Today I had the pleasure of directing the Columbus Day Madness tournament at the Marshall Chess Club. It was a 6 round affair, and while I had to leave before it concluded I did have the pleasure of learning a thing or two about dismantling the Nimzo-Larsen Attack. As everyone knows, the General Manager of the Marshall Chess Club- Marcus- has a unique repertoire from which he has never deviated: 1.b3 with white, and 1…b6 with Black without exception. When I saw that he was paired with IM Jay Bonin in round two, I watched from a safe distance to glean a secret about how to handle this system a la Bonin.
The game begins quietly enough, though quickly things go awry. While the move 17.Rf5 was inferior to 17.Bc1, it didn’t have to blunder a piece as in the text because White could recuperate the knight as in the line 17…Nc4 18.Rxc5 Nxb2 19.Rb1 Nxd3 20.Qxd3 when the position would remain roughly equal. 20.Rd5 was a blunder, as now the knight will find a way out of it’s confinement on b2 once the queen captures the c2 pawn as in the game.