Chess24 Jan Nimzo

John Watson Book Review (113)

John Watson Book Review #112 King's Indian Part I

John Watson takes the King's Indian Moderized by Dejan Bojkov as the starting point to look at a huge new literature. Photo ©

John Watson takes the King's Indian Moderized by Dejan Bojkov as the starting point to look at a huge new literature. Photo © | http://www.theweekinchess.com/

IM John Watson looks at new King's Indian literature. Watson takes as his starting point Dejan Bojkov's Modernized: The King's Indian Defense "as a sort of lead-in to the discussion of several variations, but also compare selected lines from other works".

Watson not only examines detailed works but also suggestions in more general repertoire books.

This is a huge review and this is the first part of two.

The King's Indian Defense Lives! Part 1

Modernized: The King's Indian Defense; Dejan Bojkov; 365 pages; Metropolitan Chess Publishing 2014

A Modern Way to Play the King's Indian (DVD); Dejan Bojkov; Chessbase

Kotronias on the King's Indian: Volume One: Fianchetto Systems; Vassilios Kotronias; 720 pages; Quality Chess 2013

A Practical White Repertoire with 1 d4 and 2 c4, Volume 2; Alexei Kornev; 287 pages; Chess Stars 2013

Sabotage the Grünfeld; Larry Kaufman; 187 pages; New in Chess 2014

The Ultimate Anti Grünfeld; Dmitry Svetushkin; 232 pages; Chess Stars 2013

Play the King's Indian Defence with g3 - in 60 minutes! (DVD); Adrian Mikhalchishin; ChessBase

Dominate White with the King's Indian Defense 6...Na6 System (DVD); Eugene Perelshteyn; Empire Chess

The Kaufman Repertoire for Black and White; Larry Kaufman; 496 pages; New in Chess 2012

Attacking Chess: The King's Indian, Volume I; David Vigorito; 368 pages; Everyman 2010

Attacking Chess: The King's Indian, Volume 2; David Vigorito; 368 pages; Everyman 2011

Grandmaster Repertoire 2: 1.d4 Volume Two; Boris Avrukh; 616 pages; Quality Chess 2010

Dangerous Weapons: The King's Indian; Richard Palliser, Glenn Flear and Yelena Dembo; pages; Everyman 2009

Kill KID 1; Semko Semkov; 140 pages; Chess Stars 2009

The King's Indian: A Complete Black Repertoire; Victor Bologan; 356 pages; Chess Stars 2009

Electronic books

Before going any further, I want to correct something I wrote in my previous review of books about Magnus Carlsen. It turns out that both the books Attack on the Throne (by Kotronias & Logothetis) and How Magnus Carlsen Became the Youngest Grandmaster in the World: The Story and the Games (by Agdestein) are available in playable ebook format from Forward Chess, which reproduces existing books from various chess publishers for use with their mobile App. The App itself is available for both Ios (IPad and iPhone) and Android. I'll be discussing Forward Chess and other chess Apps in the future, since this is one direction chess publishing is definitely taking as electronic media become more important. It's worth noting that the Agdestein book is also available as an ebook on New In Chess's own mobile App, as well as from EPlus, whose excellent chess App is reviewed in column #107.

King's Indian Defense overview

This review column began as a first installment on an overview of opening books. In earlier reviews of opening books, I've done considerable work comparing one author's analysis on the same variations to another's, feeling that this was a fairer way of comparing books, rather than simply stating my opinion of the books. This has been unrewarding, to say the least: I've spend untold hours and seldom gotten any feedback; when I have, it's often been negative comments from purportedly offended parties. So for this column, I'd decided to do what most other reviewers do and give my general impressions and/or assessments of the opening books, leaving it up to the reader whether to trust me or not. I still intend to take that approach (otherwise I'd end up ignoring too many worthy books), but not this time. Once I started work on Dejan Bojkov's new King's Indian book, I inevitably began to compare its analysis with other books and DVDs from the last five years, including quite recent ones. Soon I was in the analyst's trap of looking at never-ending variations and assessments of King's Indian variations, until finally I had an unwieldy mass of material that might fit into a small pamphlet. A selection of that follows.

