Jun 30, 2010

Petroff 101: 5.Nc3; 7.Bf4 or 7.Be3--Five Boards to Compare

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 Oh no! 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Play 5.d4 to head for the mainlines.  5...Nxc3 6.dxc3 (diagram) 6.bxc3 is okay, but I think it is objectively inferior.  The idea is that White is going to play down the half-open d-file and often shove the kingside pawns northward. 6...Be7 Why this?  The Bishop is almost assuredly going to develop to the e7 square, while the queenside minor pieces can go to several squares.  In particular, Black will clarify the placement of one of the White Bishops, usually the dark-squared Bishop, before deciding whether to develop the Knight to d7 or c6.  Now White has two major options: 7.Be3 or 7.Bf4.  Which?  Let's look at five positions each of higher level games five moves later, after White's 12th.  Survey the positions and see if they help the choice based on your preferences.

After 7.Bf4 (five positions five moves later)

Jobava-Motlyev, 11th Karpov Poikovsky Rus 2010

Black is slightly better with the Bishop pair and potential for play down the b-file.  White wins the game.

Topalov-Gelfand, Amber Rapid 15th

The game is roughly equal.  Black will win the pawn back after the exchanges on d6 by forking the Rook and f-pawn via e4.  White wins the game.

Ivanchuk-Kosteniuk, Cap d'Agde CCAS Gp-A Rapid October 2008

The game is roughly equal after Nxe6.  White wins the game.

Kramnik-Nielsen, Dortmund 2005

White is slightly better after Be6 due to his space advantage.  White wins the game.

Rublevsky-Shirov, Rus ChT 2006

Black is slightly better, but not after 12...hxg5 13.hxg5 and Black has to immediately give back the piece with threats down the h-file abounding.  If 13...Be7, then 14.g4 and Black is lost.  Black wins the game.  On the updside of White's choices after Bf4 is that White is always on the watch for a kingside assault, but as the previous games show, the attack's not a foregone concluion.

After 7.Be3 (five positions five moves later)

Anand-Kramnik, Amber Blindfold14th. 

The game is equal.  White wins.

Ivanchuk-Wang Yue, Sofia MTel Masters 5th 2009

White is very slightly better.  Black wins the game.

Svidler-Kramnik, RUS Ch Superfinal 2005

Again, White is slightly better due to better coordinated pieces and a space advantage.  White wins the game.

Jakovenko-Volokitin, Rus-ChT Dagomys 2008

White is slightly better due to better better coordinated pieces and a space advantage.  Black wins. 

Bolgan-Charbonneau, Canadian op Edmonton 2005.

White is slightly better for the usual reasons and a kingside initiative.  White wins. 

King's Indian 101: Fianchetto Variation

The Fianchetto Variation of the King's Indian is a popular way to avoid the mainlines of the opening in which Black will conduct an all-out assault on the kingside.  There are many ways to arrive in the Fianchetto Variation, including as in the below game.

Jun 29, 2010

Fischer-Spassky: Chess Table for Sale

One of the three chess tables used by Fischer and Spassky in Reykjavik is reportedly being offered for sale. See the Gambit account of the sale here. Páll G. Jonsson apparently bought two of the tables following the 1972 match, and now at 77 wishes to sell one of them.

Johnsson states that the chairman of the Match Organizing Committee, Gudmundur G. Thorarinsson, can authenticate the table. 

Jun 28, 2010

1.d4 Sidetracks: Torre, London and Colle Systems, But Not Really

Bruzon takes the great Ivanchuk out of mainstream theory quickly, but to no good end.  White declines to go down a beaten path repeatedly until we reach the following position:

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2

A lot of known lines have been avoided to this point, but the game is at least now on the cusp of the Catalan.  ChessBase classifies this position with the Torre, London, and Colle systems, but it's none of these.  If you have a name for this, drop a comment.  Nevertheless, the position has been reached often, and Black's next odd-looking move can be described as an anti-Catalan: 4...b5  Perhaps the kid Carlsen has shown the old master a thing or two.  See the second game below.

Chess Engines: Which Are Legit?

