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John Watson Book Review (113)

John Watson Book Review #113 King's Indian Part 2

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 © |

Part two of John Watson's review of King's Indian literature taking as his starting point Dejan Bojkov's King's Indian Modernized:. Read Part 1 of John Watson's Book review on the King's Indian.

Systems covered: Makogonov/Bagirov Systems, Saemisch Variation and Main Line (Orthodox).

The King's Indian Defense Lives! Part 2

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

A Strategic Chess Opening Repertoire For White; John Watson; 272 pages; Gambit 2012

Play the King's Indian Defence with g3 (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

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

This is the second part of my review on King's Indian Defence books. My featured book is Dejan Bojkov's Modernized: The King's Indian Defense, and I have taken other relatively recent books and DVDs on the King's Indian and compared their recommendations with Bojkov's and/or with each other. It's worth emphasizing that the most recent books have a considerable advantage in having access to both current games and the previous writings on a given variation. But not all authors fully use their sources or do much research, so older books are almost always of interest. Please refer back to Column #112 for some general comments about Bojkov and opening books.

I want to point out that, increasingly, books that you see being published are likely to have playable ebook versions for tablets and phones. I talked about the ePlusApp in Column #107; Eric Schiller and I wrote 'Taming the Wild Chess Openings' specifically for ePlus Books, but normally you'll find that playable ebooks are conversions of pre-existing works. Similarly, a selection of Gambit books (including two of my own) are available as playable ebooks and can be found on the 'Gambit Chess Studio' App for the iPad and iPad mini.

Everyman Chess has an App called 'Chess Viewer' which offers almost every chess book that Everyman has published, with a visual presentation similar to the downloadable pgn ebooks they have produced for many years.

Forward Chess, which I mentioned in the previous column, is an App with versions for both Android and iOS systems; they convert and produce books from a variety of publishers, for example, Russell Enterprises, Chess Stars, Mongoose, and Quality Chess.

If you like the ePlus format I mentioned above, ePlus has made an iPad (/iPhone/iPod) App for New in Chess called 'New in Chess Books and Files' which already has numerous books from New In Chess available, with more on the way.

Finally, I noticed a nice App called ChessApps, which has about a dozen books in English, but a much broader selection of books and magazines in Spanish. Of course, that doesn't cover all that's going on in this area; I'll try to address this subject more comprehensively in a future review.

Now for the conclusion of our comparison of King's Indian works:

4. Makogonov/Bagirov Systems

In the complex of variations involving h3, normally beginning with 4 e4 d6 5 Nf3 0-0 6 h3 or here 5 h3 0-0 6 Be3 or 6 Bg5, Vigorito, Bojkov (in his book and his DVD), and Bologan (in his book The King's Indian: A Complete Black Repertoire) all recommend lines with...Na6, or...e5 followed by ...Na6. Their coverage of sidelines is excellent, considering that it's almost impossible to fully account for the wide number of independent non-transpositional lines with 5 h3 (some of the ones they skip are given in my own 1 d4 book A Strategic Chess Opening Repertoire for White). I do think that these books fail to show equality against some of the recommended lines I've given; of course, I had the advantage of using Vigorito's and Bologan's books while writing my own. In many case, positions arise which give White a modest positional pull. Nevertheless, these are playable lines and hardly a disaster for the King's Indian as a whole. Rather than get distracted by the many White possibilities in lines without Nf3, let's look at a couple of the main modern lines:

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3

I use the move order 5.h3 0–0 6.Bg5 or 6 Be3 in my book A Strategic Chess Opening Repertoire For White. Since I often have White playing Nf3 soon, many of the variations will transpose to 5 Nf3/6 h3 main lines. One feature is that those move orders sidestep 5 Nf3 0–0 6 h3 e5 7 d5 Nh5.

5...0–0 6.h3


Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3

rnbq1rk1/ppp1ppbp/3p1np1/8/2PPP3/2N2N1P/PP3PP1/R1BQKB1R b KQ - 0 6


Bojkov's main line. 6...e5 7.d5 Na6 (7...Nh5 is a main line that is avoided if White plays the 6 Bg5 order.; Vigorito also analyzes 7...a5 , which opens up another complex territory of lines and ideas. This can also be avoided with my order 6 Bg5, for example) 8.Bg5 Qe8 is the move order in Vigorito's books, and it may directly transpose to the main line.


