10 June 2007

The Waiting Game : Nimzo-Indian

The diagram shows the position after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3, the Rubinstein Variation of the Nimzo-Indian (ECO E40-59). This is one of several opening positions illustrating what I call a 'waiting game'. White would like to play a2-a3, forcing Black to decide the Bishop's future. Black would like to play ...Bxc3, crippling White's Pawn structure, but not before White wastes a move on a2-a3.

White's last move prepares Ng1-e2, when the Knight can recapture on c3. Playing the Knight too soon shuts in the Kingside Bishop. The opening becomes a game of chicken to see which side will act first (or react last):

  • White will play a2-a3, forcing the capture.
  • White will protect the Knight on c3 allowing the recapture with other than the b-Pawn.
  • Black will play ...Bxc3 without being forced by a2-a3.

(After 4.e2-e3)

There are other openings that illustrate this strategy of both sides playing chicken. I'll post them from time to time.

No comments: