2

With computer-like accuracy White should maybe hold, but i n a practical g am e i t i s very h ard to defend. Indeed, after 2 2 '1!\Yf3 '1!\Yxf3 2 3 gxf3 .ixf3 2 4 .ie3 l:i.xc3 2 5 .ixa7 h S 2 6 l:i.ac1 .ixes 27 l:i.xc3 .ixc3 2 8 l:i.b1 h 4 2 9 0.fs l:i.e4 30 .i e 3 @h 7 3 1 J:i.c1 .if6 3 2 h 3 @ g 6 3 3 0.h 6 .ies (White h as done a g ood job u p t o now) 34 0.g4?? l:Ixg4+ 3 5 hxg4 h 3 3 6 l:tc6+ f6 he resigned in V.Gagarin-J .Stocek, Nova Gorica 2004. b) Much better is 14 .if4!, keeping the tension, and after 14 ... i.g 7 15 .ixc6? ! Gust like in the previous note, this does not lead to anything; a move like 1s l:i.ad1 is tougher to face, but still 1s ... i.d7 16 l:tfe1 l:tc8 should be okay for Black: for instance, 17 ds exds 18 i.xds 'i¥f6 gets the queen safely off the d-file) 1s ... bxc6 16 'i¥xc6 ild7 17 'i¥a6 (17 °iVf3 l:tc8 actually transposes to G ag arin -Stocek above) 17 ... �c8 18 �d3 l:td8 19 .Uac1 'iYc6 20 ife3 '1!Wa6 2 1 i. e s f6 2 2 i.g 3 2 3 l:i.fe1 l:i. e 8 24 h4 .tc4 2 5 h S g s 26 @h 1 J:!.ad8 Black has enough com ­ pen sation for the pawn, although after multiple mistakes, probably time-trouble induced, White won in l . Lempert-R.Grabert, Werfen 1992. The conclusion is: after 10 .ie4 the standard reply 10 ...l:i.e8 is pl ayable once ag ain, but does involves a pawn sacrifice due to the pressure on dS. Going for that or the solid but slightly passive move of the m ain gam e is a big choice. Personally I would go for the pawn sacrifice line, keeping the pieces active and g aining the bishop-pair if White decides to grab the pawn. 11 .if3 .id7


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

It is difficult to get ... b6 and ... .tb7 in when White h as put his bishop on f3, so this is the only way to get this piece involved. 12 a3 .te7

In stead, 12 ... .td6 13 .tg s is an annoying pin. The fact that the computer assesses the line 13 ...h 6 14 .th4 g s 1 5 .tg 3 .txg 3 16 fxg 3 l:!.c8 as about equal is somewhat un settling to my mind. While it m ay be better than it looks (terrible ! }, it still should favour White consid­ erably. 13 b4

White's whole strategy is g eared to queenside pl ay, so this fits in nicely. Possibly, though, the alternative 13 .tf4 is m ore testing : for instance, 13 ... i..e 8 (13 ... 'iWb6 14 b4 l:!.fd8 15 �d3 .te8 16 .l:.fd1 is somewh at better for White) 14 dS exds 15 tt:Jxds tt:Jxds 16 .txds .tf6 sees White keeping a small edge that Bl ack should be able to neutralize with precise play. A possible continuation runs 17 tt:Jc3 .td7 18 .l:.el .tfs 19 'iWb3 'iib 6 20 �xb6 axb6 and sees Black equalizing at the end with the idea of ...b6-bS-b4. If you prefer a more active g am e than this, you should probably go for 10 ... l:!.e8 instead. 13 ... �bS A g ood regrouping. 14 @h1 l:!.d8 1 5 .tf4 .td6 16 .t g s .t e 7 17 i.. e 3

This allows Black to equalize completely, but White didn 't h ave much anyway. 17 l:!.cl h 6 18 i..h 4 .te8 19 bS tt:Jxd4 is a funny line, leading to equality as well: 20 tt:Jxd4 �f4 2 1 .tg 3 �xd4 22 .txb7 'iVxdl 23 J::l.fxdl l:!.xdl+ 24 l:!.xd1 l:!.d8 2 5 J::l. x d8 .txd8 and the draw is not far away. 17 ... a s ?

17 ... bS! was the way to equalize completely.


N i m z o - l n d i a n : 4 e 3 0 - 0 5 .i. d3 cs 6 !D e 2

With ...a s Bl ack will clear the queenside. There are various repetition s possible here, such as 18 .i.f4 'iVb6 19 .i.e3 'iVb8 and 18 a4 a6 19 .i.f4 'iVb6 (19 ... 'iVb7 is possible here to continue) 20 .i.e3 'iVb8. A try for more is 18 ds, but 18 ... exds 19 l?Jxds l?Jxds 20 iVxds as 2 1 l:!.ac1 axb4 2 2 axb4 l:!.a6 2 3 .i.f4 'iVb6 is just equal a s well. A spectacular way t o draw now i s 2 4 iVh s g 6 2 S 'iVh 6 .i.xb4 26 .i.ds .i.e8 2 7 .l::tx c6 .i.xc6 2 8 .i.xf7+ @xf7 29 iVxh 7+ @f8 3 0 iVh8+ with perpetual check. 18 b s l?Ja 7 19 a4 l?Jc8 20 iVb3 l?Jb6

This was Black's idea when going 17 ... as. He is still quite solid, but White can press without takin g any risks. 2 1 .l:!.fd 1 .l:!.c8 22 .i.f4 'iYa 7 23 d s

White tries t o m ake use o f his superior piece placement. 23 ... exd s

The somewh at computerish move 2 3 ...l:!.c4 ! ? is surprisingly good: 24 l:!.acl l:!.ac8 2 S .i.e s .i.d8 seems to be okay for Bl ack, but it's not a very hum an continuation . 24 l?Jxd s l?Jfxd s 2 5 .i.xd s l?Jxd s 26 iVxd s .i.e6 27 iVf3 .i.cs?

This very natural-lookin g move leads to real trouble. 27 ...l:!.d8 was better, but still tough for Black to defend: for example, 28 .i.c7 l:!.xd1+ 29 l:!.xdl iVcs ! ? (29 ... l:!.c8 30 b6 iVa6 31 l?Jd4 is al so very problematic) 30 iVxb7 l:!.c8 3 1 .i.xas iVc2 32 l:!.e1! iVxa4 33 l?Jg1! l:!.e8 34 'ilVc6 l:!.f8 3 S .i.c7 and Bl ack struggles once again. 28 .i.xf2

28 ... 'iVb6 wouldn 't have helped much due to 29 l?Jf4 f6 30 i.c3 i.xf2 3 1 .i.xf6 gxf6 3 2 l?Jxe6 iVxe6 3 3 iVxf2 l:!.e8 with a l arge advantage for White. 2 9 l?Jf4


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

29 ... .l:!e8?

29 ... 'ii' e 3 was the only move to fight: 30 ifxe3 ..txe3 31 tl'ixe6 fxe6 32 l:td7 .l:!cs 33 .l:!xg 7+ Wh 8 ! 34 ..tf6 .l:tfs 35 .l:i.g6+ .l:txf6 3 6 .l:txf6 ..td4 37 l:tafl ..txf6 38 .l:txf6 .l:!d8 3 9 @g 1 .l:td4 and it's still a g ame. 30 tl'i h s ife 3 3 1 tl'if6+

The point. 31 @hS 32 ifxe3 ..txe3 3 3 tl'ixe8 .l:!xe8 34 ..tc7 b6 35 .l:!a3 ..tcs 36 .l:!ad 3 'lt>g8 3 7 h3 ..tc4 3 8 •..

.l:!d8 Wf8 3 9 ..td6+ ..txd6 40 .l:!8xd 6 .l:!e6 4 1 .l:!xe6 ..txe6 42 .l:!d6 ..t b 3 43 .l:!xb6 We7 4 4 .l:!a6 1-0 Summary

If White avoids the ..tc2 and ifd3 battery as h e did in this g am e, then play takes on a much quieter ch aracter. With precise play Black equalizes quite comfortably, but 10 tl'ixds is not very exciting to face. It is difficult to avoid these kind of dry lines altogether in a repertoire while still recomm ending sound lines in the first place. If you really must avoid it, then 8 ... ifxds followed by 9 ...ifd7 is an early altern ative.

Game 14


Jaka rta O p e n 2013

1 d4 tl'if6 2 c4 e6 3 tl'ic3 ..tb4 4 e3

o-o 5 ..td3 cs 6 tl'ige2 d S 7 cxd s cxd4 8 exd4 tl'ixd s 9 o-o Wh at could be more natural ? However, White has been known to del ay castling or even to avoid it altogether. Let's have a look at these possibilities: a) 9 ..tc2 and now 9'ic6 10 ifd3 g 6 is the most obvious and satisfactory response:


N i m z o - l n d i a n : 4 e 3 0 - 0 5 .i. d3 cs 6 t:f:, e 2

a1) 11 a 3 e s ! ? is a new move and now w e need t o check: a11) 12 axb4? Cf:,dxb4 13 'ir'd1 exd4 14 o-o dxc3 15 bxc3 Cf:,xc2 16 'ir'xc2 .i.fs with an ex­ tra pawn for Black. a12) 12 0-0 .txc3 13 bxc3 .tfs 14 'ir'd1 .txc2 15 'ir'xc2 exd4 (1s ... l:Ie8 ! ?} 16 Cf:,xd4 Cf:,xd4 17 cxd4 l:Ie8 with an excellent anti-IQP set-up for Black. a13) 12 dxe s seem s relatively best, although after 12 ... .tfs 13 'ir'd2 .txc2 14 'ir'xc2 .i.xc3+ 15 Cf:,xc3 .l:te8 16 o-o l:Ixes White struggles to m aintain equality: for instance, 17 Cf:,xds Cf:,d4! 18 'ir'c7 .l:txds 19 'ir'xb7 .l:i.b8 20 'ir'a6 l:tbb5 and now White needs to find 21 ©h 1 ! not t o lose immediately. a2) 11 h4?! is al so directly punished by 11...eS.

Now, for example, 12 dxes .tfs 13 'ir'd2 Cf:,xc3 14 bxc3 'ir'xd2+ 15 .txd2 .txc2 16 cxb4 Cf:,xes leaves Black slightly better. Of course, he can instead just retreat to d6 or e7, but why not fight fire with fire? Indeed, we can conclude that this particular move order is not work141

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

ing for White at all, s o he should try a different move order i f he intends to delay castling. b) 9 a3 .i.d6 10 .i.c2 tt:lc6 11 'ilfd3 (castling here or the move before just transposes to the main line) 11 ... g 6 (much simpler than 11 ... 'i\Vh4 12 .i.g s 'ilfh s 13 g4 'ilfg 6 14 'ilfd2 fs 1 s gxfs l:txfs 16 l:tg 1 which led to a complete mess in M.Valles-J.Campos Moreno, Ch ambery 2014) 12 tt:Je4 (12 h4 tt:lxc3 13 bxc3 es gives Black the usual good counterplay in the centre, just as h appen s too after the superior 12 o-o tt:Jxc3 13 bxc3 es) and now I'd like to suggest a new move in stead of 12 ... ile7, although that is fine: 12 ...'ilfas + ! ?.

Now: bl) 13 tt:J2c3 .i.e7 14 o-o (14 h4? tt:ldb4 is one point) 14 ... l:td8 with a fine position . b2) 13 i.d2 tt:Jcb4 14 o-o (14 'i\Vb3 tt:Jxc2+ l S 'ilfxc2 'ilfb6 16 tt:Jxd6 'ilfxd6 is about equal) 14 ... tt:Jxd3 l S i.xas tt:l3f4 16 tt:Jxf4 ilxf4 17 tt:Jc3 .id7 again with equality. Returning to 9 0-0: 9 tt:lc6 ...


N i m z o - l n d i a n : 4 e 3 0 - 0 5 .i. d3 cs 6 li:J e 2 10 ..tc2

A rather popul ar move is 10 a3, which prepares the battery with ..tc2 and �d3, and makes sure that Black's bishop is not able to retreat all the way to f8. I recommend 10 ... .i.d6 here. This move is rarely seen in IQP position s with a knight on f3, but h ere it is justified because of the addition al option of playin g ... �4. This queen sortie defuses White ideas of his own kingside pl ay, as does 11 li:Je4 (or 11 ..tc2 �4! 12 g3 �5 13 li:Je4 ..te7 14 li:J2C3 �xdl 1 5 1ixd1 11d8 and it was about equal in M.Wiedenkeller- N . Renman, Sundsvall 1989; once the queen s are off in these positions, it's White who needs to be the more careful) 11 ....i.c7, keeping the ... �4 idea alive. In stead, the conventional 11 ... ..te7 leads to more usual IQP play, as in, for example, the cl assic g ame G . Kamsky- N.Short, Linares 1994: 12 .i.c2 b6 13 �d3 g 6 14 .i.h 6 .l::i. e 8 1 5 11ad1 ..tb7 16 .l::i.fel 11c8 17 ..tb3 a6 18 li:J2g 3 li:Jb8 19 �f3 11c7 20 lllh s lll d 7 21 h4 tt:J7f6 22 lllh xf6+ tt:Jxf6 2 3 ds li:Jxe4 24 dxe6 fs 2 5 .l::i. x d8 11xd8 26 1id1 and Short h ad seen enough. This is a drastic example of things going badly wrong for Bl ack. Certainly there are ways to improve his play, but in general the position seem s easier for White to pl ay. After 11.. . .i.c7 White h as tried a couple of moves: for instance, 12 .i.c2, after which 12 ... �4 again leads to fine play for Black.

Black slowly took over after 13 g3 (or 13 h3 h6 14 �d3 :!.d8 15 li:Jd2 li:Jf6 16 li:Jf3 � 5 17 .i.f4 .i.xf4 18 li:Jxf4 �as 19 :!.fel °Cfilc7 and Black had equalized in V. Korchnoi-A.Yusupov, Ubeda 1997) 13 ... � s 14 tt:J2c3 �xd1 1 s 1ixd1 .i.b6 16 tt:Je2 h6 17 b3 11d8 18 .i.b2 .i.d7 19 li:Jcs 11ab8 20 11ac1 .i.e8 in J . Lautier-5.Arkhipov, Belgrade 1988. The ... .i.d6-c7 and ... �4 idea is the key to Bl ack's play after 10 a3, avoiding the conventional IQP set-ups with ... ..te7. 10 1ie8 Going for the standard ... g6 and ... ..tf8-g7 regrouping. 11 �d 3 g6 ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

1 2 'i!Vf3

This is just one of m any moves th at White has tried h ere. Don't worry too much about gettin g confused by the variety of option s - Black's play is con sistent and logical, with ex­ cellent chances of finding the moves over the board in case you have forgotten the precise respon se. The alternatives include: a) A rare move that was recently tested in a top GM encounter is 12 .ih 6. Now in D.Khismatullin-A. Riazantsev, Kh anty-Mansiysk 2013, after 12 ... .ie7 (there is a very good alternative in 12 ... .id6, which immediately eyes the h 2-pawn, intendin g ... 'i!Vh4; after 1 3 'i!Vd2 tbxc3 1 4 bxc3 e s 1 S dS tb a s 16 tb g 3 f S 17 .l:f.fe1 .id7 18 .id3 .l:f.c8 19 ii.g s ? 'i!Vc7 2 0 tbe2 ? e 4 the g am e was already over with White resigning in A. Lauber-S. Baumegger, Buda­ pest 1997) 13 'i!Vf3 .if6 14 .l:tad1 .ih 8 1 s .l:tfe1 .id7 16 .ib3 tbce7 17 tbxds tbxds 18 .i.xds exds 19 h3 'iVb6 ? ! (the simple 19 ... .ic6 was at least equal) 20 ttJf4 .ic6 21 tt:ih s?? (in stead, 21 tbxds .l:txe1+ 22 .l:txe1 .i.xds 23 'i!Vxds .ixd4 24 .l:te2 leaves White with a n agging pull; Black should hold, but it's not fun to pl ay) 2 1 ....ia4 (21 .. .fs ! ) 2 2 b3 gxh s 2 3 'i!Vg 3+ the data­ base shows '0-1', which does not m ake any sen se. Maybe just the wrong result and the gam e was actually agreed drawn h ere? In any case 12 i..h 6 does not scare Black much . b) White has al so tried 12 a3. After the coming ... .i.f8, the threat of ... tbb4 is annoying, so White g ets th at out of the picture immediately. The little nudge i s often played at a l ater stage anyway. H ere 12 ... .i.f8 13 J:te1 ? ! (13 .l:td1 is al so possibl e and most likely better, tran s­ posing to 12 .l:td1) 13 ... tbxc3 14 bxc3 es is a very important idea.


N i m z o - l n d i a n : 4 e 3 0 - 0 5 i.. d3 cs 6 tb. e 2

The capture on c 3 followed by ... e6-eS is the most reliable way for Black t o play and ... i..f s is an immediate threat. After 1 5 ..te3 ..tfs 16 'i!Vd1 ..txc2 17 'i!Vxc2 .l:tc8 Black was al­ ready a bit more comfortable in A.Onischuk-A. Karpov, Biel 1996. c) 12 l:td1 i.f8 and now: cl) If White plays 13 a3, Bl ack just completes his mini-plan with 13 ... ..tg7 (it's al so pos­ sible to play a l a Karpov and go 13 ...ti:Jxc3 14 bxc3 es, but now 15 'iif3 keeps the g am e equal : for example, 1 s . . .exd4 16 ti:Jxd4 ti:Jxd4 17 cxd4 ..t e 6 18 ..te4 'iVti4 and it's still a n in­ teresting position with about equal chances) 14 ti:Je4 and now I like the straightforward approach of the g am e S. Kitte-D.Gross, G erman League 1999: 14 ... ti:Jce7 15 s 'iYb6 16 i.a4 .l::t d 8 (Bl ack sets up a reliable blockade on ds and tries to increase the pressure on d4) 17 ti:J2c3 ..td7 18 ti:Jxds exds 19 ti:Jc3 ..txa4 20 ti:Jxa4 "iWd6 and again it was about equal . c2) White also h as 13 "iWf3, getting away from the ... ti:Jb4 threat, but tryin g to avoid a3 for the time being .


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - J n d i a n

With 13 ... i.g7 1 4 i.e4 h e increases the pressure on d s when 14'ice7 keeps control of the g1 'iHxh3 48 J:.xh 3 J:.g2+ 49 @f1 J:.xb2 so J:.he3 e4 ..•

S 1 @g1 'it>f6 S 2 J:.1e2 l:.b1+ S 3 @f2 @es 54 l:!.e1 l:!.b2+ s s l:!.1e2 J:.xe2+ S 6 'it>xe2 gs S 7 .l:th3 @f4 s 8 l:!.h7 .i.ds 5 9 J:Id7 i.. c4+ 60 @e1 g4 61 l:!.xb7 g3 62 l:!.c7

And here 62 .. .i.ds win s quickly. .

63 l:.f7+

Now, all of a sudden, it's a draw. 63


@e3 64 l:!.g7 @f3 6S l:.f7+ 'it>g4 66 l:.g7+ 'lt>f3 67 l:.f7+ 'it>e3 68 J:.g7 @f4 Yz-Yz


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n Summary

A very hectic gam e full of ups and downs. It i s clear, however, th at Black h ad a good g am e from the opening. The .i c 2 and �d3 plan remains a respectable option for White, but does not need to be feared by Black, who will set up the typical defensive form ation s: ... .l:!.e8 fol­ lowed by ... .if8-g7, and ... t'i'Jce7 followed by ... .id7-c6 are m anoeuvres th at should be re­ membered.

Game 1 5

l.Sokolov-D.Swiercz F re n c h Tea m C h a m p io n s h i p 2013

1 d4 t'i'Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 t'i'Jc3 .ib4 4 e3 o-o 5 .id3 cs 6 t'i'Jge2 d 5 7 o-o The more popular move, 7 cxds, was discussed in the previous two g ames. 7


cxd4 8 exd4 dxc4 9 .ixc4

We h ave reached another IQP structure. Bl ack now n eeds to decide on the important is­ sue of where to pl ace the b8-knight. My sugg estion is to attack the d4-pawn . 9 t'i'Jc6 ...

This knight development al so usually m eans that Black will l ater fianchetto the c8bishop by m ean s of ... b6 or ... a6 and, which is my preferred way to pl ay. In stead of 9 ... t'i'Jc6 there is al so 9 ... t'i'Jbd7, intending to set up a blockade on dS like in the recent g am e A. Rakhmanov-G .Sargissian, Linares 2014: 1 0 �d3 t'i'Jb6 11 .ib3 l:!. e 8 12 .ig s il e 7 13 0,f4 .td7 14 �g 3 ilc6 15 .l:!.fel t'i'Jfds 16 .txe7 .l:!.xe7 17 t'i'Jh s �f8 18 .txds .txds 19 t'i'Jf6+ 'it>h 8 20 t'i'Jfxds exds 2 1 .l:!.xe7 �xe7 and it was about equal . In general I prefer 9 ... t'i'Jc6 approaches, though ; it is more dyn amic to attack the IQP than to blockade it. 10 .tgs A natural developing move, pinning the knight. White h as tried various move orders 150

N i m z o - l n d ia n : 4 e 3 0 - 0 5 .i. d3 cs 6 t}j e 2

and set-ups h ere, but it seem s that Black can always g o for a set-up with ... a6, ...b 5 , ... i..b 7 and, if n ecessary, retreatin g the other bishop to e7. U sually White will play a3 at some point, so the timing of this retreat is easy. It is very important, though, to evaluate the con­ sequences of the d4-d5 advance correctly, as it often leads to simplification s that give Black very little chances of winning and sometimes even leave with White a n agging edge. A key resource for Bl ack is the move ... I:ta7, intending ....l::t d 7. Let's look at some concrete examples, beginning with the most popul ar alternative to 10 i.. g 5 , 10 a3, immediately askin g the bishop about its future. For the sake of simplifying the repertoire I recommend 10 ... i.. e 7 h ere, but 10 ... i.. d 6 is an excellent alternative: for ex­ ample, 11 h3 (11 i.. g 5 ?? i.. xh 2+ is the simple point of 10 ... i.. d 6} 11 ... h6 12 i.. e 3 t}je7 1 3 1i'd2 i.. d 7 14 I:tad1 I:tc8 15 i.. a 2 i.. c 6 and Black was in good shape in J.Stocek-V.Zvjaginsev, Leg ­ nica 2013. To h ave a coherent set-up my preference is 10 ... i.. e 7, though. Now White has tried many moves - against all of them Bl ack can set up his queenside as described above. Let's have a look: a) 11 .i.f4 a6 12 I:tc1 b 5 13 i.. a 2 and now the original rook m anoeuvre 13 ... I:ta7 ! (prefer­ able to 13 ... .i.b7 14 d5 exd5 15 t}jxd5 t}jxd5 16 i.. x d5 I:tc8 17 t}jc3 i..f6 and White was better in E .Rel ange-M.Piper, Oakham 1992).

H ere the most critical move is 14 d5, after which 14 ... .l::t d 7 15 1i'c2 exd5 16 t}jxb5 axb5 17 'ii'x c6 d4 leads to g ood, active play for Black. It should be dyn amically equal . b} 11 i..g 5 is examined in the notes to move 11 in the m ain g ame. c) The slightly passive looking move 11 i.. e 3 contains some poison (think of the ...I:ta7 resource). Black can play 11 ... a6 12 i.. a 2 b5, but now in the gam e D.Shchukin-P-Kiriakov, St. Petersburg 1997, in stead of 13 t}jf4, White could have played 13 ds exd5 14 t}jxds i.. e 6 1 5 t}jef4 t}jxds 16 ii.. x d5 .i.xds 17 t}jxd5 i.. d 6 18 I:tc1 t}je7 19 g 3 t}jxds 20 1i'xds I:te8 2 1 I:tfd1 i.. e s and while Black will draw this with precise play, it is not much fun, so if you want a more complex g am e you shoul d deviate on move 12: for example, with 12 ... h 6 or 12 ... i.. d 6. 151

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d 8 09 0 - l n d i a n

I n the aforementioned g ame after 13 tt:'if4 Black g ot good play with 13 ...b 4 1 4 axb4 tt:'ixb4 1S Wif3 .l:!.b8 16 .i.b1 .i.b7 17 'fih 3 g6 and White's pieces were not ideally pl aced for a king­ side attack, while the IQP remained a long-term weakness. d) White may also decide not to develop the bishop for the moment and go for the typi­ cal move 11 'iid 3, possibly conn ected with l:Id1 and relocatin g the queen along the third rank. Black should respond as usual with 11...a6 12 l::t d 1 bS 13 .i.a2, reaching an important moment. This position h as been reached multiple times, but the most interesting move has not yet been tried h ere, namely 13 ... l:Ia7 ! ? (worse is 13 ... .i.b7 14 d S ! , but 13 ... b4 is a sound alternative: for instance, 14 tt:Ja4 Wias 1 S .i.b3 'fib s 16 .i.c2 ilb7 17 .i.e3 and a very early draw was agreed here in V.Chekhov-J . Dorfm an, Lvov 1984). After 14 Wif3 (White h as other moves, of course, but Black will play ... l::t d 7 and ... .i.b7 against almost all of them and I see no problem s at all for Black) Bl ack has:

d1) The amazingly ignorant move 14 ...l:Id7 is playable: 1 S ilxe6 (otherwise, the coming ...ilb7 m akes the queen on f3 look quite absurd) 1 s ... tt:'ixd4 (even 1s .. .fxe6 is feasible: 16 l\Vxc6 .i.d6 17 'iif3 and Bl ack h as g ood compensation for the pawn : for example, 17 ... l:Idf7 18 .i.g s Wib6 19 l:Iac1 ilb7 20 Wih 3 as and it's unclear) 16 tt:Jxd4 l:Ixd4 17 l:Ixd4 Wixd4 18 ilxc8 l:Ixc8 and it's completely equal. d2) The more n atural 14 ... tt:'ias is also perfectly fine. Now 1 s Wig 3 l::t d 7 16 b4 tt:'ic4 17 a4 ild6 18 Wid3 tt:Jes ! is a funny line to illustrate Black's ch ances. White already fights for equal play h ere. Overall, the new move 13 ... l:Ia7 seem s to be quite promising, with White's best response being rather unclear; 14 Wif3 at least allows more than one g ood reply. Besides 10 a3, White al so sometimes tries 10 ile3 or 10 'if d3, but after the standard re­ ply 10 ... a6 White h ardly h as anything better than 11 a3 anyway. Returning to 10 ilg S :


N i m z o - l n d i a n : 4 e 3 o - o 5 il.. d3 cs 6 tb e 2

10 JJ.. e 7 1 1 �d3 This move is quite rare, but Ivan Sokolov is probably the leading expert on the Rubin­ stein, so his choice must be taken seriously. White h as tried other moves more often, though: a) The most popul ar move is 11 a3. White usually pl ays thi s move at some point to give his light-squared bishop a retreat square on a2 and to control b4, so that after a subse­ quent �d3 the reply ...tbb4 is not possible. H ere the plan with ... a6 and g ains in strength, because the problem atic advance d4-d5 is less likely due to ...tiJxdS, exposing a drawback of il.. g s, so we can go 11...a6 12 il.. a 2 b S : ...

a 1 ) After 13 Ik1 il..b 7 14 �d3 tb e s 1 5 � 3 tbc4 16 il.. x c4 bxc4 Black already h ad the bet­ ter ch ances in C.Hoi-A.Chernin, Copenhagen 1984. a2) More to the point is 13 'iVd3 il..b 7 14 l:!,ad1 when Bl ack has a wide choice. In the game S.Grigoriants-G.Timoschenko, Kiev 2001, he pl ayed the prophylactic 14 ...l:i.e8 (the 1 53

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

more direct 1 4. . .lbd5 and 1 4...b 4 are untested, but fine a s well) 1 5 � 3 b 4 16 ttJa4? (16 i.xf6 .ixf6 17 lbe4 was n ecessary, with still about even play) 16 ... �a5 17 lbc5 lbxd4! (probably White overlooked this; now Black is clearly better) 18 .l:.xd4 �xc5 19 .l:.xb4 �xg 5 20 .l:.xb7 .l:.ab8 2 1 �f3 and now 2 1...�e 5 ! would h ave been even more convincing th an the game's 2 1...a5, which nevertheless led to a black victory rather quickly. b) The move 11 .l:.c1 h as little independent value after 11...a6, although Black can also try to pl ay like in the m ain g am e with 11...lbd5 ! ? 1 2 .ixe7 lbcxe7 13 �3 liJf6 14 .l:.fd1 a6 15 a4 lbc6 16 �a3 �e7 17 �xe7 lbxe7, with equality in J .Joh ansson-T.Sammalvuo, Espoo 1998. After 11...a6 White has nothing better than 12 a3, which tran sposes to variation 'a1' after 12 ... b5 13 .ia2. A rare independent option is 13 .ixf6 ? ! .ixf6 14 d5 lbe7 15 ..ta2 exd5 16 ttJf4 .ib7 17 .l:.e1 g 6 18 b4, but now in the high-l evel game G . Kam sky-V. Kramnik, Mos­ cow 2007, Bl ack could h ave played 18 ...d4 (in stead of 18 ... .ig 5 19 �g4 lbf5 20 .l:.cd1 d4 and a draw was agreed) 19 lbe4 ..txe4 20 .l:.xe4 .l:!.c8 and while the computer clearly exagg erates Black's ch ances h ere, it is clear that White does not have enough compensation. c) A surprisingly popul ar move is 11 �d2, which looks quite aimless to me. It connects the rooks, but does not combin e well with the IQP play. Bl ack even h as a pleasant choice: cl) 11...a6 12 .l:.ad1 b 5 13 .id3 (13 .ib3 lba5 does not convince either) 1 3 ...ttJb4 14 .ib1 i.b7 15 liJf4 �d6 16 .l:.fe1 J::t a d8 with a fine anti-IQP position for Bl ack in M.Szumin ski­ W. Kruszyn ski, Poznan 1995. c2) Of course, there is al so 11...b6 12 J::t a d1 .ib7, which is slightly more attractive th an usual . With ... b6 and ... .ib7 Black is one move quicker on the queen side and so gets in a well-timed ... lba5 . Let's have a look at the g am e I . De Vita-M.Wom acka, Olomouc 2004: 13 a3 .l:.c8 14 .ia2 liJd5 1 5 .ie3 lba5 16 �d3 �d7.

White h as no active play here and now crumbled quickly: 17 l:!.c1 .l:.fd8 18 b4 liJxC3 19 .l:.xc3 lbc6 20 f4? (this is just too weakening) 20 ... g 6 2 1 .l:.d1 .if6 22 .ib3 lbe7 2 3 .l:.xc8 l:!.xc8 24 .l:!.c1 .l:!.xc1+ 25 .ixc1 �c6 and White resigned. Returning to 11 �d3 : 1 54

N i m z o - l n d i a n : 4 e 3 o - o 5 i.. d3 cs 6 ti'J e 2

11 ti'Jd s This was a novelty by the 2011 World Junior Ch ampion . Black may again g o for the standard recipe of 11 ... a6 h ere. After 12 l:i.ad1 (12 a3 seem s better to me and will tran spose to 11 a3 after 12 ... b 5 13 i.. a 2 .i.b7 14 l:i.ad1, and we've reached the g am e Grigoriants-Timoshenko, above), I sugg est the new move 12 ... ti'Ja5 ! ? 13 d5 (tryin g to m ake something out of White's better development; otherwise, he will just h ave his bishop traded for no compen sation) 13 ... ti'Jxc4 14 'iVxc4 and now: ...

a) 14 ... b5 15 'iVh4 exd5 16 tl'Je4 .l::t e 8 17 ti'Jxf6+ .ixf6 18 .ixf6 'iixf6 19 'iixf6 gxf6 leads to an endgame with an extra pawn for Black. His wrecked structure and the bad bishop give White excellent compensation though. I don 't recommend this line, which seem s difficult to play for Bl ack. b) The fighting move is 14 ... h6 15 .ixf6 ( 1 5 d6 hxg 5 16 'iVc5 is a computerish line, givin g White some compensation fo r the pawn ; after 16 . . .i.. x d6 17 .l::tx d6 'ilie7 18 .l::tfd1 g4 it's a fight in a ten se position) 1 5 ... i.. xf6, pittin g the bishop-pair again st space and, most impor­ tantly, a lead in development. The position probably is about equal : for instance, 16 'ifc5 b6 17 'ife3 'ifc7 18 d6 'ifc6 19 tl'Je4 i.. d 8 20 ti'Jd4 'ifd7 21 ti'Jf3 i..b 7 with dynamic equality. c) The simple (but boring) solution is 14 ... ti'Jxd5 15 ti'Jxd5 exd5 16 l:i.xd5 i.. e 6 17 l:i.xd8 i.. x c4 18 .l:i.xa8 l:i.xa8 19 i.. x e7 i.. x e2 and it's a dead draw. 12 .ixd s 12 .ixe7 ti'Jcxe7 was the alternative. To be honest I think White n eeds to be careful here. There are many ways to keep the g am e even, but pl aying too ambitiously can prove costly. After 13 l:i.ad1 b6 14 'ifg 3 (an ambitious move; instead, 14 ti'Jxd5 is a sound option and it's dead equal after 14 ... ti'Jxd5 15 i.. x d5 'ifxd5 16 ti'Jc3 'ifa5 17 .l::tfe1 i..b 7 18 .l::t e 5 'ifb4 19 'ife2 l:i.ac8 20 d5 exd5 2 1 ti'Jxd5 i.. x d5 2 2 J::t e xd5) 14 ... .ib7 1 5 .l::tfe1 .l::tc 8 16 i.. d 3 "fiic 7 I see no at­ tack for White or ch ances to g et rid of the IQP.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

He is not significantly worse, but Black's position is the easier to pl ay. I n general I think that Sokolov's move is the better choice for White if he wants a fight. 12 ... ..ltxgs 13 ..lte4 On 13 ..ltb3, I like the bishop redeployment 13 ... g6 14 l:tad1 .ih 6 1 S l:tfe1 .ig7. The trans­ form ation on move 12 h as given Black the two bishops and on g7 the extra bishop is safe from being exchang ed. Simil ar to the main g ame, I think that White's most sensible ap­ proach h ere involves d4-dS at the right moment to make use of his superior development. A sample line: 16 �e4 tt:Jas 17 ds es 18 d6 .ifs 19 'iib4 tt:Jxb3 20 W/xb3 W/d7 with about equal ch ances. 13 ... g6 14 l:ta d l ..ltd7 1 5 a3 1 s dS leads again to about equal pl ay: 1 s ... exds 16 tt:Jxds l:te8 (16 ... .ih 6 ! ? is also inter­ esting) 17 tt:Jec3 fs 18 tt:Je3 (18 .if3 tt:Jes 19 Wid4 tt:Jxf3+ 20 gxf3 .ic6 21 f4 .ih4 does not trouble Black) 18 ... .ie6 19 .ids W/e7 20 ..i.xe6+ W/xe6 2 1 tt:Jeds l:tac8 with about equal chances. 1s ...Wlb6 16 �g3 16 ds can now be answered by 16 ... tt:Je7. 16 ... ..ltf6


N i m z o - l n d ia n : 4 e 3 0 - 0 5 i. d3 cs 6 0i e 2

1 7 0ia4? The coming complication s favour Black, so White should look for an improvement. 17 dS was probably the way to go, leading to a drawish position . A sen sible line run s 17 ...0ie7 18 dxe6 i.xe6 19 °ii'f3 i.g7 20 b4 as (20 ... 0ic6 ! ? avoids the immediate draw) 2 1 0ia4 ms 22 0iac3 "ii'b 6 with a draw by repetition ah ead. 17 ... 0ixd4! 18 .l:!.xd4 i.xa4 19 .l:!.b4 White could h ave gon e for 19 .l:!.xa4, after which 19 ... 'ifb s was the point of Black's com­ bination. Following 20 b3 'iVxe2 2 1 i.xb7 .l:!.ad8 22 'iVf3 'iVb2 (22 ... 'iVxf3 2 3 i.xf3 l::t d 3 24 .l:!.xa7 .l:!.xb3 is better for Black, but tenable for White) 2 3 .l:!.xa7 .l:!.d2 24 i.a6 i.d4 2S .l:!.b7 "ii'x a3 26 i.c4 ag ain White should hold. It is not much fun admittedly, so Sokolov's decision to avoid it is very understandable. 19 'it'a s 20 i.xb7 20 'it'f4 i.g s 21 'iVg4 h s does not help much . 20 .l:!.abS 21 'it'f4 "ii'e s 22 .l:!.c1? This loses. 22 "ii'x e s i.xes 23 l:!.xa4 l::t x b7 24 b4 l:td8 was to be preferred, but Bl ack is clearly on top here. 22 ....l:!.fdS 2 2 ... 'it'xf4 2 3 0ixf4 .l:!.fd8 was al so very strong . 23 'it'xes 2 3 Itxa4 'it'xf4 24 0ixf4 i.xb2 2 S .l:!.bl .l:!.xb7 al so win s for Bl ack. 23 i.xes 24 f4 i.f6 2s l:txa4 .l:!.xb7 26 b4 .l:!.d2 ...




Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

The remainder of the gam e is a brutal display of bishop against knight, combined with the more active rooks for Black. It's all over quickly. 27 @f1 l:tbd7 28 @e1 �d8 29 bS �b6 30 l:te4 l:ta2 31 a4 'it>g7 32 g4 l:td 3 33 l:tec4 l:tf3 0-1 S u m m a ry

Excellent play by Swiercz. Beating Ivan Sokolov in this style in one of his pet lines is a great achievement. The line with 7 o-o is less popul ar than 7 cxds for a reason : Black does not need to know m any concrete lines to equalize. The queen side set-up with ... a6 and ... bs is a playable option almost all of the time, with timing being crucial to avoid a d4-d5 break­ through being favourable for White, while the ... .l:i,a7-d7 m anoeuvre is worth remembering. Th e m ain g ame shows th at ... 'bds is also a good option to release some pressure. Swiercz didn 't h ave any opening problem s and went on to win a fine g ame against a Rubinstein expert.


C h a pt e r E i g h t

N i m zo- l n d ia n : H u bner

Va r i a t i o n , 4 e 3 o - o 5 � d 3 c s

6 lbf3 lbc6

7 o-o

�xc 3 8 bxc 3 d 6

1 d4 ltJf6 2 c4 e6 3 liJc3 .i.b4 4 e3 o-o 5 .i.d3 cs 6 ltJf3 liJc6 7 o-o .i.xc3 8 bxc3 d6

The Hilbner variation, my repertoire choice again st White's most natural set-up with .ltd3 and li:Jf3 in th e Rubin stein. The concept of this set-up, giving up th e bishop voluntarily to inflict the doubled pawn s and then go ... d6 and ... es, dates back to Nim zowitsch him self (P.John er-A. Nimzowitsch, Dresden 1926). It was revived about 40 years later by Robert Hilbner, then a promising junior pl ayer who l ater cam e very close to ch allenging An atoly Karpov for the world title. While Hilbner's g ames showed the viability of the line, it only becam e popul ar in the 159

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

early 1970s when it was pl ayed by Bobby Fisch er in Gam e 5 of the Match of the Century in Reykjavik to beat Bori s Spassky in just 27 moves. Nowadays the Hubner is still a very re­ spectable line, but it is not that popul ar anymore at the top level. I think this is mostly due to the fact that other lines with an open centre, like the Karpov variation, are easier to ana­ lyse with engine assistance. Those open positions are much more likely to lead to forced lines th at simplify to clear equality than the m anoeuvrin g battles of the Hubner. The Hubner variation leads to strategically very complex positions of a closed n ature that offer wide scope for creativity. There are almost no forced lines that you need to know; it's all about structures, pl an s and patterns. I can assure you that m any lon g -time Nimzo players rely on the opening's fundamental soundness and finding the right continuation s while over the board, not at home using a chess engine. Our coverage of the Hubner is divided into five g ames: a) The g ame Ulko-Goganov (Game 16) gives an overview of White's less common devia­ tion s before move 9, like early d4-d5 attempts. b) Often White goes 9 e4.

The g am e Kveinys-Sielecki (Game 17) analyses all the sidelines that White may play af­ ter 9 e4. c) 9 ... es 10 ds 0.. e 7 11 0..h 4 is the m ain line of the Hubner with 9 e4. The g ame Anag­ nostopoulos-Antic (Gam e 18) is a recent example of White's most dangerous plan associ­ ated with �f3 and 0..fs . Black's pl ay is more demanding against this approach than against the older plans like Spassky's f4, where Black often even obtains the better g ame quite quickly. On move 9 White is not obliged to pl ay the traditional 9 e4. Indeed, my database shows 16 different 9th moves that have tried, almost all the moves that don 't blunder m aterial or are downright crazy. Don 't worry, we don 't need to look at all 16 moves, but the bad news is that that Games 19 and 20 will be full of transpositions and move order wrinkles. There is no way around that unfortunately. 1 60

Nimzo-lndian : Hubner Variation, 4 e3 o-o 5 .i.d3 cs 6 tDf3 tDc6 7 o-o .i.xc3 8 bxc3 d6

The good n ews is that very often we reach closed position s where understanding and strategic abilities are more important than concrete knowledge of some lines. With a proper feel for the position, you will find good moves and plan s over the board in case you h ave forgotten certain details. The gam e Henrichs-Berkes (Game 19) shows the most dan­ gerous plan for Black to face, initiated by the moves 9 0id2 e s 10 dS.

This is the m ost frequently played line after White h as chosen to avoid 9 e4 in the first pl ace. By avoidin g e 3-e4, the possibility of recapturin g with the e-pawn after a later f2-f4 is introduced. However, I think that Black does not h ave any problems, as the situation in the centre is clarified early and h e can react accordingly, as demonstrated in the actual g am e and analysis. It is absolutely n ecessary t o examine this g am e and G am e 20 together t o get a complete picture. The direct 10 dS of Game 19 does not trouble Black too much, so White has tried to re­ fine the idea of playing d4-d5 followed by a l ater f2-f4. Starting on move 9, White may adopt an approach that I call the 'Waiting G ame'. H e usually starts with 9 0id2 (though 9 .l:lb1, 9 .l::i. e 1 and 9 h 3 may l ead to the same), but does not clarify the central situation after 9 ... es by going 10 ds directly, as examined in G am e 19. In stead, h e plays little strengthen­ ing moves like .l:!.b1, h3, etc, and keeps the tension, hoping that Black will commit to some­ thing that does not fit into the structure after d4-d5 is ultim ately pl ayed. This sophisticated approach and White's other ideas on move 9 are seen in the g ame Van der Stricht-Sielecki (Game 20). I consider the Waiting G ame to be the most challenging approach for Black in the Hubner, as move order issues can become very confusin g . The 'rules of thumb' approach described in the notes to G am e 20 will, however, guide you through this tricky line.

1 61

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

Game 1 6

J . U l ko-A.Goganov

I z h evs k 2014

1 d4 lZlf6 2 c4 e6 3 l2Jc3 .ib4 4 e3 0-0 5 .id3 Otherwise: a) 5 a3 transposes to the Samisch, as discussed in Ch apter 2. b) s tt:Jge2 is the Reshevsky Variation examined in Ch apter 6. c) 5 tt:Jf3 has little independent value. After s ... cs once in a while White tries 6 .ie2, but Black can just an swer in simil ar style as after 6 .id3, which would just tran spose to th e main line: 6 ... tt:Jc6 7 0-0 .ixc3 8 bxc3 d6 (with the bishop on d3, White now could play e4, but this needs further preparation h ere) 9 tt:Jd2 es 10 dS l2Je7 11 'ili'c2 @h 8 12 i.d3 . This is a sure sign th at .ie2 was rather pointless - to be honest I don't quite understand the ration­ ale behind it. In V.Balashov-E.Mochalov, Kaun as 2012, Bl ack now went 12, which I don 't like. It prepares .. .fs, but I prefer 12 ... tt:Je8 with the sam e idea. s ... cs

6 l2Jf3 Again, 6 a3 leads to the Samisch, while 6 l2Jge2 was discussed in Chapter 7. The only independent move here is 6 ds, after which Black m ay choose from two good options; one leads to a decent Nimzo-Benoni structure, the other to a g ambit in the spirit of the Blumenfeld. Let's examine: a) A recent example of the Benoni-style set-up is 6 ...exds 7 cxds d6 8 l2Jge2 tt:Jbd7 9 o-o a6 10 a4 .l:!.b8 11 h3 l::t e 8 12 @h 1 tt:Jes 13 .ic2 bs 14 axb s axbs 15 e4 .id7 16 f4 l2Jg6 with sharp pl ay in N.Short-D.Howell, Douglas 2014. b) The g ambit move 6 ... bs was even played by An atoly Karpov in his 1978 match against Viktor Korchnoi. After 7 dxe6 fxe6 8 cxbs a6 (in an earlier g am e of th e match Karpov had 1 62

Nimzo-ln dian : Hubner Variation, 4 e3 o-o 5 il.d3 cs 6 ti:Jf3 ti:Jc6 7 o-o i.. xc3 8 bxc3 d6

pl ayed 8 ... .i.b7; his willingness to repeat the g ambit in a world ch ampionship m atch is quite a seal of approval and I 'll give the complete g am e because it features one of the most picturesque final position s in world championship history) 9 ti:Jge2 ds 10 o-o es 11 a3 Black has: bl) 11 ... axb s 12 il.xbs il.xc3 13 bxc3 il.a6 14 .l::.b 1 �d6 1 s c4 d4 16 ti:Jg 3 ti:Jc6 17 a4 ti:Jas 18 �d3 �e6 19 exd4 cxd4 20 cs (after some inaccuracies by both sides, Korchnoi has now reached an almost winning position) 20 ....l::.fc8 2 1 f4 .l::. x cs 2 2 il.xa6 �xa6 2 3 �xa6 ? (23 .l::.b 8+! @f7 24 .l::.b s win s even more convincingly, but the text move should al so be enough to win) 23 ... .l:!.xa6 24 .i.a3 .l::. d s 2s ti:Jfs @f7 26 fxe s .l::. x e s 27 .l:!.bs ti:Jc4 28 .l::.b 7+ @e6 29 ti:Jxd4+ @ds 30 ti:Jf3 (30 ti:Jc2 ! .l::. xa4 31 il.f8 is the computerish solution, but Korchnoi was in tim e trouble in almost every g am e of this m atch) 30 ... ti:Jxa3 31 ti:Jxes @xe s 32 .l::. e 7+ @d4 3 3 .l::.x g 7 ti:Jc4 3 4 .l::.f4+ ti:Je4 3 S .l::. d 7+ @e3 3 6 .l::.f3+ @e2 3 7 .l::. xh 7 ( 3 7 l:.e7 ti:Jcd2 3 8 .l:!.a3 is still much better for White) 37 ... ti:Jcd2 38 .l:!.a3 l:.c6 (now White absolutely needs to move the g ­ pawn t o draw, but...) 3 9 .l:!.a1?? ti:Jf3+ ! and Korchnoi resigned. This was G am e 17 of the Ba­ guio City match of 1978. b2) 11 12 ti:Jxc3 c4 13 il.e2 axb s 14 ti:Jxbs il.a6 1 S ti:Jc3 ti:Jc6 is one improvem ent.

This should lead to about equal ch ances. 6 ... ti:Jc6 1 ds This and 7 a3 are ways for White to avoid the main starting position of the Hubner after 7 o-o il.xc3 8 bxc3 d6, which is discussed in the subsequent games of this ch apter. Let's examine 7 a3. This is quite a curious way to pl ay: isn't White just losing a tempo, wouldn't Black just capture voluntarily after 7 0-0, and isn't th at just a Samisch with a misplaced knight on f3 ? In some ways all these question s can be an swered with 'yes', but there is a point to 7 a3 - pl ayers like Suat Atalik and Nikita Vitiugov know their openin g s and h ave som e ideas behind their lines. Here White spends a move to force the typical Hubner structure, but with White's kin g uncommitted. This gives Black some additional issues to think about af1 63

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

ter 7 ... .txc3+ 8 bxc3 d6.

This position al so arises from various different move orders, startin g with 4 llJf3 or 4 a3. Frankly speaking, lots of weaker white players just stumble into this position without any particular idea and just pl ay the Hubner a move down, but as explained above it's not that easy for Black. After 9 e4 (in fact the most popul ar move h ere is 9 o-o, which simply is a Hubner a move down ; by the way: this doesn't mean Black i s already better, as we are still talking about a very closed position h ere, although it should be a bit more comfortable th an usual for Bl ack and quite easy equality) 9 ... e s 10 ds lll e 7 White can try to expand on the kin g side: a) S.Atalik-J.Werle, Wijk aan Zee 2007, saw 11 g3 lll e 8 12 �c2 g 6 ? ! , which weaken s the dark squares. I prefer the straightforward 12 .. .fs .

One idea is the line 13 .tg s lllf6 ! (initiatin g a long, forced sequence) 14 exfs e4 1 5 .txe4 lllx e4 16 �xe4 .txfS 17 �e3 �d7 18 .txe7 .l:!.fe8 19 o-o .l:!.xe7 20 �d2 i.. g 4 and Black had 1 64

Nimzo-ln dian : Hubner Variation, 4 e3 o-o 5 .i.d3 cs 6 ljjf3 ll:ic6 7 o-o .i.xc3 8 bxc3 d6

excellent play for the pawn . In the g ame, though , White exploited the 12 ... g 6 ? ! move im­ mediately with 13 .i.h 6 'l:ig7 14 h4 f6 1 S 'l:ih 2 @h 8 16 f4 'l:ig 8 17 .i.xg 7+ @xg 7 18 fs and enjoyed a huge space advantage. Black should go 12 .. .fs for more active play. b} White m ay also pl ay 11 'l:ih4, which is less pointed. The 'l:ih4 plan is quite normal for th ese structures, but not h aving castled is no particular bonus h ere. Black can just pl ay as he would in the position with 0-0 played instead of a3 (see the m ain g ame). A sampl e game: 11 ... h6 12 iVf3 ll:ig6 13 'l:ifs .i.xfs 14 iVxfs iVas ! (here not h aving castled is even a serious problem for White) 1 5 .i.d2 ll:if4! 16 .tf1 iVd8 ! 17 .i.xf4 g 6 18 � 3 exf4 and Bl ack was already significantly better in A.lpatov-A.Sumets, Palma de Mallorca 2009. c) Another way to initiate play on the kingside is 11 h 3 'l:ig6 12 g 3 (White goes for slow expan sion, not giving the black knights any early outposts) 12 ... .td7 13 @fl h6 14 J::. a 2 'l:ih 7 when Bl ack is ready for .. .fs . White might now decide to prevent that, but it seem s the cure is worse th an the disease: 15 g4?! iVf6.

Black now h as an excellent blockade on the dark squares and after 16 'l:ig l 'l:ih4 17 f3 .l:i.fb8 18 �f2 g s (probably not the best move, but still leadin g to very one-sided play; now only Black has ideas to open up the queenside with ... bs) 19 'l:ie2 a6 20 'l:ig 3 b s 2 1 ll:ifs .i.xfs 22 exfs bxc4 2 3 .i.e4 (23 .txc4 e4 24 fxe4 iVxc3 is disastrous for White) 2 3 ....l::.b 3 24 .l::.c 2 "iid 8 2 5 "iie 2 iVas 26 iVxc4 �ab8 27 @f2 'l:if6 28 .i.d3 iVc7 29 .l::. d l .l:i.8b6 I am a bit sur­ prised that Houdini only gives Black a minuscule edge. It's not so easy for him to m ake pro­ gress, but it's clear th at White is only sufferin g in defence. N .Vitiugov-D.Khismatullin, Plovdiv 2012, concluded 30 .i.e2 iVb7 3 1 @f1 @g7 32 'it>f2 .l::.b l 3 3 iVa2 ? (the decisive mis­ take, but it wasn 't fun to pl ay in any case) 33 ... e4! 34 f4 �xcl 35 .l:i.cxcl g xf4 3 6 @fl iVe7 37 .i.c4 e3 3 8 � 2 iVe s 3 9 �c2 ll:ie4 and White resigned. 7 .i.xc3+ This is fine, but Black has some choice here: a) 7 ... 'l:ie7, as played by Kasparov and leading to a closed position : 8 e4 d6 (8 ... .i.xc3+ 9 bxc3 d6 might l ead to the m ain line, but White has not castled yet and you can also view ...

1 65

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

this position as the line with 7 a3, but with an extra tempo for White; Kasparov's move i s more flexible, but it allows White to avoid the doubled pawns) 9 ..td2 exdS 10 exds (10 cxds lll g 6 is a fin e Nim zo-Benoni that can easily tum in Black's favour quickly) 10 ... ..tfs (Bl ack has less space and wel comes exch anges) 11 'iVc2 'iVd7 12 o-o ..txd3 13 'iVxd3 'iVfs 14 'iVxfs lllxfs .

Chances were equal here in R. Ponom ariov-G . Kasparov, Lin ares 2003. b) If you prefer a more open type of g ame, you can al so follow another legend's exam ­ ple and play 7 ... exds 8 cxds lll x ds 9 ..txh 7+ �xh 7 10 'iVxds Wg 8 11 o-o ..txc3 12 bxc3 d6 13 e4 ..tg4, with about equal pl ay in S.Gligoric-B. Larsen, Niksic 1983. Black n eeds to be a bit cautious though, as the missing h-pawn causes his king some discomfort. 8 bxc3 lll e 7 9 d6 This avoids transposition s like 9 e4 d6 10 0-0 es and leads to interesting play. 9 ... lll c 6 Bl ack should avoid 9 ... lllg 6 10 h4 e s ? (10 ... CZJg4 is the weird computer move that is still okay for Black) 11 hS e4 12 hxg 6 hxg 6 13 ..tc2 exf3 14 'iVxf3 and White already had a deci­ sive attack in S. Furman -A.Cherepkov, Leningrad 19S6. 10 0-0 10 e4 es will lead to the g am e position or something very simil ar, but Black should avoid 10 ... lll e 8?! 11 e s ! , as h appened in M.Raffalt-K. Petschar, Finkenstein 1990.


Nimzo-lndia n : Hubner Variation, 4 e3 o-o 5 J.. d3 cs 6 tDf3 tDc6 7 o-o J.. xc3 8 bxc3 d6

10 tDes Black was probably worried about the possible pin with .i.g s coming, but I don't think this move is strictly necessary. I sugg est going 10 ... b6 to stay flexible. Now 11 e4 e s 12 .i.g s is not that much of a prob­ lem due to 12 ... h6 13 .i.h4 .l:Ie8, intending ... .l:Ie6 and ... �f8, which will unpin and pick up d6 in the process: for example, 14 tDe1 .l:Ie6 15 tDc2 �f8 16 tDe3 �xd6 and I doubt that White has sufficient compensation . He has some (the engines evaluate this position as equal}, but his initiative might be only temporary. 11 e4 11 .i.c2 was interesting, trying to provoke a weakness in Black's kingside, although after 11 ... b6 12 �d3 g 6 13 e4 f6 14 .1Lh 6 tDg 7 Bl ack is fine. 11 es 12! f6 This is a useful move for Black, so White shouldn't h ave provoked it with .i.g s . 13 .i.e3 b6 ..•



O p e n i n g R ep e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n di a n

White must act quickly, otherwise d 6 will fall without any substantial compen sation . 14 ..te2 ..tb7 15 ll'ih4 'ilfb8 1s ... g6 16 6 ll'ig7 was also good. Indeed, White will struggle to find compensation whenever his d6-pawn is attacked by the coming ... 'ilfe8 and ... ll'id8-f7 m anoeuvre. 16 ..tg4 16 s 'ilfxd6 17 'ilfg4 'ilfe7 doesn't help either. White does not h ave enough compen sa­ tion for the pawn . 16 ll'ixd6 17 ..txd7 ll'ie7? 17 ... ll'id8 would have preserved Black's advantage. 18 f4? 18 'ii'g 4 is still okay for White, quite surprisingly. After 18 ... ..txe4 19 .l::i. a d1 the ideas of ..te6+ or 'ii'e 6+ give him enough play: for example, 19 .. .fs 20 'ilfh 3 ll'if7 2 1 ll'ixfs ll'ixfs 2 2 ..txfs ..txfs 2 3 'ilfxfs 'ilfe8 24 .l::i. d 7 and it's about equal . 18 ll'ixe4 19 'ilfg4 @hs 20 fs l1d8 21 ..te6 •••


White has some compensation, but it's not enough. 2 1 l1d3? 2 1 ... .l::i.d 6 ! was strong er, intending 22 ll'ig6+ ll'ixg6 2 3 fxg 6 :xe6 24 'i\fxe6 'i\fc8 2 5 'i\fxc8+ l:!.xc8 26 g xh 7 ..ta6 and Black is better, since he will soon enjoy two pawns for the exchange and a h armonious set-up. 22 l:!.ae1? 22 l:!.ad1! was key, and White is even better. In the case of 22 ... .l::i. x e3 ? 23 .l::i.d 7 it's even a decisive advantage. 22 iVeS 22 ... ll'ixc3?? 23 ll'ig6+ ll'ixg 6 24 fxg 6 'ilff8 2 5 'ilfh s was to be avoided. 23 l:!.f3 l:!.ad8 24 l:!.h3 ll'igs 25 ..txgs l:!.xh 3 26 gxh3 fxgs 27 'ii'x gs iVfS 28 l:!.xes l1d1+ 29 @f2 iVf6 30 iVxf6 gxf6 3 1 l1e3 l1d2+ 3 2 @g3 @g7 •••


1 68

Nimzo-lndia n : Hubner Variation, 4 e3 o-o 5 .i.d3 cs 6 tiJf3 tiJc6 7 o-o ilxc3 8 bxc3 d6

The dust h as settled. White now m anaged to hold thi s slightly worse endgam e. 33 a3 @f8 34 tiJf3 ilxf3 3S @xf3 l:!.xh2 36 @e4 l:!.d2 37 a4 l:!.d1 38 l:!.e2 h s 39 a s bxa s 40 l:!.a2 l:!.e1+ 41 @f4 l:!.f1+ 42 @e4 l:!.e1+ Yz-Yz Summary The early deviation s don't challenge Black in a theoretical sense, but they lead to complex positions in almost all cases. I was particularly fascinated by 7 a3, which shows th at losing a tempo might actually h ave a point in some cases. After early d4-d5 advances, Black usu­ ally g ets a decent Nim zo-Benoni structure or might even strike in Blumenfeld style with ... bs, as played by Karpov.

Game 1 7


Llucmajor Open 2014 1 d4 tiJf6 2 c4 e6 3 tiJc3 ilb4 4 e3 o-o S ild 3 cs 6 tiJf3 tiJc6 7 o-o ilxc3 8 bxc3 d6 9 e4 es I was surprised to get the Hubner on the board in this g ame. Kveinys had rarely played the Rubinstein and when he did he employed tiJe2-based set-ups. This g ame will analyse all White's ideas after 9 e4 with the exception of the m ain line with 11 tlJh4, which will be dis­ cussed in the next g ame.

1 69

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

lO d S Once i n a while White tries 1 0 h 3 . This move is not exactly forcin g i n nature, s o Black has quite some range for creativity: a) The move played most often is 10 ... h6. This is a useful move in the Hubner in most cases. It serves multiple purposes, like clearing a square for the kni ght on h7, preparin g ... g s i f needed, and avoiding i.. g s {this is rarely a threat though}. After 11 i.e3 b6 the g ame l . lbragimov-M.Cebalo, Djakovo 1994, was very in structive: 12 ds ti:Je7 13 Wh 2 ti:Jh 7 14 "it'c2 (14 g4? ti:Jg 6 is excellent for Black; see Vitiugov-Khismatullin, as discussed in the notes on 7 a3 in Gam e 16, for a similar structure) 14 .. .fs 1 5 exfs i.. xfs (Black welcomes the exch an g e of the bishops, a s with l ess space, some exch anges are useful ; in this specific case 1s ... ti:Jxfs ?? was not pl ayable anyway due to 16 g4) 16 ti:Jd2 i.xd3 17 "it'xd3 ti:Jfs 18 ti:Je4: al) In the g am e Cebalo continued 18 ... "it'e7 19 i.d2 (preserving the bishop to support the coming pawn advances) 19 ...ti:Jf6 20 .l:tae1 .l:!.ae8 21 g4 ti:Jh4 22 f4 exf4? (this sacrifices material for in sufficient compensation ; the computer still likes 22 ...ti:Jxe4 23 .l:txe4 ti:Jg6 24 fs ti:Jh 8 for Black, but it seem s like a rather grim prospect to m e and the alternative on move 18 is just much easier to pl ay) 2 3 ti:Jxcs bxcs 24 .l:txe7 .l:lxe7 25 i.xf4 ti:Je4 26 i.g 3 l:.xf1 27 i.xh4 l:!.ff7 2 8 i.xe7 J::r x e7 29 Wg 2 @f7 30 °it'f3+ ti:Jf6 and probably should have lost, but in the end h eld this semi-fortress. a2) My suggested improvement is 18 ...ti:Jf6, intending to exchange the minor pieces.

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Nimzo-ln dian : Hubner Variation, 4 e3 o-o 5 i.. d3 cs 6 tDf3 tlJc6 7 o-o i.. x c3 8 bxc3 d6

If White now tries 19 i.. d 2 then Black h as 19 ...ltJxe4 20 'iVxe4 �4 21 'iVe2 e4! ? and he is fine. b) Black h as some alternatives to 10 ...h 6, of course. The ever-creative Bent Larsen came up with 10 ... b6 11 l:.e1 Wh 8 12 l:.b1 'iVe8 13 l:.b2 i.. a 6 14 ds ttJas. This is a rare set-up in this line. The norm al square for the knight is e7, supportin g .. .f7-fS or heading for g6. In this particular case there is a concrete idea behind ...ttJas : bl) White can simply cover the pawn with 1 S 'iVe2, after which 1 s ... 'iVa4 16 i.. c 2 ! 'ii'd 7 (not 16 ... 'iVxc4?? 17 'iVdl ! and Black will h ave to lose m aterial to save the queen) 17 ltJd2 leads to a complicated m anoeuvring g ame. White has a more interesting option, though. b2) 1 S ltJh4 (very dynamic play by Svetozar Gligoric, a true m aster of the Rubin stein var­ iation for White) 1S ... i..x c4 16 i..b 1 'ii'd 7 17 f4 ltJg8 (one point of the mysterious ... 'it>h 8 move becomes clear) 18 fxe s dxe s 19 � S l:.ac8 20 l:.f2 (White could have captured on es, with excellent play, but I wonder if this is a database error and Larsen actually played 19 ... l:tae8 in stead of 19 ... l:.ac8) 20 ... ltJb7 21 l:.e3 g6 22 'iVg s (again, es was hanging, or not) and White had some compensation for the pawn, but Black enjoyed an extra pawn and had some hopes to convert it in the long run, S.Gligoric-B. Larsen, Bugojno 1982. Returning to 10 dS: 10 tDe1 ...

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Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d 8 09 0 - / n d i a n

1 1 tt:Je1 This is a rare move, but it h as some interesting points. There are some less dangerous alternatives, though: for example, the similar knight move 11 tt::'i d 2, which plans to move the knight to g3 or e3, but it is rather slow and does not address Black's .. .fs plan at all . Af­ ter 11 ...h 6 12 .l:!.e1 tt::'ih 7 13 tt::'ifl fs 14 exfs i.. xfs 1 s tt::'ig 3 i.. x d3 16 ll¥xd3 l\Vd7 17 a4 l:tf7 18 as .l:taf8 Black is in g ood shape once again. White's only meaningful plan is f2-f4, and th at is very h ard to realize. In the game Y.Bal ashov-R.Vaganian , Odessa 1989, White lost his way in an equal position : 19 f3 tt::'ifs 20 tt:Jxfs .l:!.xfs 21 .l:!.b1 .l:t8f7 22 J::tb 2 °iWd8 23 .l:.xb7 .l:!.xf3 24 gxf3 .l:txb7 2 S f4 �4 26 l\Vg 3 "iWxg 3+ 27 hxg 3 e4! 2 8 fs (28 .l:!.xe4 tt::'if6 29 .l:tel .l:tb3 is about equal) 28 ... l:tbl 29 'if;f1 Wf7 30 g4 tt::'if6 3 1 i..f4 J:txel+ 3 2 Wxel tt:Jxg4 3 3 i.. x d6 a6 34 i..x cs ? (34 We2 was still equal) 34 ... tt:Jes 3S i.. d4 tt:Jxc4 3 6 @f2 g6 37 fxg6+ Wxg 6 38 i..b 6 @f6 39 i.. c 7 hs 40 Wg 3 @fs 41 'it>f2 h4 and 0-1. There al so is 11 i.. g S ? ! , which does not m atch the position's requirements at all . After 11 ... tt::'i g 6 12 tt::'ih 4 h6 13 tt:Jxg 6 fxg 6 14 i.. d 2 g S Bl ack was in very good sh ape in a number of games. In this pawn form ation White has no real plan s at all, while Black might con sider ... tt::'if6-h S and always has the long-term target on C4. 11 tt:Jes I think that Black should go for the .. .f7-fS break as soon as possible in the Hubner. It gives him some space and possible play along the f-file. When Kveinys played 11 tt::'i e l against me, I had to decide over the board what to do. I had looked at the move before, but forgotten the finer points. In fact my files said Black should go 11 ... tt::'i g 6 in stead. Looking at it again after the g ame, I had to agree that this is preferable. Now White usually pl ays 12 g3 to control f4 and h4, and clear g2 for the knight. Following 12 ... i..h 3 13 tt:Jg 2 Black h as tried various moves. J an Timman played 13 ... tt::'i e 8 again st Svetozar Gligoric in Bled, 1979, and then 14 .l:tel fs l S exfs i.. xfs. •••

1 72

Nimzo- lndian : Hubner Variation, 4 e3 o-o 5 il.. d 3 cs 6 ti'Jj3 ti'Jc6 7 o-o .i.xc3 8 bxc3 d6

This is already very convenient for Black. What exactly is White's plan in this position ? Gligoric tried the active 16 f4?, but after 16 ... .i.xd3 17 'ii'x d3 1\Vd7 18 l:tbl ti'Jf6 19 ttb2 l:tae8 20 l:tfl 'ii'h 3 his light squares were terribly weak. Timm an went on to win after some inac­ curate moves by both sides: 21 fs tl'Jg4 22 ti'Je1 e4 2 3 1\Ve2 ti'J6es 24 1\Vxe4 .l:If7 ? (24 ... 'ii'h s ! ) 2 S 1li'g 2 ? ? ( 2 S 0,f3 would have been a good defence when White would h ave been back in the game) 2 s ... 1\Vxg 2+ 2 6 @xg 2 tl'Jxc4 (now it's over) 27 .l:!.c2 .l:Ie s 28 h 3 ti'Jf6 29 g4 ti'Jxds 30 .l:If3 bs 3 1 l:tcf2 as 3 2 g s b4 3 3 cxb4 axb4 34 @h 2 ti'Jc3 3 S a3 tl'Je4 36 l:te2 ti'Jxg s and Gligoric re­ signed. In short, 11...ti'Jg 6 is perfectly acceptable for Black. 12 1\Vc2 White has a surprising alternative here that is not so easy to m eet for Black, 12 g4!.

This is very radical, but a good move. Now .. .fs is out of the question and the el-knight gains a good spot on g2, where it covers the sensitive squares f4 and h4, and helps to prepare the relevant pawn advances. Here 12 ... ti'Jg6 13 ti'Jg2 h6 (13 ... ti'Jh4 was tried in M.Tabatabaei1 73

Op e n i n g R e p e rto i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - / n d i a n

Y.Hou, Nakhchivan 2015; White should play 14 f3 intending �e1, when I think White is slightly better) 14 �f3 was played in H.Nakamura-E.Perelsteyn, Southampton 2003 : a) The game went!, which I believe is mistimed. The position is very interesting to study, though. Black would be in good shape if the e8-knight were on h7, supporting the block­ ade. It is not so easy, though, to transfer it via f6 as this is met by g4-g 5. After 15 �g 3 tt:Jxg 2 16 Wxg2 (now Black is in slight trouble; f4 is a threat and the only way to prevent it reliably is bad) 16 ... g s ? (16 is also answered with 17 f4!, but was relatively better) 17 .l::!.h 1 tt:Jg7 18 h4 f6 19 hxg s hxg s 20 �f3 Wf7 21 .txg s .i.xg4 22 �xg4 fxg s Nakamura's 23 .l::!.h 6 was clearly better for White, but 23 .l':th7 would have ended the game instantly; .l':tah 1-h6 is just too much. b) My sugg ested improvem ent for Black is a waiting move like 14 ... b6. If White now pl ays 15 �g 3, Black has the opportunity to play 1s ... tt:Jf6. After th at White shoul d pl ay 16 f3 (16 g s ? tt:Jh s 17 �f3 tt:Jhf4 18 gxh 6 �f6 is excellent for Black) 16 ... .l:te8 17 h4 tt:Jh 7. This posi­ tion is very resilient for Black, but he h as few active ideas. It seem s to me th at N akamura's 12 g4 is a very interestin g idea for White, so Black should opt for 11...tLlg 6, in stead of my move 11...tLle8. After Kveinys' 12 �c2, though, Bl ack is fin e and the g am e is not very relevant in a theoretical sense from h ere on . It does, though, illustrate som e typical themes quite nicely. 12 h6 H ere 12 .. .fs ? ! was premature, in view of 13 f4! . ...

Now 13 . . .exf4 1 4 i.xf4 fxe4 1 5 .i.xe4 h6 16 .l:tb1 is slightly better for White. 12 . . .h 6 is a useful move anyway, though, and asks White to m ake a move that does the same; i.e. im­ prove a little bit without conceding anything. 13 g3 Technically a novelty, but we were just pl aying over the board, not reproducing some elaborate preparation. 13 a4 had been played before, after which 13 .. .fs 14 f4 fxe4 1 5 .i.xe4 exf4 16 .i.xf4 tt:Jf6 is similar to the note to move 14 and gives Bl ack equality. 13 fs ...

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Nimzo-lndia n : Hubner Va riation, 4 e3 o-o 5 i.. d3 cs 6 lDf3 lDc6 7 o-o i.. x c3 8 bxc3 d6

There are no useful preparatory moves left, so this is right. 14 f4 14 exfs i.. xfs 1 5 f4 i..h 3 16 0ig 2 0if6 17 fxe s dxe s is no problem for Bl ack. Maybe White should still h ave taken on fS, though, as the improvement for Bl ack in the next note seem s promising. 14... exf4?! This is imprecise. Instead, 14 .. .fxe4! was a simple and good way to pl ay. After 1 5 i.. x e4 exf4 16 i..xf4 g s ! 17 i.. d 2 .l:!.xf1+ 18 @xf1 0if6 I'd rather be Bl ack, given the choice.

Black will obtain pl ay on the weakened light squares, with ... i..h 3 and ...�d7 being natu­ ral follow-up moves. 15 exfs! This I had underestim ated. I actually thought it did not matter if I took on e4 or f4 first, and just wanted to g et to the 14 .. .fxe4 line by another move order. 1s ... fxg3? Making Bl ack's life much tougher. H ere 1 5 ... i..xfs ! 16 i.. xf4 �d7 was much simpler to handle and Black is fine. He h as no problem piece and a sound structure - just what you want in this line. 16 hxg3 0if6 17 0ig2 0ig4 18 0ih4 lDes I thought this m anoeuvre was fine when I went for 1S .. .fxg 3, but White now h as the better chances. 19 f6 Direct play, but 19 i.. e 4! with a long-term build-up including i..f4, �g 2, g4-g 5 and so on would h ave been difficult to defend. H ere 19 ... 0ixc4? fails to 20 f6 l:txf6 2 1 l:txf6 g xf6 22 i.. xh 6 lDes 2 3 .l:!.f1 and the attack sm ashes through. 19 ...l:txf6 20 l:txf6 gxf6 2 1 i..x h6 'ii'd 7 Aiming for counterplay on h3 or g4. 22 l:tfl �h3? 1 75

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

2 2 . . .�g4! was still okay for Black. H e is under pressure, but not lost like i n the g am e con­ tinuation. 23 .i.f4 .i.d7 Black n eeds to prepare ... .l:f.f8, so there was not much choice. 24 .i.xe5 dxe5 24 .. .fxe 5 ? 25 �f2 is over immediately.