7.Be3 e5 8.d5 Nh5 is an old line that received particularly strong attention following Kasparov's use of it:


Kasparov's line. Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3 Na6 7. Be3 e5 8. d5 Nh5

r1bq1rk1/ppp2pbp/n2p2p1/3Pp2n/2P1P3/2N1BN1P/PP3PP1/R2QKB1R w KQ - 0 9

a) It's interesting that after 9.Nh2 Qe8, Bojkov only analyses 10.Be2, which has a poor reputation, whereas in my older book I suggest that 10.a3 might be better, for example, 10...f5 11.b4, and although I don't like this as much for White as 9 a3, it's still up to Black to find a good plan before White consolidates, e.g., 11...fxe4 (11...Nf6 12.Bd3) 12.Nxe4 Bf5 (12...Nb8 13.Bd3 Nf4 14.0–0) 13.Bd3 Nf4 14.0–0 and White is only modestly better, but has better minor pieces and queenside attacking prospects.)

b) 9.a3! is my recommendation, when 9...c6!? is Bojkov's suggestion (9...Qe8 10.b4 f5 is normal, but both Bojkov and I like White's position after 11.c5, and I also find White somewhat better after simply 11 Be2 Nf4 12 0–0). But he only analyses 10.b4, and 10.dxc6 is of particular interest with Black's two knights on the flank not protecting the centre, for example, 10...bxc6 11.Qd2 (11.b4) 11...f5 (11...Nf4? 12.Rd1; 11...Nc5 12.Rd1 Nb7 13.Be2 Nf4!? 14.Bxf4 exf4 15.Qxf4 f5 16.0–0 and Black lacks sufficient compensation) 12.Bg5 Bf6 (12...Qb6 13.b4) 13.Rd1 Bxg5 14.Nxg5 Nf4 15.h4 Rf6 16.b4 Nc7 17.g3 Nh5 18.c5 and White wins a pawn along with a strong attack.


7...e5 8.d5 Qe8 is Vigorito's preferred move order - it transposes if White plays 9.Be2.

8.Be2 e5 9.d5


Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3 Na6 7. Bg5 Qe8 8. Be2 e5 9. d5

r1b1qrk1/ppp2pbp/n2p1np1/3Pp1B1/2P1P3/2N2N1P/PP2BPP1/R2QK2R b KQ - 0 9


9...Nd7 isn't given in this exact position by any of our authors (in this variation, similar positions often lead to different assessments); it gets quite a lot of attention in my book. ; Instead, 9...Bd7 is Bojkov's recommendation, which he analyses thoroughly with some beautiful variations typical of the King's Indian. After the critical 10.Nd2, Avrukh-Milov, Gibraltar 2009 went 10...Nc5 (In my book, I analyse 10...h6 11.Be3 Nh7 12.g4 f5 13.gxf5 gxf5 14.exf5 Bxf5 15.Bg4 (15.Rg1) 15...Qg6 16.Bxf5 Qxf5 17.Qg4! with control of e4 and a limited but definite advantage.) 11.0–0 a5 12.b3 (jw: or 12.Rb1 ) 12...h5 13.a3 Nh7 14.Be3 f5 15.exf5 gxf5 '!!' according to Bojkov; and at least one is deserved for bravery and imagination. Nevertheless, I think White should objectively stand better after accepting the pawn. It's pretty fascinating, so I'll plunge in a bit, and I'm sure there are plenty of alternative tries that Black can attempt: 16.Bxh5 Qe7 17.Bg6! (The game continued 17.Be2 e4 18.Qc2 Qh4 with a strong attack) 17...e4 (17...Nf6 18.Bg5) 18.Rc1 Nd3 19.Qh5 Bh8! (19...Nf6 20.Qg5 Nxc1 21.Rxc1 is much better for White, who has the idea of Nf1–g3, among others) 20.Bh6 (20.c5!?) 20...Rf6 21.g4 e3!? (21...Nxc1 22.Rxc1 and White will win another pawn with some advantage.) 22.fxe3 Nf8 23.gxf5 Nxg6 is more active, although the remarkable 24.Nce4! Nge5 25.Qg5+! Kf7 26.Kh1 is apparently quite strong.



Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3 Na6 7. Bg5 Qe8 8. Be2 e5 9. d5 Nh5 10.g3

r1b1qrk1/ppp2pbp/n2p2p1/3Pp1Bn/2P1P3/2N2NPP/PP2BP2/R2QK2R b KQ - 0 10


Vigorito seems to prefer this to 10...f5 11.exf5 gxf5 12.Nh4 Nf6 13.Qc2 (13.Qd2 with an edge for White is easier to play and is likely just as good) I analyse the position after 13.Qc2 at some length in my own book, and I believe I've demonstrated an advantage for White. A much-cited game Kacheishvili-Smirin, Minneapolis 2005 went 13...Nb4! 14.Qb3 (14.Qb1!? a5) 14...a5 15.a3 Na6 16.Qc2 Nc5 17.Be3 (17.0–0–0 Nfe4 18.Nxe4 fxe4 19.Be3²) 17...b6 (17...Bd7 18.Nb5) 18.0–0–0 a4 19.Kb1 , and Avrukh suggests the improvement 19...Nb3 , but I point out that 20.Nb5 (20.Rhg1 is pretty good too) 20...Qe7 21.Bg5! e4 22.Rhg1 is extremely promising for White.


Bologan gives only 11 g4?. 11.Bd2 f5 12.Nh4 is an interesting option, probably slightly better for White. Vigorito suggests that after 12...Nf6 13.exf5 gxf5 14.Qc2 Nb4 15.Qb3 a5 16.a3 Na6 17.Qc2 Nc5 18.Be3 b6, Black enter into the note to 10...f6 above; that looks somewhat favourable for White, who also has nice options earlier.

11...f5 12.exf5! gxf5 13.Nh4

13.Ng5!? Nf6 14.Qd2 Nc5 15.Bxc5 dxc5 16.0–0–0 is double-edged.


Here Vigorito gives 14.Qc2 f4!. In my repertoire book (again, I had the benefit of writing after both Bologan and Vigorito's excellent analysis), I suggest



Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3 Na6 7. Bg5 Qe8 8. Be2 e5 9. d5 Nh5 10. g3 f6 11. Be3 f5 12. exf5 gxf5 13. Nh4 Nf6 14. Qd2

r1b1qrk1/ppp3bp/n2p1n2/3Ppp2/2P4N/2N1B1PP/PP1QBP2/R3K2R b KQ - 0 14

, which seems quite good:


14...f4? 15.gxf4 exf4 16.Bd4! with the idea 16...Ne4? 17.Nxe4 Qxe4 18.Rg1 Rf7 19.0–0–0 and wins; 14...Nh5 is perhaps best. It can be met by 15 Nxf5, which is ultimately favourable, or 15.Bg5, or simply 15.Ng2 with the idea of 0–0–0/Rdg1, when 15...f4?! 16.gxf4 exf4 17.Nxf4 Nxf4 18.Bxf4 Nc5 19.0–0–0 gives a clear advantage]


15.Bxc5 dxc5 16.Qg5!? also gives White a pull.


15...a5 16.Qc2 (16.g4 also looks very strong) 16...Bd7 17.g4 and Black's position is a total mess, e.g., 17...f4? (17...Nfe4 18.Nxf5; 17...fxg4 18.hxg4 Nxg4 19.Bxg4 Bxg4 20.Rdg1 h5 21.f3 Bxf3 22.Nxf3 Rxf3 23.Bxc5 dxc5 24.Rxg7+!) 18.Bxc5 dxc5 19.g5 Nh5 20.Bd3 and wins.

