Chess Opening Theory/1. d4/1...Nf6/2. c4/2...e6/3. Nc3/3...Bb4/4. e3

< Chess Opening Theory‎ | 1. d4‎ | 1...Nf6‎ | 2. c4‎ | 2...e6‎ | 3. Nc3‎ | 3...Bb4
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)
Moves: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3

Nimzo-Indian Defence, Rubinstein Variation

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4. e3

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White assesses that an immediate 4...Bxc3 is not a threat, but also that 4. a3, provoking the capture, is not necessary (yet). Instead, 4. e3 simply clears the way for White's light-squared bishop to develop, usually to d3, where it helps control the all-important e4 square. Black has three main responses:

  • 4...O-O is the most common. Since Black will never castle queenside in a Nimzo-Indian, castling kingside now is a useful but still highly flexible move.
  • 4...c5 puts pressure on White's center immediately. Taking on c5 and accepting tripled isolated pawns (after ...Bxc3 bxc3) is right out of the question, and pushing d5 now simply creates a target, so White instead continues his development and leaves the tension.
  • 4...b6 is the St. Petersburg Variation (not to be confused with the Leningrad Variation). This move prepares to strengthen Black's control of e4 yet further by fianchettoing a bishop to b7, though ...Ba6 is not yet out of the question.

In all three cases White has a choice between 5. Nge2 and 5. Bd3.

Theory table

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

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3

4 5 6 7
Rubinstein System ...
O-O
Bd3
d5
Nf3
c5
O-O
dxc4
=
...
c5
Ne2
cxd4
exd4
O-O
a3
Be7
=
Hübner Variation ...
...
Bd3
Nc6
Nf3
Bxc3
bxc3
d6
=
St. Petersburg Variation ...
b6
Bd3
Bb7
Nf3
O-O
O-O
d5
=
Fischer Variation ...
...
Nge2
Ba6
a3
Bxc3
Nxc3
d5
=
...
...
...
Bb7
a3
Be7
=

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