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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


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  1. Paul H
    December 18th, 2019 at 18:22 | #1

    Do you intend to print more hardback copies of the Nimzo book?

  2. Jacob Aagaard
    December 19th, 2019 at 17:50 | #2

    @Paul H
    Not right now. We still have plenty of stock of the paperback.

  3. The Doctor
    December 21st, 2019 at 19:17 | #3

    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?

  4. k
    December 28th, 2019 at 10:57 | #4

    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.

  5. ShadowDragon
    December 29th, 2019 at 21:47 | #5

    @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

  6. Jacob Aagaard
    December 30th, 2019 at 16:55 | #6

    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!

  7. dave
    January 4th, 2020 at 02:23 | #7

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Can you say who the author is? Or is that top secret? Thanks!

  8. kaimano
    January 4th, 2020 at 10:14 | #8

    Peter Svidler

  9. The Doctor
    January 4th, 2020 at 11:14 | #9

    kaimano :
    Peter Svidler

    Ha ha 😂
    I think these top, top players rarely bother writing opening books these days!

  10. Jacob
    January 6th, 2020 at 04:14 | #10

    @The Doctor
    March I hope

  11. Jacob
    January 6th, 2020 at 04:15 | #11

    No, we sell books on this site because we want everyone to have access to the books. Not because we want to be a chess shop.

  12. Topnotch
    January 6th, 2020 at 14:55 | #12

    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.

  13. James2
    May 18th, 2021 at 21:18 | #13

    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.


    • Jacob Aagaard
      May 20th, 2021 at 11:14 | #14

      No such plans of now. But thank you for asking.

  14. Lauri Torni
    May 26th, 2021 at 09:16 | #15


    There is already Playing 1.e4 e5: A Classical Repertoire.

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