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  1. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    16 Apr '10 23:40
    Hi folks,

    After 20+ years of the King's Indian/Benoni and the Dutch, I have started studying the Nimzo/Queen's Indian complex. I am curious about the following position:



    The three main 4th moves for black are 4. ... b6, 4. ... 0-0, and 4. ... c5. I would like to hear what current Nimzo players think about these three moves (or other alternatives), what they prefer to play, and why.

    Thanks ahead of time for your input!

    Paul
  2. Standard member Exuma
    Anansi
    17 Apr '10 01:31
    Hi Paul - I play the Nimzo (and Bogo) and have enjoyed watching the Weyerstrass variation of the Queen's Indian on RHP (the latter seems to start from the idea of simply eliminating the c3 knight and controlling the e4 square). Either white knight gets Bb4. After the other knight plays (to the position in your diagram) I really feel like the three moves you have chosen are equal - mainly because I intend to play them all and Bb7 as well. I tend to go with c5 first, and often you get 5. e3 b6 6. Bd3 Bb7. There is some psychological pressure when you attack that d pawn that the white player pushed out first Also since you are used to the Benoni, you will already be familiar with what can happen if the response is d5. Sometimes you get g3 in response to c5, and I admit this I have not worked through on a board very well at all.

    Here is one I played from your FEN position with c5 -

    Game 4942492

    And here is a cool one (Not me!) with Nakamura playing g3

  3. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    17 Apr '10 01:37
    Originally posted by Exuma
    Hi Paul - I play the Nimzo (and Bogo) and have enjoyed watching the Weyerstrass variation of the Queen's Indian on RHP (the latter seems to start from the idea of simply eliminating the c3 knight and controlling the e4 square). Either white knight gets Bb4. After the other knight plays (to the position in your diagram) I really feel like the three moves you ...[text shortened]... 6 Bg7 45. Rxa6 Rc1
    46. Rc6 Rxg1+ 47. Kxg1 Bd4+ 48. Kh1 Rb8 0-1
    [/pgn]
    Thanks for the input! Your game was very close to the style of game I tend to play.

    What really interested me in the Nakamura game was that the black position reminded me of a Kan/Paulsen Sicilian- I could see Nimzo players prefering that form of the Sicilian and vice versa.

    I'll also have to check out Weyerstrass's games- I did not even consider that.
  4. Standard member Exuma
    Anansi
    17 Apr '10 01:42
    Originally posted by Paul Leggett
    Thanks for the input! Your game was very close to the style of game I tend to play.

    What really interested me in the Nakamura game was that the black position reminded me of a Kan/Paulsen Sicilian- I could see Nimzo players prefering that form of the Sicilian and vice versa.

    I'll also have to check out Weyerstrass's games- I did not even consider that.
    Here is a good Weyerstrass one - he is entering from e6 after d4 before Nf6 - hoping for the French!

    Game 1086658
  5. 17 Apr '10 02:02
    In the line you've posted, since white has not played 4.e3, he still has the possibility of playing 5.Bg5. So I'll throw in my 2 cents about that possibility:

    After 4...c5 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4, you have transposed into a line of the Leningrad that, 25 years ago when I was an active tournament player, was considered very promising for white. That assessment may no longer be valid today, but personally I would avoid it against someone who knows what they're doing.

    After 4...b6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4, the continuations that give black the most chances are very sharp. The most promising plan for black back in the mid-80's was to play 6...g5 and launch an attack on the k-side, and the resulting positions I would characterize as knife-fights.

    On the other hand, if white *doesn't* play 5.Bg5, you might be able to demonstrate to him why 4.Qc2, and later, 4.e3/5.Ne2 became popular

    Personally, after 4.Nf3, I really like 4...d5 transposing intto the QGD Ragozin, which I find gives black active piece play, but then you're not playing the Nimzo anymore.
  6. 17 Apr '10 10:52
    After Nf3 (which is quite a rare move, I play the nimzo and have only seen it once).

    4...d5 is indeed a ragozin, if you like this kind of play its a decent move.
    4...b6 leads to either a queens indian (after 3...b7 4.Nc3) or the Rubinstein variation of the nimzo (5. e3 Bb7 6. Bd3)

    4...0-0 is not that good, after 5. Bg5 c5 6. e3 white has a much better position than in the standard Leningrad (4. Bg5 h6 5.Bh4 c5 6. e3). This is because after 6...Qa5, white has either 7. Bxf6 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 Qxc3+ 9.Nd2 or 7. Bd3 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 Qxc3+ 9. Kf1, both with good attacking chances against the black king, whereas in the original Leningrad the king is not yet castled.

    After 4...c5, which is the most popular, white usually turns to the g3 system, but with 4.Nf3 instead of 4.g3, he eliminated blacks option of 4.g3 0-0 5.Bg2 d5.

    After 4...c5 5.g3 black has a few very good options:

    5...Ne4, which was Karpovs choice a few times against Kasparov.
    5...Nc6, which prepares Ne4, is seen as better nowadays.
    5...b6, which is an unusual plan of setting up a kind of hedgehog.
    5...cxd4, after which 6.Nxd4 leads to a variation of the English opening.

    Hope this helped a bit...
  7. 17 Apr '10 13:00
    Gatusso's correct! It's the lines with ...O-O and Bg5 that are bad for black, not ...c5 and Bg5 in general. My atrophied Patzer brain mis-remembered. Sorry for the misinformation.