16.Nxe4 Nxe4 17.Qc2 Qe7

This works against White's threat of g4, but



Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3 Na6 7. Bg5 Qe8 8. Be2 e5 9. d5 Nh5 10. g3 f6 11. Be3 f5 12. exf5 gxf5 13. Nh4 Nf6 14. Qd2 Nc5 15. O-O-O Nfe4 16. Nxe4 Nxe4 17. Qc2 Qe7 18. Bd3

r1b2rk1/ppp1q1bp/3p4/3Ppp2/2P1n2N/3BB1PP/PPQ2P2/2KR3R b - - 0 18

will still win a pawn for insufficient compensation and leave White with the better game.

5. Saemisch Variation


Saemisch Variation

rnbqk2r/ppp1ppbp/3p1np1/8/2PPP3/2N2P2/PP4PP/R1BQKBNR b KQkq - 0 5

The Saemisch Variation goes 4 e4 d6 5 f3 0-0. On his DVD and in his book, Bojkov recommends the popular 6 Be3 c5, and against 6 Bg5, the flexible 6...a6. As an indicator of how DVDs essentially serve a different function from books, he analyses 6 Bg5 a6 in 16 pages in the book, with lengthy analytical notes on practically every logical alternative, but covers the whole variation in a single comment on the DVD with one line and a note to that line. In addition, In the book you also get an additional exercises related to the variations.


Saemisch Variation: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 f3 move order

rnbqkb1r/pppppp1p/5np1/8/2PP4/5P2/PP2P1PP/RNBQKBNR b KQkq - 0 3

Both Kaufman and Svetushkin, who are recommending 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 f3, defend the Saemisch Variation after 3...Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 Nc3 0-0, with 6 Nge2 (Kaufman) or 6 Be3 (Svetushkin), often transposing. Kaufman cites Svetushkin's book in his Bibliography, and quotes from him, and both books come well after Vigorito's, although it's unclear whether they examined the latter. Looking at Vigorito's section on the Saemisch, which is extremely impressive and thorough, we see the best overview of 6 Be3 Nc6 (or 6 Nge2 Nc6) in the literature. I think that these moves provide a good alternative path for Black to look into. Rather that compare all the details of these 6...Nc6 (the Saemisch Panno), I'll simply note a few differences in the main line 6 Be3 Nc6 7 Nge2 a6 8 Qd2 Rb8. Here both Kaufman and Svetushkin give 9 Rc1 as their main line, but talk about 9 Nc1, with Kaufman suggesting it as a good alternative. But he doesn't examine what is arguably the best line, 9...e5 10 d5 Nd4 11 Nb3 (11 N1e2 is easier to meet)11...Nxb3. Then 12 axb3 c5 is arguably equal. But in the similar line 9 h4 h5 10 Nc1, Black faces more difficulties and I'm not sure that he makes a satisfactory case for Black. Interestingly, he has some introductory analysis of the unusual options 9 h4 e5 and 9 h4 b5, which have generally been neglected.

Kaufman does a little less than his usual thorough job with his main recommendation 9 Rc1, when Vigorito shows several lines that the later books ignore. Indeed, White may have some advantage in these lines, but Black has come up ways to get chances in practice. A comparison is interesting:

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0–0 6.Be3 Nc6 7.Nge2 a6 8.Qd2 Rb8 9.Rc1


Position after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0–0 6.Be3 Nc6 7.Nge2 a6 8.Qd2 Rb8 9.Rc1

1rbq1rk1/1pp1ppbp/p1np1np1/8/2PPP3/2N1BP2/PP1QN1PP/2R1KB1R b K - 0 9


9...e6!? will often come to the same thing. In an update, Vigorito gives a game with 9...e6 10.Nd1 Re8 (here 10...Bd7 is the main line). Here 9...Re8 10.Nd1 e6 transposes.


10.b3 b5 (Vigorito mentions that Black could also try 10...e5 11.d5 Ne7 , which Kaufman doesn't cover) 11.cxb5 axb5 12.d5 Ne5 13.Nd4 Qe8 14.a3 (14.Be2 e6 has been satisfactory for Black), and here Vigorito says that 14...b4 "looks okay for Black" (Kaufman cites a line with 14...e6 15.Be2 exd5 16.exd5 instead). At first the computer strongly dislikes it, but when faced by reasonable moves, it drifts back towards a modest advantage for White. For example, 15.axb4 Rxb4 16.Na2 Rb7 17.Ba6 Rb6 (or 17...Ra7 18.Be2 Rb7) 18.Be2 Rb7 19.Nb4!? e6 20.Na6 exd5! 21.Nxc7 Rxc7 22.Rxc7 dxe4 23.0–0 Nd5 with serious counterplay. Of course this should not dissuade White from playing the line.


Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f3 O-O 6. Be3 Nc6 7. Nge2 a6 8. Qd2 Rb8 9. Rc1 Bd7 10. Nd1

1r1q1rk1/1ppbppbp/p1np1np1/8/2PPP3/4BP2/PP1QN1PP/2RNKB1R b K - 0 10


The most important alternatives analysed by Vigorito are:

a) 10...e6 11.Nf2 (Kaufman also gives a 3–move excerpt with 11 g3) 11...Re8 when Kaufman's recommendation is 12.g4 (12.Bg5 Qe7 13.g3 e5 14.d5 Nd4= was played in A.Dreev-D.Kokarev, Mumbai 2010) 12...b5 13.cxb5 axb5 14.Bg2 Ra8 15.b3 Ra3 16.0–0 Qa8 (16...h5) 17.Rc2 Qa6 18.g5 Nh5 19.Rfc1, and here White has an edge, but Black can achieve reasonably balanced play by 19...Ra8 , for example, 20.f4 (20.Nc3? Nb4; 20.d5 exd5 21.exd5 Ne7=) 20...Rxa2 21.d5 Nb8 22.Rxa2 (22.Bf3 Rxc2 23.Qxc2 c6) 22...Qxa2 23.Rxc7 Qxd2 24.Bxd2 exd5 25.exd5 Ra1+ 26.Bf1 Bf5 with a slight advantage for White.

b) 10...Re8 is a unique move order, when after 11.Nf2 b5 12.c5 dxc5 13.Rxc5 e5 14.d5 Ne7 15.Qc2 (15.Qc1!?), a good try is 15...Bf8!? with the idea of 16.Bg5 (16.Rxc7 Nexd5! 17.exd5 Nxd5 with plenty of chances) 16...Nc8 17.Rxc7 Bb4+ 18.Kd1 Nb6 19.Ra7 Be7 and Black stands at least equal.

11.c5 e6

'?!' - Kaufman. Alternatively, 11...d5 12.e5 Ne8 gives up a lot of space,; as does 11...e5 12.d5 Ne7 13.c6, while 11...dxc5 12.Rxc5 leaves Black a bit looking a bit soft on the c-file, but the position is still not so clear after 12...e6 13.g3 Qe7.


Kaufman also gives a game with 12.g3 Re8 13.Bg2 dxc5 14.Rxc5, when he thinks that 14...Bf8 is equal.



Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f3 O-O 6. Be3 Nc6 7. Nge2 a6 8. Qd2 Rb8 9. Rc1 Bd7 10. Nd1 b5 11. c5 e6 12. Nf2 b4

1r1q1rk1/1ppbppbp/p1np1np1/8/2PPP3/4BP2/PP1QN1PP/2RNKB1R b K - 0 10

Kaufman's only move here is 12...dxc5


Other moves are also about equal:

a) 13.Nd3 a5 14.g3 Ne7 15.Bg2 Bb5;

b) 13.Ng3 a5 14.Bd3 (14.Ba6! Ne7 15.0–0 Bb5 16.Bxb5 Rxb5 17.Rfd1 looks better for White, but not by too much after, e.g., 17...Qd7 18.Nf1 Rfb8) 14...Ne7 15.0–0 Bb5 16.Ne2 Nd7 17.cxd6 cxd6 18.b3 Bxd3 19.Nxd3 d5 20.e5 Qb6= Nikolov-Berbatov, Kyustendil 2010.

13...Ne7 14.Bg2 Bb5

Black has less space, but his position is flexible and not without dynamic potential.

15.0–0 Nd7

Or 15...Nc6!?.


