Chess Opening Theory/1. d4/1...Nf6/2. c4/2...e6/3. Nc3/3...Bb4

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Nimzo-Indian Defence
a b c d e f g h
8 a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8 8
7 a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7 7
6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 2
1 a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position in Forsyth-Edwards Notation(FEN)

rnbqk2r/pppp1ppp/4pn2/8/1bPP4/2N5/PP2PPPP/R1BQKBNR

Nimzo-Indian Defence[edit]

3...Bb4[edit]

3...Bb4 introduces the Nimzo-Indian Defence. Black develops his dark-squared bishop as actively as possible and pins the white knight. If not handled properly, this pin can cause problems for White for several reasons. The most positionally significant of these is that the pin nullifies White's control of the e4 square. White would like to play e4 at some point, but Black's knight on f6 dominates the square for now, since the c3 knight cannot recapture when pinned. Consequently, Black may be able to install his knight on e4 or otherwise use the square for his own purposes if White does not fight for it.

A second implication of the pin is that Black is threatening to exchange bishop for knight and double White's pawns. The resulting position would be unbalanced, with White trying to open the position to utilize the power of his two bishops, and Black working to keep the position closed and exploit White's pawn weaknesses. White must decide how he feels about this prospect when choosing his next moves.

The Nimzo-Indian Defence is quite popular and there are a number of systems available to each side. White's fourth move options are listed below. Note that perhaps the most obvious move, 4. Bd2, breaking the pin and eliminating Black's threat to double White's pawns, is not among them. This is not because 4.Bd2 loses immediately; it does not. However, it is rarely seen in top level chess because it is far less ambitious than White's other choices.

Theory table[edit]

For explanation of theory tables see theory table and for notation see algebraic notation.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4

4 5 6 7
Rubinstein System e3
O-O
Bd3
d5
Nf3
c5
O-O
dxc4
=
Fianchetto Variation g3
c5
Nf3
cxd4
Nxd4
O-O
Bg2
d5
cxd5
Nxd5
=
Classical Variation or
Capablanca Variation
Qc2
O-O
a3
Bxc3+
Qxc3
b6
Nf3
Bb7
=
Kasparov Variation Nf3
b6
Bg5
Bb7
e3
h6
Bh4
Bxc3+
=
4.f3 Variation f3
c5
d5
Nh5
g3
Bxc3+
bxc3
f5
Sämisch Variation a3
Bxc3+
bxc3
c5
e3
Nc6
Bd3
O-O
=
Leningrad Variation Bg5
c5
d5
d6
e3
exd5
cxd5
Nbd7
Spielmann Variation Qb3
c5
dxc5
Nc6
Bg5
h6
Bxf6
Qxf6
=

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References[edit]

  • Batsford Chess Openings 2 (1989, 1994). Garry Kasparov, Raymond Keene. ISBN 0-8050-3409-9.