25 �f2? 25 .l:f.f3 ! would have been unbearable for Black: for in stance, 2 5 ...'i:Vg4 26 �f2 .l:f.f8 27 d6 ll'ic6 2 8 ll'if5 .txf5 29 .txf5 �xc4 30 � 2 .l:f.f7 3 1 .i.g6 .l::i.g 7 3 2 .J::i. xf6 and we approach 'mate in x' territory. 2 5 ....l:f.fS Black is back in the g ame now, if still worse. 26 d6?

1 76

Nimzo-lndia n : Hubner Varia tion, 4 e3 o-o 5 i.. d3 cs 6 Cbf3 tbc6 7 o-o i.. x c3 8 bxc3 d6

This hit m e by surprise. Did Kveinys overlook the reply ... i.. c 6? With 26 i.. e 4 White could have kept the initiative. 26 i.. c 6 27 �e3 The only move to keep the bal ance. 2 1 .0ic8 28 .l:!.fs?? This turn s the table completely. Both 28 d7 and 28 i..f s would have kept an equal g am e or drawn straight away, such as after 28 ... � 1+ 29 @f2 � 2 + 3o @e1 0ixd6 31 i.. e 6+ @g 7 32 'iWd3 0ie4 33 0ifs+ @h 8 34 j_d5 i.. x ds 35 cxds �g 2 3 6 0ih4 c4 3 7 �e3 �c2 38 �6+ with perpetual check. 2 s 0ixd6 29 .l:!.hs @f7 ...



The king will be quite safe on e6. 30 i..g 6+ 30 l:th 7+ @e6 al so leads nowhere. The knight on d6 is a nice example of the m axim 'the knight is the king's best friend'. From h ere on Black h as m any ways to win and I m an aged to find one. 30 [email protected] 31 @f2 0ixc4 3 2 �d 3 'iWh2+ 33 @e1 �gl+ 34 @e2 0id6 35 i..f s+ 'bxfs 3 6 'iWxfs+ @d6 3 7 .l:!.h7 �xg3 38 0ig6 'iWg2+ 39 @e3 .tbs! The only move to win . Others only lead to a draw. 40 c4 �gl+ 41 'it>d2 �d4+ 42 'it>el �e3+ 43 @fl i..xc4+ 44 @g2 i.. e 6 0-1 A lucky win for me after I h ad bungled up the result of a good opening. Summary All in all, the sidelines after 9 e4 are not too troublesom e, but are interesting to study to g ain a better feel for this type of position. Noteworthy is N akamura's 12 g4, which initiates a fascinating strategic battle. Indeed, I recommend avoidin g this possibility altogether by going for 11 ... 0ig6.

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Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - / n d i a n

Game 1 8

K.Anagnostopou los-D.Antic

l sth m i a Ope n , Vrachati 2014 1 d4 lllf6 2 c4 e6 3 tll c 3 .i.b4 4 e3 o-o S .i.d3 cs 6 lllf3 lll c 6 7 o-o .txc3 8 bxc3 d6 9 e4 es 10 dS llle 7 11 lll h 4

11 ... h6 Fischer's approach and still the m ain reply. A good alternative is 11 ... lll g 6. It will often transpose to position s similar or identical to the m ain g ame after, for example, 12 lllfs h6 (12 ... lllf4 13 .tc2 g6 14 lllh 6+ Wh 8 is recom­ mended in The Modern Bogo and is, indeed, interesting, but I am very reluctant to play ... g 6 i n the Hilbner, weakening the dark squares; nowadays that kind of general consideration is less and less important and concrete calcul ation is the m ain focus, but my experience still tells me to be cautious with this king side structure) 13 �f3 and a tran sposition to the m ain gam e is likely. 12 �f3 This prevents any ... g 7-g S ideas and supports lllf s, but there are al so: a) 12 f4 is an approach dating back to the classic Spassky-Fischer g am e from 1972. Sta­ tistically it is the m ain move, but I believe it instantly gives Black an easy g ame. This is al so supported by statistics, which see Black scoring around 60% h ere. After 12 ... lll g 6 ! (Fischer's excellent concept, which at the tim e was a revel ation, comparable to the 11 ... lllh s of G ame 3 of the m atch ; in stead, the greedy 12 ... exf4? 1 3 .txf4 gS 14 .i.g 3 ! g xh4 1 S l:.xf6 hxg 3 16 es would be a disaster for Black} 13 lll x g 6 fxg 6 White h as tried:

1 78

Nimzo-Jndian : Hubner Va riation, 4 e3 o-o 5 .i.d3 cs 6 tbf3 tbc6 7 o-o .i.xc3 8 bxc3 d6

al) Let's start with the premiere of this structure: 14 fxe s dxe s 1 S �e3 b6. This position was reached in the famous Spassky- Fischer g ame. In fact as early as this first g am e it be­ came clear that Black has nothing to fear, so it's quite surprising that it h as been played many times since without any success for White. The m ain problem is the blocked nature of the position, limiting his bishops. Bl ack h as got a fine structure with no attackable weaknesses, while White m ay h ave problems with the c4- and e4-pawn s. Especially in a minor piece ending, these pawns can easily fall to a combined attack by a knight on d6 and a bishop on a6 or g6. After 16 a4 as ! (fixing yet another weakness on a4; the pawn on b6 is easily defended, though, because it can only be attacked by heavy pieces) 17 l:tb1 �d7 18 l:tb2 l:tb8 19 l:tbf2 "ile7 20 .i.c2 gs 2 1 .i.d2 °Yi'e8 2 2 .i.e1 Vi'g 6 2 3 °ild3 tlih s 24 l:txf8+ l:txf8 2 s l:txf8+ Wxf8 2 6 .i.d1 ti:Jf4 27 "i/c2 ? ? was a big blunder (after 2 7 "i\¥b1 White would still h ave had a viable position ; I don't agree with the engine assessment of completely equal though, as Black's position is just easier to play here and where is White's active pl ay?).

1 79

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - / n di a n

After 27 ... i.. x a4 Spassky resigned the g ame. From being down 0-2, Fischer had levelled the score after G am e S thanks to two black wins. a2) A popular option in the earlier days of thi s line was 14 fS, but Black even h as two good an swers: a21) 14 ... bs (breaking in the centre immediately) 1s cxbs (White h as al so tried the ul­ tra-aggressive 1 S g4?, but after 1 s ... bxc4 16 i.. c 2 �as 17 �f3 .U.b8 h e is just worse, being a pawn down and fi shing for some vague compensation; now in B.Toth-5.Tatai, Napoli 1981, White went for 18 .U.f2 ?, after which Bl ack could h ave played 18 ... lllx g4, winning in stantly) 1s ... c4 16 i.. c 2 (16 i.. x c4 �6+ 17 @h 1 lllx e4 18 �e1 gxfs, as in G.Botterill-A.Beliavsky, H ast­ ings 1974/7S, isn't any better) 16 ... gxfs 17 exfs �6+ 18 @h 1 'ifxbs (now White's ds-pawn is a liability) 19 i.. a4 �a6 20 i.. c 6 i..b 7 21 i.. x b7 �xb7 2 2 i.. a 3 .U.fd8 2 3 �a4 .U.ac8 24 .l:!.ab1 �xds and an important central pawn was lost in W.Unzicker-J .Timman , Wijk aan Zee 1981. a22) The powerful move 14 ...b s is fine for Black, but there al so is the simpl er 14 ... gxfs 1 S exfs e4, which is perfectly playable a s well. For example, 16 .t e 2 �e7 17 i.. e 3 i.. d 7 18 �e1 lllh 7 19 g4 lll g s led to a l ater draw in S.Gligoric-H.Mecking, San Antonio 1972. a3) White has al so tried to keep the ten sion in the centre with 14 �e1 �e7 1 S �g 3 @h 7 16 fs (Bl ack was threatening ...lllh s at some point, so movin g the f-pawn is an obvious choice, although Black h as nothing to fear) 16 ... gxfs 17 exfs i.. d 7 18 .l:!.b1 b6 19 .U.b2 @h 8 20 h3 .l:!.ae8 2 1 .Ue2 �f7, J .Tarjan-D.Rumens, H astings 1976/77.

H ere Black's structure is very stable. H e also h as ideas of ...b s to work with, undermining the pawn on dS. This was a4) There al so is 14 a4, which was tried in D.Swiercz-B.Macieja, Warsaw 2011: 14 ... as 1 S .l:!.a2 i.. d 7 16 .l:!.af2 b6 17 f s g s (solid, but l eading t o a very closed position ; Black h as various altern atives to keep the g am e more ten se: for exampl e 17 ...�e8, retaining the possibility to capture on fS at the right moment) 18 g4 lllh 7 19 h3 @f7 20 l:th 2 �f6 21 i.. e 3 l:tab8 22 @g2 @e7 2 3 l:tfh 1 @d8 24 i.. c 2 @c7 (quite standard; the kin g plays a useful role on c7 and stays away from any possible king side action) 2 S Wid2 i.. e 8 26 �c1 @b7 27 h4 @a7 28 hxg s lll x g S 1 80

Nimzo-lndia n : Hubner Va ria tion, 4 e3 o-o 5 .i.d3 cs 6 ti'Jf3 ti'J c6 7 o-o ii.xc3 8 bxC3 d6

29 .txg s hxg s 30 �g 3 .tf7 and a draw was agreed.

Both Stockfish and Komodo give this position as quite favourable for White, clearly not having a clue what's going on. In these very closed positions, the computer still h as obvious limits, while the human player quickly sees that Black h as a fortress-like position. In fact, he would even draw after an exchange of all heavy pieces if you remove his bishop - there simply is no way forward even a piece up for White. as) 14 l:f.b1 is a less common move. Let's still take a look, though, and explore more the strategic features of this structure: 14 ... b6 l S .Ub2 l:tb8 16 'iie l 'it'e8 17 'it'h4 l::tb 7 18 h 3 ? (White n eeded t o play 1 8 f s and after 18 ... g xfs 1 9 exfs l:tbf7 chances are still about even : for example, 20 g4 e4 2 1 .te2 .ta6 22 .Ub3 ti'Jxds 2 3 .Ua3 ti'Jc7 24 .tf4 l::t d 7 is a characteristi­ cally weird computer line where White h as some compen sation for the pawn; 18 fs should not trouble Black too much, but leads to an interesting fight) 18 ... exf4! (improving over the 18 ... l::tbf7? of D.Swiercz-N .Vitiugov, Czech League 2010) 19 'ii'xf4 l:!.bf7 (surprisingly strong ; i n general takin g on f4 i s a move t o pl ay with caution, a s i t exposes d 6 and opens up the position for White's dark-squared bishop, but here it i s justified by concrete play) 20 'iYe3 ll:id7 2 1 .l:lbf2 J:.xf2 2 2 l:txf2 l:.xf2 2 3 'iixf2 ll:ies 24 'it'e2 g s .


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

This is a dream position for Black. To sum up 12 f4 - Black is fine and mostly just needs to know the m ain ideas and stra­ tegic themes. Going through some of the sample lines h ere is enough to get you ready to play the line, as it is most certainly not necessary to learn any precise moves by heart. b) 12 g 3 is a typical move, intending to place the knight on g 2 and possibly e3 l ater. It al so prepares f2-f4 in the long run, allowing a recapture on f4 with the g -pawn . After 12 ... i..h 3 13 lt:Jg 2 lll g 6 (instead of this convention al approach, Houdini suggests the re­ markable move 13 ... b 5 ! ?, which after 14 cxb5 c4 15 i.. c 2 lt:Jg4 does, indeed, seem playable for Black; I don 't fully trust it, but it does lead to quite unusual play for the Hubner: for ex­ ample, 16 'iVe2 f5 17 f3 �6+ 18 @h 1 lllf6 19 a4 fxe4 20 i.. x e4 �f7 and Black is fine as White won't be able to keep the d5-pawn) we h ave: bl) 14 f4? ! is prem ature due to 14 ... exf4 (Black shoul d not allow f4-f5 and this is an al­ most universal rule for this structure as it would concede too much space) 1 5 gxf4 �e8 16 'iff3 i.. x g 2 (the alternatives 16 ... i.. g 4 17 'iVg 3 'iVd7 18 f5 and 16 ...'iVd7 17 f5 i.. g 4 18 'iVg 3 lll e 5 19 h 3 lllx d3 20 'il:Yxd3 i..h 5 2 1 lt:Jf4 are al so fine for Black, but the ... b 5 idea is too inter­ esting to avoid) 17 �xg 2 lllh 4 18 �c2 b 5 ! .

1 82

Nimzo-lndia n : Hubner Varia tion, 4 e3 o-o 5 il.. d3 cs 6 l£Jf3 l£J c6 7 o-o il.. x c3 8 bxc3 d6

The key idea. Without this move Bl ack's pl ay startin g with takin g on g2 wouldn't make any sen se (that said, 18 ... 'i'e7 will probably lead to a draw, as White hardly has anything better th an 19 'i'f2 l£Jg6 20 'i'g 2 l£Jh4 2 1 'i'g 3 l£Jg6, and so on), but now 19 cxb 5 c4 20 .i.xc4 l£Jxe4 21 .i.d3 (already an only move; White n eeds to fight the knight without delay) 21...�6+ Oust one way in which Black can obtain very attractive compensation) 2 2 'it>h 1 l£Jf6 2 3 c4 l£Jg4 24 a4 .l:[e1 2 5 .l:i.xe1 l£Jf2+ leads to a perpetual . b2) 14 .l:tb1 (White has other moves h ere, but the position is more about plan s than con­ crete lines; Bl ack just needs to m ake sure th at a coming f2-f4 does not suffocate him and possibly try to prepare .. .f7-f5 himself) 14 ... b6 and now:

b21) 15 f4 is somewhat better than a move earlier, as White control s b5 h ere. After 15 ... exf4 16 gxf4 .l:i.e8 17 �f3 il.. x g 2 18 �xg 2 l£Jh4 19 �c2 �e7 (now White is unable to de­ fend the e4-pawn, and 19 ... l£Jg4 is also interesting) 20 f5 (an interesting try; after 20 'i'f2 ? Bl ack can steal e4 because of the position of the rook on bl) 20 ...l£Jxe4 2 1 'it>h 1 l£Jg 5 White 1 83

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

has some compensation for the pawn : for example, 22 f6 g xf6 2 3 'ii'd 1 'ii'd 7 2 4 .l:!.xf6 � 3 2 5 ..tf1 'iix c3 26 ..i.b2 'ii'e 3 2 7 2 'iie 2 2 8 'iix e2 .l:!.xe2 29 .l:!.xh 6 tl'i g 6 30 h4 lllh 7 3 1 h 5 tl'i e 5 3 2 ..i.h 3 tl'if3 3 3 ..i. g 2 llie5 with a draw by repetition. Of course, this is not forced at all - both sides m ay vary at a number of spots. The m ain point, though, is that Black can take on f4 to obtain concrete play, instead of allowing f4-f5. b22) Instead of the direct f2-f4, White m ay try for a more restrained approach, aiming to improve his position first and only then advance with pawns to the fourth rank. After 15 f3 I suggest the straightforward 1 5 ... lll d 7, preparing .. .f7-f5 : for example, 16 .l:!.b2 f5 17 exf5 ..i.xf5 18 ..i.xf5 .l:!.xf5 is fine for Black. b23) In the g am e A. Kashlin skaya-K.Abdulla, Athen s 2012, White played 15 .l:!.b2 and Black connected the rooks with 1 5 ... 'iid 7 (on 1 5 ... tl'id7 ? ! White h as the disturbing move 16 � 5 ! , but 1 5 ... tl'ih 7 is a good way to pl ay, again preparin g .. .f5 and now 16 � 5 ? ! leads no­ where after 16 ... 'iid 7) 16 .l:!.e1 (16 f4? exf4 17 gxf4 .l:!.ae8 is far too loose for White) 16 ....l:!.ae8 17 llie3 tl'ih 7 18 @h 1 'iid 8 19 �5 tl'ig 5 ? (19 ... 'iid 7 was better) 20 'ii e 2? (missing 20 llif5 ! ..i.xf5 2 1 exf5 e4 2 2 ..i.xg 5 'iix g 5 2 3 'iix g 5 hxg 5 24 .l:!.be2 tl'ie5 2 5 .l:ixe4 and Black is strug­ gling) 20 ... 'ii'f6 2 1 tl'if5 ..i.xf5 2 2 exf5 e4 2 3 ..txg 5 'iixf5 24 ..i.xe4 'i¥xg 5 .

Black is more than okay h ere, but now White blundered with 2 5 f4??, which got pun­ ished with 2 5 ... tl'ixf4 26 gxf4 'iixf4 and Black was winning. A general conclusion on the 'slower' alternatives on m ove 12 would be that these set­ ups lead to a slow g am e with a heavy emphasis on strategy. The presented lines are just an overview showing the typical plans. I recommend too studying more g ames in this line to improve your understandin g of thi s position type. Overall, Black n eeds to be patient and prepared to m eet White's tries like f2-f4-f5 . c) 1 2 f3 llig6 13 tl'if5 and now:

1 84

Nimzo-lndia n : Hubner Varia tion, 4 e3 o-o 5 .i.d3 cs 6 tfJf3 tfJc6 7 o-o .i.xc3 8 bxc3 d6

cl) There is the concrete 13 ... .i.xf5 14 exf5 tfJf4 1 5 .i.b1 'i!Va5 16 g3 (or 16 .i.d2 b 5 ! ) 16 . . .tfJ4h 5 17 'i!Vb3 b 5 ! 1 8 cxb5 c 4 19 �xc4 .Uac8 2 0 'i!Vd3 J::t x c3 2 1 'i!Vd2 'i!Vb6+ 2 2 @ g 2 .Ufc8 and this position is not clear at all to me. c2) More conventional and probably better is a slow move like 13 ... tfJh 7, with similar pl ay as in the main g ame. After th at long but very important digression, we return to 12 'i!Vf3 . 12 tfJg6 13 tzJfs ...

13 @hs This position is not so easy to h andle for Black. The knight on f5 is quite a nuisance, but it's not advisable to take it immediately or at any point where White's queen is able to re­ capture. Let's h ave a look anyway, though: 13 ... .i.xf5 ? (the question m ark is a bit strong, but after this move Black is just suffering) 14 'i!Vxf5 CiJh4 1 5 'i!Vh 3 tfJg 6 16 'ii'f3 CiJh4 17 'ii'e 2 tfJg 6. Bl ack's play does not look very in spiring, but what active play does he h ave? In fact, after ...

1 85

Op e n i n g R ep e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

taking on fs I think the play is just very one-sided. Black's only active move ( . . .fs) is h ard to realize and it's even question able if it achieves anything positive. White, on the other hand, has all the time in the world to slowly improve on the king side. Ideas like f2-f3, g2-g3, and placin g the rooks on the f- and g-files come to mind. While Black is solid, h e has no positive pl ay and can only await the further course White will dictate. One brutal example con­ cluded 18 g 3 l:te8 19 a4 if as 20 i.d2 l:te7 2 1 f3 t!.ae8 2 2 'ifg 2 @h 8 2 3 @h 1 tt:Jf8 24 l:tg 1 tt:J6h 7 2 S f4 exf4? (this loses by force; Black had to keep the position closed) 26 gxf4 f6 2 7 es fxe s 2 8 fxe s dxe s 29 i.xh 6 g s 30 i.xg s tt:Jxg s 3 1 'ifxg s tt:Jh 7 3 2 i.xh 7 and Black resigned in E.Tom ashevsky-B.Michiels, Legnica 2013. The g am e A.Yusupov-V. Epishin, Dortmund 1994, featured in stead 13 ...l:te8. The strategy used in this g am e is very similar to the one used in the m ain g ame, but I think th at 13 ... @h 8 h as more point compared to 13 ... l:te8, as the rook returns to f8 soon . N evertheless, let's study thi s cl assic game to understand the strategy better. After 14 l:tb1 l:tb8 1 S g3 (of course, White h as m any moves h ere; once again, exact move orders are less important here, but the black set-up is worth remembering) 1s ... tt:Jh 7 (necessary to prepare the next move) 16 h4 tt:Je7 ! the point becam e clear.

Black ch allenges the knight with his own knight and intends to exchange, ch anging the pawn structure. Following 17 tt:Je3 l:tf8 18 tt:Jfs (it is slightly strange to return immediately, but thi s way we get to see the critical pawn structure after the capture; after slow pl ay like 18 i.d2, Bl ack should go 18 ... i.h 3 19 l:tfe1 i.d7 with the idea of ... 'ifc8 and .. .fs in an even but complicated position) 18 ... tt:Jxfs 19 exfs l:te8 Black prepares ... e S-e4 at the right moment. The change of the pawn structure is unfavourable for White, who now h as problems playing for a good pawn lever. Moving the g - or h-pawn is h ard to accompli sh or simply pointless, which leaves f2-f4, which would open the e-file for Black's rook and is also hard to prepare. After 20 i.e4? ! Uust keeping the status quo with a move like 20 i.c2 is okay and about equal) Bl ack h as:


Nimzo-lndia n : Hubner Variation, 4 e3 o-o 5 il.d3 cs 6 ti'Jf3 ti'Jc6 7 o-o il.xc3 8 bxc3 d6

a) The straightforward approach 20 ... ti'Jf6 ! ? was interesting and possibly best: for exam­ pl e, 2 1 il.c2 (White must retreat, otherwise Black takes on e4 and pl ays ...'iWf6, winning a pawn, as shown by 2 1 il.e3 ti'Jxe4 2 2 �xe4 �f6 and White needs to give up a crucial pawn) 21...e4 22 �f4 �as 23 �xd6 i.. xfs 24 .i.e3 b6 and Black is in excellent sh ape. b} That sharp line was not n ecessary though, as the g am e move 20 ... il.d7 was fine as well. After 2 1 @g 2 (White prepares king side play with .l:1h 1 and g4-g S, but Bl ack's counter­ pl ay is quicker) 2 1...bS 22 .i::th 1 (if White takes with 22 cxbs, the isol ated state of the dS­ pawn is the problem; after 2 2 ... i.. xbS 2 3 .i::th 1 ti'Jf6 going ... i.. c4 followed by a queen tran sfer to as or to b7 in some cases gives Bl ack too much on the queen side, as shown by 24 g4 �as 2s gs ti'Jxe4 26 �xe4 �xa2 27 Itb2 �c4 and Black wins) 22 ... ti'Jf6 23 g4 �as 24 gs ti'Jxe4 2 s �xe4 h S ! (a cl assy and very hum an defen sive move; Black could h ave grabbed som e pawn s, but this just holds the fort on the king side} 26 cxbs �xc3 2 7 a4 �d4 2 8 f3 a6 29 i.. e 3 �xe4 30 fxe4 axbs 3 1 axb s i.. xbs 32 @f3 i.. d 3 and Epishin won l ater in the endgame. This is an excellent display of Black's chances and well worth studying. It is very important to not take on fs when White is able to recapture with the queen and Epishin's set-up (knights on h 7 and e7) is the key one h ere. Returning to Antic's 13 ... @h 8 : 14 @h1 Of course, not forced, but Black's play is pretty much identical whichever slow move White plays. 14 ... ti'Jh71 Intending ... ti'Je7. 15 g3 �f61? 1 s ... ti'Je7 was fine as well. 16 'iYhs Alternatively, 16 �g 2 i.. d 7 17 .i::tb 1 b6 18 f4 .i::t a e8 is a typically complicated struggle with chances for both sides. 187

Op e n i n g R e p e r t o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

1 6... i.. d 7 1 7 .ie3 l:!.ae8 18 l:!.fb1?! Around here White starts to go astray. 18 a4! ? is still equal I think. 18 ... ..tcs 19 ..tf1 tfJe7

20 tfJxe7 After this Bl ack quickly takes over the g ame, but 20 tfJh4 g s 2 1 tfJg 2 �g7 also looks fine for him. 20 ...�xe1 21 ..tg2 f5 22 exf5 ..txf5 This is the scenario Bl ack is playing for. He h as the useful f-file and long-term targets in the c-pawn s. 23 .:!.el .id3 24 ..tf1? Now the weak light squares prove decisive. 24 ...tfJf6 25 �h4 ..txfl 26 l:!.xf1 �f7 27 l:!.ab1 b6 28 f4 �g6 29 fxe5 29 fS �g4 was tougher, but still probably lost in the long run . 29 ...l:!.xe5 29 ... tfJg4! al so won quickly. 30 l:!.bel I:.e4 31 ..tf4 l:!.fe8 32 l:!.xe4 �xe4+ 33 @g1 �xc4 34 �h3 �xc3 35 ..txh6 @gs 36 �h4 l:!.e1 37 ..tg5 l:!.xf1+ 38 @xf1 �f3+ 39 @e1 tfJxd5 40 i.. d 2 tfJf6 41 �c4+ d5 42 �a6 �h1+ 0-1 Summary The Hubner m ain line with an early e4 has always enjoyed a good reputation for Bl ack. It is a reliable defence with ch ances to win if White overpresses or misjudges the often subtle m anoeuvres. The most dangerous lines for Bl ack are the slow ones like 13 �f3 or 12 g 3 . They don't lead t o any theoretical edge fo r White, but they keep all the pieces o n the board for a full-scale battle at a later stage. In comparison, the classic 12 f4 seem s to fix the pawn structure too early and is even easier to h andle for Black. Flexibility is often key and therefore it is no wonder th at delaying or omitting e3-e4 for some tim e h as become the more popular option. This is an alysed in the following two games. 188

Nimzo-ln dian : Hubner Variation, 4 e3 0-0 5 i.d3 cs 6 tfJf3 tfJc6 7 o-o i.xc3 8 bxc3 d6

Game 1 9


Ka rpos O p e n , S ko pje 2014

1 d4 tfJf6 2 c4 e6 3 tfJc3 i.. b4 4 e3 o-o 5 .id3 cs 6 tfJf3 tfJc6 7 o-o i..x c3 8 bxc3 d6 9 tfJd2 This is the most popular move if White avoids the old m ain line of 9 e4. H ere White re­ tains more flexibility than after 9 e4. H e keeps the option open to pl ay e3-e4 l ater, but in­ troduces th e possibility of playing f2-f4 for a full-scale pawn advance. An additional idea connected to 9 tfJd2 is to play with the pieces in the centre, tfJe4 and 'i\Vf3 being key moves. As m entioned above, White has played a plethora of moves h ere besides 9 e4 and 9 tfJd2. Let's examine the most important ones: a) Easiest to deal with is 9 dS, as 9 ... tfJe7 10 e4 e s just leads to 9 e4 by tran sposition . For both sides, there are no sensible deviations. b) A surprisingly popular move is 9 tfJg S ! ?, which frees the f-pawn and possibly will help win a tempo with a subsequent 'i\Vc2.

The knight will often drop back to e4, which is similar to the route tfJd2-e4. I suggest h andling this approach in a very straightforward fashion with 9 ...h6. Of course, 9 ... e s and 9 ... b6 are playable as well, but I think forcin g the knight exch ang e is a simple solution . If you don't go ...h 6 now, White might go f2-f4 and retreat to f3 after a l ater ... h6. After 9 ... h 6 : b i ) 1 0 f4? ! hxg s 11 fxg s tfJd7 12 'iVh s f s 13 .l::tf3 'iii'e 8 1 4 'tin4 tfJde S ! (Ivan Sokolov's 14 ... 'iii'g 6 ? is worse due to 1S .l:!.h 3 es 16 i.. e 2 ! and Black needs to be precise to obtain even a draw) 1 S dxes tfJxes 16 .l::t g 3 b6 and Black is better. b2) 10 tfJe4 tfJxe4 11 Jl.xe4 tfJas (the point, attackin g the weakest spot immedi ately) 12 'i!Ve2 'i//c 7 13 il.d3 b6 14 dS i.. a 6 1 S e4 J:tae8 and Black was already slightly the more com ­ fortable in R.Vogel-M.Steinbacher, Germ an League 1987. c) White h as al so tried 9 'i\Vc2, which often tran sposes to 9 tfJd2, but there are a number 1 89

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

of independent ideas after 9 ... e s : c l ) 1 0 tll g s h 6 11 tllh 7 ( 1 1 tll e 4 tllx e4 12 .i.xe4 is basically the sam e position, only with Black's kin g still being on g8) 11 ... tll xh 7 12 .i.xh 7+ @h 8 13 .i.e4 and h ere Black h as various moves, but I like a set-up with 13 ... tll e 7 to cover the ds-square. Bl ack might try ... .l::!.b 8, .. b6 and .. .fs as an active pl an if White pl ays slowly. c2) A similar idea is 10 dxcs dxcs 11 tllg s h6 12 tll e 4 when again Bl ack h as some possi­ bilities, but besides solid set-ups like 12 ... tll x e4 13 .i.xe4 tll e 7, there is also is 13 ... .i.e6 14 .l::!. d 1 'iWas, which is a new move given by Houdini. After, for instance, 1S .l:i.b1 'iWa6 16 .i.ds tll a s 17 e4 .l::!. a d8 Black is completely fine. c3) 10 ds is played most of the time. After 10 ... tll e 7 the only sen sible plan for White is to free the f-pawn . Quite often this is done by 11 tll d 2, which is discussed in the main g am e via th e move order 9 tll d 2 es 1 0 ds tll e 7 11 'iWc2 . White h as al so tried: c3 1) 11 tll e 1 h6 (or even Houdini's 11 ... e4! ? 12 .i.xe4 tll x e4 13 �xe4 tll g 6 with compen­ sation) when White m ay play a slow move or strike prem aturely with 1 2 f4? ! exf4 13 exf4 b s ! 14 cxb s a6, with g ood play for Black c32) The more aggressive-looking 11 tllh 4?? h as been played 13 times in the Mega Da­ tabase, even with some GMs on the white side.

It is just a blunder though: 11 ... e4! 12 i.. x e4 tll x e4 13 'iWxe4 g s and Black was winning in E.Berisha-0. Romanishin, Zinnowitz 1972. Amazingly, out of those 13 g ames with 11 tllh 4, this was the only one where Bl ack pl ayed the refutation . d) After 9 .l::!.b 1 e s White h as nothing better than 10 tll d 2, transposing to 9 tlld 2 e s 10 .l:i.b1, which is examined in G am e 20. e) It's a similar story with 9 .l::!. e 1 e s 10 tll d 2, which is al so examined via 9 tlld 2 e s 10 .l:i.e1 in G am e 20. f) 9 h3 is also tran spositional OT just h armless: 9 ... e S 10 tiJd2 transposes to 9 tiJd2 e S 10 h 3 , as again dealt with in Game 20, while 10 e4 leads back to g e4 (Game 17). We now return to 9 tll d 2 : 190

Nimzo-lndia n : Hubner Va riation, 4 e3 o-o 5 il.. d3 cs 6 tiJf3 tiJc6 7 o-o il.. x c3 8 bxc3 d6 9 es ...

It needs to be m entioned that Bl ack also h as 9 ...b6 here. This is not bad at all, but one problem with this approach is th at White al so can start with countless other moves like 9 .:e1, 9 .l:Ibl, 9 h 3 , 9 �c2, etc, as shown above. Again st these the best move is 9 ... es, after which White goes 10 tiJd2 and we transpose to 9 tiJd2 es anyway. So m astering the strate­ gies rel ated to 9 ... es is the most universal approach . It also leads to fascinating positions, so there is no need to avoid 9 ... es h ere. 10 d 5

Thi s is the most popul ar move, but most likely not the most dang erous fo r Black. I t is my impression th at by quickly deciding on the central structure with 10 ds, White in some ways m akes it easier for Black, as h e can adjust his piece placement accordin gly. Therefore White h as developed a more flexible approach that I call the 'Waitin g G ame', where h e pl ays useful moves, but does not commit t o a specific plan . Related moves t o that approach are 10 l:tbl, 10 .l:i.el and 10 h 3 . All those moves and the g eneral concept behind them are examined in the following G am e 20. White has al so tried some non-transpositional moves h ere: a) 10 tiJe4 fi ghts for the light squares e4 and ds in the centre. However, Bl ack h as a very reliable and concrete way to equalize in 10 ... il..fs (of course 10 ... b6 is al so possible, but 10 ... il..fs is simpler) and here: al) White h as the tactical shot 11 tiJxc s ! ?, but after 11...e4 12 tiJxb7 �c7 13 tiJxd6 �xd6 the resulting position with three pawn s for a piece shouldn't worry Black. The g am e S. Bogner-M. Kl auser, Swiss League 2 0 1 3 , continued 1 4 il.. e 2 .l:!.ab8 l S cs �c7 16 il.. d 2 .l:!.fd8 1 7 c 4 and now 17 . . .tiJb4 would h ave kept m atters unclear. a2) The more obvious choice for White is 11 tiJg 3, after which 11 ... il.. x d3 12 �xd3 .l:!.e8 13 f3 (13 dS e4 is again a good option : for example, 14 tlJxe4 ttJes ! ? l S tiJxf6+ 'iHxf6 16 �e2 ·�g 6 17 f3 �d3 and Black is fine as c4 will fall) 13 ... exd4 14 cxd4 dS (in J .Tella-T.Salo, Finnish League 1999, Bl ack went for 14 ... cxd4? ! which turned out to activate White's bishop too 191

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

much : 1 5 exd4 dS 16 cs b6 17 .tg s h 6 18 .tf4 .l:!.e6 19 lL\fs and White was too active for my taste) 1 5 cxds (15 dxcs lL\e s is fine for Black) 1 5 ...'ii'x ds leaves White's centre lookin g like a good target for Black's pieces. a3) There also is the forcin g 11 lL\xf6+ iVxf6 12 e4 .td7 13 ds lL\e7. In general Black does not mind this piece trade. He h as less space, so the knight exchange is welcome. The struc­ ture is familiar, so here is just one example: 14 'iVh s h6 15 l:!.bl b6 16 g 3 'ii'g 6 17 'iWxg 6 lL\xg 6 18 @g 2 fs.

Here Black was comfortable in l .Zaja-A. Delchev, Zadar 2007. In the long term, White's pawn weaknesses on the queenside will become an important factor and overall 10 lL\e4 is not a particular dangerous move. b) White has also tried the somewhat clum sy-looking 10 lL\b3 when I suggest 10 ... e4 (there is 10 ... b6 too, which i s perfectly playable) 11 i.e2 b6 1 2 .td2 lL\e7 (typically creative pl ay by Tony Miles, but, of course, Black has a wide ran g e of options) 13 @h 1 lL\fs 14 .tel fie? with comfortable play in L.Portisch-A.Miles, Niksic 1983. The whole line with 10 lL\b3 is out of fashion these days as it does not put Black under any pressure. c) A somewh at strange-looking idea is 10 .tb2, but it h as been played by some strong players like Rashkovsky and N ajdorf: 10 ...h 6 (obviously not the only move; Black also h as 10 ... .l:!.e8 to introduce the ... e S-e4 idea when 11 dS sees Black's rook misplaced, but what about the bi shop on b2?) 11 ti.el .l:!.e8 12 f3 b6 13 liJfl? ! e4 14 fxe4 lL\xe4 and Black was comfortably placed in M.Najdorf-L.Szabo, Palma de Mallorca 1969. I think 10 .tb2 is mostly pl ayed by pl ayers who want to cover d4, not being aware th at Black n ever takes the pawn after better moves like 10 for example. This is also discussed in the following g ame. Returning to 10 dS: 10 lL\e7 11 fic2 This is the most testing. White increases his control over fS and prepares f2-f4. It is worth noting that 11 f4? ! is mistimed as it allows 11 ... exf4 12 exf4 .tfs ! . •••

1 92

Nimzo-ln dian : Hubner Va riation, 4 e3 o-o 5 j)_d3 cs 6 'Df3 tbc6 7 o-o j)_xc3 8 bxc3 d6

White usually plays �c2 to prevent this trade. H ere Black already has a distinct advan­ tage: for example, after 13 'Df3 �d7 14 �c2 j)_xd3 1 5 �xd3 �fs 16 �xfs 'Dxfs 17 .td2 .l:f.fe8 18 l:tae1 hS Black had a dream endgame in M.Urosevic-M.Tosic, Pirot 2004. It is very likely that c4 and ds will fall rather quickly. Yet another transposition is 11 e4, which normally arises from 9 e4 es 10 ds 'De7 1 1 'bd2 and is discussed via that move order. In stead, an independent try is 11 f3, after which I like the direct 11 ... 'be8 best. Bl ack quickly goes for .. .f7-f5 and obtained a fine position following 12 e4 h 6 ! (12 .. .fs 13 exfs j)_xfs 14 ..ixfs 'Dxfs 15 CDe4 h 6 16 �d3 �e7 is al so possible, but ... h6 first is even better; it's a useful move anyway and now White didn 't find anything better th an waiting) 13 �f2 fs 14 exfs j)_xfs 15 'De4 'Df6 in M.Abeln- H . H oeksema, Dutch League 2005. I'd also like to m ention m eetin g 11 f3 with 11 ...i..fs ! ?, as this move was chosen in a textbook example for Black's ch ances in the Hubner, J .Pinter-J.Timman, Las Palmas 1982: 12 e4 ..id7 13 �c2 'Dh s 14 g 3 fs 1 5 exfs i.. xfs 16 'De4 h 6 17 i..d 2 �d7 18 .l:i.ae1 i..h 3 19 J:tf2 .l:i.f7 20 �d1 'Df6 2 1 .te3 'Dxe4 2 2 i.xe4 i.fs (the trade of bishops is benefici al for Black; at the end c4 will be even weaker without a bishop to defend it) 2 3 �c2 .l:i.af8 24 .l:i.ef1 i.xe4 25 �xe4 �fs 26 a4? �xe4 27 fxe4 .l::t xf2 28 l:txf2 ? l:txf2 29 'iStxf2.

1 93

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

H ere 29 ... a 5 ! is the key move that fixes a4 and after 3o @e2 lt:Jc8 3 1 'it>d3 lt:Jb6 3 2 h 4 lt:Jxa4 Black won easily. 11 'it>hS!? This is a rare move, but it m akes some sense. Black does not want to commit to any­ thing with a pawn move and just waits for White to do something substantial . Let's h ave a look at the more tested altern atives to get a better picture of the key strategies: a) 11 ... h 6 allows the knight to move and after 12 f4 exf4 13 exf4 g 6 (Black must, of course, prevent f4-f5) 14 h 3 lllf5 (14 ...h 5 ! ? is possible as well when 1 5 f5 .txf5 16 .txf5 lllxf5 17 .l:.xf5 gxf5 18 "iWxf5 "iWe7 is not clear to me at all, but definitely bad is 14 ... �f5 ? 1 5 g 4 .txd3 16 "iWxd3 "iWd7 1 7 f5 ! g xf5 18 lt:Jf3 ! ) 1 5 lt:Jf3 Black h as: ...

al) 1 5 ...h 5 was played in A. N aiditsch-M.Mchedlishvili, I stanbul Olympiad 2012 . Black was okay there, but soon went astray. We should follow the g ame to see wh at to avoid: 16 .td2 .l:!.e8 17 .l:!.fel .td7 18 lllh 2 .l:!.xel+ 19 .l:!.xel "iWf8? (instead, Black had to undertake some1 94

Nimzo-ln dian : Hubner Variation, 4 e3 o-o 5 .i.d3 cs 6 t/jf3 t/jc6 7 o-o .i.xC3 8 bxc3 d6

thing drastic like 19 ... bs 20 cxb s c4 when he still is in the g ame) 20 g4 hxg4 2 1 hxg4 tjj g 7 22 f s and maybe there ways t o hol d o n , but this is exactly what White is aiming for - bring­ ing the bishops into play with f4-fS. Black went down quickly from h ere: 22 ... gxfs 2 3 g xfs .:es 24 llfl flie7 2 s .i.g s flies 26 .i.f4 flie7 27 f/Jg 2 tfjfh s 2 8 .i.d2 f/Jh4 29 f6 .i.h 3 30 f/Jf2 tfjg 3 31 lle1 llxe1+ 3 2 f/Jxe1 .i.fs 3 3 .i.xfs t/j7xfs 34 'i!We8+ Wh 7 3 S "ilkxf7+ Wh 8 36 "il:Ve8+ and it was over. a2) I suggest the simpler 1s ... tfjg 3 ! ? 16 lle1 .i.fs 17 i.. xfs gxfs ! with a fine position for Bl ack. The knight will be excellent on e4, but 17 ... t/jxfs ? 18 g4 t/jg 7 19 fs would see White's idea being realized and leave Black suffocatin g . b ) I don't like the popular 11 . . . 9 6 ? ! due t o 12 e 4 ! and in this closed structure . . . g 6 is not a move you want to have played. Note that the dark squares will become a problem when Bl ack pl ays .. .fs l ater and White is ready for the reply f4 to open up the position, especially for the unopposed dark-squared bishop. This piece will benefit immen sely from ... g6. c) The most popular move is 11...t/jg 6, which does, indeed, make a solid impression . Fol­ lowing 12 f4? ! {principled, but probably something slower like 12 f3 offers more chances; here 12 ...t/jh S is, of course, al so decent for Black and this is just the kind of battle that fre­ quently arises in the Hubner) 12 ... tfjg4 13 t/jf3 fs 14 h3 e4 1S hxg4 exd3 16 'i!Wxd3 fxg4 17 �g s f/Je8 Black is already for choice. d) A very sen sible move for Black is 11 ... i.. d 7. As we will see in the coming moves and in Gam e 20 in particular, it i s very often useful for Black to have his bishop on d7, supportin g ... bs o r allowing . . ."i!:Vc8. Play will be very similar t o the m ain g ame. We can conclude that on move 11 there are some good alternatives for Bl ack to the game move, indicating that despite its popul arity, the move 10 dS is not very critical .

12 llb1

Delaying any action for the mom ent and playing a useful move. Note that not only is Bl ack now tied to b7 with his bishop, but al so th at possible counterplay with ...b s is m ore difficult to achieve. 195

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

Alternatively: a) 12 f4 exf4 13 exf4 g6 (13 ... b 5 ! ? 14 cxb5 tt:\exd5 is also interesting) 14 h3 (14 f5 ? .i.xf5 15 i.xf5 tt:\xf5 16 .l:f.xf5 g xf5 17 'iVxf5 'iVe7 was not sufficient in Z.Golubovic-Y.Seirawan, Nis 1979) 14 ... .i.f5 (14 ... tt:\f5 is al so perfectly playable - see the note to move 13, below, for this position with .l:r.b1 and ....l:r.b8 inserted) 15 g4 .i.xd3 16 'iVxd3 'iVd7 and Bl ack is okay. H e can even go for ... h 5 to undermine the g4-pawn . Another plan is .. .lfae8, ... tt:\eg 8, ... .l:f.e7 and ... .!:!.fe8, doubling on the e-file. Note that ... @h 8 is a much better move in this position th an ...h 6 (remember Naiditsch-Mch edlishvili), as here 17 f5 ? gxf5 is pointless because there is nothing to attack on h 6 and ... l:!.g8 is comin g . b) 12 h 3 and now: bl) In H . H emandez Carmenates-A. Horvath, Madrid 2012, 12 ... tt:\e8 was played and Black got into some trouble after 13 f4 exf4 14 exf4 f5 ?.

This is the type of structure th at Black needs to avoid at almost all costs. White will be quicker on the e-file, has a possible g 2 -g4 break for later, and Black has zero play. In stead, 14 ... b5 wasn't great, but anything is better th an 14 .. .f5, after which 15 tt:\f3 tt:\f6 16 .i.d2 tt:\h 5 17 .!:!.ae1 g 6 18 tt:\g 5 gave White a clear advantage. b2) 12 ... i.. d 7 is better, just like in the line 13 h 3 .i.d7, examined below. 12 .!:!.bS 12 ... b6 was al so possible, of course. 13 f4 After this Bl ack is in good shape. White h ad m any better ways to continue with a slow move. Indeed, 13 h3 is often a useful move to prepare f2-f4, as a later g 2-g4 prevents piece trades on f5 . After 13 ... .i.d7 White can try: a) 14 f4? ! exf4 1 5 exf4 b 5 ! (15 ... g 6 ? 16 g4! shows the point of h3) 16 cxb 5 tt:\exd5 17 tt:\f3 'i'c8 18 'ilfb3 c4 19 'ilfxc4 (and not 19 .i.xc4? .i.xb 5 ! ) 19 ...'iVxc4 20 .i.xc4 .l:r.fc8 2 1 .i.xd5 tt:\xd5 and Black is slightly better. b) I h ad the idea 14 a4 'i'c8 ! ? to support ... .i.f5 . ...


Nimzo-lndian : Hubner Variation, 4 e3 0-0 5 .1ld3 cs 6 ti:Jf3 0ic6 7 0-0 .1lxc3 8 bxc3 d6

However, when I checked it with Komodo, it even g ave ... 0ifS-h4 in some lines; I don't think I 've ever seen this in the Hubner before. Following 15 as (15 f4 exf4 16 exf4 i..fs 17 g4 j;_xg4 18 hxg4 �xg4+ 19 'it>h 2 �4+ is a perpetual) 1s ... 0if5 ! ? (15 ... i..fs was my original idea and after 16 i.. xfs �xfs 17 e4 �d7 18 0if3 0ig6 Black is fine) 16 0if3 you can play any norm al move or the crazy computer line 16 ... e4 17 i.. x e4 0ixe4 18 'iWxe4 0ig 3 19 fxg 3 i..fs 20 �f4 .11.. xbl 2 1 �xd6, which is supposed to be equal according to my three silicon friends. It's hard, though, to come to a definite conclusion about specific lines in these types of po­ sition ; both sides have a wide range of m anoeuvres avail able. 13 exf4 14 exf4 g6 Now 14 ... b s ? is unconvincing, although ... bs was possible without .lab1 and ... .lab8 in­ serted (see above; as usual White g ain s from .lab1, which is also a reason why I reg ard an early l:tbl as essential in the Waiting G am e of Gam e 20), and after 1 5 0ie4 0ixe4 16 .11.. x e4 a6 17 a4 White is much better. 15 0if3 We shoul d al so con sider: a) 15 h3 and here: al) 15 ... .11..fs ? ! 16 g4 .11.. x d3 17 �xd3 �d7. We have already seen this position without the inclusion of the rook moves in the notes to 1 2 f4. The rook moves give White an addition al .:::!.b 2-g 2/h 2 option, which helps him and m akes Bl ack's position look somewh at shaky. It might not be that bad, but I would rather avoid this line. H ere 18 0if3 0ieg 8 (18 ...h S ? ! 19 fS ! hxg4 20 0ih4 is very scary) 19 .i:::tb 2 .i:::tb e8 20 0ih 2 0ie4 2 1 fs is a possible continuation . As mentioned, Bl ack is not lost h ere, but if possible I would rather prevent f4-f5 if I can . a2) 1 s ...h s allows 16 fs ! ? i.. xfs 17 i.. xfs ti:Jxfs 18 .i:::txfs gxfs 19 �xfs �e7 20 0if3 0ih 7 and now both 2 1 i.. g s and 2 1 .1;,.f4 give White dang erous compen sation . a3) 1 5 ... ti:Jfs ! is best here, and if 16 0if3 0ig3 (16 ...h s is al so reliable) 17 .lae1 .11..fs 18 .ixfs gxfs ! . ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i re : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

With ... tt:Jfe4 t o come, Bl ack is i n g ood shape. b) 15 fs ? ! .i.xfs 16 tt:Jf3 (16 .i.xfs ? tt:Jxfs 17 J::t xfs gxfs 18 'ii'xfs 'ii'e 7 is not enough, just as in the similar line startin g with 12 f4) 16 ... .ixd3 17 �xd3 'ii'd 7. White has some compen sa­ tion for the pawn here, but ... tt:Jeg 8 and movin g the rooks to the e-file is a good set-up for Bl ack. I don 't think it is enough for White. 1s ... .i.fs 16 tZ'ih4 H ere 16 .i.xfs ? tt:Jxfs is already very bad for White as his bishop is dead. Black will keep the pawn on f4 forever here as h 3 , g4 and fs is not going to work. Instead, 16 h 3 h s ! (not 16 ... 'YWd7? ! 17 g4 .i.xd3 18 'ii'x d3, leading us to the tricky note 'a1' to White's 1 5th move, above) 17 tZ'ih4 'ii'd 7 ! (17 ... .i.xd3? 18 'ii'x d3 and f4-f5 will win for White) 18 tt:Jxfs tt:Jxfs 19 .i.d2 J::tfe8 demon strates a blockading strategy we will al so see in the g ame. Bl ack is perfectly okay here and m aybe his position is even the easier to play. 16 ..'ii'd 7! .


Nimzo-lndia n : Hubner Va riation, 4 e3 o-o 5 .i.. d3 cs 6 'bf3 tbc6 7 o-o .i.. xc3 8 bxc3 d6

Keeping the blockade intact. 11 'bxf5 Not 17 h 3 ? .ixd3 18 'iWxd3 'bfs 19 'bf3 'bg3 (19 ...h s gets hit by the irritatin g computer move 20 g4 hxg4 21 'bes, which is quite unbelievable; at least you know that your oppo­ nent is cheating if this is dropped on you and in this total mess, 21 ... dxes 22 fxe s 'bg 8 2 3 hxg4 'bfh 6 24 l::tb 2 leads t o a draw i f you believe the engines) 20 l::t e l 'bfh s and Bl ack is bet­ ter here. 11 ... 'bxf5 A rare case where two knights are not worse than two bishops. Black has set up a very reliable blockade that secures him equal chances. Overall, it is very difficult for both sides to make any progress. 18 .id2 l::tfe8 19 l::tfel 'iit> g 7 20 'iWb3 b6 2 1 'iWc2 'bh4 22 h 3 h5 23 l:i.xe8 l::tx e8 24 l::t e 1 l::tx el+ 2 5 l.xe1 'bf5 The rook trades were tough to avoid. It is still equal, but not a dead position, as we will see. 2 6 'iWe2 26 i.f2 foll owed by @h 2 was safer to avoid ... 'bg 3 . White is the one needing to be care­ ful . 26 ... h4 27 .if2 'bg3

It g ets very tricky now for White. Black will invade and knight and queen are notoriously dangerous. 28 i.xg3 hxg3 29 'iWe3 'iWa4 30 'ifxg3 'fWd1+ 31 'it>h2 i¥d2 32 f5 'bh5 33 'iWf3 'iWf4+ A very interestin g mom ent. Black enters the minor piece endg ame a pawn down, but he will get it back soon . 34 'iWxf4 'bxf4 3 5 i.f1 If 3 S .ic2 g s with ... 'be2-c3 to come. This is equal, but the gam e move is no mistake. 35 ... gxf5 36 'iit> g 3 'bh5+ 3 7 @h4 'iit> h 6 38 g3 1 99

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n di a n

3 8 g4 fxg4 39 @xg4 @g 6 40 i.. d 3+ @h 6 4 1 @fs @g7 4 2 @g s tt:Jf6 4 3 h 4 tt:Jg 8 44 a 3 tt:Je7 4S hS f6+ is a plausible road to a draw, whereas in the g am e it is more problematic. 38 ... tlJf6 39 i.. d 3 tt:Jd7 40 i..xfs tt:Jes 41 g4 tt:Jxc4 42 gs+ @g7 43 i.. d 3 tt:Ja 3 44 i.. a 6 c4 4S @g4 tt:Jb1 46 i..xc4 tt:Jxc3 47 h4 bs 48 i.. d 3 b4 49 hs tt:Jxa2 so h6+ @g8 s1 @fs tt:Jc3 s2 g6 fxg6+ S 3 @e6 @ h 7 s4 @xd6 @xh6 s s 'it>cs tt:Jxd s S6 'it>xd s

This is now a total draw, but only an easy one for a non -biological entity. Over the board, with limited time, this could be a nightm are. S6 ... gs S7 @e4? White draws with a sequence of only moves: S7 @c4 as S8 i.. e 2 @g 7 S9 @b3 @f6 60 @a4 @es 61 i.. d 1 @d4 62 @xas @c3 63 @a4 and it's a draw. s1 ... @hs S8 i.. e 2+ @h4 sg @fs b3 60 i..c4 b2 61 i.. a 2 g4 62 @f4 g3 0-1 Summary As m entioned before, the line 9 tt:Jd2 e s 10 ds is the most popul ar continuation for White when he avoids 9 e4. The early commitment in the centre allows Black to set up his posi­ tion harmoniously to deal with White's plan of f2-f4. Blockading on the light squares is an essential strategy to avoid the activation of White's unopposed dark-squared bishop. In the examined g ame this worked perfectly, but more dangerous approaches by White are ex­ amined in the following g ame.

Game 20

G.Va n der Stricht-C.Sielecki

B e l gi a n Leag u e 2014

1 d4 tt:Jf6 2 C4 e6 3 tlJc3 i.. b 4 4 e3 o-o S i.. d 3 cs 6 tt:Jf3 tt:Jc6 7 0-0 i.. xc3 8 bxc3 d6 9 tt:Jd2 Don't worry when you are confused by the move orders presented h ere: I will formul ate 2 00

Nimzo-ln dia n : Hubner Variation, 4 e3 o-o 5 ii.. d3 cs 6 CiJf3 tfJc6 7 o-o ii.. xc3 8 bxc3 d6

some rules of thumb to guide you - and remember, it's just as tricky for the white player. The move order issues start right h ere. As well as the text, White can start with one of the 'Waiting g ame' moves: 9 l:te1, 9 h 3 , or 9 J::rb 1, but they will all tran spose after 9 ... es 10 -'.:J d2, which leads to the m ain g ame. 9 es ...

It is my impression th at by quickly deciding on the central structure with 10 ds, White m akes m atters easier for Black, as we h ave seen in Henrich s-Berkes {Gam e 19). By commit­ ting to d4-d5 so early, White's only dang erous plan is the one tried by Henrich s: 'i!Yc2 and f4, expandin g on the king side and tryin g to suffocate Black on that side of the board. Bl ack just needs to keep the blockade of the ts-square to avoid th at scen ario. Now let's switch our attention to wh at I call the 'Waiting Game' approach . With this approach White will not determine the pawn structure right away, but will make improv­ ing moves first and only alter the structure if he feel s the circum stances have ch anged fa­ vourably. So wh at happen s is th at on every move Black needs to con sider if his respon se fits all the possible structural changes that the white player might force. So what are White's structural changes and plans th at we need to be aware of? There are a couple: Plan A: Going for an improved version of H enrichs-Berkes. In my opinion this is the most dangerous plan th at Bl ack needs to be aware of. If White m anages to initiate this plan un­ der favourable circum stances, he will prevent the blockade on fs and be better.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

This diagram shows a typical position for Plan A . Note that useful moves for White to play before going ds are l::!.b 1 (looking at b7, hindering ... bs and preparing l::!.b 2 to switch to the king side - again see G ame 19), 'ii'c 2 (controlling fs) and h3 (supporting g4 l ater). Whenever White pl ays one of those moves, Bl ack shoul d reply with something th at is use­ ful in case White initiates action in this direction. PLAN B: White can go for f2-f4 without closing the centre first. This initiates very sharp play in the centre, often involving sacrifices. Note th at with the Waiting G am e moves, White is offering the d4-pawn continuously, but Bl ack is reluctant to take it as then the white bishops will come to life very quickly. After f4, Black should often con sider taking on d4, but whether he will very much depends on the concrete position.

Here we see a typical Scenario for Plan B. We will see a couple of versions of it over the coming lines and in the m ain g ame. The f2-f4 pl an is often prepared by moves like .l:!.b1 (here enabling a possible exchange sacrifice on b4 - more on that l ater), h 3 (controlling 202

Nimzo-lndian: Hubner Variation, 4 e3 o-o 5 .i.d3 cs 6 tDf3 t?Jc6 7 o-o .i.xc3 8 bxc3 d6

g4), .l:!.el (so that after ... exd4, exd4 the rook is on an open fil e) and �c2 (setting up the bat­ tery ag ainst h7). Note too that only l:tel does not fit into both plan s. Plan C : White closes the centre with dS and then follows up with e4, setting up a centre th at is usually reached via the traditional 9 e4. This plan comes into con sideration if Black has pl ayed a move th at does not fit into this structure. Indeed, it is quite typical for White to go for it when Bl ack has played ... .l:!.e8, as the rook is better off on f8 in the closed centre. The loss of tim e might not look significant in this closed position, but White often m anages to use the tim e to good effect by playing tDf1-g 3 (e3) and �c2 to prevent .. .fs - and without the freeing pawn breaks, Black does not h ave much fun . Note that in case of White h aving played �c2, the closing of the centre might allow Bl ack to go ... t?Jh s . To back this up with sample moves: 10 .l:!.el .l:!.e8 ? ! 11 dS ! is much worse compared to 10 �c2 �d7 11 .l:!.e1 .l:!.e8, as after 11...t?Je7, ... t?Jh s is possible next. Another and even more problem atic scenario is Black having played a mistimed ... g6, which weakens the dark squares considerably. One sequence to illustrate that is 10 dS t?Je7 11 �c2 g 6 ? ! 12 e4! , as was mentioned in Gam e 19. Plan D: White goes for t?Je4, trying to exploit the central squares with pieces. This is usually not th at dangerous, but h as to be taken into account. Play will very often become concrete if Black is able to respond with ... .i.fs. In fact we h ad a look already at the immedi­ ate 10 t?Je4 in Gam e 19 where 10 ... .i.fs was the correct answer. We should al so assess the value of Black's respon ses and set-ups, what to go for, and wh at to avoid. As already m entioned, Black should be wary of the move ....l:!.e8, as it mis­ places this piece in the case of White closing the centre. Th ere n eeds to be a concrete rea­ son for playing it and therefore it shouldn 't be pl ayed early. A move to entirely avoid is ... �e7, which takes away the e7-square from the c6-knight in th e case of ds. Black always wants to place the knight on e7, closer to the kin g side where the action is about to take place. It is wrong on as in nearly all cases, as there is no ch ance ever to win the c-pawn. This leads us to the bishop. It almost invariably should stay on the c8-h 3 diagonal and not go to a6, especially if the centre is closed or White has th at option. The reason is simil ar to the argument again st ... t?Jas: c4 is no target for the mom ent; there are more pressing matters on the kin g side. Black quite often will face the move .l:!.bl at some point. The almost knee-jerk reaction is to pl ay ...b6 to free the bishop on c8 and secure the queenside - I play exactly like that in the g ame. However, when I updated my script with my g ame I noticed th at almost the same thing can be accomplished with the move ... .l:!.b8, which is basically never pl ayed but has some interesting points. I like this idea, so more on it l ater. Another move frequently seen is ... h6 (again, I play this in the m ain g ame). It allows a possible ... t?Jh 7 when the centre is closed an d anticipates the �c2 and .i.d3 battery. H ow­ ever, the move ... h6 does not h elp much to fight Pl an A described above, and we will see in the main gam e th at Black does not need to play ... h6 quickly, but shoul d prioritize other moves, especially ... .i.d7. This ... .i.d7 move looks rather irrelevant at first, but in fact it has


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

significance for Plan A: it prepares ... 'if c8 to control fs and strengthen the blockade on th at square. Lookin g at all those general considerations, we should not forget th at we play a very concrete g ame, so let's now look at some concrete moves. 10 .i::t b 1

This is the most common move here, and for good reason . As described above, .l::tb l is almost universally useful for White in all possible plans, especially for Plan s A and B. In many cases where White goes for one of the other waiting moves, h e will play .J::i.b 1 l ater, so we will tran spose. All these lines are highly transpositional and therefore somewhat tricky to study. It is best to go through them all and look at some more games to increase your feel and knowledge of the arising positions. Then you will be able to find good solutions over the board. Note th at on both 10 li:Je4 and 10 li:Jb3, Bl ack h as an independent an swer that does not rel ate to the Waiting G am e - see Game 19. That leaves: a) A rare start for th e Waiting G am e is 10 h 3, a useful waiting move. Controlling g4 and preparing a later g 2 -g4 is a small improvement, asking Black wh at he intends to do next. As m entioned above, White's play relates to Plan A, so I suggest that Black plays a move that h elps in case White decides to go for that pl an . 10 ... il.d7 is a new move already, al­ though note th at the move order with 10 h 3 is quite rare (I discarded the already tested 10 ... .l::t e 8 and 10 ... 'i!Ve7 due to 11 ds when Black is not optim ally placed for the closed centre; the only interesting alternative is 10 ...h 6, which is simil ar to the main g ame, but 10 ... il.d7 is more precise I think, as expl ained in the notes to move 11, below).

2 04

Nimzo-lndia n : Hubner Variation, 4 e3 o-o 5 il.d3 c5 6 0.f3 0.c6 7 o-o il.xc3 8 bxc3 d6

H ere: a1) 11 l:tb1 b6 leads back to the m ain g am e - notes to m ove 11 (or for 11...l:tb8, see 10 ... .l:tb8, below). a2) 11 l:te1 does not pressurize Black in regards to Plan A. I sugg est waiting with 11...b6. Now 12 f4! ? exf4 1 3 exf4 cxd4 14 cxd4 d5 1 5 cxd5 0.b4 is fine for Black (note that was pos­ sible because l:tb1 h as been omitted). a3) 11 d5 0.e7 1 2 'ifc2 'ii'c 8 sees the key point of the early ... if.. d 7.

Now 13 f4 exf4 14 exf4 .i.f5 is possible. b) White can al so start with 10 l:te1, which is more popul ar than 10 h3. I am afraid again I have to recommend a rare move for Bl ack, but it m akes perfect sense to start with 10 ... if.. d 7 (10 ... .l::t e 8 is again prem ature: 11 d5 0.e7 12 e4 is better for White, as al so assessed by Ivan Sokolov, quoting A.Aleksandrov-R.lbrahimov, Dubai 2005; however, 10 ... b6, as in M.Sadler-5.Tiviakov, Oslo 2011, is a serious alternative to 10 ... if.. d 7) when we have: 2 05

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i re : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

bl) For 11 h 3 b 6 see 1 0 h 3 i.. d 7 11 .l:i.el b6. b2} 11 'i'c2 b6 (note th at the rook is wrong on el for Pl an A) 12 d5 Ci'Je7 13 f4 exf4 14 exf4 g6 and Bl ack will get in ... i..f5 with good play. Note too the line 12 f4 exf4 13 exf4 .l:i.e8 14 i.a3 .l:i.c8 15 d5 Ci'Je7 16 f5 ? b 5 .

This shows typical counterplay i f White mistimes his action s. b3) 11 f4? ! exd4 12 cxd4 cxd4 13 e4 .l:i.e8 doesn't give White serious compensation and now 14 i.a3 i.. g 4 1 5 Ci'Jf3 .l:i.c8 is a logical continuation . b4} Play will most likely transpose after 11 b6 (see the m ain g ame). c) A very rare move is 10 'iYc2, which has little independent significance. Again, 10 ... i.d7 is my favourite move to start with : 11 Ci'Je4 (the only move th at directly relates to 'iVc2) 11...Ci'Jxe4 12 i.xe4 f5 13 i.d5+ Wh 8 and with ... b6 and ...'iVf6 coming, it should be about equal . Returning to 10 10 b6 Black can win a pawn on d4, but it's almost n ever advisable to take it. Accepting the pawn sacrifice gives White excellent compen sation and condemns Black to a defensive po­ sition . Just to show an example why not to grab on d4: 10 ... exd4 11 exd4 cxd4 12 cxd4 Ci'Jxd4 13 Ci'Je4 Ci'Jxe4 14 i.xe4 Ci'Je6 15 'iVh 5 h6 16 i.xh 6 and White quickly crashed through in H . H ermesmann-D.Schlecht, G erman League 1998. Meanwhile, again 10 ...1li'e7 and 10 ... l::t e 8 are not optimal due to 11 d5. When I played this g am e I was still thinking that should always be answered with ...b6. However, when I analysed deeper after the g ame, I h ad the idea to play 10 ....l:i.b8 ! ?. . ..


Nimzo-lndia n : Hubner Variation, 4 e3 o-o 5 .ii. d3 cs 6 tDf3 CiJ c6 7 o-o .ii. xc3 8 bxc3 d6

This has been played only two times, so again the following is mainly analysis. Wh at is the point of ...l::tb 8 instead of ...b6? Well, there are some points to it. Black sometimes goes for ... b5-based counterplay, which is now accelerated. In addition, ...b6 undefends the knight on c6, which is tactically relevant in some lines. It is difficult to analyse all the possi­ ble move order alterations, but I would like to give you an idea where ... l::tb 8 might be bet­ ter th an or different to ... b6: a) 11 CiJe4 CiJxe4 12 .ii.x e4 CiJa5 is now possible. b) 11 d5 tDe7 1 2 'i!Va4 tries to expose a drawback of ... l::tb 8, but 12 ... Ji.d7 ! is possible, as 13 'i!Vxa7 b 5 ! gives Bl ack at least a 'perpetual' on the queen . c) 11 'i!Vc2 .fi.d7 12 d5 (12 f4 exd4 13 cxd4 CiJb4 14 I:txb4! ? cxb4 1 5 e4 b 5 ! i s a line where ... I:tb8 is especially useful) 12 ... CiJe7 13 f4 exf4 14 exf4 g6 is fine for Black who will set up the blockade on f5. d) 1 1 l:tel .fi.d7 12 f4 (12 "i!Vc2 h 6 13 d5 tDe7 14 f4 exf4 1 5 exf4 g 6 is fine once again) 12 ... exd4 13 exd4 cxd4 14 cxd4 d5 ! 1 5 cxd 5 ? ! CiJxd5 16 .ii. xh 7+ 'it>xh 7 17 'i!Vh 5 + 'it>g8 18 'i!Vxd5 .ii. e 6 shows why h aving the c6-knight still defended is useful. e) 11 h 3 .fi.d7 and now:


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

el) 12 l2Je4 .ifs (12 ... l2Jxe4 13 ..txe4 f5 is also possible) 1 3 l2Jxf6+ 'iWxf6 1 4 e 4 ..td7 1 5 ds l2Je7 and Bl ack is okay. Note th at White's pawn on h 3 is not helping him, as it makes it harder to advance on the king side and invites ... l2Jf4 by Black. e2) 12 f4 exd4 13 exd4 (13 cxd4 l2Jb4 14 .l::r xb4 cxb4 15 e4 b S ! needs to be compared with the note to Black's 11th move, below; here the extra move ... .1::1.b 8 gives Black a very substantial advantage and White h as no compen sation for the exch ange) 13 ... cxd4 14 cxd4 d5 1 5 cxd5 l2Jxd5 16 ..txh 7+ @xh 7 17 \ltVh 5+ @g 8 18 'iWxds .i.e6 is again fin e for Bl ack. e3) 12 �c2 h6 (or 12 ... �c8) 13 d5 l2Je7 14 f4 exf4 15 exf4 is almost identical to the line given on move 12 for White (albeit with ....l:!.b8 played instead of ...b6), and h ere Black can play 15 ... bs in one go. e4) 12 d5 lLle7 13 �c2 �c8 14 f4 exf4 1 5 exf4 ..tf5 is a familiar idea by now. Overall, going 10 ... .l::f.b 8 is a nice finesse that I like very much and will test over the board myself if given the chance. 11 h3 Once, ag ain we have a bunch of other moves: a) With 11 d5 l2Je7 12 �c2 White shows his h and: Plan A h as been chosen. The most popular move here is 12 ... g 6 ? ! , as was played by some very strong grandmasters, including lvanchuk, but 13 e4! is better for White.


Nimzo-Jn dia n : Hubner Varia tion, 4 e3 0-0 5 i.d3 cs 6 tbf3 tbc6 7 o-o i.xc3 8 bxc3 d6

Black's knight is deprived of g6 and his dark squares are weak. Correct is instead, 12 ... .i.d7 13 f4 exf4 14 exf4 g 6 . Now the timing is right and Black gets the blockade in. b) 11 .l:te1 .i.d7 12 d5 tbe7 1 3 �c2 �c8 14 f4 exf4 1 5 exf4 J::!. e 8 is fine yet ag ain . c ) 1 1 tbe4 i.f5 (11 . . .tba5 ! ? is also interesting) 12 tbxf6+ �xf6 13 e4 .i.d7 1 4 d5 tb e 7 is slightly worse h ere th an with the pawn already bein g on h 3 , but still okay for Black. d) 11 �c2 is the most frequent alternative to 11 h 3 . H ere 11 ... .i.d7 (11 ... exd4 12 exd4 h 6 is a non-standard solution that g ave Black no problems after 13 tbe4 .i.b7 1 4 J::!. d 1 cxd4 1 5 i.a3 tbxe4 16 .i.xe4 tba5 17 .i.xb7 tbxb7 18 cxd4 �c7 i n R.Edouard-N.Short, lstan bul Olym­ piad 2012) 12 h 3 �c8 tran sposes to the next note to 11 ... h6. 11 h6 This was suggested as best by Ivan Sokolov in The Strategic Nimzo-lndian and at the time when the m ain g am e was played, I al so thought the move to be best. However, now I prefer 11 ... .i.d7, which has been pl ayed quite often, but was viewed as imprecise by Soko­ lov. His argument against it was 12 f4, but let's check why I prefer it now over 11 ... h6. It's again due to Plan A, 12 d5 tbe7 13 �c2 �c8 ! or 12 �c2 �c8 ! . ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

Both allow Black to be in tim e with his blockade on fs. This he does not m anage after 11 ...h 6, as we will see in th e notes to move 12, below. Sokolov's 12 f4 (Plan B), of course, sharpen s the gam e considerably. He gives the line 12 ... exd4 13 cxd4 t'Lib4 14 .l:!.xb4 cxb4 1 5 e4 and concludes that White's centre and bishop­ pair give him more than enough compen sation for the exch ange.

While I agree th at this is interestin g for White, it feels a bit strange to conclude the an alysis at this point. A closer l ook reveals that Black can at least force a draw and objec­ tively even should play for an advantage, though the type of pl ay is probably not to every­ body's liking. Let's look at concrete moves: 1 5 ... bS! is an important point. Black attacks the centre and prepares ... �6: a) The direct 16 es? is impossible: 16 ... dxes 17 dxe s (17 fxe s i.g4 18 hxg4 �xd4+ 19 @h 1 �xd3 is no better) 17 ... i.c6 18 �3 l'Lid7 with a clear advantage for Black. 210

Nimzo-Jndian : Hubner Varia tion, 4 e3 o-o 5 j_d3 cs 6 0if3 tl:Jc6 7 o-o ii.xc3 8 bxC3 d6

b) 16 is cxbs the only playable move, but after 16 ... .t:t.c8 the problem for White is: he l acks one or two moves to get organized, as Black attacks the centre very quickly. The com­ ing complications are fin e for Black, but also tricky to pl ay. In case you are content with a draw you may go 16 ...�6, after which White has nothing better than 17 0ic4!, forcin g a draw: 17 ... �xd4+ 18 .ie3 �c3 and now White has various ways to repeat with attacks on the black queen; even 19 forces 19 ... �d4+ with a draw, as other black tries are too ri sky. After 16 ... .Uc8 White has:

b1) 17 e s ? ! dxe s 18 fxe s (18 dxes ..ll e 6 19 0if3 tl:Jds 20 tl:Jg s h 6 2 1 0ixe6 fxe6 2 2 @h 2 0ic3 2 3 �f3 �d4 is al so in sufficient for White) 18 i.xbs 19 i.xbs �xd4+ 20 @h 1 �xe s 2 1 i.c4 0ie4 22 0ixe4 .Uxc4 and Black is clearly better. b2) 17 Wh 2 is an interesting preparatory move given by the engines. Here 17 ... .Uc3 is a key idea to return the exchange. Bl ack h as more materialistic approaches, but ending all White's attackin g ideas h as to be good. After 18 .t:t.f3 (18 0ib1 .t:!.xd3 19 �xd3 �as is al so comfortable for Bl ack; the weak light squares guarantee him a slight edge) 18 ... .t:!.e8 19 i.b2 l:Ixd3 20 l:Ixd3 lt:Jxe4 Black is slightly for choice. b3) 17 �e2 .t:t.e8 18 es (Black threatened ...0ixe4, so this i s mandatory) 18 ... dxes 19 dxes (19 fxe s is an swered by 19 ... ..ll xbs, stopping the attack, and if 20 .ixbs �xd4+ 2 1 @h 2 .Uxe s 2 2 0,f3 .t:t.xe2 2 3 ll'ixd4 .t:t.xa2; now 24 ll'ic6 enables White to fight on and in fact my analysis goes on quite a bit, but I am not sure if White can hold and, in any case, Black can be very satisfied) 19 ... i.e6 ! 20 i.b2 (20 exf6 .ifs 21 �xe8+ �xe8 22 ..ll xfs .Ud8 is better for Black, as White's pieces don 't coordinate well) 20 ... ..ll x a2 looks very greedy, but it works.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

White's only serious attempt h ere is 21 .i:t.f3 i.ds 2 2 .l:!g 3 g 6 when a key defensive re­ source for Black is .. Jk3: for example, 23 fs .l:!.c3 ! and Bl ack defends successfully the ex­ change up. This l ast line is very complicated, though; hum an s are not computers and defending is tougher than attackin g . However, if you want or need a win badly as Black, th en this is an excellent opening result. If a draw is OK, you m ay al so play 16 ... �6, as shown above. As a third option if you need to avoid a draw and don 't want to defend with g ood chances, I point you to 10 ... .U.b8 to repl ace 10 ...b6. This al so prevents the Sokolov attacking plan , as Black has got the extra move ... .l:!.b8 in (15 ... b s comes in one go). 12 f4?! This is exactly what Sokolov wanted to address with 11...h6, as we will see in the game. However, h ere White h ad a stronger alternative, realizing Plan A: 12 dS ! CDe7 13 'ii'c 2.

