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This month we see a lot of rapid chess. Although there are typically more mistakes, the openings still have importance and the games are exciting.

Download PGN of January '14 KID games

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Fianchetto Variation Panno 8.Bf4 [E63]

In Giri - Wang Hao we look at the 8.Bf4 Panno, in particular Nakamura's 9...h6:

This remains quite viable and I suspect the 8.Bf4 trend won't last, as this is not Black's only decent option.

Averbakh System 6...c5 7.d5 a6!? [E74]

The final game of the 2013 London Chess Classic saw a sideline in the Averbakh that I have enjoyed myself, 5.Be2 0-0 6.Bg5 c5 7.d5 a6!?:

I covered it in Attacking Chess: The King's Indian Vol 2 and it was also featured in Andrew Martin's classic 1989 Winning With the King's Indian. This system is easy to learn and even if White finds a small edge, the positions that arise are quite playable, in my opinion. See Gelfand - Nakamura.

Classical - Makagonov 7...Nh5 [E90]

In the main line of the 7...Nh5 Makagonov, Cheparinov sticks to the piece sacrifice he tried in 2012, 6.h3 e5 7.d5 Nh5 8.Nh2 Qe8 9.Be2 Nf4 10.Bf3 f5 11.g3 fxe4!? 12.Nxe4 Bf5:

and now in Olszewski - Cheparinov White took the piece with 13.gxf4, which must be the most testing. Cheparinov's idea looks sound enough and Black wins, but it could certainly use some more tests.

White has recently played 8.g3 instead of 8.Nh2 a lot too. After 8...Qe8 9.Be2 Na6 is a rare move. Although the idea looks viable, I suspect White can maintain an edge. See Wang Hao - Radjabov.

9.b4 Bayonet Attack - Kramnik's 12.Bf3 [E97]

We have a couple of games in Kramnik's line this month: 9.b4 Nh5 10.g3 f5 11.Ng5 Nf6 12.Bf3

An unusual prophylactic idea is 12...Rb8!? In Najer - Bacrot a typical ending is reached, but it is trickier for Black than it appears to be at first sight.

In Nezad - Baryshpolets Black plays the normal 12...c6 13.Bg2 h6 14.Ne6 Bxe6 15.dxe6 and now 15...a6! This move has actually been suggested before, but here it gets a practical test.

9.Ne1 Nd7 Mainline [E99]

In Le Quang Liem - Radjabov Black makes a strong impression in the 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Be3 f5 11.f3 f4 12.Bf2 g5 13.g4 line. Following 13...Ng6 14.Nd3 h5 15.h3 Rf7 16.c5 hxg4 17.hxg4:

17...dxc5! is a nice idea. With the centre a little more open White's king will feel a bit less secure.

Kozul's old pawn sacrifice with 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.f3 f5 11.Be3 f4 12.Bf2 g5 13.Rc1 Ng6 14.c5!? has been overshadowed by the modern 14.Nb5, but it still holds some venom. In Sarkar - Hebden Black overreacts and the American IM wins a rather easy game.

Until next month, David

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