Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Responding to 1.d4 with the Nimzo Indian and Ragozin.

I am in the process of revamping my opening response to 1.d5. Currently my repertoire consists of the Nimzo Indian and Queen's Indian. I feel that I understand the common themes of the Nimzo very well and have scored accordingly, but the Queen's Indian remains hard for me to grasp. My results in it have not been great either. Since I don't see myself making progress with the Queen's Indian any time soon, I have decided to remove it from my repertoire. Since I want to keep  playing the Nimzo, I have devised a repertoire that combines the Nimzo with the Queen's Gambit Declined. Specifically, it starts as follows: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6. Now, if 3. Nc3, I play 3...Bb4 the characteristic move of the Nimzo. And if 3. Nf3, I play 3...d5 with the idea of playing a Ragozin variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined, if possible. It looks at the current stage of my research that white can force an exchange variation by playing 4.cxd4, but the exchange variation with Nf3 is generally considered less dangerous.

3...d5!? is coming!

My guess--but my readers can tell me if I am wrong--is that most amateurs who play 3. Nf3 are doing so because they wish to avoid the Nimzo. They probably don't expect to face a QGD after black starts with Nf6 and e6, so you will have them stumped. And, since few opening books cover the Ragozin variation, you might get them out of book very quickly. Of course, they could have figured out these move order issues, in which case the game will be a hard fight--but that is ok as well.

For my analysis of move orders click this link to my QGD-Ragozin-Nimzo Move Order Analysis.


  1. Hello Sputnick, welcome to the chess blogosphere. Interesting choice of the Ragozin, which is an effective hybrid of the QGD and Nimzo-Indian. Since you already play the Nimzo, just curious why you prefer not to do the immediate 3...Bb4 and enter the Bogo-Indian.

    I recently did a post on cross-training openings, believe this is a good example and have linked accordingly.

    -- admin note, there's a typo in the title and first line (should be 1. d4 instead of 1. d5)

  2. Good point. It might be easier to learn and play the Bogo-Indian. I guess I picked the Ragozin because I purchased a book on it and thought it would be more likely to catch my opponents off guard. Do you know any good books on the Bogo-Indian?

    Thanks for catching the type, which is now fixed.

    1. I don't play the Bogo-Indian myself and it doesn't seem to be that sexy of an opening, despite its good reputation, so am not sure about the literature on it.