Now I don't see a fully satisfactory solution : 212

Nimzo-lndia n : Hiibner Variation, 4 e3 o-o 5 .i.d3 cs 6 tbf3 tbc6 7 o-o .i.xc3 8 bxc3 d6

a) The creative, but also somewhat unnatural 13 ...�d7? ! 14 f4 exf4 1 5 exf4 0,f5 was played in l .lbragimov-S.Giddins, Bad Wiessee 2000. Now 16 .:f3 h 5 17 tbf1 h4 18 tbe3 is crit­ ical for Black's approach, leaving him in some trouble. b) 13 ... tbg 6 ! ? is tactically justified by the am azing 14 .i.xg 6? (14 f4? exf4 1 5 exf4 tbh 5 ! 16 tbe4 f5 17 .i.e2 tbhxf4 18 .i.xf4 fxe4 19 .i.h 2 �e7 is no better) 14 .. .fxg6 1 5 '1Wxg 6 tbe4! ! and Black is fine. However, if White plays a slow move like 14 a4, what exactly has Black g ained from ... tbg6? c) The most norm al move is 1 3 ....i.d7, but after 14 f4 exf4 1 5 exf4 Bl ack does not m an ­ age t o erect the blockade o n f5 : cl) 1 5 ...b 5 16 cxb5 tbexd5 17 tbe4 is better for White. c2) If Black plays passively, such as with 15 ... g 6 16 0,f3 .i.f5 17 g4 .i.xd3 18 'ii'x d3, White is better. c3) It is too l ate for 15 ... �c8 16 f5 ! with a terrible position for Black. c4) Best seem s to be 15 ... tbg 6 ! ? with the point that 16 .i.xg6 fxg 6 17 �xg 6 'ili'e8 ! is fan­ tastic for Black, but again if White just ignores the pawn and slowly improves, wh at is Bl ack doing?

A possible move to start the slow improvement approach is 16 Wh 2, after which I see no clear approach for Black. The position is not catastrophic for him, but I would still prefer to have the blockade on f5 prepared by going 11 ....id7 the next tim e I h ave this line on the board. 12 ... exd4 13 cxd4 cxd4 14 e4? This is the typical method, but it simply fails in this concrete position. 14 exd4 d5 gives Black good play on the light squares, but was still what White n eeded to do. This line is a key difference to 11 ... .i.d7. 14....:tes 15 l:te1 tbd7 There is, of course, no bishop on d7. 16 tbf3 �f6 11 .:tb2 tbcs 18 .tb1 .tb7 19 .:tf2 213

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

White is a pawn down for no compensation . From h ere on, the g ame is full of mistakes. My opponent in fact h ad tim e problem s already, but I played all the bad moves with lots of time on the clock. 19 ... d3 20 .txd3

20 20 ... �c3 ! was clearly better for Black. 21 ii.b1 .txe4 22 .l:l.fe2 .tc6?? 23 a3? This keeps a big edge, but 2 3 .l:l.xe8+ ii.xe8 (23 ... .l:l.xe8 24 .l:l.xe8+ .txe8 2 5 �el was wh at I had overlooked before) 24 �d2 ! tt:\c6 2 5 .tb2 �d8 2 6 �c2 g 6 27 �c3 would h ave won in no time. 23 ....l:l.xe2 2 3 ... tt:Jba6 didn't help much : 24 .tb2 �xf4 2 5 �c2 tt:\e4 2 6 .tel �f5 27 tt:\d4 win s as well. 24 �xe2 tt:Jba6 2 5 �c2? 25 .tb2 �xf4 2 6 tt:\d4 .td7 27 �c2 g 6 28 tt:\f5 ! ! is a brutal line that shows Black's prob­ lems. 2s ... g6? 25 ... �g 6 was still possible - not fun, but al so not losing directly. 26 .tb2 �Xf4 27 �C3 f6 28 �C2 28 tt:ld4! .te4 29 tt:\e6 was winning, whereas the g am e only h eld a clear advantage for White. 28 ...�g3 29 �xg6+ �xg6 30 .txg6 tt:\d7? 30 ....txf3 was ugly, but the only move. 31 tt:Jd4 3 1 .l:i.e7 was even stronger. 31 ... tt:\e5 32 .l:l.xe5 dxes 33 tt:Jxc6 'it>g7 34 .te4 tt:Jcs 3 5 .td s .l:l.e8


Nimzo- lndian : Hubner Variation, 4 e3 o-o 5 i.d3 cs 6 0.f3 0.c6 7 o-o i.xc3 8 bxc3 d6

Bluffing in tim e trouble. 36 i.c1 36 0.xa7 ! was possible and an easy win . 36. . .0. d 3 37 i. e 3 f s 38 'iiff1 Ag ain, 38 0.xa7 ! . 3 8 ...f4 39 i.d2 After 39 'iif e 2 ! 0.cs 40 i.xcs bxcs 41 0.xa7 White will win with the a-pawn. 39 ... a6 40 'iit e 2 0.cs Tim e trouble was over by now. White is still much better, but didn 't convert in the end. I'll stop with the question m arks here as thi s g ame is already quite embarrassing for both players. 41 i.c3 'iiff6 42 @f3 @fs 43 g4+ fxg3 44 i.e1 g2 45 'it>xg2 0.d3 46 i.d2 0.f4+ 47 @f3 e4+ 48 'it>f2 0.xh3+ 49 @e3 Y2-Y2 H ere a draw was agreed after this tragicomedy ( White is still better by the way, but once again he h ad little time left}. Summary This part of the Hilbner variation where White del ays central action and initiates the 'Wait­ ing Game' is among the most intricate of all the lines in this book. The move orders look confusing, but if you understand the rationale behind the moves, they do m ake a lot of sense upon closer in spection. My advice for this line and the Hilbner in general : look through the presentation h ere and analyse a bit on your own, toyin g around with move orders and ideas. It is impossible to analyse this line on a 'move-by-move' basis just using some engine lines; rather it is about understanding the various plan s and how they relate to the specific moves.


C h a pt e r N i n e

N i m z o- l n d i a n : C l a s s i ca l Va r i a t i o n , 4 �c 2

1 d4 ll'if6 2 c4 e6 3 ll'ic3 �b4 4 �c2

The Classical line of the Nimzo starting with 4 �c2 bears its n ame for a reason - it es­ tablished its main line status right in the earliest g ames pl ayed with the Nimzo-lndian in the 192o's. It l ost its dominant m ain line status in the 19 5o's to the Rubin stein, but staged a comeback in the 1980's and 199o's due to the efforts of m any top players, most notably the then worl d champion Garry Kasparov. Nowadays both lines are equally popular on all levels, sharing the status of the 'main line' ag ain st the Nimzo. White's idea is simpl e: he m akes sure he avoids doubled pawns and intends to g ain the bishop-pair without m akin g any structural concessions. The drawback of �c2 is the fur­ ther delay of development, in particul ar of the kin g side. It will usually take more tim e for 216

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Cla s s i c a l Va ria t i o n , 4 Wlc2

White to castle in the Classical variation than in the Rubinstein, for example. Black has a wide choice again st the Classical. Let's take an overview of wh at I considered for the repertoire and how I m ade my final choice: a) The current main line for Bl ack at the top level is 4 ... 0-0 5 a3 i.. x c3+ 6 �xc3 dS or 4... ds 5 a3 i.. x c3+ 6 'Yixc3 o-o.

This enjoys a g ood reputation at the mom ent, but I discarded it for the presented repertoire due to various reason s: 1) It's a light-squared set-up, so does not fit well with our other choices; 2) The need to learn many forced lines: for in stance, 4 ... o-o 5 e4; 3 ) Some lines lead to a forced draw, which is a practical problem; 4) It h as been covered recently in The Nimzo-/ndia n: Move by Move. Don't get me wrong , it is a good line - but just does not fit the bill . b} There is 4 ... cs, but this does not l ead to a closed, dark-squared centre either. After 5 dxcs you will reach positions th at are more likely to resemble a Hedgehog or English Open­ ing where the c- and d-pawns are often exch anged. c) A tricky sideline that recently received some attention is 4... b6, but fianchettoing with ... i..b 7 really does not fit our general strategic concept. d} Ultimately there are only two lines that fit the dark-squared approach . Black can aim for a set-up with ... d6 and ... t2Jbd7 (move orders are less defined here}, or go for the Zurich Variation that starts with 4 ... t2Jc6 5 tLif3 d6: d1} The main drawback of ... d6 and ...t2Jbd7 set-ups, such as after 4 ... d6 S i.. g s t2Jbd7 6 e3, is th at they put no direct pressure on White, so he is very flexible with reg ards to his own set-up. In a lot of cases Black is not able to play a l ater ... e6-eS, but n eeds to develop with ...b6 or even with a quick ...'Yias . It is not a bad line at all, but it has a ch ameleon type of quality that l acks the them atic consistency that I was after. d2} In the end I decided to go for the Zurich variation. The main reason is th at Bl ack will invariably reach his desired structure of ... d6 and ... e s , and with the dark-squared bishop 21 7

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

traded off o r outside the pawn chain.

H ere Bl ack will go ... e6-eS over the next few moves and is guaranteed the kind of healthy, sound structure that is the m ain theme of our repertoire. Black's m ain plans will be discussed in the subsequent ch apters that are structured as follows: Ch apter 10, Zurich Variation, Sidelines and �xc3 Set-ups; Chapter 11, Zurich Variation, White recaptures with .txc3. The former ch apter is about early deviations and the lines where White opts to recap­ ture on c3 with his queen. In those lines Black h as no difficulty at all equalizing the g am e and g aining either a healthy, sound structure o r even a sharp, g ambit-style battle where the m any queen moves by White might prove costly. Nowadays it is rather clear th at White should pl ay .td2 (or .tg s-d2), in order to recap­ ture on c3 with the bishop, not the queen . To be perfectly honest here Black has some prob­ lems equalizing completely if White pl ays flawlessly. Thi s is, however, not so easy to do in practice and Black has his chances as well. If you are familiar with the structures and ideas, playing a theoretically slightly worse position is no problem at all. The slowish type of bat­ tle favours the player with the superior knowledge of the middlegame. To use an an alogy with physical sports: you don't mind being slightly behind at the start of the race if you trust in your ability to l ater overtake the quick starters.


C h a pt e r T e n

N i m zo - l n d i a n : Z u ri c h Va riatio n ,

S i d e l i n e s a n d �xc 3 Set - u ps

1 d4 liJf6 2 c4 e6 3 ltJc3 .il.b4 4 ii'c2 lLlc6

This ch apter includes White's sidelines again st the Zurich and those lines where he re­ captures on c3 with the queen . Black has no problems at all in th e sidelines, but sh ould study th e game Mamedyarov- lvani sevic (Game 22) to be ready for White's early aggression with g 2 -g4. In the �xc3 lines Black has the pleasant choice between being solid or ag gres­ sive, according to taste and tournament situation . As just mentioned, the game Mamedyarov-lvanisevic (Game 2 1) analyses White's harm ­ less attempts on move S and 6 and features the new idea s liJf3 d6 6 g4.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

The notes to th e g am e show th at this is dangerous for the unprepared black pl ayer, but is not a threat to our whole opening concept. We then move on to s tt'lf3 d6 6 a3 i.xc3+ 7 �xc3 as.

With 7 ... as Black slows down White's queen side play and will only later prepare ... e s to fight back in the centre. This line is suited to pl ayers who prefer a strategic battle and want to play on more general grounds. Evdokimov-Gelashvili (Game 22) features this approach . A sharper option is s tt'lf3 d6 6 a3 .txc3+ 7 �xc3 0-0 8 b4 e s .


N i m z o - l n d ia n : Zu rich Va r i a t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d 'ikxc3 S e t - u p s

The l i n e with 7 . . .0-0 is much more aggressive th an 7 . . . as, a s Bl ack is basically committed to g ambit pl ay by allowing White to expand on the queen side with b2-b4. In almost all cases Black will play 8 ... es to sacrifice a pawn and open up the centre using his better de­ velopment. The g am e Val erg a-Peralta (Gam e 23) an alyses this sh arp line, excluding the critical m ain continuation which is examined in Gam e 24. Indeed, the critical test of 1 ... 0-0 is 8 b4 es 9 dxe s lZJxes 10 lZJxes dxes 11 'ikxes .

White grabs the pawn and falls far behind i n development, but h as few weaknesses and the pair of bishops. I think th at Black is fine here, but only with one specific line, played only once before in Peng Zhaoqin-Plasman (Game 24). As there are no other examples, this whole concept relies l argely on an alysis published here for the very first time.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

Game 2 1

S.Ma medyarov-1.lva nisevic

Tro m sl!) O lym p i a d 2014

1 d4 tZ'if6 2 c4 e6 3 tbc3 i.. b 4 4 'iVc2 tbc6 5 tbf3 As d4 is attacked, the only other pl ayable m ove is the modest 5 e3. This is a fairly rare move th at m akes White's set-up look like a hybrid between the Classical and the Rubin­ stein. White intends to recapture on c3 with a knight or bishop, instead of the queen . The main drawback to this approach is its negligence of development. I suggest the immediate s ... e s . Bl ack h as decent alternatives in s ... o-o or s ... d6, but starting counterpl ay in the cen­ tre m akes sense due to White's slow build-up. Now: a) White usually advances, but 6 dxes tbxes can lead to interesting pl ay: al) 7 tbf3 'iVe7 {better th an 7 ... tbxf3+ as played in Y.Seirawan-5.Makarichev, Moscow 1990) 8 i.. d 2 {or the immediate 8 tbxe s 'iVxes 9 i.. d 2 c6! 10 a3 i.. a s 11 i.. d 3 o-o 12 o-o .l:i.e8 and Black has no problem s) 8 ... c6 9 a3 i.. a s 10 tbd4 d6 11 i.. e 2 o-o 12 0-0 .l:i.e8 when Black is about to complete his set-up with ... ..td7 and ....l:i.ad8, preparing ... ds with equal chances. a2) 7 i.. d 2 is simil ar to 7 tZ'if3, as White will often pl ay th at move l ater. I now suggest 7 ... c6.

This is a new idea, which keeps the centre flexible and open s a route for the bishop to c7 {after 7 ... 0-0 8 a3 i.. x c3 9 i.. x c3 .l:i.e8 10 tbf3 d6 Black was solid, but slightly passive in M.Turov-A.Roos, Vlissing en 2012): for example, 8 a3 (if 8 tbf3 Bl ack an swers with 8 ... 'iVe7, tran sposing to variation 'al') 8 ... i.. a s 9 f4! ? {ambitious, but also weakening; tbf3 immedi­ ately or i.. e 2 to prepare it is more solid) 9 ... tbg6 10 tbf3 ds and Black obtains fine play in the centre. Moreover, White's pawn on e3 might become a liability in the long run . b) By far the most popul ar for White is 6 dS and after 6 ... tbe7 if h e neglects his devel­ opment any further, he will encounter problems in the centre: 222

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va r i a t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d 'fixc3 S e t - u p s

b l ) 7 a3 i.. x c3+ 8 'i'xc3 d 6 9 f 3 (9 i.. d 3 e 4 10 .ic2 b s ! ? reveal s a key idea) 9 . . .o-o 1 0 i.. d 3 c6 ! 11 dxc6 (11 e4 al so gets hit by 11...b S ! ) 11...ll'ixc6 12 tt'ie2 i.. e 6 13 o-o lk8 with g ood play for Bl ack in M.Schachinger-5.Baumegger, Zadar 2009. Both and ... ds are important plans. b2) 7 i.. d 2 o-o 8 .i.d3 (after the slow 8 a3 i.. x c3 9 .i.xc3 d6 10 i.. d 3 bs! Black was fine in V. Korchnoi-G.Danner, Velden 2009) 8 ... d6 9 tt'ige2 c6 10 e4 b S ! ?, ag ain with typical counter­ play. b3) It's better for White to go 7 ll'ige2, when I like 7 ... a6 ! ?.

This is a very interesting and slightly unusual concept. Black intends to keep his bishop and settle it on a7. For example: b 3 1) 8 a3 .i.cs 9 b4 i.. a 7 does not lead to much : 10 ll'ig 3 (10 cs d6 will favourably open up the position for Black) 10 ... d6 11 .i.e2 o-o 12 o-o ll'ie8 with .. .fs to come, creating coun­ terplay for Black. b32) In S.Grigoriants-N .Vitiugov, Taganrog 2011, White preferred 8 g 3 0-0 (another good possibility is 8 ... b S ! ? : for example, 9 a3 .i.d6 10 b3 c6 11 e4 bxc4 12 bxc4 cxds 13 cxds o-o 14 .tg2 .i.cs with no particular problems for Bl ack) 9 i.. g 2 d6 10 o-o .i.cs 11 .i:i.b1 h s ! ?.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

Black is tryin g t o provoke weaknesses o n the kingside i n order t o g ain targets for coun­ terplay. While Black's pl ay is fairly straightforward, it is not so clear how White shoul d make progress o n the queenside. Indeed, after 12 h 3 tt:lh 7 13 e 4 fs 1 4 b 4 Ji.a7 15 �d3 fxe4 16 tt:Jxe4 .llfs I like Bl ack's ch ances on the king side and Vitiugov went on to win convinc­ ingly. s d6 ...

6 g4 Yes, two squares ! Nowadays you need to be ready for this lunge almost every tim e you dare to move your king's bishop out. Objectively speaking, Black should be fine, but figur­ ing it out over the board is tricky, which is why I decided to feature 6 g4 in a main g ame. It is the only dangerous alternative to 6 a3 (see the followin g three games) and the i.. d 2 set­ ups of our next ch apter. That said, let's still briefly check the other moves th at White h as tried: 224

N im z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d 'Wixc3 S e t- u p s

a ) 6 e3 o-o and now: al) 7 .i.e2 e s 8 o-o .i.xc3 (Bl ack was worried about ll:JdS; there i s al so the somewhat Pet­ roff-looking 8 ... exd4 9 exd4 .i.g4 10 .i.e3 'ii'd 7, with about equal play) 9 'ii'x c3 ll:Je4 10 'ii'c 2 i..fs 11 'ii'd 1 as 12 ll:Je1 exd4 13 f3 ll:Jcs 14 exd4 ll:Jd7 l S ds ll:Jb4 16 .i.e3 .l:i.e8 17 .i.d4 ll:Jcs 18 .l:i.f2 'ii'g s 19 .tf1 hS 20 .i.c3 'ii'e 3 2 1 .td4 and a draw was agreed in this even position in M.Dambacher-D.H ausrath, Dutch League 2014. a2) 7 .i.d2 es is a slightly improved version of 6 .i.d2 for Black. He didn 't need to play .. :fie7 to get in ... es, so retains more option s. a3) 7 .i.d3 e s 8 ds ll:Je7 is also a comfortable version of a standard Zurich . Indeed, Black prefers to have played ... ll:Je7 instead of ... 'ii'e 7 and ... ll:Jb8. H ere it might even be possible to retain the dark-squared bishop, as in the m ain game. b) After 6 e4 o-o 7 a3 (both 7 .i.d3 e s 8 ds ll:Je7 and 7 ds ll:Jes pose no problem s either, but are preferable for White) 7 ... .i.xc3+ 8 bxc3 es Black obtains good pl ay again st the weakened white centre. c) 6 g3 o-o 7 .tg2 es will transpose el sewhere in most cases.

For exampl e: cl) 8 a3 .i.xc3+ 9 iVxc3 leads to the notes to move 8 in G am e 24. c2) 8 dxes dxes 9 0-0 i.. x c3 10 'ii'x c3 'ii'e 7 looks like a standard position, but White has not spent a move on a3, so it should be more favourable than usual for him. Still, Black h as no problem s h ere: for example, 11 .i.e3 .l:i.e8 1 2 h 3 as 13 .l:tfel h6 14 .l:tadl i..fs 1 S ll:Jd2 'ii'b 4 was equal and a hint that omitting a3 also gives Bl ack additional options, V.Tkachiev­ Y.Quesada Perez, I stanbul Olympiad 2012. c3) Following 8 ds ll:Je7 9 o-o Black needs to address the idea of .tg s, combined with ll:Je4. He is okay after 9 ... h 6 : for example, 10 ll:Ja4!? .tas 11 e4 .i.d7 (11 ...b S ! ? 12 cxbs a6 13 bxa6 c6 14 dxc6 .l:txa6 is an interesting idea suggested by Houdini; I am not sure it is suffi­ cient in the long run, but is certainly creative play by the engine) 12 .l:tbl cs with equal chances in a complicated position . 225

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n di a n

Now back to 6 g4:

6 es Probably the most logical move, playing the intended central advance anyway. Black has m any other possible moves, but the limited practical experience with 6 g4 thus far does not give us a clear picture: a) Black might play the cautious 6 ...h6: al) In two games White replied with 7 g s ? ! when Black should play 7 ... i.xc3+ ! 8 bxc3 {8 Wl/xc 3 ? ! tbe4 9 Wl/d3 tbxg s 10 i.xg s hxg s 11 l'.:i.g l e s 12 ds tbe7 13 l:i.xg s g 6 was fine for Bl ack in A. Popovics-B.Bakos, Hungarian League 2007; White h as no compen sation for his slightly dam aged structure) 8 ... hxg s 9 i.xg s b6, aiming for ... i.b7, ... Wile? and ... o-o-o. Again Black is fine due to his structural superiority. a2) 7 l:Ig 1 is plausible, but it's not clear if th e rook move is useful all the time: for exam ­ ple, after 7 ... e s 8 ds i.xc3+ 9 Wl/xc3 tbe7 White's best move is 10 h 3 anyway, so probably line 'a3' m akes the most sen se for him. a3) 7 h 3 e s 8 ds i.xc3+ 9 Wl/xc3 tbe7 and h ere White h as too many possible moves to se­ riously analyse with concrete lines. The structure is familiar and sound, so there is no ur­ gent need for a jungle of variation s. Indeed, I think that 6 ... h6 is a good choice if you just want to play a gam e and not strive to refute 6 g4, which is not possible anyway it seem s. b) I was surprised to find th at 6 ...tbxg4 is also quite okay for Bl ack. However, you should only take the pawn if you know what you're doing : you either h ave to keep the pawn and suffer for it, or sacrifice yourself: bl) The obvious 7 l:Ig l ? ! es 8 dS run s into the amazing 8 ... i.cs ! ! with good play for Bl ack. b2) 7 ds and now: b21) 7 ... i.xc3+ is the move for the defenders among st you. After 8 Wllx c3 tbces 9 tbxes tbxe s 10 l:Ig 1 White h as g ood compensation for the pawn : for instance, after 10 ... Wl/f6 11 i.g s Wllg 6 12 l:i.g 3 f6 13 i.e3 Wilf7 14 i.g 2 Black n eeds to be very precise in defending this ...


N im z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va r i a t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d �xc3 S e t - u p s

position . I ' d rather b e White here, but i t might appeal t o some t o grab the pawn and run . b22) 7 ... ..tcs ! ? is the choice of the attackin g player, and if 8 dxc6 ..txf2+ 9 @d1 bxc6 10 3 h s .

This is a real mess, but certainly playable for Bl ack. It's tough to say wh at White's best move is h ere: 11 s can be an swered by the funny 11 ... �xg s 12 tt:Jxg S lt:Je3+ 13 @d2 tt:Jxc2 14 @xc2 ..te3 15 tt:Jf3 with an interesting endgame ahead, so taking on g4 certainly comes into con sideration . 7 dxes 7 gs h ad been tried before: 7 ... tt:Jh s (7 ... lt:Jd7 ! ? 8 a3 ..txC3+ g �xc3 o-o is al so possible, but yet untried; there is much scope for exploration in such unch arted waters) 8 a3 ..txc3+ 9 �xc3 and now Black must avoid the 9 ... e4? ! of B.Kocwin-J .Szotek, Karvin a 2012, because of 10 dS ! and White is better. In stead, 9 ... �e7 10 .l:i.g1 0-0 leads to complicated play with ch ances for both sides. 1 dxes 7 ... tt:Jxg4! ? would h ave led to an entirely different g ame. The position after 8 s �d7 9 exd6 ..txd6 arises by force from 7 ... tt:Jxg4. White obviously h as m any possible moves h ere. Let's take a look to g ain a better feel for the position : a) 10 .l:i.g l f6 11 ..th4 o-o 12 o-o-o �fs is about equal . b) 10 .l:i.d1 �fs 11 �xfs ..txfs 12 .th4 f6 is quite harmless for Black. c) 10 h3 tt:Jge s 11 o-o-o is a sh arp attempt, but 12 exf3 �fs again solves Bl ack's problems. I think if Bl ack goes for 6 ... e s in the first pl ace he should continue with 7 ... tt:Jxg4. While the g am e continuation is not obviously bad, I think the resulting position s are easier to play for White. ...

22 7

Op e n i n g R e p e rto i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

8 gs i.xc3+ 8'id7 is passive, while 8 ... tt:Jh s is assessed as equal by Houdini. Still it doesn't feel right to place the knight on the rim - I'd rather deviate earlier th an try to improve here. 9 bxc3! 9 �xc3 tt:Je4 10 �e3 i.fs would certainly h elp Black. 9 tt:Jd7? 9 . . tt:Jh s was still quite okay for Black, ... �d7-f5 being a key idea ag ain . 1 0 i.a 3 tt:'ib6? This loses quickly. 10 . . tt:Jas allows Black to han g on, but given the many possible improvements earlier, it is not so relevant for the overall assessment of 6 g4. It does clearly show, however, that a strong G M like lvanisevic was not able to cope with such a line over the board. 11 �dl i.d7 12 i.h3 ...




N i m z o - l n d ia n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , S i de l i n e s a n d Wixc3 S e t - u p s

12 ... .i.xh3 The crossfire of rook and both white bishops is too much for Black. 12 ...�c8 loses as well due to 13 l:txd7 lt:Jxd7 14 o-o with l:Id1 to come. 13 .Uxd8+ .Uxd8 14 Wke4 White is already winning and only needs to be reasonably precise to convert. 14 ... tt:Ja4 15 Wie3 .Ud7 16 lt:Jd4 .i.g2 11 l:Ig1 'it>d8 18 tt:'ifs .ie4 19 lt:Jxg7 19 Wkxe4?? l:Id1+ 20 @xd1 lt:Jxc3+ 21 @e1 lt:Jxe4 was to be avoided. 19 ... .ig6 20 Wih3 tt:'ib6 21 tt:Jh s fs 22 gxf6 lt:Jxc4 23 .ie7+ lt:Jxe7 24 fxe7+ l:Ixe7 25 tt:'if6 .if7 26 .Ug7 .ie6 27 Wih6 tt:'id6 28 l:Ixe7 @xe7 29 lt:Je4 tt:Jxe4 30 Wkg7+ 1-0 Summary The rare continuations on move 6 are mostly harmless or can be countered with play based on common sen se. The new idea 6 g4 is, however, dangerous to face over the board as the black player experienced h ere. There are plenty of improvements/altern atives available for Bl ack though, especially 6 ... h 6 and 7 ... tt:Jxg4 for solid play, or the piece sacrifice line after 6 ... tt:Jxg4 7 dS .ics ! ? for the more adventurously minded. You should choose and learn one of them to be ready in case someone 'accidentally' pushes the g -pawn two squares again st you.

Game 22 A.Evdokimov-T.Gelashvili World Open, P h i l a d e l p h i a 2012

1 d4 tt:'if6 2 c4 e6 3 lt:Jc3 i.. b4 4 Wkc2 lt:'ic6 5 tt:'if3 d6 6 a3 .i.xc3+ 7 Wkxc3

With 6 a3 White immediately g ain s the bishop-pair and resolves the pin. It is important to note that White's queen al so now control s the es-square, hindering Black from realizing 229

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

his desired break. I t does however, invite various pawn sacrifices with ... e6-eS as White then loses even more tim e with the queen. An addition al option for Bl ack is the m ove ... lll e 4, centralizing with tempo. In the lines with 6 .td2 White recaptures with the bishop on c3, delegating th at duty to a minor piece. Therefore in those lines the ... e6-eS break is l ess likely to be possible. After 7 'i!Vxc3 I recommend two basic option s for Bl ack: 7 ... as, hindering b2-b4 from White and playing without an immediate pawn sacrifice, and 7 ... 0-0, which basically com ­ mits to 8 b4 es, with g ambit pl ay. 1 as This can b e played without knowing too m any concrete lines and is a good choice for the strategist, intendin g to outplay one's opponent later on . 8 b3 The logical reaction to 7 ... as, avoiding a further ... a4 by Black to freeze the queen side. It al so prepares .tb2, strengthening White's grip on e s . Moreover, the alternatives don 't im­ press: a) 8 .tg s h 6 9 .th4 {th e g am e Em. Lasker-A.Alekhine, Nottingham 1936, saw a quick draw after the simplistic 9 .txf6 'i!Vxf6 10 e3 o-o 11 .ie2 e s 12 dxe s dxes 13 o-o i.. g 4 14 h 3 .th s 1 s .l::tfd1 .l::tfe8 16 .i::t d s .tg6 1 7 .l::!. a d1 i.fs 18 .l::!. s d2) 9 ...W/e7 10 e 3 e s 11 dxe s {the alter­ native 11 ds lllb 8 12 b4 g s 13 .tg3 tll e 4 14 'i!Vb2 h S al so sees Bl ack g aining lots of activity on the queenside) 11...dxe s 12 i.e2 i.fs 13 o-o g s 14 3 tll e 4 1s 'i!Vc1 h s . ...

This was played i n Y.Seirawan-J.Benjamin, Philadelphia 1989, where Black went o n to win a fine attackin g g ame. Overall, it is rather obvious th at i.g s does not fit into this struc­ ture, as the bishop becomes the subject of an attack with ... g s and ... h s . b ) 8 g 3 {ignorin g the position al threat) 8 . . . a4! {Black should take h i s ch ance) 9 i.g 2 o-o 10 o-o Wlie7 11 i.g s {without b3, it's h ard to find a place for thi s piece, so White exch anges it) 11...h6 12 i.xf6 (a messy alternative is 12 dS hxg s 13 dxc6 g4 14 tll d4 b6 with unclear play) 12 ... Wl/xf6 with comfortable play for Black. In general allowing ... a4 mean s th at after 230

N i m z o - l n d ia n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d 'fli xc3 S e t - u p s

the white d-pawn moves (d4-dS or dxe s), Black will favourably g ain control over the cs­ square and freeze the queen side. 8 0-0 ...

This is the most precise move order. Bl ack tries to pl ay ... e6-eS without preparing it with ... 'flie7. This might save a tempo and allows ... tfJe7 after the centre closes down with d4-dS. 9 i.b2 White prevents ... e6-eS for the moment. However, in the long run Black will m anage to carry out the central break and then it is sometimes question able what the bishop is doing on b2 after the centre closes. That is why White sometimes tries 9 g3, after which Black can choose between the solid 9 ... l:te8 and the pawn sacrifice 9 ... es, which I will show just briefly. It is similar to 7 ... o-o 8 g3 es, but h as some additional points like ... l:ta8-a6, for in­ stance: a) 9 ... l:te8 10 i.g 2 es 11 ds tfJe7 sees White man age without i.b2, but allow the ... tfJe7 retreat. This enables Black to initiate play with ... C7-c6 and possibly ... b7-b S : a 1 ) A typical position arose after 12 tfJd2 c6 13 dxc6 tfJxc6 in A.O' Kelly d e G alway5.Reshevsky, New York 19S1. Black is very solid in this structure, with a possible ... d6-dS to come. The g am e continued 14 tfJe4 (in stead the 14 0-0 of R.Edouard-0.Moor, Swiss League 2013, shoul d be answered by 14 ... tfJd4 1S l:te1 i.g4 and Black has no problems) 14 ... i.e6 1 S i. e 3 tfJxe4 16 i.xe4 ds 17 l:td1 d4 18 'iic 2 h 6 19 o-o 'iie 7 and Black was already for choice. a2) 12 o-o a4 (Bl ack also h as the option of 12 ... tfJe4 13 'iic 2 fS 14 i.b2, tran sposing to note 'a12' to White's 10th move, below) 13 b4 b S ! .


Op e n i n g R e p e r t o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

The point of ... a4, breaking up the centre. After 1 4 tl'ld2 bxc4 1S e4? { 1 S �xc4 ii.b7 16 e4 c6 17 dxc6 ii.xc6 was still about equal) 1S ... c6 16 l:tdl cxds 17 exds in N . Ristic-G .Grecescu, Felix Spa 2007, 17 ... ii.g4 would h ave given Black a clear advantage. b) 9 ... e s and here: b1) 10 dxes is the critical choice, but risky for White: 10 ... dxe s 11 tll x e s tll xe s 12 �xes .l:!.e8 13 'iWb2 {in the twin line with 7 ... 0-0 8 g 3 e s this is not possible, of course) 13 ... �d3 {the computer move and probably best) 14 ii.e3 {after 14 ii.g 2 ii.g4 1 S o-o .l:!.xe2 Black gets the pawn back with the initiative) 14 ... �e4 1S .l:!.g l a4 with unclear pl ay. b2) A slight letdown from Bl ack's perspective is the move 10 ii.g2, after which 10 ... .l:!.e8 is probably the best move, just tran sposing to line 'a', above. 9 .l:!.e8 10 .l:!.d1 Continuing to pl ay against ... e6-eS and basically forcing ...�e7, which blocks this square from the queen's knight. Alternatives allow exactly that scenario, simplifying Black's task: a) 10 g3 es and now White needs to decide about the centre. In general I believe the on­ ly serious way to play for White is d4-dS, g aining space. That said, we do need to check both approaches: al) 11 dS ll'le7 when Bl ack has two different ways to g enerate pl ay. One is to go ... C7-c6 and ... b7-bS if possible, breakin g up the centre; the other is to go ...ll'lf6-e4 and .. .f7-fS, g ain­ ing space in the centre and on the kin gside. Let's see how this pl ays out in practice: all) 12 tl'ld2 control s e4, but after this retreat the plan with ... cc6 is usually the way to go: a111) Incorrect is 12 ... tll g 6 13 ii.g 2 tll d7 14 e4 tll c s 1 S o-o fS 16 f4 and White was much better in P.Shaw-5.Berry, Liverpool 2008. a112) 12 ... c6 13 dxc6 tll x c6 14 ii.g 2 ii.e6 is right. ...


N i m z o - l n di a n : Zu rich Va ria t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d �xc3 S e t - u p s

Now . . .d6-dS will follow with no problem s at all for Bl ack. a12) 12 .ig2 tlie4 (going for king side pl ay; h ere 12 ... c6 h as not yet been tried, but there does not seem to be anything fundamentally wrong with it: for example, after 13 dxc6 tlixc6 14 o-o h 6, intending ... .ie6, White is at best slightly better) 13 �c2 fs 14 o-o g s ?.

This very ambitious move was played successfully in B. Kelly-G.Danner, Bled Olympiad 2002, but it shoul d lead to huge trouble for Black after the powerful ls g4! (lS cs was played in the actual g ame, leading to unclear pl ay) 1s ... tlig6 (altern atively, 1s ... l:.f8 16 gxfs .ixfs 17 tlixes ! with the nice point 17 ... tlig 3 18 tlig4! and White win s) 16 gxfs ..txfs 17 tliel tlig 3 18 e4 tlixfl 19 exfs tlih4 20 ..ll e4 and White is close to winnin g . My suggested im­ provement over this g ame is 14 ... l:.f8. This move anticipates ideas like tlih4 or g4. White h as a wide choice h ere: for example, l S b4 �e8 16 tlid2 tlif6 and with ...� s coming, Bl ack ob­ tains play on the king side. a2) 11 dxes dxe s 12 2 �e7 (in A. Baburin-L.Winants, Mallorca Olympiad 2004, Black chose 12 ... h6 13 o-o ..tfs 14 b4 e4 1 S tlid4 tlixd4 16 �xd4 �xd4 17 i.xd4 tlid7, leading to a


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

marginally better endgame for White) 13 o-o .i.g4 14 h 3 .i.fs 1 S J::!.fd1 h 6 is a slow improv­ ing move that has not been tried yet.

In the g ame D. Rogozenco-M.Marin, Brasov 2011, the well-respected author tried the ac­ tive 1s ... tt:Je4, but after 16 'ife3 'ires 17 J::!.d 3 he was forced to sacrifice a pawn . The g ame continued 17 ... 'ifxe3 18 .Uxe3 tt:Jcs 19 tt:Jxe s tt:Jxe s 20 .txes c6 (Black probably h as enough for the pawn, as White's queenside is weak and ... tt:Jxb3 a concrete threat) 21 b4 tt:Jd7 2 2 .i.d4 .Uxe3 2 3 fxe3 axb4 2 4 axb4 .Uxa1+ 2 S ..ll x a1 i.e6 2 6 bS i.xc4 27 bxc6 bxc6 2 8 .i.xc6 i.e6 with a draw a couple of moves l ater. After 1S ... h6, 16 b4 is the most direct way to pl ay. It does not lead to much, though . Maybe a slow move like 16 'if e 3 keeps more ten sion when Black might respond with . . ..i.e4 or ... 'ife6. I don't see any dan g ers for him in any case. After 16 b4 axb4 17 axb4 tt:Je4 18 'ifb3 .Uxal 19 .Uxal tt:Jxb4 20 tt:Jxe s 'ires a typically weird computer line run s 2 1 'iff3 J::!. x es 2 2 J::!. a 8+ 'it>h 7 2 3 'iff4 tt:Jc6 24 .i.xe s 'ifxe s 2 s 'ifxes tt:Jxes 26 g4 i.g 6 27 f4 tt:Jxc4 28 f s tt:Jed6 with a likely draw as the result. In stead, the norm al-looking 23 ... .Ue7 would be one to avoid.


N im z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va r i a t i o n , S i de l i n e s a n d 'ilxc3 S e t - u p s

This allows 2 4 l:.h S+! 'itg 6 2 S g4 and White wins. b) 10 e3 e s and ag ain White needs to commit in the centre: bl) 11 dS tjj e 7 (I believe this is preferable to ... tjjb S in most cases; there h ave been a couple of games with the retreat as well, though: for example, 11...tjjb S 12 .te2 tjjb d7 13 'ilc2 tjjc s 14 tjj d 2 c6 1 S dxc6 bxc6 16 o-o 'ilb6 17 i.. c 3 i.. g 4 1S i.. x g4 {ijxg4 19 h3 {ijf6 20 b4 and White was slightly better in P.Karthikeyan-J. Deepan Ch akkravarthy, Chennai 2011) 12 tjj d 2, played in order to avoid ... {ijf6-e4 and .. .fs plan s by Black. However, as usual it allows Black play in stead on the queen side: b11) The standard way to proceed is 12 ... c6 and then : b111) 13 e4 supports the centre. In the g am e P. Lafuente-J .Gonzalez G arcia, Havana 2004, Bl ack was slightly worse after 13 ... cxds 14 cxds i.. d 7 1 s a4 :cs 16 'ild3 {ijg 6 ? ! , but in stead with 16 ... 'ilb6 ! h e could have obtained decent pl ay.

For example, 17 .te2 (17 tjj c 4?? loses immediately due to 17 ... .l:.xc4 1S 'ilxc4 :cs 19 'ild3 'ilb4+ 20 'ild2 'ilxe4+ 21 'ile2 'ilb4+ 22 'ild2 'ilxb3 and Black collects the whole central and queen side pawn s; 17 g 3 ? ? al so fail s, this tim e to 11 ...tjj g 4 1S 'flf3 :c2 19 i.. a 3 'ild4 20 :d1 :xd2 21 :xd2 'iVal+ 22 'ild1 'ilxa3) 17 ... {ijg6 1S g3 i.. h 3 and Bl ack is active enough to hin­ der White from exploiting his space advantage. A nice continuation here is 19 i.. a 3 'iVd4 20 'ilxd4 exd4 2 1 f3 tjj x ds which illustrates Black's chances. This position is probably about equal . b112) 13 dxc6 tjj x c6 (13 ... bxc6 is al so interesting, as after the direct 14 cs Bl ack uses his development advantage to good effect with 14 ... ds ! ? 1 s 'fixe s - otherwise, ... d4 will come anyway with an attack, so White grabs the pawn, but it allows an immediate draw 1 S ... {ijfs 16 'flf4 d4 17 e4 tjj d s 1S 'flf3 tjjh 4 and Black has at l east a draw by repetition) 14 i.. d 3 i.. e 6 and this standard structure is at best slightly better for White. b12) The very direct 12 ... b s ! ? was tried in 1 .Cheparinov-M. Drasko, Heraklion 2007.


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After 13 e 4 Black went 13 ...bxc4 1 4 i.xc4 i.d7 (14 ... i.b7 with ...c 6 t o come still seem s okay) 1 5 o-o c6 16 dxc6 i.xc6 17 f4 "iWb6+ 18 @h 1 tt:Jg6 19 fxe s dxes 20 a4 l:tad8 2 1 l:tac1 tt:Jf4? 22 i.xf7+ @xf7 23 tt:Jc4 'i!Vd4 24 tt:Jxes+ l:txe s 25 'i!Vxd4 .l:txd4 26 i.xd4 l:txe4 27 i.xf6 and had to resign. However, he could have complicated m atters further with 13 ... c6 ! ? 14 dxc6 (of course, White could al so keep the tension, but it does not promise much : for in­ stance, after 14 .l::i. c 1 bxc4 15 bxc4 i.a6 Black is even the more comfortable) 14 15 cxbs tt:Jd4 (Bl ack's pl ay is easy h ere: ...i.b7 or ...i.d7, ... .l::i. c 8 and ... ds to open the position) 16 l:tc1 (this is close to being the only move; after, for example, 16 a4 i.b7 17 'i!Vd3 l:tc8 18 i.xd4 exd4 19 f3 i.xe4 20 fxe4 dS Bl ack will win with a direct attack) 16 ...i.d7 17 i.c4 l:tc8.

This results in about equal play, as White cannot keep the pawn with 18 a4? due to 18 ... ds 19 exds tt:Jxds 20 'i!Vg 3 .ifs with a decisive attack for Black. b2) I regard the exchange 11 dxe s dxes as pretty harmless for Black. Some sample lines: b21) 12 'i!Vc2 'i!Ve7 13 1le2 1lg4 14 h 3 1lh s 1 5 tt:Jh4?! i.xe2 16 'iit x e2 'i!Ve6 17 g4 l:tad8 236

N i m z o - l n d ia n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d 'ikxc3 S e t - u p s

(around here Black could even try fo r more, but being solid again st the world champion certainly is not bad at all) 17 ... .l:!.ad8 18 ttJfs g 6 19 t2Jg 3 l2Jd7 20 .l:!.adl tlJcs 2 1 .l:!.xd8 .l:!.xd8 2 2 t2Je4 t2Jxe4 2 3 �xe4 �d6 24 �c2 f6 2 S .l:!.dl with a draw in V.Anand-E.Almada, Zurich (sim­ ul) 2009. b22) After 12 .l:!.d1 �e7 13 .ie2 .ifs 14 o-o t2Je4 1 s �cl tlJcs 16 tlJxes tlJxe s 17 .ixe s t2Jxb3 18 'i!fb2 �xe s 19 �xb3 .ie4 Black was already slightly better and won quickly in H .Thallinger-L.Gofshtein, Zillertal 1993 : 20 .l:!.d7 �g s 2 1 g3 .ic6 2 2 .l:!.d4 .l:!.ad8 2 3 .l:!.fd1 .l:!.xd4 24 .l:!.xd4 h s 2 s �d1 �cs 26 Ji.xh s �xa3 27 Ji.e2 a4 28 �fl 'i!fb2 29 cs a3 30 Jl.c4 a2 3 1 .l:!.d1 il.e4 32 f3 .ic2 0-1. After that long but important digression, we return to 10 .l:!.d1: 10 'iWe7 •••

There is no other way to g et in ... e6-es . This move blocks e7 from the knight, though, so it usually needs to retreat to b8. 11 e3 Alternatively: a) The main alternative is 11 g3 es 12 ds (12 dxe s led to nothing after 12 ... dxe s 13 Ji.g 2 h 6 14 o-o il.fs 1 S l2Jh4 .1e4 16 .1xe4 t2Jxe4 in P.Cramling-S.Khukhashvili, Batumi 2012) 12 ... t2Jb8 13 .tg2 c6 (13 ...l2Je4? is not playable h ere due to 14 �c2 fS 1 S l2Jh4!) 14 dxc6 t2Jxc6 1S o-o h6 (a familiar structure) 16 'iWc2 �c7 17 l2Jh4 l2Je7 18 h 3 .ie6 19 lli'd2 .l:!.ed8 20 'iWe3 t2Jd7 (20 ... a4 seem s better for Black even) 2 1 f4 f6 2 2 a4 and a draw was agreed in S.Kishnev-L.Winants, Belgian League 2003. b) A very direct approach is 11 dS t2Jb8 12 dxe6 (otherwise, Black will play ... e s and tran spose to regul ar lines) 12 .. .fxe6 (12 ... .txe6 has been tried as well, but this structure must be somewhat better for White due to the strong bishop on b2) and now: bl) The ultra-aggressive 13 e4 was the typical choice of U.S. chess legend Walter Browne again st one of the experts of Black's cause, G eorgi Orlov, in Reno, 1992, where Black should have taken the bait with 13 ... t2Jxe4! {the g am e went 13 ... es?! 14 cs t2Jc6 1S .tc4+ @f8 16 23 7

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

cxd6 cxd6 with a clear advantage for White).

After 14 l\i'c2 (or 14 li¥e3 ttJcs 1 S b4 ltJa4 16 .ia1 axb4 17 axb4 ltJc6 and I don't see any compen sation with ... e6-eS coming) 14 ... lLif6 1 s ttJg s ltJc6 16 .i.d3 h6 White's compensation seem s insufficient to me. b2) 13 g 3 is the sen sible way to proceed: 13 ... b6 14 ii.g 2 ilb7 1S o-o lLibd7 16 ttJe1 .i.xg 2 17 ltJxg 2 ttJcs 18 f3 .l::t ab8 19 a4 dS with about equal chances in J.Donner-S.Reshevsky, Am­ sterdam 19SO. Now th e future Dutch GM went astray with 20 �c2 .i:%.bd8 2 1 .ia3 d4! 2 2 ttJe1 ? ! e s 2 3 e4? (now it's serious trouble for White) 2 3 . . . dxe3 24 lLid3 e 4 2 S ltJxcs exf3 ! 26 .i:%.xf3 .l:Ixd1+ 27 °iix d1 e2 2 8 l\i'e1 bxcs 29 .i.c1 .i:%.d8 ! and had to resign. 11 es 12 d s Exch anging o n e s is even more toothless th an usual h ere, a s d 1 is a more suitable place for the fl-rook th an the al-rook, which might be useful on the queen side. White could delay d4-dS with 12 .ie2, but after 12 ... .ig4 13 ds lLib8 it tran sposes to the gam e anyway. 12 ltJbS 13 .i.e2 In the g ame R. Pogorelov-A. Belezky, Seville 2013, White employed a very slow set-up and got into trouble quickly: 13 h 3 ilfs 14 b4? ! ltJe4 (14 ... axb4 1 S axb4 lLibd7 16 .ie2 b S ! is an­ other textbook approach to punish the mistimed b2-b4 advance) 1S l\Vb3 ltJa6 16 .i.e2 axb4 17 axb4 cs and Black was in excellent shape. 13 .ig4 Black just develops, but he could also try the untested 13 ... ltJe4 14 l\i'c2 fs, with the pos­ sible follow-up 1 S o-o lLid7 16 ttJe1 l\i'g s 17 f4 l\Vh 6 with unclear play. ...




N i m z o - J n d i a n : Z u rich Va r i a t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d � xc3 S e t - u p s

In general these closed centre positions give both sides room for active pl ay on the fl anks, leading to ten se middlegames. 14 0-0 ttJbd7 15 �C2 Covering e4 and the bishop on e2. The position looks about equal . 1s ... c6 G el ashvili, who is an active and creative pl ayer, doesn't want to sit tight for any longer and so opens up the position. Black al so could have waited and improved slowly with, for instance, 1s ... i..h s . 1 6 h 3 ii. h s 1 1 tll h 4 White wants to use the fs-square for the knight, which is a good plan . 11 ... ii.xe2 18 tllf s 'i!Vf8 19 �xe2 cxd s 20 cxd s g6

A move with consequences. It is fine, but whenever you play ... g 6 without your dark­ squared bi shop (pretty much all the tim e in the Nimzo/Bogo complex), your kin g can come 239

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

under fire l ater. Indeed, White's stupid-lookin g bishop on b2 might become the h ero of the day after a later f2-f4, breaking open the long diagonal . 21 tLlg3 'Wie7 22 e 4 ttJcs?! I believe the pl an initiated with this move is wrong . Black could have obtained decent counterplay with the active 22 ... h S ! 23 :fel h4 24 tt::if1 ttJcs 25 'Wif3 tLih s and he m akes sure that the long diagonal remains closed. 23 'i\Ve3 "JJ. a c8 24 "JJ. d 2 a4 25 b4 tLlb3 This was Bl ack's intention on move 22, but this piece is far from the king side. 26 ".IJ.e2 ttJd7 27 f4

21 ... exf4? 27 ... ".IJ.c7 was a tougher defence, keeping the pawn on es as long as possible. The com­ puter actually still assesses this as equal, but it is far easier for White to play. 28 'i!Vxf4 tt::ie s 29 'i!Vh6 29 .txe s was interesting as well, but Black can defend actively with 29 ... 'i\Vxes ! 30 'i\Vxf7+ Wh 8 and it's not easy to find anything concrete h ere for White: for example, after 3 1 'i!Vf6+ Wg 8 3 2 'i\Vxe s :xe s 3 3 :f6 ttJd4 34 .l:!.ef2 tLlbs Black g ains enough play to hold the balance. 29 ...'Wif8 30 'ii'g s 'ilile1? 30 ...h 6 was h arder to crack. 31 'i!Vh6 'i!Vf8 32 'Wigs 'i!Ve7? 33 ".IJ.f6! After repeating, probably in tim e trouble, White finally plays the refutation of ...'i!Ve7. 33 ... h6 34 'ii' h 4 ttJc1 3 5 .l:!.e3 It's too much now for Black, with tt::ifs and :g 3 on the cards. 35 ...'i!Vf8 36 'it>h2 "JJ. c 2 37 .txes dxes 38 tt::if s hs 39 .l:!.g3 llc7 40 'ii'x hs 1-0 Summary The 7 ... as line is a good choice if you like to avoid the complications of the pawn sacrifice discussed in the subsequent g ames of thi s chapter. It can be pl ayed based on knowledge of the key plan s and ideas, and leads to rich positions that are interesting to play. 240

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va r i a t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d �xc3 S e t - u p s

Game 23

D.Va lerga-F.Pera lta

Arge nt i n ea n C h a m p io n s h i p, B u e nos Ai res 2010

1 d4 l'Llf6 2 c4 e6 3 l'Llc3 .i.b4 4 �c2 l'Llc6 5 l'Llf3 d6 6 a3 .txc3+ 7 'ii'x c3 0-0

This is the much sharper alternative to the more strategically focused 7 ... as. By allowing 8 b4, which must be the critical move, Black essentially commits to the pawn sacrifice 8 ... e s ! , as otherwise his position becomes too passive. Black has enterprising answers to White's other choices as well: for instance, 8 g3 es and 8 .tg s h6 9 .i.h4 gs both leading to interesting play. This gam e will cover all the sidelines after 7 ... 0-0, while the next g am e fo­ cuses on the g ambit main line with 12 'i!Vb2. I believe th at White can almost force th at criti­ cal position on move 12, as Black's altern ative 8 b4 e s 9 dxes l'Lle4 falls short, as we will see in this g ame. 8 b4 The sh arpest move, forcin g the pawn sacrifice. White h as tried some other, less direct moves too: a) A mix of �xc3 and .i.g s in the Zurich variation usually fails to impress and 8 .i.g s is no exception : a1) Black h as a solid move in 8 ... .l:f.e8, for example, 9 e3 e s 10 ds l'Llb8 11 .te2 as 12 b3 .tfs 13 .i.xf6 �xf6 14 l'Lld2 l'Lld7 1 s e4 6 16 o-o �g s 17 b4 fS with about equal ch ances in L. Lenic-R.Antoniewski, Sibenik 2012. a2) Also possible is 8 ... 'ii'e 7 9 ds l'Llb8 10 .i.xf6 �xf6 11 �xf6 gxf6 12 e3 as 13 b3 l'Lla6 with a complex endgame in N.Maiorov-R.Wojtaszek, Warsaw 2013. a3) The sharpest and most interesting approach is 8 ... h 6, which initiates 9 .i.h4 gs 10 .i.g 3 l'Lle4 11 �c2 fS 12 e3 �f6 and here White has tried various moves:


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

a31) 13 o-o-o es 1 4 dxes dxe s l S c s i.e6 ( 1 s ...a 6 al so looks satisfactory for Black, just in­ tending to continue with ... i.e6 and ...l:tad8) 16 i.b s lt:Jxg 3 17 hxg 3 g4 18 lt:Jd2 'it>g 7 19 i.xc6 bxc6 20 f4 exf4 2 1 exf4 l:tfd8 2 2 l:the1 l:td4 and Bl ack's nicely centralized pieces guar­ anteed him good play in G . Hertneck-G .Titov, Moscow Olympiad 1994. a32) 13 i.. d 3 lt:Jxg 3 14 hxg 3 e s lS ds lt:Je7 16 e4 'it>g 7 was played in A. Postl-G. Danner, Austrian League 2011. This is about equal . Black can always take on e4, followed by ... i.fs or even ... tt:Jfs, intending ... g4 and ... lt:Jd4, which looks riskier. Indeed, it is important not be­ come overambitious h ere, as White is fairly solid. a33) 13 c s ! ? is a sh arp approach . Black h as a good reply, though, in 13 ... dxcs. This was condemned by Vitali Golod in his notes, but h e h ad missed Black's point on the next move: 14 dxcs l:td8 ! .

This prevents castling and l:td1, limiting White's options. Now l S i.xc7 can b e an swered by the simple 1s ... l:td7 16 i.d6 lt:Jxd6 17 cxd6 .l:.xd6 with ... i.. d 7 and ... l:tc8 to follow, giving 242

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d 'ii x c3 S e t- u p s

Bl ack good pl ay. White has some better alternatives t o l S il.xc7, of course, but i t doesn't look scary: for example, l S il.c4 ltJxg 3 16 hxg 3 'it>g 7 and White still cannot go 0-0-0, while Bl ack m ay even play ... e6-eS or ... tt:Jes soon . In stead, 13 ... h s ? ! was seen in G . Kacheishvili­ A.Mastrovasilis, I stanbul 2003, when 14 h4 (after 14 cxd6 cxd6 l S h4 g4 16 lLld2 Mastrova­ silis could have obtained the better position with 16 ... tt:Jxg 3 17 fxg 3 il.d7) leads to a plus for White with the crazy computer line 14 ... g4 l S il.h 2 ! !, when Black would need to be precise to avoid a quick disaster. Fortunately, though, 13 ... dxcs is a simple equalizer for Black. b) 8 e3 is the least ambitious move for White. The simpl est response now would be 8 ... as, with a likely tran sposition to 7 ... as, or alternatively 8 ... .l:!.e8, when Bl ack m an ages ... e6-eS without the need for ... fie7, thus keeping open the option of ...lLie7. However, it seem s that Bl ack also play the sharp pawn sacrifice 8 ... e s ! ? once again. A sample line: 8 ... e s ! ? g dxe s dxe s 10 tt:Jxe s tt:Jxes 11 fixe s .l:!.e8. In the comparable position from 8 b4, White h as b2 as a relatively safe retreat square. Here it is not that easy and in the only game reference G .Andruet-T. Bottema, Groningen 1988, White now went 12 fic3 ?? (this already loses by force; after a better altern ative like 12 'iff4 Black has a wide choice, but I like 12 ... as ! ?, introducing the idea of a l ater ... .l:!.a8-a6} 12 ... tt:Je4 13 'ifc2 il.fs 14 il.d3.

H ere Black could h ave won with the fairly straightforward 14 ... tt:Jxf2 ! lS il.xfs tt:Jxh 1 16 il.xh 7+ @h 8 17 .ifs 'iff6 and White has no way to get to the knight on hl. This whole 8 ... es idea after 8 e3 seem s worth a try, but as 8 e3 is a fairly rare move, I don't want to fill pages with analysis on it. If you enjoy attacking pl ay and don 't mind sacrificin g some small mate­ rial for it you can certainly give such a move a try even without analysin g for hours. Keep in mind th at over the board between hum an s such position s are murderous to pl ay for White, as witnessed in this g ame. c) 8 g 3 es! is not even a real pawn sacrifice, as taking it is clearly too risky for White:


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - / n di a n

cl) 9 dxe s dxes and here: ell) 10 lllx eS ? ! lll x es 11 'ifxe s .U.e8 and now: c111) 12 'iff4 can be an swered by the very direct 12 ... l:[e4 13 °it'f3 (or 13 'ifd2 .l:!.d4 14 'if c2 i..fs ! lS iib3 i..e 4 and only a computer or a real glutton would take White, as Black's com­ pen sation is swiftly becoming scary) 13 ...'ife8 ! ? with excellent compensation . c112) 12 'if c3 lll e 4 with a further divide: c1121) 13 'ife3 i.. g 4 14 h3 'ifd7 ! l S i.. d 2? (lS 'iif4 is a much tougher defence; remarka­ bly, I didn't find a win or even a clear edge for Black: for example, 1S ... 'ifd4 ! ? 16 hxg4 .l:!.ad8 17 i.. e 3 'ifxb2 18 l:!.cl lll c 3 19 f3 lll a 2 20 gs .l:!.xe3 21 'ifxe3 'ifxcl+ 22 'ifxcl lll x cl 23 .l:!.h4 lllb 3 and White h as dodged all bullets - this is not forced, of course, and all the fun is with Black, but where is the win ?) 1S ... l:!.ad8 16 .tc3 tt:Jxc3 17 'ifxc3 i..f3 18 .l:!.g l .l:!.e4 19 b3 .l:!.d4 20 'ifcl l:!.d2 2 1 g4 'ifd4 2 2 l:!.b1 l:!.d1+ and with m ate to come, White resigned in K.Makarczyk­ B.Sliwa, Pozn an 19S2. c1122) The 13 'ii!Vf3 'ifd4 of B.Michiel s-M.Bartel, Legnica 2013, was also g ood for Black. Now 14 'ife3 (the g ame's 14 e3 was a disaster for White after 14 ... lll c s lS i.. e 2 'iVe s 16 0-0 lllb 3 17 .l:!.a2 i..h 3 , with a quick win for Bl ack) 14 ... 'ifxc4 lS f3 is the rel atively best line for White, after which Black can even try 1S ... i.. g 4 16 'iff4 (16 fxg4? l:!.ad8 is deadly) 16 ... .th s 17 h4 .U.ad8 with a tremendous attack. c12) 10 i.. g 2 (wisely declining to snatch the pawn) 10 ... .l:!.e8 and now: c121) 11 i.. g s was very modest, but safe in B.Privman-J. Benjamin, New York 20os. Fol­ lowin g 1l ... lll d4 (11 ... h 6 is al so fine: for example 12 .Udl 'W/e7 13 i..xf6 �xf6 14 o-o i.. g 4 l S h 3 i..h s 16 g4 i..g 6 17 l:td2 .l:!.ad8, a s in A.Dreev-P.Harikrishn a, Dubai (blitz) 2014) 12 l:!. d l c s 13 .l:!.d2 h 6 1 4 i..xf6 'W/xf6 l S 0 - 0 i.. g 4 Black h ad a n active g ame. c122) The natural-looking move 11 0-0 already l eads to some trouble for White: 11 ... e4 12 lll d 2 lll d4 13 .l:!.el i.. g 4 14 i.fl e3! l S fxe3 lllfs 16 e4 'ii!Vd4+ 17 'W/xd4 lll xd4 18 .l:!.ad8.


N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d 'ii x c3 S e t - u p s

A picture of h armony. Black has far more than enough compen sation and is already close to winning: 19 h 3 .ih s 20 g4 .ig6 2 1 .i.g2 tt:Jc2 {this allows an exch ange sacrifice on f6; maybe it was simpler just to go'ixe4 2 2 tt:Jxe4 i.xe4 2 3 i.xe4 l:txe4, with an over­ whelming advantage in a slightly more simplified position) 22 l:tf1 tt:'ie3 23 l:txf6 g xf6 24 .if3 tt:Jc2 2S @f2 l:te6 26 e3 l:td3 27 b3 tt:'ixa3 28 l:ta1 tt:'ic2 29 l:txa7 .l::!. e d6 30 l:txb7 l:txd2+ 3 1 .ixd2 l:i.xd2+ 3 2 @g 3 cs 3 3 h4 h 6 34 h s .i.h 7 3 S es fxe s 3 6 .ids tt:Jxe3 3 7 .ixf7+ @f8 3 8 .ie6 .ie4 3 9 l:.c7 tt:'if1+ and 0-1 in N . Kalesis-1.Papaioannou, Ach aea 2012. From move 2 2 onwards there were m any inaccuracies, probably due to tim e pressure in a complicated position. As usual the capture on e s does not cause Black any trouble and advancing is far more testing: c2) 9 dS tt:'ie7 10 .ig 2 and now:

c21) 10 ... tt:Je4 is interesting: 11 "iie 3 {the norm al -looking 11 'ii'c 2 gets hit by 11.. ..ifs and the queen n eeds to move again) 11...fS 12 o-o as was the g ame S. Reshevsky-P.S.Milner245

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n di a n

Barry, Margate 19 3 S . Now White played the rem arkable 13 a4? ! , giving up h i s queen side play and any hope of an advantage. Th at said, even after 13 b3 Black h as m any ideas: for instance, 13 ... �e8 or 13 ... tt:Jcs with ideas of ... a4 or even .. .f4 to follow. c22) Anoth er possibility is 10 ... .ifs, as played in K. Dragun-R.Wojtaszek, Warsaw 2013. It's quite obvious that the Polish pl ayers have studied this line exten sively. The g am e went 11 o-o �d7 12 lt:Jh4 .ih 3 13 �c2 h6 14 e4 .ixg 2 1S @xg 2 tt:Jh 7 16 cs fs with typical coun­ terplay for Black. c23) 10 ... h6 was pl ayed in a rapid g ame by Polish Junior Worl d Ch ampion Darius Swiercz again st An atoly Karpov in Potsdam, 2012. After 11 o-o .ifs 12 lt:Jd2 �d7 (this is similar to Wojtaszek's play above) 13 e4 .ih 3 (it m ay look weird to exch ange off White's potentially bad bishop. but due to Black's disadvantage in space, exch anges are welcome) 14 b4 we h ave: c231) Swiercz now pl ayed 14 ... lt:Jh 7 ? ! , immediately initiating typical king side play with .. .fs, but after 1S f4! i.xg 2 16 @xg 2 exf4 17 gxf4 c6 18 .ib2 the former world ch ampion g ained a distinct advantage and went on to win. c232) My suggested improvement is 14... .ixg 2 1 S @xg 2 c6, and if 16 .ib2 (16 f4? ! , as in the g ame, can now be an swered by 16 ... exf4 17 g xf4 cxds 18 cxds lt:Jg6 when White's cen­ tre and king position look sh aky) 16 ... cxds 17 cxds .l:!.ac8 18 �3 lt:Jh 7.

Now .. .fs will be strong er than in the game, as dS is immediately undermined with the c4-pawn missing. c3) On 9 .ig 2 Bl ack obtained a fine position in Z.Hracek-A.Yusupov, G erman League 2012, with 9 ... e4 10 lt:Jd2 ds 11 c s ? ! (giving up the pressure on Black's centre looks wrong to me; after 11 o-o l:!.e8 12 e3 .ifs 13 cxds lt:Je7 it should be about equal) 11 ... as 12 lt:Jfl a4 13 h 3 lt:Jas 14 .ig s h 6 1 s .ixf6 �xf6 16 lt:Je3 lt:Jb3 17 .l:!.d1 c6 18 o-o �g 6 19 lt:Jc2 � S 20 g4 �4 2 1 f3 exf3 2 2 exf3 and here a draw was agreed, maybe due to m atch tactics. After 22 .. .fs Black just seem s to be comfortably better. At l ast we can return to the critical 8 b4: 246

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va r i a t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d 'ikxc3 S e t- u p s s es! ...

9 dxes 9 i..b 2 shoul d be an swered with 9 ... .l:.e8 (9 ... e4 10 tt:Jd2 dS 11 e3 is slightly more com­ fortable for White), when opening the position with 10 dxes leads to the main g ame. In­ stead, 10 e3 i.. g 4 11 ds tt:Jb8 12 tt:Jd2 c6 13 e4 as led to a typical Zurich position in Ding Li­ ren-L. Fressinet, Beijing 2012. After 14 i.. d 3 I would though prefer 14 ... axb4 to Fressinet's 14, as after 15 axb4 .l:.xal+ 16 i.. x al cxds 17 cxds tt:Jh s Black begins play on the king side. 9 tt:Jxes In the early days of the Zurich 9 ... tt:Je4? ! was a topical line. It seems insufficient, though, after 10 'ike3 fS 11 i..b 2: ...

a) 11 ... tt:Jxe s 12 tt:Jxe s dxes 13 g 3 i.. e 6 was played in R.Fine-C.Alexander, Marg ate 1937, and is defused by either 14 or 14 i.. g 2 , intending 14 ... i.. xc4 1 5 i.. d s 16 f3 tt:Jf6 17 24 7

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n di a n

'ii'x es and White is clearly better. b) A more recent try is 11 ... as 12 bs lllx es 13 lllx es dxes 14 g 3 (this is better th an 14 .i.xes W/e7 lS .i.b2 .i.e6 16 .l:Icl .l:!.ad8 and Black's compensation is becoming very dang er­ ous) 14 ... .i.e6 lS J:.c1 �d7 16 .i.g 2 (16 .i.xe s is more interesting here than on move 14; still, I feel that just improving the position is strong er) 16 ...lll d 6 17 W/xes lll x c4 18 W/c3 lll xb2 19 �xb2 .i.ds 20 .i.xds+ �xds 2 1 o-o. Black didn't h ave any great alternatives on the way to this rather ugly endgame. He will suffer and probably lose ag ain st good technical play. The g ame R. Pogorelov-C.Matamoros Franco, Seville 2007, continued 2 1 ...J:.f7 2 2 J:.fdl W/e6 2 3 e3 h 6 24 J:.cs .l:Ie8 2 s i¥c2 J:.ee7 26 b6 27 .l::t d 8+ 'it>h 7 2 8 J:.c6 Wie s 29 i¥d3 W/e4 30 Wid1 �e s 31 a4 g6 32 h4 h s 33 Wid4 �xd4 34 l!xd4 and White converted in the end. The g eneral problem with the 9 ... lll e 4 line is that it places the knight on an un stable square while the centre behind it with ... es and .. .fs is vulnerable. 10 .i.b2 10 lll x es dxe s 11 i.b2 is another route to the g am e position, while 11 W/xe s is obviously the critical move to examine in detail. For detailed analysis on it, please see the following g ame, Peng Zh aoqin-Pl asman . 10 .UeS ...

11 lll xes White h as al so tried without this move. For example: a) 11 .l::t d l has not been tried yet, but needs to be checked. H ere 11 ... 'iie 7 1 2 lllx es leads to note 'b' to White's 12th move, below. Instead, 12 e3 lll e 4 13 'iid4 (avoidin g 13 'iic 2? lll g 4) 13 ...i.fs 14 i.e2 (14 h3 takes g4 under control, but is too slow: 14 ... cs ! l S bxcs lllx cs and Black is seriously better already due to the ideas of ... lllb 3 and ... .i.c2, winning the ex­ ch an g e) 14 ...b6 l S o-o as and this middlegame, quite similar to Gereben-Najdorf below, is about equal . b) 11 e3 lll e4 12 �d4 .i.fs 13 i.e2 'iif6 14 o-o as was played in E.Gereben-M.Najdorf, Budapest 1936. Black is fine h ere and even h ad reasonable altern atives in G eorgi Orlov's 248

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d 'flxc3 S e t - u p s

11...b6 o r 13 . . . cs, a s given by Rich ard Palliser. 11 dxes 12 e3 Again, there are alternatives: a) 12 g 3 is a sensible move, but it neglects coverage of the c4-pawn . This is Bl ack's spot to attack with 12 ... tt:le4! 13 'fle3 (or 13 'flcl 'f/f6 and ... tt:ld6 n ext move is even more com ­ fortable th an the text for Black) 13 ... tt:ld6 14 'f/c3 i.e6 l S .l:f.d1 'flc8 16 cs tt:lc4 17 i.. a 1 b s 18 �g 2 c6 19 o-o i.h 3 20 a4 i.. x g 2 2 1 @xg 2 as and Black h ad taken the initiative: 2 2 .l:!.b1 'f/e6 23 e4 f6 24 .l:!.fdl 'flg4 2S f3 'fle6 26 'f/d3 axb4 27 .l:!.xb4 .l:!.xa4 28 .l:f.xa4 bxa4 29 lll a s 30 'fla6 lllb 3 3 1 .l:f.dl tt:lxcs 32 'fla7 'f/a2+ 33 @h 3 tt:le6 34 f4 exf4 3S 'fld7 tt:lg s+ 36 @g4 'fle2+ and 0-1 in G.Battaglini-P.Lafuente, St Petersburg 2009. b) The insertion of the move pair 12 .l:f.dl 'fle7 changes the position slightly compared to 11 e3 or 11 g 3 . H ere: bl) 13 g3 i..fs (Bl ack could also try 13 ... tt:le4 ! ?, tempting White to grab e s with 14 'fixes 'fixe s 1 S i.. x es, after which 1 s ... i.. g 4 is not clear at all) 14 i.g 2 (14 'fle3 prevents ... tt:le4, but allows 14 ... as with counterplay) 14 ... llle 4 (again, we see this regrouping to d6) 1 S 'f/e3 tt:ld6 16 'f/c1 i.e4 with a good position for Black. b2) 13 e3 i..fs (one of the experts, G eorgi Orlov, preferred 13 ... as 14 i.. d 3 b6 1S o-o i.b7 16 i.c2 axb4 17 axb4 tt:le4 18 i.xe4 i.. x e4 and equalized easily in G.Umezinwa-G.Orlov, New York 1994; my suggested move 13 ... i.fs is not better objectively, but features some interesting ideas). ...

