The Nimzo Nf3,g3 Setup by GM Magesh and GM Arun

| 14 | Opening Theory

What is up with all these strong players leaning more and more towards variations where they develop their light-squared bishop to g2? Maybe it is my imagination or it is just a pure coincidence, but it does feel like strong players these days are coming up with more ideas involving this Fianchetto. We did see how the Catalan helped Anand pass through the World Championship hurdle.


Today we will take a look at an increasingly popular and rigorously tested variation from the Nimzo Indian Defense. This variation is no different from the other ones in the Nimzo Indian Defense where white relies on his pair of bishops and an open position for an advantage while black relies on central control and active piece play to neutralize white's bishop pair.


Our first game is where the young Carlsen takes on the Russian Grandmaster Dmitry Jakovenko.





A nice convincing victory for Carlsen with the black pieces. Our next game is from the World Championship match between Anand and Kramnik held in Bonn, 2008. In the first half of this match, all that we witnessed was Anand's phenomenal opening preparation, his perfect choice of openings, and some unfortunate blunders from Kramnik. Things however started to change in the second half of the match, Kramnik increasingly kept threatening and eventually cracked open Anand's defense in the 10th game of the match. It turned out to be insufficient for Kramnik from the whole match perspective, but it would have definitely given him great satisfaction and an increase in his self-confidence.




A rare miniature from the Champs. In fact exactly 10 moves were played after Kramnik's 18.Re1 novelty. This novelty has been tested by several other strong players in recent times, some with and some without success. In such positions, black is very close to achieving his equality, however different Grandmasters come up with small and subtle novelties to keep white's chances alive enough to keep going after their opponents.


From personal experience I do believe in the opening variation that we just discussed and the Catalan Opening, where white's light-squared bishop does cause some discomfort to black's queen side. It keeps a watch on the long h1-a8 diagonal, making it difficult for black's light-squared bishop to be developed. Sometimes, this bishop does remain as the difference between a completely equal position and a completely promising position for white. Hopefully our readers enjoyed the games today and learned from them.

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