Since my original intent was to review Bojkov's book, I'm going to use that as a sort of lead-in to the discussion of several variations, but also compare selected lines from other works, so as to at least alert readers to the existence of a variety of books that deal with the King's Indian, in some cases simply suggesting a line for White as part of a general repertoire. I'll sometimes refer to the King's Indian Defence as 'KID'. As this column got further and further out of hand, I decided to split it into two parts. The main line (Orthodox), Saemisch, and Makogonov/Bagirov (early h3) systems are fairly lengthy and will come in Part 2. I should add that all of the above books and DVDs are well done, some of them particularly impressive. All have some mistakes or failings (as do my own books), which is inevitable in spite of the powerful help we authors have these days from computers. But interestingly, few of them overlap in terms of their potential function for the player/reader. That is, we have a wide range of KID coverage from the broadest to the most specialized works, recommendations from both White's and Black's point of view, and formats from books to ebooks to DVDs to MP4 files.

Dejan Bojkov's Modernized: The King's Indian Defense

Dejan Bojkov is becoming one our most prominent writers/presenters on the chess scene. I've already discussed in this column Bojkov's Reversed Dragon DVD, which typically features important improvements upon current theory (in that case Marin's English Opening book). He writes for ChessBase Magazine, has written a book A Course on Chess Tactics for Gambit, and has put out a number of DVDs for ChessBase, including Chess Highways! (about files and diagonals), and The True value of the Pieces. Recently he has done a series of theoretical DVDs, including ones on the Scandinavian Defence, English Defence, Pirc Defence, Sicilian Kalashnikov, and Alekhine Defence. Bojkov has a DVD on the KID featuring systems with ...Na6, and I'll be referring to that DVD along with his new book Modernized: The King's Indian Defense. The latter covers recommended KID systems in admirable depth, while Bojkov revives neglected older variations with fresh interpretations. It is the first book published by the new company Metropolitan Chess Publishing. The book resembles the DVD in that many of the recommendations are the same, but it covers those variation lines in far, far more detail. That is of course true of almost every book in comparison with even lengthy DVDs. And there are numerous fresh repertoire recommendations in the recent book, as you'll see.

Here are a few comparisons of some of the works listed above in major KID variations. I'll try to include all of the list in at least one example by the time I complete Part 2:

1. The g3 Fianchetto System

Many strong players use a kingside fianchetto to cramp Black's game and hang on to a small but safe advantage. After, for example, 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nf3 Bg7 4 g3 d6 5 Bg2 0-0 6 0-0, we get a basic position. Here Bokjkov recommends 6...c6 7 Nc3 Qa5 (the Kavalek Variation) in both his book and DVD. The analysis on the DVD is expanded and updated in the text to the book. An important original contribution comes in the line

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0–0 5.Nc3 d6 6.Nf3 c6 7.0–0 Qa5 8.e4 e5 9.h3 Nbd7 10.Re1 exd4

Boris Avrukh in Grandmaster Repertoire 2, a two-volume repertoire with 1 d4, is one of the few authors who tackles this system head-on from White's point of view. He does his usual thorough job, but at this point he seems to have left a large and important gap. As Bojkov covers in some detail, 10...Nb6 is a valid alternative which he indeed suggests equalizes. I'll leave it to the curious reader to investigate, ideally by buying Bojkov's book!

11.Nxd4 Ne5 12.Bf1 Re8 13.Be3

r_b_r_k_
pp___pbp
__pp_np_
q___n___
__PNP___
__N_B_PP
PP___P__
R__QRBK_

Position after 13.Be3

FEN:
r1b1r1k1/pp3pbp/2pp1np1/q3n3/2PNP3/2N1B1PP/PP3P2/R2QRBK1 b - - 0 13

13...c5!

The most dynamic move. 13...Be6 is the older line (I used to play this), arguably underrated and worth investigating if you don't like 13...c5. The idea is that after 14 Nxe6 Rxe6, Black doubles on the e-file with threats, and if need be, he can play solidly thereafter, beginning with some combination of ...a6, ...Qc7, and perhaps ...b5.

14.Nb3 Qb4 15.a3

This is Avrukh's move from his 1 d4 repertoire book (Volume 1 was previously reviewed in this column); he gives 15 a3 an '!'. Other moves apparently give Black equality, as laid out in some detail by Bojkov.

15...Qb6 16.Nd2

and here Bojkov shows that 16...Qd8 is playable, but he thinks that the best sequence is:

16...Nc6 17.Rb1

Thus far Avrukh.

17...Qd8!

r_bqr_k_
pp___pbp
__np_np_
__p_____
__P_P___
P_N_B_PP
_P_N_P__
_R_QRBK_

Position after 17...Qd8!