Some possible continuations are: b21) 14 i.e2 tt:le4 1 S 'flc1 'fig s or 1s .. .f6 16 c s tt:lg s is a regroupin g worth noting. With .. .f6 and ... lllf7 Black will be very solid. In this concrete case the active ... 'fig s is just stronger though, al so with good counterpl ay. b22) 14 c s ? ! further neglects development, which Black can exploit with 14 ... tt:Je4 1 S 'i'c4 'i'g s and he is already for choice. The computer actually indicates 16 f3 a s the only playable move h ere, assessing the position after 16 ... 'i'xe3+ 17 'i'e2 'i'xe2+ 18 i.xe2 lllf6 as 249

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n di a n

only marginally better for Bl ack. While I agree that converting the pawn won 't b e easy, White is far away from having adequate compen sation, so this evaluation seem s ques­ tion able to me. b23) I believe it is best to immediately take e4 under control : 14 f3 ! , after which I sug­ gest startin g play on the queen side with 14 ... c s ! ? 1 s i.e2 lll d 7, targetin g the c4-pawn with the possible set-up ... lllb 6, ... i.e6 and .. .f6 if necessary. 14 ... cs also m akes sure th at White does not advance with c4-cS, improving his bishop on e2, and this position shoul d be roughly equal . 12 ... tlle 4!? The simple 12 ...i.fs is fine as well. White's most ambitious reply is 13 f3, which can be an swered with ... lll d 7 and ... cs, just like after 12 l:td1 �e7 13 e3 i.fs. In the g ame 1 . Farago­ P.Motwani, Forli 1991, Black played the active-looking 13 ... lllh s ? ! , but after 14 g3 i.g6 1S i.e2 as, 16 l:tdl improves on the strange 16 bxas of the g ame. I don 't see how Black can gain adequate play here: for instance, 16 ... axb4 17 axb4 �e7 18 l:tds f6 (otherwise e s sim ­ ply falls, but the piece sacrifice doesn 't work) 19 g4 tllf4 20 exf4 exf4 2 1 l:td2 l:tad8 2 2 @fl and White wins. 13 �c2 .ifs

A very direct way to play. 14 i.d3 In stead, 14 g4 looks a bit in sane, but nowadays people play g 2-g4 whenever possible, so it needs to be checked: 14 ... i.g6 1 S i.d3 tll g s 16 o-o-o i.xd3 17 �xd3 f6. Black h ad alterna­ tives along the way, but he can force this position, which looks about equal to me. However, the careless 14 .J:td1? leads to big trouble for White after 14 ... �g S: for exam ­ ple, after 1 S �3 l:!.ad8 16 h4 'iWf6 Black h as a winning attack. 14 ...lllxf2 Black grabs the exchange. This is forced after 12 ... tll e 4 from his perspective. 15 i.xfs lllx h1 16 @f1 250

N i m z o - l n d ia n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d 'ii x c3 S e t - u p s

16 ..txh7+?! loses too much tim e and 16 . . .'it>f8 17 i.. e 4 (securing the bishop before Black traps it with ... g6} 17 ... 'iig s is very annoying. White probably needs to pl ay 18 g 3 lZ:Jxg 3 19 hxg 3 'iix e3+ 20 'iie 2 'iixg 3+ 2 1 'it>d2 'in>3. While I believe Bl ack is better here, this is not such an easy position to pl ay, and maybe there are improvements possible earlier. 16 ... g6 The direct 16 ... iVg s was interesting as well. 17 ..th3 iVgs 18 iVe2 .l:tad8 19 'it>g1 ltd6

Pl anning to invade on the d-file. 20 C5 20 'it>xh l was a stiffer test for Black: for example, 20 ... .l:ted8 2 1 i.. c 3 'iVe7 (the direct 21 ... ltd3 fall s short after 22 i.. d4 ltb3 23 iVc2 exd4 24 iVxb3 dxe3 2 5 .l:tel e2 26 '1i'c2 l'1e8 2 7 iVd3 and while this is not lost for Black, it's certainly no position t o aim for} 2 2 .l:tf1 ltd3 2 3 'iie 1 'iig s with dynamically equal play. 20 ....i:td s 21 .l:tf1 lZ:Jg3 2 2 hxg3 'iWxg3 2 3 ltf3 1\Vgs 24 1\Vc4 c6 2 5 'it>h2 1\Ve7 26 e4 .l:td1 27 1\Vb3 lte1 28 1\Vc4 ltd1 29 1\Vb3 lte1 Yz-Yz Summary I don't see any particular problem s for Black with the sidelines after 7 ...0-0. It seem s the only stern test of the g ambit approach is acceptance, as covered n ext in Game 24.

Game 24

Peng Zhaoqin-H.Plasman

H oogeveen Open, E ssent 2001

1 d4 lZ:Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 lZ:Jc3 i.. b4 4 'iWc2 lZ:Jc6 5 lZ:Jf3 d6 6 a3 i.. xc3+ 7 1\Vxc3 o-o 8 b4 es 9 dxes lZ:Jxes 10 lZ:Jxes dxes 11 'iix es 251

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

'The proof of the pudding is in the eating'. I n practice White does not 'eat' s o often, but you certainly need to have something prepared in case your opponent is hungry. 11 1:!.eS 12 'ieb2 The only move ever pl ayed here, and with good reason. Other retreats concede even more tim e or directly give up the c4-pawn, like 12 'ief4 1:!.e4 13 'ieg 3 1:!.xc4. After the correct 12 �2 Bl ack has a wide choice, with 12 ... tt:'ig4 being reg arded as the m ain move. My analy­ sis, however, has shown that Black's best bet is: 12 a s ! This move was only played once i n the m ain g ame. Let's h ave a brief look at the alterna­ tives to demon strate why I went for 12 ... a5 as my recommendation : a) The very direct 12 ... tt:Jg4 i s usually regarded as the m ain move here and was even awarded an excl am by Richard Palliser in Tango!. Palliser m entions the critical line of 13 .i.f4! and now: al) 13 ... 'iee7 is his suggested improvement. This is strange, as the simple 14 h3 tt:'ie s 1 5 .i.xe 5 'iexes 16 'iexe s 1:!.xe s 1 7 e3 as 18 o-o-o il e 6 19 b5 leaves White with a clear extra pawn ; I don 't see sufficient compensation . White n eeds to avoid 19 Wb2 though, as 19 ... axb4 20 axb4 bs is an important resource. a2) I tried to m ake 13 ... 'ied3 work, but after 14 e3 'iee4 15 0-0-0! (and not 15 .ig 3 ? ? tt:'ixe3) 1 5 . . ."ii'e 7 16 h 3 tt:'if6 17 g4 while White needs t o b e precise with his slightly exposed king, this is not a position to recommend for Black. a3) The most aggressive move is 13 ... g s, but this seem s almost unpl ayable to me: 14 l:tdl "Cfl/e7 (a long-tim e team m ate of mine tried 14 ... 'iexdl+ h ere, but it did not l ead to enough play for the queen : 15 Wxdl tt:'ixf2+ 16 Wcl gxf4 17 .I:.g 1 l:te4 18 g 3 , and White won quickly in A.Jossien-D.Hausrath, French League 2009) 15 ! .i.fs (if Black tries 15 ... tt:Jes, then White responds in the sam e vein with 16 h4 gxh4 17 'iec3, which leaves Black with a disastrous position in view of the coming .i.b2). After 1 s ... .if5 the improvement is the simi­ l ar 16 h4! (far better th an the 16 e3 of A. Lunev-S.Voitsekhovsky, Moscow 1999) 16 ... gxh4 (or ...



N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d 'ilxc3 S e t - u p s

1 6 ... lll e 5 1 7 i.. x g 5 f6 18 i.. e 3 lll x c4 19 'iiib 3 i.. e 6 2 0 i.. d4 and White con solidates; after 20 ... a5, 21 e4! is strong) 17 i..f4 .l:!.ad8 18 l:.xd8 .l:!.xd8 19 e3 and Bl ack is in deep trouble. An interesting defensive try is 19 .. .f6 20 lixh4 lll e 5 intending ... lll d 3+, but 2 1 i.. x e5 fxe 5 2 2 g 3 i s still insufficient. Maybe you can find an improvement, but I think that 1 2 ... ll:Jg4 is just not working at all . b ) Another move that h as been both tried and analysed is 12 . . .'¥Vd3 . H ere Houdini sug­ gest the n ew move 13 f3, followed by 13 ...'ifxc4 14 e4 'ife6 15 i.. d 3, which seems like a lon g ­ term n ag ging edge for White t o me. Instead o f 13 f3, White even has other critical moves, but compared to 12 ... a5 this is just less convincing. Let's return to 12 ... a5 and examine White's options.

13 i.. g s A very logical move, but of course there are other possibilities too to analyse. Keep in mind that the followin g is all n ew and h as never been tried in practice: a) Let's start with 1 3 f3. Thi s prevents knight jumps and prepares e4: al) The immediate 13 ... i.. e 6 is interesting, and if 14 e3 (14 e4?? lll x e4 is losing quickly for White) 14 ... lll d 7, planning ... i.xc4 as in the line below. a2) My main road of analysis, however, is 13 ... '¥Ve7 14 i.. d 2 (14 b5 'i¥c5 is not convincing for White; lines like 1 5 e3 i..f5 16 i.. e 2 .l:!.ad8 17 @f2 i.. d 3 see him struggling to defend) 14 ... i.. e 6 15 e3 (on 15 e4 Black has a typical sacrifice available: 15 ... lll x e4 16 fxe4 'ifh4+ 17 'it>d1 'iWxe4 with a strong attack th at is at least good enough for a draw; one possible draw­ ing line is 18 Wcl axb4 19 axb4 .l:!.xal+ 20 'ifxal i.f5 21 'iiib 2 l:.a8 22 'it>d1 i.. g 4+ 23 Wcl i.f5, etc) 1 5 ... lll d 7.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

This introduces the idea of . . .i.xc4 and . . .'iVh4+. While Black's compensation is obvious, it's not so easy to determine a m ain line from here. Houdini suggests the computerish 16 h4 which m akes some sense though ; h S-h 6 g ets the rook in play and 'iVh4 is prevented. Here 16 ... axb4 17 axb4 �d6 18 i.e2 .l:i.xa1+ 19 �xa1 cs is just one possible line, with Black retaining enough play for the pawn . Quite often he will get c4 back, leading to bishops of opposite colours after the sequence ... lbxc4; i.xc4 ..txc4. b) The advance 13 bS makes sure that the a-file is kept closed, but White also weaken s the cs-square con siderably. This gives Black additional option s and after 13 ... ..te6 (com ­ pared to move 12, now 13 ... �d3 is more interesting, as at least 14 f3 �xc4 1 S e4 �cs is fine for Black; 13 ...�d3 is a line worth investigating, but I liked 1 3 ... ..te6 even more) White needs to attend to the c4-pawn : bl) Yet another move with the queen like 14 �c2 seems very risky. Besides the simple 14 ... �d4, there is the more interesting 14 ... lbg4 ! ? (a line I couldn't m ake work is 14 ... c6 1 S bxc6 .l:i.c8 ! 16 cxb7 .U.xc4 17 �2 �c7, which looks utterly crazy from the white side, but I didn 't manage to find a win for Black - m aybe you will be more successful ?), when White h as only two satisfactory m oves:


N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va r i a t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d 'Wixc3 S e t - u p s

b 1 1 ) 1 S e 3 ? ! is not one o f them : 1S . . .�4 16 h 3 (or 16 g 3 �f6) 16 . . ..l:tad8 17 g 3 (17 .l:ta2 ? .!ll x e3 18 .i.xe3 .i.g4 is already decisive) 17 ...�f6 18 hxg4 �xa1 and Black is better. b12) 1S �c3 .i.xc4! one idea of .!ll g 4. 16 .i.b2 tt:Jes 17 .l:td1 �f6 18 �xc4 .!llx c4 19 .i.xf6 gxf6 and this endgam e is about equal . b13) 1 S .i.b2 �g s 16 .l:td1 (normal-lookin g moves like 16 e 3 ? .i.fs and 16 g 3 ? .l:tad8 lose in stantly; White h as to walk a thin line h ere) and now: b 1 3 1) 16 ... �f4 is interesting, but after 17 .i.d4 .!ll xh 2 (a weird computer line, but it does regain the pawn) 18 .i.b2 {18 g 3 ?? tt:Jf3+ 19 exf3 .i.fs+ is yet another way down) 18 .. .f6 19 .l:td4 �6 and the only move 20 �d1 Black's queen is in an awkward pin and I don't trust this line. b132) Better seem s to be 16 ... c6, opening up the position. After 17 bxc6 bxc6 White still cannot develop normally, so play might proceed 18 �d2 �S 19 h4 tt:Jes 20 �g s �xg s 21 hxg s tt:Jxc4 2 2 iLc1 .l:tab8.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

Black is fine h ere. I t is not easy analysin g these complicated positions, yet alone playing them over the board. But be aware of the fact th at attackin g in chess is easier than defend­ ing - and White needs to be precise h ere to stay in the g ame. b2) Instead of covering the pawn, White can also return it immediately with 14 ..ig s .ixc4 {there is nothing better) 1 S .l:!.d1 �e7 16 .ixf6 (I don't think White h as a useful im­ provin g move first, so taking is the most logical). Now both recaptures are possible, but going into the endgame with 16 ... �xf6 17 �xf6 gxf6 is the easiest. After 18 e3 ..ixfl 19 .l:!.xfl Iles the weakened white queen side gives Black good pl ay. Thi s is why ... as is such an important move. Instead, 16 ... gxf6 is more complicated and riskier: for example, 17 .l:!.c1 �e6 18 e3 ..ixfl 19 @xfl .l:!.ad8 20 h4 .l:!.ds 2 1 .l:!.h 3 �d6.

An interesting fight lies ahead, with about equal chances. b3) Now let's check the most logical move to cover the pawn, 14 e3. H ere Black obtain s fi n e piece play startin g with 1 4. . .tbe4: b 3 1) White's only move is line 'b3 2', other tries like 1S ..id2 ? �4 16 .ic3 .l:!.ad8 17 g 3 � S 1 8 ..ie2 � 3 lead t o a decisive attack fo r Black. b32) After 1S .te2 �g s 16 o-o .l:!.ad8 Black h as strong compen sation h ere. Let's check some moves for White: b 3 2 1) The computer's funny m ain line is 17 'it>h 1 �4 18 @g 1 �g s with a repetition .


N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d "fixc3 S e t- u p s

If Black wants t o continue, h e can play 19 Wh l �cs, intending . . .ti:Jd6-c4 with good compensation . b 3 2 2) 17 .:e1 i.h 3 18 i.f3 .:d6 19 'ii'e 2 h s 20 "f/f1 'ii'f6 2 1 .:a2 "f/xf3 2 2 gxf3 .l:i.g6+ 2 3 'it>h 1 .ixfl 2 4 .l:i.xfl tt:Jg s 2 5 f4 ti:Jf3 is a spectacular line that White should avoid. b 3 2 3 ) 17 .l:i.a2 .ih 3 18 .if3 .:d6 19 i.xe4 .l:i.xe4 20 f4 'ii'e 7 also gives Black fine compensa­ tion and now 2 1 gxh 3 .l:i.g6+ 2 2 @f2 'ii'h 4+ 2 3 @f3 .l:i.xc4 24 'ii'e s "f/xh 3+ 2 5 We2 leads to a direct draw. In general these positions are full of possibilities - I originally had even more analysis on these lines, but there are limits as to wh at you can discuss in a book. c) The final logical move to con sider is 13 e3, after which Black has various ways to play. The most aggressive m ethod is 13 ... tt:Jg4, which has g ained in strength , now that .if4 is no longer possible (other playable options for Black are 13 ... tt:Je4 and 13 ... �e7, but I don't want to analyse all of them when 13 ... tt:Jg4 is perfectly okay): for example, 14 .te2 (at some point of the g ame White n eeds to get his pieces into play; other moves don't h elp much : for instance, 14 'ii'c 3 to prepare .ib2 is an swered by 14 ... axb4 1 5 axb4 .:xa1 16 �xa1 1\Vh4 17 g 3 � 5 18 .ie2 � 3 and it's at least a repetition) 1 4...�4 15 g 3 ( 1 5 .ixg4 .ixg4 1 6 o-o axb4 17 axb4 .l:i.xal 18 �xal .ie2 is just dead equal) 15 ...� 3 16 .tfl �6 17 .ig2 tt:Jes 18 0-0 .ih 3 and Black has at least adequate compen sation . In conclusion, the altern atives for White on move 13 all offer Bl ack g ood counterplay. It is all untested analysis, though, so there is still much to explore. For now, let's return to 13 .ig s .


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

1 3 ... axb4 1 4 axb4 l:!.xa1+ 15 �xa1 �d3 This h as all been forced after 13 .tg s . Now White needs to return the pawn. 16 f3 Instead, 16 e 3 ? �3 17 �xf6 gxf6 18 �e2 �xb4+ 19 @f1 is even slightly more comfort­ able for Bl ack, while 16 �2 �xc4 17 f3 may lead to the m ain g ame (here 17 e3 �dS 18 �xf6 gxf6 is just awful for White and simil ar is 17 .txf6? gxf6 18 e3 �e4 when White is paralysed). 16 ... �XC4

11 .txf6? This could have led to trouble for White. Better was 17 �2 tZ'ids 18 e4! (18 �d2 ? lZ'ie3 should be avoided) 18 ... �xb4+ 19 �xb4 lbxb4 20 @f2 and h ere White probably has exactly enough to keep the balance. A possible line is 20 ... .te6 21 .te2 l:!.a8 22 l:!.b1 cs 23 �d2 l:!.a4 24 @f1 b6 25 �bs l:!.as 26 �e2 with a 258

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , S i d e l i n e s a n d "i!Vxc3 S e t - u p s

draw by repetition . 17 ... gxf6 18 "ifb2 White needs to cover b4. After 18 "ifxf6? "ifxb4+ 19 @f2 "ifcs+ 2o @g 3 l::t e 6 Bl ack is close to winning. 18 The right move was 18 ... .l:!.e3 ! . •••

White finds herself i n some trouble: a) 19 Wf2 ? .l:!.c3 is clearly better for Bl ack. b) 19 "ifxf6? "ifxb4+ 20 Wf2 "ifcs is deadly. c) 19 "iVd2 is relatively the best move. Following 19 "iVc3 Uustifiably pl aying for a win; 19 ... l::tb 3 20 "iVd8+ Wg 7 2 1 "iVxc8 "iVxb4+ 2 2 Wf2 "ifd4+ 2 3 Wg 3 "ifes+ is just a perpetual) 20 "iVxc3 .l:!.xc3 2 1 e4 .l:!.b3 22 b s .i.d7 2 3 .l:!.g 1 .i.xbs 24 .i.xbs .l:!.xbs I am shocked by Houdini's assessm ent of a slight edge for Black - it looks at least clearly better for Black, if not win­ ning to me. 19 e4 "iVe6 20 .i.d3 Now White has con solidated. 20 ..."iVb6 21 @e2 .i.d7 22 'i!Vd2 i.. b s 23 .l:!.b1 fs 24 "iVgs+ Wh8 25 .l:!.d1 f6 26 "ifh6 .l:!.e8 27 .i.xbs "ifxbs+ 28 @f2 ...


O p e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

28 ...fxe4? 28 ... '1i'b6+ 29 @f1 fxe4 30 fxe4 '1i'hs+ 31 @f2 '1i'h6+ is still a draw for Black. 29 'iYxf6+ @g8 30 .l:i.d4 Maybe Black h ad overlooked this move. It was still possibl e to fight, but now he falls apart. 30 cs?? 31 .l:i.d s e3+ 3 2 @g3 h6 3 3 'iYg6+ @fs 34 .l:i.fs+ �e7 3 5 .l:i.f7+ 1-0 Black resigned in view of the coming mate. •••

Summary The move 12 ... as ! is a very important resource that keeps the pawn sacrifice 8 .. e s viable. However, almost all of this is based on analysis that has been published here for the first time. My advice is to look through the lines given h ere and explore a bit on your own . It will help you to play the position over the board, even if you forget the concrete moves. On a practical note, Black's position is much easier to play here than White's, who needs to de­ fend precisely ag ainst Black's initiative. .


C h a pt e r E l eve n

N i m zo - l n d i a n : Z u ri c h Va ri at i o n , W h i t e P l a ys �xc 3


d4 lt:Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 lt:Jc3 i.. b4 4 'iWc2 lt:Jc6 5 lt:Jf3 d6 6 i.. d 2

White breaks the pin and will recapture on c3 with the bishop. I believe this approach is more testing for Bl ack th an 6 a3 i.. x c3+ 7 'iWxc3, as examined in the previous chapter. The bishop on c3 an d queen on c2 complement each other well, one key difference being that the bi shop now control s es, compared to the 'iWxc3 lines where th e queen fulfil s that role. The con sequence is that after 'iWxc3 pawn sacrifices with ... e6-eS are playabl e (see G ames 24 and 2 5), whereas .ll x c3 renders those attempts incorrect. After 6 . 0-0 7 a3 i.xc3 8 i.xc3 'iWe7 this ch apter is structured as follows: .



Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

a ) 9 g 3 leads t o strategically compl ex position s and is the m ain subject of Gam e 2 5 , Docx-H ausrath . This g am e al so includes a discussion on the earlier deviations and the al­ tern ative 9 b4 for White. b) 9 e3 is currently viewed as the m ain line ag ain st the Zurich . White aim s for a small advantage with the bishop-pair in a h alf-open position . The g am e Zaja-Jakic (Game 26) examines this line. I think Black is quite OK h ere, but I can quite understand why this line is recommended for White, for example, by Jan Gustafsson in a recent video series - it is not clear-cut equality for Bl ack. c) 9 e4 is the most aggressive line for White. Here Black needs to be precise to success­ fully fight White's advantage in space, as we'll see in Giri-Belezky. White al so has the option to start with 6 .Jig s and only after ... h6 put the bishop on d2, so we'll finish our Zurich coverage with 6 i.. g s h 6 7 i.. d 2 o-o 8 a3 i..x c3 9 i.. x c3 'ili'e7.

This extra move for Black is very difficult to evaluate. In some lines it is an asset to have 262

N i m z o - J n d i a n : Zu rich Va ria t i o n , Wh i t e P l ays i.. xc3

the extra move, in others it is a clearly negative change to Black's structure. There is one line in particular where Bl ack needs to be very precise: the aggressive set-up with an early e2-e4 and b2-b4. To my surprise, I recently h ad the opportunity to play this line with White in the g ame Sielecki-Deglmann (Game 28). This g am e discusses the differences between having ... h6 in and not having it in, and shows how to pl ay again st the critical line I chose when sitting at the wrong side of the board.

Game 25

S.Docx-0.Hausrath Belgi a n Lea g u e 2 0 1 3 1 d4 lllf6 2 c4 e6 3 lll c 3 .tb4 4 Wic2 lll c6 5 lllf3 d6 6 i.. d 2 o-o

This is Bl ack's m ain move and the one I recommend. The altern atives are playable, but at best transpose to position that 6 ... 0-0 reaches anyway. Let's h ave a quick look though: a) 6 ... as prevents or discourages early b4 advances by White and al so protects the bish ­ op, so °iVa4+ after a l ater ... lll e 7 is no problem. After 7 a3 .txc3 8 i.. x c3 Black h as a choice between two continuation s: al) The worse of the two is 8 ... 0-0?! 9 e4 and now Black is in trouble: 9 ...'iVe7 (the pawn sacrifice 9 ... e s ? ! 10 dxe s dxe s 11 lt:Jxes lll x es 12 i.xe s .l:l.e8 13 .l:\.d1 al so does not convince; I tried h ard to m ake it work, but it ultimately falls short) 10 e s dxe s 11 dxe s lll d 7 12 i.. d 3 was much better for White in A.Lenderman -AA.De Jong, Wolvega 2014. a2) The more reliable move is 8 ... Wie7 9 e4 es 10 ds lllb 8, but the problem now for Black is 11 cs ! .

Bl ack has problems equalizing h ere. I t is not terribly bad, but compared t o the m ain lines just a fraction worse. I con sider 11 ... lllb d7 12 cxd6 cxd6 13 b4 axb4 14 .txb4! to be the most critical, with a nagging edge for White. 2 63

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n di a n

b ) The other move I investig ated i s 6 ...e s . This m ove often tempts White to play 7 ds, as Bl ack is now forced to capture on c3 without White having lost a move with a3. However, as compensation, Black is able to g et in ... ti:Je7 and didn't need to invest any preparatory moves like .. :file7 or ... .l:te8 to pl ay ... es in the first pl ace. After 7 ... ..ixc3 8 j.xc3 ti:Je7 9 e4 the position is assessed as very comfortable for White by J an Gustafsson in his video series on the 4 "filc2 Nimzo for . I actually don't think Black n eeds to be so pessimistic here, but one practical drawback is th at in stead of 7 ds, White al so has 7 a3, after which Black has nothing better th an 7 ... .i.xc3 8 .i.xc3 "file7, which will tran spose to 6 .. o-o ulti­ mately. So there is little to gain by 6 ... es, but it is not a bad move in itself. 7 a3 j.xc3 8 .i.xc3 "file7 .

The questionable 8 ... a s ? ! is discussed above via 6 ... as, but 8 ... .l:!.e8 is a popul ar alterna­ tive. However, after 9 .l:!.d1 Black needs to play 9 ... 1\Ve7 anyway. In the upcoming closed cen­ tre structures with ... e6-eS and d4-dS, Bl ack's rook move is rather pointl ess and even m akes the . .fs option less likely. This whole line is playable, but the 8 ..."file7 of the m ain g am e is just more straightforward. 9 g3 H ere White must decide which central set-up to aim for. The text is quite a popul ar move, although it doesn 't put too much pressure on Black. The alternatives are: a) 9 e 3 is the m ain line, as examined in G am e 27. b) The most direct approach, 9 e4, will be an alysed in G am e 28. c) White h as also tried 9 b4, which is not worse th an the more popul ar moves. After 9 ... es White h as a further choice: c1) 10 ds ti:Jb8 11 e4 is possible, transposing to 9 €4, as examined in G am e 28. c2) 10 dxe s (opening up the position) 10 ... ti:Jxe s (the other recapture fails: 10 ... dxe s ? 11 bS e4 12 bxc6 exf3 13 gxf3 bxc6 14 .l:!.g 1 and White is much better due to his strong bishop and the open g-file) and now: c21) White can try to delay the capture on es, trying to induce Black to take on f3. This 2 64

N im z o - J n d i a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , Wh i t e P l ays ii.xc3

would result in a similarly negative scenario to 10 ... dxes - a monster bishop on c3 plus g ­ fi l e pressure for White. After 11 e3 b6 (altern atively, 11 . . .Ji. g 4 12 Ji. e 2 l:tfe8 - note th at Bl ack never captures on f3 - 13 l:td1 lt:Jfd7 14 tt:Jd4 Ji.xe2 1S 'ii'x e2 lt:Jb6 16 o-o f6 17 tt:Jfs 'ii'e 6 and Bl ack h ad no problems at all in Tran Tuan Minh-Nguyen Huynh Minh, Ho Chi Minh City 2012) 12 ii.e2 Ji.b7 13 tt:Jxe s dxe s 14 o-o l:tfe8 15 f3 lLid7 16 l:tfd1 lt:Jf8 17 iVfs cs 18 l:td2 .i.c8 19 iVe4 Ji.b7 20 'ii'g 4 Ji.c8 21 'ii'e 4 Ji.b7 22 'ii'g 4 Ji.c8 23 'ii'e 4 a draw was agreed in J.Gustafsson-A.Yusupov, Pulvermuehle 2006. White is m aybe slightly better h ere, but Black is very solid of course. c22) The straightforward move is 11 lt:Jxe s dxes when White has two ways to g et the light-squared bishop into play: c221) 12 e3 Ji.g4 (or 12 ...b6 with a likely transposition to Gustafsson-Yusupov, above).

H ere 13 Ji.e2 is very unambitious, but White's set-up does not promise much anyway: 13 ... Ji.xe2 14 i¥xe2 lt:Je4 1 s 'ii'c 2 tt:Jxc3 16 iVxc3 l:tfd8 17 o-o l:td7 18 l:tad1 l:tad8 19 l:txd7 .l:txd7. This was played in T.Wiley-V. Epishin, Lein zell 2011. Of course, Bl ack is more comfort­ able with the d-file, but it's amazing how quickly White now loses: 20 iVc2 cs 2 1 .i:td1? .l:txdl+ 2 2 'ii'x d1 cxb4 2 3 axb4 'ii'xb4 24 'ii'd 8+ 'ii'f8 2 s 'ii'e 7 'ii'a 8 ! 26 'ii'x es as 27 �cs a4 28 'ii'a 3 h 6 29 g 3 'ii'a 6 30 'ii'c s a3 3 1 'ii'c 8+ @h 7 3 2 e4 'ii'a s 3 3 @g 2 a2 34 cs aliV 3 S iVfs+ g 6 3 6 'ii'xf7+ 'i¥g 7 and White resigned. c222) White might instead fianchetto the bishop with 12 g3 lie8 13 Ji.g 2 c6 14 o-o h s (an interesting approach ; Bl ack could al so play more con servatively with, for example, 14 ... Ji.g4, pl anning ...'ii'e 6 and ... Ji.h 3 or the transfer to g 6} 1 s l:tfd1 h4 16 bs hxg 3 17 hxg 3 . Now i n V.Golod- D. Kopec, Schaumburg 2006, Black went 17 . . .cs and White was slightly better. Instead, the computer points out the crude-looking 17 ... lt:Jg4 18 bxc6 bxc6, and now 19 Ji.xc6?? loses due to 19 ... 'ii'c s. In stead, 19 'ii'd 3 or 19 'ii'e 4 would lead to unbal anced pl ay worth investig ating for Black. Returning to 9 g 3 : 9 es ...


Op e n i n g R ep e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

10 d 5 A s usual exchanging doesn't lead t o much : 1 0 dxes dxes 11 .i.g 2 .l:r.d8 {very direct pl ay by the three-time U.S. Champion, intending ... lbd4} 12 o-o lbd4 13 .i.xd4 exd4 14 c s {oth ­ erwise, Black will pl ay ... cs himself} 14 ....l:r.dS l S .l:r.acl .i.fs 16 "iWa4 .i.e4 with good play for Bl ack in D.Gurevich-J . Benjamin, New York 1994. 10 lbbS H ere a very enterprising option, in stead of the simple retreat, is 10 ... e4! ? 11 tt:Jg s (the only challenging move; on 11 tt:Jd2 e3 12 fxe3 tt:Jes Bl ack is fine with long-term compensa­ tion) 11 ... tt:Jes 12 tt:Jxe4 (White h as no decent altern ative: for example, 12 .i.g 2 ? gets re­ buffed by the embarrassing 12 ... tt:'id3+! 13 @fl tt:Jxf2 14 @xf2 tt:'ig4+ lS @g 1 "iWxg s 16 "iWxe4 °iWe3+ 17 "iWxe3 tt:Jxe3 with a slight edge for Black} and now: a) 12 ... .i.fs ? ! seem s in sufficient to m e due to 13 lbxf6+ "iWxf6 14 °iWdl (or 14 .i.xes �xe s l S °iWc3 and Black does not have enough compen sation) 14 ... °iVe7 lS .i.g 2 f6 16 .i.xe s "iWxe s 17 °iWd2 and White went o n t o win in G .Timoscenko-G .Aczel, Banska Stiavnica 2011. b} In stead, the high-level g am e V.Mal akhov-R. Ponom ariov, Kh anty-Mansiysk 2009, saw 12 ... tt:Jxe4 13 "iWxe4 fs 14 'iVe3 f4 l S gxf4 .l:!.xf4. ...


N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , Wh i t e Plays i.. x c3

Following 16 0-0-0?! (the computer suggestion of 16 l:!.g 1 ! is stronger: for instance, 16 ... l:!.xc4 17 o-o-o .tfs 18 l:!.d4 l:!.xd4 19 'ii'xd4 and White is at least slightly better) 16 ... 'ii'f7 (now Black h as enough pl ay for the pawn) 17 l:!.g 1 l:!.xf2 18 .txes dxe s 19 �xe s .td7 20 �d4 g 6 2 1 e4 �f4+ 2 2 ©b1 l:!.e8 23 i.. d 3 .i::t xh 2 24 cs �es 2S �4 b6 26 c6 i.c8 27 i.. c 2 @g 7 a draw was agreed. Overall, the idea 10 ... e4! ? is worth investig ating, although I h ave my doubts th at it is fully correct. Besides the norm al retreat to b8, there al so is 10 ...t'Lld8 ? ! . Bl ack's concept didn't work, though, in M.Gurevich -J .Timman, Rotterdam 1990: 11 i.. g 2 i.g4 12 t'Llh4 c 6 13 o-o cxds 1 4 cxds 'ii'd 7 1S f4 �S 16 e 4 .te2 17 l:!.fe1 .i.d3 18 �d2 l:!.e8 1 9 @h 1 g 6 20 a4 �a6 2 1 b3 lk8 2 2 .i.f3 t'Lld7 2 3 J::i. ad1 t'Ll c s 2 4 fxes bS 2 s ii.d4 bxa4 26 .i.xcs and Timm an resigned. The unfortunate knight on d8 never moved. Some lines of the Bogo­ lndian and the closed Ruy Lopez feature this knight move to d8, but there it quickly g ets back into play via f7 after the black f-pawn h as cleared the way. In the Zurich Variation it never seem s to be pl ayable, as the f-pawn counterplay takes a bit longer and in the m ean­ tim e the piece on d8 just clogs up Black's position . 11 .tg 2 a s Staking out some space o n the queen side and intending . . .aS -a4. Black has also tried two other moves th at are worth considering: a) Queenside play with 11 ... c6 12 t'Lld2 (or 12 dxc6 t'Llxc6 13 0-0 l:!.d8 with a typical, sound structure for Black, very similar to 13 dxc6 in the notes to White's 13th move, below) 12 ... cxds 13 cxds .i.g4 14 e4 t'Lla6 1S o-o l:!.ac8, after which Black was fine in V.Mal akh atko­ J . Riff, Zurich 2009. b) Preparing .. .f7-fS with 11 ... t'Llh s 12 o-o fs 13 e3 t'Lld7 14 t'Lld2 as 1s b3 b6 16 f4 e4 and here I slightly prefer White with his strong bishop on c3, K. Landa-A.Yusupov, G erm an League 2006. The .. .fs break loses some bite ag ainst White's fianchetto set-up. 12 b3


Op e n i n g R e p e r t o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

12 ... c6 I like this best. Larry Kaufman only con siders 12 ... tt:Jbd7 13 o-o tt:Je8 14 e4 c6 15 tt:Jd2 tt:Jc7 16 f4 is his book The Kaufman Repertoire for Black & White, and evaluates the position as clearly better for White. Well, I agree - but this can 't be optim al pl ay from Black, combining ... tt:Jd7 with ... c6 and ... tt:Je8-C7 is far too passive. 13 e4 I believe this allows Black fairly easy equality and simple plan s to follow. 13 dxc6 is more testing: 13 ... tt:Jxc6 (13 ... bxc6? 14 cs is to be avoided) 14 o-o and the only practical example, l . N aumkin-1 .Zaja, Reggio Emilia 2002, ended in a draw right here. Now: a) The immediate 14 ... .ie6 is interesting when 1 5 tt:Jg s a4 is Black's idea. Now 16 tt:Jxe6 �xe6 17 .l:!.abl axb3 18 �xb3 l::t a 7 leads to an unbalanced position .

White h as two bishops ag ain st two knights, but a3 and c4 are targets and there is no clear-cut way for White to improve his position.


N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , Wh i t e Plays i.. x c3

b) My main suggestion is 14 ...h 6, but h ere I am un sure about White's best move order. He will pl ay a rook to dl and probably lllh 4, but the al-rook or the fl-rook, or lllh 4 first? bl) 1S lllh 4 'iWc7 ! 16 .l:!.fdl (16 lllfs dS ! is an important tactical trick) 16 ... lll e 7 17 'iWd2 .::i. a6 with complicated play. White as usual h as the two bishops, but Bl ack h as ideas with ... aS-a4 or sometimes even ... g s with ... lll e 4 to follow. b2) l S .U.fdl ii'c7 ! (not 1 S ... i.e6? ! 16 lllh 4 and Bl ack is not in tim e to prevent lllf s) and here a very interesting question from a strategic point of view for White is should he play a4 to prevent Black's ... aS-a4 idea? Let's investigate: 16 a4 i.e6 17 .l:!.acl (17 ll:Jh4 dS ! is im­ portant: 18 cxds lll x ds 19 i.xds lll d4 20 'iWd3 'iWxc3 2 1 i.xe6 'iWxd3 2 2 .U.xd3 lll x e6 2 3 lllfs l:l.fd8 and Black equalizes at the end of this long sequence) 17 ... .l:!.fe8 (and not 17 ... ds?? 18 lll x es ! ) 18 lllh 4 .l:!.ad8 19 e4 (otherwise, ... ds will simplify con siderably) 19 ... lll d 7 20 lllfs lll c s. Probably this is a position where both sides are not that unhappy. White has the bishop-pair, but Black has some good posts for his knights and a good bishop on e6. Objec­ tively speaking, White might be slightly better, but it is nothing special . 13 . . .cxd s 1 4 cxd s In g eneral 14 exds is an uncommon way to recapture in this structure. H ere there is a concrete reason why in 14 ...b s ! . 14 ... i.d7!

That is the best set-up. Black aim s for ....i:[c8 quickly and threaten s ... in the process. The knight will come to a6, nicely prepared by the earlier ... as. 15 0-0 On 1S lll d 2 Black should play 1S ... a4 (1s ... ! ? 16 a4 i.a6 17 i.xas looks risky for White, but it is not th at clear what Black should do) 16 b4 with a fine position . 1s ... .l:!.c8 16 .l:!.fe1 A logical move. White covers e4 in order to allow the queen to leave the c-file. Of course, he h ad other moves, but I think it is already clear that h e cannot claim any advantage here in any case. 269

O p e n i n g R e p e r t o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

1 1 7 tl:ih4? This leads to problems. 17 tl:id2, keeping the knight in play on the queenside, was better. Now I like 17 ... b s for Bl ack; ... tl:ics and ... 'iWd8-b6 are good moves to follow. 11 ... tl:ics! The most precise move; Black threaten s ... a4. 18 .l':!.ad1?!

18 l:tacl is a tougher defence, but 17 tl:ih4 is tough to repair. Now 18 ...'iWd8 19 tl:ifs i.. xfs 20 exfs a4 is not much fun for White, but it still holds. 18 ...'iWd8! Very logical play. The queen is tran sferred to b6, where it is ideally placed. 19 'iWb1? This loses the g ame. The engines try to han g on with moves like 19 l:te3, but no hum an would pl ay like that. Moreover, 19 ... tl:ig4 20 l:tf3 a4 21 b4 tl:ib3 is still pretty grim for White. 19 ... 'iWb6 19 ... tl:ifxe4 was also winning, but the move played in the g am e is just as convincing and easier to play. Over the following moves there are quicker win s for Black, but 'keep it sim­ ple' is one of the most valuable concepts to follow in chess (and in many other areas !). 20 l:te3 'iWxb3 21 'iWa1 tl:ig4 22 l:tf3 'iWc4 2 3 tl:ifs i..xfs 24 exfs tl:if6 2 5 l:te3 tl:ig4 26 l:tf3 tl:if6 27 l:te3 bS 28 ilfl 'iWa4 29 'iWb2 0-1 Summary The early deviations for Black are un attractive; he should follow the m ain line th at leads to the crossroads at move 9. H ere both 9 b4 and 9 g3 leads to interesting, complex play. White shoul d capture on c6 (see move 13), with ch ances for a slight advantage, as the main g am e shows that 13 e 4 poses no problems for Black. 2 70

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , Wh i t e P l ays i.xc3

Game 2 6

1.Zaja-1.Ja kic Bos nj a c i O p e n 2014

1 d4 CZ'if6 2 c4 e6 3 CZ'ic3 .ib4 4 'ifc2 CZ'ic6 5 CZ'if3 d6 6 .id2 o-o 7 a 3 .ixc3 8 .ixc3 'ife7 9 e3

This is the line recommended by the highly respected theoretician J an Gustafsson in his video series on 4 �c2 for . The e3 set-up is very flexible, aiming at a sm all ad­ vantage with the bishop-pair in a semi-open position . 9 es In stead of this straightforward move, Black may al so play the prophylactic 9 ... as. This move is a good alternative in case you want to deviate from the m ain line of 9 ... e s given here. In general a good feature of the closed positions arising from the Zurich variation is their flexibility - it is easy to vary with little move order twists and subtleties. In this posi­ tion White mostly plays: a) 10 i.e2 e s (the typical queen side freezing move 10 ... a4 was played in D.Gumula­ W.Moranda, Sroda Wielkopol ska 2008: 11 dS CZ'ib8 12 dxe6 fxe6 13 o-o CZ'ibd7 14 CZ'id4 CZ'ics 1 S i.b4 CZ'ifd7 16 .l:!.adl b6 17 CZ'ib s 'ifd8 18 i.f3 ?? - a careless move; after anything el se it would have been around equal - 18 ... .l:!.xf3 ! 19 .ixcs CZ'ixcs 20 gxf3 'iig s + 21 Wh l 'YWh s 22 CZ'id4 e s 2 3 'iie 2 exd4 24 exd4 i.b7 2 S ds l:.e8 and White resigned; 10 ... a4 is a viable alter­ native to the straightforward 10 ... es) 11 o-o (as usual, 11 dxe s doesn't promise much ; J.Speelman-G .Orlov, New York (rapid) 1994, continued 11...dxe s 12 h 3 CZ'id7 13 o-o a4 14 CZ'id2 fs and Bl ack had no problem s at all) 11...a4 12 dS CZ'ib8 13 e4 CZ'ibd7 14 h 3 CZ'ics 1 S CZ'id2 CZ'ifd7 16 .fi.g4 CZ'if6 17 i.e2 CZ'ifd7 18 i.g4 CZ'if6 19 .ie2 and a draw was agreed in K. Labeckas­ M.Marin, Porto Carras 2011. Of course, both sides could h ave continued. b) 10 i.d3 es 11 dS CZ'ib8 12 CZ'id2 (at some point there will be the ... e S-e4 fork threat, so this typical regrouping is pl ayed immediately; a long-term pl an for White might be to play ...

2 71

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i re : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

f2-f4, trying t o improve the c3-bishop, which is al so why Bl ack now seeks counterplay in the centre) 12 ... c6 13 e4 tllh s 14 g3 .ih 3 (a common picture; Bl ack's pieces on the rim im­ pede White's coordination) 15 .ie2 tllf6 16 0-0-0 b S ! .

This is a textbook display of Black ch ances. In V.Pelletier-V.Bologan , Biel 1999, the Mol­ dovan G M went on to win after m any adventures. c) The move I like most for White h ere is the sound 10 b3, m aking sure th at ... a4 won't freeze his queenside. H ere 10 ... es reaches the m ain g am e position with the extra moves ... as and b3 inserted. Now: c1) White may try to keep the tension with 11 .ie2, but after 11.. . .ig4 the central ad­ vance is unavoidable anyway: 12 dS (12 o-o eases Black's task con siderably: 12 ... e4 13 t'Llh4 .ixe2 14 �xe2 ds and Bl ack is at least equal) 12 ... tllb 8 13 o-o and in the game D. Debashish­ B.Adhiban, Mashdad 2011, Black now played the interesting 1 3 ... a4! ? (of course, there was also nothing wrong with simple moves like 13 ... tllb d7 and 13 ... c6, leading to typical play with about equal chances) 14 b4 bS (the point, attacking White's centre) 1 5 cxbs tll x ds 16 .ib2 tll d 7 17 .l:i.fd1 tll 7b6?? (in stead, 17 ....ie6 was just slightly better for White) 18 tll x es .ixe2 19 tll c 6 �e6 20 �xe2 and White was winning, although l ater spoiled it to a draw. c2) More popul ar is the instant 11 dS tllb 8 12 tll d 2 c6, with typical counterplay. Now White m ay take on c6 or support the centre with e4: c2 1) S. Feller-L. Fressinet, Belfort 2012, continued: 13 e4 tllb d7 14 .ie2 tll c s 15 b4 axb4 16 axb4 .l:i.xa1+ 17 .ixa1 tll a 6 18 �1 .ig4.

2 72

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , W h i t e Plays i.xc3

This is an important move and a reoccurrin g theme throughout the Zurich line. Black needs to ease his task by exchanges or provoke f2-f3 by White, allowing other ways for counterplay. Following 19 i.xg4 (or 19 f3 i.c8 with ... 'Lih s to follow) 19 ... 'Lixg4 20 0-0 .l:!.c8 Bl ack was fine. c22) The capture 13 dxc6 was the choice of Nimzo specialist Rados law Wojtaszek in a recent g ame: 13 ... 'Lixc6 14 i.d3 i.e6 (14 ... 'Lid4! ? is again interesting, as given below in the main g ame) 1 s o-o h 6 16 .l:!.ac1 ds 17 cxds 'Lixds 18 i.b2 .l:!.ac8 19 �1 'Lib6 and White was slightly better in R.Wojtaszek-M.Dziuba, Polish League 2014, but 14 ... 'Lid4 is an improve­ ment. We can conclude that 9 ... as is viable, but no improvement over 9 ... es. It is best for White to play just like Dreev and Wojtaszek did: capture on c6 to open the position for the bish­ ops. The addition of ... as and b3 does not change the evaluation : Black is very solid with no bad pieces and a healthy structure, but White may cl aim a slight edge with his bishops. 10 d 5 This is best. The simpler 10 dxes does not chall enge Black's play: 10 ... dxe s and now 11 i.e2 (11 b4 i.g4 12 i.e2 as is nothing much either) 11 ... as transposes to 9 ... as 10 i.e2 es 11 dxes, as mentioned above. 10 ...CZ'ibS 11 CZ'id2 White often goes for 11 i.e2, after which Black h as two satisfactory replies, including 11 ...i.g4.

2 73

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

Whenever White plays i.e2 i n combination with a knight on f3, this move becomes an important option for Bl ack. The c8-bishop, while technically the 'good bishop', doesn't h ave an awful lot to do in these positions and often would like to be exch an ged. With �e2 pl ayed, the sortie to g4 en sures th at the bishop will be traded after a knight move. White h as no way to ignore or pl ay around this piece - it is different with the white bishop on fl or d3, which often sees Black's bishop being stranded on g4 and sometimes being kicked by h 2-h 3 . At this point, besides 11 . . .�g4, there is al so 11 . . . as, which is similar t o 9 . . . as. In A. David5.Azarov, Chalkida 2009, Black m anaged to demon strate an additional strategical device: 12 b4 axb4 1 3 axb4 l:txa1+ 14 i.xa1 b s ! ?, which is the point to remember. Black now g ains good pl ay on the queen side and against White's centre. After 11 ... �g4 12 e4 White is now a move down on the 9 e4 of Gam e 27, Giri-Belezky. Of course, this does not trouble Black much . Here is a recent example: 12 ... lllb d7 13 b4 c6 14 dxc6 bxc6 1s o-o �h s 16 l:tfe1 .l::i.fd8 17 l:tad1 i.g 6 18 �d3 �h s (see the notes above; this bishop perform s a useful role on the kingside) 19 �e2 lllf8 20 �e3 lll e 6 2 1 c s lll g 4 2 2 cxd6 .l::i.x d6 23 �cl lllxf2 (23 ... lll xh2 ! would h ave been a huge blow: for example, 24 lbxh 2 �xd1 25 l:txd1 I:!.ad8 26 i.e2 ll\f4 and Black wins) 24 'it>xf2 i.xf3 25 'it>xf3 I:!.ad8 26 i.fl �f6+ 2 7 'it>e2 lllf4+ 2 8 \t> e 3 �g s 29 l:txd6 l:txd6 30 'it>f2 l:tf6 3 1 'it>g 1 lllh 3 + 3 2 'it>h 1 lllf2+ 3 3 'it>g 1 lllh 3 + 34 'it>h 1 and a draw was agreed in D.Bocharov-A.Moiseenko, Moscow 2010. 11 c6 Of course, the closed nature of the position gives Black some leeway. He could al so go for 11...aS or the slightly bizarre 11...lll e 8 12 �e2 �g s 13 g 3 �e7. Well, tempi are not es­ sential h ere, but this still this leaves a strange impression . However, the Belorussian G M Azarov went o n win this g ame quickly after 1 4 o-o-o as 1 S b3 lll d 7 16 .i::i.h e1 lll c s 17 f4 i.d7 18 'it>b2 lllf6 19 ll\f3 ll\g4 20 i.fl f6 21 h3 lllh 6 22 g4 lllf7 23 fS I:!.fb8 24 a4 c6 2S e4 i.e8 26 l:ta1 bs 27 axbs cxbs 28 cxbs i.xb s 29 �xb s I:!.xbs 30 lll d 2 lll g s 31 I:!.e3 �a7 32 l:tg 3 lll g xe4 and 0-1 in N.Maiorov-5.Azarov, Minsk 2005. ...

2 74

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va r i a t i o n , Wh i t e P l ays j/_xc3

Going 11 ... lbe8 and then ... 'i!Yg s and back is not the perfect way to play if we would look this position up in a 30-piece tablebase, but it shows th at th ese closed position s leave room for creative play that delays the fight to a later stage of the game. If you have some experi­ ence of these position s and have gained understandin g of the typical set-ups and ma­ noeuvres, these structures offer m any ways to play for a win in the middle and endg ame. 12 dxc6 12 e4 does not convince, especially compared to 9 e4. A sample g ame went 12 ... cxds 13 cxds lbh s 14 lt:Jc4 lt:Ja6 1s lbe3 j_d7 16 'i¥d1 g 6 17 j_d3 lbcs 18 j_c2 l:tac8 19 g 3 lbg7 20 o-o fS and Black h ad a good g am e in V.Mal aniuk-A.Yermolin sky, Lucerne 1993. 12 ...lbxc6 13 ii.d3

This is the set-up I associate with the move 9 e3. White reaches a semi-open position where he enjoys the bishop-pair. Bl ack, on the other h and, h as got a very healthy structure with good central control . 13 ... lt:Jd4 This is the best way to regroup Black's pieces. 13 ... h 6 14 b4 dS?! was more comfortable for White in A. Dreev-5.Brynell, H el singor 2012. Here 14 ... lbd4 is a way to improve, but then you might as well pl ay it immediately. As we will see, ... h6 is not n ecessary. 14 ..ixd4 This is not critical and the followin g moves now take on a forcing character where Bl ack ends up without any problem s. The alternatives: a) 14 'i¥d1 is no better due to 14 ... .tfs ! and without the bishop-pair, White h as nothing to show. b) 14 'iWb1! is the clearly best move, leading to 14 ... lbe6 15 b4 b6.

2 75

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

Our point. Black will h ave a powerful bishop on b7 and a secure position on the queen­ side. Going for thi s position is J an Gustafsson 's recommendation for White again st the Zu­ rich . He concludes that it is more pleasant for White. It is the common policy for a black repertoire book to cl aim that Black is fine and at l east equal in all lines, but I am going to break th at routin e and concede that White is, indeed, the more comfortable - having the two bishops in this semi-open position is a nice asset for White. On the other h an d, I don't see a clear way for White to m ake substantial progress. Black is solid h ere, with no weakness and well-coordinated pieces. I also think th at any direct at­ tempts fail : for example, 16 ll'ie4 ll'ixe4 17 .txe4 .tb7 ! . Now: bl) 18 .txh 7+ surprisingly doesn 't net White anythin g : for example, 18 ... @h 8 19 .te4 (19 .tfs l:tac8 20 �d3 �g s 21 .te4 .txe4 22 �xe4 fS 23 '*'ds �g 6 is good compen sation for Black as well) 19 ... l:tac8 20 'ifd3 bS with good play for the pawn . Indeed, White probably needs to return it to calm Bl ack's initiative. b) 18 o-o and now the simple 18 ... .txe4 (18 ... l:tac8? was in sufficient in R. Lev-E.Shvidl er, I sraeli League 1996) 19 �xe4 l:::!. a c8 20 l:::!. a cl l:tc7 2 1 .tb2 l:::!.fc8 22 l:::!.fdl f6 23 Itds ll'ig s 24 'i!id3 l2Jf7,

2 76

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va r i a t i o n , Wh i t e P l ays i.. x c3

This demonstrates that Black h as equalized here. 14 ... exd4 15 e4 d s The most forcing move. 1 s . . .i.d7 o r 1 s . . .i. e 6 are both pl ayable t o keep more life i n the position, but they are objectively worse. 16 o-o dxe4 The solid choice. 16 ... dxc4? ! is al so interesting. The m ain drawback for Black is th at 17 tt:Jxc4 i.e6 allows th e long line 18 es i.xc4 19 exf6 i.xd3 20 fxe7 i.xc2 21 exf8'iY+ \t>xf8 2 2 f4 d3 23 .i::tf2 l:td8 24 l:f.d2 l:f.d6 and it is clear that Bl ack can absolutely never win; it is only a question if this hol ds or not, so we can discard the whole idea. 17 tt:Jxe4 tt:Jg4?! H ere the simpl e 17 ...h 6 leads to equal play: for example, 18 ti:Jxf6+ 'i¥xf6 19 i.h 7+ 'it>h 8 20 i.e4 l:f.d8 2 1 l:f.adl l:f.b8.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

Bl ack is fin e with ... .i.e6 and ... .l:!.d7 on their way. 18 cs 18 tt:Jd2 ! was even more promising for White. The knight coming to f3 will give Bl ack some problems with the d4-pawn, and wh at is his knight doing on g4 in the first place? 18 "i!Ves? 18 ... .i.fs was still pl ayable for Black. Now it goes downhill quickly. 19 tt:Jg3 hS 20 .l:!.ael °i!Vc7 21 h3 h4 22 hxg4 hxg3 23 gs g6 24 fxg3 "i!Vxg3 2S .i.xg6 .i.e6 26 .i.e4 "i!Vxgs 27 .i.xb7 d3 28 °i!Vxd 3 "i!Vxcs+ 29 .l:!.f2 .l:!.ad8 30 °i!Vg3+ �h7 3 1 .l:!.e4 1-0 .••

Summary While not challenging Bl ack's play fundamentally, 9 e3 is the m ain line for White against th e Zurich nowadays. In my opinion other lines are more dangerous for Bl ack (see G ames 27 and 2 8), but White's system with 9 e3 is a good choice for pl ayers who want a low-risk, minimal advantage. There is not much to be afraid of from Bl ack's point of view, but to call it just 'equal' would be painting a slightly too rosy picture.

Game 2 7


G e rm a n Lea g u e 2014

1 d4 llJf6 2 c4 e6 3 tt:Jc3 .i.b4 4 "i!Vc2 tt:Jc6 s tt:Jf3 d6 6 ii.d2 o-o 7 a3 .i.xc3 8 ii.xc3 °i!Ve7 9 e4 The most aggressive move, limiting Black's options. 9 ... es Black cannot allow e4-e5, of course. Indeed, 9 ... a s ? ! 10 es dxe s 11 dxe s tt:Jd7 12 .i.d3 is a position we h ave seen before via 6 ... as and was briefly discussed in the notes to Docx­ H ausrath (Game 2 5). 10 d s tt:Jb8 A typical closed centre position where Black needs to find some concrete play, otherwise h e will suffer against the two bishops and White's space advantage. The m ain source of counterplay is ... tt:Jh s and .. .fs . As White didn 't insert .i.g s to provoke ... h6, the reply llJh4, as seen in the g ame Sielecki-Deglmann (Game 28), loses its sting. Unfortun ately the direct 10 ... tt:Jd4?! fails to solve Black's problem s. This is a case where havin g the extra move ... h6 ch anges the evaluation completely. With ... h6 included Bl ack g ets a satisfactory g am e with the knight jump (see Gam e 28 for details), but h ere 11 tt:Jxd4 exd4 12 ii.xd4 is awkward: a) 12 ... tt:Jxe4 fails to 13 o-o-o "i!Vg s+ 14 .i.e3 "i!Ve s 15 .i.d3.

2 78

N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , Wh i t e P l ays Ji.. x c3

Now Black is able to play ... lll c 5 in the ' ...h 6 included' position, but h ere this is impossi­ ble, rendering the whole ...ll:Jd4 m anoeuvre unplayable. b) 12 ... �xe4+ is a sad necessity. Here 13 �xe4 ll:Jxe4 14 Ji.. d 3 lll c 5 1 5 Ji.. c 2 .l:te8+ 16 'it>d2 ll:Je4+ 17 'it>c1 .ii..f s was pl ayed in J.Moreno Ruiz-P.Mascaro March, Arenal d'en Castell 2011, and now 18 b4 would have given White a clear edge with the bishops in an open position . This bleak endgam e is the best th at Black can obtain after 10 ... ll:Jd4, so here (without ...h6) it is to be avoided. Returning to 10 ... lllb 8:

11 .ii..e 2 The most popul ar move. Let's examine the other moves White h as tried, though: a) 11 ll:Jd2 and now: al) 11 ...ll:Jh 5 12 g 3 ! is unconvincing for Black: 12 .. .f5 13 Ji.. e 2 �f7 14 o-o-o ll:Jd7 (14 .. .fxe4 15 ll:Jxe4 .i.f5 16 .i.d3 is also better for White) 15 f3 (15 f4 looks even more promising) 2 79

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

1 5 . . .f4 16 g 4 lZ'lhf6 1 7 g 5 lt:Je8 1 8 h4 and White was much better i n M.Paragua-E.Torre, Ta­ g aytay City 2013. a2) A good alternative is the yet untested 11 ... a5, delaying ... lt:Jh 5 . This is tricky to ana­ lyse, as White can play just about any move that doesn't blunder material : 12 b3 (this looks logical to stop ... a4; White could also try 12 b4, which is analysed in note 'b' to Black's 12th move in G am e 28, albeit with ... h6 included, but here it is not th at relevant) 12 ...b6 ! ? (there are m any alternatives, but this waitin g move is interesting) 13 i.e2 (13 i.d3 lt:Jh 5 is similar to 11 i.. d 3 and unpromising for White, or if 13 g 3 c6 ! ?, intending 14 .ig 2 cxd5 15 cxd5 ? ! Jla6) 13 . . .i.. g 4! 1 4 f3 i.. c 8 ! ? with . . .lt:Jh 5 t o come. There is much t o explore h ere - 11 . . . a5 i s certainly okay, but the resultin g positions are very complicated and h ard t o an alyse be­ cause of the great number of possibilities for both sides. b) 11 i.d3 doesn 't fit the set-up. Bl ack immediately goes 11 ... lt:Jh 5 12 g3 (otherwise, Black has ... lZ'lf4, intending .. .f5) 12 ... i..h 3 (12 .. .f5 is too early; White replies 1 3 exf5 e4 14 i.xe4 i.. xf5 15 lt:Jd2 and the pin supplies insufficient compen sation).

This bishop is a serious annoyance for White. After, for example, 13 i.f1 i.. xfl 14 @xf1 'ii'd 7 ! ? Black's queen replaces the bishop on h 3 and/or .. .f5 is coming with play against the white king . c ) 11 g 3 is a good move, planning t o go lt:Jh4 t o prevent .. .f5 . I t al so control s the f4square, which is a potential destination for Black's knight. H ere 11 ... a5 (now 11 ... lt:Jh 5 is answered by 12 lt:Jh4, which secures some advantage for White: for example, 12 ... g 6 13 i.. e 2 lt:Jg 7 14 o-o i..h 3 1 5 .l:f.fe1 f5 16 exf5 lZ'lxf5 17 lZ'lxf5 .ixf5 18 'ii'd 2 and a coming f4 will be problematic; m aybe 18 ... g5 is the best move h ere, but it feel s shaky) 12 b3 lZ'lbd7 (a slow approach ; alternatively, there is 12 ... c6 13 .ig2 b 5 ! ? with queen side play for Black and after the fianchetto this m akes some sense) 13 i.g2 lt:Jc5 14 lt:Jd2 i.. d 7 15 o-o b6 16 .l:f.ae1 lt:Jh 5 (at some point Black n eeds to go for concrete play) 17 f4! ? exf4 18 i.f3 ? was seen in A. Kaspi­ E.Najer, Eilat 2012.

2 80

N im z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va ri a t i o n , Wh i t e P l ays il.xc3

Now instead of 18 ... 'it'g s, leading to equal chances, Black could have punished White's mistake with 18 .. .fxg 3 ! 19 il.xh s 'it'h4 and White is reduced to muddyin g the waters, being material down . d} 11 b4 is a typical space-gainer on the queen side. Ag ain it is advisable to start with concrete pl ay with 11 s and now: dl} After 12 tt:Jd2 fS 13 il.e2 tt:Jf4 14 il.f3 'it'g s 1S 0-0-0 a draw was agreed in 1 . Khenkin­ A.Yusupov, Osterburg 2006. This doesn 't relate to the position, which promises a tough battle. d2} A similar, but probably inferior approach, al so leading to unbal anced pl ay, is 12 o-o­ o?! as 13 tt:Jd2 axb4 14 axb4 fS 15 f3 .i.d7 16 exfs .txfs 17 tt:Je4 tt:Jd7 18 g3 .i.g6 19 .i.e2 tt:Jhf6 20 l:thfl c6 and Black was much better already in T.Balla-M.Marin, Brasov 2011. d3} 12 g 3 fs and here: d31) 13 il.g 2 fxe4 14 'it'xe4 tt:Jf6 (14 1S 'it'e2 tt:Jd7 is also feasible} 1S 'it'e3 (1S 'it'c2 'iWe8, intending 16 0-0 'it'h s, was an alternative way to play; with 'it'e3 White wanted to give extra protection to the f3 -knight and his king side} 1s ... tt:Jbd7 16 o-o tt:Jb6 17 tt:Jd2 tt:Ja4 18 .l:!.ael tt:Jg4 19 'iVd3 il.fs 20 i.. e 4 i.. x e4 2 1 tt:Jxe4 tt:Jxc3 2 2 'iVxc3 h6 2 3 cs tt:Jf6 24 'iVd3 and a draw was agreed in C.Holt-E. Perel shteyn, Wheeling 2014. d32) Worse is 13 il.e2 ? ! fxe4 14 'it'xe4 il.fs 1S 'it'e3 tt:Jf6 16 tt:Jh4 il.h 3 .


Op e n i n g R e p e r t o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

Again, w e see this irritating bishop pl acem ent on h 3 . Black g ains the concrete play n ec­ essary to offset the strategical assets of the other side - space and the bishops. Black is al­ ready the more comfortable here and the g am e A.Goldin-A.Yermolinsky, Chicago 2002, continued 17 J:.g 1 ltJg4 18 i.. x g4 .ltxg4 19 h3 (this is a try to g ain some activity; it doesn 't work, but White was in trouble anyway) 19 ... i.. xh 3 20 J:.h 1 i..fs 21 ttJxfs J:.xfs 22 'iife 4 g6 2 3 f4 ttJd7 24 o-o-o 'iiff7 2 s J:.de1 l:.f8 2 6 fxe s ttJxes 27 J:.e2 a 6 2 8 J:.hel b s 29 cs ttJc4 30 'iifd4 J:.e s 3 1 .l:txe s dxes 3 2 'iife4 'iiff2 3 3 d6 'iifx g3 34 'iifd s+ 'it>g 7 3 S ..lhes+ ttJxe s 3 6 'iifxe s+ 'iifx es 3 7 J:.xe s cxd6 38 cxd6 l:.d8 39 l:.e7+ 'it>f6 40 J:.xh 7 J:.xd6 41 J:.h 1 gs and White resigned. Fin ally, we come to 11 .te2 :

11 ttJhs!? This is th e most principled move. The evaluation of this move depends on the move 12 ... ltJf4, as the main g am e continuation leads to long-term problems for Black. As thing s stand, 12 . . .ttJf4 is not reliably equalizing for Bl ack either (see below), s o a n alternative ...


N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , Wh i t e P l ays iLxc3

would be most welcome h ere. The m ain altern ative is 11...aS. This move is of special importance because this position might al so occur with the pawn on h6 via the 6 i.. g s line (Black can deviate earlier there with l1...tlld4, as we'll see in G am e 28). Both versions don't differ con siderably. Given the choice, Bl ack would probably prefer the pawn on h 7 (due to .. .f7-fS being easier to pl ay}, but it's not a big deal . So wh at about 11...aS h ere? The general consen sus is that Black is worse. The move was pl ayed in C.Ward-R. Palliser, British Ch ampionship, Scarborough 2001. In Ta ngo! Palliser states th at 11...aS is imprecise because of Ward's continuation of 12 cs. In Challeng ing the Nimzo-lndian, David Vigorito recommends 9 e4 followed by 11 i.. e 2 and al so quotes th at game, agreeing with Palliser's assessment of a slight advantage for White. As we will see, it is not that bad for Bl ack, but l et's first check the alternatives to 12 c s : a ) 12 b 3 tllh s is a much better version o f the main g ame. Now 13 tt:Jxe s tt:Jf4 g ains in strength as White's queenside is weakened. b) 12 0-0 a4 13 cs .ig4 is similar to 12 cs i.. g 4 and nothing to fear for Black: 14 cxd6 cxd6 l S tlle l i.. x e2 16 'iUxe2 tll a 6 17 tll d 3 J:.ac8 18 f3 tll d 7 and a draw was agreed in L.Portisch -M.Tal, Skelleftea 1989. c) 12 cs can be m et by the new move 12 ... .ig4! .

I think that quite often ... i.. g 4 is the key move for Black. Tradin g a pair of minor pieces is helpful, considering h e has less space. It also improves on Palliser's 12 ... tllb d7 and now I don 't see anything special for White: cl) 13 h3 .ih s (13 ... .ixf3 14 cxd6 cxd6 l S .ixf3 J:.c8 is al so possible} 14 tt:Jh4 .ixe2 lS cxd6 cxd6 16 tllfs 'iUd8 17 'iVxe2 tll a 6 and Black is okay. c2) 13 0-0 tllb d7 and Black is fine: for example, 14 cxd6 cxd6 lS h 3 i.. xf3 16 i.. xf3 .l::tfc8 and Bl ack can choose to block with ... a4 and ... tt:Jcs, or pl ay on the queen side, with ...tllb 6-c4 for instance. H ere 1 s ... i..h s ! ? is more interestin g when 16 tllh 4 i.xe2 17 tllfs 'iUd8 18 'iUxe2 tt:Jcs 19 tll g 3 'iUb6 is a logical continuation, with about equal play. 2 83

Op e n i n g R e p e r t o i r e : N i m z o a n d 8 09 0 - l n d i a n

After the main g ame's 11...tLlh s, White has two options: to play g 3 to prevent ... tt:Jf4 or to try to exploit the knight on the rim .

12 tt:Jxes This is the critical test of 11 ... tt:Jh s . The altern atives are complex, but clearly less threat­ ening th an the main move. Still I will devote some space to them as studyin g them is inter­ esting and helpful to improve our understanding of the type of positions we often reach in the Zurich : a) 12 g 3 prevents ... tt:Jf4, but the combination of g 3 and i.e2 has its drawbacks. Indeed, 12 ... i.h 3 obstructs White's pl ay nicely: al) 13 tt:Jh4 tt:Jf6 h as been reached only once, in a gam e E.Bareev-A.Filippov, Moscow 2009 : a11) Now there is the straightforward 14 o-o-o tt:Jbd7 and then : a111) 1 S f4! ? exf4 {1s ... tt:Jcs is a solid alternative, giving Black a sound position) 16 1 ! is the completely weird point, given by Houdini. Following 16 ... .l:.fe8 17 i.f1 i.xfl 18 .l:.hxf1 fxg 3 ! ? {a safer move is 18 .. .f3) 19 tt:Jfs 'iif8 20 .l:!.f3 tt:Jes 2 1 .l:.xg 3 g 6 White has serious compen sation for the pawn, although it is very unclear and complicated. a112) 1s tt:Jfs i.xfs 16 exfs as 17 f3 {a direct attack; of course, there are other plan s, but Black will play with ... c6 in any case) 17 ... tt:Jcs 18 g4 c6 19 g s tt:Jh s and a sharp position is on the board.

2 84

N i m z o - l n di a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , Wh i t e P l ays i.xc3

A possible follow-up is 20 f6 gxf6 2 1 gxf6 �xf6 2 2 dxc6 bxc6 {22 ... tt:Jf4 ! ? is al so very un ­ clear) 2 3 i.d3 and this position is hard to assess. This whole line is not forced of course, but is meant to be an illustration of the typical plan s. a113) 15 �bl tt:Jcs 16 f3 as with about equal chances. a12) However, Bareev played the sneaky 14 'ii'd 3, after which Black has a crucial choice: a121) If Black plays the normal looking 14 ... tt:Jbd7, then White reveal s his intentions with 1 5 g4! i.xg4 16 'ii'g 3 with very dang erous play. It is not totally clear, but Black shoul d avoid this. a122) Better is 14 ... tt:Jfd7 ! 1 5 b4 {White is grabbin g space on the queenside, but where will the white king now find a safe spot?) 15 ... as 16 bxas ?! {I don't like this move, as it helps Black to coordinate his pieces on the queenside; in stead, 16 i.f1 i.xf1 17 �xf1 g6 18 �g 2 tt:Jf6 19 i.d2 tt:Jbd7 leads to a position with about equal chances) 16 ... tt:Ja6 17 'ii'e 3 tt:Jacs 18 i.b4 �h 8 19 .if1.ixf1 20 �xf1 g 6 2 1 �g 2 .l:!.g8 22 .l:!.hf1 .l:!.af8 2 3 .l:!.ae1 fs and Bl ack got the thematic break in, equalizing the position . In the g am e Bareev-Filippov, he even went on win, m aybe influenced by the tim e situation. a2) 13 tt:Jd2 is my suggestion for White to improve on Bareev-Filippov.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

Now: a21) 13 ...'iVg 5 ! ? is an active-looking possibility. Black tries to keep the knight on h 5 , avoiding the retreat. This should accelerate the play with .. .f5, but i n fact th at move h as its drawbacks, as shown by 14 0-0-0 tLld7 15 @b1 f5 16 f4! 'iVh 6 . This position looks somewhat shaky to me, but nothing clear i s apparent for White: for example, 17 fxe 5 ttJxe5 18 i.xe 5 dxe 5 19 exf5 i.xf5 20 i.d3 i.xd3 2 1 'iVxd3 l:tae8 and White's advantage is not overwhelm ­ ing. a22) 1 3 ... tLlf6 is simpler and more reliable: 14 f3 lLlfd7 ! (the most straightforward move, going for .. .f5 immediately} 15 o-o-o f5 16 l:tdg 1 (intending to cut off the bishop on h 3 } 16 . . . a5 (Bl ack needs t o avoid 16 .. .fxe4? 17 g 4 ! and now i t is very complicated} 1 7 g4 fxg4 (17 .. .f4 might be pl ayable, although it looks weird havin g the bishop cut off).

