Classical Repertoire Against Bogo - Indian Defence
Preview by the author
This is the starting position of the Bogo-Indian defense.
The opening is named after Efim Bogoljubov, who was the first really strong player that employed this opening on a regular basis back in 20's and 30's years of the previous century. So, Black gave a check as early as on move three. White has, obviously, three options:
1.) 4.Nc3 - would turn the game into the Nimzo-Indian. For the White players, who prefer the Nimzo, I suggest to start with 3.Nc3 and after 3...Bb4 White has much more options. Here the first player would already be limited, as the kingside knight is already developed on f3.
2.) 4.Nbd2 - is an option, where White aims to push black's bishop by a2-a3 and, either forcing the bishop to retreat, or to swap bishop for a knight, which would yield White a pair of bishops. The drawback of 4.Nbd2 is that the knight is passively placed and somehow obstructing the natural development of other white pieces.
3.) 4.Bd2 - is the most natural option, which would be the topic of current survey. White is not aiming to get the pair of bishops, but is continuing the normal development, counting on his space advantage in the center.
What I like about the line 4.Bd2 is that White's play is natural and positionally sound. It's true that often White's advantage will be marginal. However, I strongly believe that when your opening is based on a good positional ground, it's easier, at least from practical point of view, to handle the position in the middlegame as well.
Structure of the database
The main position arises after the moves: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2
Black has four main replies to 4.Bd2
GM Postny provides you with full repertoire against all of them divided to 8 chapters.
In Chapter 1 the author examined the simplest solution for Black – the prosaic exchange 4…Bd2+.
This move was tried several times by Magnus Carlsen and definitely deserves serious attention. The Israelian Grandmaster recommends to meet this with 5.Qxd2! – the Knight from b1 will be much more active on c3 square.
In this position Black usually continues with 5…0-0 or 5…d5 which leads to the same position. The main line goes 5…0-0 6.Nc3 d5 7.e3 Qe7 and we reached the starting tabiya of this line.
In this position GM Postny analysed 8.Rc1 and 8.Bd3 but finally comes to the conclusion that the strongest move is 8.cxd5 with Carlsbad type of positions. He analyses the arising positions in detail and suggests few novelties. According to the analysis White keeps a small advantage in all the lines.
Chapter 2 is dedicated to the move 4…c5
"I always believed that this move just can't be too good, as after the exchange on b4 black's "c" pawn goes away from the center"
Is what the author said about this move.
He provides an interesting solution 5.Bxd4 cxb4 6.a3! again not the main move but the most straightforward one. White exchanged the nasty – b4 pawn and later will develop the knight on c3.
Black has 3 options here: 6…Qe7, 6…Nc6 and 6…bxa3 but neither of them is able to equalize completely.
In Chapters 3, 4 and 5 deals with the tricky move 4…a5
This is probably the most serious alternative to the main line (4…Qe7)
Black keeps all his options. White should continue with 5.g3 and now Black has a choice He can a develop his light-squared bishop to a long diagonal by 5…b6 followed by Bb7. This system is examined in Chapter 3.
An immediate play through the center by 5…d5 is examined in chapter 4.
The most common setup is analysed in chapter 5. Black plays 5…d6 followed by Nbd7 and e5
In this line Black plays a hybrid of Bogo-Indian and Queen's Indian defense. The light-squared bishop will be developed on b7 and it will become a worthy opponent of White's fianchettoed bishop. In this scheme, however, the usefulness of the move a7-a5 is not entirely clear.
The main line goes 6.Bg2 Bb7 7.0-0 0-0
In this position Postny claims an advantage for White after two moves 8.Bf4 and 8.Nc3. According to his analysis Black is far from equality in this line.
In this line Black is playing through the center at an early stage. Now 6.Bg2 is transposing to Catalan, so the author offers 6.Qc2! and now after 6…0-0 7.Bg2 (see the diagram below) Black has variety of options like: 7…bc, 7…Nc6, 7…Be7, 7…c6, 7…c5, 7…Be7.
