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This month we have a bit of a Classical Variation extravaganza. The games have a lot of back and forth struggles which show the practical side of our favourite opening.

Download PGN of November '12 KID games

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Sämisch System - Panno [E84]

The Sämisch has been losing steam lately, as it is Black who has been coming up with new ideas. The Panno is holding up, and in particular Black has been doing well in the 9.Rc1 line as we have seen in the last year or so. After 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 Nc6 7.Nge2 a6 8.Qd2 9.Rc1 Bd7 10.Nd1 the game Volodin - Teterev sees Black successfully use 10...Re8 11.Nf2 e6 (we have seen the more direct 11...b5 12.c5 dxc5 13.Rxc5 e5 14.d5 Ne7 lately too) when 12.g4 looks a bit odd:

Black makes a nice piece sacrifice and holds the initiative, but when he misses some good chances he ends up fortunate to draw.

Classical - Makagonov Variation [E90]

The Makagonov continues to be popular at a high level. Korobov - Smirin is a strategic battle in the Makagonov that clearly goes White's way, 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.h3 e5 7.d5 a5 8.Bg5 Na6 9.g4 Qe8 10.Be2:

This is all normal enough, but I do not like 10...Kh8. After 11.Be3 Ng8 the move 12.g5!? turns out to be very effective. White's beautiful winning combination is very unusual and a must-see.

Petrosian Variation [E92]

The Classical family can be very tricky with the names and ECO codes. Andreikin - Nakamura stars out as a Makagonov 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.h3 but then turns into a Petrosian after 6...e5 7.d5 Na6 8.Be3 Nc5 (I am not so sure about this move, even though it has been played many times) 9.Nd2 a5 10.Be2 (the Petrosian move order would begin with 6.Be2 e5 7.d5 a5 8.h3!?) Nakamura is one of the best King's Indian practitioners, but in this game he does not get to show off his usual tactical flair.

7...Na6 [E94]

Kramnik's annoying line, 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Na6 8.Be3 Ng4 9.Bg5 Qe8 10.Re1!? strikes again:

After 10...exd4 11.Nd5 (11.Nxd4 is less dangerous) 11...c6 12.Ne7+ Kh8 13.Nxc8 Rxc8 14.Nxd4 Nf6 15.Bf1!? looked very pleasant for in Korobov - Teterev. White is quickly winning, then somehow ends up much worse. Following the theme of the month, he won anyway.

7...Nbd7 [E94]

More ECO confusion. What starts out as a Petrosian Variation with 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.d5 turns into something that is classified by ECO as a 7...Nbd7 line after 7...Na6 8.0-0 Nc5 9.Qc2 a5 10.Bg5 h6 11.Be3 b6 (Fischer used to play 11...Ng4 12.Bxc5 dxc5 13.h3 Nf6 14.Nxe5 Nxd5 15.cxd5 Bxe5 16.f4 but nowadays Black players tend to avoid this.) 12.Nd2:

Now 12...Bg4!? is a Smirin specialty. Black generally does not want to trade bishops, but the timing is inconvenient for White. Savchenko - Smirin may not be so important theoretically, but I think it well illustrates some of both sides possibilities in a relatively "sterile" King's Indian. We have another back and forth battle where both sides miss chances.

Classical - 9.b4 Bayonet Attack [E97]

The line 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.b4 Nh5 10.Re1 a5 11.bxa5 c5 12.Nd2 Nf4 13.Bf1 Rxa5 14.a4 Ra6 of the Bayonet is not very popular anymore but it is pretty solid for Black. After 15.Ra3 Black retreats the knight with 15...Nh5 16.Nb5 Nf6:

Now 17.Nf3!? is a novelty that leads to typical play in Grachev - Korobov, which is a pretty sophisticated positional game.

9.Ne1 Mainline [E99]

9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Nd3 f5 11.Bd2 Kh8!? has not been played much lately. Black avoids certain topical lines and gets an interesting game. See Banawa - Shulman.

Mark Hebden has decades of King's Indian experience under his belt. His games in the Mar Del Plata always deserve study. After 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Nd3 f5 11.Bd2 Nf6 12.f3 f4 13.c5 g5 14.cxd6 cxd6 15.Nf2 Ng6 16.Rc1 Rf7 17.Nb5 Ne8 18.Qc2 Bd7 19.a4 h5 20.Qb3 Bf8 (all theory so far!) the game Wu Li - Hebden sees the rare 21.Rc3:

This move guards the third rank (in the event of exchanges following ...g4), and leaves the possibility of Qb3-d1 open. Hebden wins a back and forth game that shows the richness of these types of positions.

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.