H ere: a221}18 fxg4 11f2 19 i.f3 lLlc5 20 l:tg 3 'iVh4 2 1 'iVd1 (necessary, as other moves fail, like 286

N im z o - l n di a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , Wh i t e P l ays .i.xc3

21 @b1? .l:!.xh 2 ! ) 2 1 ... l::t xh 2 2 2 .l:!.xh 2 �xg 3 2 3 � 1 tZ:ld3+ 24 @b1 tZ:lf4 and Black is fine in this unusual position. a2 22) 18 .l::r g 3 ! ? h 5 ! is the only move, as the altern atives fail to address the bishop's posi­ tion properly. A possible continuation is 19 fxg4 ilxg4 20 ilxg4 hxg4 21 l:txg4 tZ:lf6 22 .l::r g 6 �bd7 2 3 °YWdl, which prevents . . .tZ:lh 5 and prepares a switch to the kingside. At first sight thi s position looks difficult for Black, but in fact it is not so clear. White's minor pieces don 't contribute to a kin g side attack and Bl ack's structure is sound: for example, 2 3 ...tZ:lc5 24 .:i.hg 1 .l:!.f7 2 5 �e2 c6 26 h4 cxd5 2 7 exd5 �d7 2 8 @b1 b5 29 cxb5 tZ:lxd5 30 'Yi'c4 tZ:lxc3+ 31 bxc3 @f8 and it is very unclear. Of course, this line is far too long, but as there are no prac­ tical examples I thought thi s overview would be helpful to see more ideas in our structure. b) Only recently h as the retreat 12 tZ:ld2 h as been introduced: 12 ... tZ:Jf4 13 ilf3 f5 14 h4 ·�f7 1 5 o-o-o was seen in A.Moreno Trujill-J .Clement Gomez, Linares 2014, and now 15 .. .fxe4 16 tZ:lxe4 h 6 intendin g ...ilf5 should be okay for Black in an interestin g position . Now back to the critical move, 12 tZ:Jxe5 : 12 tZ:lf6?! This retreat is the solid choice, where Bl ack accepts th at he will defend a worse position . As this is not satisfactory, we need to examine th e improvement 12 ... tZ:lf4 ! ?, which h as been known since Richard Palliser recommended it in Tango! some 10 years ago. •••

Strangely enough, in all four g ames th at h ave seen the position after 12 tZ:lxe 5, Black avoided it. As far as I (and the engines) can see, there is no clear-cut reason for this. While White probably retains an advantage in the complications, 12 ...tZ:lf4 just gives Bl ack far better prospects th an the 'no counterplay' position in th e actual g am e with 12 ... tZ:lf6. I think the most logical continuation here is 13 tZ:lf3 tZ:lxg 2+ 14 'it>d2 f6 (14 ... tZ:lf4 first is the other move order and while it will probably tran spose, I think th at my move order with 14 .. .f6 might limit White slightly) 15 .l:!.hg l tZ:lf4.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

This position is very complex with mutual chances i n a practical g ame. White enjoys a potentially powerful bishop-pair, but at the mom ent the bishops are not doing th at much . For his part, Black would like to go ... lt:Jd7-eS, using this excellent outpost in the centre. Wh at he n eeds to prevent at almost all costs is White drivin g the knight on f4 away and playing f2-f4, which also takes away the es-square. So much for general concepts, here are some concrete moves: a) Palliser's original analysis went 16 lt:Jd4 cs 17 dxc6 lt:Jxc6 with good counterplay for Bl ack. I agree, but 16 lt:Jd4 seem s to be rather uncritical, though. b) The second line that Palliser analyses is 16 l::t g 3 and now: bl) H e gives 16 ... .Ue8, but after 17 .Ue1 ! Bl ack's rook move h as accomplished little: 17 18 .i.d1 tt:Jes 19 lLld4! @h 8 (19 ... lt:Jxc4+? is a loss of time that Black already cannot afford: for example, 20 @c1 @h 8 2 1 tt:Jfs .i.xfs 2 2 exfs 'iVd7 2 3 l::t e 4 and White wins) 20 @c1 g6 21 .i.d2 and Bl ack is in huge trouble. b2) I tried to m ake 16 work, reaching a critical position after 17 .Uag 1 g6 18 lt:Jd4:


N i m z o - l n d ia n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , Wh i t e P l ays i.. xc3

b21) 18 ... ll'les ? ! 19 ll'lfs should be avoided, as 19 ...�e8 2o @c1 @h 8 21 ll'ld4 followed by �d2 will be a hug e problem. b22) 18 ... .l:!.e8 ? ! 19 i..fl ! ll'les (19 ... 'ii'x e4? 20 �dl! is also very computerish, but strong) 20 @c1 and again Black has 'i!Vd2 to face. Now a nice line run s 20 ... ll'lh s 2 1 ll'lfs ! i.. xfs 22 exfs ll'lxg 3 2 3 .i:txg 3 gs 24 f4 ll'lf7 2S h4 and I don't think Black will survive. b23) 18 ... ll'lcs is rel atively the best defence, but after 19 .i:te3 as 20 i.. g 4 and White is still better. b3) Black, however, has the simple 16 ... lZ'lh S ! , which invites 17 1 ll'lf4 with a repeti­ tion that nullifies 16 llg 3 as a winning attempt. Not repeating as Black is more th an risky, as the analysis above shows. c) I al so looked at 16 i..f l, which tries to play around the knight on f4, planning .l:i.el, @cl and ultim ately 'i!Vd2 or i.. d 2, attacking the knight. H ere 16 ... ll'ld7 17 .l:i.el ll'les is a very important tempo g ain that shows the downside of 16 i..f l. After 18 ll'ld4 'i!Ve8 19 @cl � S Bl ack h as counterpl ay i n this tense position and 1 6 .ifl seem s a bit too slow to pose seri­ ous problem s. d) 16 llael is the critical line in my opinion and after 16 ...ll'ld7 (16 ... cs? 17 ll'lh4 is no im­ provement) White h as: d1) 17 @c1 will probably transpose to 17 ll'ld4 (line 'd3') after 17 ... ll'les 18 ll'ld4. d2) 17 ll'lh4 is a very serious move. Indeed, following 17 ... ll'les (17 ... ll'lcs 18 i.. g 4 is strong for White) 18 @cl @h 8 19 l:tg 3 (not the only m oves for White, but rather logical ones and now it seems h ard for Black to avoid ... g s in some form or other) 19 ... g s 20 ll'lg 2 (one point of ll'lh4; White fights again st the outpost) 20 ... ll'lxe2+ 21 �xe2 i.. d 7 White is to be pre­ ferred.

That said, this is a very tough position to play for both sides. d3) 17 lZ'ld4 lZ'les 18 @cl c s ( I don't see a serious alternative to this; if White is given tim e he will attack the knight on f4 with �d2 or i.d2) 19 dxc6 ll'lxc6 (not 19 ... ll'lxe2+? 20 .l:i.xe2 ll'lxc6 21 ll'lxc6 bxc6 22 c s ! dxcs 23 es and White wins, while after 19 ... bxc6 20 i..fl 289

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

White is much better) 2 0 lll x c6 bxc6 2 1 .tf1 lll e 6 is slightly better for White, but ag ain the position remains complicated and hard to play over the board for both sides. This can be said about 1 2 ...lllf4 in general - it does not equalize for Black, but leads to a complicated g am e that is difficult for both sides to handle over the board. Returning to Belezky's less ch allenging 12 ... tt:'if6: 13 lllf3 lllxe4

14 0-0 This is the most precise move. 14 ild4 ..tfs g ains valuable tim e and after 15 'iVb3 lll c s ! (an improvement over the 1 s ... .l:te8 of J . Bluebaum-B.Von H erm an, Germ an League) 2011) 16 ilxcs dxcs 17 .l:!.d1 (17 'i'xb7? fail s to 17 ... lll d 7 and White cannot h andle Black's pl ay on the e-file) 17 ... b6 18 .l:td2 lll d7 Black is at least equal . 14 ...lllx c3 15 'i'xc3 tt:'id7 A necessary improvement on 1s ... .tg4? ! 16 lll d 4! (this is much better th an the previ­ ously tested rook moves to el) 16 ... .i.xe2 (retreating is sad, so Black plays into White's idea) 17 .l:!.fel lll d 7 18 .l:txe2 'i'f6 19 .l:tae1 and Black is in big trouble. White will g ain even more space, supported by his control of the e-file, and Bl ack h as no counterpl ay at all. 16 tt:ld4 Giri's preparation has an excellent reputation, so this was probably still part of his homework. Belezky plays this line regul arly, so Giri could have steered to this position eas­ ily enough. In stead, 16 .l:!.fel 'i'f6 seem s to be less testing. After 17 lll d4 lll e s 18 ii.fl ild7 19 .l:!.e4 'i'h 6 ! 20 .l:tael fs (or 20 ... lll g 4 21 h3 tt:'if6 22 .l:!.e7 .l:!.fe8) 2 1 .J:t4e2 f4 Black is okay. Likewise, if 16 ild3 'i'f6 17 lll d4 a6 18 ilc2 tt:'ies 19 f4 lll g 6 20 g3 ild7 and Black will gradually equalize with moves like doubling on the e-file or ... lll e 7-fS. 16 ...lllf6 17 .l:tfe1


N i m z o - / n d i a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , Wh ite P l ays i.. xc3

17 ... i.. d 7? H ere Black n eeded to be more precise. With 17 ....l:!.e8 the problems still seem to be man­ ageable. Something like 18 i.. d 3 �f8 19 .l:!.xe8 �xe8 20 .l:!.el �f8 is not much fun admit­ tedly, but if Bl ack g ets in (and I think he will} moves like ... i.. d 7 and ultimately ... .l:!.e8, his ch ances of holding are still intact: for example, 2 1 �as (an interesting move to weaken the light squares; 2 1 h 3 i.. d 7 2 2 b4 .l:!.e8 sees Black getting closer to equality) 2 1 ... b6 2 2 �c3 i..d 7 23 i..fs i.. xfs 24 tt:Jxfs .l:!.e8 25 .l:!.e3 .l:!.xe3 26 �xe3 g6 27 tt:'ie7+ 'it>g 7 28 tt:'ic6 and Black is at l ast almost equal . This was a long line, but it illustrates that Black is not in as bad shape as in the game. Still, this is not something to be enthusiastic about - you're playin g for two results only, and a win is not one of them. 18 ..if3 �d8 19 tt:'ie6 fxe6 20 dxe6 i..x e6?! With 20 ... .l:!.e8 2 1 exd7 .l:!.xel+ 2 2 .l:!.xel c6 2 3 ..ig4 tt:'ixd7 Black could h ave continued in a clearly worse position, whereas after the text, Giri won convincingly: 21 .l:!.xe6 .l:!.b8 22 .l:!.ae1 .l:!.f7 23 h4 'it>h8 24 hS h6 25 i.. d 1 tt:'ig8 26 ..ic2 �h4 27 g3 �g4 28 �d3 tt:'if6 29 .l:!.e8+ .l:!.f8 30 .l:!.8e7 .l:!.bc8 3 1 .l:!.1e6 'it>g8 3 2 'it>g2 .l:!.f7 3 3 .l:!.xf6 .l:!.xf6 34 f3 �gs 3 5 �h7+ 'it>f8 36 .l:!.d7 @es 3 7 .l:!.xg7 �d2+ 3 8 'it>h3 1-0 Summary This g am e shows how quickly Black can get in serious trouble when he is not precise again st 9 e4. After 12 ... tt:'if6 ? ! h e is definitely worse and while he might be able to limit the damage with careful defence, it is not a line to recommend for regular use. So wh at should Black play instead? 12 ... tt:Jf4 is definitely better than 12 ... tt:'if6 as it leads to far more compli­ cated play. The arising complex positions are better for White, but this line can be played against the right opponent. My overall recomm endation 'for regul ar use' is to go 11 ... as, which will lead to a typically complex middlegame structure without any immedi ate dan­ ger, unlike after 11 ... tt:Jh s .


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

Game 28


Bad Wiessee 2014 1 d 4 liJf6 2 C4 e6 How did I end up on the white side of my repertoire? Well, my opponent, who usually pl ays the Dutch Defence, actually didn 't pl ay 2 ... e6, but went for 2 ... lll c 6 to surprise me. H e h ad never pl ayed i t before, s o I figured i t might be a good idea t o transpose t o the Zurich and try a line against him that I con sider very testing. Indeed, 3 lllf3 e6 4 ll'lc3 .i.b4 S 'iWc2 tran sposed to the g ame. 3 ll'lc3 .i.b4 4 'iWc2 lll c 6 s ll'lf3 d6 6

By playing ii.g s first, White provokes the move ...h 6 and then return s to d2. Compared to the immediate 6 .i.d2, Black has g ained an extra move, but in many cases it represents a disadvantage. This disadvantage is often related to a weakening of the kin g side, in particu­ l ar the g 6-square in the case of a l ater .. .fs. There are also are rare additional ideas for White with g4-g S . 6 ... h 6 7 ..\l!.d2 The m ain reason why 6 ii.g s scores poorly in comparison to 6 .i.d2 is that some players don 't drop back to d2, but instead play: a) 7 ii.h4? gs 8 .i.g3 g4. Don't l augh - this h as h appened in some grandm aster g ames. Black is already better: for example, 9 dS exds 10 cxds ll'lxds 11 lll d 2 was J . Pinter-V.Milov, Swiss League 2012, and now 11.. . .i.xc3 12 bxc3 'iWf6 would h ave given Bl ack a good position with an extra pawn to boot. b) 7 ii.xf6 ? ! just gives up the bishop-pair for nothing. H ere 7 ... 'iWxf6 8 e3 o-o 9 .i.d3 es 10 dS was V.Cmilyte-K.Georgiev, Caleta 2011, and now I prefer 10 ... lllb 8 to G eorgiev's 10 ... lll e 7, but Black has nothing to fear in any case. He will reach the closed Zurich centre with two 292

N i m z o - l n di a n : Zu rich Va ria t i o n , Wh i t e P l ays Jixc3

pairs of minor pieces traded and thus no problems with his disadvantage in space. 1 0-0 ...

We discussed some alternatives to this in the non- ... h6 version and the same conclusion applies: just avoid the sidelines and castle. 8 a3 Jixc3 9 Jixc3

9 'Viie 7 Here I al so tried to make other approaches work, but unfortunately without any par­ ticular success. Let's h ave a look, though, as m aybe you can find an improvement? a) 9 ... e s ? ! 10 dxe s dxes 11 lll x es lllx es 12 .i.xes l::t e 8 is a g ambit approach, but 13 l:!.d1 Wle7 14 Jixf6 'i'xf6 15 e3 ifc6 16 h4! intendin g hS and l::th 4 occurred to me. After a while the computer agrees that White is better. b} Another line I investig ated is 9 ... as 10 e4 'i'e7, which g ains in strength compared to the ...h 6-less version (the pawn sacrifice 10 ... e s ? ! 11 dxes dxes 12 lll x es is not sufficient). After 11 es dxe s 12 dxe s lll d 7 White does not h ave the important tempo Jid3 and while this position is still not terribly attractive, it is certainly playable here. 10 b4!? This i s a refined move order to avoid a specific line after 10 e4. Let's first examine the al­ ternatives and check how the inclusion of ...h 6 changes the evaluation : a) After 10 e3 the extra ... h 6 h elps Bl ack. If White continues like in G am e 26, following Jan Gustafsson's recommendation in the non-... h6 version, 10 ... e s 11 ds t'Llb8 12 lll d 2 c6 1 3 dxc6 lllx c6 a point of . . .h6 becomes apparent: 1 4 J.. d 3 dS ! will equalize in stantly. b) 10 g 3 also loses any bite: 10 ... es 11 dS e4! is the reason . The move lll g s is now impos­ sible, so White is reduced to 12 llld 2 e3 13 fxe3 llle s and Bl ack had excellent compensation in M.Gurevich-E.Torre, Jakarta 1996. c) This leaves 10 e4. I know it sounds strange at first, but I think this move is al so inaccu­ rate. If White aim s for the g am e position, he should start with 10 b4 like I did. After 10 ... es 11 dS Black h as: ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

cl) 11 ... tt:Jd4! is the key move th at causes m y doubts about the viability of 1 0 e4.

I believe that Black has no problem s here at all . The position after 12 tt:Jxd4 exd4 13 i.xd4 tt:Jxe4 (this n atural move is a novelty; up to now only 13 ...'iWxe4? h as been pl ayed, with a bleak endgame) 14 o-o-o h as been assessed as better for White by various sources, but after 14 ... 'iWg 5+! Black is fine. White now has a choice: c11) After 15 i.e3 'iWe 5 Black intends ... tZ:lc5 and ... i.f5, obtaining a good g ame. A key point is 16 i.d3 (16 @b1 .l:.e8 17 .id3 tZ:lc5 is simil ar) 16 ... tt:Jc5, which is only possible with the pawn on h 6. This m akes ... tt:Jd4 only playable against 6 .ig 5 and not against the 6 .id2 line, where the pawn stays on h7. c12) 1 5 @b1 tt:Jc5 16 h4 'iWg 6 and Black is completely fine. c2) However, there is al so nothing wrong with 11 ... tZ:lb8. As 11 ... tt:Jd4 i s only really suitable if a draw is sufficient, this norm al continuation is still of some value. Now: c21) 12 b4 leads to the main g ame. c22) The most popular move is 12 .ie2: c221) In this position without ...h 6, Black's m ain move is 12 ... tt:Jh 5, as was analysed in the g am e Giri-Belezky (Game 27). It is worse h ere because after 13 g3 .ih 3 (13 ... tZ:lf6 is bet­ ter, but not exactly an advertisement for 12 ... tt:Jh 5) 14 tZ:lh4 tZ:lf6 15 g4! g6 16 .l:.g 1 tt:Jxg4 17 tt:Jxg 6 the move ... h 6 m akes all the difference: 17 .. .fxg6 18 .ixg4 .ixg4 19 .l:.xg4 and White is better. c222) I suggest going 12 ... a5, which was al so m entioned in the non- ... h6 version as a g ood altern ative. As Bl ack is not going for a quick ... tt:Jh 5 here, the move ... h 6 is not of m ajor importance. Please refer to Gam e 27 for more on 12 ... a5 (there it is move 11, of course). 10 es 11 ds tt:Jbs 12 e4 ...

2 94

N i m z o - l n di a n : Zu rich Va ria t i o n , Wh i t e P l ays Ji.. x c3

For a while I regarded this as one of the critical position s for the whole Zurich variation . Bl ack h as very few decent deviation s earlier, so it has undoubted importance. One reason why I reg arded it as especially critical is th at the normal way for counterpl ay in the non­ ... h6 version, with 12 ... lllh s , is not recommended here for Bl ack. I now think th at Black can obtain satisfactory pl ay with two continuations, but in the m ain game my opponent pl ayed the move that White's whole concept is designed against: 12 lll h s?! Clearly aiming for .. .fs, but this is never going to h appen under favourable circum­ stances and quite often Black needs to retreat to f6 l ater, conceding a serious loss of time. I have analysed two alternatives here th at lead to a decent gam e for Black. Both moves have n ever been pl ayed in a practical g ame, though, even including the version without ... h6 being played: a) 12 ... c6 g ains in strength with White h avin g played b4, weakening the c-file. Note that the bishop on c3 and queen on c2 are not ideally placed for an open c-file, as we will al so see l ater in the m ain g ame. White now h as a wide choice, so let's look at some set-ups: al) 13 i.. e 2 cxds 14 cxds ..ig4! (whenever ..ie2 is played, this becomes a serious option; Bl ack aim s for the simple ...lllb d7 and .. Jk8 with a fine position) 1 5 h 3 i..h s (1s ... i.. xf3 16 ..txf3 lllb d7 intending ... .Ufc8 and ... lllb 6-c4 is also playable) 16 o-o .l:.c8 17 .Ufcl lllb d7 18 lllh 4 (trying to solve the issues on the c-file by tactical m ean s) 18 ... lll x e4! 19 lllfs 'iff6 20 �xe4 i.. x e2 21 lll x g 7 @xg 7 2 2 �xe2 lllb 6 and if anyone, Black is the more comfortable. a2) 13 dxc6 lll x c6 is rel atively easy for Black to play. H ere ...b6, ... Ji..b 7 and a possible ... llld 8-e6 is a set-up we already know from the analysis of G ame 26. Here White h as a pawn on e4 which h elps Black a bit; White's bishop on d3 is restricted. a3) 13 h3 just stops any ... i.. g 4 ideas, but with 13 ... cxds 14 cxds Ji.. d 7 ! Black will quickly get ... .Uc8 in. ...


O p e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - / n d i a n

After 1 5 ile2 ( 1 5 ild3 .l:!.c8 1 6 o-o lllh 5 is similar) 15 ... .l:!.c8 1 6 .l:!.c1 a6 17 o-o now 1 7 ... lllh 5 is possible, a s 18 lll x e 5 ? ? fails due t o 1 8. . .lllf4 and overall Black has no problem s after 13 h 3 . a4) 13 lll d 2 is the most testing move I think: a41) 13 ... lllh 5 ? ! does not lead to anything after 14 g 3 . a42) I don't quite trust 13 . . .b 5 ! ?, but I couldn 't refute i t either and 1 4 dxc6 lllx c6 1 5 cxb5 lll d4 16 ilxd4 exd4 17 ild3 ilg4 certainly gives Black some compensation . a43) 13 . . . a5 (obviously similar t o the direct 12 . . .a 5 ) 1 4 il e 2 axb4 1 5 axb4 .l:!.xa1+ 16 ..ixa1 iLg4 17 f3 ild7 and Black can be satisfied h ere. He h as misplaced the bishop on a1, .. Jk8 is coming, and both ... b5 and ... lllh 5 are ideas. b) 12 ... a5 is the second option for Bl ack and m aybe the best one. Just as after 12 ... c6, White has a plethora of moves:

b1) 13 ile2 lllh 5 ! ? 14 g3 (14 lll x e5 ? ! lllf4! is a vastly improved version of the lines exam­ ined in Giri-Belezky) 14 ... axb4 1 5 axb4 l:i.xa1+ 16 iLxa1 ilh 3 and we reach a position from 296

N i m z o - l n d ia n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , Wh i t e Plays i.xc3

the m ain gam e which was okay for Black. b2) 13 h3 axb4 14 axb4 .l:.xa1+ 15 .i.xa1 c6 16 .i.e2 cxds 17 cxds .i.d7 with a structure th at will arise in the main g am e as well. Black obtain s a reliable set-up with ... .l:.c8, possibly with ... 'ife8 and ... .tbs to come. In this very static position, White's bishops don't count for that much . b3} 13 tZ::id 2 axb4 14 axb4 .l:.xa1+ 1 5 .i.xa1 c6 16 ..ie2 .i.g4 tran sposes to variation 'a43', above. b4} 13 bxas is in the spirit of the King's Indian, Bayonet Attack. One idea is to follow up with .i.b4 if possible, as shown by 13 ... tZ::i a 6 14 ..ib4: b41) 14 ... b6 ! ? is interesting and after 15 tZ::i d 2 (not 15 .i.c3 ? ! tZ::i c s 16 tZ::i d 2 bxas and Bl ack is better) 1s ... .i.d7 16 .i.e2 bxas 17 ..ixas tZ::i c s 18 .i.b4 .i.a4 19 1fib1 .l:.fb8 20 o-o all the top engines give Black enough compen sation . I have my doubts, but as Black has a good alter­ native on move 14, it is not that important. b42) More reliable is 14 ... tZ::l d 7 15 .i.d3 tZ::i dcs 16 o-o fs .

H ere Black's position is very h armonious. To sum things up: both 12 ... c6 and 12 ... as are satisfactory for Black, unlike 12 ... tZ::ih s ? ! to which we now return. 13 g3 ! Preparing tZ::lh 4 in respon se t o .. .fs . 13 a s H ere m y opponent realized that .. .fs was not possible: 13 .. .fS ? 1 4 tZ::lh 4 'iif7 1 5 exfs .i.xfs 16 tZ::i xfs 'iixfs 17 'iixfs .l:Ixfs actually h appened in P.H.Niel sen-K.Memeti, Plovdiv 2010, and here Carl sen 's second missed 18 f4! , which win s outright. After 13 ... as we h ad a funny situation regarding the clock. While I h ad more tim e than we h ad started with (thanks to the 30-second increment}, my opponent had used about 80 minutes. Unfortunately h ere I played far too quickly, still not in thinking mode after simply copying my own analysis from script for this book. ...

29 7

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

14 i.e2? 14 i.g 2 was much stronger. Bl ack then has a worse version of 12 ... as, as shown above. The knight on hs does not m ake much sense h ere and will probably need to retreat at some point, losing two tempi in the process. 14 ... axb4 15 axb4 l:l.xa1+ 16 i.xa1 i.h3 17 tll h 4 illf4!

I h ad underestimated this when I pl ayed 14 i.e2. White i s now hampered by the strong bishop on h 3 , preventing castling. 18 i.f3 lll g 6 19 tllf 5 'il¥d7 20 i.c3 c6! Correctly initiating play on th e c-file. Black is not in bad shape here, being just slightly worse. 21 llle 3 cxd 5 22 cxd 5 l:l.c8 This pawn structure arises frequently when White expands early on the queen side. I think th at in most cases Black can be satisfied as h e can trade some pieces {rooks on the a­ file, for example} to better handle his disadvantage in space. Al so White's bishops would prefer a less static position where there is a good pawn break in sight to open more files. 2 3 @d2 lll a 6 24 'il¥d3 tll e 7 Trying for .. .fs after all. I am not sure this is a good idea though. 2 5 i.e2 f5?!


N i m z o - l n d i a n : Z u rich Va ria t i o n , Wh i t e P l ays i.. x c3

26 f3?! This was somewhat modest. I saw that 26 f4! was possible, but 2 6 ... exf4 27 g xf4 fxe4 2 8 'ii'x e4 tZJfs 29 tZJxfs i.. xfs 30 'ii'd4 "O.c7 3 1 "0.g 1 'ii'e 7 was the l i n e I saw and I couldn't assess it properly. I thought Black might be able to get in ... tiJb8-d7 at some point and was un sure how to improve further. In fact, 32 i.. g 4 i.. x g4 3 3 "O.xg4 'ii'f8 34 fS looks rather grim for Black. 26 ... tiJc7 27 "O.a1 "O.a8? H ere Black is equal, given th at he will play 27 .. .fxe4 2 8 fxe4 tiJe8 with ... tiJf6 to follow. The only bad piece in Black's camp is the knight on e7 which might improve via g 6-h 8-f7g 5 if allowed. 28 "O.xa8+ tZJxaS 29 g4 This was underestimated by my opponent, who now needed to be precise to stay in the game. 29 .. .fxe4? This loses immediately. 29 .. .fxg4 30 fxg4 tiJg6 3 1 tZJfs i.. g 2 32 'ii'h s VWxbs 33 i.. xbs i.. x e4 34 tZJxd6 i.. x ds 3 5 i.. d 3 would be tough to hold, but there is still work for White to do. 30 'iWxe4 Now the combined threats of i.. d 3 and f4 are too much . 30 ... tiJb6 31 i.. d 3 g6 3 2 f4 1-0 Summary This g am e and the analysis shows that Black does not need to fear 6 i.. g s , but h e should be aware of the finer points of the move. In some cases the extra move is h elpful for Black, while in others it requires entirely different play compared to the related non-... h6 lines.


C h a pt e r Twe l v e

B o g o - l n d i a n wit h 4 � d 2 a s

1 d4 t'Llf6 2 c4 e6 3 t'Llf3 .tb4+ 4 .td2 a s

A very positive feature of the Bogo-lndian is that very early o n (on move 4 ) Black can choose from a variety of lines that are all playable. I have opted for 4 ... as followed by ... d6, as it is most suited to lead to position types that are the m ain theme of the book - the dark-squared set-up. H ere is an overview of the chosen line and some additional inform ation on the altern a­ tives th at I discarded, but are interesting ways to expand your repertoire. a) 4 ... cs is interesting and combative, but less in keeping with the general theme of the book th an 4 . as and ... d6. It's still a good alternative, though, and relatively easy to learn . b) 4 ... .txd2+ is the rock solid choice. Black h as quite good chances to equalize in this line, but very often the equality i s of a sterile nature, makin g it quite a non-starter for any winning attempts. There is nothing wrong with this line, it's just not very exciting to exam .

3 00


B og o - l n d i a n w i t h 4 i.. d2 a s

ine i n an openings book. c) 4 ... 'i¥e7 is the tradition al m ain move. For a while Black suffered a bit here due to the line 5 g 3 tl'ic6 6 tl'iC3, but recent practice suggests that instead s ... i.. x d2+ 6 �xd2 tl'ic6 ! ? is very interesting. For the repertoire I was mostly debating whether to opt for this or the line I chose in the end. As a possible addition to your repertoire, 4 ..�e7 certainly comes into con sideration . d ) And n o w t o 4. . . as: dl) 5 a3 (an d minor moves). .

The game Lenderman-Sielecki (Gam e 29) features White's early deviation s on move s, in particular the g ame's 5 a3, which g ained some attention because it was recommended by Larry Kaufman in his repertoire book. My g ame shows that Black obtains a fairly stan­ dard dark-squared closed centre and has nothing in particular to fear. d2) White m ain choice against 4 ... as is to decide on pl aying g3 or not. The g am e Khen­ kin-Anton Guijarro (Game 30) features White's set-up with an early 5 tl'ic3 where the fi­ anchetto is avoided. d3) 5 g3 d6 6 i.. g 2 tl'ibd7 7 0-0 es reveal s White's most popular set-up after startin g with 5 g 3 .


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

One admittedly very abstract logical reason behind getting castled quickly is t o unpin the bishop on d2. White tries to prove that ... as was a waste of time because Black m ay take on d2 anyway or faces the bishop being stranded on b4 after he h as pl ayed ... d6. My repertoire suggestion is to set up the dark-squared centre with ... d6, and ... e s . The g ame Stefan sson-Navara (Game 3 1) shows the way to the m ain position after 7 ... e s , which is a big crossroads for White: d31) Gam e 31 examines 8 .i.c3, 8 .i.e3 and 8 Those bishop moves force Bl ack to capture on d4, as the bishop is in danger of being trapped on b4. d32) 8 .i.g s is the most popular move of th at type and is dealt with separately in the n ext g ame. Nowadays it h as become clear that Bl ack has little to fear after 8 .i.g s and in recent years attention has shifted to other attempts. The g am e Abel-Kveinys (Gam e 3 2 ) highlights Bl ack's ch ances excellently. It is a fairly o l d g am e compared t o most of our other main g ames, but 8 .i.g s h as seen very few recent developments. d33) While not objectively dang erous, 8 e3 presents a different approach compared to the lines examined before.

3 02

809 0 - / n d i a n w i t h 4 il d2 a s

White makes a capture on d4 unattractive by allowing him t o recapture with a pawn and actually threaten s something - the retreat .il.c1, leavin g the b4-bi shop out in the cold. This is a serious threat and, for example, after the careless 8 ... 0-0 9 .il.c1 ! Black is in trouble. The game Potkin -Bruzon (Game 33) shows the way to handle this line. Black offers a pawn sacrifice th at gives excellent compensation if White dares to accept it. d34) 8 tllc 3 is White's most popular choice. It leads to a complicated g ame where I rec­ ommend keeping the central tension in stead of taking on d4. This line is covered in Mo­ randa-Bartel (Game 34). d3 5) The capture on es is an option for White, startin g on move eight with 8 dxes . He might al so delay it and play m oves like tt:Jc3 or 'i'c2 first in order to take on move 9 or 10. Recently this approach has g ained momentum as conventional lines fail to give White any­ thin g . The game Antic-Goumas (Gam e 3 5 ) features the capture on moves 8 to 10 and shows how to counter this simple approach by White.

Game 29

A.Lenderma n-C.Sielecki

Bad W iessee 2014

1 d4 tllf6 2 c4 e6 3 tllf3 .il.b4+ 4 ild2 a s

3 03

Op e n i n g R e p e r t o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

Now by far the most popular moves are S g 3 and S tl'ic3 . This g am e contains White's al­ ternatives on move S, most importantly the g am e continuation. 5 a3 In the m ajority of g ames White just plays S a3 without any particular idea in mind, but there is a point to it, as Larry Kaufman demon strated in his repertoire book. White forces the capture on d2 in order to reach a 'Wid2 and tl'ic3 set-up quickly. It is the only dan g erous alternative on move S that leads to unique positions, but l et's still have a look at the other moves: a) S 'W/c2 is fairly rare, but not bad at all . I sugg est a very simple reply in the spirit of the book that h as not been played a lot: s ... .i.xd2 + ! ? 6 tl'ibxd2 d6. Black will set up the dark­ squared centre and with the knight on d2, White h as nothing. al) 7 g4 h 6 8 l:l.g 1 tl'ic6 9 h4 e s 10 gs hxg s 11 dxe s dxe s 12 .U.xg s 'Wie7 with very unclear play in A. Bonte-M.Suba, Eforie Nord 2007. a2) 7 e4 tl'ic6 8 .i.e2 (8 es dxe s 9 dxes tl'id7 10 'ii'c 3 'Wie7 11 a3 a4 12 .i.d3 tl'ics was also fine for Black in V. Korchnoi-B.Larsen, Las Palmas 1981) 8 ... es and Black is fine. b) S e 3 is a quiet move that gives Black some l eeway. For our repertoire s ... d6 fits best. The g am e A.Borsuk-M.Drasko, Cappelle la Grande 2013, continued 6 .i.d3 'Wie7 7 e4 es 8 ds tl'ia6 9 tl'ic3 tl'ics 10 'W/e2 and now 10 ... tl'ih s even improves over the game, in which Black was comfortable; ...'Wif6 and ... tl'ih s is a useful idea to remember. c) S .i.xb4 is rarely played for good reason. The b4-pawn is a nuisance for White, taking away the c3-square from the knight. Black al so benefits from the opening of the a-file, g et­ ting his rook into play as early as move S: s ... axb4 6 tl'ibd2 d6 7 g3 0-0 8 .i.g 2 cs g o-o tl'ic6 10 tl'ib3 'Wie7, as in E.Ovod-D. Bocharov, Serpukhov 2003, shows a g ood set-up for Black. He is already slightly for choice h ere. s .i.xd2+ 6 'ifxd2 ...

3 04

B og a - I n d i a n with 4 il d2 a s

This is the only move that m akes sense, but let's examine the harmless move as well : 6 ll'ibxd2 ? ! , which is very comfortable for Black. The knight voluntarily takes up a bad spot on d2. U sually Black h as little problems if the knight appears there without any specific idea in mind. After 6 ... a4 (the typical queen side freeze) 7 e4 d6 8 �c2 �e7 9 ll'ib1 ! ? (an interesting move, trying to highlight the weakness of the a4-pawn) 9 ... e s 10 dxes dxes 11 ll'ic3 ll'ibd7 12 ll'ixa4 ll'ixe4 13 �xe4 .l:!.xa4 Black was even slightly the more comfortable in S.Dimitrijevic-D. Kosic, Valjevo 2011. 6 0-0 Black's most reliable set-up starts with ... o-o and ... d6, which can be played in any order. However, what Black shoul d avoid is the following: 6 ... d6 7 ll'ic3 ll'ibd7? ! (7 ... 0-0 transposes to the m ain g ame) 8 g4! (injecting life into the g ame) 8 ... o-o (8 ...b6 9 gS ll'ig 8 10 o-o-o ll'ie7 11 h4 looked promising for White in M. Kanep-V.Mal akhatko, Jyvaskyla 2007) 9 g S ll'ie8 10 o-o-o b6 11 h4 ds, which was played in G .Pap-V.Babula, Hungarian League 2011, with murky pl ay where White h as g ained too much space for my taste. 1 ll'ic3 d6 One idea of S a3 is that ... ds-based set-ups lose their appeal, as the inclusion of a3 and ... as compared to the line 4 ild2 ilxd2+ s �xd2 ds favours White con siderably. In m any lines Black n eeds to play ... cs l ater which doesn't go well with ... as at all . We don't mind playing ... d6 anyway, though, so it's no big issue. 8 e4 ...

3 05

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

The logical follow-up. The alternatives are too timid t o trouble Bl ack: a) If 8 g 3 'ile7 followed by ... e s with a comfortable position . It is helpful th at Black h as not yet committed his knight on b8. On d7 it would obstruct the bishop, while on c6 it might get hit by d4-dS. It is fairly normal to play ... li:Jc6 and then ... li:Jb8 in the Boga when the centre is closed, and here Black might avoid losing those two tempi. After 9 i.g 2 es 10 0-0 .l:!.e8 11 e4 i.g4 (Bl ack tries to use the weakened d4-square) 12 lt:Je1 exd4 13 'i/xd4 li:Ja6 14 f3 i.d7 1s lll c 2 lll c s 16 .l:!.ad1 hs Black obtained good counterplay with ...h S -h4 in S. Logothetis-5. Kapnisis, Porto Rio 2014. b) Ag ain st 8 e3 again I like the idea of going 8 ... 'ile7 first: for example, 9 'ii'c 2 es 10 ds lt:Ja6 11 i.e2 lt:Jcs 12 b3 i.g4 13 o-o i.h s 14 lt:Jd2 i.xe2 1s lt:Jxe2 c6 with equal play in S.Azal adze-E.Ghaem Maghami, Tabriz 2012. 8 Larry Kaufm an only m ention s 8 ... 'ile7 here. His analysis continues 9 es dxes 10 dxe s li:Jfd7 11 i.d3 lllc 6 12 'i/e2 lt:Jcs 13 i.c2 b6 14 o-o i.b7 1 s lt:Je4 and gives White a small ad­ vantage. While this is debatable, I think 8 ... li:Jc6 is slightly more accurate for Black. It allows the sam e e4-eS advance structure, but in a more comfortable form as we will see below. 9 l:ld1 Preventing ... e6-eS for the moment. The less forceful 9 i.e2 es 10 ds lll e 7 helps Black find a g ood square for his knight on g 6 . 9. . .'ile1 1 0 i.e2 H ere White had the chance to radically change the structure a la Kaufman with 10 e s ! ?. After 10 ... dxe s 11 dxes lll d 7 12 'ile3 lll c s Black is fine. Now 13 i.d3 can simply be answered by 13 ... li:Jxd3+ 14 l:lxd3 b6 and Black completes his development, getting his bishop on to a g ood diagonal . 1 0. . .es 11 d s 11 dxe s lll x es (11...dxes ? 12 li:Jds is just g ood for White) 12 o-o i.e6 is too simplistic to give White anything. 306

B og a - I n d i a n with 4 i.. d2 a s

1 1... 'LlbS 1 2 b4

Bl ack has obtained a fairly standard Bogo structure and now needs to select a plan . 1 2 ... i.. g4 Similar to the structures in the Zurich variation, I feel th at Black often has a hard time finding a useful role for his bishop, so trading on f3 is an option . My opponent had some doubts about this in the post mortem, but neither h e nor the engine at home found any­ thing tangible for White. In stead, 12 ... 'Llh S ! ? is interesting too. After 13 g3 'Llf6 14 o-o i..h 3 15 .l:!.fe1 'Lla6 we reach a complex position that is just about slightly better for White. 13 h 3 I was a bit surprised by this a s I intended t o take anyway. A s m entioned, Lenderm an thought this trade was favourable for him so he forced the issue. 13 ... i..xf3 14 i..xf3 axb4 15 axb4 'Lla6


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

With just two minor pieces, Black's spatial disadvantage does not hurt s o much. 16 t'bbs 16 :b1 cs! leads to play similar to the g ame. 16 ... t'be8! Black h as to get in ... c6/cS to g ain space for his pieces. 11 :b1 Played to keep the game more complicated. After 17 o-o c6 18 dxc6 bxc6 19 lbxd6 t'bxd6 20 'iVxd6 'iVxd6 2 1 .Uxd6 t'bxb4 22 cs .l:tfb8 Bl ack h as completely equalized. 17 ... c6 18 dxc6 bxc6 19 t'bc3 lbac7 20 o-o t'be6 21 lbe2 The direct 21 bs doesn 't promise much either. Moreover, 21 ...'iVb7 22 i.g4 lbd4 23 lbe2 cs 24 lbxd4 cxd4 2S 'ifb4 "V/He7 26 b6 t'bf6 27 b7 :ab8 is a line that makes White's bishop look rather silly. 21 ...t'bf6 22 .l:.fd1 .l:.fd8 23 .l:.a1 .l:.xa1 24 .l:.xal

24 ... ds? Opening the position prematurely. It's not terrible, but only gives White additional chances. In stead, I should h ave played a small improving move like 24 ... g 6 when Bl ack has a com­ fortable position . H e h as a healthy structure, while White h as a problematic bishop on f3, and it's tough for either side to m ake any progress. 2 5 exd s e4 26 i.g4 cxd s 27 i.xe6 dxc4 28 i.xf7+ @xf7 29 "V/Hc3 "V/1Jc1 When I played ... ds, I h ad this position in mind. What I did overlook, however, is that c4 always falls with check. 30 bs 30 .l:!.cl .l:td3 31 "V/Hxc4+ is check. This is wh at I didn 't appreciate when going ... dS: my king position becomes an issue. That said, this line continues 3 1 ..."V/Hxc4 3 2 .Uxc4 lldl+ 3 3 @h 2 .Ud2 34 lbc3 l:txf2 3 S t'bxe4 lbxe4 3 6 :xe4 .l:.b2 and Black should hold the endgame. 30 ....l:.d3? 308

8 09 0 - l n d i a n with 4 .t d 2 a s

Thi s was the decisive mistake. As usual you realize it right after you m ake the move - I saw his reply straightaway. 30 ... 'iVcs was still OK for Black. After 3 1 b6 "i&'xb6 3 2 'iVxc4+ 'i£/g6 Black needs to be care­ ful, but this is miles better than the actual game. H ere I believe that at least objectively Black should defend with perfect pl ay, whereas in the g am e I am just wiped out quickly. 31 b6 'iVxb6 32 "i&'xc4+ @e1 33 .l:!.a6 'iVbS 34 g3 .l:!.d 5 3 5 tt:Jd4 ifb1+ 36 @g2 'ii'd 3 37 .l:!.a7+ l:td7 38 'iVe6+ @ds 39 .l:!.aS+ 1-0 Mate follows. Summary Kaufman's 5 a3 was certainly an underestim ated line before he presented it in his book. However, this g ame shows th at Black's standard dark-square set-up leads to a middlegam e type that he should be content t o enter, given that i t closely resembl es structures w e aim for in other lines. A key idea in my opinion is ... .tg4 to trade one pair of minor pieces, eas­ ing Bl ack's play given the disadvantag e in space that he h as.

Game 30

l .Khenkin-0.Anton G u ijarro

Spanish Tea m Cha m pionsh ip 2012 1 d4 lt:Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 tt:Jf3 ..tb4+ 4 .td2 a s 5 lt:Jc3 Very n atural play. White just develops his knight and gives the play a distinct Nim zo­ lndian character. In fact there are some direct tran sposition s possible as we will see. s ... b6

With a heavy heart I recommend this move. A heavy heart because I would h ave pre­ ferred to present an approach that fits better with the whole repertoire. 3 09

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

Unfortun ately, it seem s th at s ... d6 does not offer Black equal ch ances. 6 �c2 is the most popul ar move and keeps the most flexibility. After 6 ... tt:lbd7 (6 ... tt:lc6 now leads to the Classical Zurich, but unfortunately to a slightly inferior version as ... as h as been played too early; this was discussed in Game 2 S ) 7 e4 es 8 a3 ii.xc3 9 ii.xc3 �e7 10 ii.d3 I don 't see how Bl ack even com es close to equality. He cannot force White to release the ten sion with dS and is suffering. 10 ... 0-0 11 o-o a4? 12 c s ! is particul arly bad. If you want to avoid s ... b6 and stay with ... d6-based pl ay, 6 ... tt:lc6 is the relatively better choice. This version of the Zurich is not brilliant, but pl ayable if it is not a m ain part of your repertoire. On the other hand, s ... b6 is probably just the best move and going for some­ thing different once in a while can't hurt. Moreover, it's also not very heavy on concrete lines, so is fairly easy to learn . 6 Th at's the only sh arp, critical continuation . White i s essentially tran sposing into a Queen's Indian with 1 d4 tt:lf6 2 c4 e6 3 tt:Jf3 b6 4 tt:lc3 ii.b4 S ii.g s where Bl ack has been gifted the extra move ... as. This move will sometimes turn out to be a negative for Bl ack: for example, the queen side, especially bS, is weaker now and a possible break with c4-cS is more dangerous. However, Black has a way to tum the curse into a blessing, as we will see. Let's first check the less ch allenging alternatives for White at move 6: a) 6 e3 and then : a1) Bl ack h as a no-nonsen se equalizing approach : 6 ... ii.xc3 7 ii.xc3 tt:Je4 8 �c2 ii.b7 9 ii.d3 tt:lxC3 10 �xc3 d6 11 e4 tt:ld7 12 o-o o-o 13 .l:!.fe1. This was pl ayed in D.J akovenko­ A.Morozevich, Kazan 2014, and now 13 ... es 14 .l:!.ad1 �f6 would have equalized. This way of playing is not very exciting, but certainly solid and appropriate for some occasion s. a2) More interesting is 6 ...ii.b7 7 ii.d3 d6:

a21) Allowing a knight to e4 is very comfortable for Black: for example, 8 0-0 tt:lbd7 9 a3 ii.xc3 10 ii.xc3 tt:le4 11 .i.xe4 .i.xe4 12 �e2 a4, as in S. Kalkhof-M.Wom acka, G erman League 2012. The opposite-coloured bishops are no drawin g factor h ere yet and Black has some 310

B og o - J n d i a n with 4 il.. d 2 a s

active ideas and flexibility with his structure. H e can play for ... cs, ... e s or even ...b s or . . .fs as the situation permits. a22) 8 iVc2 increases White's control over e4 and should be m et by 8 ... tt:Jbd7: a221) 9 e4 e s 10 tt:Jds il..x d2+ 11 iVxd2 o-o 12 o-o l:!.e8 13 l:!.fe1 tt:Jf8 14 g 3 tt:J6d7 1 s il..f1 tt:Je6 was an in structive regroupin g in O.Cvitan-M.Taimanov, Baku 1983.

Black h as equalized and even has ch ances to have the better bishop in the long term af­ ter a future ... cs. a222) 9 a3 ..ixc3 10 ..ixc3 and h ere the couple of games that reached this position saw Black playing ... iVe7 and ... e s . What I don 't like about this structure is th at White will never move the d-pawn and Black h as a h ard time to find a plan . I suggest an approach with ... cs instead: for example, 10 ... c s 11 o - o o - o 12 .l:tad1 .l:tc8 and Black is fine. b) Of course, there is al so 6 g3, but h ere it is very comfortable for Black, who even h as some choice. Indeed, after 6 ... .i.a6 7 b3 there are three good plans to choose from : bl) 7 ... o-o 8 il.. g 2 c6 9 a3 ..ie7 10 ..ig s ds with a Catal an-style position . A.Karpov­ A.Yusupov, Linares 1992, continued 11 ..txf6 ..txf6 12 cxds cxds 13 o-o tt:Jd7 14 'i\fd2 .i.e7 1 S .l:Ifc1 b s 16 e3 b 4 and Black was already in good shape. b2) 7 ... ..ib7 8 il.. g 2 0-0 9 0-0 d6 10 iVc2 tt:Jbd7 11 .l:tfe1 ..ixc3 12 il.. x c3 with a structure you might already h ave in your repertoire when you go for 4 tt:Jbd2 d6 of Gam e 36 (Mal ak­ hatko-Sielecki). b3) The most dyn amic line is 7 ... ds 8 cxds exds 9 2 o - o 10 o - o l:!.e8 11 l:!.e1 tt:Jbd7 with a complicated position, more typical of the Queen's Indian .


Op e n i n g R e p e r t o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

This is the right choice if you want to complicate m atters. After 12 a 3 .if8 13 .if4 c 6 14 ttJe s lLixe s 1S .ixe s ? in S.Siebrecht-D. Fridman, G erm any 2013, the multiple G erm an Ch ampion already could have obtained a big advantage with 1s ...ttJg4 16 .if4 g s 17 .id2 'ii'f6 18 :fl 'iWxd4 and White has nothing for the central pawn. c) Quite obviously harmless is 6 a3, but it allows us to see Bogo guru Vereslav Eingorn in action : 6 ... i.xc3 7 i.xc3 i.b7 8 .id2 d6 9 i.g s a4 10 e3 ! 11 .ih4 lLibd7 12 i.d3 °iVa8 1 3 o-o g s ! 1 4 .ig 3 h s 1 s h4 g xh4 16 lLixh4 l:tg 8 17 l:. e 1 :ag s .

Fantastic play by Black, who is already clearly better. What was White's mistake h ere i n A.Chernuschevich-V. Eingorn, French League 2004? Probably i.d2-g 5 was wrong, giving Black too m any tempi on the king side. Back to 6 .ig s :


B og a - I n d i a n w i t h 4 .i d2 a s

6 .. a4!? Tryin g to m ake sense of the pawn on as; ...l:tas is al so a key m anoeuvre. 7 a3 A s . . . a3 was threatened, there is no choice. 7 ... .txc3+ 8 bxc3 .ib7 9 tt:'id2 Aggressive pl ay by Khenkin. H e tries to g et f3 and e4 in. U sually White goes 9 e3 and now 9 ... l:tas ! ? is just too nice not to play it (of course, you can al so play conservatively with 9 ... d6}. .

Very interestin g play arises after 10 i.h4 d6 11 tt:'id2 (11 .id3 tt:'ibd7 12 J:tb1 'i¥a8 13 �bS .tc6 14 l:txas 'ilVxas 1 5 'i¥c2 'iVh s was al so nice for Black in V.Epishin-M.Turov, H elmond 2012) 11 ... gs 12 .ig3 tt:'ibd7 ! (12 ... h S ? ! is mistimed due to 13 h4!} 13 f3 and now 13 ... l:tg8 was played in A.Kh alifm an -A.Al eksandrov, St Petersburg 1996. Instead, I suggest 1 3 ... g4 immediately. The idea is 14 .i.d3 g xf3 1 5 g xf3 'ilVa8 with ... �g S/h S and ... 'ilVas to follow. It's 313

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

just a super complex g am e with mutual ch ances. 9 .. h6 I am not totally convinced by 9 ... l:ras 10 .Jlh4 d6 h ere. It will probably often tran spose to the scenario after 9 e3 with Black going for ... gs quickly, but 1 1 f3 tt'lbd7 1 2 e4 m akes it more difficult for Black to obtain counterpl ay. 10 .i.h4 d6 This solid set-up is always possible instead of th e quick ... .l:!.as. Khenkin's early tt'ld2 m akes ... l:ras h arder to play as we h ave seen, so it's good to h ave thi s set-up to fall back on . 11 f3 White m ay also switch back to the more restrained 11 e3 tt'lbd7 12 f3, after which Bl ack chooses a set-up like 12 ... es 13 .i.e2 o-o 14 o-o l:re8 when ... tt'lf8-g6 is an idea to break the pin . 11 ... es .

This h as a specific idea in mind, as we will see. Of course, 11'lbd7 followed by ... flie7, ... es, etc, is pl ayable as well. 12 e4 tt'lc6!? Th at's the idea, but again 1 2 ... tt'lbd7 was the safe way to go. 13 cs!? This was invited by Black's l ast and doesn't seem too dang erous. Wh at else was there? a) 13 ds ! ? tt'lb8 (13 ... tt'le7 14 .i.xf6 gxf6 1s cs dxcs 16 @f8 17 o-o tt'lg6 is very murky, but White h as more pl ay h ere than after 13 ... tt'lb8) 14 cs (the point; otherwise m at­ ters would be excellent for Bl ack with his knight coming to cs) 14 ... bxcs 1s l:rb1 .i.c8 16 .i.d7 17 .tc4 with some compensation for the pawn for White, but nothing to be afraid of. b) 13 .tf2 tt'ld7 intending ... Wif6 looks nice for Black. 13 ... dxcs?! 13 ... exd4 was better, leading to an opening of the g am e with Black being nicely devel314

B og a - I n di a n w i t h 4 � d 2 a s

oped. I t i s a difficult move to pl ay over the board, though, with the m any complicated lines now possible: a) 14 cxb6 o - o 1 5 cxd4 (15 bxc7 'ii'x e7 16 .txf6 gxf6 is a terrible structure, but White is underdeveloped, has got the kin g on el and some dark-squared weaknesses; Black is better after, for example, 17 l:tcl dxc3 18 J::t x c3 d5 ! } 15 ... t2lxd4 16 .td3 (16 bxc7? 'V//ix c7 17 .l:tc1 'flie7 is already very good for Black; he will open the centre with ... d6-d5 against the white king) 16 ... cxb6 17 o - o t2le6 18 J::tb 1 and I think it is about equal .

Bl ack is a pawn up, but h e will most likely h ave to return it, resulting in exchanges and equality. b) The only other sensible m ove is 14 cxd4, which might just transpose after 14 ... t2lxd4 1 5 cxb6 o-o and we transpose to 14 cxb6. H ere 15 ... c 5 and 1 5 ... d5 are also possibl e too, so 14 cxb6 is more precise. 14 dxcs This is now a critical situation . Black is in danger of obtaining a bad structure on the queenside, with White's bishops g aining strong diagonals (.tf2 will pressurize b6}. 14 0-0! ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

An excellent solution by David Anton Guijarro. White is still slightly better after it, but his position is very difficult to pl ay. 15 cxb6 l2Ja 5 16 �xa4 cxb6 17 �b4 �c7 White is a pawn up, but Bl ack h as pl ay against c3 and l ater on the d-file. 18 i.b5?1 18 i.f2 ! l2Jd7 19 ..te2 ttJcs 20 o-o was better I think, even if it still won't be at all easy to convert the pawn . It is still not fun for Bl ack, though, who is only playin g for two results. 18 ....UfdS 19 c4?1 After this Black h as full compensation for the pawn with lots of activity. 19 ... .Ud3 20 o-o .Uad8 21 .Ua2 .U8d6 22 .Uc1 �d8? 2 2 ... i.c6 immediately was better, and if 23 a4 i.xbs 24 axbs ltJh s with excellent com­ pensation . 2 3 l2Jf1 i.c6 24 ..txc6? 24 a4 was possible. Black then h as some problems with his coordination, leavin g him in trouble. 24 ...ttJxc6 25 �b5 .Ud1 26 .Uxd1 .Uxd1


B og o - l n d i a n with 4 il. d2 a s

Now Black has good play for the pawn once again and Khenkin, probably i n tim e trou­ ble, immediately erred. 27 'iVxc6?? °iVd4+ 28 il.f2 28 .i::tf2 .l::txf1+ 29 @xf1 °iVd1# is m aybe what White h ad overlooked. 28 ... °iVd3 29 h3 'iVxf1+ 30 @h2 °iVh1+ 31 '>t>g3 @h7 32 °iVc8 g6 33 il.xb6 ll'ihs+ 34 @h4 �h2 3 5 'i\fg4 lbf6 0-1 Summary Unfortunately s ... d6 is not fully satisfactory after s ll'ic3, but it can still be played if you want to g et in ... d6 and ... es at all costs. In stead, s ... b6 is the best continuation and should be played based on the quality of the move. As we h ave seen, it leads to interesting play with ch ances for both sides. If you want to learn more about the structure arising in the m ain g am e, you can study the line 1 d4 ll'if6 2 c4 e6 3 lbf3 b6 4 lbc3 il.b4 S il.g s il.b7 6 e3 h6 7 il.h4 il.xc3+ 8 dxc3 d6 which is simil ar. The a-pawn is an obvious difference, but many m anoeuvres are the same.

Game 3 1

H.Stefa nsson-D.Nava ra

Reykjavi k Open 2012

1 d4 ll'if6 2 c4 e6 3 ll'if3 il.b4+ 4 il.d2 a s s g3 d6 In stead, s ...b6 transposes to a Queen 's Indian, while s ... ds leads to a sideline of the Cata­ l an th at h as a decent reputation . Both m oves are worth investig ating if you want to ex­ pand your repertoire beyond the lines examined in this book. 6 ..\lg2 ll'ibd7 H ere Black has a little explored alternative in 6 ...ll'ic6 7 o-o es. 31 7

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

H ere: a) 8 ds !De7 (8 ... !Db8 9 !Del !Da6 10 !Dd3 .i.xd2 11 !Dxd2 o-o 12 a3 l::!. e 8 13 e4 c6 14 ended in an early draw in K. Landa-L. Ni sipeanu, Dresden 2007) g .i.xb4 axb4 10 'ili'd2 cs 11 dxc6 !Dxc6 12 J::!. d 1 .i.e6 13 b3 !De4 14 'ili'e3 !Des and Black had equalized in R. Kasimdzh anov-M.Turov, Nancy 2011. b) 8 .i.e3 exd4 9 !Dxd4 !Des with play very similar to the 6 ...!Dbd7 m ain line. c) 8 .i.g s exd4 9 !Dxd4 !Dxd4 (9 ... !De s ? ! 10 a3 .i.cs 11 !Dc3 o-o 12 !Db3 is not satisfactory) 10 'ili'xd4 h 6 11 .i.xf6 'ili'xf6 12 'ili'xf6 gxf6 13 a3 .i.cs 14 !Dc3 c6 l S e3 @e7 with a very uncon­ ventional endgam e in A.Giri-V. lvanchuk, Reggio Emilia 2011/12. This quite clearly is not everybody's cup of tea, but the whole line with 6 ... !Dc6 is worth exploring. 1 o-o es

8 i..c 3 White intends to recapture on d4 with the bishop. As I recommend obliging and simply 318

B og a - I n d i a n with 4 .iL. d 2 a s

takin g o n d4, the similarly minded 8 .ile3 amounts t o the same thing after 8 ... exd4 g .ilxd4, but Bl ack, just like after 8 .iL.C3, m ay choose to vary with 8 ... o-o or 8 ...�e7. There is some room for creativity here. White has also played 8 .ilc1, which is a rath er logical idea - quite often the bishop does not do much on the c1-g 5 diagonal, so White intends to fianchetto it after a subsequent b3. After 8 ... exd4 9 lll xd4 0-0 he h as: a) 10 lll c 2 ? ! does not fit well with the idea of .ilc1 (to go b3 and i.b2), and 10 ... l:!.e8 11 a3 .ilc5 12 lZ:Jc3 a4 13 lZ:Jb4 lllb 6 14 .ilg 5 h6 1 5 i.xf6 �xf6 16 lllb d5 lllx d5 17 lll x d5 'ili'd8 18 e3 .ile6 19 l:!.c1 c6 20 lllf4 .ilf5 led to very nice pl ay for Bl ack in S.lrwanto-V.Tkachiev, J akarta 2012. b) 10 'ili'c2 l:!.e8 11 lZ:Jc3 lZ:Jb6 (after 11 ... lZ:Je5 White h as the irritating 12 lll a4) 12 b3 a4 13 .ilb2 illustrates White's desired set-up.

Both White's bishops are well placed, especially the g 2 -bishop which exerts annoying pressure on the queenside. Thi s is a major difference compared to 8 lll c 3 followed by e4, when the long diagonal is blocked by the e4-pawn . Now: b1) The routine 13 ... c6? g ets punished by 14 .txc6 ! . b2) 13 . . ..tc5 is a decent option for Black. b3) 13 ... a3 14 .ilc1 c6 1 5 .ilf4 d5 16 l:!.ad1 'ili'e7. Bl ack is in good shape h ere, but went down in the ensuing complications in Z.Gyimesi-N.Nestorovic, Hun g arian League 2012: 17 .ilg 5 l:!.a5 (17 ... dxc4 ! ? was interesting as well and is very unclear) 18 cxd5 l:!.c5 19 .ilxf6 'ili'xf6? (19 ... gxf6 20 l:!.d3 cxd5 was somewhat ugly, but interesting; Black is not in bad shape here) 20 lll e4 'ili'xd4 21 lllx c5 'ili'xc5 22 'ili'xc5 .txc5 23 dxc6. This endgame is not at all easy to pl ay, but only White can be better and l ater won . The line with 8 .tc1 is still rather unexplored, but is not worse than the more popul ar moves. As we h ave seen Black is holding his own, but some precision is needed. Fin ally, 8 'ili'c2 is very transpositional with little independent value: 8 ... o-o g lll c 3 tran s­ poses to G ame 34, while 9 .tg 5 is G ame 3 2 . 319

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

8 exd4 The simplest reply, leading to the structure th at we employ against 8 .tel and 8 s (Game 32). There is nothing wrong with holding the centre either, as the white player in our m ain game experienced two years later at the same place in H.Stefan sson-E. Porper, Reykjavik 2014. After 8 ... �e7 9 a3 ..txc3 10 t2Jxc3 c6 11 ds cs 12 t2Jd2 o-o 13 �c2 t2Je8 14 .l:!.ab1 fS Bl ack had no problem s. 9 ..txd4 0-0 ...

Black h as enjoyed some success with 9 ... a4! ?, but I think it is less reliable th an the m ain move. The i ssue seem s to be 10 t2Jc3 (10 ..tc3 is less threatening, as shown by 10 ... i.xc3 11 t2Jxc3 t2Jb6 12 �d4 o-o 13 cs dxcs 14 �xcs c6; this roughly equal position was reached in P. Panteleev-J .Stocek, Plovdiv 2012) 10 ... a3 11 b3. Now the assessment of the position de­ pends to some extent on the a3-pawn . Is it a weakness? One thing is clear, though: the a­ file, often opened to Black's benefit in other lines, will stay closed here. This is al so the rea­ son why I prefer to keep the pawn on as, where it is more flexible. After 11 ... o-o 12 ltJds i.cs 13 b4 i.xd4 14 t2Jxd4 White was slightly better in R.Martyn-J.Stocek, Coventry 20os. 10 t2Jc3 White m ay also play 10 a3, but it is actually quite close to a loss of tempo, as a3 does not bring any benefits and ... i.cs is a move Black wants to play anyway. In fact this position is usually reached via 8 ... o-o 9 a3 exd4 10 i.xd4 i.cs, which is yet another viable move or­ der for Black to choose. White m ay deviate though with 9 t2Jc3, for instance, allowing Black to take on c3 - food for thought. Let's examine some g ames after 10 ... i.cs to illustrate the middlegam e themes: a) 11 t2Jc3 .l:!.e8 12 �c2 c6 and now: al) 13 .l:!.adl was played in Le Quang Liem -L. Bruzon Batista, Khanty-Man siysk 2011, where Black obtained a very solid position with ch ances to pl ay for a counterattack: 13 ... �e7 14 .l:!.d2 i.xd4 lS t2Jxd4 l2Jb6 16 �3 (16 b3 a4 is unattractive for White) 16 ... �c7 17 a4 (not the most desirable move, but ... a4 was a threat; now, though, Bl ack obtain s a 320

B og a - I n d i a n with 4 i.. d 2 a s

good post on c s for the knight) 1 7 ... tt:Jbd7 1 8 'iVc2 tt:Jcs 1 9 .l:!.fd1 � 6 2 0 h 3 h6 2 1 e3 �4 2 2 b 3 i.d7 2 3 l:rb1 .l:Iad8 24 tt::l de2 i.. c 8.

The ideal, h armonious counterattackin g set-up. Now White threw his king side forward, maybe being forced to win in a m atch situation (it was a F I D E World Cup knock-out event). If White stays put it i s probably about equal, as Black does not h ave m any active plan s at his disposal, although he might try to push ... h s-h4 or transfer the queen to the kin g side if he n eeds to get something going. After 2S g4? ! .l:!.es 26 tt::l d4 .l:!.ee8 27 l:rdd1 �6 28 @h 1 tt::l a 6 29 "iVd2 'iVcs 30 f4 tt::lb 4 (preparing a well-timed ... d6-dS advance) 3 1 e4 tt::lh 7 3 2 tt::l de2 °iVf2 3 3 tt::l d4 � 4 34 @g 1 tt::lf8 3 S l:rf1 tt::l a 6 3 6 tt::l c e2 tt:Jcs 3 7 tt:Jc3 tt::l g 6 (White h as a clearly exposed position that is difficult to pl ay; it's not necessarily bad, but doesn't allow m any inaccuracies at all) 3 8 b4? axb4 39 .l:!.xb4 'iVg 3 40 tt:Jde2 �4 41 .l:!.bb1 h s 42 gxh s 'iixh s 43 'iVe3 �6 44 'iVg 3 tt::lh 4 4S fs tt::l x g 2 46 'iix g 2 'iVe3+ 47 @h 2 tt:Jxe4 Black l ater won . a2) A high-level encounter saw 13 l:f.fd1 'iVe7 14 h 3 tt:Jes (14 ... tt::lb 6 ! ? is al so interesting, intending to play 1 s i.xcs dxcs 16 b3 a4 with good counterplay on the queen side; both knight moves are of about equal value) 1S i.xcs tt:Jxf3+?! (1s ... dxcs is more precise, with about equal play similar to the g ame, while avoiding 16 exf3 ! ) 16 i.xf3 ? ! (16 exf3 ! was sur­ prisingly strong : for exampl e, 16 ... dxcs 17 tt::l a4 i.e6 18 f4 g6 19 'iVc3 and White exerts an­ noying pressure) 16 ... dxcs 17 i.g 2 'iVes 18 e4 g S ! ? 19 '1Wd2 g4 20 h4.


Op e n i n g R e p e r t o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

Now 20 ... .te6 would have been equal in L.Van Wely- H . N akamura, Wijk aan Zee 2013. a3) Another recent exampl e went 13 .l::tfel .txd4 14 tlixd4 tlib6 1 5 tlie4 (15 b3 a4 is an­ noying again) 1s ... tlixe4 16 .txe4 g 6 17 .tg 2 Wi/e7 18 b3 a4 19 b4 cs 20 bxcs dxcs 2 1 tlif3 .tfs 2 2 Wi/c3 l::t a d8 and Black was in good shape in D.Swiercz-N .Vitiugov, St Petersburg 2012. Black's well centralized pieces provide easy, equal pl ay. b) A slightly different set-up was tried in V.Pelletier-A. Kosten, Le Port Marly 2009 : 11 b3 .l:te8 12 tlic3 c6 13 Wi/c2 (Loek van Wely's most recent try is 13 h 3 , but Black was okay after 13 ... 'iVe7 14 l::t a 2 h6 15 �h 2 tlie s 16 .ixcs dxcs 17 'ifcl tlixf3+ 18 .txf3 ilfs 19 e4 ..ll g 6 20 ilg 2 Wilc7 2 1 .l:i.e1 .l:i.ad8 22 .l:i.e3 .l:i.d4 in L.Van Wely-N.Vitiugov, Dubai (rapid) 2014; he con ­ trol s some useful squares and attacks white centre and queen side pawns, which compen­ sates for the doubled pawn s) 13 ... Wi/e7 14 e3 (interesting ; Black waited a bit with taking on d4, so White takes the chance to play e3, discouraging Bl ack from exchanging) 14 ... ilb6 (this is playable, but I prefer 14 ... tlib6, introducing the familiar ... aS-a4 idea and m akin g development much easier; 15 .txcs dxcs is no problem at all with the doubled pawn s con­ trolling many squares and helping to blunt the g 2 -bishop, and we will see som ething simi­ l ar in the m ain game) 15 .l::tfel ilC7 16 e4 tlies 17 tlih4 (this becomes slightly uncomfortable now) 17 ...tlig6 18 tlifs ..ll xfs 19 exfs 'ifxel+ 20 .l:i.xel .l:i.xel+ 2 1 .i.fl tlies 2 2 �g 2 by when Black was is real trouble and went on to lose. 10 :es ...


B og o - J n d i a n with 4 il. d 2 a s

You m ay vary the move order here with 10 ... il.c5, but most likely it will end up i n the gam e position anyway as ... .l::t e 8 is such a n atural move. 11 .i::tc 1 11 �c2 is a very natural move as well, intending to place a rook on the d-file. After 11 ... c6 12 .l::tfdl (12 a3 was played in the Le Quang Liem-Bruzon Batista encounter mentioned above; we can see that transpositions abound in this line, but that is not a bad thing - you should learn the opening by developing a sense for the appropriate set-ups and manoeuvres, not by learning concrete moves by heart) 12 ...�e7 13 e3 tt:\e5 14 tt:\d2 il.g4 15 f3 il.e6 16 b3 h 5 a po­ sition with mutual chances was reached in P.Kiss-A.Del Monaco, Venice 2004. 11 ..tcs As we have seen, Veresl av Eingorn is a real expert on the Bogo, so let's follow another of his g ames: 11 ... c6 12 tt:\a4 �e7 13 e3 tt:\e4 14 �c2 tt:\ec5 15 tt:\xc5 dxc5 16 il.c3 il.xc3 17 '1i'xc3 f5 18 tt:ld2 tt:\f6. ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

Black h as comfortable play. The g 2 -bishop is blunted and the pawn s on cs and f s con­ trol some important central squares. After 19 l:!.fel tt:Je4 20 'YWc2 tt:Jxd2 2 1 'YWxd2 'YWf6 2 2 l:!.edl a 4 2 3 'YWc3 'ifxc3 24 l:!.xc3 .i e 6 2 S Wfl Wf7 2 6 e 4 l:!.ad8 2 7 l:!.xd8 l:!.xd8 2 8 exfs .ixfs 29 Wel it shoul d be a draw, but if anybody Black will h ave some chances, because the white queenside is under some pressure, notably the pawn on c4 that is on a light square and can be attacked by the bishop. Indeed, following 29 ....l::t d4 30 .ifl i.e6 3 1 .ie2 Wf6 3 2 b3 a3 (now White n eeds to be cautious; the a3-pawn is a constant cause for concern) 33 l:!,f3+?! (33 l:!.e3 .ifs 34 l:!.e8 .ibl 3 S l:!.a8 was a better defence) 3 3 ... .ifs 34 .i.d1 We s 3 S l:!.e3+? (3S l:!.c3 was necessary, still with decent chances to hol d) 3 S ...l:!.e4 3 6 Wd2 l:!.xe3 3 7 Wxe3 g s ! 38 f4+ g xf4+ 3 9 gxf4+ Wf6 40 i.e2 .ic2 41 Wd2 .ixb3 42 Wc3 .ixa2 43 .id3 h 6 44 Wc2 b s 4S cxbs cxbs 46 .ixbs WfS White resigned in M. Konopka-V. Eingorn, Austrian League 2000. This ending is quite typical of this line, with White's light-squared bishop being a slightly problematic piece due to the pawn on c4. 12 e3 c6 13 -VWc2 tt:Jb6 13 ....ixd4 14 exd4 lllb 6 lS b3 .ig4 is a solid alternative. Black will exchange an addi­ tional minor piece on f3 or h 3 (prepared with ...�d7), and is about equal. H e has got less space, but is very compact and can play ...d6-dS to expand in the centre if the timing is cor­ rect. Navara's choice in the game is bit more combative and typical of an Open event where you need to score win s with Black as well with White. 14 l:!.fd1 'YWe7

1 5 .ixf6 Simplifying the position . Houdini initially likes 1 s tt:Jg s, but 1 s ... lllb d7 is a good reply (1s ... .ixd4 16 l:!.xd4 h 6 17 lll g e4 is solid for Bl ack, but slightly passive) and after 16 tt:Jge4 (16 h 3 h 6 17 tt:Jge4 lll x e4 18 tt:Jxe4 lll e s is similar) 16 ... tt:Jxe4 17 �xe4 (17 lll x e4 lll e s i s about equal ag ain) 17 ... 'iff8 18 'ifc2 'ife7 19 tt:Ja4 tt:Jes I don 't see any serious issues for Black, though the computer gives White a small advantage, probably due to the doubled pawns which will soon emerge. 324

B og a - I n d i a n with 4 j_ d 2 a 5

Black will continue with a possible ...f6 and ... �e6 plan, completing development. 1s ...'i!Vxf6 16 'Lle4 'i!Ve7 17 'Llxcs dxcs 18 h3 �e6 19 b3 a4 20 'Lle1 The knight was not doin g much on f3 . I think this position is about equal, with both sides h aving some problem s finding a con structive plan . Black obviously hopes for an end­ gam e where b3 and c4 are possible targets, especially for his light-squared bishop. Thi s i s i n fact quite similar t o the well-known Berlin Wall endgame in the Ruy Lopez. 20 ... h6 21 e4 .Uad8 22 .Uxd8 .Uxd8 23 l:.dl

23 ...'Lla8 Very creative pl ay. I just love knight moves to the comer that actually make some sen se and h ere the route to b4 is envisioned. 24 'Lld3 'Llc7 2S 'Llb2 a3 The start of a very ambitious idea. Just 2s ... axb3 26 axb3 l:.d4 was fine and easy to play for Black. 26 'Lla4 .Uxdl+ 27 'i!Vxd 1 bs The point of ... a3. 28 'Llb6 bxc4 29 bxc4 'Lla6 Going for the a2-pawn, but I think N avara must have missed something, as the simple ... 30 'i:Va4 ... solves all White's problem s and in fact now Black needs to be precise. 30 ... 'ifb7? 30 ... 'Llb4! 31 �xa3 �d8 was the narrow path to find. Now a line like 32 �a7 �d1+ 3 3 @h 2 'i:Vd2 gives Black enough pl ay t o draw the g ame. 31 �a s Black begin s to suffer a bit. 31 ... @h7 32 .Iii.fl f6 33 h4 .ig4 34 .ig2 .ie6 3S es 35 h S ! first is even better. 3S ...fxes 36 .ie4+ g6 37 hS .tfs 38 .ltxfs gxfs 325

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i re : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

39 @g2 White h ad the very computerish move 39 'ifxa3 ! , the idea being 39 ... 'ifxb6 40 'ifd3 e4 41 'ifd7+ @h 8 42 'ife8+ @g7 43 'if g6+ @h 8 44 'ifxh 6+ @g8 45 'if g6+ @h 8 46 'ifxfs and White retains g ood winning chances. 39 3 9 ... e4! was good, intending a further .. .f4 to obtain some attack on White's kin g . Black should be equal here. 40 ctJa4 ttJxa2 41 ttJxcs 'ife7 42 ctJd3 Ag ain , 42 'ifxa3 ! was strong . 42 . . .f4? 43 ttJxes fxg3 4 4 ttJg6 White is now completely winning, but just watch what h appen s. 44... iff7 4S f4 'ires 46 'ifa1+ @gs 47 'ifxa3 'ife2+ 4S @xg3 'ife1+ 49 @f3 'iff1+ so @g4 'ifd1+ s1 @fs 'ifd7+ s2 @es 'ifg7+ S3 @e6 'iff7+ S4 @d6 'iff6+ ss @c7 ttJc3 S6 'ifas+ @h7 S7 'ifxc6 'iVg7+ ss 'iVd7 ctJe4 S9 fs @gs 60 'iVxg7+ @xg7 61 @b6 @f6 Y2-Y2 Puzzling as with [email protected] 62 ctJh4 @g s 63 @c6 ! @xh4 64 @ds White could still have won . Summary I think Navara pl ayed a bit too ambitiously in this g ame. A simple way to proceed was sug ­ g ested on move 2 5 , with Bl ack being very comfortable. Overall White's idea to recapture with the bishop on d4 leads to interesting play. A key motif is th e doubled c-pawn s that Black allows quite often, g aining play against White's queenside and/or centre.

