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This month I am continuing my examination of the London System against the King's Indian with another key line but where Black will succeed in pushing ...e7-e5 this time.

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London System v KID [A48]

As it directly questions the position of the bishop on f4, 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4. e3 0-0 5.Be2 d6 6.0-0 Nfd7!? is one of the major challenges White has to face with the London system against the King's Indian:

7.h3 it is clear that White should prepare the h2 retreat square for his bishop, 7...e5 8.Bh2 Nc6 9.c4! Against this black set-up White should gain space and develop his knight to c3. Another frequent move order begins with 6...Nc6, and will likely transpose. Once again it is not so important had he played an early h2-h3, on the other hand, with Nbd2 or c2-c3...

Now we have reached a crossroads where Black has 4 quite distinct options. I will examine the most current 1st 2 this month, both beginning with 9...exd4 10.exd4:

10...Re8 11.Nc3 Nf6 represents the 1st alternative:

here 'my move' is the natural 12.Qd2 which has the slight drawback, however, of not preventing 12...Ne4, and in Game 1, following 13.Nxe4 Rxe4 14.Bd3 rather than retreat Black sacrificed the exchange for one pawn by 14...Rxd4? 15.Nxd4 Nxd4, thus securing a strong centralized knight right in the enemy camp. It looked promising at first sight... however, it was all wine and no taters, White had a very strong plan to oppose it after which the situation was rapidly clear.

12...Bf5 on the other hand, allowed White to reveal the main idea behind his queen move in Game 2: 13.d5!, followed by Nd4, gaining a tempo against the bishop, Bf3!, firmly controlling the key square e4, and then Rae1 with a quiet edge.

Instead of Qd2 12.Re1 is the move all the engines choose... Indeed, after considering all the elements and angles, it is not too difficult for White to get a good idea of how to play this position and place his pieces. However, there is one thing that keeps cropping up: in one way or another annihilate the action of the black rook along the e-file. 12...Ne4 is a concern following 13.Bd3 Nxc3 14.bxc3 Rxe1+ 15.Qxe1 b6 And while the favourable evaluation for White starts to drop, 'understanding' the drawback of a defective structure, Black retrieves a well-known plan of action by playing, in any order, ...Qd7, ...Bb7 or ...Ba6, ...Re8, ...Na5...

12...Bf5!? doesn't turnout out that convincing for the 1st player either as Game 3 showed.

Nevertheless, after seeing the 2725+ average Game 4, I am convinced that 12.Bd3! is best, preventing both ...Ne4 and ...Bf5, while preparing Qd2 and Re1!

The 2nd alternative 10...Qf6 11.Nc3 Nxd4 12.Nxd4 Qxd4 13.Nd5 introduces a forced line where Black wins a pawn and which brings about a completely different type of position:

You had better know the theory in this complicated variation, as the moves are sometimes hard to retrieve, and it is not easy for either side to adjust over the board. For instance, if you do not know, or have not seen this line before, you may think you are losing the exchange and the game after 13...c6 14.Nc7?! Rb8 15.Bxd6 thus overlooking the essential defence 15...Qxd1 16.Raxd1 Be5!:

after which nothing is clear because of the imprisoned knight on c7. This must have been what Black thought, for having jumped out of the pan and into the fire, in Game 5!

Instead, 13...c6 14.Ne7+! Kh8 15.Bxd6 is forced. (But not 15.Qxd4? Bxd4 as in the most recent Game 6) Intensive preparation for both sides is then required. Starting with 15...Qxb2 16.Rb1 Qxa2. The oldest game with this pawn sacrifice, Game 7 (1987!) paved the way following 17. Nxc8 Rfxc8 18.Rxb7, but Black can equalize after 18...Rd8.

On the other hand, 17.Re1!! as in Game 8 promises White a big advantage by bringing his last piece into play:

After 15...Re8 instead, the move 16.Re1! is inspired by the same idea, after which 16...Nf8 is the computer defence. Game 9, however, showed the ball was still firmly in the black camp in this 10...Qf6 variation after 17.Qxd4 Bxd4 18.Rad1 Bf6 19.Nxc8 Raxc8 20.c5!:

16.Bg4?! is worse, and points at a key to the white preparation in the 2 previous games in case of 16...Qxb2? 17.Rb1 Qxa2 18.Re1 which is now crushing. Instead of the 16...Nb6 which failed to completely solve the black problems in Game 10, 16...f5! makes a difference, intending 17.Re1 Qf6! parrying the threat of Nxg6.

See you soon, Eric

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