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As the World has stopped spinning, we all know that there are no in-person tournaments going on. This month I decided to make the most of it. First, we will look at some ‘crossover’ lines. I have always considered the King’s Indian to be like a ‘godfather’ to other fianchetto defences - the Benoni, Benko, and even the Leningrad Dutch to some extent. Sometimes the lines really are blurred, and our opening will cross over to other sections.
I will also examine a couple of modern position terrors - the lines with h3 + Be3 and Be2 + Be3. These lines are difficult to meet and there is not a clear consensus on how Black should play. Literally all of the King’s Indian books that I have (including my own!), are of little use in these lines. It is not so clear how Black should meet them. This month I will look at classical approaches with ...e5, and next month we will see the ...c5 plans.

Download PGN of May ’20 KID games

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Fianchetto Variation [E60]

We begin this month by looking at the early ...c5 approach against the Fianchetto Variation. I consider this to be very reliable for Black, but we can easily transpose into a Benoni (Nimzo and Benoni section) or a Benko (Daring Defences) or even and English (Flank Openings).

Early ...c5 with ...cxd4 [E60]

If White refuses to advance his pawn, we will often reach this position:

6...cxd4 I actually think that 6...d6 7.0-0 Nc6 is a fighting choice, despite the fact that it allows 8.dxc5. 7.Nxd4 Qc7 The modern method. We look at 8.Nd5 in Fressinet, L - Maze, S.The main line for a long time was 8.b3 but Black looks fine. Instead Kramnik's 8.Qd3!? is looking like the most annoying line to face. 8...Nxd5 9.cxd5 Qb6 and I think that Black is fine here and even has chances to take the initiative. I am not crazy about this structure for White - the g2-bishop is the worst minor piece on the board.

Fianchetto 5...c5 Benko Gambit structure [E60]

If White pushes d4-d5 without a knight on c3, it is a good time for the Benko.

This is a typical position. White may also have played Nc3 instead of 0-0 at this point. Black has a broad choice here. In Ju Wenjun - Tomazini, Z we look at 9...Bf5!? which is one of Black’s best options. 10.Nfd2 Nxa6 11.Nc3 Nb4 12.Nc4 Bc2! 13.Qd2 White scores well here, but maybe Black can hold the balance with 13...Bb3!

Modern Benoni Fianchetto 9...Re8: 6 Nf3 g6 7 g3 Bg7 8 Bg2 0-0 9 0-0 Re8 [A62]

I know, wrong section! But this can still be important for a King’s Indian player. Our move order would be: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 c5 5.d5 d6 6.Nc3 (preventing ...b5) 6...0-0 7.Nf3 e6 8.0-0 exd5 9.exd5 Re8:

The main line now is 10.Bf4 when Black has a great many moves to choose from. In Studer, N - Leko, P we look at the direct 10...Ne4. I like this the best. It is interesting (and risky!) for both colours. 11.Nxe4 Rxe4 12.Nd2 Rxf4 13.gxf4 Bxb2 14.Rb1 Bg7 is all well-known. I try to give the black player some guidance.

Modern Benoni Four Pawns Attack 6.Nf3 c5 7.d5 e6 8.Be2 exd5 9.cxd5 [A68-69]

More trespassing you say? I thought so too, but even though ECO classifies this is a Modern Benoni, it is more likely to come from a King’s Indian after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4 0-0 6.Nf3 c5 7.d5 e6 8.Be2 exd5 9.cxd5:

It has been a long time since these lines have been covered on ChessPublishing. I simply do not look at Benoni ECO codes! Oops. I am going to look at three different moves here, and give a bit of a theoretical summary for each.

Four Pawns Attack 9...Bg4 [A68]

First we check 9...Bg4 which has been the most common move. It scores well and is relatively straightforward to play without a lot of memorisation. In fact, I gave it in my own book, Attack Chess: The King's Indian Volume II. Now revisiting it years later, it is not so simple for Black. 10.0-0 Nbd7 11.Re1 Re8 12.h3 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 Qa5 is the main line. After 14.Be3 b5 15.a3 Nb6 16.e5 there is no doubt that 16...Nc4 is the main line, but I found some issues here, so in Canibal, J - Koch, H we look at the alternative 16...Nfd7. it’s still not easy for Black...

Four Pawns Attack 9...Re8 [A69]

Next up is 9...Re8. This always seemed like the critical test to me (and others), it's just that 9...Bg4 seemed just as good, and easier. This all still probably holds true. Black is ok here, but all the craziness does not seem worth the effort in an uncommon line where there are good alternatives. After 10.e5 dxe5 11.fxe5 Ng4 12.e6! is less common than 12.Bg5, but it looks critical to me. See Zylla, J - Suvorov, S.

Four Pawns Attack 9...Nbd7 [A69]

Finally, we come to 9...Nbd7!? This move is the current darling. It was recommended by Kotronias, amongst others. 10.0-0 Re8 11.Nd2 c4! 12.Kh1 Nc5 13.e5 dxe5 14.fxe5 is critical. See Hua, L - Kavutskiy, K.

Karpov System 4.e4 d6 5.h3 0-0 6.Be3 e5 [E71]

Ok, back to the ‘real’ King’s Indian!

This line with no real established name has been very popular the last few years. We have looked at many games, but it’s still not clear how Black should play. This month we look at the classical setup in Anton Guijarro, D - Aryan, C. 6...e5 7.d5 Na6 8.g4 Nc5 9.f3 Black faces a two-headed monster here, as White has a serious alternative in 9.Qc2 which was previously employed by Anton.

I think 9...a5 is slow and instead Black should immediately look for a fight with 9...c6!? After 10.Qd2 White has not scored well, but I hardly think that this is bad. 10...cxd5 11.cxd5 Bd7 12.Nge2 Rc8!? I like to develop the pieces, especially as I do not think that Black has to be alarmed by h3-h4-h5 yet. Instead 12...h5 has been played with success, but I am not 100% convinced. There are a couple of games in the archives.

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

This line is another modern annoyance. We again check the classical approach with 6...e5 in Jishitha, D - Arjun, K. 7.d5 Na6 8.g4 Nc5 9.f3 h5 is more appropriate here. 10.g5 Nh7 11.h4 f6 12.gxf6! is the key move, which is not mentioned in some sources. After 12...Bxf6 13.Bf2 Be7 14.Kd2! prepares to 'castle queenside' as well as allowing for Qe1, covering the h4-pawn:

Again, I think Black should open a second front with 14...c6 and this scores the best. With White's king walking around, it is certainly logical. Maybe White is better here, but if he ever loses control...

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.