ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
As the good times roll, I have continued my ‘research projects’. I have tried to construct a couple of ‘mini-repertoires’ for Black in a few critical lines.
The Fianchetto line is eternal, so we look at a reliable way to meet it. We also look at the Sämisch (Benoni) and as promised, the lines with h3 + Be3 and Be2 + Be3 - this time with a 6...c5 approach.

Download PGN of June ’20 KID games

>> Previous Update >>

Fianchetto Variation 6...Nc6 7.Nc3 e5 8.dxe5 [E62]

Black’s play is so straightforward after 8.d5 Nb8 that the exchange in the centre is clearly the main line now. We have looked at 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Bg5 Be6 several times over the last few years. Let’s recap and try to make the preparation digestible. I also present several novelties.

It can all be a bit confusing, so I decided to revisit the possibilities here in order to construct a repertoire for Black. White has four main moves here - two knight moves and two queen moves. In Rozum, I - Hesham, A we consider 10.Nd2 (as well as 10.Nd5 - this is drawish enough that it can create a practical downside to playing this line for Black, although not all players spend time preparing to make draws with White). In all the lines Black has a choice between certain moves: 10...h6, 10...Qe8, 10...Qb8, and 10...Qc8. The first three moves can be hit or miss, but 10...Qc8 is practically a universal solution. This may make preparation easier (to remember, at least!). After 11.Nd5 Nd7! 12.b4 h6 13.Be3 Re8 Black has had to make a few little defensive moves, but now he hopes to push White back.

Next up is 10.Qa4 This is the most common move overall. After 10...Qc8 11.Rad1 looks like the right rook. 11...Nd7 12.b3 Re8 13.Qa3! f5 led to unclear play in Pantsulaia, L - Nigmatov, O.

10.Qc1 has been the hot move. This prevents ...h6 and prepares Rd1. The a1-rook remains out of play though. 10...Qc8 11.Rd1 and here black specialist Chopra Aryan has played both 11...Re8 (actually his latest preference) and 11...Rd8 I prefer the latter even though it steps back into a pin. Now 12.Nd2 is a real test but I think I have solved Black’s problems there (for now!). And after 12.Rxd8+ Qxd8 13.Ne4 Bf5 14.Nfd2:

The pin looks annoying, but 14...h6! is a clever resource that probably stems from a silicon mind. See Ravi, T - Chen, Qi.

Sämisch/Modern Benoni 6.Be3 c5 7.Nge2 Nc6 8.d5 Ne5 [A65/E81]

I continue last month’s trespass with the crossover variation that begins with 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 c5 7.Nge2 Nc6 8.d5 Ne5 9.Ng3:

Previously we have focused on 9...h5 10.Be2 h4 11.Nf1 e6 which is classified as a Samisch King's Indian - E81, but 9...e6 is a good alternative that is (relatively) less chaotic. After 10.Be2 exd5 11.cxd5 it is a Modern Benoni - A65! Obviously, the lines are related.

After 11...a6 12.a4 Black has two distinct approaches - play on the kingside or queenside. In Vachtfeidl, P - Campbell, E we consider the first plan. 12...h5 13.0-0 Nh7 14.Qd2 h4 15.Nh1 f5 16.Nf2 and here the common 16...Bd7 can be met with17.Kh1 which scores well for White. Instead 16...Re8!? was recommended by Kotronias in his GM Repertoire series. This holds up in our correspondence game.

The other approach is with 12...Bd7 13.0-0 b5 when 14.h3! is more challenging than taking the pawn. Usually Black plays 14...Nc4 here, and this seems ok, but in Taylor, M - Suarez Real, A we see that 14...b4!? is also critical. Black quickly gets the upper hand, but then he rapidly loses the thread in the face of White’s counterplay.

Black has another way to play that is quite shocking.

In Le, Tuan Minh- Belous, V Black immediately plays 11...b5!?:

Wow! It turns out that this daring move has been known for a while. I am not convinced that it holds up under a microscope, but is certainly an interesting try, especially in a fast time control.

Karpov System 4.e4 d6 5.h3 0-0 6.Be3 c5 [E90]

I consider this line to be very dangerous. The ECO classifications fluctuate depending on where and when White’s g1-knight ends up. In both cases, one of life's great mysteries is 6...e5 or 6...c5? Last month we looked at 6...e5. I had considered this inferior, but now it would be my choice.

After 6...c5 7.Nf3 Black is hard pressed to avoid a Maroczy structure. 7...Qa5 This was supposed to be the great salvation, but it's not so simple. 8.Bd3 Nfd7:

Now 9.0-0 Nc6! 10.Be2 e5! conquers d4, but 9.Be2! is a problem. White loses a tempo to over-protect d4 now that Black has retreated his pieces in a jumble. Again, It’s hard to avoid a Maroczy. See Thybo, J - Kotronias, V.

Lesser Averbakh 5.Be2 0-0 6.Be3 [E73/91]

This is similar to the last line. Again the ECO classifications vary. 6...c5 Last month we looked at 6...e5. Now we go to the Benoni approach. In this case, I considered this the best option. 7.d5 (looking for a Maroczy with 7.Nf3 does not really work here) 7...e6 8.Nf3 exd5 9.cxd5 Bg4 10.Nd2 Bxe2 11.Qxe2 Re8 12.0-0 We also consider 12.f3!? which avoids any tricks against the e4-pawn. 12...Na6! This has certain tactical points. 13.Kh1 Nc7 14.a4 a6 15.a5 and now there are quite a few playable moves. In Dragnev, V - Vandenbussche, T, Black tries 15...Nb5N which looks sufficient.

Until next month, David

>> Previous Update >>

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.