Vigorito also covers 16.f4 dxc5 17.dxc5 Ne5! and 16.Rfd1 a5 17.Qc2 Qc8 18.f4 Qa6 19.Rd2 d5!? 20.e5 Nf5.



Position after 16...cxd6

1r1q1rk1/3nnpbp/p2pp1p1/1b6/1p1PP3/4BPP1/PP1QNNBP/2R2RK1 w - - 0 17

with very close to full equality. S.Sale-A.Fedorov, Abu Dhabi 2005 went 17.Rfd1 a5 18.Bf1 Rc8 19.Nd3 Rxc1 20.Rxc1 Qa8 21.b3 Rc8 22.Nb2 Qa6 23.Nf4 Bxf1 24.Rxf1 d5 with some advantage for Black.

Finally, here's a brief comparison of the system that Bojkov recommends versus the Saemisch, and what Larry Kaufman says about the same line while recommending it from White's point of view:

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0–0 6.Be3 c5 7.Nge2 Qa5 8.Nc1 cxd4 9.Nb3


Position after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0–0 6.Be3 c5 7.Nge2 Qa5 8.Nc1 cxd4 9.Nb3

rnb2rk1/pp2ppbp/3p1np1/q7/2PpP3/1NN1BP2/PP4PP/R2QKB1R b KQ - 0 9


9...Qe5 is Svetushkin's clever move, deserving an '!' according to Kaufman, who gives White only the smallest of edges after 10.Qxd4! Qxd4 11.Nxd4 Nc6 (11...Bd7!? 12.Rd1 Rc8 13.b3 Nc6 is a little more subtle) 12.Rd1 Nxd4 13.Bxd4 Be6 14.b3 Nd7 15.Be2 Bxd4 (15...Rfc8) 16.Rxd4, which he thinks is slightly better for White, but that would take some proving.

10.Nxd4 Nc6 11.Qd2

After 11.Be2, 11...Qh4+ 12.g3 (12.Bf2 Qg5³ 13.0–0? Bh3) 12...Qh3! 13.Kf2 Ne8 is interesting. A standard position would arise after 13...Nxd4 14.Bxd4 Be6 15.Bf1 Qh5 16.b3.


An intriguing option would be 11...Be6 12.Be2 Qh4+ 13.Bf2 (13.g3 Qh5 14.0–0 Nxd4 15.Bxd4 Rfc8 16.b3 Qa5) 13...Qh6.

12.Bxd4 Be6

12...Nd7? 13.Nd5.



Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f3 O-O 6. Be3 c5 7. Nge2 Qa5 8. Nc1 cxd4 9. Nb3 Qh5 10. Nxd4 Nc6 11. Qd2 Nxd4 12. Bxd4 Be6 13. Be2

r4rk1/pp2ppbp/3pbnp1/7q/2PBP3/2N2P2/PP1QB1PP/R3K2R b KQ - 0 13

This is Kaufmann's main line. But in response, he gives only 13...Qa5, not one of Bojkov's options, nor one of the computer's top three. Bojkov analyses 13.Nd5 Bxd5 (13...Nxd5 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.cxd5 Bd7=) 14.cxd5 Nd7 Black is about to get a good knight versus White's bad bishop, which is enough to claim at least equality, except in the case of 15.Be3?! f5!, which favours Black.


Most ambitious. A simple alternative is 13...Nd7 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.0–0 with a slight edge for White. A satisfactory order would be 13...Rfc8 14.b3 Qh4+ 15.g3 Qh5, and if 16.f4!? , then 16...Qa5 17.Rd1 Bh3 18.Bxf6 (18.e5 dxe5 19.fxe5 Nd7 20.Nd5 Qxd2+ 21.Rxd2 Rd8 22.Nxe7+ Kf8 23.Nd5 Bg2 24.e6! Bxd4 25.e7+ Kg7 26.exd8Q Rxd8 27.Rxd4 Bxh1 28.Nc3 Bc6=) 18...Bxf6 19.Nd5 Qxd2+ 20.Kxd2 Bg2 21.Bg4 Bxe4 22.Bxc8 Bxh1 23.Bxb7 Bxd5 24.Bxd5 Rc8 should be drawn with no problems.