FEN:
r1bqr1k1/pp3pbp/2np1np1/2p5/2P1P3/P1N1B1PP/1P1N1P2/1R1QRBK1 w - - 0 18

Bojkov devotes considerable analysis to this original idea, one important line going 18.Bg2 Be6 19.f4 h5! with both positional and tactical ideas based upon control of d4 and in some cases a timely ...h4.

rnbq_rk_
ppp_ppbp
___p_np_
________
__PP____
__N__NP_
PP__PPBP
R_BQK__R

Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. Nc3 d6 6. Nf3

FEN:
rnbq1rk1/ppp1ppbp/3p1np1/8/2PP4/2N2NP1/PP2PPBP/R1BQK2R b KQ - 0 6

What about other sources? Adrian Mikhalchishin's ChessBase DVD is a repertoire for White called Play the King's Indian Defense with g3 - in 60 minutes! . In the above variation, he analyses only 6...c6 7 0-0 Qa5 8 e4 Bg4, so we don't know what he would play versus Bojkov's repertoire, which uses 8...e5. In the other order that might transpose to Bojkov's main line, 6...Nbd7 7 0-0 e5 8 e4 c6, Mikhalchishin doesn't use 9 h3 (when 9..Qa5 transposes to Bojkov's variation), but rather 9 Rb1. Thus the reader doesn't get a solution to Bojkov's setup; but it's asking too much for a lecturer to cover every move order in a 60-minute DVD format, so this is not a knock on the DVD. It is presumably mainly aimed at players who enjoy a visual presentation with an emphasis on ideas.

On the other end of the spectrum, Kotronias' book on the King's Indian fianchetto system (from Black's point-of-view) is simply a monstrous work, with no less than 720 pages. No, not on the KID fianchetto system as a whole, but on merely one way for Black to counter it! He recommends the move order 6...Nbd7 7 0-0 e5 8 e4 c6, but with 9...Qb6 after the main move 9 h3 (9...Qa5 would transpose back to Bojkov's variation). Kotronias has important and original analysis in the once discredited line (for White) 9 Be3 Ng4 10 Bg5, when 10...Qb6, made famous by a wonderful win by Smyslov as Black (and played by Kasparov), is now considered inferior. He suggests 10...f6! instead and analyses it at great length.

r_bq_rk_
pppn_pbp
___p_np_
____p___
__PP____
__N__NP_
PPQ_PPBP
R_B__RK_

Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. Nc3 d6 6. Nf3 Nbd7 7. O-O e5 8. Qc2

FEN:
r1bq1rk1/pppn1pbp/3p1np1/4p3/2PP4/2N2NP1/PPQ1PPBP/R1B2RK1 b - - 0 8

Kotronias is proposing a complete repertoire for the King's Indian, and one can get a feel for the potential length of this project by the fact that the modest 8 Qc2 alone takes up 110 pages. Remember that this is limited to only one of Black's possible setups (he gives 2 pages on 8...exd4, but all the rest are about the recommended 8...c6). When discussing 8 Qc2 c6 9 Rd1 Qe7 10 b3 Re8 11 e4 exd4 12 Nxd4 Nc5 13 f3, which he has leading to a draw in at least one main line, Kotronias makes the bold claim 'I believe that the final word on this line has been said'!

r_b_r_k_
pp__qpbp
__pp_np_
__n_____
__PNP___
_PN__PP_
P_Q___BP
R_BR__K_

Position after 13.f3

FEN:
r1b1r1k1/pp2qpbp/2pp1np1/2n5/2PNP3/1PN2PP1/P1Q3BP/R1BR2K1 b - - 0 13

That's always a risky statement, but it's up to some clever player of White to prove him wrong. It's noteworthy that Boris Avrukh's recommendation for White in his Grandmaster Repertoire 2 repertoire book conflicts with Kotronias' for Black in the old main line.

r_b__rk_
pp_n_pbp
_qpp_np_
________
__PNP___
__N___PP
PP___PB_
R_BQR_K_

Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. Nc3 d6 6. Nf3 Nbd7 7. O-O e5 8. e4 c6 9. h3 Qb6 10. Re1 exd4 11. Nxd4

FEN:
r1b2rk1/pp1n1pbp/1qpp1np1/8/2PNP3/2N3PP/PP3PB1/R1BQR1K1 b - - 0 11

This position is arrived at by 6...Nbd7 7 0-0 e5 8 e4 c6 9 h3 Qb6 10 Re1 (10 c5 is a popular modern choice, although Kotronias shows that it poses no threat to Black) 10...exd4 11 Nxd4

r_b__rk_
pp_n_pbp
_qpp_np_
________
__PNP___
__N___PP
PP___PB_
R_BQR_K_

Position after 11.Nxd4

FEN:
r1b2rk1/pp1n1pbp/1qpp1np1/8/2PNP3/2N3PP/PP3PB1/R1BQR1K1 b - - 0 11

11...Re8 (incidentally, I believe that Avrukh's analysis of 11...Ne8 also falls short of establishing even a small White advantage because of one distinctly overoptimistic assessment he makes; sorry, you'll have to go look for yourself!)