The chess engine environment is rich and evolving.  The engines are obviously stronger than ever, and are still improving, both on the software and hardware fronts.  Much of the current debate, however, is less about strength and more about what's legitimate and what's not.  On the commercial front (read "for sale"), the leaders are Rybka (4), Fritiz (12), Shredder (12), and Hiarcs (13), with the Wikipedia list of such engines including:

Chess Genius, by Richard Lang of Mephisto fame
Chess Tiger
Fritz, Deep Fritz
The King - the engine of the commercial Chessmaster program
Loop (also the engine for Wii Chess)
Naum versions 2.1 and later
Rebel - (see also ProDeo)
Ruffian 2
Deep Sjeng

The controversy is not so much with these engines, but rather with the "free," "open source" engines that are cropping up.  There are many of these as well, led by what's known as the IPPOLIT family, including RobboLito, Igorrit, IvanHoe, FireBird and Fire.  Some have claimed that the IPPOLIT engines are nothing more than decompiled versions of Rybka that have been tweaked (for better or worse) and tossed onto the market.  Last I checked, the IPPOLIT authors were an anonymous group calling themselves the "Decembrists."  One could also add Strelka to this list and the name Yuri Osipov (a pseudonym?).  There's also an open source, free engine known as Stockfish (Tord Romstad (Norway), Marco Costalba (Italy) & Joona Kiiski (Finland)).  This last engine has substantial legitimacy in the fact that it's been accepted for rating by the CCRL.  The authors may have perfectly good reasons for why they would want to offer this engine at no charge.
I am currently running Rybka 4, Shredder12, Fritz 12, Deep Fritz 12, Firebird 1.2, and Stockfish 1.7.1 JA on my machines.  I'm not entirely comfortable with all of these engines, and I do believe that it is in all of our best interests to support only the legitimate (non-prirated) efforts.  I do not have the software skills to challenge any of the above programs, and I'll thus be looking to others to offer explanations of legitimacy or otherwise.  (Any such claims of illegitimacy have been weak to date, although certainly plausible.)  The reason behind the intellectual property protections afforded by patent, trademark, and copyright laws are obvious--to incentivize creativity.  Until the answers are clear or more clear, I will continue to purchase the leading commercial programs to support the progress of chess engines, but I will also explore and run my own tests on the engines being called into question. 

To the extent that any programmers are taking code from one of the commercial engines and quickly improving it in a pirated release, more issues are raised than just copyright protection. If the commercial programmers are withholding improvements, they may be entitled to the protections of the law, but they aren't necessarily going to get my undying support.

Jun 27, 2010

King's Indian 101: Classical Variation--9.Nd2

This King's Indian comes from the 17th Correspondence World Championship.  White scores with the third of the big three White responses to the Mar Del Plata Variation of the King's Indian: 9.Nd2.  The move may only be inferior to 9.Ne1 and 9.b4 in terms of the times it has been played.  Play is often across the entire board as in this game, and here, Black simply wasn't able to hit hard enough on the kingside.  The novelty in the game is at White's 20th. 

King's Tournament: King's Indian Classical with 7...Na6

The last round of the King's Tournament in Medias saw all three games end with a Black victory.  In the game Gelfand-Radjabov, Radjabov played 6...Na6 in the Classical Variation, a move he's only played once previously.  The notion behind this move is usually to avoid the body of theory after 6...e5 and 7...Nc6.  Radjabov likely knows this theory better than anyone, having played into the line more than 70 times, but even Radjabov is not above side-stepping an opponent's preparation.  Oftentimes 6...Na6 simply transposes to the more mainstream move order 6...e5 7.O-O Na6, and that's what happens here.  The verdict is out on 7...Na6 (which is this game by transposition), but the general thought is that White has additional options due to a lack of pressure on the White center.  Here, the novelty is 12...d3 and it would seem that White has won the opening phase, but it's never quite so simple....

Jun 24, 2010

King's Tournament: Schliemann!

This looked like a species of suicide: bringing out the Schliemann against Carlsen.  The Schliemann is theoretically dubious at best, and if you're going to mix it up, do you really want it to be against Carlsen?  Worked like a charm.  Carlsen played 4.Nc3, heading for the attendant complications, but Nisipeanu was obviously well prepared.  Carlsen can be forgiven for not leaning forward in anticipation of 3...f5.  Nisipeanu has played into a Ruy all of seven times, four of them in classical mainlines and three Berlins.  He's a Sicilian player.  Despite the early theoretical advantage enjoyed by White, the game is played well on both sides and goes nowhere particularly interesting.  The theory is worth some review if your're a Ruy player.

