Friday, May 02, 2008

Tackling my Indian nightmare

I have done some stats on my own games recently, with very interesting results. My overall performance is slightly negative (46 percent). There are two ways of explaining this. Firstly, I regularly take part in an open tournament with many higher rated opponents. More interestingly, it is because I score very low against the Sicilian as White and against d4 as Black, especially when defending with Nf6 rather than d5.

My score without the nightmare openings is a plain 50 percent overall, 52 percent as White and 48 percent as Black. My Score against the Sicilian is 38 percent, and my real nightmare is the Indian systems 1. d4 Nf6 with only 23 percent. Of course I could return to 1. d4 d5 where I score 50 percent, but I do not like the Queen's Gambit as Black. I think that the Indian systems offer more opportunities to play for winning as Black.

Thus, instead of remorsefully returning to d4 d5, I am decided to tackle my Indian nightmare.

The main strategy is directed against the principal drawback of the "strong" move d4, that is, the weakness of e4, without occupying (and thus blocking) the center with own pawns. The key squares for Black are d5 and e4; it is mandatory to keep them under control. As soon as this is accomplished, d4 must be attacked by c5.

diagram

In this position, the immediate occupation of d5 by White is prevented by the fact that it cannot be defended in the long run with a lag in development. White will continue 3. Nf3 or 3. Nc3 in most cases.

With 3. Nf3, White does not increase his pressure on d5 which gives Black the time for a preparing move like 3. - b6 for controlling the key squares with the Bishop b7 later. This is the Queen's Indian defense. Black can also give the Bogo-Indian check Bb4+, but this seems to be a bit premature and can be played later in the Queen's Indian.

With 3. Nc3, the maneuver b6 Bb7 would be too slow, and White would take control of the squares e4 and d5. Instead, the Nimzo-Indian 3. - Bb4 is a strong move, neutralizing the Knight with a pin. Black must be ready to give the Bishop pair advantage, but White will get a double pawn weakness or, if he tries to avoid it, will lose tempo.

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