Game 32

T.Abel-A.Kvei nys G e rm a n Lea g u e 1998

1 d4 tt:if6 2 c4 e6 3 tt:if3 �b4+ 4 �d2 a s s g3 d6 6 �g2 ttJbd7 1 o-o es s �gs 326

B og a - I n d i a n with 4 i.. d 2 a s

This is the second most popul ar move after 8 ll:lc3, but is rarely played i n top-level g ames these days as Black's chances seem quite promisin g . The bishop move threaten s to trap Bl ack's bishop on b4, so Bl ack needs to capture on d4. 8 exd4 9 ll:lxd4 White's queen began a rather unfortunate journey in G .Beckhuis-J . Horvath, Vienn a 2012, starting with 9 Wi/xd4 0-0 1 0 ll:l c 3 h 6 11 i.d2 (in stead, the simplifying 11 i.. xf6 ll:lxf6 12 ll:le4 ll:lxe4 13 Wi/xe4 l:re8 14 Wi/c2 Wi/f6 g ave Black the bishop-pair for no compen sation in E.Demircioglu-A. Delchev, Skopje 2014) 11 ... l:re8. Black has no problems whatsoever here, but now White went 12 e 3 ? and got his queen into serious trouble. After 12 ... ll:lc5 13 ll:ld5 ? ll:lxd5 14 Wi/xd5 c6 (her majesty is getting short of air) 1 5 'iVh 5 ll:le4 16 .txb4 ll:lf6 17 'iVh4 l:re4 White resigned a couple of moves l ater. 9 0-0 H ere Black varies between the text and 9 ... h6, but pl ay usually tran sposes anyway as Black can hardly pl ay without ... o-o. I see no particular move order finesse here, so it does not m atter which one you choose. 1o a3 This is the most popul ar choice, allowing White to develop comfortably with lLlC3 l ater. There are other moves, of course, but Black's reply to all of them is familiar to us already. Let's h ave a look at some concrete moves: a) 10 Wi/c2 h 6 11 i..f4 ll:le5 12 l:td1 Wi/e7 13 lLlC3 ll:lg 6 14 .te3 .tc5 1 5 h3 c6 16 l:tac1 was the g am e A.Evdokimov-M.Venkatesh, Moscow 2012. In stead, of the g am e's original 16 ... l:ta6, I suggest the simpl e 16 ...l:re8. Maybe Black was worried about 17 ll:la4? ! , but this is actually an swered very convincingly by 17 ...ll:lh 5 ! with some advantage for Black already. ...


�2 7

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

White should, of course, avoid lt:Ja4, but I see no trouble for Bl ack i n any case. H e has got easy development and fine pieces; ... i.. d 7, ... .l:lad8 and ... i.. c 8 is a simple mini-pl an to further improve. Under the right circum stances you can even con sider ... h S -h4 ideas, but often this is answered by i.. g s, so be careful with becoming too ambitious. b) There al so is 10 ct:Jc2, but retreating from d4 shoul d not be too scary for Black: 10 ... i.. c s 11 ct:Jc3 h6 12 i.. e 3 (the idea behind ct:Jc2) 12 ... ct:Jg4 13 i.. d4 lt:Jge s 14 b3 .l:le8 and here Boga guru Aloyzas Kveinys h as shown how to h andle the bl ack side: bl) 1 5 ct:Ja4 was pl ayed in V.Muutnik-A. Kveinys, Tallinn 2001. After 1 s ... i.. xd4 16 lt:Jxd4 lt:Jf6 17 �c2 Black offered the b-pawn with 17 ... i.d7 ? ! , but White can now simply take the pawn and I don't see any compensation . However, Black was not forced to pl ay 17 ... .id7, of course. Instead, I suggest 17 ... h s ! ? to initiate play on the king side. This pl an g ains in strength when the dark-squared bishops have been exchanged as White does not h ave the reply i.. g s anymore. b2) 15 h3 lt:Jc6 (1s ... i.. xd4 16 ct:Jxd4 ct:Jcs is al so fine, intendin g ... i.. d 7-c6 as one possible set-up; another build-up is ... c6, ... i.. d 7, ... �f6 and ... .l:lad8, and do al so keep the ...h S -h4 idea in mind) 16 i.e3 ct:Jb4 17 i.xcs ct:Jxc2 18 �xc2 ct:Jxcs 19 @h 2 i.. d 7 20 .l:lad1 i.. c 6 21 ct:Jds and a draw was agreed in R.Swinkel s-A. Kveinys, Ohrid 2009. Let's continue a bit to see some more middlegam e motifs: 2 1...i.. x ds ! ? 2 2 .l:lxds (22 cxds is answered with the important 22 ... b s ! , securing the knight on cs; Black's play includes further moves like ... �f6, doubling on the e-file and pushing the h -pawn ; I think it is about equal in an interesting position) 22 ...�f6 23 e3 .l:i.e s and Black is okay here. White's bishop looks strong , but after a l ater ... .l:i.ae8 and ... b6 it might point into thin air. 10 i.cs ...


B og o - l n d i a n with 4 il. d 2 a s

1 1 b3 Thi s i s rare. Much more common i s 11 tl'ic3, which i s countered as usual with 11...h6 12 il.f4 tt:Je s . Now I can't resist showing m aybe the biggest-ever upset in our chosen line. We will follow the sensational g am e A.Shirov-G.Seul, Germ an League 1992: 13 tl'ia4 (a l ater try for an improvement was 13 b3, but 13 ... c6 14 h 3 "fie7 1 5 @h 1 .!:i.e8 16 e4 °fie? 17 il.e3 il.d7 18 f4 tl'ig 6 19 il.f2 .l:te7 20 �d2 .U.ae8 was very h armonious for Bl ack in L.Seres-G. Kovacs, Hun garian League 1995) 13 ... il.a7 14 tl'ibs il.b8 15 cs (this was Shirov's idea with the knight moves, but Black i s not without chances whatsoever) 1s ... tl'ig 6 (15 ... �e8 ! ? is a good alterna­ tive) 16 il.e3 dS 17 tl'ibc3 c6 18 tl'ib6 .l::t a 6 and now White should take on c8, n ettin g the bishops and m aking sure that the knight i s n ot stranded on b6. After Shirov's 19 il.d4?! il.fs 20 b4 axb4 2 1 axb4 .U.xal 2 2 "f/xal l:i.e8 Black can play around the knight and has an extra piece in play on the kingside. The g ame proceeded 23 tl'id1 il.g4 24 f3 il.e6 25 tt:Je3 tl'ih s 26 f4?.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

Now 26 ... lligxf4! was great play by Seul, demon strating no fear. After 27 gxf4 tlixf4 2 8 'ife1 'fic7 29 l:tf2 llih 3+? ( 2 9. . .i.h 3 ! was winning, one point being 3 0 .tf1 llig 2 ! ) 30 .txh 3 i.xh 3 3 1 llif1? (31 'ilc3 was holding for White) 3 1 ... .l:!.e4! (now Black is winning again and he doesn't give his great opponent a second chance to escape) 3 2 e3 'ife7 3 3 .l:!,f3 i.g4 34 'ilf2 i.xf3 3 S 'ifxf3 'ifg s+ 3 6 @f2 3 7 i.xe s 'ifxe s 3 8 llid7 'ife6 3 9 tt::ib 6 .Uxb4 40 tlig 3 l:tb2+ 41 llie2 l:tc2 42 'iff4 gs 43 'fia4 'iffs+ 44 @e1 'ifd3 4S 'ifg4 'ifxe3 46 @f1 d4 47 ttJd7 .l:!.xe2 48 llif6+ @g7 Shirov resigned. 11 ... h6 12 .tc1 .l:!.e8 1 3 lll c 3 This position is simil ar to the 8 i.c1 line, but h ere Black h as got the extra move ... h6 (neutral), and White h as played a3 (weakening the queen side a bit). Therefore the situation should be slightly better for Bl ack compared to the earlier bishop retreat. Another point is more subtle: on cs the bishop attacks the knight on d4, so White is tied to defending it with the queen . He doesn't want to pl ay e3 or llic2, so it's a bit of a dilemm a for him. In the 8 i.c1 line White is quick enough to cover d4 with a rook and play 'ifc2 early, which m akes his position much easier to play. 13 ... c6 The other typical move 13 ... llie s led to an unusually quick defeat for White after 14 h 3 i.d7 1 S a4? ! (passive, but not fatal) 1 s ...c 6 16 e4?.

However, this is fatal : 16 ... i.xh 3 and White resigned in R.Kistella-K. Podzielny, Goch 199 3 . A short day at the office for the legend of G erman blitz chess ('Podz-Blitz'). 14 i.b2 llies ! I don 't like the m aterialistic 1 4. . .i.xd4 1 5 'ilxd4 llics . After 16 .l:!.ad1 llixb3 17 'i'f4 'ile7 White can improve on the game J .Torres-C.Rios, Pamplona 2012, with 18 .l:!.xd6 and I much prefer White here. The computer actually assesses this as about equal, but I like the bish­ ops. In any case the m ain move 14 ...llie s ! is much more interesting to pl ay anyway and therefore preferable. 15 .l:!.c1 330

B og o - l n d i a n w i t h 4 il d2 a 5

I selected this g am e because I like Kveinys' straightforward attacking style. From h ere on it's all forward ... 1s ... il.. d 1 16 'iYd2 'ires 11 :fd1 ilh3 1s j;_h1 'iYg4

Matters become quite scary. Only the a8-rook is not exerting pressure around White's king. White is walking a thin line h ere already. 19 'iYf4? 'iYh s 20 f3 This is very ugly, but it was probably already too l ate to save the g ame. 20 ... gs? 20 ... il.. e 6 is better according to Mr Houdini, with close to a winning advantage for Black. 21 'iYd2 :e1 22 i.. g 2? 2 2 lt:Ja4 was a much better chance, but I still prefer Black's attacking play. 22 ... :aeS Now the position is beyond saving, as all Bl ack's pieces attack. 23 g4 To illustrate the threat: 23 :b1 i..xd4+ 24 'iYxd4 i.. x g 2 2 5 'it>xg 2 lt:Jxf3 ! 26 exf3 :e2+ 27 lt:Jxe2 :xe2+ and Bl ack wins. 2 3 24 il..x h3 'iYxh 3 2 5 fxg4 i.xd4+ 26 'iYxd4 :xe2 0-1 Summary The whole line with 8 il..g s does not put much pressure on Black. Fluid piece play and easy development quite often lead to nice attacking games for Bl ack. One very important fea­ ture: White has no easy, clear-cut plan to follow. There are position types where absolutely every player knows at least one plan : for example, let's say the minority attack in the Queen 's Gambit Declined, Carl sbad structure, or the h4-h 5 push in the Dragon Yugoslav Attack. Even a pl ayer with no profound knowledge will know those plan s and play accord­ ing to them, but wh at exactly is White's plan here?


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

Game 33

V.Potkin-L.Bruzon Batista

Wij k a a n Zee 2012

1 d4 tllf6 2 c4 e6 3 tllf3 .ib4+ 4 .id2 a s s g3 d6 6 .ig2 lll b d7 7 o-o es 8 e3

8 c6 This is the most interestin g move, but it involves some unbal anced play including a pawn sacrifice. Before employing it, I recommend studying the g ame and the lines given h ere. If you are looking for a low m aintenance alternative, my suggestion is the simple cap­ ture 8 ... .ixd2. This does not lead to clear, full equality, but is certainly pl ayable and guaran­ tees a complicated, long battle without any concrete theoretical knowledge needed. White h as tried all three recaptures. Let's examine: a) I like 9 tllfxd2 for White: for example, 9 ...0-0 10 tll c 3 l:i.e8 11 'ifc2 c6 12 l:i.adl �e7 13 h3 hs 14 a3 tllf8 with a solid, but slightly passive position for Black in V. lkonnikov­ L.Winants, Belgian League 2003. b) U sually d2 is a poor pl ace for the queen's knight, so 9 tlibxd2 does not impress much . Indeed, it should not give Black much trouble after 9 .. 0-0 10 'ifc2 'ife7 11 e4 l:i.e8 12 l:i.adl c6 13 l:i.fe1 h6 (this allows 14 cs, which could h ave been prevented with the somewhat ugly looking 13 ... cs, which is in fact quite viable for Black and is a motif worth remembering, especially with the knight on d2). ...



B og a - I n d i a n w i t h 4 i.. d2 a s

H ere: bl) White could h ave pl ayed 14 cs ! ?, suddenly m akin g sense of the d2-knight. It's still not enough for an edge, though: 14 ... exd4 (not 14 ... dxcs lS dxe s tt:Jxes 16 tt:Jxe s 'iVxe s 17 tt:Jc4 'iVh s 18 es and White is in excellent shape) lS cxd6 '1i'xd6 16 lt:Jc4 'iVcs 17 tt:Jxd4 tt:Jb6 18 tt:Jxb6 '1i'xb6 19 e s tt:Jds 20 '1i'b3 a4 is okay for Black. b2) In A.Sharevich-A. Kveinys, Reykjavik 2011, the regrouping 14 tt:Jb1 was chosen . After 14 ... lt:Jh 7 lS tt:Jc3 tt:Jg s (a good m anoeuvre, weakening White's central control ; at some point White will need to move the d-pawn) 16 dS (the exchange on e s is excellent for Black, of course, as d4 is severely weakened, so White closes the centre) 16 ... tt:Jcs 17 tt:Jxg S hxgs Black enjoys a healthy structure in this still complicated position . c) 9 '1i'xd2 seems the most logical recapture to me, as c3 is the most efficient place for the bl-knight. After 9 ... c6 10 tt:Jc3 o-o White h as: cl) In P.Tregubov-A. Kogan, Las Vegas 2010, Tregubov went for the dull 11 dxe s, which pretty much gives up any hope of an edge: 11...dxe s 12 l:Ifdl 'iVe7 13 'iVd6 '1i'xd6 14 l:Ixd6 l:Ie8 lS tt:Jd2 a4 16 .l:.d1 tt:Jcs 17 h 3 i.. e 6. This type of position is already slightly more com­ fortable for Black. The g2-bishop is blunted and Black h as some points to attack on the queenside, like the c4-pawn . It's still very drawish, of course, but there is room to fight and outplay weaker opposition. In the actual game Black won a marathon endgam e of 99 moves. c2) In stead, White should pl ay the norm al 11 e4, after which 11...J::l. e 8 12 J::l.fel a4 13 l:Iabl 'iVas 14 b4 axb3 l S axb3 '1i'b4 16 i..f1 tt:Jf8 was fine for Black in A.Grischuk-A. Kogan, French League 2004.


Op e n i n g R e p e r t o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

Kog an went on t o draw without much effort, but at least 11 e 4 leads t o a full scale bat­ tle, whereas exch anging on es almost n ever yields any substantial benefits. Conclusion : 8 ... .txd2+ is a viable alternative to the m ain move, and leads to a more closed, m anoeuvrin g game. Let's now return to the main move, 8 ... c6. The most principled reply is, of course: 9 .tel

This essentially forces Black to offer a pawn sacrifice. However, White has al so tried some other moves: a) First there is the simple move 9 a3, which leads to similar play as after 8 ... i.xd2+, but with White havin g lost a tempo and weakened the queen side slightly. After 9 ... .txd2 10 tt:Jfxd2 (looking for another quick win by Black in our line? As usual Kveinys delivers: 10 iVxd2 a4 11 tt:Jc3 o-o 12 l:tad1 iVas 13 ds cxds 14 tt:Jxds tt:Jxds 1 5 "iYxds "iVxds 16 l:txds tt:Jb6 17 l:txd6 tt:Jxc4 18 l:tds .te6 19 l:tb s f6 20 J:tc1 l:tac8 and in this equal position White erred 334

B og a - I n d i a n with 4 i.. d2 a s

with 2 1 i..fl?? lll d 2 2 2 lllx d2 l:txc1 and h ad to resign i n H . Nordahl-A.Kveinys, Norwegian League 2013) 10 ... 0-0 11 lll c 3 Wile7 12 b4 l:td8 13 dS cs the position was about equal in Guo Qi- N .Zhukova, Khanty-Mansiysk 2012. b} White h as also tried to keep the ten sion with 9 lll c 3, after which 9 ...0-0 10 Wi/c2 l:te8 11 l:tadl e4 12 lll g s i.. x c3 13 i.. x c3 dS was a typical sequence for this line. White now played very creatively with 14 f3 ? ! h6 1S lll xf7 @xf7 16 cxds cxds 17 fxe4 dxe4 18 i.. x e4, but this i s hardly enough compensation and after 18 [email protected] 8 19 Wilh3+ @h 8 20 i..b 1 I:I.xe3 2 1 dS Wi/e8 Black had a winning position in E. Postny-L.Fressinet, Aix les Bains 2012. Here a yet untested move is 10 a3 i.. x c3 11 i.. x c3, after which Black has a fundamental decision to make.

Should he move the e-pawn or protect it? I suggest the ambitious 11 ... e4! ?, while Hou­ dini al so likes 11 ... lll e 4 and even taking on d4, which surprises me. After 11 ... e4 12 lll d 2 dS Black's idea is to quickly go for ...b7-bS to clarify the situation on the queen side: for in­ stance, 13 cxds cxds 14 f3 exf3 1 S Wi/xf3 bS 16 Wi/f4 lllb 6 17 e4 dxe4 18 lll x e4 lllfdS 19 Wilf2 ll\c4 with interesting, complicated play. c) A quite uncommon approach was tested in E. Porper-J . Benjamin, Edmonton 2011: 9 i.. xb4 axb4 10 °iVd2 cs 11 dxcs dxcs 12 Wi/c2 o-o 13 lllb d2 Wile7 14 a3 bxa3 1 S .l:.xa3 .l:.xa3 16 bxa3 b6 and Black had no problems at all, though admittedly the position was not terribly exciting. d} 9 i.. c 3 was tried in E.Bacrot-L. Fressinet, Calvi (rapid} 2013. After 9 ... e4 10 lll e 1 (10 lllfd2 ds 11 a3 i.. e 7 12 cxds cxds 13 f3 is al so possible, with similar motifs; Black h as useful space for his pieces and no problems at all} 10 ... 0-0 11 a3 i.. x c3 12 lll x c3 .l:.e8 13 f3 ? (Black h ad no problems anyway, but this leads to serious trouble for White) 13 ... exf3 14 Wi/xf3 lllb 6 1 S b 3 a4 Black was winning already due to White's queen side falling apart. 9 e4 ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

1o a 3 Potkin tries this rare move instead of the far more common 1 0 tt:Jg s, after which w e get a forced sequence: 10 ... ds 11 cs (otherwise, Black just retreats to d6 and now a3 is threat­ ened ag ain) 11...h6 12 tt:lh 3 a4 13 a3 14 'i!Vxa4 tt:lf8 1S b4 ..txh 3 16 ..11i. xh 3 ii.Cl 17 'i!Vd1 hs.

A long sequence of moves, but very logical and almost forced. White h as a terrible score h ere, though: out of 9 g ames in my database he h as only scored 2 points, losing most g ames to swift matin g attacks. From a practical point of view this position is, indeed, a bad choice for White who is on the defensive for just a rather unimportant pawn. Let's check some typical play: a) White cannot play without f4, but tried to delay it in J . Pinter-Z. Hracek, Rabac 2003, by going 18 tt:Jd2 h4 19 g4 tt:l8h 7 20 f4 (otherwise, ... tt:Jg s followed by ... ..11i.b 8 and .. .'W/c7 is sim ­ ple and deadly) 20 ... exf3 2 1 tt:Jxf3 tt:Je4 2 2 tt:Je s ? (22 bS is a tougher defence, but still not 336

B og o - l n d i a n w i t h 4 i. d2 a s

attractive to play) 2 2 ... tllh g 5 2 3 i.g 2 h 3 and Black's attack already had enormous power, leading to a nice win . b ) 18 lllC 3 h4 19 @g 2 tll 8h 7 20 i. g 4 tll g 5 (20. . .tllx g4! 2 1 'fi/xg4 lllf6 2 2 'fi/d1 'fild7 2 3 .l:!.h 1 �f5 is a winning attack already) 2 1 i.b2 g 6 2 2 .l:!.h l 'file7 2 3 i.e2 �e6 24 h 3 hxg 3 2 5 h4 tllf3 26 i.xf3 exf3+ 27 "i&'xf3 gxf2 (27 ... .l:!.h 5 ! was decisive) 2 8 @xf2 0-0-0 29 @e2 tll g 4 3o @d3 .l:!.h 5 3 1 .l:!.ag 1 f5 32 .tel l:!.dh 8 33 @c2 .l:!.xh4 34 .l:!.xh4 .l:!.xh4 35 @b3 .l:!.h 2 36 .l:!.h 1 .l:!.xh l 37 'filxh l tllx e3 38 'filh 8+ i.d8 3 9 tll a4 f4 40 tllb 6+ @c7 41 "i&'g 7+ i.e7 42 "i&'h 8 i.d8 43 'filg 7+ i.e7 44 �8 and White completed a very lucky escape with a draw in A. Bykhovsky­ A. Bachmann, Cappelle la Grande 2014. c) The main defence is 18 f4 exf3 19 "i&'xf3 h4 20 g4 tll 8 h7 (20 ... °i&'e7 h as al so been played with success, but is less direct) and now:

cl) After 21 tll c 3 tll g 5 22 �g 2 ? (22 °i&'f5 ! is necessary, with unclear play, such as after 22 ... tllfh 7 23 i.92 o-o 24 .l:!.a2 h 3 2 5 i.h 1 g 6) 22 ... 0-0 23 b5 .ta5 24 tll e 2 lllfe4 Bl ack was al­ ready much better in J . Le Roux-AA. Lagarde, Sautron 2012. c2) The other move is 2 1 'fi/f5 g 6 2 2 °i&'f2 and in the gam e A.Baryshpolets-E.Romanov, Vo­ ronezh 2012, Black now chose the interesting 22 ... °i&'d7 ! ? 23 �xh4 (White probably should h ave played 2 3 lll c 3, leading to unclear con sequences after 2 3 ... tll e 4 24 tll x e4 dxe4 2 5 'fi/xh4 'file7 26 'filxe1+ @xe1 27 d5 i. e 5 2 8 d6+ @d7 29 l:!.b1 tll g 5 , all of which is complicated and not forced; if you intend to play this gambit, some an alysis on your own will be very rewarding to obtain a better feel for the attacking ideas, although even without th at I think Black's practical chances are excellent) 2 3 ... g 5 24 'i'f2 lllf8 (24... tll e 4 2 5 'i'g 2 tt:Jhf6 i s fine as well and simpler to play) 2 5 �xf6 l:!.xh 3 26 "i&'f5 (after 26 'i'xg 5 Bl ack h as more than one good option ; here is one: 26 ...l:!.xh 2 27 l:!.f2 .l:!.h 7 28 lll c 3 tll e 6 29 °i&'f6 "i&'e7 30 �xe7+ @xe7 31 J:!.g 2 l:!.ah 8 32 @f2 tll g 5 with ongoing compensation, even in the endgame) 26 ... l:!.xh 2 27 l:!.f2 .l:!.h4 28 l:!.9 2 "i&'e7 29 lll c 3 tll e 6 30 i.d2 0-0-0 and Bl ack h ad a strong attack.

33 7

O p e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

To b e honest, I think white players mostly get into this line by accident. Black h as fan­ tastic compen sation for a mere rook's pawn . Let's now return to the m ain g ame, where the excellent theoretician Potkin avoided such a plight. 10 ... exf3 11 .i.xf3 .i.cs 12 dxcs tt:Jxcs

This was forced after 10 a3 (well, there is 11 'iixf3, but there is little point to it). White h as won the two bishops, but Black has got his trumps as well. He has got a well­ positioned, secure knight on cs and very fluent development, g aining even more tim e with ... .i.h 3 . 13 b 3 Slow, but something like 13 tt:'i c 3 .i. e 6 1 4 b 3 a 4 isn't too inspiring either. 13 ... 0-0 14 tt:Jd2 .i.h3 15 .i.g2 15 J:.e1 tt:'id3 feels rather embarrassing for White. 1s ... .i.xg2 16 'it>xg2 d S 338

B og a - I n d i a n with 4 i.. d2 a s

A line like 1 6 ...�e7 1 7 i..b 2 .l:!.fe8 1 8 �c2 'Dfe4 is playable as well. 17 �c2 'Dfe4 18 .l:!.b1 �e7 19 cxd s cxd s

White needs to be accurate here as Bl ack's active knights restrict his options. 20 b4 axb4 21 axb4 'Dxd2 22 i..xd2 CDe4 2 3 .l:!.bdl �e6 Up to this point White h as defended successfully, but now .. 24 h4? ... was a mistake. 24 �3 was a tougher defence, but not much fun either after, for ex­ ample, 24 ... .l:!.fc8 25 i.e1 .l:!.c4. 24 .l:!.fc8 25 �d3 .l:!.a2 .


26 i.. e 1? The only move to continue was 26 f3 .l:!.c3 27 �e2 'Dd6, but I still doubt White would have survived until move 40. 26 ... �g4 27 'it>g1 .l:!.cc2 28 �xd s 'iWxg3+! 339

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

Sometimes you hear you cannot win attackin g g ames i n a somewhat positional open­ ing like the Boga, but once in a while it still h appen s. 29 @h1 �xh4+ 30 @g1 �g4+ 3 1 @h1 ll:ig3+ 0-1 Summary The 8 e3 line leads to some unique position s compared to White's other options on move 8. Black enjoys g ood, active pl ay if he goes for the aggressive 8 ... c6, often sacrificing a pawn in the subsequent complications. 8 ... ..txd2+ is a solid alternative, pl ayable without any spe­ cific preparation, but even if you like to be on your own early and try to avoid early skir­ mishes, still study 8 ... c6, as it's just more fun to pl ay.

Game 34 W Moranda M B artel .



Pol is h C h a m p i o n s h i p, Wa rsaw 2012

1 d4 ll:if6 2 c4 e6 3 ll:if3 ..tb4+ 4 ..td2 a s s g3 d6 6 ..tg2 ll:ibd7 1 o-o es As we h ave seen, White has a number of option s here. This g ame discusses set-ups with White going for a quick e4, not moving the bishop from d2. 8 ll:ic3 Note th at White can also take on es on move 8, 9 or 10. All of these exchanges are ex­ amined next up in Antic-Goumas (Game 3 5). There al so is 8 �c2. Now 8 ... o-o 9 lt:Jc3 leads to the gam e position, while deviations ei­ ther don't m ake much sense or transpose el sewhere: for example, 9 s exd4 tran sposes to 8 s (Game 32). 8 0-0 ...

Bl ack del ays the capture on d4, going for ... o-o and ... .l:r.e8 first. 340

B og a - I n d i a n w i t h 4 i.. d2 a 5

9 �c2 This is the most popular move. In recent times White h as tried some alternatives though, still searching for a way to an advantage without any success. Let's have a look at those tries. a) The direct 9 a3 does not lead too much due to 9 ... i.. x c3 10 i.. x c3 e4 and now: al) 11 tZ:le1 tZ:lb6 12 b3 a4! and Bl ack is fine, gaining control of the light squares. a2) 11 tZ:ld2 .l:.e8 12 e3 tZ:lb6 13 °ilt'c2 .tfs is at least okay for Bl ack. Pl aying on the light squares with ... aS-a4 and ... d6-dS even gives Black a space advantage in the centre. a3) 11 tZ:lg s dS ! ? (there is nothing wrong with 11 ... .l:.e8, but this is interesting) 12 cxds 'flie7 13 d6 (in order to get in d4-dS to prevent a black knight landing on ds) 13 ... cxd6 14 dS h6 1S tZ:lh 3 tZ:les 16 f4 tZ:leg4 17 'W/d4 i.. d 7 18 .l:.acl .l:.fc8 (Bl ack is already quite comfortable, but from here it goes swiftly downhill quickly for White) 19 b4? i..b s 20 bxas? l:Ic4 2 1 'W/d2 .l:.ac8 22 i..b4 'Wic7 23 l:Ixc4 'W/xc4 24 fS tZ:lxdS 2S tZ:lf4 tZ:lde3 26 l:Ib1 tZ:lxg 2 27 tZ:lxg 2 e3 2 8 'W/d3 'W/a2 29 'W/xb s 'W/xbl+ 30 tZ:l e 1 .l:.c1 and White resigned i n L.Van Wely-G.Miralles, French League 2003, one of quite a few black win s against much strong er opposition . The entire line with ... as, ... d6, ... tZ:lbd7 and ... es is still not too well known and catches out m any play­ ers lacking any prior knowledge or experience of the line and its middlegam e motifs. b) 9 tZ:lds i.. x d2 10 'W/xd2 c6 11 tZ:lxf6+ 'W/xf6 12 tZ:lg s 'Wie7 13 tZ:le4 fs 14 tZ:lc3 tZ:lf6 looked like quite a comfortable Dutch position for Bl ack in V.Kosyrev- P. Eljanov, Biel 2004. c) 9 dxes is discussed in G am e 3 S . 9 ....l:.eS

1o e4 Not only occupyin g the centre, but al so preventin g Black from pushing ... e S-e4 him self. The altern atives are: a) 10 .l:.adl i.. x c3 11 i..x c3 e4 12 tZ:lg s 'flie7 and then : al) G M Robert Markus is a regular Bogo player. H e faced 13 ds ag ainst Branko Damlj a­ novic in Skopje 2011, and after 13 ... h6 14 tZ:lh 3 tZ:le s 1 S f3 i..fs (excellent centralization and 341

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

overprotection; Black just h as a harmonious position) 16 °iWcl exf3 17 exf3 tt:Jd3 18 'VWd2 b 5 ! ? 19 cxb5 tt:Jxd5 20 tt:Jf2 tt:Jxc3 21 'VWxc3 tt:Jxf2 22 .l::t xf2 a4 23 f4 .l:i.ab8 24 .ic6 .id7 25 .:tc1 .ixc6 26 'VWxc6 °iWe3 27 'it>g 2 .l:i.b6 2 8 'VWxc7 .l:i.xb5 29 °iWc3 �e4+ a draw was agreed. a2) 13 °iWcl h6 14 tt:Jh 3 d5 15 b3 c6 16 f3 b5 and once more Bl ack h ad an easy, active g ame in N .Grandelius-Z.Hracek, Germ an League 2011. b) 10 dxe5 is covered in Game 3 5 . 10 exd4 Bl ack is out of good preparatory moves. The only available one left would h ave been 10 ... c6, but after a following capture on d4 this move is of questionable value. Sometimes it is necessary, but committing to it now would be imprecise. 11 tt:Jxd4 tt:Jes ...

12 b3 The most n atural move, but White h as tried too: a) 12 .ig 5 ! ? and now: al) 12 ... c6 is the only move played in this position so far, but after 13 tt:Ja4! h6 14 .if4 tt:Jg6 (14 ... .ig4! ?) 1 5 .ie3 tt:Jg4 16 .tel 'VWf6 17 l:tdl b 5 ? (after this Black is in huge trouble, but I think he shoul d prefer the earlier ... h6 anyway) 18 cxb5 cxb5 19 a3 bxa4 20 axb4 axb4 21 h3 b3 22 �d2 tt:J4e 5 23 f4 White was close to winning in L.Van Wely-L. Fressinet, Aix les Bains 2012. a2) In stead, I suggest 12 ... h6! 13 .ixf6 (otherwise .ig 5 m akes little sense, but Bl ack seem s fine anyway) 13 ...'VWxf6 14 tt:Jd5 'VWd8 15 tt:Jxb4 axb4 and it is about equal . Given the choice, I would rather be Black h ere because of the open a-file and the ideas on the dark squares. White's pl an s are less apparent to me. b) Another gambit try is 12 .l:i.adl. To take or not to take? bl) 12 ... tt:Jxc4?! is risky, but probably pl ayable. After 13 .ig 5 tt:Jb6 14 tt:Jcb5 c6 1 5 .ixf6 gxf6 16 tt:Jc3 the position is quite ugly for Black, but 'a pawn is a pawn'. Probably White h as no more than enough compen sation . 342

B og o - l n d i a n with 4 i. d 2 a s

b2) I prefer 1 2 ... i.cs 1 3 t2Jce2 i.g4 1 4 f3, as was played i n M.Sebenik-V. Babula, Novi Sad 2009. Babula now went 14 ... i.h s, which was satisfactory, but the bishop might l ater be offside on g6. As such, I suggest 14 ... i.d7: for example, 15 @h 1 a4 16 b4 axb3 17 axb3 W/e7.

This is a fairly typical position for this line. One important feature is the white pawn on f3 and the resulting weaknesses on the king side. Black even has ...h 7-h 5 -h4 as a possible plan . 12 i.cs The usual post for the bishop, but there is a more direct, tactical approach as well: 12 ... a4! ? 13 t2Jxa4 (this doesn't lead to much, but a build-up move like 13 h 3 is also nothing special after a normal reply like 13 ...i.d7) 13 ... i.xd2 14 W/xd2 t2Jxc4 1 5 W/c2 tLies 16 t2Jc3 c6 17 h3 Wlb6 18 .l:!.fdl h S ! and White is at best slightly better h ere. Now, though, h e over­ looked a tactical trick in L.Cemousek-T. Polak, Slovakian League 2012, by going 19 f4? when 19 ... i.xh 3 ! would have given Black excellent play. 13 tLits ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - / n d i a n

Maybe this is the best move, but White i n general scores rather poorly here. Black's piece play, pressurizing White's centre, is not easy to contain. Going for any substantial progress as White often m eans pushing pawn s, which will seriously weaken his position . White's play needs to be delicately timed. Besides 13 tllf 5, both retreats h ave been tried: a) 13 tt:lce2 and now: al) 13 ... i.g4 14 h3 i.h 5 15 g4? ! i.g 6 16 .l:tad1 was played in L.Cemousek-Z. Hracek, Slo­ vakian League 2009. Now Black could have gone in for a tactical strike: 16 ... tt:lxe4!? 17 i.xe4 tllf3+ 18 i.xf3 i.xc2 19 tt:lxc2 c6 and I prefer Bl ack here, with ... �4 and play on the e-file to come. a2) 13 ... c6 with a great idea in mind: 14 h3 b 5 ! ? is the aggressive point and quite atypi­ cal for the given pawn structure. It leads to interesting, active play for Bl ack after 1 5 cxbs cxb5.

Maybe White should now take the pawn : 16 tt:lxb 5 i.a6 17 a4 'ih>6 18 tt:lec3 .l:!.ac8 and while Black h as some compen sation, White still h as a solid position. In the actual g ame, White was just a bit passive with even material on the board after 16 l:.ad1 b4 17 i.e3 i.a6 18 l:.fe1 .l:tc8 19 �1 �6. This was R.Vazquez lgarza-E. lturrizaga,Alcal a de Henares 2007, where Bl ack was pretty comfortable. b) The other knight retreat seem s entirely h armless: 13 tll d e2 i.g4! (Bl ack is in fine shape h ere, makin g g ood use of the weakened light squares) 14 'it>h 1 i.f3 (a motif to re­ m ember: 14 ... a4! ? is possible due to the un stable knight on e2) 15 i.g 5 c6 16 tt:Jf4 h6 17 i.xf6 'iYxf6 18 i.xf3 tt:lxf3 19 'it>g 2 tt:lh4+ 20 'it>h 1 i.d4 2 1 l:.ac1. We have followed V.Golubenko-D.Ciuksyte, Tallinn 2005, and now the simple 21...i.xc3 22 '1i'xc3 'ii'x c3 2 3 .l:txc3 .l:.xe4 was t o b e preferred, instead of the complicated 2 1...g 5 ! ? o f the g ame. Black is just a pawn up. 13 h6 One of the most prolific Boga experts, the Czech G M Zbynek Hracek, h as played the ...


B og o - l n d i a n with 4 .i. d 2 a s

simplistic 1 3 ... .i.xfs here. It's fairly solid, but objectively worse than keeping the ten sion. In A. Flum bort-Z. Hracek, Germ an League 2009, Hracek got into trouble quickly: 14 exfs c6 1S .l:tad1 l::t c 8 16 .i.g s h 6 17 .i.h4 (this is an awkward pin) 17 ... t2Jed7 18 l2Je4 �C7 19 ttJxcs tLixcs 20 .i.xf6 gxf6 21 l::t d4 and White was winning. Hracek usually is a pl ayer to watch and pos­ sibly copy when it comes to the Bogo - this g ame is rare exception . A good alternative, however, is 13 ... .i.d7. Now 14 .U.adl a4 1S axb3 16 axb3 leads to the structure of the m ain game: for exampl e, 16 ... t2Jc6 17 .i.b2 .i.xfs 18 exfs t2Jd4 19 �d3 t2Jc6 20 h3 h6 21 g4 �e7 with mutual chances in A.Filippov-N.Sedlak, Bol 2014. 14 .l:tad1 .i.d7

15 .i.c1 It is not easy at all to suggest a clear-cut pl an for White. Both pawn pushes, b2-b4 and f2-f4, are tough to even prepare. Probably White needs to settle for modest goals, like ex­ ch anging the bishop on cs by m eans of .i.e3. This was tried in S.Swapnil-B. Esen, Golden Sands 2012, where White went 1S h 3 a4 16 .i.e3 axb3 17 axb3 'iYc8 (inviting White to un­ bal ance the pawn structure; a decent altern ative was 17 ... .i.xe3 18 t2Jxe3 �c8 19 @h 2 h S , with about equal play, but I prefer the text a s the doubled pawns are no problem at all) 1 8 .i.xcs dxcs 1 9 @h 2 (or 1 9 ttJds ! ? tLixds 20 cxds .i.xfs 2 1 exfs l2Jd7 2 2 d 6 cxd6 2 3 .U.xd6 t2Jf6 24 l::tfd1 �c7 with about equal play) 19 ... .i.xfs 20 exfs c6 2 1 l2Ja4 t2Jed7 2 2 .l:td6 �c7 2 3 .l:tfdl .U.e s 24 �d2 .U.e7 2 S 'iYc3 h s 26 @9 1 l::t a e8 27 .i.f3 .U.e s (it's about equal, but now White finds the self-destruct button) 28 g4?! lLif8 29 g s ? (after 29 'it>g 2 still not much is happen­ ing) 29 ... ttJ6h 7 30 h4 .l:txfs and it was over. 15 �cS 16 .i.b2 a4 17 'it>h1 axb3 18 axb3 ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - / n d i a n

Black's play has been exempl ary up to this point. A m ajor advantage of the whole line is that Black does not suffer from any structurally bad piece. All his pieces are actively pl aced and either hinder or attack White. The a-pawn push even opened up the rook on the a-file. Now Bartel, being a fairly concrete player, immediately changes the structure. 18 ... .txfs Moves like 18 ... .ta3 or the semi-waiting 18 ... l1a6 were possible as well, but they don't ch ange much . Bartel's move is fine, quickly leadin g to much sharper pl ay. 19 exfs ll'ic6?! This was the idea, but 19 ...ll'ied7 is a more flexible move, and if 20 ll'ids ll'ixds 2 1 i.. x ds c6 22 i.. g 2 .tb4.

Black intends ... °iVc7-b6 and it's about equal . 20 ll'id s ll'ixd s 21 .ixd s l1a2? 2 1 ... i.. a 3 2 2 i.. a 1 i.. c s isn't particularly great, but still better th an the g ame. 346

B og o - l n d i a n with 4 Ji. d 2 a s

22 'i/Nc3? 2 2 f6 ! intends 'i!Ng 6 and curtains, so Bl ack goes 2 2 ... 'i!Ng4, but it's too l ate already: 2 3 �1 .l:!.ea8 24 f3 'i!Nh s 25 g4 'i!Ng s 2 6 fxg 7 and White is winning. 22 ...

Suddenly Bl ack is in the g am e in this tactical position . He's still worse, but it's tricky. 23 .ii. xc6 bxc6 24 b4 'i!Nb7 24 ... 'i!Nb8 is more precise, but still not equal : for in stance, 25 'i/Nb3 .l:!.xb2 26 'i!Nxb2 .i.xb4 27 .l:!.de 1 ! .l:!.xfs 28 .l:!.e3 @h 7 29 f4 and White is pushing. 2 5 'i!Nb3 .l:.xb2 26 'i!Nxb2 .i.xb4 27 'i/Nc2? After 27 1 ! we see the difference compared to 24 ...�8 - the back rank. Following 2 7 ... .l:.xfs 28 .l:.e8+ @h 7 29 'i!Nc2 cs+ 30 f3 g 6 31 'i!Nb2 3 2 .l:.xe s dxes 33 'i!Nxe s White is winnin g . 2 1 . . .c s + 28 f3 'i!Nc8 29 .l:.d s .l:.e3 30 .l:.dd1 'i!Ne8 3 1 'i!Ng2 'i!Nes Now White even needs to be a bit careful . 3 2 g4 'i/Nf4 33 .l:.a1 @h7 34 'i!Ng3 'i/Nxc4 3 5 gs Trying to secure the draw by active pl ay. 3 5 ....l:.e8 36 g6+ 36 gxh 6 ! ? g6 37 .l:.g 1 'li'd3 38 fxg 6+ fxg 6 is about equal : for example, 39 'iYg4 .l:.e7 40 h4 'i!Nfs 41 'i!Nxfs g xfs 42 .l:.g7+ .l:.xg 7 43 hxg7 @xg 7 44 .l:.a7 @g6 45 @g 2 @h s 46 @g 3 c4 47 @f4 c3 48 .l:.a2 ds and this will dissipate to a draw. 36 ... @g8 37 f6 fxg6 Avoiding the coming simplification with 37 ... 'i!Ne6 ! ? was al so possible. 38 'iVxg6 'i!Nf7 39 .l:.g1 'iVxg6 40 .l:.xg6 @f7 41 .l:.xg7+ @xf6

34 7

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

This compl etes a forced sequence since move 3 7 . White should have decent chances to draw, but it is a thankless task. 42 l:!.xc7 ds 43 l:!.a6+ @es 44 l:!.xh6 @f4 4S @g2 @e3 46 f4 @xf4 47 @f2 @e4 48 l:!.h3 d4 49 @e2 l:!.a8 so l:!.d7 l:!.a2+ s1 @d1 l:!.d2+ s2 @c1 l:!.f2 S3 @d1 l:!.a2 S4 l:!.d8 l:!.g2 SS l:!.d7 S6 .l:td6 l:!.d2+ S7 @cl l:!.a2 S8 @d1 .tc7 S9 l:!.c6 .tf4 Black can always try to press, riskin g very little. 60 .l::i.xcs?! 60 .l::t e 6+ ! ? @ds 6 1 l:!.e2 l:!.al+ 62 @c2 .l:!.fl 6 3 @b2 was easier, but the g am e is still a draw. 60 ... l:!.al+ 61 We2 d3+ 62 l:!.xd 3 l:!.a2+ 63 @f1 @xd 3 64 h4 The notorious rook and bishop versus rook ending. It's a draw, at least theoretically speaking. [email protected] 6 s @e1 .te3

66 l:!.c8? 348

B og a - I n d i a n with 4 i.. d 2 a s

66 ! was the only move to draw. 66 ... @f3? 6 6 ... @d3 wins. Now it's a draw again, or s o the tablebase tells me. 67 l:.f8+ j_f4 68 @d1? Again, 68 .l:!.d8 ! . 6 8... l:.d2+ 6 9 @e1 l:.d s 7 0 l:.f7 71 @f1 l:.cs 72 l:.e7 l:.c1+ 73 l:.e1 l:.c2 7 4 l:.e8 l:. h 2 7 S @g1 l:.xh4 76 l:.f8 l:. h 7 0·1 White resigned in view of the coming 77 .l:!.fs .l::td 7. Of course all those question m arks near the end of the g ame are not entirely fair, as with little time such mistakes are bound to h appen. Summary 8 lll c 3 is White's m ain move statistically, but it does not impress much . The ari sing struc­ ture with ... exd4 leads to interesting, unbal anced play where Black's piece pl ay gives him good ch ances. Recently White's hopes h ave been more focused on exch anging on es, as examined in the next game.

Game 35

D.Antic-G.Gou mas Anogia Open 2014

1 d4 lllf6 2 c4 e6 3 lllf3 i.. b 4+ 4 i.. d 2 a s s g3 d6 6 i.. g 2 lll b d7 7 o-o es Recently it h as become fashionable to capture on es, a trend probably initiated by the fact that the older lines are rather unpromising, as we have seen . The reason why the trade on es h as any bite at all lies in the fact th at ... as in combination with a l ater ... c6 weakens the queen side to some extent. White tries to use those weak squares, especially b6 and d6, for his pieces. Typical manoeuvres that Black n eeds to be aware of are ctJc3-a4 and lllf 3-h4fs. However, if Bl ack plays the initial moves carefully, he h as nothing to fear. White has tried the exch an g e on es at various moments - all are examined in this g ame. 8 lllc 3 The earliest possible capture, 8 dxe s, is a bit irritating for Bl ack as h e has not castled. Th e issue is th at Bl ack should always take with the knight on es, trading one pair of knights in the process. This exchange of one minor piece helps him con siderably in setting up a h armonious defensive position . 8 ... lllx es ! h as only been played once, but is still the correct move (8 ... dxes 9 lllc 3 o-o is just a tran sposition to a position we like to avoid - more on this l ater).


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

After 9 tt:Jxe5 dxe 5 10 'Yi'a4+ (in stead, 10 tt:Jc3 o-o will just tran spose to the main g ame, but the text m akes the early trade additionally irritatin g for Black; h e h as nothing to be afraid of, but if you don't know th at beforehand you might be put off by the check) 10 ... 'iVd7 (10 ... i.. d 7? n eeds to be avoided due to 11 'iVb3 and Black has problem s with b7 and on the d-file: for example, after 11 ... i.xd2 12 tt:Jxd2 0-0 13 .l:i.fd1) 11 'iVxd7+ (ultim ately lead­ ing to nothing, but 11 'iVc2 c6 12 .l:i.d1 'iVf5 is easier for Black for handle) 11 12 lt:Jc3 c6 (Black still needs to be a bit careful here, as his queen side weaknesses need attention) 13 a3 Black has: a) The only example of 8 ... tt:Jxe5 went 13 ... i.c5 14 tt:Ja4 i.. a 7 and now 1 5 i.. c 3, in stead of 1 5 e 3 ? ! lt:Jb6 ! , would h ave kept n agging pressure for White in l . Farago-M.Turov, Budapest 2014. Note that Maxim Turov is one of the m ain Bogo specialists, so his choice of 8 .. tt:Jxe 5 is noteworthy. b) However, I think his play can be improved with 13 ... i.. e 7. .


B og a - I n d i a n w i t h 4 ii. d2 a s

After 14 ttJa4 (an important move; otherwise, Black plays ... ll:ib6 and h as g ood play) 14 ... 0-0 the position is not so easy to analyse as White h as some choice, but Black's idea in any case is to go ... l:ta6 to cover b6 and then pl ay ...ll:ics to trade the annoying knight on a4; if White plays ii.e3 to avoid th at then .. .fS-f4 is an important resource. Going .. .fs al so al­ lows a set-up with ... e4 and ... ll:ies if appropriate. Let's look at just one line as an example: 1 s I:tfd1 fS 16 Ji.e3 I:ta6 17 l:tac1 f4 18 Ji.d2 fxg 3 19 hxg 3 ll:ics 20 ll:ixcs Ji.xcs 2 1 e3 Ji.g4 and Black h as no problems at all . W e can conclude that 8 . . .ll:ixe s is satisfactory for Black and that the additional option of �a4+ is nothing special for White. 8 o-o 9 dxes White rarely del ays the exchange any longer, but let's h ave a look at 9 �c2 l:te8 10 dxe s . Now: a) 10 ... dxe s ? ! is slightly more attractive than before with ... Ji.f8 being possible, but is still no fun at all to pl ay: for example, 11 a3 Ji.f8 12 l:tad1 c6 13 i.e3 ! (13 h 3 ? ! �C7 14 ttJh4 ll:ics was fine for Black in V.Gunina-Hou Yifan, Bilbao 2014; White needs to control cs and b6 quickly) 13 ...�c7 14 ttJa4. ...

Here it's tough for Black to free him self from the grip on the dark squares. Note th at .. .fs, a key idea in the m ain g am e with knights traded, is impossible here. b} Again, I think Bl ack should take on es with the knight, so 10 ... ll:ixe s ! . After 11 ll:ixe s (11 a3 ii.cs 12 ll:ixes l:txe s tran sposes, but 12 ... dxe s ? 13 ii.g s would be very awkward for Bl ack, with ttJe4 being the most annoying threat) 11...l:txe s 12 a3 ii.cs the structure is fa­ miliar from other lines that we h ave in the repertoire. Black is only marginally worse: for example, 13 ll:ie4 ! ? ll:ixe4 14 Ji.xe4 h 6 1 S .ic3 l:te8 16 b4 Ji.b6 and White has more space, but few direct ideas. 9 ll:ixes H ere 9 ... dxe s ? ! again leads to the typically congested position and 10 a3 ! (before ... l:te8 can be played) 10 ... i.e7 11 �c2 c6 12 l:tfd1 �c7 13 ttJa4 b6 14 h3 l:tb8 1S Ji.e3 Ji.a6 16 l:tac1 ...


Op e n i n g R e p e r t o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

.t!.fc8 1 7 tt:Jd2 was uncomfortable for Black i n W.Arencibia-L. Bruzon Bati sta, Montreal 2012. 10 tt:Jxes dxes Black h as traded one pair of knights which helps him a lot to set up a harmonious for­ mation . 11 a3 In stead, 11 'ifc2 ..ifs ! is a neat trick worth remembering.

It immediately solves all of Bl ack's problems: 12 'ifxfs (12 e4 .i.e6 does not help White at all, who h as just closed the long diagonal for his bishop and weakened the d4-square) 12 ... 'iVxd2 13 .i.xb7 .t!.ad8 14 .t!.ad1 'iVxb2 15 .l:!.xd8 .l:!.xd8 16 tt:Jds tt:Jxds 17 .i.xds .l:!.f8 and this is very equal . 11 ... .i.e7 12 'iVc2 c6 13 .t!.fdl .i.e6 14 tt:Ja4 'iYc7

15 .t!.acl 15 .i.e3 was played just 16 days l ater in D.Antic-A. Delchev, l sthmia 2014. Unfortunately 352

B o g a - I n d i a n with 4 iL. d 2 a s

the g ame ended i n a draw right h ere, but that is understandable with the beautiful Greek beaches around in August. The position is, indeed, about equal and, of course, comparable to the m ain game. Dejan Antic is one of the authors of The Modern Bogo and examined this line for that book. There he and Maksimovic suggest that White is better here in almost all cases, pretty much regardless wh at he plays. I understand the reasoning based on White's more active piece placement and the weakness of b6. However, I feel th at Black h as ideas to improve his position, in particular the .. .fs advance, while in some ways White h as already achieved his optimum placement and no clear way forward. We will see some of these ideas in the game. 1 5 16 cs 16 iL.e3 fS ! is an essential idea for Black. Following 17 iL.h 3 .l:i.ad8 18 cs e4, intending ... iL.f6 and/or ... ll'ies, I see no issues for Bl ack. 16 ...fs This is not the prelude to a kingside attack, but designed to gain space for Black's pieces. 17 iL.h3 g6? This is a mistake. In stead, 17 ... e4 was thematic, giving Black access to the es-square and allowing ... iL.f6 to be effective.

Bl ack is okay h ere: for instance, 18 iL.f4 (probably the only testing move) 18 ... ll'ies 19 ll'ib6 .l:i.ad8 20 'i!Vc3 l:.xdl+ 2 1 .l:i.xdl iL.f6 22 'i!Vxas 'i!Vf7 and Black h as good compensation for the pawn, considering his extra space in the centre and most importantly the offside white knight on b6. 18 e4 Now Black's central pawn s are fixed and both the knight on d7 and the bishop on e7 remain passive. It is still not very easy, though, for White to make substantial progress. 353

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

1 8 ....l:rf7 1 9 .ie3 .l:re8 2 0 f3? 20 b4! was better, intending to reroute the knight via b2-c4 to d6. 20 ... .ifS 21 exfs Again, 21 b4 was key, improving the bad piece on a4. 21 ... gxfs 22 .l:re1 �d8 23 .l:rcd1 �f6 Now Black is fine. All pieces are centralized and he h as good activity. 24 f4 .ih6 2s .l:rd6 .ifs 26 .l:rdd1 .ih6 21 .l:rd6

27 ... .ifS Bl ack is content with a draw. With 27 ... .ixf4! 28 .ixf4 (28 gxf4? �4 is very awkward for White) 28 ... exf4 29 gxf4 �4 he could h ave gone for more, but probably it would not h ave led to much against good defence: 30 .l:rdxe6 .l:rxe6 31 .l:rxe6 �xh 3 32 .l:re8+ 'lt>g 7 3 3 �g 2+ �g4 34 h 3 �xg 2+ 35 'lt>xg 2 lt:'if6 3 6 .l:res and this will most likely end in a draw. 28 .l:rdd1 Y2-Y2 Summary Many openings have their Exch ange variation, most famously the Sl av and the French spring to mind. Even the Bogo-lndian h as one, and we just witnessed in this g ame and the analysis that it leads to quiet waters. Bl ack should always trade one pair of knights on es, even in the case of the early capture without castlin g . The resulting position s are unexcit­ ing, but not terrifying for Black to pl ay.


C h a pt e r T h i rt e e n

B o g o - l n d i a n w i t h 4 tt:J b d 2

1 d4 lt:Jf6 2 C4 e6 3 lt:Jf3 .i.b4+ 4 lt:Jbd2

I regard 4 lt:Jbd2 as the critical move ag ainst the Bogo-lndian . White intends to grab the bishop-pair without m aking any structural concession s, quite comparable to the Classical 4 °iYc2 in the Nimzo. I decided to cover two lines ag ain st 4 lt:Jbd2 in this book. I believe that objectively 4... 0-0 is the best move for Bl ack. H e intends to retreat the bishop to e7 and then strike back with ... ds later. At th e moment White has no clear way forward again st this set­ up, although the g h4 of Game 42 is certainly dangerous. However, I felt that showing 4 ... 0-0 as the only reply is un satisfactory. It leads to fairly untypical positions (no dark-square strategy), and requires more memorization th an usual for lines in our repertoire. Therefore I h ave added a secondary option for Black, the rare but sound move 4 ... d6. It is essential to understand that Bl ack h as little ch ance to deviate once he essays 4 .. o-o in the first place. Th e only viable altern ative is 5 a3 .i.e7 6 e4 d6, in stead of 6 ... ds. This is not bad for Black, but if you like th at line, you might as well start with 4 ... d6 .


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

and avoid 4 ... o-o altogether. H ere is the overview of the chosen lines, startin g with 4 ... d6, the less work-demanding move.

The g ame Malakhatko-Sielecki (Game 36) features White's m ain reply to 4 ... d6, the im­ m ediate bishop-pair grab with 5 a3. With perfect play by White he will obtain a slight edge, but nothing special . The g am e Sasikiran-Eingorn (Game 37) features White's other tries o n move 5, mostly the one chosen in the g ame, 5 g 3 . This leads to complicated play with Bl ack having good counter-chances as Boga guru Eingorn skilfully demon strates. After 4 ... 0-0 overwh elmingly the m ain line is 5 a3 .i.e7 6 e4, which must be the critical test. However, not every white player likes such sharp play and there are m any less forcing option s. The g am e lvanchuk-Kasimdzhanov (Gam e 3 8) examines White's alternatives on move 5, mostly 5 g3 and 5 e3. The next opportunity to avoid the m ain line is on move 6 for White after 5 a3 .i.e7.


B og o - / n d i a n w i t h 4 t'iJ b d 2

Again set-ups with g 3 o r e 3 are h i s m ain alternatives, a s analysed in Esen-Kotsur (Game 39). After 6 e4 dS 7 e s t'iJfd7 White h as two m ain options: a) For a while 8 b4 was believed to be White's best bet for an advantage against 4 ... 0-0. The g am e Levin-Goganov (Game 40) shows how Bl ack n eutralizes White's space-gaining pl ay on the queenside. I believe th at with precise play Black h as an equal g am e and with chances for more if White overpresses. This g ame also contains White's alternatives on move 7. b) 8 .i.d3 sees White speeding up his king side development. After 8 ... cs the central ten­ sion quite often leads to the position opening up with plenty of complications.

Both sides will h ave lively piece play. The g am e Nyzhnyk-Bluvshtein (Game 41) discusses this line, excluding the violent move 9 h4, which is examined separately in Gam e 42. 9 h4 h as become the absolute m ain line of the 4 t'iJbd2 o-o Boga in no tim e at all . It was basically unknown until 2012, when games by Ding Liren and Ivan Cheparinov highlighted the dang ers for Black. Nowadays White's hopes ag ain st 4 ... 0-0 are almost solely dependent on this line as older attempts like 8 b4 have failed. It is a case of if Black can make 9 h4 work for him, then 4 t'iJbd2 loses much of its bite. The g am e Wagner-Socko (Game 42) shows the current state of affairs. Black hol ds his own, but play is razor-sharp and a careful study of the lines is advised.

Game 3 6 V Ma l a k h atko C Sie lec ki .



Latsch a c h Open 2013

1 d4 t'iJf6 2 C4 e6 3 t'iJf3 i.b4+ 4 t'iJbd2 d6 This g ame was very important for me, as Mal akhatko and I were sh aring first place be357

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

fore this penultim ate round. However, I only had limited time to prepare and when I found out that Mal akhatko is a huge expert in the 4 lbbd2 line, I decided to avoid a theoretical battle starting with 4 ... 0-0. This game contains m any references to illustrate typical play up into the middlegame, which is the main knowledge you need here - learning moves by heart is not necessary or useful even. 5 a3 I con sider this move to be the most critical . White immedi ately grabs the bishop-pair, which is the main idea behind 4 lbbd2. All other moves, the most popular being S g 3 , are di scussed next in Sasikiran-Eingom {Game 37). s ..txd2+ 6 �xd 2 With this recapture White signal s his intention to play with b3 or b4 and a subsequent ..tb2 . Taking with the queen is slightly more popul ar th an 6 ..txd2, after which Black h as some choice: ...

a) After 6 ...lbbd7 the overwhelming main move is 7 s (in a recent g am e Bogo special­ ist Kosic faced 7 �c2 W/e7 8 e3 o-o 9 ..te2, after which he could h ave played 9 ... es, but var­ ied with 9 ... b6 10 0-0 ..llb 7 11 .U.fdl cs, with about equal play in B. Bogosavljevic-D.Kosic, N eum 2014), and after 7 ... W/e7 8 e3 e s 9 ..te2 o-o 10 o-o l:Ie8 11 b4 h6 12 ..th4 lbf8 Black enjoyed a solid position in H.Rau-V. lkonnikov, Germ an League 2007. Thi s should be about equal . b) 6 ... lbc6 feel s a bit less flexible compared to 6 ...lbbd7, but is nevertheless pl ayable. Here's a sample line from the game S.lonov-M.Taimanov, St. Petersburg 1999. Taimanov has vast experience in m any Nimzo/Bogo lines with a dark-squared flavour, so his g ames are always worth studyin g . Unfortunately the Taimanov variation of the Rubinstein Nimzo 4 e3 lbc6 ! ? is not sound enough to be the choice for this book, although I tried to m ake it work. H ere lonov-Taimanov went 7 s o-o 8 e3 as 9 b3 W/e7 10 lbd2 h 6 11 ..th4 e s 12 dS lbb8 13 ..te2. No comments up to now, as it all feel s very logical and familiar if you h ave 358

B og o - l n d i a n w i t h 4 ti:J b d 2

studied the Zurich variation o f the Nim zo. Black now can repeat Taimanov's move 13 ... ti:Jbd7, but I sugg est the direct 13 ... g s 14 �g 3 �fs and I don 't think the slightly weak­ ened kin g side m atters so much . 6 ... ti:Jbd7

7 g3 Surprisingly this move was only played once, in the g am e given h ere. It is entirely logi­ cal, so it is quite a surprise that it is not seen more often. However, the whole Boga/Queen 's Indian /Catalan complex is very move order sen sitive - in this g am e we reach a more popular position just a couple of moves later that usually arises via different routes. We need to check the altern atives on move 7: a) 7 e 3 es and now: al) If White does not take, h e h as to reckon with something like 8 b4 e4 9 !Dg 1 dS 10 cs ti:Jf8 11 h3 hS and I already prefer Black slightly, L.Lenic-M.Turov, Internet (blitz) 2006. a2) 8 dxe s is the most popul ar move. The position after 8 ... dxes 9 b4 was reached five times in my database, among which are two black g ames each by Alex Yermolin sky and Maxim Turov.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

This mean s both h ad the ch ance t o avoid this line on the second occasion, but did not. However, I don't like how they handled matters, as they advanced the e s-pawn immedi­ ately or a couple of moves l ater. This open s up the long diagonal, but also gives Black the opportunity to play ... ll:ies ('to get squares, you've got to give squares'): a2 1) To illustrate my point, let's have a look at W. Browne-A.Yermolin sky, San Francisco 2002: 9 ... e4 10 ll:id4 ll:ies 11 i..b 2 o-o 12 ll:ibs flle 7 and h ere 13 fid4 lt'ig 6 14 �cs fixes 1 s bxcs would have been awkward for Black. Maybe Bl ack can improve after 9 . . . e4, but I'd ra­ ther deviate earlier. a22) I suggest another set-up startin g with 9 ...flle 7!?. After this White m ay choose be­ tween various moves: for example, 10 i..b 2 o-o 11 i.. e 2 b6 12 o-o i.b7 and Bl ack is fine. He still h as the option to push ... e S-e4, but is more flexible th an in the aforementioned g ames. b) The early b4 was m et by a typical respon se worth studyin g : 7 b4 as 8 i..b 2 axb4 g axb4 .l::t x al+ 10 i..x al b S ! .

3 60

B og o - l n d i a n w i t h 4 0:. b d 2

This is the point, fighting for the light squares. Whenever White goes for b4, this option should be considered seriously - we will see this motif in the main g am e as well. After 11 cxbs i.b7 12 e3 'iVa8 13 'iid 1 'ii'a 3 14 i.e2 'iixb4+ Bl ack was getting the pawn back with fine play in A.Gol din-J . Benjamin, Philadelphi a 2001. Unfortunately the further course of the g am e Oust three more moves) does not m ake any sense, but hopefully at least this po­ sition was reached in the g ame. c) I'd also like to m ention the yet untested move 7 g4!?. As this thrust is so common in general nowadays, it is only a question of time wh en it will be played in a game, so we might as well be ready for it. I suggest stopping g s with 7 ...h 6 : for example, 8 .l:.g 1 (to pre­ pare h4 and g S ; after the slower 8 h3 b6 9 i.g2 i.b7 10 o-o o-o the extended fianchetto with g4 does not h ave much point and the position is about equal) 8 ... b6 9 h4 i.b7 10 g s hxg s 11 hxg s 0:.e4 12 'iVc2 'Wle7 and Black will castle queenside, with interesting chances for both sides. It's not necessary to conduct an in-depth analysis of an untested move like 7 g4, but it is g ood to know it is possible and that ...h 6 with ... b6 to follow is a reliable reply. Returning to 7 g 3 : 1 b6 ...

A very logical set-up again st the coming kingside fianchetto. Playing with ... es is possi­ ble as well, but I remembered the idea and hoped to g et the chance to pl ay like that. 8 i.g2 i.b7 While technically 7 g3 was a novelty, we h ave reached charted waters again. This posi­ tion was played before, mostly from a 4 ... b6 move order. The moves 4 ... d6 and 4 ... b6 are closely related in fact. There are some key differences, though . One important point is that after 4 ... b6 S a3 i.xd2+ 6 'iix d2 Black is obviously committed to a ... b6 type of formation even in cases where White does not develop with g 3 and i.g2, whereas with 4 ... d6 we re­ tain the option to play with an early ... es (see the notes to move 7). However, when White selects the kin g side fianchetto, both lines might lead to the same position as ... d6, ... 0:.bd7, ... b6 and ... i.b7 can occur in both move orders. 361

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

9 b4! ? White either g o e s b3 o r b 4 in this set-up, but normally only after pl aying 9 o-o first. I now like to go 9 ... as to prevent b4 for the mom ent. After 10 b3 0-0 11 i.b2 i.e4 this type of position is well known from various Queen's Indian lines. For example, after 1 d4 lt:Jf6 2 c4 e6 3 tt:Jf3 b6 4 g3 i.a6 5 b3 i.b7 6 i.g 2 i.b4+ 7 i.d2 as 8 0-0 0-0 9 tt:Jc3 d6 10 °iWc2 tt:Jbd7 11 1:\.fel i.xc3 12 i.xc3 i.e4 13 'iWb2 Black's side is 100% identical to our set-up.

The overall difference is minimal, but given the choice I prefer our Bogo version as White h as weakened his queen side a bit with a3. A key plan for Bl ack now is to play on the queen side with ideas like ... c6, ... bs, ... ds and ... a4, fighting for light-square outposts like c4. Following 12 °iWc3 c6 13 i.h 3 (a standard m anoeuvre; White wants to fight the bishop on e4 with tt:Jd2, but without allowing a trade on g 2 ) 13 ... h6 14 tt:Jd2 .i.g6 (you can control e4 not only from b7) 15 i.g2 ds 16 a4 (otherwise, ... bs is a good idea for Black) 16 ....l:Ie8 17 .l:Ifel I like a preparatory move such as 17 ... l:tc8, in stead of the immediate 17 ... cs of K.Miton ­ V.Quesada Perez, H avana 2007.

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B og o - l n d i a n w i t h 4 ti:J b d2

With ... cs timed correctly, Bl ack has no problem s. All his pieces are in play and White's queen side offers targets for counterpl ay. 9 ... a s 10 i.. b 2 After 10 b s White's pawn structure loses flexibility: for example, if Black plays ... e s at a later stage, any move of the d4-pawn will give up control over cs. 10...axb4 11 axb4 .U.xa1+ 12 i..x a1 bS!?

Very tempting and thematic. Of course something along the lines of 12 ...0-0 1 3 0-0 °iile 7 14 .tb2 ti.a8 was al so very sensible and about equal, but the pawn sacrifice i s more inter­ esting. Black is fighting for the light squares and has good chances to regain the pawn in the long run, especially con sidering that White's light-squared bishop is not on the f1-a6 diagon al . 13 cxbs o-o 1 4 o-o iVbS 14 ... ti:Jb6 with the idea of ... i.. d s and ... 'iUd7 al so gives Black g ood compen sation. 1 5 .U.c1 .U.cS 16 i..f1!? A good plan . White wants to expand in the centre long term with a knight move fol­ lowed by f3 and e4. 16 ... i.. a S 16 ... i.. xf3 ? 17 exf3 ti:Jb6 and then ... ti:JbdS is a very tough con struction to break down, but al so completely passive. Bl ack has no need to go in for this. 11 ti:Je1 "ii/x bs 18 f3 iVb6 19 ti:Jd 3 This move surpri sed me, as I thought White should pl ay something like 19 e 3 to close the b6-g 1 diagon al. After a brief thought I went: 19 ... es? This is a serious mistake. In stead, after, for instance, 19 ... i.. c 6 20 e4 i..b s Black h as a good, flexible position .


Op e n i n g R e p e r t o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

He has pl ay on th e a-file and on the light squares, while White has no clear way for­ ward. The position is about equal . 20 lllf 2? It was quite obvious that my opponent had not considered 19 ... e s ? at all and after some moments he played 20 lllf2 ? and offered a draw. In stead, he should h ave played 20 e4! with the idea of 20 ...exd4 21 lllf2 cs? (21 ... l::tb 8! 2 2 �xd4 �xd4 23 i.xd4 l::t xb4 24 i.xf6 lll xf6 2 s l:txc7 l:tb8 2 6 l:ta7 is Bl ack's best option, but he will suffer for a while h ere; White has nagging pressure) 2 2 bxcs dxcs 2 3 i.xd4 and White is clearly better. The bishops h ave come alive and Black's c-pawn is weak, while the bishop on a8 stares at the f3 and e4 cen ­ tral con struction h elplessly. 20 ... e4 Now only Bl ack can be better, so I declined the draw offer. 21 fxe4 21 f4 i.c6 22 i.b2 i.b s is al so slightly better for Bl ack. My opponent preferred to open the position, trying to use the bishop-pair. 21 ...lllxe4 22 lll xe4 i.xe4 23 i.h3 .l::t d 8 Here 2 3 .. .fS ! was an alternative and would have posed more problems.

