Thursday, February 11, 2010

King Indian Defence Reviewed

Daily Express UK
CHESS - 24/1/10

By Luke McShane

Diagram 1

I sometimes feel a little bit sorry for those who have never played the King's Indian Defence.

At a very young age, I was dazzled by many spectacular victories with the 'KID' (Kasparov, Bronstein and Fischer all spring to mind) and its felt like a part of my chess DNA ever since.

It's not that I think it’s the very best response to 1.d4 - in fact, I went off it altogether for a few years because I decided it was positionally dubious after a few bad games and not a 'proper' way to play chess. Since then I've realised that the practical merits of the opening are really more important, as well as the fact that I enjoy the positions which arise.

The Slav is a good opening too, and so is the Queen's Gambit Declined, but the positions have less of that individual character which allows you to recognize the opening deep into the middlegame.
                                                                                                    Diagram 2

Some of the KID's closer relations, like the Grunfeld and the Benoni aren't bad either. But they aren't quite so uncompromising - it's harder to play for a win if White is in a cautious mood.

The 'King's Indian bishop' is notorious for the damage it can cause.

But perhaps the greatest compliment to the King's Indian is the number of White players who take pride in scoring heavily against it.

Viktor Korchnoi springs to mind, but there are many others who love to grapple with this monster.

The top American player Hikaru Nakamura has a great command of the King's Indian, and won a beautiful game against Boris Gelfand at the World Team Championship just concluded in Turkey.

A few rounds later, Levon Aronian had his turn on the White side and beat Nakamura in excellent style. As always, the King's Indian has a vibrant future.

Boris Gelfand - Hikaru Nakamura
(Bursa, 2010)

1.d4 Nf6
2.c4 g6
3.Nc3 Bg7
4.e4 d6
.Nf3 0–0
6.Be2 e5
7.0–0 Nc6 As Black against Nakamura I won an exciting game and the tournament best game prize using the move 7....Na6 at the London Chess Classic in December, but Nakamura's choice is certainly the sharpest move in the position.
8.d5 Ne7 9.Nd2 Ne8 10.b4 f5 11.c5 Nf6 12.f3 f4 13.Nc4 g5 14.a4 Ng6 15.Ba3 Rf7 16.b5 16.a5 h5 17.b5 dxc5 18.b6 g4 19.bxc7 Rxc7 20.Nb5 g3 21.Nxc7 Nxe4! was the thrilling continuation of Beliavksy-Nakamura from earlier this year. There too, Nakamura won a stunning game. 16...dxc5 17.Bxc5 h5 18.a5 g4 19.b6 g3 20.Kh1 Bf8 21.d6 axb6 22.Bg1 Nh4 23.Re1 (see diagram 1)

23...Nxg2! 24.dxc7? Up to this point there are plenty of complications, but this is certainly a mistake. Instead, 24.Kxg2! Rg7 25.dxc7 gxh2+ 26.Kh1! (26.Kxh2 Ng4+! 27.fxg4 Qh4+ 28.Kg2 hxg4 is probably winning for Black) 26...hxg1Q+ 27.Rxg1 Qxc7 28.axb6 Rxa1 29.bxc7 Rxd1 30.Bxd1 Rxg1+ 31.Kxg1 is one continuation, leading to an endgame which is not easy to assess. 24...Nxe1 25.Qxe1 g2+! Beginning the decisive attack based on the idea Bc8-h3-g2 mate. 26.Kxg2 Rg7+ 27.Kh1 Bh3 28.Bf1 Qd3! An excellent move. White struggles to defend both g2 and f3. 29.Nxe5 Bxf1 30.Qxf1 Qxc3 31.Rc1 Qxe5 32.c8Q Rxc8 33.Rxc8 Qe6 White is a whole piece down for no compensation. 0–1

Levon Aronian - Hikaru Nakamura
(Bursa, 2010)

1.d4 Nf6
2.Nf3 g6
3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d6
5.e4 0–0
6.Be2 e5
7.0–0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Nd3 f5 11.Bd2 Nf6 12.f3 f4 13.c5 g5 14.cxd6 cxd6 15.Nf2 Ng6 16.Qc2 Rf7 17.Rfc1 Ne8 18.a4 h5 19.Ncd1 In this line White is much more slow to tear apart Black's queenside, but compensates by holding up Black's kingside play. White's minor piece placement makes the advance g5-g4 difficult to achieve.

19...Bf8 20.Ra3 a6 21.Qc3 Bd7 22.Qa5 b6 23.Qb4 Rg7 24.Rac3 Nh4 25.h3 Be7 26.Be1 Qb8 27.Kf1 Bd8 28.Rb3 Bc7 29.Qa3 Qd8 30.Rbc3 Bb8 31.b4 Ra7 32.Rc6 A typical exchange sacrifice. Rooks often struggle in closed positions, and here capturing the rook gives White a valuable passed pawn as well as increasing the scope of his minor pieces. 32...b5 33.axb5 axb5 34.Ra6 Rb7 35.Rcc6 Bxc6 36.dxc6 Ra7 37.Nc3 d5 38.Nxd5 Nf5 39.exf5 Qxd5 40.Ne4 Rgc7 41.Nxg5 Ng7?! (see diagram) Black has been struggling to create counterplay, but this allows a powerful shot.

42.Rb6! Nxf5 43.Rxb8+ Kg7 44.Qb2 Ra2 45.Qb1 Rc2!? The position is still messy (46.Qxc2?? Ne3+), but Aronian carefully extinguishes Black's counterplay. 46.Rxb5 Qd6 47.Rb7 Kh6 48.Kg1! Qxc6 49.Nf7+ Rxf7 50.Rxf7 Ne3 51.Ra7 Qd5 52.Qa1 Nxg2 53.Qa6+ 1–0

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