12 Re2 Qb4 13 Rc2 Nc5 14 Bd2 (the last few moves are effectively forced) 14...Qb6 (by the way, here even 14...Qxc4!? 15 Ncb5 cxb5 16 Rxc4 bxc4 ends in a position which Avrukh calls 'a definite edge' for White, but I think you'll find that it's at most a very small advantage) 15 Be3 Qc7 16 f3 a5 17 Qd2, and here instead of 17...Bd7, Kotronias recommends 17...a4!, with a rather convincing analysis indicating that Black can hold his own. An impressive effort.

r_b_r_k_
_pq__pbp
__pp_np_
__n_____
p_PNP___
__N_BPPP
PPRQ__B_
R_____K_

Position after 17...a4!

FEN:
r1b1r1k1/1pq2pbp/2pp1np1/2n5/p1PNP3/2N1BPPP/PPRQ2B1/R5K1 w - - 0 18

For the record, Bologan (in his book and DVD) and Vigorito (in his two-volume work listed above) both use the Panno System 6...Nc6 7 0-0 a6 system versus White's g3 main line. Vigorito does a good job of defusing Avrukh's recommended lines with 8 Qd3, and shows that Black can get satisfactory play after 8 h3 Rb8 as well.

2. Averbach Variation

rnbq_rk_
ppp_ppbp
___p_np_
______B_
__PPP___
__N_____
PP__BPPP
R__QK_NR

The Averbach Variation:1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Bg5

FEN:
rnbq1rk1/ppp1ppbp/3p1np1/6B1/2PPP3/2N5/PP2BPPP/R2QK1NR b KQ - 0 6

Alexei Kornev's A Practical White Repertoire with 1 d4 and 2 c4, Volume 2 is subtitled 'The King's Fianchetto Defences'. His book is a three-volume work outlining a repertoire for White. Kornev's weapon for White versus the KID is the Averbach Variation with 5 Be2 0-0 6 Bg5. This is an underrated variation which may be due a revival. I notice that Vigorito says that it was one of the most difficult lines for him to find a solution to. Against the Averbach, Bojkov recommends (naturally) 6...Na6, as does Bologan, when Kornev's main line is the no-nonsense 7 f4. After Bojkov and Bologan's recommended solution 7...c6, they analyse various moves, but neither addresses Kornev's recommendation 8 Qd2 Nc7 9 Bf3.

r_bq_rk_
ppn_ppbp
__pp_np_
______B_
__PPPP__
__N__B__
PP_Q__PP
R___K_NR

The Averbach Variation:1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Bg5 Na6 7. f4 c6 8. Qd2 Nc7 9. Bf3

FEN:
r1bq1rk1/ppn1ppbp/2pp1np1/6B1/2PPPP2/2N2B2/PP1Q2PP/R3K1NR b KQ - 0 9

That's understandable, since 9 Bf3 is unusual. But I remember this sequence well, since Kaidanov used it to get the advantage and defeat me in a game 20 years ago; I'd never seen the move in any book. In fact, amazingly, today I still find no examples with 8 Qd2 Nc7 9 Bf3 until the last few years (and only a few with the similar 8 Bf3); even then, that's only because Ivanchuk used it in 2011. Now it's starting to gain some attention from strong players and has scored nicely, but is still not a 'main line', so it's perfect for a repertoire book. Kornev's book, by the way, is different in having very few game references, even when his recommendation follows a well-trodden path. In part, this is admirable, indicating that he's probably doing more of his own analysis than most authors; on the other hand, it would be nice if he cited more mainstream theory and games when appropriate. I'll be looking at his 1 d4/2 c4 series in future columns as I review books and DVDs about other d-pawn defences.

Another main line in the Averbach Variation goes:

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0–0 6.Bg5 c5

This is the classical method of meeting the Averbach.