ICCF World Championship, 19th Finals: Sämisch KI

In this game, Whte accepts Blacks offer of a pawn (see 7.dxc5) and is ultimately punished for it.  White's 14th, however, is less than accurate. 

Jun 23, 2010

King's Indian: A Sämisch at the 2007 CC World Championship

Black doesn't win so often at the highest levels of CC.  The KI scores one here in the Sämisch Variation, again with White playing 7.Nge2.

Jun 22, 2010

King's Indian 101: Introduction Part IV--Sämisch Variation

Click here for Part I: Overview
Click here for Part II: Classical
Click here for Part III: Four Pawns Attack
Click here for Part V: Averbakh System

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3  introduces the Sämisch Variation.  White fortifies e4 and employs a flexible system, including that the King can be tucked away to either side of the board.  Should Black play an early c5, the opening will often look more like a Benoni than a KI.  The main choice by Black now is 5...O-O; Black may also play 5...c6, 5...Nbd7, 5...e5, 5...Nc6, and 5...a6.  In response to 5...O-O, White has a major move, 6.Be3, and two minor choices, 6.Bg5 and 6.Nge2 (see G111).  After 6.Be3, Black has no less than seven moves that have been played more than 1,000 times in Mega 2010.  Kasparov has played five of them.  For purposes of this introduction, let's reduce the numbers by looking at 2600+ players, with the winning percentage, as always, from White's persepective:

6...e5  22 Games  47.7%
6...c5 20 Games  45%
6...Nc6 7 Games  57.1%
6...Nd7 5 Games  70%
6...c6  3 Games  83.3%
6...a6  3 Games  83.3%
6...b6  1 Game  50%

So, it's 61 games, with more than two-thirds of those games involving one of two moves: 6...e5 or 6...c5, with those two moves showing a plus on the Black side.  Unless there be any mistake, the players of the White pieces in all of the above games were also above 2600.  The thrust of this intro is to identify some of the major lines of play, and, as always, the details of the opening will be drawn out through games. 

A.  6...e5 and now White has 7. d5 and 7.Nge2, with mainline play as follows:

 1.  7.d5 c6 8.Qd2 cxd5 9.cxd5 Nbd7     
 2.  7.Nge2 c6 8. Qd2 Nbd7 9.O-O-O a6 (see G113)

B.  6...c5 and now White has 7.Nge2, 7.dxc5, 7.d5

1.  7.Nge2 (keeps the tension) Nc6 8.d5 (8.Qd2) Ne5 9.Ng3 e6

2.  7.dxc5 dxc5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bxc5 Nc6 and Black's compensation is indicated by that in over 700 games, White has a mere 47% win rate despite the extra pawn.  (See G114)

3.  7.d5 e6 8.Qd2 exd5 9.cxd5 a6

C.  6...Nc6 (Panno Variation) 7.Nge2 (7.d5?! Ne5!) a6 8.Qd2 Rb8

Jun 21, 2010

Carlsen v. Radjabov: Same Old Song

Commentators are running out of words.  Make it four straight and a Live Rating of 2825 after today's result. Radjabov brings out the the Dragon, which you have to love since Carlsen may be the world's leading proponent of that opening.  I'm not often taken by the ineffable, but there's something of a Fischeresque quality about the kid in that he wins when maybe he oughtn't.  (If you prefer, see the pgn player at the bottom of this post.)

