The Nimzo-Indian in action

Our friend Renier Castellanos has written another blog post for us. To download it as a PGN file go here.

Jamie Santos Latasa – Sophie Milliet, Sunway Sitges Open 2019

Opening Preparation As expressed in my previous blog post (see the Taimanov in Action) being well prepared in the opening is one of the key factors to obtain a good result when playing against a more experienced, higher rated and overall stronger opponent. I wouldn’t say opening preparation is a vital element to play good chess but it is surely a useful tool disposable to every chess player. The benefits of learning openings are many but these three are my main motivation: – Save time on the clock that will be used later at critical moments – Guarantee yourself a reliable position – Surprise an unaware opponent with a line In the game we are about to see, Sophie Milliet, a strong IM from France plays against the Spanish GM Jaime Santos Latasa. We can’t tell for certain how IM Milliet prepared for this specific game but she played an interesting opening line that features in Michael Roiz’s fantastic book The Nimzo Indian Defence.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0–0 5.Bd3 d5 6.a3!?

Always interesting, keeping different options open for white. 6.Nf3 is the mainline of course.

6…Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 dxc4 8.Bxc4 c5 9.Nf3

On the same day another game went: 9.Ne2 Qc7 10.Ba2 b6 11.0–0 Ba6 12.Bb2 Rd8 13.Re1 Nc6 14.Rc1 Na5 15.Ng3 Bc4 the German Grandmaster plays everything according to Roiz in the Nimzo-Indian defence book. Needless to say that black is out of trouble 16.Bxc4?! A major concession as explained by Roiz (16.Bb1) 16…Nxc4 17.Qe2 A novelty that does not change the outcome of the opening. (Roiz considers 17.Qb3 which is a better move but white stands worse anyway) 17…b5! 18.Rcd1 Rd7 19.e4 Rad8 Black is a little better here. White eventually survived a lost position Mendonca – R. Svane, 2019

9…Qc7 10.Ba2

Besides this move white has several other possibilities that Roiz considers in his book: 10.Be2, 10.Qc2 & 10.Qd3.


This is it! Roiz’s suggestion of dealing with this line seems to me like a very final sentence for this particular variation. According to my database there are roughly about 10 games with this move and black scores excellent.

10…b6 is the most popular move with over 100 games.

11.0–0 Bb7 12.Qe2 Rc8!?

Michael Roiz’s novelty. Delaying the N on b8 has some benefits, for instance the pawn on b5 remains protected on account of Ba6.


One of a variety of moves mentioned in Grandmaster Preparation – The Nimzo Indian.


Roiz mentions this move although his preference is 13…Nc6. The move played in the game looks natural but it can be met with the simple 14.Bb2 where white is advancing his development. I’ll spare you the details here because I’m confident that you will open the book and check for yourself and my goal writing this article will be accomplished :).

13…Nc6! with the point that 14.Qxb5 Na5 gives black a lot of compensation (Roiz).

14.Bb2 Nd7

This pawn sacrifice is not necessary. I suspect that Milliet confused lines around this point because it’s an idea that occurs often here.



Perhaps black stands a bit too close to edge. 15…c4!?, 15…a5!? and 15…Bd5!? were other options.

16.Qe2 cxd4 17.cxd4 Qb6 18.Bd3 Bd5 19.Rac1 Rxc1 20.Bxc1

So white is pawn up and has two bishops but in order to win he needs to remove the knight from e4. I believe white is for choice however, black fights on.

20…Qa5 21.Qc2 f5 22.Ne1?!

The position require patience.

22.a4 Nb6 can be met with 23.Qc7! where the idea of Ne5 begins to look scary.

22…Nb6 23.f3 Rc8 24.Qd1 Nc3 25.Qd2 Qa4 26.Kh1?! Qb3 27.Bb2


The safe choice but Milliet misses a chance to torture her opponent for a while.

27…Nc4! 28.Qxc3 Qxb2 29.Qxb2 Nxb2

Followed by Rc3 and why would black not be better here?

28.Bc1 Nc3 29.Bb2 Nd1 30.Bc1 Nc3 31.Bb2


15 thoughts on “The Nimzo-Indian in action”

  1. Do I remember at some point someone saying a ‘Playing the Grunfeld’ was on the cards?
    Will this be due next year and will it cover variations v English and other 1 d4 lines like the Ntrilis book and the recent Chess Stars book?

  2. Hi, sorry for misplaced post. Have You ever considered to offer books from other publishers? Last week I have ordered 6 of Your books from another web site just because I also bought 4 books which You didn’t publish.

  3. @Jacob Aagaard

    Jacob some time ago I saw that you were thinking about making some introduction to chess books- any updates on this project

    I would very much like to train my students on your books from start to finish but currently they must be around 1400-1500 to start on the boost your chess series

  4. It is very much on the cards. I think it will be out in March. It will start on move 3. We already covered the other stuff in Mikhalevski’s book in the GM Repertoire series and the book is about 500 pages already!

  5. kaimano :
    Peter Svidler

    Peter?!!, he likes to talk way too much to write books 😀
    He has a wonderful Grunfeld Video series on Chess24 by the way.

  6. Hi Quality Chess,

    While I’m not sure if this is the correct place to as this question, I wanted to ask if there are any plans to produce a GM Repertoire on the Open Games for Black please? (Hopefully that magnificent writer Roiz could be encouraged to do it? 🙂 )

    Thank you.


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