7.d5 h6 8.Bf4 e6 9.dxe6 Bxe6 10.Qd2 Qb6

rn___rk_
pp___pb_
_q_pbnpp
__p_____
__P_PB__
__N_____
PP_QBPPP
R___K_NR

Position after 10...Qb6

FEN:
rn3rk1/pp3pb1/1q1pbnpp/2p5/2P1PB2/2N5/PP1QBPPP/R3K1NR w KQ - 0 11

11.Nf3

David Vigorito's two-volume masterpieces Attacking Chess:The King's Indian is arguably the best work available on the King's Indian Defence. It is certainly the most detailed repertoire from Black's point of view, and for the most part Vigorito chooses well-established, sound lines which will serve the reader for many years to come. At this point he does an excellent and thorough job of analysing White's option 11.Bxh6 Bxh6 12.Qxh6 Qxb2 13.Rc1, which has been a popular and well-tested White attacking try. Vigorito's analysis indicates that Black has several safe lines.

11...Nc6 12.0–0

r____rk_
pp___pb_
_qnpbnpp
__p_____
__P_PB__
__N__N__
PP_QBPPP
R____RK_

Position after 12.0-0

FEN:
r4rk1/pp3pb1/1qnpbnpp/2p5/2P1PB2/2N2N2/PP1QBPPP/R4RK1 b - - 0 12

12...Nd4

Kornev analyses

12...Kh7 13.Nd5 Bxd5 14.exd5 and now 14...Ne5, 14...Ne7, and 14...Nd4, all to White's advantage, but in a strange omission he doesn't mention my computer engine's first two choices. It turns out that they may also be the best moves. I'll give a little analysis to get you started:

r____r__
pp___pbk
_qnp_npp
__pP____
__P__B__
_____N__
PP_QBPPP
R____RK_

Position after 14.exd5

FEN:
r4r2/pp3pbk/1qnp1npp/2pP4/2P2B2/5N2/PP1QBPPP/R4RK1 b - - 0 14

a) 14...Ne4 15.Qc2 (15.Qe3 Nb4 16.Bd1 f5 17.a3 Na6=) 15...Nb4! with the idea 16.Qb1 (16.Qxe4 Rae8 17.Qb1 Rxe2=) 16...Rfe8 17.a3 Nxd5!, for example, 18.cxd5 Bxb2 19.Bc4 Nc3 20.Qc2 Bxa1 21.Rxa1 Re4! 22.Bxd6 Rxc4=; I've truncated this analysis considerably, but Black does seem to have sufficient play.

b) 14...Nb4 15.a3 (15.Bd3!? Rae8 16.a3 Nxd3 17.Qxd3 Re4!=) 15...Ne4 (15...Na6) 16.Qe3 Nc2 17.Qxe4 Nxa1 18.Rxa1 Rfe8 and ...Qxb2 is unclear and I think satisfactory for Black, in spite of his having only a pawn and rook for the two pieces.

13.Nxd4 cxd4 14.Nd5 Bxd5 15.exd5 Ne4 16.Qc2 Rfe8 17.Bd3 Nc5

r___r_k_
pp___pb_
_q_p__pp
__nP____
__Pp_B__
___B____
PPQ__PPP
R____RK_

Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Bg5 c5 7. d5 h6 8. Bf4 e6 9. dxe6 Bxe6 10. Qd2 Qb6 11. Nf3 Nc6 12. O-O Nd4 13. Nxd4 cxd4 14. Nd5 Bxd5 15. exd5 Ne4 16. Qc2 Rfe8 17. Bd3 Nc5

FEN:
r3r1k1/pp3pb1/1q1p2pp/2nP4/2Pp1B2/3B4/PPQ2PPP/R4RK1 w - - 0 18

According to Vigorito, this "was fine for Black in A.Aleksandrov-Y.Shulman, Ohrid 2001." Kornev continues with this game:

18.Bd2 a5

18...Rac8 19.b3 Qc7 20.Rfe1 Qd7 is pretty solid. White arguably has a modest positional edge in this situation.

19.b3

r___r_k_
_p___pb_
_q_p__pp
p_nP____
__Pp____
_P_B____
P_QB_PPP
R____RK_

Position after 19.b3

FEN:
r3r1k1/1p3pb1/1q1p2pp/p1nP4/2Pp4/1P1B4/P1QB1PPP/R4RK1 b - - 0 19

19...Kh7

Kornev cites a correspondence game Houpt-Rubio Doblas, chessfriend.com 2004: 19...Re7 20.Rfe1 Rae8 21.Rxe7 Rxe7 22.Re1!? (22.Rb1) 22...Rxe1+ 23.Bxe1 with an edge, the idea being that Black's pawns on dark squares constitute targets if White captures on d3. I'll leave it to you to decide whether this offers realistic winning chances; it is slightly awkward for Black, who I think should play ...h5 before White initiates a general kingside advance.

