Last Updated on Tue, 05 Sep 2023 | Opening Principles
One of Black's greatest fears in playing the King's Indian Defense is the
Four Pawns Attack (l.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6): 5.f4
As shown in Diagram 213, White's pawn center is quite imposing! What's worse from Black's perspective, the routine of ...d7-d6 and ...e7-e5 has been severely disrupted, and it is now impossible for Black to count on this maneuver. A change of plans is needed—and fast. However, don't despair! Although White has occupied the center, his pawns can easily become overextended. 5«i«c5
Black immediately attacks White's center and forces him to make a decision. 6.d5
White bypasses the c5-pawn. After 6.dxc5 Qa5!, Black threatens ...Nf6xe4, with a winning attack. White has to protect the e4-pawn: 7.Bd3 Qxc5 produces a crucial recapture. White is prevented from playing e4-e5 in the future, and play continues: 8.Nf3 0-0 9.Qe2 Bg4 10.Be3 Qa5 11.0-0 Nc6. Practice has shown the position to be dynamically equal.
White must be careful not to overextend his center. A mistake would be 7.e5? Ne8 8.Nf3 Bg4, when White's center collapses under Black's pressure. 7...b5!
Black makes a necessary pawn sacrifice that is similar to the Benko Gambit. Diagram 214 shows the position.
Black desperately, and correctly, tries to break up White's center. White must accept the sacrifice because .. .b5-b4 threatens to win the e^pawn. 8.cxb5
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A Solution to the Queen Pawn Opening
After 8.e5 dxe5 9.fxe5 Ng4! 10.Bf4 b4 ll.Ne4 Nd7, Black is well placed to meet White in the center.
White decides to cling to his extra pawn.
9...Nbd7 11.Bxb5 Ba6
Practice has shown that Black has compensation for his pawn. He will try to utilize the half-open b-file to create counterplay.
Another aggressive system against the KID is the Samisch Variation (l.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6): 5.f3
In this variation, White's intentions are cleverly disguised. At the posi-
jl tion shown in Diagram 215, White wants to play Bcl-e3, Qdl-d2, and castle long. He will attack on the Kingside in a style similar to the Yugoslav Attack of the Sicilian Dragon.
Because I like to play the Samisch Variation as White, I know that Black has to play carefully to gain a safe position. However, the Samisch Variation has an important drawback. In the words of Diagram 215.
Chapter Eight grandmaster Eduard Gufeld, "Please, ask the gl-Knight how he likes the move f2-f3. He has been robbed of his best square!"
This is probably the only time that Black should make this move before castling—an important nuance. Black is not worried about the ending 6.dxe5 dxe5 7.Qxd8+ Kxd8 8.Bg5 c6 9.0-0-0+ Kc7, correctly believing that this middle game is not worse for him.
This is considered White's best chance of gaining an advantage. Recall from considering the Barcza Opening that a line like 6.Nge2 exd4 7.Nxd4 0-0 8.Be2 c6 has Black preparing the break .. .d6-d5, with a fine game.
Once again, Black plays for the positional plan of controlling the c5~ square. When the colors were reversed, White prefaced this move with a2-a4. 7.Be3
White sets up the attacking line previously outlined. 7...NH5
This move has a dual purpose: It clears the way for Black to play ...f7-f5
and possibly ...Qd8-h4+ in order to disrupt White's plan.
Diagram 216 shows one of the most interesting variations of the KID. Black can now play 8...f5, a key source of counterplay in the KID that gives him a fair game. Or he can try the Bronstein Variation:
Black invites White to trade Queens if he'd like.
A Solution to the Queen Pawn Opening
This invites a repetition, which is declined as follows:
11.g3 Nxg3 12.Qf2 Certainly White must avoid 12.Bf2? Nxfl, which would result in the loss of a pawn for White. Now, however, Black is forced to sacrifice his Queen:
12...Nxf1 13.Qxh4 Nxe3
Black has the threats of ...Ne3-g2+ and ...Ne3-c2+, so White now moves his King:
As shown in Diagram 217, Black has a material deficit of two Bishops and two pawns for his Queen. Speaking bluntly, the position is absolutely gross and defies analysis. I've played Black's position against Kasparov and made an easy draw. Players who don't like to sacrifice their Queen should play 8...f5 instead. But please, do yourself the favor of playing out this position against a friend. It will be very rewarding. Play often continues:
15.b3 Nb6 16.Rc1 Bd7 17.Nh3 O-O 18.Nf2 f6 19.a4 Rae8
A fascinating game lies ahead. Clearly, the Samisch Variation is quite a challenging one for Black and he must be on his toes.
The purpose of f2-f3 in the Samisch Variation is to set up with Bcl-e3 and prevent ...Nf6-g4, which would harass White's Bishop. Isn't there another way White can do this without playing f2-f3? With this move, White covers the g4-square and initiates the Averbach Variation (l.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6):