7…c6 and 7…c5 seems to be the most challenging continuations for Black, but Evgeny shows us that with a precise play White can fight for the advantage. Probably this chapter will be interesting for Catalan players as well, because after 7...c6 8.0-0 Be7 9.Bf4 Nbd7 10.Rd1 we reach one topical position of the Catalan with 4…Bb4+. Here the author followed the old game Kramnik – Topalov and offers a few improvements.
The conclusion is that the verdict of this line remains the same – White is slightly better.
Here the reader can find the most common continuation 5…d6 with the idea 6…Nbd7 and 7…e7-e5.
As always Evgeny managed to propose us a very interesting continuation against this nasty line.
After the moves 6.Bg2 Nbd7 7.0-0 e5 the author proposes 8.Be3!
It is interesting to see what he said about this move.
"In my opinion, the most challenging move. In general, it makes sense to move the bishop in order to create a threat a2-a3, but where to move it? Back to c1 is strange; forward to g5 is okay, but the bishop will be kicked away by h7-h6 at some point. So, e3 appears to be the most suitable square"
Later analyses are based on author’s own game in this line.
Finally, we reached the main line in Bogo-Indian defense. – the move 4…Qe7
In this chapter the author examined the position after 5.g3 Bxd2!?. This move used to be a side-line a few years ago, but thanks to the efforts of Croatian GM Mladen Palac this line becomes popular and was recently played by some of the world’s top grandmasters.
The main Black’s idea is very well illustrated in the following variation 6.Qxd2 Nc6 7.Bg2?! and now Black has very strong reply : 7…Ne4 followed by 8…Qb4+ with very nice position.
Instead of 7.Bg2?! Postny advocates the strange looking move 7.b3!
The idea behind this move is that White is protecting c4 – pawn even before Black attacks it, also White is freeing a very nice “b2” square for his queen after d7 - d5 and Rd8 which is Black’s main plan in this position. In the following analysis you can find the details, but it is obvious that White is doing very well in this line. White scores 70% after 7.b3 which once again proves the strength of this strange looking move.
Chapter 7. is dedicated to all sidelines after the moves: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Qe7 5.g3 Nc6 6.Nc3.
In this chapter author analyses 6…0-0 7.Bg2
and then 7…d6 and 7…Na5.
After 7…d6 the most obvious move 8.d5! is the strongest one. White keeps better chances due to his space advantage.
The situation is a bit more complicated in the line with 7…Na5. Here the main move for many years was the natural 8.b3, but Black has a very easy game after modest 8…b6 9.0-0 Bb7 10.Qc2 Rfc8 followed by d7-d5 or c7-c5, according to circumstances.
That’s why Postny suggest here 8.c5! grabbing more space and forcing Black to part with his dark-squared bishop. Even though it was played in only 18 games so far this move poses serious problems to Black and White is better in all the lines after it.
We finally reach an absolute main line of Bogo – Indian defence with 4.Bd2
It appears after the move 6…Bxc3 7.Bc3 Ne4.
White should continue with 8.Rc1-White has grounds for a slight, but stable advantage. White's main trump is the space superiority. Black, on his part, is normally trying to build his counter play on the dark squares and after the moves 8…0-0 9.Bg2 d6 10.d5 Nxc3 11.Rxc3 we reached a first crossroad for Black – the knight can go to b8 and d8. The author proves that 11…Nd8 is playable, but White easily achieved a better game, by pushing c4-c5 in an appropriate moment
The main line for many years is 11…Nb8 and now 12.dxe6!
White gives part of his space advantage, but opens the long diagonal for his bishop.
After 12…fxe6 13.0-0 we are reaching one of the most important tabiyas in Bogo – Indian defence.
Black tries several options here: 13…Nd7, 13…a5 and 13…Nc6 but according to Postny, White remains with a slight edge after all of them.
When you carefully study the database you can try to solve the test positions!