Nimzo Experts: 4.Qc2 vs. 4.e3?

the_boa_constrictor

The two main continuations of the Nimzo are 4.Qc2 and 4.e3. Which opening requires more opening theory knowledge? Which opening leads to generally sharper positions?

If helping someone building their repertoire, and that person is tossing up between these two moves, what advice/considerations would you give?

Thankschesspawn.png 

iLukus

Can I just begin by addressing the elephant in the room here...

 

I dont appreciate your bigotry by calling it the Nimzo, and dropping the "Indian" part. I don't think we should answer this barbarian's question until he rectifies his racist attitude.

the_boa_constrictor
iLukus wrote:

Can I just begin by addressing the elephant in the room here...

 

I dont appreciate your bigotry by calling it the Nimzo, and dropping the "Indian" part. I don't think we should answer this barbarian's question until he rectifies his racist attitude.

These baseless accusations are coming from someone that sounds they've just visited the Taj Mahal or interacted with some locals, leading to this person suddenly"finding themselves". No, iLukus, all the meditation skills you've recently picked up won't save your guts from uncontrollably defecating the "3 weeks of spicy curry pants" bug

my137thaccount
the_boa_constrictor wrote:

The two main continuations of the Nimzo are 4.Qc2 and 4.e3. Which opening requires more opening theory knowledge? Which opening leads to generally sharper positions?

 

If helping someone building their repertoire, and that person is tossing up between these two moves, what advice/considerations would you give?

 

Thanks 

 

 

Don't forget 4.a3, 4.f3 and 4.Nf3 too. 4.a3 and 4.f3 are considered to lead to sharper positions I believe.

ThrillerFan

I could care less what the clown in post 2 says.  The sharpest line of the NIMZO is probably the Saemisch (4.a3).  Are there specific variations of other lines that are sharp?  Yes, but they rely on Black to play the sharp line.  Like in 4.f3, 4...c5 is sharper than 4...d5, just to name an example.  4.a3 is overall the sharpest line of the NIMZO!

the_boa_constrictor

Indeed a3 can lead to some wild positions

What is your opinion on the most solid, dry/positional response to the Nimzo? Would that be Qc2 or e3? 

edit: I've been studying Qc2 but have noticed it often leads to very complex lines with lots of theory to memorise. Is this the same for e3?

AlisonHart

I just ran across this line in the Qc2 Nimzo....which is not forced by any stretch but leads to some sharp positions:

 

 

It might have an unfavorable reputation.....white doesn't seem to have incredible success. But it's a worthy enough way of sharpening the Qc2 lines. 

johorsky

To answer the question: 4.Qc2 leads to sharper positions and requires more knowledge.

bong711

johorsky wrote: To answer the question: 4.Qc2 leads to sharper positions and requires more knowledge. I would play 4. Qc2 too followed by 5. a3. White obtains the bishop pair without doubled pawns. White's plan is open the center for his bishops.

AlisonHart
bong711 wrote:

johorsky wrote: To answer the question: 4.Qc2 leads to sharper positions and requires more knowledge. I would play 4. Qc2 too followed by 5. a3. White obtains the bishop pair without doubled pawns. White's plan is open the center for his bishops.

 

You lose A LOT of tempi in that variation.....it's certainly a real line, but white is always behind in development and the lack of doubled pawns makes the position a bit more closed......which can favor the knights. 

 

Certainly not a refutation, but here's Mickey Adams wrecking Shirov in 27 moves:

 

 

the_boa_constrictor

thanks all, it seems like 4. e3 is the most solid and positional approach to the Nimzo. Qc2 is often more sharp (and strategically imbalanced). I'm going to go with the suggestion of abandoning 3. Nc3 and going with 3. Nf3 as facing the QID / Boggo is certainly more in my style and requires less homework votechess.png

BonTheCat

The beauty of the Nimzo-Indian is that Black can play against 4.Qc2 and 4.e3 in the style he/she prefers. The Nimzo-Indian is simply very versatile. When I used to play it regularly, White's most frequent reply was 4.e3 (probably for the reason AlisonHart mentions, White's developing moves are very natural), followed by 4.Qc2. I was always very happy whenever I faced the Sämisch, because although one of my heroes (Botvinnik) played it regularly, I always considered it very comfortable for Black.