14.Bf2 Qh6.

14...Qh3 15.Nd1 Bc8

15...Bd7 16.Nf2 Qe6 17.Rd1 with a slight advantage.

16.Nf2 Qe6 17.0–0 Nd7 18.Bxg7 Kxg7 19.b3 a5 20.f4 Nc5 21.Rad1 Qf6

21...Nxe4?? 22.Qd4+ Nf6 23.Bg4



Position after 22.Qe3

r1b2r2/1p2ppkp/3p1qp1/p1n5/2P1PP2/1P2Q1P1/P3BN1P/3R1RK1 b - - 0 22

This isn't overwhelming, but White has the better of things.

6. Main Line (Orthodox)


Classical King's Indian 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.Be2 e5 7.0–0

rnbq1rk1/ppp2pbp/3p1np1/4p3/2PPP3/2N2N2/PP2BPPP/R1BQ1RK1 b - - 0 7

On his DVD, Bojkov recommends the line 5 Nf3 0-0 6 Be2 Na6 (when 7 0-0 e5 transposes to 6...e5 7 0-0 Na6 ). In his book, he promotes 6...e5 7 0-0 exd4 8 Nxd4 Re8 9 f3 c6, an excellent choice for the club player because 7...exd4 radically cuts down on the preparation you need if you play another move such as 7...Nc6, 7...Na6, or 6...Nbd7. Let's discuss these lines by comparing them with the opinions of other authors:

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.Be2 e5 7.0–0 Na6

Here van Wely's main recommendation for White (on his 60-minute video) goes

8.Be3 Ng4 9.Bg5 Qe8 10.Re1 f6 11.Bh4 Qf7 12.h3 exd4 13.Nxd4 Ne5 14.b3 Nc6

Or 14...f5 15.exf5 gxf5 16.Bh5 Ng6 17.Re7.

15.Ndb5 Nd8 16.Nd5 Ne6 17.f4 g5 18.f5 Nec5

18...gxh4 19.Bh5 Qd7 20.fxe6 Qxe6 21.Nbxc7 Nxc7 22.Nxc7.

19.Bg3 Nxe4 20.Bh5


Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Na6 8. Be3 Ng4 9. Bg5 Qe8 10. Re1 f6 11. Bh4 Qf7 12. h3 exd4 13. Nxd4 Ne5 14. b3 Nc6 15. Ndb5 Nd8 16. Nd5 Ne6 17. f4 g5 18. f5 Nec5 19. Bg3 Nxe4 20. Bh5

r1b2rk1/ppp2qbp/n2p1p2/1N1N1PpB/2P1n3/1P4BP/P5P1/R2QR1K1 b - - 0 20

On Eugene Perelshteyn's excellent work Dominate White with the King's Indian Defense 6...Na6 System (Empire Chess), he also recommends ...Na6 in the main line, and complements Bojkov by presenting alternatives in many key variations, notably, after 10 h3 in the above line, he recommends 10..f6 (as in van Wely's analysis), rather than Bojkov's 10...h6. 10...f6 is perhaps the riskier choice, but it leads to more dynamic attacking chances which are illustrated by Perelshteyn's own games (his considerable experience in these lines comes through time and again in his commentary). After 10 Re1, Van Wely sees the line 10...exd4 11.Nxd4 Qe5 12.Nf3 Qc5 13.Bh4 as favourable for White.


Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Na6 8. Be3 Ng4 9. Bg5 Qe8 10. Re1 exd4 11. Nxd4 Qe5 12. Nf3 Qc5 13. Bh4

r1b2rk1/ppp2pbp/n2p2p1/2q5/2P1P1nB/2N2N2/PP2BPPP/R2QR1K1 b - - 0 13

But Perelshteyn continues 13...Be6 14 Nd2 h5(14...Ne5 is also possible)15 Nb3 Qb6(keeping the queen on the kingside by 15...Qe5 16 Bg3 Qg5 also looks fine) 16 Bxg4 Bxg4=.

