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Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation (E43)
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 b6

Number of games in database: 1196
Years covered: 1914 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 34.9%
   Black wins 31.7%
   Draws 33.4%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Svetozar Gligoric  37 games
Vadim Milov  13 games
Vladimir Georgiev  11 games
Nick de Firmian  15 games
Jan Timman  10 games
Oleg Romanishin  10 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Yusupov vs Ivanchuk, 1991
Keres vs Spassky, 1965
Topalov vs Sasikiran, 2007
E Zagoryansky vs P Romanovsky, 1943
Gligoric vs Larsen, 1967
I Rabinovich vs Alekhine, 1920
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 page 1 of 48; games 1-25 of 1,196  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Rubinstein vs Alekhine 0-1281914St. PetersburgE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
2. Janowski vs Nimzowitsch ½-½851914St. PetersburgE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
3. I Rabinovich vs Alekhine 0-1391920USSR ChampionshipE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
4. Tartakower vs Spielmann  ½-½401921Vienna m1E43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
5. Reti vs Gilg 1-0341926SemmeringE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
6. Duchamp vs J Rejfir  ½-½461930Hamburg OlympiadE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
7. Alekhine vs Mendelevic 1-0321930Simul, 23bE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
8. Ahues vs Sultan Khan 0-1461930LiegeE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
9. M Fox vs Capablanca 0-1521931New YorkE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
10. H Mueller vs L Metanomski 1-0751931Trebitsch MemorialE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
11. F Kunert vs J Lokvenc  1-0721931Trebitsch MemorialE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
12. Fine vs Dake 0-1171931MatchE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
13. K Havasi vs J van den Bosch 1-0251931Prague OlympiadE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
14. W Michel vs A Gulbrandsen  1-0501931Prague OlympiadE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
15. Menchik vs W Winter 1-0411932LondonE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
16. Koltanowski vs W Winter  1-0431932LondonE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
17. Koltanowski vs Milner-Barry  1-0261932LondonE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
18. J Engel vs A Pokorny  0-1781932Bad SliacE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
19. R Levenstein vs R Smirka 1-0251932Marshall Chess Club ChampionshipE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
20. Fine vs N Beckhardt 1-0231933Olympic Selection TournamentE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
21. A Simonson vs Fine  0-1371933Olympic Selection TournamentE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
22. Fine vs M C Palmer 1-0341933Western ChampionshipE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
23. Kashdan vs F Reinfeld  1-0261935Metropolitan Chess LeagueE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
24. J Nielsen vs I Pleci  ½-½301935Warsaw OlympiadE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
25. P Schmidt vs L Endzelins  1-0251936International Olympic trainingE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
 page 1 of 48; games 1-25 of 1,196  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-12-04  Vischer: Fischer played this only three times and won only once... of course I don't know why the Sicilian Alapin is named after Semion.
Apr-12-04  Benjamin Lau: It should have been named the Alekhine or the Keres variation. Alekhine was the first to come up with the idea and put it into practice against serious opponents (i.e. Rubinstein) while Keres was the first to employ it frequently.
Apr-12-04  Vischer: <BL> u talking about the Fischer variation of nimzo, or alapin sicilian?`
Apr-12-04  Benjamin Lau: The Fischer Variation naturally. I don't think that Keres played the Alapin Sicilian very often. Neither did Alekhine I think.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: So the Fischer variation is simply 4...b6, is that all? Nearly everybody I encounter on the chess servers plays it that way, sometimes preferring to castle first.
Dec-26-04  Dillinger: It's obvious from a cursory glance that this opening was used extensively before Fischer's time, especially in the 40s and 50s. Why *is* it named after Fischer?
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Morning: Fischer won a very good game with this line vs. Portisch, Portisch vs Fischer, 1966. Note that this game is not classified as a Fischer Variation game.

I agree that Fischer didn't play enough games to justify naming 4...b6 after him. I'm not sure this should be named after any one individual, since the game could go in many different directions.

May-01-05  cuendillar: Why not name it the nimzo-queens indian? This name seem to describe the variation pretty well.
May-01-05  russep: The nimzo and queen's indian often transpose into each other. But they are two separate defences. Black doesn't always have to fianchetto the queen's bishop.
May-01-05  Kangaroo: I would suggest rename this after David Bronstein : he played this way against Botvinnik long before Fisher won his frist trophy in 1956 or 1957!
May-01-05  misguidedaggression: This is the "bust" to the Rubinstein variation of the Nimzo-Indian! ;)
May-02-05  azaris: Too bad Karpov was the 'bust' to Fischer himself!
May-02-05  misguidedaggression: Too bad we'll never know... I also think that Karpov would have beat Fischer, but there are plenty of people who would say otherwise.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WTHarvey: Here are 10 zaps and traps in Fischer Variation miniatures:
Sep-26-06  Eliskases: After 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 b6, 5.Be2 seems to be an alternative to the main line theory in the Fischer Variation (i.e. 5.Bd3 with 6.Nf3 and 5.Nge2). I have found a relatively small amount of games with the aforementioned move, but I am looking for a different way to approach 4...b6, and I have found the main line theory unsatisfactory for White (as well as the aforementioned main line theory, I have also considered playing 5.f3 and even 5.a3, but neither suits me), so can one use 5.Be2 as a reliable alternative?
Apr-06-08  DrGridlock: Something seems to be amiss with the ECO code for this opening.