[Event "4th Kings"]

[Site "Medias ROU"]
[Date "2010.06.21"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Radjabov, Teimour"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B35"]
[PlyCount "127"]
[EventDate "2010.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Bc4 Qa5  (Diagram)

8.O-O O-O 9. Bb3 d6 10. h3 Bd7 11. Re1 Rfc8 12. Qe2 Qh5 13. Nf3 h6 14. Rad1 g5 (Diagram)

15. Nd5 Nxd5 16. Bxd5 Bxb2 17. Rb1 Bc3 18. Rxb7 Bxh3 19. Nxg5 Qxe2 20. Rxe2 (Diagram)

20...Bg4 21. Nf3 e6 22. Bxc6 Rxc6 23. Bxh6 Bxf3 24. gxf3 Ra6 25. Rc7 Bg7 26. Bxg7 Kxg7
27. c3 Rb8 28. f4 Rbb6 29. Rd7 Rc6 30. Re3 Rxa2 31. e5 dxe5 32. fxe5 Rc5 33.
Rg3+ Kf8 34. Rf3 Rxe5 35. Rfxf7+ (Diagram)

 Ke8 36. Rfe7+ Kf8 37. Rh7 Kg8 38. Rdg7+ Kf8 39. Rb7 Kg8 40. Rhg7+ Kh8 41. Rge7 Rg5+ 42. Kf1 Rc2 43. Rbc7 a5 44. Rxe6 a4 45.Ra6 Rg4 46. c4 Rg7 47. Rxg7 Kxg7 48. Rxa4 Kf6 49. Kg2 Ke5 50. Ra5+ Ke6 51. Rc5 Kd6 52. Rd5+ Ke6 53. Rd4 Ke5 54. Rh4 Rc3 55. c5 Kf5 56. Rh8 Kf4 57. Rc8 Ke5 58.c6 Kd6 59. f3 Rc5 60. Kg3

Rg5+ 61. Kh4 Rg1 62. f4 Ke7 63. c7 Rc1 64. Kg5 1-0

Jun 20, 2010

Pat He Comes, Like the Catastrophe of the Old Comedy: Carlsen Victorious in Sämisch

Just as I was winding up a brief introduction to the Sämisch Variation, I checked in on TWIC to find that Carlsen played against it today versus Ponomariov.  I'll yield to the World's No. 1 for a day.  Here's the game.  Note Ponomariov's 6.Nge2 and compare it to 6.Be3 lines. 

King's Indian 101: Introduction Part V--Averbakh System

Click here for Part I: Overview
Click here for Part II: Classical
Click here for Part III: Four Pawns Attack
Click here for Part IV: SämischVariation

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

The Averbakh presents a small exception to the notion that it's White's fifth move that determines the line of th KI being played.  White usually plays 5.Be2, and that raises the Averbakh alert.  After 5...O-O, White, however, can transpose back to the Classical with 6.Nf3 or follow through with the Averbakh by 6.Bg5. (Diagram below.)

After 6.Bg5, Black is constrained from pushing 6...e5 because of the resulting pin on the Knight.  7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Nd5 Nbd7 10.Rd1.  Black's usual move here is 6...c5, but 6...Na6, 6...h6, and 6...e6 are played with some frequency.  6...Na6 deserves a separate post.  7.d5  (7.dxc5 Qa5 (7...dxc5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.e5 Nfd7 10.e6 Nf6 11.exf7+ Kxf7) 8.Bd2 Qxc5 9.Nf3 Bg4) 7...h6 8.Bf4 (Diagram left.)  Now the most popular move is to go straight for the center-buster 8...e6, but 8...a6 deserves attention, too.  Now the position gets complex fast, and Black does need to sort out these complexities at home.  9.dxe6 Bxe6 10.Bxd6 (Diagram below right.)
The usual move now is overwhelmingly 10...Re8. And one question arising is whether the move no one plays, 11.Bxc5, is playable? 11...Qa5 12.b4 Qa6 and the position appears tenable.  Black is down two pawns, but has significant compensation.  More work is required.  After 10...Re8, the usual play goes  11.Nf3 Nc6 12.O-O Nd4 13.e5 Nd7 14.Nxd4 cxd4 15.Qxd4 Nxe5 16.Bxe5 Qxd4 17.Bxd4 Bxd4, where Black has almost enough compensation for the pawn. (Diagram below left.)

While this certainly an incomplete discussion of the Averbakh, we'll fill in the discussion with forthcoming games.  One thing that stands out in even a preliminary investigation of the this line is that there is tremendous potential for original analysis and computer research. 