In Bojkov's book, 6...e5 7 0-0 exd4 8 Nxd4 Re8 9 f3 c6 is the main line, to which Bojkov devotes 73 pages. He adds some wonderful analysis and improvements upon theory, although he needs to address the following line:

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.Be2 e5 7.0–0 exd4 8.Nxd4 Re8 9.f3 c6 10.Kh1


Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O exd4 8. Nxd4 Re8 9. f3 c6 10. Kh1

rnbqr1k1/pp3pbp/2pp1np1/8/2PNP3/2N2P2/PP2B1PP/R1BQ1R1K b - - 0 10

Bojkov gives some games with 10.Be3 d5, supplying improvements and successfully defending Black's cause.


10...Nh5 held up quite well in theory for many years, including in the critical line 11.g4 Nf6 12.Bf4 h5, intending 13 g5 Nh7. But then White discovered the piece sacrifice 13.Nf5!, which I think is too difficult to defend, and probably just bad for Black.

Van Wely's Fighting Against the King's Indian - in 60 minutes looks at 7...exd4 8 Nxd4 c6 only briefly (understandably, since it's a sideline), showing only that 10...d5 then gives Black a poor game following 11 exd5 cxd5 12 c5 (as well as 11 cxd5 cxd5 12 Bg5). One advantage of a fairly minor sideline such as 7...exd4, in that many players of White simply won't be familiar with its complexities.

After 10...Nbd7, there are several moves, including the main line 11 Be3 (played by Kramnik, for example). Bojkov covers the various options well, but against


, he recommends the speculative sacrifice

11...Nh5 '!' 12.Bxd6 Qf6


Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O exd4 8. Nxd4 Re8 9. f3 c6 10. Kh1 Nbd7 11. Bf4 Nh5 12. Bxd6 Qf6

r1b1r1k1/pp1n1pbp/2pB1qp1/7n/2PNP3/2N2P2/PP2B1PP/R2Q1R1K w - - 0 13

This has indeed had some success in practice, the idea being that Black's dark-square pressure and some tactical ideas compensate for the material. It may be a practical choice, but is suspicious on the face of it, because White has a space advantage and no pawn weaknesses. Kaufman in his 'Kaufman Repertoire' book listed above suggests the simple line

13.Nb3 Nf4 14.c5 a5 15.Bxf4

Here 15.a4 Ne5 16.Rf2 also looks quite good.

15...Qxf4 16.Na4


Position after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O exd4 8. Nxd4 Re8 9. f3 c6 10. Kh1 Nbd7 11. Bf4 Nh5 12. Bxd6 Qf6 13. Nb3 Nf4 14. c5 a5 15. Bxf4 Qxf4 16. Na4

r1b1r1k1/1p1n1pbp/2p3p1/p1P5/N3Pq2/1N3P2/PP2B1PP/R2Q1R1K b - - 0 16

, and Kaufman says. "Black really has only the bishop pair for his pawn, so not enough, since he can't move his knight due to knight on b6". I think he's right, although naturally Black can continue to fight. He should nevertheless try to improve earlier. I think that the slightly strange-looking 11...Qc7! is a good try (and somewhat better than 11...Ne5 or 11...Qe7), when the ambitious 12 Ndb5 cxb5 13 Nxb5 Qc6 yields nothing for White, and a plausible line is 12.Qd2 (12.Nc2 Ne5) 12...Nh5 13.Be3 a5 14.Rad1 a4 15.Nc2 Be5 with the idea 16.f4 Bxc3! 17.Qxc3 Nhf6.

The 11 Bf4 Nh5 line is one of the very few cases where a Bojkov recommendation is substandard. In general, this will be a very useful book for the average KID player, including masters. In fact, I think that every King's Indian book and product that I've mentioned will serve players well, depending upon their playing level. For example, the videos tend to be less detailed and a better match for developing players, and Kotronias' book is wonderful, but unbelievably dense and best suited for advanced players who have a lot of time (and a very good memory!). For players in between, I think that the repertoire books are the best buy (Vigorito, Bologan, and Bojkov, from Black's point of view; and Kaufman, Svetushkin, and Kornev, from White's point of view). They have what you need to compete in tournaments and online without having to constantly fix holes in your openings.

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