At the end of 2011 Everyman published, in its successful ‘Move to Move’ series, the new book by John Emms: The Nimzo-Indian. My favourable experiences with John as coach of the English women’s team (ETCC, Crete 2007) encouraged me to read his latest book, even though I have never played the Nimzo until recently.
It is not the first book by John about his favourite defence and the Nimzo-Indian, with a reputation as being very flexible, has over decades never lacked popularity among players of all strengths. The most recent example in top play was the last world championship match, Anand-Gelfand, in Moscow. The concept of this book (as well as of the whole series) is to study by answering questions posed to the reader. This actively involves the student, ensures monitoring of learning progress and the explanation of the answers gives a much deeper understanding of the underlying concepts of the opening and resultant middlegame.Given the way the book is structured this works very well. Common ideas in the Nimzo are explained across the different variations. Emms tries successfully to explain the differences between the lines; for example, the Samisch (4 a3), the delayed Samisch (4 e3 0-0 5 a3) and the super-delayed Samisch (4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 d5 6 a3) in a way that even the less experienced reader gets to understand the differences. So, overall, the study of the book enables the reader to have a solid understanding of the defence 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 and gives, especially for the Black player, a profound repertoire. This, of course, also means that not all possible variations are covered; this would be impossible in such a book. John recommends the Parma Variation so you will not find the line from the match Anand–Gelfand, but with the help of the book Black will always have a solid line available. If you want to understand more about one of the current games not covered in the book, you will have a good chance to find it on John’s homepage.
So overall I can recommend this book to any club player. John Emms manages to transfer much of his experience and knowledge to the reader. I now have to make the decision: am I now sufficiently convinced to take it up in one of my next games?