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Pfren and others, thanks for your insight. I might have to (re)focus on the 0-0, d5, c5 stuff again. But I guess knowing the general ideas on Huebner doesn't hurt one's chess too much either.
Dear pfren, sorry you don't find the video worthwhile, but you might not realize you are speaking only to someone like yourself, who already knows the history of the opening and the ideas. For someone who knows little or nothing about the Hubner, the video is quite instructive. I agree one needs to know the "topical" lines but historical lines could be played at any time by lower rated players, or be resurrected by higher rated players. Just because this video is incomplete does not mean it is not worthwhile for most of us.
BMcC333, thanks for your thoughts (very informative). I can't check your stats as I reimaged my computer and could not find the original disks for CB 11. 59% winning is a nice statistic, but I would like to see the numbers for over 2400 and also the last 2 years / 5 years / 10 years. (From what you said I would expect to find fewer and fewer games played each year.) Also, you did not mention if there are any results / stats in the database for 10. ...Ne8!? which has been played successfully though (perhaps, I do not know) maybe not at the top.
As far as Hertan and the "grand plan," ...b6, ...Ba6, ...Na5, ...O-O-O, that certainly is a classical plan but even many, many years ago, I don't think that was the way people were playing the Hubner. Fischer did not play that way against Spassky in 1972, and I think there was a book by by Pritchet, probably from the 70s, that showed ...Ne7, guarding the K-side, and not ...Na6, as the way to play the Hubner. (I think he showed lines with ...O-O as well as ...O-O-O.) I believe (without having access to databases to verify this) that Hubner himself played ...Ne7 and not ...Na5.
Finally, even by your own statistics, people are playing 5. Ne2 or 5. Bd3 followed by Ne2 (combined) considerably more than Nf3, so Nf3 is not a world beater. Of course the intention of the alternatives may or may not be to avoid the Hubner.
Thanks for pointing out that ...O-O / d5 / c5 is more topical (I think Karpov used to play this way) and I agree that "I would like to see an entire video devoted to Nd2 with emphasis on Rb1."
@ rvkoivu: It already has been mentioned in this thread, but anyway: In the so-called Portisch variation, 9.Nd2! 0-0 Bareev's 10.Rb1! b6 (10...Qe7 11.d5 e4 12.Nxe4 Nxe4 13.dc6 is simply depressing) 11.h3 Bd7 12.f4 is extremely annoying to meet. I have worked on this position a lot (Houdini told me after a little thought that Black is comfortably equal) but the truth is that Black has serious problems!
After a lot of work, I simply switched to 4...0-0! and puff, all problems gone. I would really love to see a satisfactory line for Black in my beloved Huebner variation, but at a serious level, the position after 10. Rb1! looks not appetizing at all.
@ pfren: as a Nimzo-player, I would be interested to know what white responses were so inconvenient that you decided to quit playing this variation?
I was playing the Huebner variation all the time in my youth- then at some point I played more mainstream Nimzos, because of particular problems I have met in the Huebner, and haven't resolved successfully.
This article just touches the surface of the Huebner variation, and does not answer ANY of the critical continuations which are questioning its validity- so I consider it a poor piece of information.
Retired and refuted are 2 different things. There is fashion in openings. When I say pro chess I am not referring to the many people who make a living off the game but those who appear regularly on the world stage and are covered by outlets like Crowther's "The Week in Chess, (TWIC)" . I will paraphrase an excellent article by Charles Hertan who fell victm to Rb1 in the early days while hunting for norms in Europe and reported back to us in Chess Horizons, the Northeast's best local magazine. "After Rb1, when I finally realized I had to castle short, I understood the "grand plan" (b6/Na5/Ba6 and usually 0-0-0 with Queen to a4 or other moves needed to win the doubled c4 pawn) of the Hubner was dead." The position after Nd2 is far from closed as knights usually need, although it is clearly not lost. It has been at least 10 years since I can remember a Hubner system being in TWIC. It is just not done anymore by the top pros. As to the idea that white is the one avoiding this line, after e3 there are 12,835 games where black castles, abandoning any hope of the grand plan Hubner, compared with 9844 4...c5, threatening a Hubner. Once 4...c5 is played 5261 people play Bd3 while 3046 duck out of "allowing the Hubner" with Nge2. Once Bd3 is played and Nc6 follows, 1370 play Nf3 compared to 1257 Nge2, so it is clear that most people do not avoid the Hubner, but instead happily play right into it. More people playning black choose alternatives to the Hubner than try to play the grand old plan. The scale has tipped back to the classic 0-0/d5/c5 plan as I said earlier. These stats do not track recent trends, but there is clearly no mass movement away from the Hubner by white after e3. When the Hubner was popular and working, the Queen's Indian was seen more often. Due to the play of Kramnik and others, Qc2 is also common. I said the vidoe is well worth playing through for the well explained strategic ideas but for the topical nature, once we get to move 9, there are 228 Nd2, 141 Ng5 and 110 d5, so it is very clear Portisch's Nd2 has become the dominant line. There are then 227 0-0 (some from transpositions) which abandons the classic grand plan. After 0-0 Rb1 scores 59% so the proof is in the pudding. Lines that score 41% are not popular pro lines, black never got his closed position nor has meaningful play on the c4 pawn been demonstrated. I don't think this means black is lost, but there is work to be done for this to return to its former glory. Hubner had an idea that won many games and was played at all levels. This is more than many world champions can say. The bottom line is that the glory days are gone and anyone intent on playing the Hubner should focus on Portisch's excellent pawn sac to keep the game open and not on the dream of stealing the c4 pawn and winning an ending. I would like to see an entire video devoted to Nd2 with emphasis on Rb1. Dzindzi's expertise could impact fashion in this line.