3 64

B og a - I n d i a n with 4 l?J b d2

I was reluctant to play loose pawn moves, but the g am e continuation seem s easier for White to handle. 24 'ii'g 5 l?Jf6 2 5 °iia 5 This I could have prevented with 2 3 .. .fs. After the queen trade Black is still comfortable, but I don't see a clear way forward. 25 ... l?Jd 5 26 'i:Vxb6 cxb6 27 i.c3 f5 28 i.d2 Wf7?! I should h ave tried 28 ... .l:ta8, but White will hold. A sample line runs 29 i.f4! l?Jxf4 30 g xf4 J:la4 3 1 i.g 2 J:lxb4 3 2 i.xe4 fxe4 33 J:lc6 .l:!.xd4 34 @f2 dS 35 .l:txb6 @f7 3 6 @e3 and White is active enough here to defend. 29 g4 g6 30 gxfs gxfs 31 lla1 @e6 32 @f2 .l:!.c8 33 .l:!.a7 We both were l ow on tim e h ere. 33 ....l:!.c2 34 @e1 .l:!.b2 35 .l:!.xh7 l?Jxb4 36 .l::!. h 6+ 'it>d s 3 7 i.f4 l?Jc2+ Yz-Yz I offered a draw because I saw the following line 3 7 ...l?Jc2+ 3 8 @f2 l?Jxd4? ! ( 3 8 ...b S ! 39 .l:!.xd6+ 'it>c4 40 .l:!.b3 is the silicon line, with what seem s to be an alm ost forced draw after, for in stance, 41 i.g 2 i.xg 2 42 \t>xg 2 l?Je3+ 43 Wg 3 l?Jds+ 44 @f2 l?Je3) 39 .l:!.xd6+ @c4? 40 i.fl and it l ooks grim for Black. Fortunately Malakhatko accepted the draw, not testing what I would h ave played on m ove 38. This g am e and another draw in the final round g ave me a final score of 719, which surprisingly was enough to win the tournament on Buchholz tie-break. Summary The line 4 ... d6 5 a3 nets White the bishop-pair early on. Black obtain s a very sound, flexible structure in all lines. It is useful to remember that g 3 set-ups are answered with ... b6 and ... i.b7, while e3 set-ups can be an swered with our m ore common ... e s approach . This ap­ plies to 6 'ifxd2 and e3, as well as to 6 i.xd2 followed by i.g s and a l ater e3. The whole line is not dependent on concrete knowledge of moves, but rather on strategic decision s and knowledge of middlegame plan s. 3 65

O p e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B o g o - l n d i a n

Game 3 7

K.Sasikira n-V.Eingorn

F I D E Wo r l d C h a m p i o n s h i p, Moscow 2001

1 d4 l2Jf6 2 C4 e6 3 l2Jf3 .tb4+ 4 l2Jbd 2 d6 5 g3 White's m ain continuation, S a3, was examined in Mal akhatko-Sielecki. All White's oth­ er tries on move s are discussed here: a) Sasikiran 's choice in the m ain g ame is the most popul ar among these, but there al so is the more h armless S e3 0-0:

al) Now the modest looking 6 .te2 does not leave the bishop slightly exposed on d3, so Black n eeds to prepare ... es by either ... tt:Jc6 or .. :fie7, which I recommend to leave the c­ pawn and queen 's knight flexible. H ere's an example where this mattered: 6 ... 'iJ/e7 7 o-o i.. x d2 8 i.. x d2 es 9 i.. c 3 (9 dxes dxes 10 i.. c 3 tt:Jc6 11 'iilc 2 is close to a transposition to the Zurich, but ... as and a3 have not been pl ayed; in any case this structure is not terribly dan ­ gerous for Black) 9 ... l2Je4 10 tt:Jxc3 11 .l:.xc3 cs ! ? 12 a3 .tg4 13 b4 e4 14 tt:Jd2 i..x e2 l S 'iJ/xe2 l2Jd7 with about equal pl ay in N . Rashkovsky-J .lsaev, Ekaterinburg 1 9 9 7 . Along the way Black had various ways to deviate and there is lots of room for creativity in those closed positions. a2) More natural is 6 .td3, which allows the immediate 6 ... e s ! ? 7 o-o. H ere Black has a choice; he can initiate concrete pl ay in the centre or keep the position closed: a21) 7 ... i.. x d2 8 l2Jxd2 with a further choice: a211) 8 ... tt:Jc6 is viable, but no clear equalizer. It keeps some tension, though. The position after 9 ds tt:Je7 10 'iVc2 has been reached a couple of tim es, with Black scoring quite badly. My suggestion is to play 10 ... c6 11 dxc6 tt:Jxc6 12 tt:Je4 (12 a3 i..e 6 is a fairly normal position similar to the Zurich, and one which is at best slightly favourable for White) 12 ...h6 13 tt:Jxf6+ 'iJ/xf6 14 i..h 7+ �h 8 l S i.. e 4 .te6 and White is only slightly better. 366

B og a - I n d i a n w i t h 4 tb. b d2

a212) 8 ... exd4 is simple and good, and objectively to be preferred over 8 ...ll'ic6. After 9 exd4 I suggest the new 9 ... ll'ic6 (this seem s more precise to me th an 9 ... ds): 10 ll'if3 (the most natural move, whereas 10 dS 11 .tc2 .tg4 12 f3 .th s looks comfortable for Black; White h as some weaknesses in the centre and Black will pl ay ... .tg 6 to get rid of the bishop­ pair) 10 ... .tg4 11 .te3 ds.

Strangely enough somehow this position resembles a Petroff Defence. Black seem s fine to me, but I admit play might peter out quickly in some lines. An important line now is 12 h 3 .txf3 13 'i!Vxf3 lt:Jb4! 14 .tfs dxc4 1S "fixb7 ll'ibds with good piece play for Black who also will win the dark-squared bishop. a22) 1 .. :fie7 is interesting as well. Note that it m ay look like a routine move, but it leads to unique positions: for in stance, after 8 ll'ie4! ? ll'ixe4 9 .txe4 exd4 (otherwise a3 or °fia4 is a real problem) 10 ii'c2 dxe3 11 .txe3 h 6 12 a3 �cs 1 3 l:tfel White has serious compensa­ tion for the pawn . b) s ii'c2 o-o 6 e4 (otherwise it is not clear what S 'ifc2 h as accomplished) 6 ... e s ! (if you can g et this in without any preparatory moves, you g enerally should not hesitate; being flexible with the queen and the b8-knight is valuable) 7 dxes dxe s 8 a3 {8 ll'ixe s ? ? .l:i.e8 9 f4 'if d4 is a disaster for White) 8 ... .txd2+ 9 .txd2 'ife7 and now in F.Mueller-M.Turov, Nord­ hausen 2009, White's best bet was probably 10 .tc3 ll'ic6, which is identical to a Zurich variation where White has exchanged on es, in stead of closing the centre. Black has no problems in these structures. c) Bogo specialist Milan Drasko has recently been hit by S g4!?. While nowadays this type of move does not surprise anyone, it still feels a bit early to play it h ere. Black is not yet committed to anything like ... b6 or ... ll'ibd7, which might take away a square from the f6knight. Drasko's respon se is logical, but certainly not the only one: s ... ll'ic6 (s ... 0-0 and s ... ds ! ? are also fine) 6 gs ll'id7 (I also like 6 ... ll'ie4!?) 7 ds exds 8 cxds ll'ice s 9 ll'ixe s dxes 10 'iVb3 'ife7 was played in N . Potpara-M.Drasko, Ulcinj 2014, with equal chances in an inter­ esting position. 367

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

Returning to 5 g 3 :

s lbc6 I think this instant preparation for the ... es advance is best h ere. Bl ack m ay al so delay it with s ... 0-0, but this mostly tran sposes to s ... tt::l c 6. An independent try is 6 .1i.g 2 °Wie7 7 0-0 .1i.xd2 8 .1i.xd2 es, which transposed into a Zurich-style position via 9 dxe s dxe s 10 �c2 lLic6 11 i.c3 .i.g4 in l .Nyzhnyk-K. Reshetkov, Ukrainian Team Ch ampionship 2010. Now the computer suggests 12 b4! ?, which, indeed, looks quite annoying for Black. I guess Bl ack should prefer 11 ... as in order to prevent th at possibility, retaining fair ch ances that way. 6 .1i.g2 a s Here 6 . . .e s is possible and will transpose t o 6 . . . as most of the time. However, there is one independent possibility for White th at is important. 7 ds closes the position while g aining the two bishops. The resulting position type is familiar to us from the Zurich. H ere White h as g ained the bishops under slightly more favourable circumstances, saving tim e o n �c2 for example. The resultin g position is playable for Black, o f course, but i t seems un­ necessary to allow it if 6 ... as is an easy move order wrinkle for Black. N everth eless, l et's h ave a look at a typical sequence: 7 ... .1i.xd2+ 8 .1i.xd2 lbe7 9 o-o o-o 10 tt:Je1 lbg 6 11 .1i.C3 h6 12 lbd3 tt::lh 7 13 �d2 'Wie7 14 e4 with a comfortable g ame for White in A.Saric-P.Jaracz, No­ va Garica 200S. 1 o-o es ...


B og o - l n di a n w i t h 4 tiJ b d 2

8 d5 Instead of closing the position, White has also tried 8 a3, tryin g to exploit the bishops in a more open position . After 8 ...ilxd2 he h as: a) 9 ilxd2 h as not yet been tried in practice, but is not bad at all. Now 9 ... exd4 10 ilf4 0o 11 tlJxd4 seem s rather uninspiring for Black and should be avoided. I suggest continuing with 9 ... 0-0. White will probably play d4-d5 soon as keeping the ten sion does not yield any­ thing: for example, 10 i.c3 is an swered by 10 ... tlJe4. b} 9 WVxd2 0-0 10 b 3 ? ! allows Bl ack an easy g ame, but if you play 9 'ili'xd2 and don 't fol­ low up with b3, then wh at was the point of taking with the queen in the first place? Here the routine 10 ... 'ili'e7 is playable of course, but rather l am e compared to the central pawn push . Given the chance, Black should almost always use the opportunity to g ain space, so correct is 10 ... e4! : bl) 11 tlJe1 d5 is excellent for Black, as 12 ilb2 a4! falls short for White. b2} 11 tlJg 5 d5 and Black was already the more comfortable in D.Jakovenko-M.Turov, So­ chi 2006. This game continued 12 ilb2 (12 cxd5 'ili'xd5 13 i.b2 h6 14 tlJh 3 ilxh 3 15 ilxh 3 'iVxb3 is an insufficient pawn sacrifice for White) 12 ...h 6 13 tiJh 3 (13 cxd5 'iVxd5 leads to the note above, but is still better than the g am e) 13 ... a4! 14 cxd5 tlJa5 1 5 .l:i.ad1 axb3 (15 ... tiJxb3 16 'it'c2 'iVd6 is also close to winning for Black} 16 .l:i.c1 ilxh 3 17 ilxh 3 tlJxd5 18 ilg 2 .l:i.e8 and Black won convincingly. 8 tlJe7 ...

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Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

9 e4 Some alternatives for White: a) After 9 a3, besides just taking on d2 with a standard position, Black m ay al so experi­ m ent with 9 ... .i.cs ! ?, which has been tested only once in the g am e E.Chasovnikova­ E.Borisova, Serpukhov 2008. Black actually threaten s something here, n am ely pushing the e-pawn : al) The concrete 10 ll:ib3 needs to be checked, but after 10 ... .i.b6 11 cs ! ? (the point) 11.. . .i.a7 ! 12 .i.g s ll:ie4 Black is fine. a2) In the g ame White stopped the e-pawn with the straightforward 10 e4 0-0 11 �e2 a4 12 ll:ib1 h 6 13 ll:ic3 ll:ie8 14 ll:iel fs 1 S ll:id3 .i.d4 and Black was fine. b) In the g ame F.Doettling-H .Wirthensohn, G erm an League 2003, White preferred a typical regrouping we'll al so seen l ater in the m ain g ame, 9 ll:ie1: bl) Keeping the bishop with 9 ... .i.cs is an interesting option . After 10 ll:id3 .i.a7 11 e4 White threatens c4-cS . Bl ack can prevent that with 11...ll:id7 or initiate complications with 11...c6 12 cs ! ? (after a slow move like 12 .l:i.el Black h as no problems by going 12 ... cxds 13 cxds o - o and I actually prefer his position already) 12 ...0-0! (a cool-headed move; Black can al so take on cs both ways, but this just develops quicker) 13 cxd6 ll:ig6 14 dxc6 �xd6 1 S ll:ic4 �e6 16 ll:ixas bxc6, with compensation for the pawn due t o the coming . . ..i.a6 and ... l:tfd8. This is far from being forced, of course, and the less committal 11...ll:id7 is a very good choice if you don't like the complications after 11...c6. b2) In the actual g am e Wirthen sohn didn't mind to give up the bishop by simply going 9 ... 0-0 10 ll:id3 .i.xd2 11 .i.xd2 ll:ig6 (this is playable, but I like 11.. . .i.fs even more, intendin g t o exchang e the bishop with ...�d7 and ... .i.h 3) 12 e 4 ll:i e 8 13 cs f s 1 4 f 3 ll:if6.

3 70

B og a - I n d i a n with 4 Ci':i b d2

Bl ack has obtained counterplay with .. .fs and White's bishops are not terribly dang er­ ous at the moment. White's m ain problem though is the knight on d3, which only fulfils defensive tasks. Wirthensohn's approach is certainly okay, but I'd prefer to try 9 ... ..ics for more interesting play. 9 .id 7 Not just an innocent developing move, as we will witness in the g ame. Note that Black does not castle yet. It is not a n ecessary move at the mom ent and delaying it allows some additional ideas. 10 Ci'Je1 This position h as been reached only in this single g ame, so there are no other g am e samples t o examine. Let's h ave a look at some other ideas, though: a) 10 a3 asks the etern al question : to take or not to take? The more interesting option is 10 .....ics 11 b3 c6 ! ? 12 'iie 2 (12 .l:i.b1 cxds 13 cxds ..ibs can't be White's intention) 12 ... 0-0 13 ..ib2 'iib 6 and Black is fine, with about equal chances. In stead, 10 ... .ixd2 11 Ci'Jxd2 a4 is less enterprising, but playable. Note th at clearly White's best move here is 12 Ci'Jb1 ! , curing the bad position of his knight. You always need to con sider this retreat - it very often is the best solution to White's coordination issues. b) 10 'i!Ve2 c6 (10 ... a4 is al so interesting) 11 a3 ..ics 12 Ci'Jb3 (not a great position for the knight, but played with a concrete idea) 12 ... ..ia7 (12 ... ..ib6? 13 c s ! is an important motif to avoid) 13 .ig s cxds 14 ..ixf6 g xf6 1 5 cxds and now 1 s ... b s or even 1 s .. .fs is possible: for example, 15 .. .fs 16 Ci'Jbd2 o-o 17 '1ac1 .l:!.c8 18 exfs lll xfs. This not forced at all and both sides h ave various possible deviations. 10 bs! ...


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An excellent way t o g ain activity for Black. I t m akes g ood use of White's misplaced knights to grab space on the queenside. 11 b3 This has obvious drawbacks, as will become clear in the g ame. What are White's alter­ n atives? After 11 �e2 we h ave: a) The immediate 11...c6 ! ? is interesting . A sharp sample line (of m any possible) is 12 dxc6 tt:Jxc6 13 tt:Jc2 lk8 ! 14 .l:!.d1 .i.g4 1 5 f3 .tcs+ 16 'it>h 1 .i.e6 17 cxbs tbd4 18 tt:Jxd4 .txd4 and Black h as compensation for the pawn . b) 11...'iib 8 12 tt:Jc2 o-o (12 ... ..tcs ? ! 13 tt:Jb3 .i.b6 14 .tg s is slightly awkward for Black; combining ... bs and ... 'iib 6 with doubled f-pawn s is not advisable) and now:

bl) Forcing the bishop to cs does not help much : 13 a3 .tcs 14 tt:Jb3 is very nice for Black after 14 ... .i.g4 and there is no comfortable square for the white queen . Indeed, after 1 5 3 72

B og o - l n di a n with 4 lLJ b d2

'i!Ve1 (1S 'i!Vd3 ? bxc4 16 'i!Vxc4 .i.b6 with ... c6 to come is quickly becoming very unpleasant for White) 1S ... .i.b6 now 16 cxb s ? is impossible due to 16 ... a4 17 ltJd2 .i.d7 when White is struggling to stay in the g ame. b2) 13 ltJxb4 axb4 14 c s (the most interesting move for White; 14 cxbs .i.xbs 1 S ltJc4 c6 16 dxc6 ltJxc6 17 .i.e3 ltJa5 18 b3 'i!Vc8 19 l:tfc1 'ilfe6 does not pose any problems for Bl ack) 14 ... dxcs 15 ltJb3 c4 16 ttJcs c6 and now White h as two moves to keep the bal ance: 17 d6 (the other move is 17 i.d2 which might transpose to 17 d6 anyway, as with 17 ... l:td8 18 d6 ltJc8 19 .i.xb4 ltJxd6) 17 ... ltJc8 18 .i.d2 ltJxd6 19 i.xb4 l:td8 20 f4 ltJb7 (the cs-knight n eeds to be exch anged) 21 fxe s (or 21 ltJxb7 'i!Vxb7 22 fxe s ltJg4 23 i.d6 'ilfa7+ 24 �h 1 'i¥e3 and Black is already slightly better) 2 1 ... ltJxcs 22 exf6 ltJd3 23 ifh s ! 'iib 6+ 24 @h 1 'i!Ve3 2 5 fxg 7 i.e6 2 6 e s l:tds 27 .i.c3 ltJf2+ 2 8 l:txf2 'i!Vxf2 29 l:tf1 'ikc2 and Black is okay with White h avin g some compensation, but probably not enough . Of course, that was a terribly long line, but the m ain point is to gain a feel for the typical ideas and m anoeuvres. As there are not m any practical examples to study, some deeper analysis of the not yet tested moves is h elpful . 11 ....i.c3 12 l:tbl b4 Black makes good use of the b3 move, planting the bishop right into White's camp. As Black is threatening to open the a-file too, White now stops it: 13 a4 h S !

Strong play. 14 h4 Almost forced as allowing Black to push ... h S-h4 would not even keep an equal g ame. After the text move it is very difficult to m ake any short-term progress - some m anoeu­ vring is necessary. 14 ... ltJg4 15 ltJdf3 I suspect that White was not worried much about a possible ... g 7-g S break by Black, but was only asking himself how to reposition the awkward knight on d2. 1s ... c6 3 73

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

There aren't m any levers left, but this is one of them . Going for . . .fs is al so possible, but due to the weaknesses created with ...h s (lllf3-g S-e6), it needs to be timed carefully. Clarify­ ing things on the queen side as in the g ame seem s best to me. 16 .ib2 Opening the position with 16 dxc6 does not promise White too much . Black can even reply with the slightly weird concept 16 ... .ic8 ! ? 17 .ib2 .ixb2 18 .i::i. xb2 l::t a 6 ! 19 J::!. d 2 .i::i. x c6 20 cs J::i.h 6 ! . You don't see that every day, but it's fine for Black. If that's too much creativity for you, though, just 16 ... .ixc6 is okay as well. 16 ....ixb2 17 .i::i.x b2

17 ... cxd s 18 exd s After 18 cxds? o-o 19 lt:Jd2 .i::i. c 8 the weakness of c3 would cause White long-term trou­ ble. He needs to recapture with the e-pawn as in the g ame. 18 ...0-0 19 lt:lgs A good regroupin g . White needs to find a good defen sive set-up here. With c4-cS as the only active plan being rather unrealistic, Black already has the more interesting ideas. H e does not have an objective advantage, but I would rather be Bl ack. H e ' s got endgame­ related ideas (queen side light-square targets for the bishop), and might push .. .f7-fS after good preparation . While .. .f7-fS might never be possible after precise White play, Black has got an idea at the very least, whereas White h as a h ard tim e coming up with any plan at all. 19...'i:Vb6 20 .if3 J::!. a c8 21 lll g 2 g6 2 2 .i::i. e 1 'it>g7 2 3 .i::i. d 2 lll g 8 24 'i:Va1 lll8f6 2 5 lt:Je3 Yz-Yz This was the first g am e of a mini-match in one of the F I D E knock-out world champion­ ship tournam ents. Therefore a draw as Black was fin e for Eingom, who easily could h ave played on if the situation dictated it. One plan for Bl ack could be to reposition a knight to cs and try for .. .f7-f5 l ater. This is not at all easy to accomplish though and needs careful preparation . I think it is around equal, but certainly not a particularly drawish position.

3 74

B og a - I n d i a n w i t h 4 ti:J b d 2

Summary If White does not go for the bishops immediately with 5 a3, play often takes on a slow, stra­ tegic character. There are no forced lines th at are essential to memorize, just typical ideas and plans. Quite often Black h as the option to keep his dark-squared bishop and employ it on cs, which can easily turn out to be a good idea. The pawn play with ... bs and ... h s of the m ain g ame is also very noteworthy.

Game 38

V.lvanch uk-R.Kasimdzhanov F I D E Worl d C h a m pion s h i p, Tri pol i (ra p i d ) 2004 1 d4 ti:Jf6 2 C4 e6 3 ti:Jf3 i.b4+ 4 ti:Jbd2 0-0

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Most of the tim e White now pl ays S a 3 t o collect the bishop-pair o r force the retreat. Our repertoire respon se is s ... .i.e7, keeping the bishop. This continuation is the main line and examined in the following g ames. This g am e discusses all deviations on move s . One key point to understand is that not in serting the moves S a3 .i.e7 ch anges the situation regarding the break ... cs for Bl ack. With the bishop still out on b4, this move cuts off its re­ treat and forces Black to take on d2 if White pl ays a3 in response to ... cs. In most cases this is perfectly acceptable, though, like in the m ain g ame. 5 g3 One of two major alternatives to s a3: a) White al so pl ays S e3 rather frequently. H ere my recommendation is to pl ay s ... d6, which will transpose to the notes to move S in Sasikiran-Eingom (Gam e 37). This is a sim ­ ple solution th at reduces the workload for Black considerably. There are other lines like s ...b6, of course, but I don 't think they are more reliable than a ... d6 set-up h ere. b) S �c2 will tran spose almost invariably to S a3 i.. e 7 6 �c2 (see the notes to the G am e 39) o r t o s a3 .i. e 7 6 e 4 ds 7 �c2. Let's h ave a look at the details: b1) I like to avoid things like s ... cs 6 dxcs .i.xcs 7 a3 b6 8 b4 .i.e7 9 .i.b2 d6 10 g4, as in S.Mamedyarov-L.Dominguez Perez, London 2012. This position is not bad for Black, but White has more fun h ere. b2) Against the early �c2 it is quite logical to put a pawn in the centre, so s ... ds is indi­ cated:

b21) One independent try is 6 g 3 , after which 6 ... cs open s the gam e quickly and thus tries to exploit the early �c2. After 7 dxcs .i.xcs 8 .i.g 2 lLic6 9 o-o d4 10 liJb3 i.. e 7 11 .l:!.d1 e s 12 e3 .i. g 4 Black h ad active pl ay in V.Topalov-M.Carl sen, Nice (rapid) 2008. b22) The other move for White that does not tran spose elsewhere in the book i s the modest 6 e 3 . Now 6 ... cs is right: for example, 7 a3 (or 7 dxcs .�he s 8 cxds 'ifxds 9 a3 .i.e7 10 b4 .i.d7 11 .i.b2 f!.c8 and Black was fine in V. Bogdanovski-N.Rashkovsky, Skopje 1991) 7 ....i.xd2+ 8 i.. x d2 cxd4 9 exd4 (9 lLixd4 e s 10 liJf3 lLic6 is also fine) 9 ... dxc4 10 .i.xc4 .i.d7, 3 76

B og o - l n d i a n w i t h 4 0i b d2

intending to an swer 11 o-o with 11 ... .tc6 and a good game. b23) White's m ain move is 6 a3, after which 6 ... .te7 tran sposes to 6 'iWc2, as examined in the notes to Esen-Kotsur (Game 39). s b6 This is con sistent with S a3 .fi.e7 6 g3 b6. If you insist on not fianchettoing your bishop and staying within the pattern s of our other lines you can al so play s ... d6, but this is less precise than on move 4. Indeed, if you are focused on ... d6 types of positions, go instead for the immediate and more fl exible 4 ... d6. 6 .tg2 .fi.b7 7 0-0 ...

Now Black is at a crossroads. The next move will set the tone of the further play. 1 cs In the end I decided to go for this move as it fits my suggestion again st the Catal an very well. In most cases we will transpose to the exact sam e or similar position s as in the g ame Gevorgyan-Palac (Game 43). Alternatives: a) I al so explored an offbeat alternative th at is perfectly playable as well. Black m ay de­ l ay the ... cs break and go for 7 ... 'iWc8 ! ?. The m ain virtue of this move is the protection of the b7-bishop, while supporting a l ater ... c s . After 8 a3 (or the immediate 8 'iWc2, after which I like the set-up starting with 8 ... .txd2 9 .i.xd2 .i.e4 10 'iWc3 d6 11 .l::t a d1 0ibd7 12 .l::tfe1 .l::t e 8 13 .tf4 as 14 .i.h 3 'iWa6, which demon strates an addition al point of ...'iWc8; Bl ack was okay h ere in l. Nyzhnyk-A.Zude, Bad Worishofen 2010) 8 ... .fi.e7 (8 ... .i.xd2 9 'i¥xd2 .i.e4 is also vi­ able, with a slightly worse version of the set-up mentioned above) 9 'i¥c2 cs White has: ...

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al) 10 e4 l eads to a Hedgehog -type of position : 10 ... cxd4 11 tt:lxd4 (or 11 e s tt:lg4 12 .l:te1 f6 ! ? with interesting pl ay) 11 ... tt:lc6 ! ? 12 tt:Jxc6 �xc6 with about equal pl ay. a2) 10 ds ! ? is an enterprising way to deal with ... cs. This advance, often played as a full pawn sacrifice, has com e into fashion in various lines of the Queen's Indian . H ere following 10 ... exds 11 cxds .Jlxds 12 e4 .Jle6 (this is better th an 12 ... .Jlb7 ? ! 13 e s tll e 8 14 tt:le4, as pl ayed in M.Baekg aard-J .Carsten sen, Danish League 2009; White has typical compen sation h ere) 13 es Bl ack has the more active reply 13 ... tt:Jds and White m ay have enough for the pawn, but it is less obvious th an in the gam e m entioned above. b) As a funny side note, even 7 ... .Jle7 ! ? is a viable and popul ar move h ere - not exactly an advertisement for th e line S a3 .i.e7 6 g 3 . Again, Black prepares ... cs without having to deal with a3 forcing the capture on d2. As we will see in th e m ain g ame, this is not a prob­ lem, but some players h ave successfully experimented with keeping the bishop. 8 a3 The only critical test: a) 8 dxcs .ixcs is comfortable for Black. For more on this structure please see the note on S dxcs in G evorgyan -Pal ac (Game 43). b) After 8 tt:lb3 cxd4 9 tt:lbxd4 Black may just build a H edgehog startin g with ... a6, ... .ie7 and ... d6, or go for 9 ... tll c 6 10 .i.f4 tll xd4 11 tt:lxd4 �c8 12 'ilih3 ii.xg 2 13 @xg 2 �7+ 14 �f3 �xf3+ 1 S tll xf3 .l:tac8 with simplification and equality in G .Bagaturov-V.Golod, Yerevan 2014. 8 .ixd2 9 .ixd2 The most popular move here is actually 9 �xd2, after which Bl ack goes 9 ... cxd4 and we h ave reached the note to move 9 in the gam e G evorgyan- Palac. The position after 9 .ixd2 is only possible in this pure Boga-Indian move order, as in the Catal an 1 d4 tllf6 2 c4 e6 3 g 3 .ib4+ 4 tt:Jd2 c s S a 3 .i.xd2+ 6 ii.xd2 ? just gives up d4 for n o compen sation . 9 cxd4 10 .ib4 The only ambitious move. ...


3 78

B og o - J n d i a n w i t h 4 tb b d2

Instead, 10 tb.xd4 .ixg 2 11 @xg 2 ds 12 .i.b4 .l:!.e8 is nothing for White. 10 .l:!.eS 11 �xd4 Probably the most dan gerous move here is 11 .id6. ...

Now Black h as tried various moves, but failed to equalize. The important novelty to level the g am e is 11 ... tb.c6 ! . Let's h ave a look at some of White's possibilities: a) 12 tb.xd4 !bas ! is one point. Now 13 .ixb7 lllx b7 14 l2Jb 5 l2Je4 1 5 �d4 l2Jexd6 16 lll x d6 lll x d6 17 �xd6 .l:!.c8 is just as equal as it gets. b) The only testing move is 12 lll e s : b l ) 12 . . .lllx e s ? ! is interesting, but after 13 .ixb7 l2Jxc4 1 4 .ixa8 �xa8 15 �xd4 �dS 1 6 �xds exds 17 .ib4 .l:!.xe2 18 b3 Black's compensation is only good enough t o suffer for a draw at best. b2) 12 ... �c8 13 .l:!.c1 lllx es (13 ... l:i.d8 ! ? is more combative, threatening ... lll e 8 to fight the bishop on d6; after 14 l2Jxc6 dxc6 1 5 cs lll e 8 16 ..tf4 l2Jc7 White h as compen sation for the pawn, but the position is pl ayable for Black and a way to unbalance the g ame if the drawish position s after 13 ... lll x es are not acceptable under concrete circum stances) 14 .ixe s .ixg 2 1 5 \t>xg 2 l2Jg4 16 'ifxd4 'iUc6+ 17 @g 1 lll x es 18 'ifxes d6 19 �d4 J:.ac8 and Bl ack h as equalized. Instead, we h ave already looked at 11 l2Jxd4 .ixg 2 12 \t>xg 2 dS via 10 lll xd4 - it's still nothing for White. 11 lll c 6 12 �d6 ...

3 79

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i re : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

The obvious move and the one that White h as played in all three g ames th at h ave reached this position. Now there is no great square for the black queen. 12 .l:!.cS The easiest move to play. An altern ative for Black is 12 ... tt::J e 4 13 'i1Vf4 ds 14 .l::tfdl, as was reached in l . Nyzhnyk-P.Schlosser, H aguen au 2013. There Black pl ayed 14 ... 'i1Vf6? ! (better is 14 ... l::t c 8 wh en Black's pieces will become rather active with ... .ia6 imminent) 15 cxds lll xb4?! and now White missed the computerish 16 dxe6 ! with a clear advantage. 13 l::tfd1 Thi s gives White nothing, but I don 't see any improvements that m ake a difference: A good try for White is 13 lll d 2 : a) I tried to make 13 ... e s work, but it does not seem to be completely sufficient. 14 .l:!.ad1? ! .l::t e 6 15 'i1Vd3 lll xb4 16 axb4 .ixg 2 17 'it>xg 2 e4 is Bl ack's idea, giving him excellent play, but critical is 14 ..ic3 lll a s and now: al) 15 .ixes is nothing special for White: 1s ... ..ixg 2 16 'it>xg 2 .l:!.e6 17 'i1Vd4 lllh s 18 'i1Vc3 (the best move; 18 .id6 'i1Vf6 19 'i1Vxf6 lll xf6 20 .ib4 .l::t x e2 is nothing for White at all) 18 ... ds 19 .l::t a d1 'i1Ve8 20 .id4 dxc4 with interesting play and about equal chances. a2) 1 5 .ixas sets Bl ack some problem s. After 1 s ... .ixg 2 16 .ixb6 axb6 17 'it>xg 2 .l:!.e6 18 'i1Vb4 ds Black has some compensation for the pawn, but not enough. b) Black should be modest h ere and play 1 3 ... lll xb4 14 ..ixb7 'i1Vc7 1 5 'i1Vxc7 .l:!.xc7 16 axb4 .l::t xb7 with simplification s. Now a reason able continuation is 17 e4 ds 18 es lll g 4 19 .l::tfe1 .l::t d 8 20 h 3 lllh 6 2 1 g4 'it>f8 intending ... lll g 8-e7 and Black regroups successfully. 13 lllx b4 ...


3 80

B og a - I n d i a n w i t h 4 tiJ b d2

14 'ifxb4?! It was better for White to g o 14 axb4! .txf3 1 5 .txf3 lixc4 16 lixa7 �8 17 lib7 (this is forced after 14 axb4, otherwise White would even be worse) 17 ...'ifxd6 18 lixd6 lixb4 19 I:Idxb6 (19 I:Ibxb6?! I:Ib8 ! is slightly better for Black) 19 ... lixb6 20 lixb6 dS and it's equal . Bl ack's centre and harmonious set-up compen sates for the passed pawn . 14 ...�c7 14 ... as 15 �3 lies was a bit more ambitious, but a draw was certainly okay for Black in this playoff game. 1 s l:!.ac1 d S This now equalizes completely. 16 tiJd4 a6 17 b3 lied8 18 �e1 dxc4 19 lixc4 "Yfie7 20 l:!.xc8 l:!.xc8

H ere lvanchuk forgot to exchange on b7 first, which would have kept m atters very drawish . 381

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

21 .Uc1?? 'iVxa 3 22 .Uxc8+ ..txc8 2 3 'iVc3 .i.d7 2 4 .i.c6 White does not get any activity with 24 'iVC7?? due to 24 ... 'iVa1+. 24 ...'iVcs 25 'iVxcs bxcs 26 .i.xd7 cxd4 27 .i.c6 as 0-1 And lvanchuk resigned this hopeless endgame. Summary The early deviations on move 5 very often tran spose to lines th at are examined el sewhere. The main independent approach is the one with 5 g3 discussed h ere. Even this line often transposes to the Catal an Bogo and Gevorgyan- Palac (Game 43). Bl ack's m ain decision here is at move 7, where Kasimdzh anov's 7 ... cs is a solid choice. It sometimes leads to position s though that are difficult to play for a win . If you want to keep things more complicated, the altern atives discussed on move 7 are good choices (or even move 4 with 4 ... d6).

Game 39

B.Esen-P .Kotsur Tro m s¢ O lym p i a d 2014

1 d4 lt'lf6 2 c4 e6 3 ll:if3 il.b4+ 4 lt:Jbd2 o-o 5 a3 .i.e7

Overwhelmingly the m ain line is now 6 e4, but White m ay al so play less directly. This g ame discusses all such deviation s on move 6. 6 g3 Other possibilities are: a) A solid and quite popul ar option for White is 6 e3 when Bl ack has a wide choice. I think a simple and good solution is 6 ... cs: al) After 7 dxcs as ! ? (going for a Hedgehog with 7 ....i.xcs is al so fine of course) 8 b3 lt'la6 9 b4 b6 10 .i.b2 axb4 11 axb4 .i.b7 12 'iVb3 bxcs 13 b 5 lt'lb4 Black was fine in 3 82

B og o - l n d i a n w i t h 4 tl:i b d2

V.Akobian-J. Friedel, Saint Louis 2014. He has active pieces and ... ds will grab space in the centre. a2) White m ay also try to hold the tension with 7 .i.d3 when again Black h as various op­ tions. At first I was bit reluctant to recommend 7 ... ds, as the chosen repertoire rarely in­ cludes both ... cs and ... ds. However, here it seems to be the best solution, leading to good piece pl ay in the centre: a2 1) 8 cxds cxd4 is completely h arm less. a22) A very interesting middlegame unfolded after 8 o-o dxc4 9 tl:ixc4 b s ! ? 10 tl:iceS c4 11 .i.e2 .ib7 12 a4 a6 13 axbs axb s 14 .l:!.xa8 .i.xa8 lS b3 tl:ie4! and Black was fin e in V. lnkiov- P.Nikoic, Zagreb 1987. a2 3) 8 dxcs as ! is the most important point.

Black intends taking on cs with the knight l ater, obtaining very active pieces: 9 cxds (9 o-o tl:ibd7 10 .i.c2 tt::lx cs 11 b3 dxc4 12 tt::lx c4 bS 13 tt::lc es .i.b7 was played in V. Kunin­

A. Delch ev, Wunsiedel 2014, when Black h ad some extra space on the queen side, but it was still equal) 9 ... 'i'xds (there is nothing wrong with 9 ... exds either) 10 .i.c4 'i'xcs 11 b4 'i'c7 12 bS .l:!.d8 13 .i.b2 a4 14 o-o tt::lb d7 1s .l:!.c1 tt::l c s 16 'i'e2 b6 17 tt::l e s .i.b7 with about equal pl ay in C.Sandipan-N.Short, Mumbai 2006. b) 6 b4! ? grabs space on the queen side. As we pl ay with ... ds in the m ain line anyway, I suggest going 6 ... ds. White now h as a choice: to advance or keep the ten sion : bl) 7 c s tt::le 4 is concrete and strong. Black intends to go into a good Stonewall with .. .fs and possibly ... .i.f6 to come. Moreover, takin g on e4 is not advisable for White: 8 tt::lx e4? ! dxe4 9 tt::l e s (9 tt::l g 1 ? was tried in V. Fedoseev-G. Palchun, St Petersburg 1997, when in stead of Palchun 's 9 ... .i.f6, there was the powerful 9 ... e s ! with a distinct advantage for Black and one th at easily grows to decisive proportion s after 10 dxes ? 'i'xdl+ 11 'it>xdl as) 9 ...b s ! and White needs to play ugly moves to stay in the g ame, like 10 h 3 or 10 f4. Bl ack is already the more comfortable. b2) White m ay al so keep the tension with slower moves like 7 e3. A good response is 3 83

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - J n d i a n

7 ... b6, intending t o break with ...c s . I f White mechanically prevents that with 8 c s , Black goes for 8 ... as 9 i.b2 c6, intending ... i.a6 to exchange the problem piece. Bl ack is okay h ere, as thi s structure is very comparable to the QG D with i.f4 (1 d4 ds 2 c4 e6 3 lt:Jf3 lllf6 4 lt:Jc3 i.e7 S i.f4 o-o 6 e3 lllb d7 7 cs c6 8 i.d3 b6 9 b4 as 10 a3 i.a6), but with White's bishop being on b2 instead of f4 there is less pressure on Bl ack, and even this QG D line is quite comfortable for him. b3) 7 'ii'c 2 is more flexible. A simple response is 7 ... c6, again intending to go 8 cs as 9 i.b2 .

Pl ay is similar t o the l i n e above. In general 6 b 4 should not trouble Black, but i t is a n ear­ ly creative try by White that leads to interesting play. c) White sometimes goes for 6 'ii'c 2, after which 6 ... ds is the most reliable move. Now there is a further divide: cl) 7 e4 will tran spose to the line 4 lllb d2 o-o s a3 i.e7 6 e4 dS 7 'ii'c 2. c2) Against slower moves I recommend playing for a quick ... c s to open up the position, tryin g to exploit the early queen move: for example, 7 g3 cs (this is a novelty, surprisingly; of course, moves like 7 ... b6 are playable as well, leading to h anging pawns in the long run) 8 dxcs as 9 i.g2 lllb d7 10 o-o lll x cs and with ... b6, ... i.b7 and .. Jk8 coming, Black i s fine. c3) In most cases White plays 7 e3, after which again I recommend the direct 7 ... c s 8 dxcs (8 cxds exds 9 dxcs as 10 .l:!.b1 a4 transposes) 8 ... as 9 cxds exds 10 l:tb1 a4 11 lt:Jd4 'ii'a s 12 b4 axb3 1 3 lt:J4xb3 'ii'a4 and Black will regain the pawn in a few moves, keeping active pieces and equalizing. Returning to 6 g 3 :

3 84

B og a - I n d i a n w i t h 4 tb b d 2

6 ... b6 Not the only move, of course. Indeed, a solid way to proceed is 6 ... ds 7 i.. g 2 b6 8 o-o i..b 7, but I want to avoid lines with hanging pawns for this book. This pawn structure i s more typical of the Queen 's Indian and I feel i t is not a practical decision t o go for i t and study the strategical points of it just for a rather rare sideline. If you want a completely non-theoretical, long battle, there is al so 6 ... d6 7 i.. g 2 'Dbd7 8 o-o e s with an Old Indian set-up. White h as the extra moves a3 and the especially useless 'Dbd2. H e has al so fianchettoed, which isn't con sidered to be most testin g approach again st the Old Indi an . If you don 't mind this general type of position, it's a good way out of charted waters and to just play a gam e of chess. 7 i.. g 2 i.. b 7 8 0-0 The most n atural, but there also is the immediate 8 'it'c2, which Black shoul d answer with the usual 8 ... c s : a ) 9 0-0 cxd4 is nothing for White and 1 0 'Dxd4 i.. x g 2 11 �xg 2 'it'c7 with .. Jk8 t o follow is a good set-up. Both the queen and the knight are misplaced for White. b) 9 e4 cxd4 10 e s ? ! (10 'Dxd4 was still okay for White) 10 ... 'Dg4 11 o-o 'it'c7 12 J::t e 1 i.. c s 13 �d3 'Dc6 and Black was already much better in G .Vojinovic-B.Smith, Skopje 2011. c) 9 dxcs bxcs 10 o-o tbc6 11 J::t d 1 �6 12 'Db3 as and Black is fine h ere, going on to win in S.Conquest-M.Piper, London 2009. In stead, a rare and recently tried move is 8 b4, but after 8 ... cs 9 bxcs bxcs 10 o-o cxd4 Bl ack already h as the superior structure and went on to win quickly following 11 'Db3 'Dc6 12 'Dbxd4 'Das 13 'il!Va4 .l::tc 8 14 'Db3 'Dxc4 1s 'il!Vxa7 i.. d s 16 'il!Vd4 tbe4 17 'il!Vd3 i..f6 18 'Dbd4 'Des 19 'il!Vd1 i.. xf3 20 exf3 i.. x d4 21 'il!Vxd4 'Db3 22 'il!Vc3 'Deas 23 'il!Vb2 'Dxal 24 'il!Vxal 'Db3, and White resigned in l . N aumkin-A.Del ch ev, Forni di Sopra 2014. s ... cs


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

9 dS!? The most aggressive move and the only one after which concrete knowledge of lines is clearly h elpful : a) By far the most popul ar move is the tame 9 b3, after which Black is comfortable. The knight on d2 makes White's set-up completely toothless after 9 ... cxd4: al) The simple recapture 10 lt:Jxd4 sees Black easily obtain a comfortable g ame: 10 ... i.xg 2 11 @xg 2 'iic 8 (the typical queen m anoeuvre after the exch ange, after which Black m ay choose between a H edgehog set-up and playing ... ds early, simplifying in the centre; we now see an exampl e of the H edgehog approach, which I prefer) 12 i.b2 'iih 7 + 13 @g 1 a6 14 lt:J2f3 d6 1 5 .l:i.c1 lt:Jbd7 16 b4 .l:i.fc8.

This was played in E.Rapoport-5.Halkias, Tallinn 1997. It's about equal, but the position still offers good chances to fight for a win l ater, whereas an early ... ds is much less combat­ ive. 386

B og o - l n d i a n w i t h 4 li:J b d 2

a 2 ) 10 i.b2 tries t o keep some tension in the position. Then 10 . . .\\\Vc 7 11 ..txd4 d 6 sets up the Hedgehog . Even if you don 't regularly play this structure, it is worth becoming familiar with it to some extent. In the whole Nim zo/Bogo/QI D complex Hedgehog structures ap­ pear quite frequently, often in rather favourable form s compared to the concrete lines aris­ ing from the Symm etrical English or even the Sicilian . H ere White's pieces are simply too passively pl aced t o cause Bl ack any di scomfort. In addition his in sufficient control over ds allows the simplifying ... ds advance if Bl ack just wants to equalize without much of a fight. Let's look at a sampl e game to better under­ stand this type of position . It is not so much about concrete moves/lines, but about general ideas and set-ups: 12 .l:!.c1 li:Jbd7 13 \\\Vc 2 .l:!.fe8 14 i.b2 .l:!.ac8 1 S \\\Vb 1 \\\Vb 8 16 .l:!.fd1 \\\Va 8.

This is a set-up to remember. Bl ack finds a good spot for the queen and always has the option to prepare the ... ds and ...b s breaks if desired. The g ame P.Cramling-P.Carl sson, Vasteras 2011, continued 17 li:Je1 a6 18 b4 .l:!.c7 (after White has played b4, piling up on the c-pawn is logical} 19 i.xb7 \\\Vx b7 20 t?Jg 2 .l:!.ec8 2 1 \\\Vd 3 as 2 2 e4 h 6 2 3 t?Je3 t?Je s 24 \\\Vb 1 axb4 2 S axb4 li:Jed7 26 \\\Vd 3 t?Jes 2 7 \\\Vb 1 h S ! 2 8 h4 li:Jfg4. I h ave shown the g am e up to this point because this ... h s idea is very instructive. I already slightly prefer Black h ere, which is confirmed by Houdini. Be patient, though, in the Hedg ehog structures and pick your spots to fight l ater in the g ame. Remember too that it's difficult to 'do nothing' as White, so very often you'll get a fight simply because White will go for something. H ere 2 1 ... t?Jg4! ?, intending ... t?Jges, is interesting as well. There is some fight in these positions, despite the rather defen sive look of the Hedgehog formations. Very often a prac­ tical idea for Black is to shuffle around a bit, if possible probing h ere and there, and in the process simply letting the clock run down . Only when the time is lower for White or both sides, do you try for something concrete. Don 't be afraid to do 'nothing' in a Hedgehog for a while - there is still time l ater to do something. b} White h as al so tried 9 dxcs, but after 9 ...bxcs 10 b3 as 11 i.b2 a4 the position already looked slightly more comfortable for Black in E .Schiendoerfer-1. Krush, Caleta 2012. This 387

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

g ame continued 12 �c2 axb3 13 tLixb3 .i.e4 1 4 �c3 d 6 1 S lLibd2 i.c6 1 6 tLie1 .i.xg 2 17 ttJxg 2 lLic6 when White struggled with the weak a-pawn and no constructive pl an. 9 exd s There is no choice as allowing White to support the centre with e2-e4 would just be too terrible for the b7-bishop. 10 lLih4 ...

This typical pawn sacrifice is certainly less dangerous with a knight on d2 compared to other position s: for example, 1 d4 lLif6 2 c4 e6 3 tLif3 b6 4 g 3 i.b7 s i.g 2 cs ! ? 6 dS exds 7 lLih4 when White still h as lLic3 avail able. Nevertheless, in our actual position from the Boga, Black still has to be precise. 10 g6 In stead, 10 ... .i.c6 11 cxds tLixds 12 tLifs allows the knight to appear on fs, which always gives White dangerous pl ay. Don't underestimate his practical ch ances, even if you are confident in your defensive abilities. After 12 ... ttJc7 13 e4 .i.f6 14 .l:!.e1 Black is under pres­ sure. The engine wants to go 14 ... g6, claiming equality, but I feel White's play is dang erous. In the game Zhao Xue-T.Kosintseva, Nal chik 2011, Black came under heavy fire following 14 ... d6? 1 S ttJc4 ds 16 ttJcd6 dxe4 17 �g4 'it>h 8 18 tLixe4 lLie6 19 .i.e3 lLid7 20 .l::i. a d1 .l:!.b8 21 l:td6 i.xe4 2 2 .i.xe4 �c7? 2 3 tLixg 7 ! (a very nice shot) 2 3 ... .l:!.g 8 24 �d1 .l::i. x g 7 2 S .l::i. x d7 �es 26 .i.h 6 �xb2 27 .i.xg 7+ tLixg 7 28 .l::!. xf7 .i.d4 29 �f3 and Kosintseva resigned. Kotsur's move in the g am e is more reliable, shuttin g down the tLifs option. 11 tLib1!? Did I mention the knight is mispl aced on d2? This is a very creative move, but also Hou­ dini's top choice. Maybe the white player even prepared it at home. In an earlier g ame, the more direct 11 cxds .i.xds 12 e4 .i.c6 13 es lLie8 14 ttJdf3 tLia6 was tried. We have been following the g ame A.Gupta-P.Vishnu, Dubai 2012, where White's compen sation was insufficient, m ostly due to the knights steppin g on each other's toes. Now Gupta continued 1 S �d2 ? ! ttJac7 16 � 6 lLie6 17 .l::i. d 1 and here, in stead of 17 ...�c7, ...


B og o - l n d i a n w i t h 4 tb b d2

which still kept a substantial advantage, Black could h ave gone 17 ... tb8g7 which pretty much wins on the spot, the threat being, amongst others, ... g s . 11 t:Dh5! An excellent solution by Kotsur. The following sequence of moves results in an attrac­ tive position for Black, but I don't see any great way for White to improve. 12 .txd 5 Houdini suggests the not very human move 12 g4!?. It is nothing special for White, though, after 12 ... .txh4 13 gxh s tbc6 14 cxds tbd4 when Black is the better developed and has the sounder pawn structure. 12 ... .txd 5 13 'it'xd 5 tbc6 14 tLJf3 t:Df6 15 'it'd1 1 5 'it'd3 ds is similar to the game. 15 ... d5 ••.

Black has no problems at all here. White h as no serious weaknesses though, resulting in an about equal position. 16 'it'a4! 16 cxds?! 'iVxds 17 �xds tLJxds is l ess precise, with a quick ... .tf6 and pressure on the queen side to follow. 16 ...tba 5 17 .th6 .l:.e8 18 cxd 5 'iVxd 5 19 tbc3 �c4 20 �xc4 t:Dxc4 2 1 .l:.ab1 .tf8 22 .txf8 @xf8 23 .l:.fc1 .l:.ad8 Black's position is somewh at the easier to play with the active knight on c4 and the pawn m ajority on the queen side being a possible asset l ater on . White still should draw, though, with precise play. 24 .l:.c2 .l:.d7 25 @f1 tbg4 26 @g1 .l:.ed8 27 h3 tbge5 28 t:Dxe5 t:Dxe5 29 @f1 f5 30 @e1 @f7 3 1 .l:.cc1 .l:.e7 32 .l:. d 1 tbf3+ 3 3 @f1 t:Dd2+ 34 @e1 .l:.ed7 3 5 .l:.bc1 'it>e6 36 h 4 h6 37 .l:.c2 tb b 3 3 8 .l:.xd7 .l:.xd7


Op e n i n g R ep e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

It's not much fun for White, but h i s drawing chances are still very realistic. 39 e3?! 39 lba2 was more stubborn, trying to get rid of the b3-knight. 39 gs 40 hxgs hxgs 41 @e2 g4 42 f3 gxf3+ 43 @xf3 @es 44 g4? Now White is lost. In stead, 44 @e2 still put up serious resistance. 44 .fxg4+ 4S @xg4 .l:!.d2! After the rook trade White's pawn s will be too vulnerable. 46 .l:!.xd2 lbxd2 47 @g3 lbc4 48 b4 lbxa 3 49 bxcs bS so @f3 b4 s 1 lba4 lbc4 s2 @e2 @d s S3 @d3 lbes+ S4 @c2 @c4 S S @b2 lbd 3+ S6 @c2 lbxcs s 1 lbb2+ @d s ss lbd1 a6 s9 lbf2 a s 60 lbg4 a4 61 @b2 lbd 3+ 62 @c2 @c4 63 e4 @d4 64 lbf6 b3+ 6S @b1 a3 66 lbd s a2+ 67 @a1 lbe1 0-1 .•.


Summary Ag ainst g3 lines I recommend going with a ... b6 based set-up. This approach, often leading to Hedgehog-style positions, is slightly different strategically than most other lines in the book. However, the ensuing positions are objectively rather harmless for Bl ack and there­ fore I feel this line is a good spot to explore some middlegam e types that are atypical for this book. In the main g am e White avoided the Hedg ehog structure with the d4-d5 pawn sacrifice, but Kotsur's precise play defused th at completely. He achieved easy equality with chances for more, ultimately winning the slightly better endgame.

Game 40 E.Levin-A.Goga nov C h igori n Me m o ri a l , St Pete rs b u rg 2014

1 d4 lbf6 2 c4 e6 3 lbf3 .ib4+ 4 lbbd2 o-o S a3 i.. e 7 6 e4 390

B og a - I n d i a n w i t h 4 ti:J b d 2

The most principled and dangerous continuation . W e have seen that other approaches by White don't challenge Black's set-up fundamentally, whereas after 6 e4 the pl ay can become very sh arp and concrete, so preci se knowledge plays a much l arger role th an in other lines presented in this book. 6 ds Initiating a complicated struggle i n the centre. An alternative is the more restrained 6 ... d6. Most of the time Bl ack is going for an Old Indian structure where he hopes to prove that the tempi lost with ... .ib4-e7 and ... e6-eS are compensated by White's bad knight on d2. This is a valid approach th at has recently g ained some popul arity, mostly due to the fact that not all bl ack players like to face 9 h4, as ana­ lysed in Gam e 42. If you don 't mind the Old Indian pawn structure this approach is viable as it leads to long, complicated g ames that offer chances to outplay an opponent in the long run . Objectively speaking though, I believe that 6 ... ds is the better move. Indeed, if want to you look for an alternative option to 6 ... ds, the early 4... d6 examined in G ames 3 6 and 3 7 seems best. 7 es This is the most n atural move and nowadays con sidered as the only critical try. The keep-the-ten sion moves h ave been defused: a) 7 'Wic2 dxe4 8 ti:Jxe4 with a choice for Bl ack: al) The less forcing move 8 ... ti:Jbd7 is fine: for example, 9 .id3 (9 ti:Jxf6+ ti:Jxf6 10 .id3 b6 is a satisfactory version of the Rubin stein French for Black; unlike there, White is commit­ ted to c4 and cannot castle long anymore) 9 ... ti:Jxe4 10 .ltxe4 fS ! (a concept worth noting; Black takes over the initiative in the centre) 11 .id3 cs 12 .te2 cxd4 13 ti:Jxd4 ti:Jf6 14 ti:Jf3 'ilic7 1 5 o-o .id? 16 b3 .tc6 17 .tb2 Ci:Jg4 18 g 3 .ie4 19 'Wic1 f4 and Black was on the way to winning with a quick mating attack (a rare sight in the Boga) in E.Schiendoerfer0.Sangupta, Biel 2012. a2) The more direct way to pl ay is 8 ...ti:Jc6 9 .lte3 (9 .ltd3 ti:Jxd4 10 ti:Jxd4 'Wixd4 11 ti:Jxf6+ ...


O p e n i n g R ep e rt o i re : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

i.xf6 12 .i.xh7+ @h 8 13 .i.e4 .i.d7 1 4 .l:!.b1 .i.c6 1 S .i.xc6 bxc6 16 .i.e3 'ii'e s was equal in C.Han sen-A.Yusupov, Munich 1992) and then :

a21) The simple 9 ... tl'ixe4 10 'i!Vxe4 fs 11 'i!Vd3 .i.f6 12 o-o-o e s should equalize, but offers few chances for an interesting game. a22) After 9 ... ll'ig4 10 .i.d3 fS 11 ll'ic3 .i.f6 12 o-o-o g 6 13 h3 tl'ixe3 14 fxe3 .i.g7 1 s @b1 .l:!.b8 16 h4 h S a very double-edged position was reached in V. Bologan -D.J akovenko, Poik­ ovsky 2007. The computer clearly prefers White here, but Black's chances are not to be un­ derestim ated. If you dislike this position too much, though, there are some earlier alterna­ tives. b) The other move to keep the tension is 7 .td3, after which Black goes 7 ... c s : b l ) 8 e s ll'ifd7 will transpose t o the m ain line. b2) 8 dxcs leads to m ass exch anges. After 8 ... dxe4 9 tl'ixe4 tl'ixe4 10 .i.xe4 'i!Vxd1+ 11 'it>xd1 Black has a few moves:


B og a - I n d i a n w i t h 4 tiJ b d2

b21) Black should avoid, as after 12 b4 White has the more comfortable g ame. b22) The most precise continuation is 11 ... as. The g am e B.Gelfand-V.lvanchuk, Biel 2009, continued 12 il.f4 il.xcs 13 We2 fS 14 il.c2 0ic6 1S .l:!.hd1 a4 16 @fl b6 and it was about equal . Returning to 7 e s : 7 ...0ifd7

We h ave arrived at an important crossroads. 8 b4 The m ajor alternative for White is 8 il.d3, as discussed in the followin g two g ames. With b4, White grabs as much space as possible on the queen side, cramping Bl ack. This is only temporary, though, as with precise, active play Bl ack can obtain good counter-ch ances. This n eeds to be initiated with : s ... a s 9 bs cs U sually in our repertoire the centre is closed and play is initiated on the fl anks. This is not the case h ere - we have huge tension in the centre with the pawn pack {c4, d4, cs and dS) ready to change the structure at any mom ent. The important question for White is now: to keep the tension or exchange on ds. 10 il.b2 The important alternative is 10 cxds exds 11 il.d3 to which 11 ...cxd4 is the most straightforward reply.


Op e n i n g R e p e r t o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

Bl ack clarifies the central situation and does not commit h i s pieces before the central pawn structure is defined. Now: a) 12 if c2 tickles the h-pawn . While admittedly ... h6 is not a very helpful move for Bl ack, it is not clear th at the queen is well pl aced on the c-file. After 12 ... h6 13 tl'ib3 a4 14 tl'ibxd4 tl'ics 15 i.e3 now 1S ... tl'ibd7, similar to the m ain game, is fine and leads to a complicated battle. In stead, 15 ... tl'ixd3+ is simple and al so good: 16 ifxd3 ll'id7 17 ll'ifs tl'ics 18 tl'ixe7+ ifxe7 19 i.xcs (19 ifxds? ll'ib3 20 I:f.a2 .ifs is excellent for Black} 19 ... 'iVxcs 20 o-o i.d7 2 1 I:f.abl I:f.fc8 and Black was pretty comfortable in l.Smirin -A. Demch enko, S t Petersburg 2012. b} 12 ll'ib3 is the m ain move: bl} A recent approach here is 12 ... 'iVC7, after which 13 o-o tl'ixes 14 tl'ixes ifxes 15 If.el gives White clear compen sation . I think Black should avoid this, though, as White h ad all the fun in A. l stratescu-D.Navara, H aguen au 2013. b2} Bl ack should go for 12 ... a4, which leads to sharp play after 13 tl'ibxd4 tl'ics 14 i.c2 (or 14 o-o tl'ibd7 and pl ay will almost certainly tran spose to 14 i.c2) 14 ... ll'ibd7 15 o-o tl'ib6.


B og o - l n d i a n w i t h 4 0i b d 2

Black has obtained very good, natural outposts for the knights. With the white knight being on d4, any plan with ... b6 and ... j,,b 7 is out of the question, so Black goes for devel­ opment with ... 0ib6 and ... j,, d 7. Here: b21) The simple approach with 16 tiJfs ? ! didn't amount to much after 16 .....txfs 17 kxfs 0ib3 18 l:ta2 g6 19 .ic2 0ixc1 20 1!1Vxc1 1!1Vc7 2 1 1!1Vb1 0ic4 and Bl ack was already better in l . Dorfanis-M.Szym anski, lkaros 2003. b22) White al so tried 16 1!1Ve2 lle8 17 l!d1 Jtg4 18 h 3 kh s 19 g4 (the flashy 19 .txh 7+ doesn 't lead too far after 19 ... 'it>xh 7 20 0ig s+ kxg s 2 1 'ilVxh s+ j,,h 6 22 j,, xh 6 g6 23 'ilVg s 1!1Vxg s 24 .txg s lhe s, reaching a level endgame) 19 ... kg6 20 tiJfs j,,f 8, with unclear pl ay in B. Dubessay- R.Graca, Nimes 2012. White h as played aggressively, but has weakened him self in the process. Black h as good outposts on b6, cs and c4 and additional counterpl ay again st the e s-pawn . b23) The most important continuation is 16 lle1 lle8 17 h 3 and now 17 ... .td7, as in 1.Cheparinov-N .Vitiugov Moscow 2011, is perfectly fine for Black. There's al so 17 ... 0ic4 18 Jtf4 1!1Vb6 19 tiJfs .txfs 20 kxfs l:tad8, simply allowing tiJfs .

White now needs to be precise, as otherwise Black will get the advantage quickly: 2 1 tiJg S ! (the only move t o keep the balance) 2 1 . . . g 6 22 e6 .txg s 23 .ixg s, and now 2 3 .. .fxe6 (23 ... gxfs ? was mistaken in J.Gonzalez Garcia-A.Alvarez Pedraza, Barcelona 2011) 24 kxd8 1!1Vxd8 2S kg4 b6 gives Bl ack good compen sation for the minimal material investm ent. The position should be about equal here. We now return to 10 kb2 : 10 cxd4 Activating the queenside pieces as quickly as possible. Black m ay al so play 10 ... b6, but in comparison this feel s too passive to me. ...

3 95

Op e n i n g R e p e r t o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

11 .ixd4 The most popul ar move. There are alternatives, but very often they will tran spose to the g ame position quickly or just are l ess testing for Bl ack: a) Insertin g the exchange with 11 cxd5 exd5 helps Black, who g ains the addition al op­ tion of ... .i.g4. The worst that can h appen to him is a transposition to the structure of the m ain g ame. 12 .ie2 a4 13 .ixd4 'Llc5 14 o-o .ig4 1 5 .ib2 'Llbd7 was the course of P.Schlosser-M.Wahls, G erm an League 1997, and Black is very comfortable here. b) 11 .ie2 'Llc5 12 .ixd4 tran sposes to the m ain g ame, while 12 'Llxd4 'Llbd7 13 'Ll4f3 b6 14 cxd5 exd5 is the sam e structure with a slight twist. Now 15 'Llf1 ! ? .ib7 16 'Lle3 f6 17 exf6 .ixf6 18 .ixf6 'Llxf6 was fine for Black in G .Sargissian-5. Fedorchuk, G erm an League 2006. He has active, centralized pieces and the isol ated pawn isn't a serious weakness. 11 'Llcs 12 .ie2 'Llbd7 ...

13 0-0 396

B og a - I n d i a n w i t h 4 0. b d 2

In this line there are many possible move orders for White, but the good thing from Black's point of view is: whatever White plays, Black's reply is always similar. Let's look at some of those alternatives: a) 13 'iVc2 b6 14 cxds exds l S o - o i..b 7 is very similar to the main game. As m entioned below, I believe Black is perfectly fin e h ere, with even the easier g am e to play in practice. Let's examine further: al) 16 .l:.acl 0.e6 17 i..b 2 .l:.c8 18 'iVfs 0.dcS 19 0.d4 and now 19 ... i.. g S ! improves upon B.Maciej a-M.Bartel, Warsaw 2010. After 20 f4 0.xd4 2 1 i.. xd4 0.e6 22 i..b 2 (22 i.. e 3 ? 1:1.xcl 23 .l:.xcl d4! win s for Black) 22 ... .l:.xcl 23 .ixcl g6 24 'iYg4 .ie7 Black is slightly better. a2) The strong est players th at h ave reached this position went for 16 1:1.fel, but 16 ... I:l.c8 17 �2 0.e6 18 i.. e 3 0.dcs (there is al so the very direct 18 .. .f6 ! ?, with complication s ahead} 19 1:1.acl fS ! ? (active play, leading to a rather unclear position) 20 0.b3 f4 2 1 i.. d 2 0.e4 2 2 I:l.xc8 'iVxc8 2 3 0.fd4 0.xd4 (instead of the blunder 2 3 . . . a4? 24 i.. g 4, with a winning position for White in A.Dreev-D. Bocharov, Tom sk 2006} 24 0.xd4 0.xd2 2 S 'iVxd2 i.. x a3 is just better for Black; White doesn't have adequate compen sation for the pawn . b} After 13 a4 Bl ack just should avoid 1 3 ... 0.b6 14 'iVc2 0.xc4? l S i.. x c4 dxc4 16 0.xc4, which left him in trouble in E.Bareev-D. Bocharov, Kazan 200S. Better is 13 ... b6, as in the m ain g ame. Now 14 'iVc2 i..b 7 l S o-o I:l.c8 16 1:1.acl h6 17 'iVa2 0.e4 g ave Black the upper hand already in A.Huzm an-M.Adam s, Rogaska Slatina 2011. The additional option of ... i..b 4 after White's a4 is very useful . 13 b6 This is the best set-up. It stabilizes the outpost on c s and prepares ... i..b 7. 14 cxd s exd s ...

I know this sounds optimistic, but I actually believe Black is already for choice. It's no ob­ jective advantage, but his position is much easier to pl ay: e s is a target ( ... I:l.e8, ... i..f8, ... g 6 and . . .i.. g 7 is a clear plan}, a n d compared t o that White's pl ay is l e s s obvious. 15 .l:.e1 397

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

H ere 1 5 'iVc2 leads to a position already examined via the 13 'iVc2 move order. 1s ... a4 An interesting novelty at the time. Black does not commit his bishop to b7 yet, but plays a useful move on the queenside. He takes b3 under control and fixes White's pawn on a3, which will always be eyed by the bishop on e7. There is nothing wrong with 1 s ....i.b7 either. There are two examples of this natural move: a) After 16 .i.b2 .l:!.c8 17 .i.f1 et::J e 6 18 et::Jb 3 et::J dcs 19 et::Jb d4 et::J xd4 (19 ... et::J e 4! ? is more ambi­ tious) 20 et::J xd4 et::J e 6 2 1 'ifg4 i.cs 22 .l:!.ad1 'iVg s Bl ack had equalized in A.Shabalov­ G .Sh ah ade, N ew York 2011. b) White has al so tried 16 'iVb1?! .l:!.e8 17 .i.d1 .i.f8 18 i.c2, but this whole regrouping with 'iVb1 and .i.d1-c2 does not m ake a lot of sense when Bl ack is ready to pl ay ... g 6 . After 18 ... g6 19 a4 .l:!.c8 20 'iVb2 et::J e 6 21 i.b3 i.g7 in Zhou Jianch ao-D. Bocharov, Moscow 2007, Bl ack had completed his regrouping with an already substantial advantage. 16 i.f1 Lending support to es, but al so a first sign that White l acks an active plan . 16 6 17 i.b2 et::J d cs 18 et::J d 4 White feels like his knights are standing on each other's toes, so he tries to exch ange one of them . Note that Black's ...a4 move took away the b3-square from the d2-knight. 18 ... et::Jx d4 19 i.xd4 .i.fs

One point of the early ... a4 - Black's bishops h ave good diagonals. 20 'iff3 There are alternatives obviously, but Black's play is connected with ... et::J e 6 and ... i.cs al ­ most all of the time. A sample line runs 20 .l:!.c1 et::J e 6 2 1 i.b2 i.cs 22 et::Jf3 i.g4 with good play for Black. 20 i.g6 21 'ife3 .l:!.e8 22 g3 et::Je 6 23 i.g2? 2 3 ii.xb6 ?? d4 was even worse and 2 3 et::Jf3 was necessary: for example, 2 3 ... i.cs 24 .l:!.ad1 ..•


B og a - I n d i a n with 4 0. b d 2

.ie4 2 s .txcs bxcs 26 l:rd2 and White is still i n the game. 2 3 ... .tc5? The simple 2 3 ...0.xd4 24 'iVxd4 .tcs would h ave given Black a huge advantage: for ex­ ample, 2s 'iVf4 (2s 'iVxds ?? 'ifxds 2 6 .ixds .l:!.ad8 blunders a piece) 2s ...'ifd7 26 .if1 'iffs 27 'iVxfs .ixfs with a fantastic endgame for Black. The two bishops, targets like a3, e s and bs, and the passed d-pawn are worth a lot. 24 .txc5 bxc5 Bl ack is still for choice h ere, but it is not as good as 2 3 ...0.xd4 would h ave been. 2 5 'iff3?! 2S .l:!.ed1 was better, intending 0.c4. It's not much fun for White, but h e is not in big trouble here. 25 ....l:!.a7 26 'ifc3 .l:!.d7 27 .l:!.ad1 ilh5 28 .l:!.b1 'i¥b6 29 'ife3 0.d4

White has lost ground step by step over the l ast few moves. His position is now critical and with the next move matters become very easy for Bl ack. 30 @h1?? 0.c2 31 'ifg5 0.xe1 32 .l:!.xe1 .tg6 33 f4 .id3 34 f5 'ifh6 3 5 'iVxh6 gxh6 36 ilh3 .txb5 3 7 e6 fxe6 38 fxe6 .l:!.d6 39 0.f3 d4 4o @g1 .tc4 41 e7 d 3 42 0.d2 .tf7 43 .l:!.e4 c4 0-1 Summary A general conclusion about this set-up, characterized by White playing an early b4 and .tb2, is that Black obtains some key squares for his pieces (cs and often e6 for the knights), and a ready-m ade target to attack in the pawn on e s . He n eeds to decide whether to place the bishop on fS /g4 or on b7. Both plan s are viable most of the time, as we h ave seen on move 1S in the m ain g ame. One key problem for White is that he does not have a simpl e, apparent pl an available. I quite like Black in this line, at least from a practical point of view - his position is just easier to pl ay.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

Game 4 1


G ro n i ngen Open 2000 1 d4 tt:'if6 2 c4 e6 3 tt:'if3 i.. b4+ 4 tt:'ibd2 o-o 5 a3 i.. e 7 6 e4 dS 7 es White sometimes starts with 7 cxds exds 8 es tt:'ifd7 9 i.. d 3, leading to the gam e posi­ tion . In fact th at was the actual move order of the g ame given here, but I have changed it to the more normal one to include those sidelines where White delays the capture on ds. 7'ifd7 8 i.. d 3 In stead, 8 cxds exds 9 i.d3 is a n alternate road t o the m ain g ame, while 8 b 4 was ex­ amined in Levin-Goganov (Gam e 40), above. s ... cs

9 cxd s Compared to the space-gaining approach of Levin-Goganov, White relies on fluent piece pl ay in the centre. The position can be compared to a French Defence - it looks just like a French Tarrasch, but with White's c-pawn exchanged for Black's e-pawn . On a very abstract level this seem s excellent for Bl ack, as the light-squared bishop is not a problem anymore. The concrete lines, however, are far from clear. White h as al so tried to del ay the exchange and develop first with 9 o-o tt:'ic6 10 .l:f.e1 as. This is very similar to the m ain g ame, but, of course, the exchan g e on ds h as not been played. This allows White to pl ay 11 tt:'ib3, after which 11...dxc4 12 i.. x c4 a4 13 tt:'ixcs tt:'ixcs 14 dxcs 'iWxd1 15 .l:!.xd1 tt:'ias 16 i.. a 2 i.. x cs was solid for Black in R. Leitao-R.Hungaski, Mar del Plata 2012. H ere the more interesting move is 11...b6 12 i..f4 dxc4 13 i.xc4 a4 14 tt:'ibd2 (14 dS ! ? exds 1 5 i.. x ds tt:'idb8 16 tt:'ic1 .l:ta7 17 i.. e 4 'iWxd1 18 .!:txd1 tt:'ias is an interestin g altern ative, leading to about equal play) 14 ... cxd4 1 5 i..b s i..b 7 16 i.. x c6 i.. x c6 17 tt:'ixd4 i.. d s 18 iVg4 400

B og a - I n d i a n w i t h 4 t[J b d2

'it>h 8 and Black h ad the bishop-pair in K.Sasikiran-M.Adam s, I stanbul Olympiad 2012. This position is probably about equal too, but at least Black knows that in the long term he is fine. Another try for White is 11 i.. c 2, but Dominguez Perez had no problem s with both 11.. . .l::t e 8 and 11...'11Vc 7, played on subsequent days(!) versus Giri and Gelfand in the Khanty­ Man siysk Grand Prix 201 5 . In stead, White's most aggressive move and probably the critical test o f the whole line at the moment is 9 h4, which is examined in Wagner-Socko (Game 42), below. An important point to remember is that 9 Qc2 should be an swered with 9 ... h 6, which will very likely tran spose to 10 111Vc 2 examined below. 9 ... g6 instead is very tricky to handle due to 10 cxds exds 11 e6, which sees White attackin g with a draw in h and. 9 exd s ...

10 0-0 The most n atural choice, but there are two altern atives worth m entionin g : a ) The move 1 0 h4!? i s examined i n the notes t o G am e 4 2 , a s i t is s o similar t o 9 h4 th at I felt it should be dealt with in the same m ain g ame. b) In stead of the caveman-style h 2-h4 or the simple o-o, White h as also tried the subtle 10 111Vc 2. In fact h e can play 111Vc 2 at almost any point, provoking ...h6. After 10 ...h 6 11 0-0 t;Jc6 12 .l:!.el (White n eeds to support es) 12 ... as the simil arities with the main line are ob­ vious. H ere White has tried various moves: bl) 13 i.fs cxd4 14 t;Jb3 '11Vb 6 1 5 i.. x d7 ? (15 e6 t}Jf6 16 exf7+ .l::t xf7 17 .tg6 .t:!.f8 18 t;Jbxd4 was still okay for White) 1s ... .txd7 16 111Vd 3 .l:!.ae 8 ! (16 ... a4 was only about equal in M.Socko­ J . Demina, Plovdiv 2008) 17 i.. d 2 a4 18 t;Jbxd4 .tcs 19 i.. C 3 i.. g 4 and Black is already slightly better. b2) 13 dxcs t;Jxcs 14 t;Jb3 t;Jxd3 15 111Vx d3 is probably around equal, but Black h as ob­ tained the two bishops as a long-term asset. In the g am e C.Seel-M.Wahls, G erman League 2006, Bl ack quickly got the upper hand after 1s ... .tg4 16 t;Jfd4 a4 17 1!1Vg 3 111Vc 8.


