Three Knights, Leningrad and Romanishin Variations of the Nimzo-Indian

In this video I have covered three different ways for white to fight the Nimzo Indian Defense.

For the basics of the opening and plans and ideas for both sides, watch this introductory video:

The Three Knights variation is one of the main moves for white. It’s a sensible, developing move which brings white one move closer to castling and getting his king to safety. Black has several responses to Nf3, some of which transpose to different openings. In fact, I would say that 4. Nf3, is most likely to lead away from the Nimzo Indian. The most probable transpositions are either to the Queen’s Indian Defense or to the Ragozin Defense.

The Romanishin Variation is a fianchetto setup for white, going for something resembling the Catalan. White plays the move g3, with a logical Bg2 as a follow up. Black can try and exploit that setup, though. Since the bishop is no longer on f1 in most lines, black can simply take the c4 pawn, thus forcing white to waste time to recapture it. That usually leads to perfectly equal positions playable for both sides.

The Leningrad Variation, which starts after the aggressive Bg5, is my favorite of the three. The move Bg5 fights for e4 indirectly by pinning the f6 knight. It’s a very active move, not blocking in the bishop with e3, as it sometimes happens. The variation is good for white because it forces black to be super precise and super aggressive. The only viable setup for black is the double edges pawn storm with h6, g5 and f5. Now, if black is not careful, that can backfire! That is why I think the Leningrad is a great choice. If black knows what he’s doing, white is still fine. So basically, a risk free provocation!

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