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The Fianchetto Variation looms large, as it has for a few years. We also get a rare sighting of Karjakin facing the King’s Indian, and we also investigate the Maroczy Bind!

Download PGN of March ’19 KID games

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Fianchetto Variation early ...c5 [E60]

Volokitin has played the tricky 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.g3 c5 5.Bg2 Qa5+ line before, with success. 6.Nc3 Ne4 7.Qd3 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Nc5 9.Qd1 Nc6:

10.Be3 is not nearly as common as 10.e3, but it scores much better. After 10...Ne6 11.Nxe6 Bxc3+ 12.bxc3 dxe6 13.0-0 Qc7N I think Black falls short of equalizing, but the positions are not clear. In Seres, L - Volokitin, A White misses a knockout, and then accepts a draw in a favourable position.

Fianchetto Variation Irregular 6...c6 7.0-0 Bf5 [E62]

Efimenko tried this line a couple of times recently. Often Black gets in ...d6-d5 and it looks like a Grunfeld. White goes for 8.Ng5!? d5 9.Qb3 Qb6 10.cxd5 Qxb3 11.axb3 cxd5 12.Nxd5 Nxd5 13.Bxd5 Nc6 14.e3 h6 and here I once suggested the novelty 15.Ne4:

In Svane, R - Efimenko, Z Black came up with 15...Rfd8! which is better than the 15...e6 16.Bxc6 bxc6 17.Nc5 e5 18.dxe5 Bxe5 19.e4 that I considered.

Fianchetto Variation, Uhlmann's line 6...Nc6 7.Nc3 e5 8.dxe5 [E62]

There seems to be important games in this line every month. For the most part, I think Black has solved his problems, but the positions are more delicate than they would at first appear to be. After 8...dxe5 9.Bg5 Be6 White plays Avrukh’s 10.Qc1 in Raja, R - Aryan, C. On the further 10...Qc8 11.Rd1 Aryan played 11...Re8 this twice this month, with success.

Panno 8.Bf4 [E63]

This is still a popular line for White (I had it myself with both colours recently). A good way to try to mix things up is with 8...Bg4!?:

In Demianjuk, A - Tsydypov, Z White played 9.h3, which is natural enough perhaps, but forcing the pace like this has not been successful in practice.

Yugoslav Exchange 7.dxc5 dxc5 8.Qxd8!? [E64]

The heavyweight battle Vidit, S - Carlsen, M saw an unusual sequence 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.Nc3 c5 6.d4 d6 7.dxc5 dxc5 and now 8.Qxd8!? This line has an independent flavour - White has played Nc3 instead of castling, and he can try to cause problems with that tempo. I had never noticed it until this game. Normally White would not want to help Black activate his rook, but there will be some concrete problems to solve. After 8...Rxd8 Vidit went for 9.Ne5:

but we also consider 9.Be3 which has scored well for White. The lines are certainly more complex than they appear to be at first sight.

Yugoslav Exchange 9.Be3 [E65]

A more familiar position arises following 7.dxc5 dxc5 8.Nc3 Nc6. After 9.Be3 the normal moves are 9...Be6 and 9...Qa5, but in Ilic, Z - Hauge, L Black came up with 9...b6!?:

This looks like a blunder, but it's a nice provocation in an apparently sterile position (although we have seen that it usually does not stay sterile for long). Of course the first move to look at is 10.Ne5 because it just wins the exchange, but in practice White often declines the sacrifice.

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

Only in January I said that in this tricky line I would prefer 6...c5 over 6...e5, but I did not really take into account 7.Nf3 which leads to a strange Maroczy position:

After 7...cxd4 8.Nxd4 Black went for 8...b6!? in Svane, R - Kovalev, V. This is an independent, and popular interpretation. One problem is that the natural 8...Nc6 9.Be2 is a Marozcy (eco B38) where h2-h3 ideas have gained some steam recently, with White scoring heavily. I am not sure that 8...b6 is a panacea, however, as 9.Qd2 Bb7 10.f3 Nbd7 11.Bh6! is surprisingly difficult to meet. The game’s 11...e6?! weakens Black's position unnecessarily, but I do not like Black’s position in any case.

Classical - 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Nd3 f5 11.f3 f4 Mainline [E99]

I have not seen many games with Karjakin facing the King’s Indian, but in Karjakin, S - Amin, B he does just that. 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Nd3 f5 11.f3 f4 12.Bd2 g5 13.Be1!? is bit unusual, but not bad:

Amin reacts with 13...h5N but I believe that often this move should not be hurried, and I would prefer 13...Ng6. Karjakin goes on to win, but not without a few adventures.

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.