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This month features two King’s Indian warriors, Gawain Jones and Baseen Amin, in six of the eight games! They score 50%, which is quite good considering the level of opposition. We also consider some suggestions from recent books, which are making their influence felt already.

Download PGN of February ’18 KID games

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Fianchetto Variation early ...c5 [E61]

In our first elite battle, So, W - Jones, G, we consider the various ways Black has to play an early ...c5, angling for a Benko or Benoni. After 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.Nc3 c5:

So plays 6.dxc5!? here - an approach recently advocated by Avrukh in his new GM Repertoire book. White would react the same way to 3...c5 or 4...c5, but this may be an even better version. After 6...Qa5 Black transposes to a line that Avrukh considers to be dubious because of 7.Qa4! Qxc5 8.Be3! although So soon goes his own way.

Yugoslav Exchange 8.dxc5 dxc5 9.Bf4 [E65]

In the symmetrical line with 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.dxc5 dxc5 9.Bf4 the counter 9...Nd4 has looked pretty reliable. Now in Matlakov, M - Jones, G White plays 10.Re1!?:

This does not look like much, but it is the first choice of Stockfish, so it's not surprising that it found its way into a GM game. If Black takes on f3, then exf3 will come into consideration. White quickly gets an edge, although this time the English GM wriggles out.

Pseudo-Gallagher Variation - 6...Nbd7 7.Nc3 e5 8.e4 a6 [E68]

Delaying the capture on d4 with 8.e4 a6 is tricky move order. We could reach the same position after 8...exd4 9.Nxd4 Re8 10.h3 a6 11.Qc2!? which is uncommon, but now Avrukh's recommendation in his new GM Repertoire book. 9.Qc2 exd4 10.Nxd4 Ne5 11.b3 Rb8 This move is not in Avrukh, but a book cannot cover everything. It is a bit tricky, but is probably not going to change anything. White can still fight for an edge with the game’s 12.f4! In Saravana, K - Pruijssers, R White quickly went wrong and was quickly lost, showing how tricky the positions can be.

Karpov System 4.e4 d6 5.h3 0-0 6.Be3 [E71]

This line with 5.h3 0-0 6.Be3 has been popular lately. I did not even know what to call it! Kotronias calls it the Karpov system so I will follow suit. After 6...e5 7.d5 Na6 White plays 8.g4 in Caruana, F - Jones, G . This is less common that the alternatives, but modern and logical. Then 8...Nc5 9.f3!? is also uncommon, but has some logic as it avoids certain tricks. Jones reacts with another interesting idea 9...h5!? and a tough draw ensues.

‘Lesser Averbach’/Karpov Variation 5.Be2 0-0 6.Be3 [E73]

Karpov played so many things against the King’s Indian... We see a similar reaction 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 Na6 8.g4 Nc5 9.f3 and now 9...h5!?:

This has been a bit of a trend. Black may not equalize, but it is complicated and over the board Black has not done badly. After 10.g5 Nh7 11.h4 f6 12.gxf6 Bxf6 13.Bf2 Be7 14.Kd2! the player S. Nitin has reached this position three times recently! In L'Ami, E - Amin, B the players reach an interesting position, only to repeat moves and call it a day.

Sämisch Gambit - 6...c5 7.Nge2 Nc6 8.d5 Ne5 9.Ng3 h5 [E81]

In the hot line with 10.Be2 h4 11.Nf1 e6 12.Bg5! Kotronias considers 12...h3 to be dubious. After 13.gxh3 (13.Ne3!?) 13...exd5 14.Nxd5 Bxh3 we get back to a position that he considers in his series on the King’s Indian:

In Lei Tingjie - Bakalchuk, J, Black cannot deal with his problems. It looks like 12.Bg5 is here to stay.

Classical - Petrosian/Makagonov 6.h3 e5 7.d5 with Be2 [E92]

We have a couple of games in the line with 5.h3 0-0 6.Nf3 e5 7.d5 a5 8.Bg5 Na6 9.Be2 Qe8 10.g4:

Wei Yi - Jones, G completes the Englishman’s King’s Indian trio against the world’s best players with 10...Kh8. I generally do not like to play this move unless White has gone Rg1, but 11.Nd2 Ng8 12.h4 f5 has indeed scored very well for Black. The Chinese prodigy plays 13.gxf5 gxf5 14.Bh5!? Qd7 when both the Bh5 and Qd7 are somewhat misplaced. Black tries to force matters a bit too early, and ends up in a bad endgame.

I always preferred 10...Nd7, when 11.a3 is an old treatment, which we have not really looked at in the past. 11...Nb6! is an unusual move in the KID, but in this line it is thematic and Krasenkow, M - Amin, B is a good example of Black’s play.

Until next month, David

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