    If you're going to play the Nimzo, it's worthwhile to look at a couple of Leningrad games so that it doesn't catch you by surprise. Spassky was a big proponent of the Leningrad and also Jan Timman:

    Playing ...h6/Bh4:





    and without ...h6/Bh4



  8. 17 Apr '10 16:29
    I've avoided Nimzo for the past ten years because I don't really care for either the bogo or the queen's indian. That said, I love the dynamics of playing c5 or d5 in that position. As white I'll avoid those lines by playing f3 rather than Nf3.
  9. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    18 Apr '10 02:17
    Originally posted by Gatusso
    After Nf3 (which is quite a rare move, I play the nimzo and have only seen it once).

    4...d5 is indeed a ragozin, if you like this kind of play its a decent move.
    4...b6 leads to either a queens indian (after 3...b7 4.Nc3) or the Rubinstein variation of the nimzo (5. e3 Bb7 6. Bd3)

    4...0-0 is not that good, after 5. Bg5 c5 6. e3 white has a much bette ...[text shortened]... d4, after which 6.Nxd4 leads to a variation of the English opening.

    Hope this helped a bit...
    This is good stuff. As an aside, I have had two games recently with Nc3 and Nf3. One game started as a QID, but the guy played 4. Nc3 and we transposed back, while the other game started 3. Nc3 and 4. Nf3.

    I'm starting off by trying to get a real good handle on the first five moves, and the posts so far have been awesome.

    Paul
  10. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    18 Apr '10 02:18
    Originally posted by Artardo
    [b]Gatusso's correct! It's the lines with ...O-O and Bg5 that are bad for black, not ...c5 and Bg5 in general. My atrophied Patzer brain mis-remembered. Sorry for the misinformation.

    If you're going to play the Nimzo, it's worthwhile to look at a couple of Leningrad games so that it doesn't catch you by surprise. Spassky was a big proponent of the Lenin ...[text shortened]...
    I really appreciate the work you put into this, and I am definitely going to give the Leningrad some serious attention. This is good stuff.

    Paul
  11. Standard member Exuma
    Anansi
    18 Apr '10 04:43
    Wow, yes great thread - I don't think I have ever seen 4 Bg5 myself. Guess now I'd better learn it
  12. Standard member Exuma
    Anansi
    05 May '10 16:05 / 1 edit
    Hi Paul - here is one I played just recently as white and lost rather badly (I am clearly outmatched). Would love some analysis and or feedback, I'll go through it myself too and post more later.

    Game 7339414

    Edit - actually - 22 e4 was the first mistake, a forehead slapper, just gave away the central pawn, and most of my play was about that push at the right time. At move 25, the N coming back to f3 made things worse, but I thought I might still find a draw with the queens on and kept playing. 30 Nd4 was a full on nose dive, but I'll tell you I did not even consider ...Qb7 - just missed it altogether. Resigned as it was no fun even trying to be a pain anymore
  13. 05 May '10 22:25
    Originally posted by Exuma
    Hi Paul - here is one I played just recently as white and lost rather badly (I am clearly outmatched). Would love some analysis and or feedback, I'll go through it myself too and post more later.

    Game 7339414

  14. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    06 May '10 16:40
    Originally posted by Exuma
    Hi Paul - here is one I played just recently as white and lost rather badly (I am clearly outmatched). Would love some analysis and or feedback, I'll go through it myself too and post more later.

    Game 7339414

    Edit - actually - 22 e4 was the first mistake, a forehead slapper, just gave away the central pawn, and most of my play was about that push ...[text shortened]... b7 - just missed it altogether. Resigned as it was no fun even trying to be a pain anymore
    Hopefully Artardo or Gatusso will provide some insight, as I am still learning the Nimzo myself. Black's play certainly looks pretty strong, so there is definitely no shame in losing a good game like that!
  15. 06 May '10 17:37 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Badwater
    [pgn]
    [Event "April 2010 Quartets III"]
    [Site "http://www.redhotpawn.com"]
    [Date "2010.04.11"]
    [EndDate "2010.05.05"]
    [Round "1"]
    [White "Exuma"]
    [Black "Bob Wade"]
    [WhiteRating "1763"]
    [BlackRating "2029"]
    [WhiteELO "1763"]
    [BlackELO "2029"]
    [Result "0-1"]
    [GameId "7339414"]

    1. d4 Ng8f6 2. c4 e6 3. Nb1c3 Bf8b4 4. Qd1c2 c5 5. dxc5 Nb8a6 6. N ...[text shortened]... Kg1h1 Nf6e4 28. Qb2d4 Ne4xd2 29. Qd4xd2 f6 30. Nf3d4 Qc7b7 0-1
    [/pgn]
    I don't have time to take a very close look (I will later though) but dxc5 is a horrible move, don't take pawns on c5 in closed openings! (ok, that may be too much of a generalization) But seriously, don't take that pawn, just as you shouldn't take on c5 in an exchange grunfeld. You give away a centre pawn and can do nothing with that open d-file.

    In this line your best bet is to play e3 and when he takes on d4 take back with your e-pawn. This will give you an IQP (after he played d5 and dxc4) but nice play, look at the Anand-Topalov game going on right now. Play the opening as Anand played it there! You get an IQP but very active pieces and good attacking chances. Botvinnik loved to play these nimzo positions with white, look up some of his games.

    And to all nimzo players (with white or with black), buy the Zurich 1953 tournament book by Bronstein, the nimzo (especially the rubinstein variation) was at it's height in that time and a lot of very good nimzo games are to be found in that book. Besides, the book is one of the best chessbooks ever written!