King's Indian Defence

A system against the Kings Indian Defence - The Saemich variation


Focus of Paper
Starting position
Black counterplay systems
    Nc6 system
    c5 system
Further Reading

Focus of Paper

This technical paper focuses on the Saemich variation of the Kings Indian Defence. In particular it highlights the plan of Be3 and Qd2 with castling queenside as an effective method for White against the KID.

This paper looks in particular at two counterplay systems:-

A) The system involving Nc6 for black
B) The c5 gambit (New as of 4/4/98!)

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Starting position


White playing the move f3 as shown above is the signal for the saemich variation

The system with Be3 with the idea of Qd2 and castling queenside is quite a crude but effective method of playing the position. With this setup white is ideally placed to exchange off blacks defensive bishop on g7, and then use the g and/or h pawns to up lines.

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Black counterplay systems

Nc6 system
c5 system

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Nc6 system

Black may choose the Nc6 system and the following position may be reached after Nc6 Nge2 a6 Qd2 Rb8

Starting position #1
Nc6 variation

White can often speed up the attack in this position by sacrificing the pawn on c4 in some lines. This is an idea I first came across in Raymond Keene's book, "An opening repertoire for white". For example take the following game snapshot:

Miles Anthony J - Jadoul Michel
It (cat.13), Brussels (Belgium), 1986

The game continuation was:

11.Bh6 Kh7 12.Bg5 bxc4 13.g4 Nxg4 14.fxg4 Bxg4 15.Bh3 Bxh3 16.Rxh3 Qd7 17.Rg3 Nb4 18.Nf4 f6 19.Nxg6 fxg5 20.Nxf8+ Rxf8 21.Qe2 g4 22.Qxc4 Nc6 23.Rgg1 Rf2 24.Rgf1 Rxf1 25.Rxf1 Nxd4 26.Qf7 Kh6 27.Rf5 Nxf5 28.exf5 Kh7 29.f6 1-0

From starting position #1 (see above)

If black plays the move e5 in this sort of position instead of the above Rb8, then d5 Nce7 0-0-0 is quite promising for white.

Here white has options such as:

A) play the move g4, trying to discourage black from playing f5. If f5 gxf5 gxf5 White has the plan of h4 followed by Bh3 exchanging off white squared bishops which from my experience will favour white. In fact one of my games against Moscovich had this plan in the Barnet U202 BCF tournament.

B) Go for an all out attack with h4 and h5, and exchange off the dark squared bishops with Bh6. (if given time!).

C) Play for an attack on the queenside! Moves like Kb1 Rc1 Nc1-d3 would come in handy for this sort of attack. White is stronger on the queenside, and from my experience if black plays like f5 and f4, then the black bishop on e3 can drop back to f2, and white can focus on the queen side attack.

The example games illustrate some of these intuitively stated points in this paper.

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c5 system

The c5 system is a very dangerous gambit. It gives compensation to black on the dark squares. The following game is an example of black generating lots of counterplay with this system:-

Gallagher J - Nunn John D M [E81/05]
05, London LB [Nunn,J, 1990

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 c5 7.Nge2 Nc6 8.d5 Ne5 9.Ng3 e6 10.Be2 exd5 11.cxd5 a6 12.a4 Bd7 13.0-0 b5 14.h3 Rb8 15.b3 Ne8 16.Rc1 Qh4 17.Nh1 bxa4 18.bxa4 Rb4 19.Bxa6 Nc7 20.Be2 Ra8 21.Qd2 Qd8 22.Nf2 Bxa4 23.Nxa4 Raxa4 24.f4 Nd7 25.Rc2 Ra3 26.Re1 Rbb3 27.Bc4 Bc3 28.Qd3 Bxe1 29.Bxb3 Qb8 30.Rb2 Qb4 31.Nd1 Bg3 32.Bd2 Qd4+ 33.Qxd4 cxd4 34.Bb4 Ra1 35.Bxd6 Nb5 36.Bb4 Nc3 37.Bxc3 dxc3 38.Re2 Nc5 39.Bc2 Nd3 40.Kf1 Nb4 41.Bb3 Bxf4 42.Kf2 c2 43.Rxc2 Nxc2 44.Bxc2 Ra2 45.Kf3 Rxc2 46.Kxf4 Rxg2 47.Ne3 Rf2+ 48.Kg3 Rd2 49.Kf4 f6 50.Ng4 Kf7 51.e5 Rd4+ 52.Ke3 Rxd5 53.Ke4 Ke6 54.exf6 Rh5 0-1

As a way of combatting this system, the following Kramnik game strategy will be taken as the model:-

Kramnik V - Nunn John D M [E81/05]
14, Manila ol ENG-RUS, 1992

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 c5 7.dxc5 dxc5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bxc5

kramnun1.jpg (37922 bytes)

Kramnik accepts the gambit!