Trompowsky: Nigel tromps Chuck in Havana

The Trompowsky is the bane of those who like to work things out from home.  What to do?  No less than 8 moves have been played by players rated over 2400 against the Trompowsky.  Here they are:

1.  Ne4  10261  53.8%
2.  e6      8441   54.4%
3.  d5      5599   53.6%
4.  c5      3863   50.6%
5.  g6      3093   57.3%
6.  d6      865     56.7%
7.  c6      488     50.9%
8.  h6      261     64.2%

Ivanchuk plays the principled move, 2...Ne4, and then takes the game off the heavily beaten path with 7...Qf5.  After 12 moves Black has exactly one pawn advanced as far as the 3rd rank.  White has a tremendous space advantage, but his army his scattered.  The game ultimately reduces to a Bishop and three pawns versus two Bishops, and with the draw in hand Short plays 37.Bg2?? ending the day. 

Jun 19, 2010

King's Indian 101: Introduction Part III--The Four Pawns Attack

For Introduction Part II, click here: Classical.
For Introduction Part I, click here: Overview.

White's fifth move of 5.f4 marks the Four Pawns Attack.  White intends to overwhelm the Black position.  The downside is that White's center is potentially overextended if Black is quick enough to take advantage.  In addition to the vulnerable pawns, White is slightly behind in development.  Black should aim, if the opportunity presents itself, to open the position without delay.  The game typically continues 5...O-O 6.Nf3.  In addition, to 6.Nf3, Black has tried 6.Be2, 6.Bd3, and 6.e5?!.  More on these in future posts.  Back to Nf3, there are two serious moves considered by Black in this position.  The first is the mainline: A.  6...c5.  The second is the more modern B. 6...Na6 (which I haven't made peace with yet). 

A.  6...c5

7.d5 is the common move, closing the position temporarily (diagram right).  7...e6 (7...b5?! 8.cxb5 a6 9.a4! (9.bxa6?! Qa5 10.Bd2 Bxa6 =) 9...axb5 10.Bxb5 Ba6 11.Bd2 Bxb5) 8.Be2 (8.dxe6 fxe6  9. Bd3 Nc6=) 8...exd5, and now both 9.exd5 and 9.cxd5 are possible, with 9.cxd5 being much more common. Black now has two decent possibilities in 9...Re8 and 9...Bg4 (diagram below), both of which will be the subject of future posts.

B. 6...Na6 (diagram below left)

7. Be2 e5 8.dxe5 (8.fxe5 dxe5 9.Nxe5 c5 =) 8...dxe5 9.Nxe5 Nc6 =

7.Bd3 the current fashion 7...e5 8.fxe5 dxe5 9.d5 c6 10.O-O Nc5 (Black must consider 10...Qd6) (diagram below right)

or perhaps better 7...Bg4!? 8.O-O Nd7 9.Be3 e5 and Black has not yet equalized in either of the 7.Bd3 lines

7.e5?! Nd7! 8.Be2 c5 9.exd6 exd6

Jun 18, 2010

King's Indian: Some Preliminary Statistics

King's Indian Statistics

The following statistics were pulled from small subsets of the ChessBase Mega 2010 and Corr 2009 databases.  These statistics will be refined by specific variations and moves as the research into the KI goes forward. 

The two sets of statistics can generally be described as:
Mega 2010:  World class players doing state of the art research in advance of the game.
Corr 2009:  Skilled players using good software and hardware for every move.

Conclusions to be drawn are limited from the below numbers, but here's what I think can be made of them:
  • White does slightly better than average against the King's Indian. 
  • The Classical Variation scores solidly OTB, but only averagely in CC.
  • The SämischVariation scores above average in both OTB and CC, but the CC sample is small.
  • The Four Pawns Attack is held in low regard at top levels and the statistics support that. 
Mega 2010 Database: 2007-2010 Both Players >2575

Overall  55.6% (315 gms)
  1. 5.Nf3 58.% (175 gms)
  2. 5.Be2 48.8% (42 gms)
  3. 5.f3 59.5% (37 gms)
  4. 5.Bd3 58.7% (23 gms)
  5. 5.h3 42.5% (20 gms)
  6. 5.f4 37.5% (8 gms)
  7. 5.Bg5 83.3% (6 gms)
  8. 5.Nge2 50% (4 gms) 
Correspondence 2009 Database: 2006-2010 Both Players > 2450