Yeah I'm definately impressed with the material given here as it is relevant for my repertoire as black. It's nice to know that after the Nimzo has been played, whatever direction white wants to take the game there is always a valid reply for black. Thanks Roman
HOLD IT, all you folks who are dissing both Dzindzi and Robert Hubner:
I went over to chess.com (including the forums) as well as other sites and they all say: (1) The Hubner is well respected; (2) often White avoids the Hubner by playing Ne2 either before or after Bd3. Yes, the move 10. Rb1 is topical (and it would be nice to see it covered in a second video), as is to a lesser degree 10. Re1!?. In the game BMcC333 mentions, 10....Bd7 is probably weak. One idea that has been played in response is 10....Ne8!? with the idea of ...f5. It is a game. White has chances and so does black. The Hubner is neither refuted nor under a cloud, but the debate continues as it does with every decent opening system.
It is not white who refuses to play this position at the pro level. (@ Chowie) They have been playing the classical d5/c5 set up based on improvments (Rb1) to the famous pawnn sac Portisch-Timman Wijk aan Zee 1978 8 0-0 and 9 Nd2! I did not see Dzindzi cover this line, but did not sit through the whole video, I saw he said people usually played d5 at the position of Nd2. Maybe this video predates the popularity of Rb1. That said the strategic ideas discussed make this video well worth watching by anyone not a top pro.
I see on chesslab that people have been experimenting on move 10 with Re1 and other ideas, but here is a prototype game from the system that "retired" the Hubner from pro chess:
[Event "26th European Club Cup"][Site "Plovdiv BUL"][Date "2010.??.??"][White "Korobov,A"][Black "Polak,T"][Result "1-0"][WhiteElo "2670"][BlackElo "2535"][ECO "E41"][Round "5"]1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 c5 5. Bd3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bxc3+ 7. bxc3 d6 8. O-O e5 9. Nd2 O-O 10. Rb1 b6 11. h3 Bd7 12. f4 exd4 13. cxd4 Re8 14. Qf3 Qe7 15. d5 Nb4 16. Rxb4 cxb4 17. e4 b5 18. cxb5 Rab8 19. a4 Rbc8 20. Bb2 Rc3 21. Rf2 Rxd3 22. Qxd3 Nxe4 23. Re2 f5 24. Nxe4 fxe4 25. Qd4 Qf7 26. Qxa7 h5 27. Qd4 Qg6 28. b6 Bxh3 29. b7 e3 30. Qxb4 Bg4 31. Rxe3 Rxe3 32. b8=Q+ Kh7 33. Qd4 1-0
@chowie Your observations are very valid. One point that comes to my mind is that leaving the pawn on d4 gives black a lot of opportunities for structural changes. When the player with the white pieces plays a queen pawn opening, often (s)he wants to play a slow, positional game with a fixed set of pawn structures that (s)he needs to understand (e.g. if you play the queen's gambit for white, you probably need to be prepared to play structures with all pawns aboard, structures where white's c pawn has been traded for black's d pawn, and structures where white's c pawn has been traded for black's e pawn). The placement of the pawns usually decides the optimum placement of the pieces, which in turn dictates the pace and direction of a game. Hence, against a player who is strong at preparing for games, it could be dangerous to allow the opponent to choose from a wide range of possibly sound structural changes.
Dzindi has been discussing this variation on video for years. It's solid for Black of course but tough to get someone to play the White side in a tournament now as this hasn't been topical in many years and lots of people know about these videos :)
Interesting to see some of the updated theory since his original videos were released though.
very useful, thanks
A very helpful video :)
After black plays e5, why must white play d5? is it because of cxd, cxd, b6 followed by play against the c4 pawn? it seems to me that white may get a little extra play for his bishops after this eventhough he'll eventually lose the c4 pawn, and the c file. Can someone please explain this to me? Thanks in advance
I absolutely loved this video, thanks for explaining the strategic and tactical ideas in such detail!
by GM Roman Dzindzichashvili
In this video Dzindzi not only covers the most recent theory and critical lines of the Huebner Variation in the Nimzo, but he also provides specific advice on how to keep a position closed when battling Knights vs Bishops. He highlights black's ability to deal with white's temporary kingside pressure, only to eventually refocus efforts against white's positionally week queenside.
Intermediate | Advanced
Players: Spassky, Boris
vs. Fischer, Bobby
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GM Roman Dzindzichashvili
GM Dzindzichashvili was once one of the top players in the world. Born in Georgia, his chess first developed in the USSR. While still an International Master, he defeated opponents like Botvinnik and Bronstein before emigrating, first to Israel where he became a Grandmaster, and then to the United States. His accomplishments in the U.S. include two U.S. Championship first places, and one World Open. He has not played actively in tournaments recently, but has become even more famous perhaps in the U.S. for quality instructional materials, in particular chess videos! Roman Dzindzichashvili now teaches chess classes and seminars for Chess.com University. Feel free to contact him for more information!
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