9.. Nc6 10.Ba3 a5 11.Rd1

kramnun1.jpg (37922 bytes)

White seeks to reduce blacks counterplay with this exchange.

Be6 12.Nd5 Bxd5 13.cxd5 Nb4 14.Bb5

kramnun1.jpg (37922 bytes)

A very interesting move. White is not worried about the a2 pawn, nor the threat of Nc2+ and then Nxa3. White has his investment in the d pawn.

Nc2+ 15.Kf2 Nxa3 16.bxa3 e6 17.d6 e5 18.Ne2 Bf8 19.d7

kramnun1.jpg (37922 bytes)

The d pawn has advanced. White is prepared to sacrifice to maximise its potential.

Bxa3 20.g4

kramnun1.jpg (37922 bytes)

This is a key move. White intends to gain lots of space on the kingside, and try to connect the d pawn up with another passed pawn. He does so excellently...

h6 21.h4 a4 22.Rd3 Bb2 23.g5 hxg5 24.hxg5 Nh7 25.f4

kramnun1.jpg (37922 bytes)

Carrying on the implementation. The goal is to create connected passed pawns.

Ra5 26.Rd5 f6

kramnun1.jpg (37922 bytes)

In this position, Kramnik unleashes a superb exchange sacrifice.

27.Rxh7!! Kxh7 28.gxf6 exf4 29.e5

kramnun1.jpg (37922 bytes)

Kramnik has succeeded in his goal of connecting the d pawn up with other passed pawns.   It is incredible that he has managed to create 3 passed pawns!

Kh6 30.Nxf4 Bxe5 31.Rxe5 Rxd7 32.Bxd7 Rxe5 33.f7 1-0

Kramnik faired less well in this system against Shirov 2 years later :-

Kramnik Vladimir - Shirov Alexei [E81]
Bundesliga, Germany (6), 1992

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 c5 7.dxc5 dxc5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bxc5 Nc6 10.Ba3 a5 11.Rd1 Be6 12.Nd5 Nb4

This deviates from Nunn's Bxd5

13.Nxe7+ Kh8 14.Rxd8+ Rxd8 15.Nd5 Nc2+ 16.Kd2 Nxa3 17.bxa3 b5

A very agressive biting move, trying to undermine white's knight on d5.

18.Nh3 -

Fritz evaluates approximate equality after 18..bxc4 19. Bxc4 Nxd5 20 exd5 Bxd5

However Kramnik did beat Timoshchenko in 1992:-

Kramnik Vladimir - Timoshchenko Gennadi A [E81]
Memorial A.Alekhine (open), Moscow (Rus, 1992

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 c5 7.dxc5 dxc5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bxc5 Nc6 10.Ba3 e6 11.Rd1 Rxd1+ 12.Kxd1 b6 13.Nge2 Bb7 14.Kc2 Rd8 15.Nc1 Nh5 16.Nb3 f5 17.c5 Ne5 18.cxb6 axb6 19.Nd2 Nf4 20.g3 Nfd3 21.Bxd3 Nxd3 22.Nc4 Ba6 23.Nxb6 Nf2 24.Re1 Bd3+ 25.Kb3 fxe4 26.Bc5 Bd4 27.Bxd4 Rxd4 28.Nxe4 Bxe4 29.fxe4 Nxe4 30.a4 Nc5+ 31.Kc3 Rd6 32.b4 1-0

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This is a solid and aggressive system to play against the Kings Indian defence. Its crudeness with moves like Be3 and Qd2 and 0-0-0 adds to its simplicity. It is an easy to play system which will worry most KID players!

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Further Reading

Of particular relevance to this paper is the following:-
How to play the King's Indian, Saemisch variation
Raymond D. Keene
The Samisch King's Indian (Batsford Chess Library)
Joe Gallagher / Paperback / Published 1995

Book against the Kings Indian from a White perspective:-

Beating the King's Indian and Benoni
Anatoly Vaisser / Paperback / Published 1997
The Fianchetto King's Indian
Colin McNab / Paperback / Published 1996
King's Indian Defence : Averbakh Variation (Cadogan Chess Books) 
Margeir Petursson / Paperback / Published 1996

Other Kings Indian books of general interest are:-

The New Classical King's Indian
        John Nunn, et al / Paperback / Published 1997
Miguel Najdorf: King of the King's Indian Defense
        Nikolay Minev / Paperback / Published 1997
Secrets of the King's Indian
      Eduard Gufeld, Eric Schiller / Paperback / Published 1999

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