Overall 57.9% (74 gms)
  1. 5.Nf3 53.3% (46 gms)
  2. 5.Be2 66.7% (9 gms)
  3. 5.f3 70% (10 gms)
  4. 5.Bd3 75% (2 gms)
  5. 5.h3 66.7% (3 gms)
  6. 5.f4 50% (3 gms)
  7. 5.Bg5 --   (-- gms)
  8. 5.Nge2 100% (1 gm)

ICCF: Top International U.S. Correspondence Players

The top 50 U.S. players in the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) according to the rating list effective July 1, 2010:

(Rank, Title, Name, # Games Played, ICCF Rating)

1   GM Timm, John C. 68 2642
2   GM Zilberberg, Alik Samulovich 138 2613
3   GM Fleetwood, Daniel M. 252 2578 
4   GM Bokar, Dr. Jason 302 2574
5   SM Murray, Tim 86 2559
6   SM Ham, Stephen E. 112 2551
7   IM duCret, René P. 116 2549
8   GM Duliba, Dr. Edward P. 340 2536
9   SM Edwards, Jon 161 2525
10  SM Sergel, Christopher T. 118 2520
11  SM Jones, Stephen L. 97 2505
11  SM Kubach, Gary L. 221 2505
13  IM Holzmueller, Keith 82 2504
13  SM Ostriker, Jon 112 2504
15  Schmidt, Randy 38 2501
15  SM Weisskohl, Jerry 143 2501
17  SM Millstone, Dr. Michael 220 2487
17  SM Perry, Dan 160 2487
19  SM Proof, Michael C. 187 2483
19  SM Zavanelli, Prof. Max E. 179 2483
21  GM Palciauskas, Vytas Victor 225 2479 *
22  Menke, John R. sr. 57 2467
23  SM Reinhart, Kenneth M. 109 2464
24  GM DeMauro, Joseph A. 273 2454
25  SM Knudsen, John C. 204 2443
26  Green, Wesley C. 162 2440 
27  Biedermann, Thomas 239 2438 
28  IM Sunna, Hisham N. 59 2432 
29  IM Boucher, William 116 2431 
29 IM Limayo, Edgardo V. 188 2431 
31  Belka, Wieland 32 2422
32  Fields, Paul H. 52 2420
33  Fleming, Richard P. 42 2419
34  Divanbaigyzand, Mehran 79 2418 
35  Goebert, Frank 35 2412 
36  Monacell, James P. 52 2409
36  IM Stengelin, Dr. Martin 107 2409 
38  Coplin, Lawrence 75 2407
39  IM Rodriguez, Keith A. 222 2406 
40  IM Mousessian, John 133 2403 
41  IM Jones, Craig 85 2401 
42  Smith, Brian D. 32 2399 
43  Douglas, Steve R. 212 2397 
44  Ballow, John 104 2395
44  Walters, Gary 125 2395
46  IM Jacobs, Robert Merton 98 2394
47  Hill, Grayling V. 118 2384
48  IM Myers, David R. 161 2383
49  Drysdale, Gilbert P. 141 2379
49  IM Osbun, Erik 221 2379 

* Former World Champion

King's Indian 101: A Partial Bibliography

Understanding the King's Indian by Mikhail Golubev (Paperback - Nov. 14, 2005)

King's Indian: A Complete Black Repertoire by Victor Bologan (Paperback - July 14, 2009)

Fighting the Anti-King's Indians: How to Handle White's tricky ways of avoiding the main lines (Everyman Chess) by Yelena Dembo (Paperback - Sept. 16, 2008)

Dangerous Weapons: The King's Indian: Dazzle Your Opponents! (Everyman Chess) by Richard Palliser, Glen Flear, and Yelena Dembo (Paperback - May 5, 2009)

The King's Indian Defense Chess Opening DVD by Viktor Bologan by ChessBase (DVD-ROM) - Windows Vista / XP

Beating the King's Indian and Grunfeld - Taylor

The Classical King's Indian Uncovered by Krzysztof Panczyk and Jacek Ilczuk (Paperback - Aug. 25, 2009)

