Bayonet: Personal Experience Matters

Bayonet: Personal Experience Matters‎

WIM energia
23 | Middlegame

  I would like to apologize for the error in the last column, which prevented the viewers from seeing the analyzed games. It is corrected now and you can go over the games. It has been almost a year since I started writing the weekly column and about time to move on to a different topic. I am still thinking of what avenue to take for my future columns and if you have any suggestions please let me know.

  I would like to dedicate today's article to an opening I truly love and enjoy playing from both sides: the King’s Indian Defense. I would like to present one critical position from Bayonet Attack and give different plans and ideas in it. As always exchanges will play an important role in the given position.  Bologan’s recently written and excellent book “King's Indian: Repertoire for Black” inspired me to write an article about the KID. My article is not too much about theory, it is more about the history of the line as well as personal experience in it. I have found many experts and amateurs quoting different books and saying: “Oh, that GM recommended this in a given position… but this GM thinks the other move is better”. I have found more rarely someone saying “well, even though Bologan thinks that h6 is a good move, I think that Nf6 might be better.” What I am trying to say is that when learning theory one tends to rely on experience and knowledge of experts GMs in this line rather than on personal experience and this is understandable when one just starts playing a given line. But as time progresses and the player accumulates experience I think he should be able to feel the position pretty well and come up with original ideas on his own rather than relying on ideas presented in the literature.

                The Bayonet Attack has many forks in the road, for example the major one is on move 9: 9…Nh5 or 9…a5.  These are two different systems with very different ideas. The other major deviation is on move 13. White has a choice of defending e4 pawn with either Bf3 or f3. Nowadays, most of the games are played with f3 due to this move being popular at the top level and played by Shirov and Van Wely. If you want to know more about it check out the articles written by GM Arun and GM Magesh here on The question that bothers me is why Bf3 is not played any more on the high level. It seems to me that in f3 line white faces many problems as demonstrated in recent Radjabov games. I keep playing Bf3 line as White in hope that one day someone over the board will show me the reason!

  One of the major games that started the whole movement with the Bf3 line was Shirov-Radjabov, played in 2004. I have played the King’s Indian my whole life but have never read a single book on it. I do I go over important games and read annotations. Shirov’s annotations to the game in his Fire on Board Part 2 are of utmost importance to anyone who wants to play this line. He exposes you to all the ideas that float in the given position. The game is presented over several pages and is full of variations; it took me about 8 hours to go over it in detail. I present it here with short annotations.

  There is a personal story behind this game as well. In the 2004 US Championship I faced M.Casella in one of the rounds and noticed he follows main lines of the variations and follows the recent theory. I made a decision to follow the Shirov-Radjabov game, showing the final position to my friends night before and jokingly saying that this will happen in my game the next morning. And guess what? It did happen!  We followed the game up till move 33 where I implemented Shirov’s recommendation, and then lost miserably. The recommendation was excellent but I had no feel for the position and did not know the ideas behind it. So, the decision to follow a game for 33 moves was a very bad one, I have never done anything like that after this encounter. One should play chess and create her own ideas-- there were plenty of times when I could have deviated from the position and created something new and unexplored.

                Over the next four years while i played numerous games in this line, the theory developed and new ideas emerged. The next game shows new techniques of defense for Black as well as some ideas borrowed from Shirov’s game. I think ideally one should know the critical games played in the variation and the ideas behind them and learn how to implement those ideas her own games. The following game is a good example of that.

                The next game is an example of different setup for Black. He avoids playing d5 but instead tries to get e-pawn to e6 right away. Such behavior is punishable.

                Look for Part 2 of this article next week.  Here is a preview to what to expect in Part 2: Bologan’s recommendation of what to play against the Bf3 line, my analysis of his recommendation and a possible verdict of whether it is playable. I will also include my recommendation for Black that I play as Black. (Oh, I hope my competitors do not read this, since I will be disclosing some secret analysis) :).

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