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This month, we look at some topical lines with an early ...c5, a couple of my own games, as well as what may be the death knell for a popular sideline.

Download PGN of September ’18 KID games

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Fianchetto Variation early ...c5 [E60]

With White’s knight not yet on c3, 6...c5 7.d5 can be met with7...b5 8.cxb5 a6:

Yes, it sure looks like a Benko but the move order classifies it as a King's Indian. After 9.bxa6 Black has some choice, and in Grischuk, A - Carlsen, M the World Champion went for 9...Bf5!? which has been played by none other than his ‘great predecessors’ played by Kasparov and Anand. Grischuk reacted well with 10.Nfd2! Nxa6 11.Nc3 Nb4 12.Nc4 and now the novelty 12...Nc2?! does not look sufficient to me, but I think White is better after the alternative as well.

The classical move order with 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 c5 allows White to play 4.dxc5 Qa5+ 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Bg2 and now 6...0-0 caught my attention in Jubin, J - Narayanan, SL because Narayanan was willing to repeat this against a much lower rated player. He held against 2700+ Vidit but the opening seemed better for White. I still think White is fighting for an edge here, but Narayanan has his own ideas.

Fianchetto Variation Panno 8.b3 Bd7 [E63]

In Kreisl, R - Smirin, I Black meets 8.b3 with 8...Bd7!?:

Smirin likes to go his own way in many KID lines. 9.Bb2 e5 10.dxe5 dxe5 is a typical structure that we see a lot in the 7...e5 line, but here the queens are not getting exchanged. It may not equalize but it’s a way to get out of book with a reasonable position.

Yugoslav Exchange 8.dxc5 dxc5 9.Be3 Qa5 [E65]

We have seen that 8.dxc5 is not nearly as sterile as it would first appear. Play often becomes quite tactical. 8...dxc5 9.Be3 Qa5 10.Qa4 has been played many times:

But, in Shapiro, D - Chigaev, M it just looks like a mistake as Black quickly takes over after 10...Qxa4 11.Nxa4 b6 12.Rad1 Bf5, which has scored tremendously for Black.

Sämisch System - 6...c5 7.Nge2 Nc6 8.d5 Ne5 9.Ng3 h5 [E81]

We have two games this month with 10.Be2 h4 11.Nf1 e6:

I myself faced 12.f4 in Morefield, J - Vigorito, D. After 12...Nxc4! 13.Bxc4 b5 14.Bxb5 exd5 15.exd5 Rb8 is a critical position. I could not remember much, but knew that Black was doing pretty well here. Over the board however, it does enter your mind that you are down a whole piece! My opponent played 16.Be2 which is new and not very good. Over the board it looked pretty reasonable. White pitches the b2-pawn, but he covers g4 and avoids any ...Rxb5 stuff.

More critical is 12.Bg5 when 12...Qb6!? 13.Qd2 exd5 14.Bxf6!? was tried in Donchenko, A - Kollars, D. After 14...Bxf6 15.Nxd5 Qd8 16.Nxf6+ Qxf6 17.Ne3 Nc6 18.0-0-0 Black should be solid enough with a grip on the central dark squares, but this structure presents certain practical problems. Here Kotronias gives 18...Nd4, but in our game Black went for 18...Qd4!? which is essentially a pawn sacrifice. Black held, but it all looks more pleasant for White, so I suspect we’ll see this again.

Classical - Petrosian/Makagonov 6.h3 e5 7.d5 with Be2 [E92]

In Macieja, B - Vigorito, D I employed 6...e5 7.d5 a5, which is one of my favourite lines to play. Bartek played 8.Bg5 Na6 9.Be2 Qe8 10.Nd2 Nd7 11.a3 Nb6 12.g4 Bd7 13.b3:

This is a known idea - White wants to stop ...a4 and some ...Na4, but it is still risky. After the game he told me that he quickly regretted playing this. Then 13...Nc5 14.Rg1 was technically new but totally normal. I felt like I was pushing for awhile which was nice, but ultimately I missed my chance and had to settle for a repetition.

Classical - Donner Variation 7...c6?! [E94]

The flexible 7...c6?! has had a burst of popularity, but Navara, D - Kokarev, D shows why I think it is ready for the dustbin.

The exchange 8.dxe5! dxe5 9.Nxe5 usually achieves little, but after the resulting simplifications, White gets the initiative. 9...Nxe4 10.Nxe4 Bxe5 11.Bg5! Qc7 (11...Qxd1 12.Rfxd1! is also good for White) 12.f4! and Black has ongoing problems. This has been a ‘well-known secret’ for a while, so it’s time to enlighten our readers!

Until next month, David

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