Beat the Kid: Three Lines Against the King's Indian by Jan Markos (Paperback - Mar. 1, 2009)

Starting Out: King's Indian (Starting Out - Everyman Chess) by Joe Gallagher (Paperback - June 1, 2002)

Bronstein On the King's Indian by David Bronstein (Paperback - Aug. 1, 1999)
The Samisch King's Indian Uncovered (Everyman Chess) by Alexander Cherniaev (Paperback - Feb. 12, 2008)

King's Indian 101: Introduction Part II--The Classical Variation

Click here for Introduction Part I

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

You'll recall that it's White's fifth move that will largely define the variation of the KI that will be played.  The Classical is marked by 5.Nf3.  This forecloses the other major KI variations.  The Knight at f3 blocks the f-pawn, which is required to be pushed in both the Four Pawns (5.f4) and Saemisch variations (5.f3), and the Averbakh (5.Bg5) is foreclosed more indirectly, as Nf3 doesn't usually appear in the early moves of the Averbakh.mainlines.  In the Classical, the Knight develops to f3 naturally and supports the d4 and e5 squares.  The notion here is to review in a straightforward way the gist of the play, which you can add to with your own research, whether as White or Black.  Separate posts will be dedicated to the major sublines of the Classical, including the Mar del Plata, Petrosian, Old Mainline, Na6, Gligorich System, and Exchange.

After 5.Nf3, Black invariably plays 5...O-O.  Note that Black can't play e5 yet, as his game's a mess after 5...e5 6.dxe5 dxe5 7.Qxd8+ Kxd8 8.Nxe5 Nxe4 9.Nxe4 Bxe5 10.Bg5+ Ke8 11.Nf6+ Bxf6 12.Bxf6 Rg8 13.0–0–0. After 5...O-O, the major White response is 6.Be2, with 6.h3 serving as a fashionable minor alternative.  Following 6.h3, Black continues 6...e5 (6...c5 is a minor response) 7.d5 (7.dxe5 is sometimes played with dxe5 following and now White has 8.Qxd8, 8.Be3, or 8.Bg5) and now 7...Na6!? (7...a5) with play potentially continuing 8.Bg5 h6 9.Be3 Nc5 (White will be slow to exchange the dark-squared Bishop for this Knight).  Now back to the mainline.  After 6.Be2, Black usually replies 6...e5, but Black obviously has other options, including 6...Na6 (see G116) and White has the major response of 7.O-O and minor responses of 7.Be3 (Gligorich System), 7.d5 (Petrosian System), and 7.dxe5 (Exchange Variation).  Black next plays 7...Nc6 to reach the diagrammed position (right diagram). If Black plays 7...Nbd7, then it's the Old Mainline.  If Black rather plays 7...exd4, then it's sometimes called the Glek Variation.  After 7...Nc6, Black should anticipate 8.d5 Ne7 (often referred to as the Mar del Plata Variation), and now White has three often played moves, which will be the subject of separate posts: 9.b4 (the Bayonet), 9.Ne1, and 9.Nd2 (see Game 39 here, and Game 117 here) (diagram below).

King's Gambit!: Carlsen v. Wang Yue 1-0

Carlsen plays and wins with the King's Gambit against Wang Yue, a player who recently ran a non-losing streak to the longest anyone's seen of late. (Wang Yue went 85 games without a loss.  The record belongs to Tal with 92.) The game feints in the direction of the Falkbeer Counter-Gambit, but then settles into the Modern variation by a rather standard move order that avoids 3.Bc4, the Bishop's Gambit.  It's not a spectacular game, but it gives future Carlsen opponents additional homework, as if they needed it.

Jun 17, 2010

King's Indian 101: Saemisch Variation--6.Nge2

There's no better player to study than Radjabov when it comes to the King's Indian.  First, he's played the KI 122 times in Mega 2010, which is an enormous number.  Second, he's scored well enough with the opening that it's a feat of courage to even roll out the moves d4, c4, Nc3 against him.  Prior to yesterday, he had a winning percentage in every variation of the KI except the Sämisch.  Today he has a winning record in that variation, too.  The first move to consider is Ponomariov's 6.Nge2.  This is a distinct second-line move, as 6.Be3 is far more often played.