According to Wikipedia (not always a definitive source, I concede), the Fischer variation is not identified with black's move 4 ... b6, but with White's continuation 5 Ne2 (to avoid doubled pawns if black captures on c3), and black's response 5 ... Ba6.

According to the Wikipedia post -
"The Fischer Variation (5.Ne2 Ba6) aims to exchange light-squared bishops after ...d5 so that Black can play on the light squares. Keres, Bronstein and Smyslov were early contributors to the theory of this line, and Fischer used it several times successfully. White may play 6.a3, which was favoured by Botvinnik and asks the bishop on b4 to clarify its intentions, or 6.Ng3, which was invented by Reshevsky and prepares e4."

Further, Wikipedia gives the following Nimzo-Indian variation ECO codes:

E20 - 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 (includes Romanishin Variation, 4.f3 Variation of Nimzo-Indian excluding 4.f3 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+, which is covered under E25) E21 - 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 (Kasparov Variation excluding 4...c5 5.g3, which is covered under E20) E22 - 4.Qb3 (E22 and E23 cover the Spielmann Variation) E23 - 4.Qb3 c5
E24 - 4.a3 (E24-E29 cover the Sämisch Variation)
E25 - 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 c5
E26 - 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 c5 6.e3
E27 - 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 0-0
E28 - 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 0-0 6.e3
E29 - 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 0-0 6.e3 c5
E30 - 4.Bg5 (E30 and E31 cover the Leningrad Variation) E31 - 4.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 c5 6.d5 d6
E32 - 4.Qc2 (includes 4...0-0; E32-E39 cover the Classical/Capablanca Variation) E33 - 4.Qc2 Nc6 (Zürich/Milner-Barry Variation)
E34 - 4.Qc2 d5
E35 - 4.Qc2 d5 5.cxd5 exd5
E36 - 4.Qc2 d5 5.a3
E37 - 4.Qc2 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 Ne4
E38 - 4.Qc2 c5
E39 - 4.Qc2 c5 5.dxc5 0-0
E40 - 4.e3 (includes Taimanov Variation; E40-E59 cover the Rubinstein System) E41 - 4.e3 c5 (includes Hübner Variation)
E42 - 4.e3 c5 5.Ne2 (Rubinstein Variation, Romanishin-Psakhis Variation via 5...b6 6.a3 Ba5) E43 - 4.e3 b6 (includes Dutch Variation, Keres Variation) E44 - 4.e3 b6 5.Ne2 (includes American Variation, 5...Bb7 Variation) E45 - 4.e3 b6 5.Ne2 Ba6 (Fischer Variation)
E46 - 4.e3 0-0 (includes Reshevsky Variation)
E47 - 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3
E48 - 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3 d5 (includes Modern Variation)
E49 - 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3 d5 6.a3
E50 - 4.e3 0-0 5.Nf3
E51 - 4.e3 0-0 5.Nf3 d5
E52 - 4.e3 0-0 5.Nf3 d5 6.Bd3 b6 (Classical Fianchetto/Tal Variation) E53 - 4.e3 0-0 5.Nf3 d5 6.Bd3 c5 (includes Averbakh Variation) E54 - 4.e3 0-0 5.Nf3 d5 6.Bd3 c5 7.0-0 dxc4 8.Bxc4 (includes Karpov Variation, Bronstein Variation, Smyslov Variation) E55 - 4.e3 0-0 5.Nf3 d5 6.Bd3 c5 7.0-0 dxc4 8.Bxc4 Nbd7 (Parma Variation) E56 - 4.e3 0-0 5.Nf3 d5 6.Bd3 c5 7.0-0 Nc6 (includes Larsen Variation) E57 - 4.e3 0-0 5.Nf3 d5 6.Bd3 c5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.a3 dxc4 9.Bxc4 cxd4 E58 - 4.e3 0-0 5.Nf3 d5 6.Bd3 c5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.a3 Bxc3 9.bxc3 (includes Khasin Variation) E59 - 4.e3 0-0 5.Nf3 d5 6.Bd3 c5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.a3 Bxc3 9.bxc3 dxc4 10.Bxc4 (includes Main Variation)

The Chessgames database seems to list the E45 ECO as the "Bronstein (Byrne)" variation, rather than the "Fischer variation."

Sep-14-09  whiteshark: Opening of the Day
Nimzo-Indian, <Fischer Variation> [ ???? ]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 b6 Opening Explorer

E43 + E44 are mislabeled here

Sep-29-10  rapidcitychess: This is the Bronstein variation according to Seirawan.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day :
Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
1.d4 ♘f6 2.c4 e6 3.♘c3 ♗b4 4.e3 b6
Apr-09-11  lost in space: I am really surprised to find Keres playing so successfully the so called Fischer Variation - so long before Fischer. And he was playing this line very successfully

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: goods at laud isnt it an improved owens defence
Mar-08-21  Stolzenberg: This opening was played 3 times at the tournament of St. Petersburg in 1914 (Bernstein vs Nimzowitsch, Rubinstein vs Alekhine and Janowski vs Nimzowitsch), perhaps the first time ever. So shouldn't it rather be called "Nimzo-Indian Defense, St. Petersburg Variation"? is using this name.

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