Rubinstein system against Nimzo Indian

A variation played by Bobby Fisher and Portisch

The Insight chess show by GM Henrik Danielsen continues with the secrets of Nimzo Indian. Today’s focus is on the Rubinstein defence, a variation played by Bobby Fisher, but is still quite popular.

Nimzo Indian begins with 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4. So far we have been following the series of Nimzo Indian with 4. Qc2 (the latest episode 3 here). Today another parallel series start, with analysis of 4. e3, a system named after Rubinstein.

Part 1 presents the basics of the opening. Part 2 is looking at the game Portisch – Fisher, analysis of that classical piece will continue in Part 3 as well.

The first video on the Rubinstein system is in two parts, more from the show tomorrow on the pages of

Rubinstein system Part 1

Rubinstein system Part 2

More about the Rubinstein system

The Rubinstein System (named after Akiba Rubinstein) is White’s most common method of combating the Nimzo-Indian. Svetozar Gligorić and Lajos Portisch made great contributions to the theory and practice of this line at top level during their careers. White continues his development before committing to a definite plan of action. In reply, Black has three main moves to choose from: 4…0-0, 4…c5, and 4…b6.

In addition, Black sometimes plays 4…d5 or 4…Nc6. 4…d5 can transpose to lines arising from 4…0-0, but White has the extra option of 5.a3 (known as the Botvinnik Variation). This forces Black to retreat the bishop to e7 or capture on c3, which transposes to a line of the Sämisch Variation long considered good for White because he will undouble his pawns at some point by playing cxd5, eliminating the weak pawn on c4, then prepare the e4 pawn break, backed by the bishop pair, which will gain force in the more open type of position which will ensue. 4…Nc6 is the Taimanov Variation, named after Russian GM Mark Taimanov. Black prepares to play …e5, which may be preceded by…d5 and …dxc4, or …d6. The variation was tried several times by the young Bobby Fischer, and has long been favoured by GM Nukhim Rashkovsky.

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