O p e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d ia n

Now 18 lll x c6 bxc6 19 lt:Jd4 was necessary, but certainly no worry for Black. In the game 18 e6? was played and now 18 ... h S ! 19 lt:Jxc6 bxc6 20 lll d4 i.f6 2 1 il.e3 i.xe6 would h ave given Bl ack a clear advantage. b3} Funnily enough the strong Polish GM Robert Kempin ski h as pl ayed 13 �di? ! here. After the natural reply 13 ... .l:.e8 14 lllf8 1s dxcs i.xcs 16 lt:lb3 i.b6 (a fairly typical po­ sition for this line has arisen) 17 i.f4 i.g4 18 i.g 3 ii.c7 19 h3 i.xf3 20 �xf3 i.xes Black was winning the e s-pawn and with it the g ame in R. Kempin ski-A. Naiditsch, Griesheim 2002. b4) White h as al so tried the regrouping 13 lt:lfl cxd4 14 lt:Jg 3 lll c s. White's pl ay is geared towards playing a piece to fS; both options have been tried, but only lead to a good g am e for Black: b41) 1 S il.fs il.e6 ! (in A.Sokolov-A. Rotstein, Sofi a 1988, Black pl ayed 1 s ... �6, which al­ lowed 16 il.xh 6 ! and only leads to a draw at best for Black) 16 i.f4 (White has other possi­ bilities, but Black has a good gam e anyway) 16 ...�d7 17 .l:.ad1 a4 18 lll xd4 lt:Jxd4 19 .l:.xd4 .l:.ac8 20 �1 lllb 3 21 .l:.dd1 .l:.c4 and the d-pawn will soon become a strong asset. b42) 1s lllfs lllx d3 16 �xd3 i.xfs 17 �xfs �c8 18 �d3 ii.cs 19 i.d2 �e6 20 .l:!.ac1 b6 2 1 �S and h ere in the g am e A.Czerwon ski-W. Kruszyn ski, Lubniewice 1994, a repetition oc­ curred with 21 ... lt:Ja7 22 �d3 lll c 6 23 � s . Black could have continued, though, with 23 ... a4, which still leaves White searching for concrete compensation for the pawn . Frankly speaking, I don't think �c2 is a very useful move for White. Black seem s to ob­ tain good pl ay again st it without any particular effort. We now return to 10 0-0: 10 lllc 6 ...


B og o - l n d i a n w i t h 4 tiJ b d 2

11 .l:!.e1 In stead, 11 dxcs tZJxcs 12 ..tb1 kg4 13 'ii'c 2 g6 14 b4 tfJe6 did not trouble Black, who had obtained good central control and no weaknesses in S.Temirbaev-D. Boch arov, Salekhard 2006. 11 ... a s The move 11 . . .l:te8 is almost extinct nowadays, but for no particul ar reason . The text move is probably slightly better, but there is nothing wrong with the old move eith er: for instance, 12 'ii'c 2 h 6 13 tiJfl .1Lf8 14 .1Lf4 tfJxd4 15 tfJxd4 cxd4 16 b4? ! (16 tiJd2 was better, with about equal chances) 16 ... aS ! 17 l:tabl axb4 18 axb4 g s 19 kg 3 kg 7 and Black was clearly for choice in L. Portisch-P.Nikolic, Tilburg 1988. 12 kc2 White has some other moves, often tran sposition al ones: a) It is hard to complete development without moving the d2-knight, so 12 tiJfl is a popular altern ative. After 12 ... cxd4: al) Quite common at this point is 13 'ii'c 2, which tran sposes to 10 'ii'c 2, above. a2) White has al so tried 13 kc2, which will tran spose to the m ain g ame. a3) 13 tiJg 3 tZJcs 14 kc2 was played in R.Kaufman-K.Holroyd, Arlington 2010. Now Bl ack should pl ay 14 ... kg4, intending 1 5 h 3 kxf3 16 'ii'xf3 .l:!.e8 17 ..\tf4 d3 18 .1Lxd3 tfJxd3 19 'i¥xd3 kg s 20 kxg s 'iVxg S with easy equality. The computer points out some possible im­ provements along the way, but th ey are all risky for Black, like going ... 'iVb6-b2 while White h as all his pieces in the attack. b) White al so h as 12 'ii'c 2, which again tran sposes to 10 'ii'c 2. c) H armless is 12 dxcs tZJxcs 13 tiJb3 tZJxd3 14 'ii'x d3 ..\tg4 1 5 tiJbd4 'i¥d7 (a move like 1 s ....l:!.c8 keeps more tension in the position if Bl ack wants to fight) 16 tZJg s kxg s 17 kxg s tfJxd4 and a draw was agreed in L.Schandorff-5.Kindermann, Thessaloniki Olympiad 1988. 12 ....l:!.eS


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

1 2 ... cxd4 is al so popular, but allows 13 tZ'lb3, giving the d2-knight an easy route t o activ­ ity. I prefer to keep the ten sion. 13 tZ'lf1 White has also tried to continue the waiting game with 13 h 3 , after which Bl ack h as some choice. I like 13 ... g6, staying flexible and preparing a possible bishop tran sfer to g 7 (13 . . .�C7 and 13 . . .tZ'lf8 al so seem fi n e t o m e , but less convincing in comparison). This posi­ tion h as only been reached once, in U . Boensch-0.Lehner, Austrian League 2001. The former coach of the G erman nation al team now played 14 i.. a4 .l:.b8 1S .tbs, securing the centre. It's obvious, though, th at Black did not experience any problem s after 1s ... i¥b6 16 a4 tZ:Ja7 17 .txd7 i.xd7 18 dxcs i.. x cs 19 .l:.e2 i¥b4 (19 ... tZ'lc6 is al so possible when 20 tZ'lb3 .if8 2 1 i.. e 3 i¥b4 2 2 .id2 'i¥b6 is a way t o e n d the game quickly} 20 b 3 tZ'lc6 2 1 .ia3 'i¥b6 2 2 .ixcs 'V:Wxcs 23 .U.c1 i¥b4 24 tZ'lf1 l:tbd8, with equal ch ances. 13 cxd4 14 .if4 Altern atively, 14 tZ'lg 3 tZ'lf8 (14 ... g 6 ! ? is suggested by Houdini, with a slight edge for Black already; the text move is perfectly okay as well} 1 S tZ'lxd4 .Iles 16 tZ'lxc6 bxc6 17 .ie3 i..b 6 18 i.. x b6 �xb6 19 l:tb1 .l:!.a7 20 .ifs i.. e 6 21 �g4 .l:!.ae7 and again Bl ack was slightly for choice in G . Hertneck-H . Hecht, Munich 1988. 14 'V:Wb6 .•.


4 04

B og a - I n d i a n w i t h 4 tb b d2

Just keeping the pawn . In A.Yusupov-J . Ehlvest, 3rd m atchg ame, Saint John 1988, Black returned the pawn and went 14 ... tb.f8 15 tb.xd4 .tcs 16 tb.xc6 bxc6 17 .tg 3 'iib 6, with a po­ sition somewhat simil ar to Hertn eck-Hecht, above. Bl ack is okay h ere, but 14 ... �b6 seem s even stronger. 15 .l:lb1 15 tbg 3 is no real improvement: for in stance, 15 ...tb.f8 16 tb.fs .txfs 17 .txfs g6 18 .td3 tbe6 and again Black is better, intending ... .tf8-g7. 15 ...tb.fs 16 h3 .te6 16 ... tb.e6 ! 17 �d2 .td7 was a good and probably better altern ative when White does not have enough for the pawn . 17 tb.1d2 tb.g6 18 .tg3 f6 19 exf6 .txf6 20 .td3 .tf7 Black has kept the extra pawn, but it is obviously difficult to convert. Th at said, a draw is the best White can hope for. 21 �c2 tb.f8 22 .td6 g6 23 .tc5 �dB 24 .l:lxe8 �xe8 2 5 .txf8? 2 5 tb.b3 tbd7 26 .txd4 tb.xd4 2 7 tb.bxd4 l:tc8 2 8 'iWd2 is al so uncomfortable, but better than the g ame. 2 5 ...�xfS 26 �b3 �e7 27 'iWb6

4 05

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

27 ....l:!.c8? 27 ... a4! was more precise, keeping the knight passive. 28 .l:!.c1 'it>g7 29 tt:Jb3 Now White has gained some activity, with lt:Jb3-c5 being one idea. 29 'i'd8 This allows a forced sequence that leads to a draw, but by now Bl ack h ad missed his ch ance. 30 'ii'x b7 l:tb8 31 'ii'xc6 .l:!.xb3 3 2 'ii'c 2 'ii' b 8 33 .l:!.b1 .i.. e 6 34 g4 .l:!.b7 35 'ii'c 6 .i..f7 36 gs il.e7 37 tt:Jxd4? 37 .l:!.el is better. 37 .txgs 38 lt:Je6+ ..txe6 39 ·�xe6 ..•

. .•

39 .l:!.xb2? 39 ... .l:!.f7 ! is great for Black, but the point 40 'ii'x ds il.e 3 ! is h ard to spot in time trouble. ••.


B og o - J n d i a n w i t h 4 0i b d 2

After 41 .l:!.f1 .l:!.xf2 4 2 .l:!.xf2 'iVg 3+ 43 'iVg 2 �xf2+ 44 @f1 'iVxd3+ 45 @xf2 'iVc2+ 4 6 Wg 3 'iVxg 2+ 47 @xg 2 Black wins with 47 ... a4. 40 .l:!.xb2 'iVxb2 41 'iVxd s 'iVxa3 42 'iVxgs 'iVxd3 43 'iVe7+ @g s Yz-Yz Summary Looking at the lines given here White's approach with 9 cxdS looks less th an convincing. Black seem s to obtain reason able play without any particul ar problems and quite often even g ains th e upper h and quickly, with White struggling to keep his centre and sacrificing the d4-pawn. White badly needs improvements here - the current theoretical status of this line is excellent for Black.

Game 42 D. Wagner-B.Socko

Lo n d o n C l a s s i c O p e n 2014

1 d4 0if6 2 c4 e6 3 0if3 �b4+ 4 0ibd 2 o-o s a 3 �e7 6 e4 ds 7 es 0ifd7 8 �d3 cs 9 h4 There's nothing subtle about this move. If Black is not yet awake, the g ame will be short and painful. This is probably the only line in the book where you are absolutely forced to look at all the concrete lines and learn them by heart - solving this position over board is not a very rewarding idea. Before we look at concrete moves after 9 h4 we should check 9 cxds exds 10 h4.

This is obviously closely related to the m ain subject of this game, but on an abstract level the exch ange shoul d favour Bl ack, as he g ains addition al defen sive resources: a) 10 ... 0ic6 ! ? is one of them : al) Now the tempting 11 �xh 7+ is not convincing at all, but this is very hard to figure out for White over the board: 11 ... @xh 7 12 0ig s+ @g 8 13 'iVh s 0if6 14 exf6 �fs is the only 407

O p e n i n g R e p e r t o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

move; i t not only prevents mate, but i n fact leads t o a clear advantage for Black after 1 5 fxe7 'Vi'xe7+: a11) Now 16 'ii'e 2 is an swered by 16 ...'Vi'd7 17 tt:Jb3 {or 17 o-o? tt:Jxd4 18 'Vi'd1 i.c2 19 'Vi'h 5 f6 and Bl ack is close to winning) 17 ... .l:!.fe8 18 i.e3 tt:Jxd4 19 tt:Jxd4 cxd4 and Bl ack is clearly better. a12) That leaves 16 @f1, but after 16 ... tt:Jxd4 White is very uncoordinated. He needs to play 17 g 3 .l:!.ae8 18 'it>g 2, but now 18 ... 'ii'd7 is very difficult for White to meet: for example, 19 b4 .l:!.e2 20 tt:Jgf3 tt:Jc2 21 .l:!.a2 tt:Je3+ 22 'it>g 1 tt:Jg4 and White's position falls apart. a2) In stead of the sacrifice, there al so is the aggressive 11 tt:Jg 5 ! ? h6 12 e6 fxe6 13 tt:Jxe6 tt:Jde 5 ! ? {not strictly necessary, but not playin g this spectacular move would be a shame; nevertheless, 1 3 ...'Vi'e8 is al so interesting after 14 tt:Jxf8 i.xf8+ 1 5 'ii'e 2 'iVxe2+ 16 i.xe2 tt:Jxd4 17 i.d1 tt:Je 5 with some compensation) 14 tt:Jxd8 tt:Jxd3+ 1 5 'it>e2 tt:Jxf2 16 tt:Jxc6! {an­ other only move) 16 ...bxc6 17 °iVa4 tt:Jxh 1 18 'iVxc6 .l:!.f2+ 19 @e3 cxd4+ 20 'it>xd4 i.f6+ with a draw by repetition . Maybe there is something better even along the way, but I didn't m an ­ a g e t o find a win for Black. Thus it seem s th at 10 ... tt:Jc6 is an interestin g move, worth investigatin g more. b) Black m ay al so simply play 10 ... h6, as happened in all five tests of thi s line.

White h as now tried various moves: bl) 11 b4 cxd4 1 2 tt:Jb3 tt:Jc6 13 i.f4 .l:!.e8 14 o-o i.xh4 1 5 .l:!.e1 i.e7 was okay for Black in H . Pilaj-H.Hecht, Solingen 2005. Black is two pawns up, but will lose d4 for sure. It's just a m essy position where precise calculation will win the g ame. b2) Another logical move is 11 i.b1 .l:!.e8 1 2 'iWc2 tt:Jf8 13 dxc5 tt:Jbd7 14 0-0 tt:Jxc5 1 5 b4 tt:Jce6 16 g3 b6 17 tt:Jb3 i.a6 with interesting, but equal play in V.Stegariu-G . Kantor, Par­ dubice 2012. b3) A couple of years ago Ding Liren, now one of China's top players, went 11 tt:Jg 5 cxd4 {11 ... tt:Jc6 would tran spose to variation 'a2', above; the text seems to be even better though) 12 e6 {12 tt:Jdf3 ! ? tt:Jc6 13 e6 tt:Jde5 is another messy altern ative) 12 ... tt:Je5 13 exf7+ tt:Jxf7 14 408

B og a - I n d i a n w i t h 4 {[J b d2

{[Jxf7 l:!.xf7 lS �S 'ii'd 6 16 lllf3 lll c 6, but Black is better here with his extra pawn and be­ cause White's attack h as come to an end. After 17 .i.d2 'ii' e 6+? ! {17 ... .i.d7 18 0-0 .l::i. af8 was better, keeping a clear edge) 18 @fl 'ii'g 4 19 'ii'x ds .i.e6 20 'ii'e 4 'ii'x e4 21 .i.xe4 the g am e was drawn a couple o f moves l ater in Ding Uren-Zhou Jianchao, Beijing 2009. The 9 cxds exds 10 h4 line i s rare in practice, but dangerous - and for both pl ayers. Both 10 ... {[Jc6 and 10 ... h6 are playable, leading to wild complications which require g ood nerves and calculation skills. We now return to the immediate 9 h4: 9 g6 If you compare this position to 9 cxds exds 10 h4 you will see th at 9 ... lll c 6 ?? just loses to 10 .i.xh 7+, as Black l acks the n ecessary ....ifs resource. However, 9 ... h 6 has been played multiple times and is worth investigating. It ultimately seem s to fail, though, to cut a long analytical story short. The problem line runs 10 .ii.b l .l::t e 8 11 dxcs as 12 'ii'c 2 lllf8 13 lllfl ! and here Black comes under heavy fire. ...

I h ave tried to m ake this position work, but it just seems to be too tough to defend. I still very much believe in human intuition and my intuition says that 9 ... h6 should be better than 9 ... g6 - concrete an alysis, however, shows that this is not the case. One key problem with ... h6 is that quite often White can just sacrifice on h6 and crash through. One very brutal example of this is the following: 13 ... {[Ja6 14 .i.xh 6 ! , as in S.Kapnisis-K.Markidis, Ach aia 2013, and now 14 ... g xh 6 l S 'i'd2 �g7 16 {[Jg 3 fS 17 exf6+ .i.xf6 18 {[Jh s + �f7 19 'i'xh 6 sees White storming Black's king position quickly. So in the end you have to pl ay 9 ... g6, no matter what your intuition m ay tell you.

4 09

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

10 hS The most obvious move, but White has tried others. Almost all of them tran spose, which m akes some sense as you can hardly play without h S : a) 1 0 b4! ? is very creative, but probably doesn't lead t o much i f Black reacts perfectly with 10 ... cxd4 (the only move; 10 ... cxb4 11 h s gives White a hug e attack) 11 �e2 tt:Jc6 12 cxds exds 13 e6 tt:Jf6 and now: al) 14 b S ! ? should be answered by 14 ... .ixe6 ! ? (14 ... tt:Jas is the engine choice, but in a practical game I prefer the piece sacrifice) 15 bxc6 bxc6 16 tt:Jxd4 .id? and Black will obtain a strong initiative in return for the m aterial . a2) After 14 tt:Jg s ? ! Black is better: 14 ... i.xe6 1 5 tt:Jxe6 fxe6 16 �xe6+ 'it>g7 17 o-o tt:Jh s ? was pl ayed i n B. Khoten ashvili-N. Dzagnidze, Geneva 2013, but in stead 17. . .�d7 would have secured a pretty big advantage. In the g ame, though, matters became very unclear and Black lost her way in the complications. b) 10 �c2 cxd4 11 cxds exds and h ere: bl) 12 hs tran sposes after 12 ... tt:Jcs to our m ain g ame. b2) 12 ctJb3 ? ! tt:Jc6 13 .if4 l:!.e8 14 0-0-0 tt:Jf8 was just too slow for White in W.Chu­ D.Raznikov, Albena 2014. c) 10 o-o looks somewhat strang e, but it was played by An and's second Gregorz G a­ jewski. After 10 ... cxd4 11 tt:Jb3 tt:Jc6 12 l:tel .ixh4 13 .ih 6 l:!.e8 14 l:!.cl White h as some com­ pensation, but Black is certainly not overly concerned and now 14 ... dxc4 improves on the 14 ... of G.Gajewski-F.Elsness, Fagernes 2014. d) 10 cxds exds 11 h S cxd4 is examined via 10 h S cxd4 11 cxds, below. 10 cxd4 ...


B og o - l n d i a n with 4 0. b d 2

11 �C2 This has been played the most often, but the alternatives are also important, especially 11 cxds which tran sposes to the main game: a) 11 hxg 6 seems to be relatively h armless. Note that it not only open s a file for White's rook, but al so one for the rook on f8. A key defen sive move is 11 .. .fxg6 12 �c2 �e8 and h ere: al) 13 0.b3 ? ! seem s n atural, but underestim ates Black's ideas.

Indeed, 13 ... .l:f.xf3 ! (the f-file ! } 14 gxf3 0.xes g ave Bl ack all the fun in S.Hautot-Z.Hracek, European Club Cup, Rhodes 2013. Now 1S f4? 0.xd3+ 16 �xd3 dxc4 17 �xc4 �c6 18 �xc6 0.xc6 led by force to a winning endgam e for Black. a2) 13 o-o 0.c6 14 .l:f.e1 as 1s cxds exds 16 .tbs 0.cs and Black is fin e in this interestin g position, Z. Kozul-Z.Arsovic, Sarajevo 2012. b) 11 cxds h as seen some new g ames of l ate and it might be where the interest is shift411

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

ing to. I t deserves close study i n any case. After 11 ... exd5 { 1 1 ... tt:Jc5 ? 12 d6 ! is very strong for White) White has tried a few moves, but only 12 e6 and 12 'i'c2 {tran sposing to the main g ame) look dang erous to me: bl} 12 hxg 6 fxg 6 13 'i'c2 'i'e8 is similar to 11 hxg 6 above and fine for Black. b2} 12 tt:Jb3 ? ! is too slow and after 12 ... tt:Jc6: b21) White should play 13 e6 tt:Jde 5 14 tt:Jbxd4 ..ixe6 when Black should be okay, but it is very complicated. b22) 13 ..if4 is the only move th at has been pl ayed here {three games in Mega Database 2015), but is not good I think. Following 13 ... g 5 ! 14 ..ig3 g4 15 e6? (15 tt:Jfxd4 tt:Jdxe5 is bet­ ter for Bl ack, but still preferable to the text) in L.J avakhishvili-M.Socko, Erfurt 2014, Bl ack could have played 15 ... gxf3 ! 16 exd7 fxg 2 17 .l:tg 1 ..ixd7 18 .l:txg 2 .l:te8 ! , which is a tough move to find. Black allows the discovery, but White h as no good one and is lost, at least if Black plays perfectly like a computer. b3) 12 e6 {a very forcin g move) 12 ... tt:Jc5 13 exf7+ .l:txf7 14 ..ib1 is all only moves up to this point, but here Black h as a choice:

b 3 1) 14 ... 'i'd6? ! 1 5 hxg6 hxg 6 16 b4 was better for White in 1 . Khenkin-N.Huschenbeth, H amburg 2014. Huschenbeth him self suggested the improvement 14 ... ..if6 in his video series on the Boga-Indian for b32) 14 ... ..if6 1 5 hxg 6 hxg6 16 ..ixg 6 �g 7 17 �h 6 'iYe7+ 18 @f1 d3 19 @g 1 iVe2 20 'i'xe2 dxe2 2 1 ..ic2 ..ie5 is his {and Stockfish's ) main line.


B og a - I n d i a n w i t h 4 0. b d 2

Black is definitely not worse here, but of course there are various points where you can dig deeper, even in the final position of the line. b4) 12 �c2 0.cs leads back to the main g am e and therefore is Black's most economical choice. There are al so 12 ...'iVe8 and 12 ... 0.c6, but they do not lead to a bl ack edge, just the usual murkiness. c) 11 Nb3 was played successfully by Navara against Timman in Wijk aan Zee 2015 . However a few months later Timm an's 11 . . . dxc4 was improved upon i n the g am e A.Boruchovsky-T. Banusz, Zal akaros 201 5 : 11 . . . 0.c6 12 i..f4 dxc4 13 i.. x c4 g s ! ? (the impor­ tant point) 14 i.. g 3 g4 15 0.fxd4 0.dxe s 16 o-o and White h ad some compen sation for the pawn in this unconvention al position. An interesting point is th at l ater N avara did not re­ peat 11 0.b3, but switched to 11 �c2 again st Najer (see below). 11 0.cs Again, there is not much choice for Black. 12 cxd s This is the m ain line and especially important for us because of the move order starting with 11 cxds - there we end up in the same position as in the main game. What el se is there for White? a) 12 i..f1 was chosen by Ivan Cheparinov in one of the first games where 9 h4 was pl ayed. It seem s defused today. G etting rid of the potentially dangerous bishop with 12 ... d3 m akes g ood sense (Bl ack could investig ate altern atives - Nicl as Huschenbeth's 12 ... 0.c6 is fine as well , as is 12 ... as of D.Navara-E.Najer, J erusalem 2015 - but we have enough on our plate in this line anyway), and after 13 i.. x d3 0.xd3+ 14 �xd3 my suggested improvement is 14 ... b6. ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

Bl ack played 1 4... dxc4 i n two g am es, but th at move h as one drawback. An important positional feature h ere is the knight on d2 - as long as there is a pawn on dS, this knight is badly placed. Once the pawn moves, though, the knight can join the g am e via e4 or c4. This is the common sen se ratio behind not taking ; the concrete moves are 1 S 'iie 3 g s 16 tt:Jxc4 tl:ic6 17 tt:Jxg s 'iid s 18 .l:.h 3 'iixc4 19 tl:ixh 7 with a m ess where White has a forced draw if wants one. Let's explore a bit after 14 ... b6: a1) 1 S cxds 'iix dS ! (1s ...i.a6 16 'iie 3 'iix ds 17 tt:Je4 tl:id7 18 hxg6 fxg 6 19 .l:.xh 7 leads to a draw) 16 'iix ds (or 16 'iie 3 i.b7 ! preventing tl:ie4) 16 ... exds and with the bishop-pair and queens off, only Black can be better. a2) 1S hxg 6 fxg 6 16 tt:Jd4 'iic 7 (16 ... dxc4 17 'iix c4 'iid s 18 'iix ds exds is a slightly worse version of line 'al', but still comfortable for Black; 16 ... 'iic 7 is stronger, though) 17 tt:J2f3 dxc4 18 'iie 2 c3 and White is struggling . a 3 ) 1 S 'iie 3 g s ! and it's not easy for White here: a31) 16 tt:Je4 and now 16 ... h 6 is strategically fine if you don 't trust the capture, but there is 16 ... dxe4! 17 'iix e4 'fie?, after which 18 tt:Jxg s (18 'iix a8? tl:ic6 is very simple and 18 i.xg s i.b7 19 'iih 4 .l:.e8 al so fails for White) 18 .. .fs 19 exf6 i.xf6 20 'iix a8 tl:ic6 sees Bl ack coming out ahead. a32) 16 cxds 'iix ds 17 tt:Jxg s i.a6 ! (17 ... 'iix g 2 18 'iie 4 'iix e4+ 19 tt:Jgxe4 is less ambitious) 18 tl:idf3 .l:.d8 19 i.d2 tl:id7 with a nice initiative for Black. b) White al so h as 12 i.e2, after which I suggest just playin g 12 ... d3 and going for the same line as after 12 i.fl. c) 12 hxg 6 does not pose any problems, as early g ames from 2012 showed. Indeed, it is quite surprising that it was played by two GMs in 2014, but they didn't add anything n ew to the equation . After 12 ... tt:Jxd3+ 13 'iix d3 fxg 6 White has lost his dangerous light-squared bishop and Bl ack h as a fine position. The open f-file is also useful .


B og o - l n d i a n w i t h 4 0. b d 2

c l ) 1 4 0.xd4 0.c6 1 5 0.xc6 bxc6 16 '1Wti 3 l:!f7 1 7 0.f3 dxc4 18 o-o 'ii'd 3 and Black was al­ ready the more comfortable in Y.Shulman-G. Kaidanov, Saint Louis 2012. c2) 14 cxds 'ii'x ds 1 5 'ii'xd4 0.c6 16 'ii'x ds exds and Black had clearly the better g am e in l . Nyzhnyk-Y.Quesada Perez, Arlington 2014. Quite a curious g ame as llya Nyzhnyk is a 4 0.bd2 specialist - did he confuse something in his preparation ? c3) 14 'ii'x d4 0.c6 1 5 'ii'e 3 and now 1 s ... 'ii'b 6 (in stead of the 1 5 ... as of V.Zakh artsov5.Sagar, Dresden 2014) 16 'ii'c 3 as leaves White fighting with his clum sy development against Black's bishops. Returning to 1 2 cxdS: 12 exd s Black even h as some choice here after a ton of forced moves, but 12 ... exds fits very well as it m ay also arise from the 11 cxdS move order - so we kill two birds with one stone (or feed two birds with one seed if you're veg an). Still let's have a brief look at the alternative 12 ... 0.xd3+ 13 'ii'x d3 and then : a) 13 ... 'ii'x ds is the first option . There is a drawback, though : White basically h as a draw in h and in some very forcing complication s: 14 0.e4 0.d7 1 5 i.h6 l:!e8 (1s ... 0.xes ? 16 0.xes 'ii'xe s 17 f4 is in sufficient for Black) 16 i.g s b6 17 i.xe7 l:!xe7 18 0.f6+ 0.xf6 19 exf6 J::i. d 7 20 hxg6 fxg 6 21 �d2 'ii'd 6. ...


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

This has all been best play and with n o chance t o deviate. After 22 g 3 ( 2 2 .l:txh 7 already ends in a perpetual here) 2 2 ... e 5 ? ? (22 ... °iff8 was the only move and now 2 3 .l:txh 7 would draw h ere as well) 2 3 l:txh 7 (now this is not a draw, but a win ) 2 3 ...'ifxf6 24 .l:th 6 l:tg7 2 5 l:tah 1 �f8 26 °ife4 l:tb8 27 'ifxe 5 'ifxe 5 2 8 tLixe 5 .ib7 29 l:t1h4 .l:.d8 30 I:th 8+ .l:Ig 8 3 1 .l:t4h 7 l:txh 8 3 2 tLixg 6+ Bl ack resigned in E .Can-M.Kazhg aleyev, Turkish Team Championship 2014. From a practical point of view, this line makes little sen se for Black. He h as no ch ances to win and any misstep might prove very costly. b) 13 ... exd5 is the second option and will probably tran spose to our m ain g ame. I don 't think there are good deviation s, at least for White: 14 tbxd4 (otherwise, ... i..f5 will come with tempo) 14 ... tbc6 (14 ... tbd7 1 5 hxg 6 tLixe 5 16 gxh7+ �h 8 is a crazy line that Stockfish evaluates as equal after a while - any takers?) and now 15 tLi2f3 is the transposition. 13 tbxd4 13 hxg 6 tbxd3+ 14 °ifxd3 fxg 6 15 tbxd4 tbc6 will very likely tran spose to the game. 13 ...tbc6 Black is perfectly fine with this n atural move, but 13 ... tbxd3+ 14 �xd3 �6 is suggested by Huschenbeth and worth lookin g at if you dislike the g am e because it is a bit too equal for you. 14 tLi2f3 tbxd3+ 15 �xd 3 l:te8 I am a bit sceptical about the 15 ... .ltc5 ?! 16 tLixc6 bxc6 of A.Sorokin-M.Askerov, Izhevsk 2014, when 17 °ifc3 .ie7 18 .ih 6 l:te8 19 hxg 6 fxg 6 20 �xc6 is an improvement for White. 16 hxg6 fxg6 17 o-o .ig4


B og o - J n d i a n w i t h 4 lD b d 2

I think Black h as equalized here. H e h as the bishops and no serious structural problems. Moreover, his kin g is safe, for once in this line. 18 .Jlh6 "ild7 19 l::!.fe1 .Jlxf3? This g ets Bl ack into trouble. H e had a good regrouping with 19 ... .Jld8 20 .l:iacl .Jlb6, keeping the ch ances equal . 20 e6! "ild8 21 "ilxf3 .Jlf6 22 e7? 2 2 t2Jxc6 bxc6 2 3 l::!. a cl l:!.c8 24 b4 would h ave been very hard to defend. 22 ... .txe7 23 t2Je6 "ild7 24 l::!.a d1 .Jlh4! The only move, but it keeps Bl ack in the g ame. 2 5 l::!.xd 5 "f/f7 26 "flxf7+ @xf7 27 l::!. d 7+ l::!.e 7 28 l::!.x e7+ .Jlxe7

From h ere on the result was not in doubt, but they continued until (almost) just the bare king s were on the board. 29 lDg5+ @gs 30 l::!. d 1 l::!. d S 31 l::!. x dS+ .JlxdS 32 t2Je4 .te1 33 @f1 @f7 34 lDg5+ .txg5 3 5 41 7

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - / n d i a n

..txgs @e6 36 @e2 @d s 37 @d 3 tl'ies+ 38 @c3 h s 39 f3 a 6 40 b 3 tl'if7 4 1 ilf4 tl'id8 4 2 a 4 tl'ie6 43 ile3 gs 44 @d3 @es 4S @e2 @fs 46 @f2 tl'if4 47 @f1 tl'id 3 48 @e2 tl'ies 49 @f2 tl'ic6 so ..tb6 tl'ib4 s1 @e2 tl'id s s2 ..td4 tl'if4+ S3 @f1 tl'id 3 S4 ile3 tl'ies SS @e2 g4 S6 fxg4+ tl'ixg4 S7 @f3 tl'ies+ S8 Wg3 We4 S9 ..tb6 tl'ig6 60 ilcs @d s 61 ilf2 @e4 62 b4 bs 63 axbs axbs 64 ..tcs @d3 6S ..td6 @c4 66 @h3 @d s 67 .tbs @d4 68 ..td6 @e4 69 g4 hxg4+ 10 @xg4 tl'ies+ 71 @g3 tl'id3 72 ..tf8 @e3 73 @g2 @d2 74 @f3 @c3 7 S @e2 tl'ixb4 76 @d1 tl'id 3 77 ..te1 @c4 78 @c2 tl'ics 79 ..txcs @xcs Yz-Yz Summary The line 9 h4 is a typical case of modern, very concrete chess. White tries to overrun Black with direct aggression th at dem ands a precise respon se. I think the m ain line presented in the g am e is a very sen sible approach for Black. H e m anages to exchange the light-squared bishop on d3 and secures his king position . The whole 4 tl'ibd2 0-0 compl ex very much depends on the 9 h4 line as White's other at­ tempts look rather harmless, as examined in the earlier games. It is very likely that new innovation s from the white side will start with 9 h4 or similarly spirited approaches, so if you want to invest tim e analysing yourself and expanding my overview, I recommend fo­ cusin g on 9 h4.


C h a pt e r F o u rt e e n


T h e C a t a l a n B o go : d 4 tiJf6 2 C4 e 6 3 g 3 � b4+

1 d4 ltJf6 2 C4 e6 3 g3 i.b4+

With 3 g3 White aims to reach a Catal an after 3 ... ds, but we don 't h ave to comply. A benefit of learning the Bogo-lndian as opposed to the Queen's Indi an is th at by checking on b4, we still get the position type we are looking for and don 't need to learn something en­ tirely different here. The only addition al lines are not th at theoretically challenging for Black and are examined in the following two g ames. After 4 tt:Jd2 I recommend 4 ... cs. This move gives Black a sound position and is the most reliable from a theoretical point of view. Black quite often reaches comfortable positions in the style of the H edgehog, as h appened in a g ame of mine in the 2014 European Club Cup. A more testing approach was played in the g am e G evorgyan-Palac (Game 43), which exam419

Op e n i n g R ep e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

ines this line i n detail. Instead, 4 .td2 as will tran spose to the regul ar Boga almost all of the time as lllf3 is such a n atural for White to make soon . The few in depen dent possibilities th at White h as are an alysed in the game Abdel Razik-Moiseenko (Game 44).

Game 43

D.Gevorgya n -M.Pa lac

E u ropea n I n d ivid u a l C h a m p io n s h i p, Ye reva n 2014

1 d4 lZ:Jf6 2 C4 e6 3 g3 i.b4+ 4 tiJd2 CS This is probably the most reliable move. However there is a very low m aintenance alter­ native th at usually just tran sposes into the regul ar Bogo with 4 lllb d2 d6, starting with 4... lll c 6.

Now the most obvious move is s lll g f3, after which s ... d6 simply tran sposes to the aforementioned line with White committed to a g 3 set-up. If you like this structure, th at's a simple solution to the Catalan move order with 4 lZ:Jd2. Are there any altern atives for White though to avoid the tran sposition ? Let's check: a) 5 a3 .txd2+ 6 �xd2 and now both 6 ... ds and 6 ... b6 look feasible. This is all uncharted territory, though, th at you probably will never get on the board. b) The only other logical move is 5 e3, but after s ... es 6 dS lll e 7 7 a3 .txd2+ 8 .txd2 d6 Bl ack is certainly okay, as this is clearly an improved version of the original Boga line with 4 lllb d2 d6. 5 a3 The critical test. Others: a) White's main alternative is the simple 5 dxcs . Now the very logical m ain line goes s ... .txcs 6 .tg 2 o-o 7 lll gf3 lll c 6 8 o-o and here Black faces a fundamental choice: 420

Th e Ca t a l a n B og o : 1 d4 tl:Jf6 2 c4 e 6 3 g 3 il b 4 +

al) 8 ...d s i s perfectly fine and usually leads to IQP-type of position s which are a bit rare in our repertoire. Th at said, something like 9 a3 as 10 cxds exds 11 ti:Jb3 ii.b6 12 ti:Jbd4 .l::t e 8 13 b3 tl:Je4 14 ii.b2 'i!Vf6 1 s .l:!.c1 ..ig4 16 J::t c 2 'i!Vh 6 17 tl:Jxc6 bxc6 18 tl:Je s ? .l:!.xe s 19 i.xe s tl:Jxf2 20 .l:!.xf2 'ti'e3 was much more fun for Black in B.Tadic-G .Battaglini, Arad 2014. a2) I played 8 ... b6 in my game ag ainst Christoph Nogly in the European Club Cup in Bil­ bao, 2014.

It leads to complex pl ay and keeps some tension in the position : a21) My game against Nogly continued 9 a3 Ji.b7 10 b4 i.e7 11 i.b2 .l::t c 8. After the g ame I discovered that this position h ad been played quite a lot before; my preparation had basically ended with 8 ... b6 and I was just pl aying over the board. My opponent went for 12 'i!Vb3 (there is al so 12 e4 d6 13 'i!Ve2 'i!Vc7 14 .l::t a c1 'i!Vb8 1s .l::tfd1 as ! ? 16 bS tl:Je s with about equal chances in M. Kopylov-S.Vukanovic, Internet (blitz) 2004) 12 ... as ! ? (I wanted to chan g e the structure on the queenside to g ain the cs-square and complicate the g ame) 13 421

O p e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

b S ttJb8 14 �d3 (after 14 .Ufd1 �c7 1 S .Uacl l:tfd8 Ratmir Kholmov and Mikhail Tal already called it a day in Baku 1972, but they might well h ave continued) 14 ... g 6 ( I was irritated by tt::J g s ideas, so I decided to stop that idea altogether) 1S �d4?! (something like 1S .l:!.acl d6 16 l:tfd1 �c7 17 tt::J g s tt::Jb d7 improves and is about equal) 1 s ... d6 16 tt::J g s .txg 2 17 @xg 2 tt::Jb d7 18 l:tad1 es 19 �d3 ? ! tt::J c s 20 �c2 �c7 2 1 .Uc1 �7+ 2 2 'it>g 1 .l:!.c7 by when Black was already slightly better. Now with tim e trouble looming my opponent erred with 23 f3 ?, af­ ter which 2 3 ... tLlg4 netted me victory in 4S moves. a22) E.Steflitsch-A. Felsberger, Austrian League 1997, saw in stead 9 tLlb3 .te7 10 i.f4 and after 10 ... .ta6 11 .Uc1 .Uc8 12 i.d6 i.xd6 13 �xd6 �e7 14 .l:!.fdl �xd6 1 S .l:!.xd6 l:tc7 16 l:tddl l:tfc8 Black h ad good pl ay again st c4. b) A rare move is s tt::J gf3 when s ... cxd4 (s c 6 is also possible, but might lead to a tran sposition th at Black does not want: for in stance, 6 a3 .txd2+ 7 �xd2 cxd4 8 tt::J xd4 and we transpose to the 7 ... tt::J c 6 altern ative in th e main gam e th at probably is not everybody's cup of tea) 6 tt::Jxd4 �6 reaches a position which more often arises from other move or­ ders: for example, 1 c4 cs 2 tLlf3 ttJf6 3 d4 cxd4 4 tt::J xd4 e6 S g3 i.b4+ 6 tt::J d 2 �6, or even startin g with 1 d4 ttJf6 2 C4 e6 3 tLlf3 cs 4 g3 cxd4.

In any case, Black has no problems h ere due to White's misplaced knight on d2: bl) 7 a3 .tcs ! ? (7 ... .te7 is also simple and good) 8 tt::J 2 b3 ttJc6 9 tt::Jx cs �xcs 10 e3 tt::J xd4 11 �xd4 �c6 was fine for Bl ack in D.Blagojevic-V.Akopian, Kallithea 2002. b2) 7 e3 tt::J c 6 8 tLl4f3 (8 tt::J c 2 .te7 9 i.g2 ds equalizes easily as well) 8 ... ds 9 .tg2 o-o 10 o ­ o .l:!.d8 and Bl ack was okay in K.Ozturk-N .Dzagnidze, Kanya 2011. s i.xd2+ 6 �xd2 cxd4 7 tt::Jf3 After 7 �xd4 Black, of course, goes 7 ... ttJc6 and now White has tried almost all every queen move, which is very similar to the situation in the m ain game on move 10 (in fact 7 �xd4 will often just transpose to the m ain g ame): ...


Th e Ca ta la n B og o : 1 d4 0.f6 2 c4 e 6 3 g 3 i.. b 4 +

a) After 8 iVh4? ! Bl ack should deviate from routine moves and play 8 ... e s ! , intending ...0.d4 and now 9 0.f3 e4 10 0.d2 ds is already great for Black. b) 8 °iVc3 b6 will most likely l ead to the m ain game, but 8 ... ds 9 cxds �xds 10 0.f3 es is also attractive for Black. c) After 8 �dl both 8 ... b6 and 8 ... d6 9 0.f3 es 10 i.. g 2 0-0 11 0-0 i.e6 12 b3 h6 are two fine set-ups. d) 8 �d3 b6 (also possible is 8 ... ds 9 cxds 'iVxds 10 'iVxds 0.xds if you don't mind this type of endgam e) 9 0.f3 i.b7 10 .i.g2 is the cleanest road back to the m ain g ame. 1 b6 Black h as a very interesting alternative in 7 ... 0.c6. This leads to sharp play after 8 0.xd4 �6 9 (critical and probably best, but White can also go 9 liJf3 when after 9 ... o-o 10 b4 ds 11 c s �c7 a draw was agreed in 1.Hera-M.Pal ac, Oberwart 2011, although a possible continuation like 12 i.. g 2 es 13 i.b2 i.e6 14 o-o llle4 l eads to interestin g play, while after 9 e3 I like 9 ... o-o 10 i.g 2 es with equal play) 9 ... ds ! ? somewh at sharpen s the position . ...


O p e n i n g R ep e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

Now White has some choice, but checking on d 6 seem s critical : a) 10 cxds 'ii'xb s 11 dxc6 'i'xc6 12 f3 0-0 should give Black about equal play with his ex­ cellent development pitted again st the bishops. b) 10 'i'd3 was played in Y. Kuzubov-A.Zubarev, Kharkov 2007, and after 10 ... lt:Jg4! 11 i.e3 lt:Jxe3 12 'i'xe3 d4 Bl ack was in fin e sh ape. c) The n atural 10 i.g 2 ? ! o-o sees White struggling a bit (but not 10 ... tt:Jas ? 11 'i'e3 ! ); c4 hangs and is in th e air. Following 11 a4 dxc4 12 'i'c2 e s Black is fine. d) 10 lt:Jd6+ We7 11 cxds ! (the only move; all other moves lead to big trouble, as shown by 11 lt:Jxc8+ .l:!.axc8 12 i.g 2 lt:Jd4 and Black is already winning) and now: dl) The only sample g ame went 11, after which White could h ave pl ayed the cra­ zy-looking 12 b4 (12 e4 tt:Jb3 13 tt:Jc4 is another incomprehen sible computer line) 12 ... tt:Jb3 13 'i'b2 'ii'd4 14 .l:!b1 'i'xds 1S e4 tt:Jxe4 16 i.g 2 tt:Jxcl 17 .l:!.xcl 'ii'x d6 18 i.xe4 with good compensation . All this is very complicated obviously, but I don't trust 11 ... tt:Jas much . d2) 11 ... exds is probably best, reaching a unique position after 12 tt:Jxc8+ .l:!.hxc8. Black is excellently developed, but White h as two bishops again st two knights. Now th ere are only two moves to investigate: 13 'i'e3+ (the alternative is 13 i.h 3 tt:Je4 14 'i'f4 g s 1S 'i'fs and now Black must force a draw with 1s ... tt:Jd4 16 'ii'e s+ @f8 17 "Mi8+ 'itie7 18 'i'e s+ Wf8) 13 ... @f8 14 'ii'xb6 axb6 1 S i.h 3 .Ue8.

This sequence is quite logical, although now it's not easy to clearly evaluate the posi­ tion . A possible line is 16 @fl tt:Jas 17 .l:rb1 d4 18 i.fs tt:Jb3 19 i.f4 tt:Jds and it's about equal . This whole line starting with 7 ... tt:Jc6 and 9 ... ds leads to sharp and unexplored play. The ap­ proach of the m ain g am e with 7 ... b6 is much simpler to learn, but also less forcing and testing for White. 8 i.g2 A recent new try is 8 tt:Jxd4, as played in l . Papaioannou-N .Miezis, N akhchivan 2013. Af­ ter 8 ... i.b7 9 f3 o-o 10 i.g2 Miezis played 10 ... ds, which was fine, but I like the computer's suggestion of 10 ... i.a6 ! ?. Now 11 b3 ds 12 cxds 'i'xds 13 i.b2 tt:Jbd7 is about equal ; Bl ack 424

Th e Ca t a l a n B o g o : 1 d4 ti'Jf6 2 c4 e 6 3 g 3 ii. b 4 +

has a future ... tt'Jcs t o play again st the weakness on b3. 8 ii.b7 ...

9 'ii'x d4 White has an important alternative h ere in 9 0-0, giving Black a choice. a) 9 ... ii.xf3 ! ? is an interesting, early deviation . For example, after 10 exf3 ti'Jc6 11 f4 o-o 12 b4 .U.c8 13 ..ib2 d6 14 ..ixd4 ti'Jxd4 15 'ilVxd4 'ii'C 7 16 .U.fc1 .U.fd8 17 'ii'e 3 'ii'd 7 18 'ii'd4 v;gc7 19 'ii'e 3 'ii'd 7 20 'ii'd4 a draw was agreed in S.Volkov-E.Tomashevsky,Taganrog 2011. b) Much more common is 9 ... 0-0: bl) Now 10 ti'Jxd4 ..ixg 2 11 'it>xg 2 dS is very meek, giving Black an easy game. b2) 10 b4 is more interesting. This 9 0-0 0-0 10 b4 move order is especially relevant be­ cause the position might al so arise from a regular Boga move order - see the g am e lvan­ chuk-Kasimdzh anov (Gam e 38): b21) 10... ..ixf3 ! ? is an interesting new idea in this position that also avoids the pawn sacrifice with 11 ..ib2 that you might find annoying. After 11 ii.xf3 (11 exf3 ti'Jc6 transposes to Volkov-Tomashevsky, above) 11 ... ti'Jc6 12 b s (12 ii.b2 l:!.c8 13 ..ixc6 l:!.xc6 14 iixd4 .U.e8 1 5 l:!.fdl e s is equal ; Black obtains play against the c4-pawn t o compen sate for his d-pawn is­ sues) 12 ... tt'Jas 13 ..ixa8 1lVxa8 Black enjoys fine compensation for the exch ange.


Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

I n fact I think m any white pl ayers might b e inclined t o return i t immediately with 14 'it'xd4 (it's tough to analyse this position to a clear conclusion if White tries to hold on to the material ; one sampl e line is 14 'i¥d3 ll:le4 1 s .i::t a 2 es 16 .i.d2 lll c s 17 'it'c2 lll ab3 18 .i.b4 d3 19 �d1 lll d4 20 .i.xcs dxe2 21 J:txe2 bxcs 22 J:te3 fs with a very nice initiative for the m aterial investment) 14 ... lllb 3 1 S 'i¥d3 lll x a1 16 .i.b2 'Yi'e4 17 l:txa1 l:tc8 18 .i.xf6 'Yi'xd3 19 exd3 gxf6 and it's an equal endgame. There are ways for Black to deviate in this line, but it's good to prove first that simple play suffices for equality. All in all, the new idea of 10 ... .ixf3 seem s very viable. b22) The tried and tested move is 10 ... lllc 6: b221) After 11 lllxd4 lll xd4 12 'Yi'xd4 (12 .i.xb7 lllb 3 13 'Yi'd3 lll x a1 14 .i.xa8 'i¥xa8 1 S .i.b2 ds 16 l:i.xa1 l:t c 8 is very equal) 12 . . ..i.xg 2 13 'itixg 2 ds 1 4 cxds 'Yi'xds+ 1 s 'Yi'xds lll x ds 1 6 .i.b2 f S Black ag ain h as no problem s. b222) More dan g erous is 11 .i.b2 °inJ8 12 .Uac1 ! ? e s 13 e3 dxe3 14 ifxe3 l:te8 and White h as compensation for the pawn . While I (and the engines) believe that it is not more than enough compensation, I would still like to point you to the 10 ... .i.xf3 idea as a way to avoid it. Personally I would rather sacrifice m aterial for interestin g play than take it and need to be precise in defence. b3) White can al so just pl ay 10 'Yi'xd4 lll c 6 and we will transpose to the main game. 9 lllc 6 ...


Th e Ca t a l a n B o g o : 1 d4 tiJf6 2 c4 e 6 3 g 3 .1'. b 4 +

1o 'JJ/ic 3 This is the most popular move, but White h as tried just about everything else. The good n ews is that Black h as no problems in all lines and the play is rather similar: a) 10 �4 f!.c8 11 .tg 5 tiJa5 12 f!.c1 h 6 13 o-o o-o 14 .txf6 'JJ/ixf6 15 'JJ/ixf6 gxf6 16 tiJd2 .txg 2 17 @xg 2 .l:!.fd8 with an equal endgame in V.Mikh alevski-V.Yem elin, Beersheba 1998. b) 10 �f4 tiJa5 11 .td2 .l:!.c8 12 .txa5 bxa5 13 o-o 'JJ/ic 7 14 .l:!.fc1 'Vixf4 1 5 gxf4 .l:!.b8 and Black went on to win the endgame in N . Pushkov-V. Balashov, Moscow 2007. c) 10 �d3 tiJe5 (10 ... f!.c8 with ... tiJa5 to come is al so fine of course) 11 'Vid4 tiJxf3+ 12 exf3 .l:!.c8 13 .te3 .ta6 and Black h ad equalized in F.Vallejo Pons-AA.Carl sen, Monaco (blind­ fold) 2007. 10 f!.cS 11 b4 This move prevents ... tiJa5. White can al so ignore Black's idea and go 11 o-o tiJa5 12 b3 d5 13 .l:!.d1 o-o 14 'JJ/ib 2 . This very logical sequence was played in R. Kempin ski-A.Riazantsev, Warsaw 2011. Now in stead of Riazantsev's 14 ... 'JJ/ie 7, the engine suggestion of 14 ... 'JJ/ie 8 is strong : for in stance, 15 tiJe5 (15 .td2 dxc4 16 .txa5 bxa5 17 bxc4 .ta6 is h armless) 1 5 ... dxc4 16 .txb7 c3 17 'i!Vc2 tiJxb7 18 a4 tiJd5 19 .ta3 f5 ! and Bl ack is fine. 11 0-0 You can also start with 11 ... tiJe7 - it m akes no difference. 12 o-o tiJe7 ...


42 7

O p e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

Black h as g ood counterplay against c4 and no bad pieces. H e is well coordinated and holds the bal ance. 13 In stead, 13 i.b2 i.a6 14 tl:ies i.xc4 15 tl:ixc4 dS does not impress much . 13 ... tl:ie4 14 'ii'd 3 f6 1 5 i.e3 ds! The most straightforward way to go. Grandm aster Mladen Pal ac is a Bogo expert and he shows the right way h ere. In stead, th e 15 of K.Landa-A. Poluljahov, Sochi 2012, is less convincing due to 16 tl:id4! (Landa's 16 l:racl is al so not bad, but not as forcing) 16 ... tl:ixe3 (not 16 ... tl:ixd4 17 i.xd4 dS 18 l:rfdl! dxc4?? 19 'it'e3 and White wins) 17 'ifxe3 fs 18 :acl, which gives White n ag ­ ging pressure. 16 cxd s This looks normal, but there is also: a) 16 i.h 3 fs (16 is also fine) 17 l:rfc1 (or 17 cxds ?! :c3 18 'ii'd 1 tl:ixds 19 i.d4 :cs with ... tl:ic3 coming) 17 ... dxc4 18 l:rxc4 'iVxd3 19 exd3 tl:id6 20 :xc8 .U.xc8 with an equal, but still interesting endgame. b) White might sacrifice with 16 tl:id4! ?, which forces 16 ... dxc4 17 'iVc2 'ii'd s 18 l:rfd1. Now the cleanest move is 18 ... c3, leading to a draw after 19 tl:ib3 'iVfs 20 tl:id4 'ii'e s 2 1 tl:if3 ms 22 tl:id4 'ii'e s, and so on . 16 ...�xd s After this White probably maintains a very slight pull, but the somewh at less obvious move 16 ... i.xds leads to a very safe position for Black:


Th e Ca t a l a n B o g o : 1 d4 t'iJf6 2 c4 e 6 3 g 3 iL b 4 +

a) 1 7 .l:lfcl �d7 1 8 t'iJel t'iJd6 (initiatin g a long sequence; 1 8 ...'iih 7 is al so fine) 1 9 .i.f4 .txg 2 20 'ii'x d6 .tc6 2 1 .l:lxc6 'ii'x c6 2 2 �xe7 e s 2 3 .te3 .l:lf7 24 bs "i!Vxb s 2 s "i!Ve6 "i!Vc4 with an equal position. b) 17 .l:lacl 'ii'd 7 18 .l:lfdl .l:lxcl 19 .l:lxcl .l:lc8 20 .l:lxc8+ 'ii'x c8 2 1 t'iJd4 t'iJd6, again with equality. 17 t'iJd4 The best move, otherwise Bl ack might even be slightly more comfortable, such as after 17 �xds t'iJxds when c3 is a good square for a black knight. 11 ...t'iJfs 18 t'iJxfs 18 .l:lacl li:Jxd4 19 .txd4 .l:lfd8 20 l:lxc8 .l:lxc8 21 l:ld1 l:lc7 is also just equal. 18 ... exfs 18 ... 'ii'xfs could al so be con sidered. Let's have a look: 19 l:lacl l:lcd8 20 'ii'c 2 .tds 2 1 Wkc7 t'iJd6 22 'ii'x a7 t'iJc4 23 .l:tc3 Ji.. x g 2 24 @xg 2 bS and Bl ack h as some compen sation for the pawn . However, 16 ... .txds is really the spot to improve. 19 'ii'xd s+ This m akes it very easy for Black. 19 J::tfc1 ! was much better. Bl ack is struggling a bit after 19 ... .l:i.fd8 20 l:txc8 l:txc8 21 a4 l:ld8 (21 ... 'ii'x d3 22 exd3 li:Jd6 2 3 as is not much fun either) 22 "i!Vxds+ ii.xds 23 as and while h e might hold this, he is under con stant pressure. 19 .txd s 20 .l:lac1 @f7 21 .l:lfd1 @e6 •••


O p e n i n g R ep e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

Now Bl ack's excellent centralization gives him equal play. 22 f3 tt::l d 6 23 i..d 4 ilb3 24 .Uel .Uxcl 2S .Uxcl .Uc8 26 .Uxc8 tt::lx c8 27 @f2 tt::ld 6 28 i.. b 2 i.. c 2 29 i..fl tt::lc4 30 i..c 1 @d s 31 e3 tt::le s 3 2 i.. b 2 lll d 3+ 3 3 ii.xd 3 i..xd 3 34 @e1 @c4 3S @d2 i..f1 36 e4 @b3 37 @c1 ilg2 38 exfs ii.xf3 39 h3 i.. g 2 40 h4 ii.h3 41 @b1 ilxfs+ 42 Wal h s 43 i.. c l ii.e4 44 i.b2 @c2 44 ... ii.d3 ! 4S fs was winning here. The very brutal m ain line of the engine goes 46 .i.f4 (46 ii.b2 gs 47 hxg s f4 48 gxf4 h4 is easy) 46 ... @xa3 47 i.. d 2 @b3 48 ii.el bS 49 ii.d2 g s ! s o hxg s h4! S l gxh4 @c2 S 2 i..f4 a s with forced m ate i n 11 moves. 4S ii.d4 @d 3 Missing 4S ... 'it>b3 ! . 4 6 ii.b2 @c2 4 7 ii.d4 ilc6 4 8 ile3 @b3 4 9 i..c l ii. d 7 so i.b2 @c2 Sl i.d4 @b3 S 2 i.b2 @c4 S3 i.c1 @d 3 S4 ilf4 gs SS i.b8 fs S6 hxgs Yz-Yz To be honest, I am not entirely sure that the game score in the database is correct for the endgame, as there are some very weird spots. Summary Black obtains good play with 4... cs, but might al so consider 4 ... tt::l c 6. This option al so comes in handy if you prefer a more complex g ame, as some lines in the 4 ... cs complex are solid, but not very exciting, like the course of the m ain g ame, for example. Within the 4... cs line, th ere is the altern ative of 7 c 6, which is sh arper and might be worth a try as well.

Game 44

K.Abdel Razik-A.Moiseen ko World Tea m C h a m pi o n s h i p, Anta lya 2013

1 d4 tt::lf6 2 c4 e6 3 g3 i.. b4+ 4 ii.d2 as 430

Th e Ca t a l a n Bog o : 1 d4 ti:Jf6 2 c4 e 6 3 g 3 i. b4 +

This approach i s just as good as i n the regul ar Bogo move order. About 90% of the time it will just tran spose to what we already have examined, but sometimes White tries to reach independent positions. This g ame features those few attempts and is therefore rela­ tively light on comments. 5 i.. g 2 The most n atural follow-up, but White has also tried S ti:Jc3 : a ) The cl assical s . . .ds is fine, but doesn 't fi t our repertoire's dark-square flavour. b) s ... d6 is possible: for example, 6 i.. g 2 ti:Jbd7 7 a3 (7 ti:Jf3 e s tran sposes to a regul ar Bogo, as examined earlier) 7 ... i.xc3 8 i.. x c3 0-0 9 ti:Jf3 (9 �c2 ! ?) 9 ... tl:Je4 10 �d3 ti:Jxc3 11 �xc3 �e7 and Black h as not much to fear, but it is not very exciting. c) I like the active approach s ...ti:Jc6 6 ti:Jf3 (6 a3 i.. x c3 7 i.xc3 ti:Je4 is easy equality for Black, and 6 e3 e s is also harmless) 6 ... d6 7 i.g 2 (7 a3 i.. x c3 8 i.. x c3 ti:Je4 we already know) 7 ... e s . Here Black obtain s a fairly standard position : for example, 8 a3 (or 8 dS ti:Je7 9 o-o o-o 10 ti:Je1 i.. c s 11 Wh 1 i.. a 7 12 ti:Jd3 ti:Jd7 13 e3 fs 14 f4 e4 1S ti:Jf2 ti:Jf6 with an interesting, about even position in J . Benjamin-V. Eingorn, Reykjavik 1990) 8 ...i.. x c3 9 i.xc3 ti:Je4 (the typical simplification) 10 l:ic1 o-o 11 o-o ti:Jxc3 Oust before White might retreat to el) 12 .!:.xc3 a4 13 dS ti:Jb8 14 cs ti:Jd7 1 S cxd6 cxd6 16 �c2 b6 17 tl:Je1 tt:Jcs and Black was fine in G.Meins-E. Paehtz, G erman League 2013. s d6 This usually leads to a transposition to the m ain Bogo lines. If you like to experiment there is s ...ti:Jc6 ! ? 6 ti:Jf3 d6 7 0-0 es. This looks like our Bogo 4 i.. d 2 as m ain line, but with the black knight on c6 in stead of d7. This was discussed in the notes to Moranda-Bartel (Gam e 34). ...

43 1

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i re : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

6 e4 By far the most popul ar here is 6 lllf3, which directly tran sposes to the m ain line Bogo, while 6 lll c 3 was discussed via s lll c 3, above. Instead, 6 e3 is a very solid choice for White. It does not put any huge pressure on Bl ack, but aim s for a very h armonious set-up: a) Now the m ain move is the obvious 6 ... es, but the resultin g positions might not be to everybody's taste. Let's investig ate after 7 lt:Je2 0-0: al) 8 lllb c3 c6 9 0-0 was played in A. Korobov-A. Riazantsev, Dubai (blitz) 2014, when I suggest 9 ... exd4 10 exd4 (or 10 lll xd4 lllb d7 with a standard position type for our chosen line) 10 ... .i.e6 11 b3 (11 ds cxds 12 cxds .ifs 13 lll d4 i.. g 6 is al so fine) 11 ... ds and Black equalizes. a2) 8 o-o threatens, so 8 ... i.. x d2 9 'ii'x d2 l:te8 is prudent, and if 10 lllb c3 tt:\c6 (10 ... lllb d7 is probably too passive; 11 h3 exd4 and now 12 exd4! is better for White, in­ stead of the 12 lllx d4 of Wen Yan g-Wang Yue, Chinese Team Championship 2014) 11 b3 .ifs 12 h3 h 6 when White m aintains a slight pull. It's not easy to analyse these position s to clear equality, but White h as more space and the easier plans, while Black is very solid and h as no weaknesses. b) I didn 't like 6 ... es so much, so I looked for alternatives. A creative approach for Black is 6 ... i..x d2+ 7 'ii'x d2 o-o 8 lll c 3 c6 ! ?.


Th e Ca t a l a n B o g o : 1 d4 lhf6 2 c4 e 6 3 g 3 i.. b 4 +

The idea is t o switch to a ... ds-based set-up, similar t o the closed Catalan . For example: bl) 9 lt'Jge2 b6 10 o-o .ll a 6 11 b3 dS and Black should be okay. There is play again st c4 that will provoke White to exchange now I guess: 12 cxds cxds 13 .l:i.fc1 'iVd7 and with ... lt'Jc6 to follow, Bl ack h as equalized. b2) Maybe 9 0,f3 is better. Just one sample line to illustrate, as the whole idea with ... c6 is n ew: 9 ... lt'Jbd7 10 o-o b6 11 e4 .ll a 6 12 'iVe2 {not 12 e s ? dxes 13 dxes lt'Jxe s ! ), and now 12 ... ds and even 12 ... e s come into consideration. 6 es 7 lt'Je2 N ecessary. In stead, 7 dS ? ! lt'Jbd7 8 lt'Je2 lt'Jcs 9 'iVc2 i.. x d2+ 10 lt'Jxd2 h s ! gives Black an excellent position . 7 o-o 8 o-o .l:i.e8 8 ... exd4 9 lt'Jxd4 lt'Jbd7 tran sposes to a position type we are very familiar with from the regul ar Bogo. The precise position, however, is impossible to construct from th at move or­ der, but you'll know the ideas well enough just to pl ay it over the board. 9 d 5?! There is some logic to this, closing the centre after ....l:Ie8 is pl ayed. Still it poses no prob­ lems to Black. Instead, 9 lt'Jbc3 exd4 10 lt'Jxd4 lt'Jbd7 could h ave led to a familiar structure. ...



O p e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

This was Bori s Avrukh's recommendation for White i n h i s GM Repertoire book, cl aiming a slight advantage for White. I think this is debatable, as we h ave seen in Gam e 34 th at Black always h as good counter-ch ances against the white centre. 9 .ltJa6 10 lLlbc3 c6 Gaining some space on the queen side. With the bishop on g2 and White's control over bs weaken ed, this advance came strongly into con sideration . 11 h3 cxd s 12 cxd s i.cs 13 @h2 i.d7 ..

14 f4? 14 a4 was not pretty, but was probably n ecessary. 14 ... bs Now the white centre crumbles. 15 fxes .i::tx es 16 i.f4 .i::t h s 17 ttJg1 i.xg1+? Quite shockingly this is not good enough for a bl ack advantage. 434

Th e Ca t a l a n B o g o : 1 d4 tDf6 2 c4 e 6 3 g 3 il. b 4 +

1 7 ...� 6 is wh at the merciless engines suggest, with Black winning the exch an g e in most cases: for example, 18 0,f3 tDg4+ 19 @h 1 tiJf2+ 20 l:!.xf2 .i.xf2 2 1 tiJd2 g 6 and White is still in the game, if in serious trouble. 18 @xg1 .i.xh 3 19 .i.xh 3 l:!.xh 3 20 �f3? 20 e s ! was a tough move to fin d. After 20 ... dxes 2 1 .i.xes White g ains some serious ac­ tivity: for example, 21 ... l:!.h 6 22 d6 �6+ 23 @g 2 �7+ 24 �f3 'i'xf3+ 25 @xf3 b4 26 tiJb s and it's not at all clear. 20 ...�d7 21 l:!.ae1

21 ... 0,g4?! 21 ...b4! was right, kicking the white knight back first. 22 tiJxbs tiJh2 23 'i'e2 tiJxf1 24 l:!.xf1 gs 2s .i.xd6 Wh at a mess! 2 s ...l:!.h6 26 es �h3 27 �g2 tiJb4? After thi s White is much better, with the e-pawn becoming huge. 28 �xh 3 l:!.xh3 29 e6 fxe6 30 dxe6 tiJc6 3 1 e7 31 l:!.c1 ! was winning, but I can easily image that both players were in time trouble h ere. 31 ...tiJxe7 32 @g2 g4 33 ii..x e1 l:!.e8 34 l:!,f4 l:!.hs 3S llxg4+ @f7 36 tiJd6+ @xe7 3 7 tDxe8 'it>xe8 Bl ack has escaped to a rook endgame a pawn down, which is quite often the dream scen ario when you are in huge trouble. 38 @f3 I:th2 39 lle4+ @f7 40 I:te2 I:th1 41 Iles I:th2 42 I:tbs a4 43 a 3 hs 44 'it>e3 44 g4 was the fin al chance to obtain something serious. Following 44 ... hxg4+ 45 @xg4 'it>e6 46 @f3 'it>d6 47 @e3 llh 8 48 @d3 'it>c6 49 l:!.b4 lla8 I think Bl ack should hold, but am not taking any substantial bets on it. 44 [email protected] 4S I:tb4 @gs


O p e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

Now i t is a quite easy draw, a s Black is too active. 46 @f3 .l:tc2 47 .i:tbs+ 'it>g6 48 .l:tb8 'it>fs 49 .i:tbs+ 'it>g6 so .l:tb7 'it>fs s 1 .i:tb4 'i£tgs s2 .l:txa4 .l:txb2 S3 .l:tb4 .l:ta2 S4 .i:tbs+ 'it>g6 SS .i:ta s .l:tc2 S6 .l:ta8 .l:tc4 S7 a4 h4 S8 gxh4 .l:txh4 S9 as 'i£tg7 60 a6 .l:th6 61 'it>e4 .l:te6+ 62 'it>ds .l:tf6 63 @cs .i:tfs+ 64 'it>d4 .l:tf6! This is the key defen sive move th at you shoul d remember from this endgame. If the term 'Vancura Defence' does not rin g a bell, look it up in an endgame book or on Wikipe­ dia, which is an excellent ch ess resource nowadays. 6S .l:ta 7+ 'i£tg8 66 'it>d s .l:tb6 67 .l:ta8+ 'it>g7 68 �es .l:tc6 69 @d4 .l:td6+ 10 'it>cs .l:tf6 Yz-Yz Summary The Catal an Bogo with 4 �d2 as will transpose to the regular Bogo in the m ajority of cases. The independent tries for White are mostly harmless or will just tran spose at a later stage. The only line worth studying a bit is 6 e3, which is not g oing to wipe you out if you don 't know it, but does carry a bit of venom .


I n d ex of Va r i a t i o n s 1 d4 lllf6 2 c4 e6 and now:

A: 3 tllc 3 B: 3 lllf3 (and others) A) 3 lll c 3 .tb4 4 e3 4 .td2 - 13 4 'ifb3 - 17 4 .tg s - 22 4 a3 �xc3+ S bxc3 cs 6 f3 - 32 6 e3 - 41, 49 4 f3 cs S dS o-o 6 e4 6 ... bs - 60 6 ... d6 - 70 4 lllf3 cs S g3 lll c 6 6 .tg2 lll e 4 7 �d3 - 84 7 .td2 - 9 S 4 �C2 ltJc6 S ltJf3 d6 6 g4 - 2 2 2 6 .tg s - 292 6 a3 .txc3+ 7 �xc3 7 ... as - 229 7 ...0-0 - 241, 2 S 1 6 .td2 0-0 7 a 3 .txc3 8 .txc3 �e7 9 g3 - 263 9 e3 - 271 9 e4 - 278 4 0-0 5 .td3 s lll e 2 o-o 6 a3 .tf8 7 e4 - 113 7 dS - 122 . . .

43 7

Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og o - l n d i a n

s ... c s 6 tt:Jf3 6 tt:Jge2 ds 7 cxds - 130, 140 7 0-0 - 1SO 7 o-o 7 ds - 162 7 ....ixc3 8 bxc3 d6 9 tt:Jd2 9 e4 e s 10 ds lLie7 11 tt:Je1 - 169 11 tt:Jh4 - 178 9 ... es 10 dS - 189 1o i::tb 1 - 200 B) 3 tt:Jf3 3 g 3 .ib4+ 4 tt:Jd2 - 420 4 .td2 - 430 3 .ib4+ 4 .id2 4 tt:Jbd2 4 ... d6 - 3 S7, 366 4 ...o-o s a3 ( s g 3 - 37S) s ....ie7 6 e4 (6 g3 - 382} 6 ... ds 7 es tt:Jfd7 8 b4 - 390 8 .id3 cs 9 cxds - 400 9 h4 - 407 4 ... as s g3 S a3 - 303 S tt:Jc3 - 309 s ... d6 6 .ig2 tt:Jbd7 1 o-o es s tt:Jc3 8 .iC3 - 3 17 8 .ig s - 326 8 e3 - 332 8 ... 0-0 9 �C2 - 340 9 dxe s - 349 ••.


I n d e x of

C o m p l ete

Ga mes

Abdel Razik.K-Moiseenko.A, World Tea m C h a m pion s h i p, Anta lya 2013 Abel.T-Kveinys.A, German League 1998 Anagnostopoulos.K-Antic.D, l st h m ia Open, Vrachati 2014 Antic.D-Goumas.G, Anogia Open 2014 Avrukh.B-Wojtaszek.R, French Tea m C h a m pion s h i p 2011 Docx.S-Hausrath.D, Belgia n League 2013 Esen.B-Kotsur.P, Troms Olym piad 2014 Evdokimov.A-Gelashvili.T, World Open, P h i l a d e l p h i a 2012 Fries Nielsen.J-Ward.C, Pol iti ken C u p, Cope n hagen 1994 Gevorgyan.D-Palac.M, E u ropea n I n d ivid u a l C h a m pion s h i p, Yereva n 2014 Giri.A-Belezky.A, Germa n League 2014 Gonzalez Vidal.Y-Ortega.M, C u b a n C h a m pion s h i p, Sa nta C l a ra 2014 Henrichs.T-Berkes.F, Ka rpos Open, S kopje 2014 lvanchuk.V-Kasimdzhanov.R, F I D E World C h a m pion s h i p, Tri pol i (ra pid} 2004 lvanisevic.1-0nischuk.A, F I D E World C u p, Kha nty-Ma nsiysk 2011 Jobava.B-Wojtaszek.R, FIDE World C u p, Kha nty-Ma n s iys k 2011 Kasparov.S-Bologan.V, Minsk Zon a l 2000 Khenkin.1-Anton Guijarro.D, S pa n is h Tea m C ha m pion s h i p 2012 Kveinys.A-Sielecki.C, Llucmajor Open 2014 Lenderman.A-Sielecki.C, Bad Wiessee 2014 Levin.E-Goganov.A, C h igorin Memoria l, St Pete rs b u rg 2014 Malakhatko.V-Sielecki.C, Latschach Open 2013 Mamedyarov.S-lvanisevic.I, Troms O lym piad 2014 Moiseenko.A-Gaprindashvili.V, Koca e l i 2002 Moranda.W-Bartel.M, Pol ish C h a m pionsh i p, Wa rsaw 2012 Nakamura.H-Carlsen.M, G a s h i mov Memori a l , S h a m k i r 2014 Nakamura.H-Ponomariov.R, Wij k a a n Zee 2011 Nyzhnyk.1-Bluvshtein.M, G ron i n ge n Open 2000 Peng Zhaoqin-Plasman.H, Hoogeveen Open, Essent 2001 Potkin.V-Bruzon Batista.L, Wij k a a n Zee 2012 Richter.M-Howell.D, W u n siedel 2012 Sasikiran.K-Eingorn.V, FIDE World C h a m pion s h i p, Moscow 2001









430 326 1 78 349 122 263 382 229 17 420 2 78 113 1 89 3 75 22 41 13 309 1 69 303 390 357 222 84 340 70 95 400 251 332 49 366










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Op e n i n g R e p e rt o i r e : N i m z o a n d B og a - I n d i a n

Sielecki.C-Deglmann.L, B a d Wiessee 2014 . . . . 292 Sokolov.1-Gundavaa.B, J a ka rta Open 2013 . 140 Sokolov.1-Swiercz.D, French Tea m Cha m pion s h i p 2013 . 150 Stefansson.H-Navara.D, Reykjavi k Open 2012 . . . . . . 31 7 Sutkovic.D-Predojevic.B, Med iterra nea n Open, Rijeka 2011 .................................................. .32 Tomashevsky.E-Predke.A, Russia n Higher League, Yekate ri n b u rg 2013 .......................... 130 Ulko.J-Goganov.A, I z hevsk 2014 1 62 Valerga.D-Peralta.F, Argentinea n C h a m pio n s h i p, Buenos Aires 2010 .............................. 241 Van der Stricht.G-Sielecki.C, Belgia n League 2014 ................................................................. 200 Volkov.S-Pashikian.A, Agza mov Memori a l , Ta sh ke nt 2014 .................................................... 60 Wagner.D-Socko.B, London C l a ssic Open 2014 ....................................................................... 407 Zaja.1-Jakic.1, Bosn jaci Open 2014 ................................................................................................ 2 71 ..



















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