As for AlisonHart's recommendation to play 3.Nf3 instead of 3.Nc3 and 4.e3, we have to remember that some Black players opt for this move order to reach the QGD (1...Nf6, 2...e6, 3...d5), thus avoiding White's best setup in the Exchange Variation (Nge2 followed by f3 and e4). I for one would recommend 3.Nc3 and 4.e3 over 3.Nf3 for that reason alone, and also in light of the fact that there are some move order issues with the Benoni/Benko if Black plays 3...c5 in reply to 3.Nf3 (instead of 3...b6 or 3...d5).

the_boa_constrictor

great insights, thanks mate. This "Late Benoni" idea is a little devious and didn't give it much thought. For myself I'm not too concerned as I don't often play the Exchange Variation and learning QID + Boggo + Late Benoni is still less theory and time consuming than learning 4. e3 in the Nimzo alone!

 

Correct me if I'm wrong but another benefit with 3. Nf3 is that it's harder for black to initiate a Ragozin? (another defense I dislike facing as white)

Didn't realise there'd be so many intricacies when deciding 3. Nf3 or 3. Nc3 surprise.png

bong711

The simpler approach is 3. g3 or Catalan Opening. Looks slow yet it scored well for White. Karpov and Kramnik plays it.

ThrillerFan
the_boa_constrictor wrote:

Indeed a3 can lead to some wild positions

What is your opinion on the most solid, dry/positional response to the Nimzo? Would that be Qc2 or e3? 

edit: I've been studying Qc2 but have noticed it often leads to very complex lines with lots of theory to memorise. Is this the same for e3?

 

Depends on the follow up.  For example, 4...O-O or 4...d5 with cxd5 Qxd5 can be very positional while something like 4...d5 with 6.a3 can be really wild in certain lines.

 

There is no real generality between the 2.  White lags behind in development in many of the Qc2 lines, but avoids structural damage.  Lines with e3 without Ne2 (again, very slow for White) often see white with a lead in development in return for structural damage, usually in the form of doubled c pawns and an isolated a pawn.

ThrillerFan
the_boa_constrictor wrote:

thanks all, it seems like 4. e3 is the most solid and positional approach to the Nimzo. Qc2 is often more sharp (and strategically imbalanced). I'm going to go with the suggestion of abandoning 3. Nc3 and going with 3. Nf3 as facing the QID / Boggo is certainly more in my style and requires less homework

 

Well, not really.  For example, 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.cxd5 Qxd5 6.Nf3 Qf5 7.Qxf5 exf5 is a very positional line, and becoming increasingly popular.

Chessplayercyy

E3 and Qc2 are two different ideas.E3 is ready to give birth, such as Bd3, Nf3, and Qc2 is the first out, after the selection of children

my137thaccount
the_boa_constrictor wrote:

great insights, thanks mate. This "Late Benoni" idea is a little devious and didn't give it much thought. For myself I'm not too concerned as I don't often play the Exchange Variation and learning QID + Boggo + Late Benoni is still less theory and time consuming than learning 4. e3 in the Nimzo alone!

 

Correct me if I'm wrong but another benefit with 3. Nf3 is that it's harder for black to initiate a Ragozin? (another defense I dislike facing as white)

Didn't realise there'd be so many intricacies when deciding 3. Nf3 or 3. Nc3

It makes it easier for black to play a Ragozin, not harder. If you don't like the Ragozin, play 3.Nf3 followed by 4.g3 reaching a Catalan (IMO better than 3.g3 as you don't have to fianchetto against the Benoni)

BonTheCat
the_boa_constrictor wrote:

great insights, thanks mate. This "Late Benoni" idea is a little devious and didn't give it much thought. For myself I'm not too concerned as I don't often play the Exchange Variation and learning QID + Boggo + Late Benoni is still less theory and time consuming than learning 4. e3 in the Nimzo alone!

 

Correct me if I'm wrong but another benefit with 3. Nf3 is that it's harder for black to initiate a Ragozin? (another defense I dislike facing as white)

Didn't realise there'd be so many intricacies when deciding 3. Nf3 or 3. Nc3

The late Benoni can also turn into the Blumenfeld Gambit, unless you' prefer to play English Opening style and avoid the d4-d5 advance.

my137thaccount
BonTheCat wrote:
the_boa_constrictor wrote:

great insights, thanks mate. This "Late Benoni" idea is a little devious and didn't give it much thought. For myself I'm not too concerned as I don't often play the Exchange Variation and learning QID + Boggo + Late Benoni is still less theory and time consuming than learning 4. e3 in the Nimzo alone!

 

Correct me if I'm wrong but another benefit with 3. Nf3 is that it's harder for black to initiate a Ragozin? (another defense I dislike facing as white)

Didn't realise there'd be so many intricacies when deciding 3. Nf3 or 3. Nc3

The late Benoni can also turn into the Blumenfeld Gambit, unless you' prefer to play English Opening style and avoid the d4-d5 advance.

I used to play this Anti-Benoni, but gave it up after I realised that there are no benefits of playing it over just starting with 1.Nf3 and playing the mainline Symmetrical English