20.Rfe1 Bf6 21.g3 Kg7 22.Kg2 Qc7

22...h5!?

23.Rad1 b6 24.Bc1 a4 25.Bf1

r___r___
__q__pk_
_p_p_bpp
__nP____
p_Pp____
_P____P_
P_Q__PKP
__BRRB__

Position after 25.Bf1

FEN:
r3r3/2q2pk1/1p1p1bpp/2nP4/p1Pp4/1P4P1/P1Q2PKP/2BRRB2 b - - 0 25

Again White has a modest edge with the ideas of h4 and b4. I suspect that Black can live with that, but from White's point of view you might argue that it's comfortable, and as good as one gets from any well-played opening.

A third defence that Bologan recommends as his alternate solution begins with 6...h6:

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0–0 6.Bg5 h6 7.Be3 c5 8.dxc5

rnbq_rk_
pp__ppb_
___p_npp
__P_____
__P_P___
__N_B___
PP__BPPP
R__QK_NR

Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Bg5 h6 7. Be3 c5 8. dxc5

FEN:
rnbq1rk1/pp2ppb1/3p1npp/2P5/2P1P3/2N1B3/PP2BPPP/R2QK1NR b KQ - 0 8

Kornev acknowledges that this is the only serious try for advantage.

8...Qa5 9.Bd2 Qxc5 10.Nf3 Bg4 11.0–0 Bxf3 12.Bxf3 Nc6 13.Be2 Qe5 14.f3 g5 15.Be3 Nh5 16.Qd2 Nf4 17.Bd1

Both authors follow this game Yakovich- Inarkiev, Novokuznetsk 2008, but disagree about its assessment. Here 17.Rac1 might be met by 17...f5!? 18.Bd3 (18.exf5?! Qxe3+ 19.Qxe3 Bd4) 18...Nxd3 19.Qxd3 fxe4 20.fxe4 Qa5 21.Qd5+ Kh7=.

r____rk_
pp__ppb_
__np___p
____q_p_
__P_Pn__
__N_BP__
PP_Q__PP
R__B_RK_

Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Bg5 h6 7. Be3 c5 8. dxc5 Qa5 9. Bd2 Qxc5 10. Nf3 Bg4 11. O-O Bxf3 12. Bxf3 Nc6 13. Be2 Qe5 14. f3 g5 15. Be3 Nh5 16. Qd2 Nf4 17. Bd1

FEN:
r4rk1/pp2ppb1/2np3p/4q1p1/2P1Pn2/2N1BP2/PP1Q2PP/R2B1RK1 b - - 0 17

Now Black played 17...Ne6 and I think stood somewhat worse, as Kornev suggests. But simply 17...Na5! seems fine to me, e.g., 18.Bb3 Kh8! with the idea 19.g3 Ne6 20.f4 gxf4 21.gxf4 Qh5=, still hitting c4. So White should add 6...h6 to his list of lines to prepare carefully if he is to employ the Averbach.

3. Four Pawns Attack

rnbq_rk_
ppp_ppbp
___p_np_
________
__PPPP__
__N_____
PP____PP
R_BQKBNR

Four Pawns Attack

FEN:
rnbq1rk1/ppp1ppbp/3p1np1/8/2PPPP2/2N5/PP4PP/R1BQKBNR w KQ - 0 6

This goes:

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 f4 0-0.

In his book, Bojkov recommends two moves after 6 Nf3 (he doesn't cover any unique lines after 6 Be2, but presumably 6...e5!? is just as valid, and 6...Na6 will probably transpose). One is 6...e5!?, until recently an eccentric choice, but now gaining respectability. 6...e5 was previously featured in Dangerous Weapons: The King's Indian, a multi-author book with this section written by Richard Palliser. As an alternative, Bojkov analyses 6...Na6, which has a longer history. Having played both sides of 7 Bd3 e5 8 fxe5 dxe5 9 d5, I tend to prefer White's chances and find him playing rather poorly in Bojkov's examples, but on the flip side he offers three essentially independent ways for Black to set up his pieces, all giving at any rate a playable game. On his KID DVD, Bojkov naturally again uses 6 Nf3 Na6, since the move ..Na6 is featured as the basis of the DVD repertoire.

