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For the last couple of months I have been investigating the possibility of playing a King's Indian via an Old Indian move order. To recap on where we are up to, in March I looked at playing 6...Nbd7 against the Classical Variation via 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 Nbd7, noting that this could also be reached via an Old Indian move order via 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.e4 g6 or 3...Nbd7 4.e4 e5 5.Nf3 g6 etc. In last month's update I looked at Old Indian move orders, comparing 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 to the immediate 3...e5, and examining White's critical lines against both of these. This left just the lines in which White plays g3 and Black responds with ...Nbd7, via an Old Indian move order this would be 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.g3 or 3...Nbd7 4.Nf3 g6 5.g3. Note that in both these lines Black is committed to ...Nbd7, so a King's Indian via an Old Indian move order means that Black's options against the g3 lines must include ...Nbd7.
I was not expecting to have King's Indian games from the Candidates, but in the last round there was one very interesting one between Abasov and Praggnanandhaa. Not only did it take place in a critical line, it also fit into my ongoing investigation into playing the King's Indian via an Old Indian move order. To repeat myself, this requires being prepared to put your knight on d7 against both the Classical System (Nf3, e4 and Be2) and the Fianchetto System (Nf3, g3 and Bg2). This has provided me with the opportunity to both complete my 'easy KID repertoire' and check up on any developments in this critical g3 line.

Download PGN of May ’24 KID games

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Fianchetto Variation Classical Main line 8.e4 [E69]

Abasov, N - Praggnanandhaa, R reached a topical main line tabiya after 11...Qb6, at which point Abasov chose the unusual 12.Nb3:

and Praggnanandhaa obtained good counterplay via a known route. This variation is quite a critical one and has been very topical with authors of opening books. Vassilias Kotronias recommended that Black play this position (via 9...Qb6 10.Re1 exd4 11.Nxd4 Re8) and then Boris Avrukh gave first 12.Re2:

in the first edition of his 1.d4 Grandmaster Repertoire and then, in the second, 12.Nc2:

It does seem that Black is doing well after 12.Re2, for example there is Yu, Y - Amin, B.

After 12.Nc2 I was curious about what Praggnanandhaa might have in mind, and checked recent games. After 12...Ne5 13.b3 Be6 (Kezin, R - Iljiushenok, I) Black obtained a kind of 'Boleslavsky wall' in which it's difficult for White to make progress, but he should not have put his queen on e7 allowing Nf5. This wall formation is solid but rather passive, and one would hope to do rather better than that.

Two far more interesting approaches were offered in Silvestre, C - Golubev, M and Matlakov, M - Chigaev, M, notwithstanding the fact that these were blitz and rapidplay games. Mikhail Golubev is a great connoisseur of the King's Indian and his 12...Ne5 13.b3 Nfd7:

gets White to misplace his pieces enough for the tactical 16...Bxh3 to be OK. Chigaev, meanwhile, came up with 12...Nh5!?:

when White's critical reply is probably 13.g4. Future developments in this line may well focus on these two approaches, at the time of writing Black is alive and kicking.

There is a significant move order choice between 9...exd4 10.Nxd4 Qb6 11.Re1 Re8 and 9...Qb6 10.Re1 exd4 11.Nxd4 Re8. The issue resolves around whether Black wants to face 9...exd4 10.Nxd4 Qb6 11.Nc2 (or 11.Nde2) or have White play the sharp 9...Qb6 10.c5. It does seem that 9...exd4 10.Nxd4 Qb6 11.Nc2:

gives Black potential counterplay based on ...f7-f5 (Csomczyk, M - Kanarek, M ) but Black is not very active if White plays well.

This leaves the prospect of facing 9...Qb6 10.c5!?:

which Alireza Firouzja has done in numerous internet games. It's strange to think that Titled Tuesday internet games can be a major theoretical battleground, but this seems to be happening now in the King's Indian. Golubev's answer to 12.Nc2 has only been revealed online, and Firouzja tends to reserve his King's Indian for faster time limits.

Keymer, V - Firouzja, A is a case in point, was Keymer's 23.Rh1 the product of home cooking? It's difficult to know, but he might well have studied this line and come up with the plan of putting the rook on the h-file.

Fianchetto Variation Classical Main line 8.e4 c6 9.b3 [E68]

It does seem that that these ...Qb6 lines provide a playable option against 9.h3, what about other moves such as 9.b3? In this case I quite like the move 9...a6, which has been covered by other ChessPublishing authors in the past. What they did not cover was the central exchange 10.dxe5 dxe5:

so I have restored the balance with Dimic, P - Markus, R. This was a somewhat dodgy game, but does illustrate the issues quite well.

See you next month! Nigel

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Don't hesitate to share your thoughts and suggestions. Any queries or comments to the KID Forum, or to me directly at (subscribers only) would be welcome.