The Nimzo Indian Classical by GM Arun and GM Magesh

| 11 | Opening Theory

This week we shall study the Nimzo Indian Classical system. Usually this system is considered to lead to more of a positional game, but the British GM Nigel Short employed an interesting idea against the legendary Garry Kasparov in their World Championship Match in 1993. The position becomes more complex and both sides need to be accurate in their play. White has to be very careful to avoid the early traps and tricks from Black.


This is the starting position of our article. The French Super GM Joel Lautier was the first to play this idea.  Later it caught the attention of the world when it was played by Short against Kasparov in the World Championship Match in 1993. Short unveiled this idea in the 5th game and was able to achieve a comfortable draw, but when he trotted it out again in the 9th game Kasparov was well prepared and outplayed Short handily.  Kasparov-Short Game 9 will be the first game of our article.


After this splendid game from the World Champion, many strong players felt the whole idea to be dubious for Black as the weakening of the kingside pawn structure appeared to be to much to handle. This didn't stop some of the elites from using the system from time to time as a surprise weapon. Our next game is between Sokolov and Aronian. Sokolov is considered to be a Nimzo Indian Classical system specialist. However, in this game, the player of such a high standard went down in less than 20 moves. This was due to the abundance of tactical tricks in this variation.


10.Bxb8 is not doing well for White for the time being. Play becomes easy for Black and it is White who often gets into trouble.  Our next game is between Bareev and Carlsen. Carlsen produced this fantastic game when he was just 15 years old! In this game Bareev managed to create problems for Carlsen, but Carlsen responded extremely well. At one point it felt like Black was getting mated, but Black defended the attack and managed to counterattack the White king, forcing White to take a draw.


So far this idea looks good for Black and currently the ball is in White's court to produce some new idea to punish Black's early aggression. For the time being White can take on f6 with the Bishop on move eight and play a more positional battle.
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