Vigorito in the meantime tackles the traditional Four Pawns main line with 6...c5, which has always been theoretically satisfactory, and still is. After 7 d5 e6 8 Be2 (I used to play 8 Bd3!?, which I think deserved a mention, not that other sources pay it much attention either) 8...exd5 9 cxd5, he sticks with the safer 9...Bg4, a good practical choice; my own experience is that Black has a better chance for an actual advantage with 9...Re8, but that is certainly riskier. Anyway, after 9...Bg4, let me compare Vigorito's analysis with Semko Semkov's Kill KID book, an entertaining repertoire book promoting the Four Pawns which I reviewed in this column a long time ago. It's important to understand that Vigorito had the use of Semkov's book and refers to it.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4 0–0 6.Nf3 c5 7.d5 e6 8.Be2 exd5 9.cxd5 Bg4 10.0–0 Nbd7

r__q_rk_
pp_n_pbp
___p_np_
__pP____
____PPb_
__N__N__
PP__B_PP
R_BQ_RK_

Four Pawns Attack: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4 0–0 6.Nf3 c5 7.d5 e6 8.Be2 exd5 9.cxd5 Bg4 10.0–0 Nbd7

FEN:
r2q1rk1/pp1n1pbp/3p1np1/2pP4/4PPb1/2N2N2/PP2B1PP/R1BQ1RK1 w - - 0 11

11.h3

Semkov recommends this move, instead of the most frequently-played one, 11.Re1.

11...Bxf3 12.Bxf3 Re8 13.g4 h6 14.Qc2

This is Semkov's choice, rather than 14.h4 or 14 g5 hxg5 15 e5, among others.

14...a6 15.Be3 b5 16.Rae1 Rc8

The move Semkov analyses. Vigorito gives the important alternative 16...Nb6

r__qr_k_
_____pb_
pn_p_npp
_ppP____
____PPP_
__N_BB_P
PPQ_____
____RRK_

Four Pawns Attack: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f4 O-O 6. Nf3 c5 7. d5 e6 8. Be2 exd5 9. cxd5 Bg4 10. O-O Nbd7 11. h3 Bxf3 12. Bxf3 Re8 13. g4 h6 14. Qc2 a6 15. Be3 b5 16. Rae1 Nb6

FEN:
r2qr1k1/5pb1/pn1p1npp/1ppP4/4PPP1/2N1BB1P/PPQ5/4RRK1 w - - 0 17

Here are a few possibilities I've examined, with no pretensions of completeness:

a) 17.Bf2 with the idea Bh4 isn't mentioned by Vigorito, but might be the best try in view of the fact that other more aggressive moves seem to give equality at best:;

b) 17.h4 Nc4 18.Bc1 h5! 19.g5 (19.gxh5 Nxh5 20.Bxh5 gxh5 21.Qh2 Bd4+ 22.Kh1 Kh8 with an unclear position - Vigorito) 19...Ng4 (Vigorito). Then possible is 20.e5! Ra7 (or 20...dxe5 21.Bxg4 hxg4 22.f5 e4 23.fxg6 Bd4+ 24.Kg2 fxg6 25.Rxe4 Bxc3 26.Rxe8+ Qxe8 27.bxc3 Rd8=) 21.Bxg4 hxg4 22.e6 f5! 23.h5 (23.gxf6 Qxf6 24.f5 gxf5 25.Qxf5 Qxh4! 26.Qf7+! Kh7 27.Qxa7 Qg3+ 28.Kh1 Rh8 29.Qf7=) 23...Bd4+ 24.Kg2 Qa8! 25.hxg6 Bxc3 26.Qxc3 Qxd5+ 27.Kg3 b4 unclear, with a draw in the line 28.Qf6 Qd3+ 29.Kg2 Qh3+ 30.Kg1 Qg3+ etc. (jw);

c)17.g5 hxg5 18.e5 dxe5 19.f5 e4 (19...b4!?) 20.Nxe4 gxf5 21.Nxg5 Nbxd5 'decimates White's centre' (Vigorito). Then a possible continuation is (jw:) 22.Bxc5 Rc8 23.Rxe8+ Qxe8 24.Bxd5 Nxd5 25.Qxf5 Rxc5 26.Qh7+ Kf8 27.Rxf7+ Qxf7 28.Nxf7 Kxf7 with an edge for Black.

d)17.e5 dxe5 18.d6 (jw: 18.f5 e4 19.Nxe4 Nxe4 20.Bxe4 gxf5 21.gxf5 Qh4 22.Bxc5 Nd7 23.Bf2 Qxh3 24.Bg2 Qg4 , about equal) 18...e4 19.Nxe4 Nxe4 20.Bxe4 Rc8 21.Rd1 Bd4! 'looks fine for Black' (Vigorito).

