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This month we do not have any King’s Indians!
It was a rather slow month for our favourite opening, so I used this opportunity to cover several lines that have never been considered before on chesspub. These should still be of interest to King’s Indian fans as these ‘Modern Defences’ are very tricky and use a lot of thematic King’s Indian ideas.
We will look at various systems that fall under ECO code A41 and A42. These lines can be fun to play and tricky for white players to meet. Black can play 1.d4 g6 or 1.d4 d6, provided he is ready for 2.e4.

Download PGN of March ’17 KID games

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Modern 1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 4.Nc3 Bg4 [A41]

1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 4.Nc3 Bg4 is a pretty popular line. Black can play for an imbalance without needing to know too much:

If White plays purposefully, he should get an edge, although it is certainly playable for Black and I have played this line a lot for both colours.

In Gustafsson, J - Vedmediuc, S we look at 5.e3, which is probably White’s best. After 5...Nc6 (instead 5...c5 6.Be2 Nc6 is an English Opening [A35] that is generally considered to be favourable for White) 6.Be2 e5 7.d5 Nce7 and here both the game's 8.e4 and 8.0-0 should promise White something.

I had to dig out Vigorito, D - Christiansen, L to look at 5.g3:

I had thought this was more annoying to face than 4.e3, but now I think this is less threatening.

5...Bxf3 6.exf3 e6 (I also look at the consistent 6...Nc6) 7.d5! exd5 and now rather than 8.cxd5 I believe that 8.Nxd5! is better when I can't find anything that looks satisfactory for Black.

Modern 1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 4.e4 Bg4 [A41]

Now we turn out attention to 1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.e4 d6 4.Nf3 Bg4:

I consider this system to be quite respectable, and again I have tried both colours. After 5.Be2 Nc6 (another move order is 5...Bxf3 6.Bxf3 Nc6 7.Be3 e5 and perhaps this is even more accurate) the main line is 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 Bxf3 8.Bxf3 Nd4 9.Bxd4 exd4 10.Nd2 and now 10...Nf6!? is less common than the alternatives 10...Ne7 and 10...c5 but in the high level game Giri, A - Andreikin, D it looks quite decent.

Modern 1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.e4 d6 4.Nc3 Nc6 [A42]

Now we switch over to 1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.c4 d6 4.Nc3. Of course 4...Nf6! would bring us back to our favourite opening, but there are a couple of popular alternatives. First we look at 4...Nc6:

This risky line always seemed kind of fun and I used to play it myself, but eventually I decided it was bad. Matters are not so simple though, and some good players have wheeled it out from time to time. After 5.d5! Nd4 6.Be3 c5 7.Nge2 Qb6 is necessary. Now there is no real consensus on White's best line. In Stocek, J - Praznik, N White plays the popular 8.Na4 Qa5+ 9.Bd2 Qa6 The queen goes here to put pressure on the a4-knight. After 10.Nxd4 Bxd4 11.Nc3 Bd7 (or 11...Qb6!?) White went for the unusual (but good) 12.Qc2!? More often White has played 12.Bd3 Nf6 13.0-0 0-0 with a small edge at best. White got a small edge but couldn’t figure out what to do and Black took over. With a miracle the higher rated player somehow saved a two-pawn down endgame.

Modern 1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.e4 d6 4.Nc3 e5 [A42]

Now we look at 4...e5. This seems like the best alternative to 4...Nf6! In Bykov, A - Esen, B we look at the popular 5.dxe5. This is often recommended, but it never appealed to me for White. Black has a better structure and White takes big strategic risks in the hopes that his slight initiative in a queenless middlegame will amount to something. After 5...dxe5 6.Qxd8+ Kxd8 7.f4:

Both the game’s 7...Be6 and 7...Nc6 look completely viable.

I never thought that 5.d5 was critical either. White just plays for a certain structure. Now 5...f5 This is the most principled, but it carries certain strategic risks. 6.exf5 gxf5 7.Qh5+ Kf8 and now 8.Bd3 is one of many moves. Then 8...Nf6 9.Qd1! is Sasikiran, K - Hillarp Persson, T.

Maintaining the tension with 5.Nf3 is quite logical of course. After 5...Nc6 (the main alternative is the system 5...exd4 6.Nxd4 Ne7 7.Be3 Nbc6) a critical line is 6.Bg5 f6 7.Be3 Nh6 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Qxd8+ Kxd8 with another endgame that I have faced (as White) myself a few times:

After 10.0-0-0+ Bd7 11.h3 Kc8! was recommended in The Modern Tiger as the most accurate. See Steingrimsson, H - Jones, G.

Perhaps 5.Nge2 could be considered White’s most flexible approach. White refuses to resolve the tension in the centre and avoids any ...Bg4 pins. If and when he does close the centre, he can still play f3 like a Samisch.5...Nc6 5...exd4 6.Nxd4 is the same as 5.Nf3 exd4. 5...Ne7 and 5...Nd7 are also possible. 6.Be3 Nh6!? 7.d5 (also possible is 7.f3 f5 8.Qd2 and this may even be stronger) 7...Ne7 8.f3 f5 9.Qd2 Nf7 10.0-0-0 0-0:

I think objectively White should be a little better here, but Black 'has his play'. In Krasenkow, M - Yilmazyerli, M Black demonstrated the important resource 11.Kb1 (11.c5!?; 11.h4!?) 11...c5! 12.dxc6 bxc6 13.c5 d5! when it is White who should be careful.

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.