17.h4 h5

17...b4 18.Nd1 c4 19.g5 may favour White - this is a promising pawn structure for him in most lines, although concrete analysis is needed.

18.g5 Ng4 19.Bxg4 hxg4 20.e5!

__rqr_k_
___n_pb_
p__p__p_
_ppPP_P_
_____PpP
__N_B___
PPQ_____
____RRK_

Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f4 O-O 6. Nf3 c5 7. d5 e6 8. Be2 exd5 9. cxd5 Bg4 10. O-O Nbd7 11. h3 Bxf3 12. Bxf3 Re8 13. g4 h6 14. Qc2 a6 15. Be3 b5 16. Rae1 Rc8 17. h4 h5 18. g5 Ng4 19. Bxg4 hxg4 20. e5

FEN:
2rqr1k1/3n1pb1/p2p2p1/1ppPP1P1/5PpP/2N1B3/PPQ5/4RRK1 b - - 0 20

This is Semkov's recommendation for White, which might yield a small advantage, for example,

20...Nb6

Semkov gives 20...dxe5 21.f5! e4 22.fxg6 fxg6 23.Nxe4 with an edge , although perhaps 23...Ne5! 24.Nf6+ Bxf6 25.Rxf6 Qxd5 holds the balance.

21.e6

More promising than 21.f5 Rxe5, e.g., 22.fxg6 fxg6 23.Ne4 Nxd5 24.Nf6+ Bxf6 25.Qxg6+ Bg7 26.Rf7 Qf8 27.Rxf8+ Rxf8 28.Bd2 Nf4 29.Qxd6 Ne2+ 30.Kg2 Rf3=.

21...Qe7 22.f5 gxf5 23.Qxf5 fxe6 24.Qg6

and White keeps an edge, for example, 24...Nd7 25.Bf4!

I should point that most of the books above don't provide a complete King's Indian repertoire; that is, they are limited to the traditionally most important lines (in the case of Bojkov), or lines which involve White playing both d4 and c4 (Vigorito), or a specialized variation (Kotronias). Only Bologan's repertoire, which is not as intensely specialized, covers wider ground. For one thing example, he suggests a complete system versus 1 c4 with the standard King's Indian moves for Black, as well as lines such as 1 Nf3 Nf6 2 g3 g6 3 b3 Bg7 4 Bb2. He also examines lines with d4 but not c4, notably, 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 g3 Bg7 4 Bg2 d6 5 0-0 0-0 and along with slow moves like 6 c3 and 6 Re1, he includes the move advocated by Graham Burgess in his A Cunning Chess Opening Repertoire for White: 6.a4

rnbq_rk_
ppp_ppbp
___p_np_
________
P__P____
_____NP_
_PP_PPBP
RNBQ_RK_

Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 d6 5. O-O O-O 6. a4

FEN:
rnbq1rk1/ppp1ppbp/3p1np1/8/P2P4/5NP1/1PP1PPBP/RNBQ1RK1 b - - 0 6

Against this move, Burgess' and Bologan's repertoires follow the same line for many moves, diverging only after 6...Nbd7 7 a5 (Burgess also analyses 7 d5!?, a reversed Reti Opening; Bologan's main line begins with 7 Nc3) 7...c6 8 Nc3 Qc7 9 e4 e5 10 h3 (Burgess mentions 10 b3) 10...Re8 11 Rb1 Rgb8 12 Be3 b5 13 axb6 axb6 14 d5 Bb7 (14...b5 is covered by Burgess and seems unclear), 15 Nd2 b5 l6.dxc6 Bxc6. At this point Bologan follows a game with 17.b4 Nb6 18 Qe2 Na4=, when, he says, “there has arisen, in an amazing fashion, a very favourable position for Black from the Najdorf variation of the Sicilian Defence with g3, Belikov-Chadaev, Miass 2007.” Illustrating the depth of theory even in such sidelines, Burgess's continuation is 17.Ra7 Rb7 of Romanishin-Cu Hansen, Groningen 1991, when he suggests 18.Ra6 (instead of 18.Rxb7=) 18...Nb6 19.Na2 d5 20.c3 Bf8 21.Qb3; at this point, 21...Nxe4 still looks equal to me, but obviously both sides have numerous ways to handle this variation.

In the next column I'll continue with this comparison, citing different sources, and cover the Saemisch Variation, the Main Line (Orthodox) Variation, and the Makogonov/Bagirov systems.

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