King's Indian Exchange Variation: Ideas and Model Game

King's Indian Exchange Variation: Ideas and Model Game


As a King's Indian player, you know that sickening feeling. Your opponent picks up his d-pawn and captures your e-pawn ... the Exchange variation. In an instant, all thoughts of an f5 pawn Kingside pawn storm evaporate. Dreams of magical sacrifices with Bxh3 will never eventuate. Worse still, your Queen will never bedazzle to h4 or a5 because it has been exchanged off.



I've always had trouble on the Black side of the King's Indian Exchange variation. More so because I've forever looked for that "magical line". You know, that piece of special piece of opening preparation that surely refutes this opening.


I'm trying something new, with trying to first encapsulate the ideas behind this opening. Then I'm looking at model games in this opening. If you're after variations, you've come to the wrong place.


I'm basing this on GM Rashad Babaev's excellent video titled "The King's Indian: Beating the Exchange


 Thematic Idea 1: The d4 square

The d4 square is an excellent outpost for a Black piece. Ideally a Black Knight will manoeuvre there through Nb8-d7-f8-e6-d4 or Nb8-d7-c5-e6-d4


Thematic Idea 2: The d5 square

The d5 square is a logical outpost for the c3 Knight. To that end, Black play c6 


 Thematic Idea 3: The d6 square

To that end, after Black plays c6 to control the d5 square, the d6 square is weakened.

White will plan to manouevre the f3 Knight via d2-c4-d6


Thematic Idea 4: Exchange off the c8 Bishop for any piece

This was a new idea for me, and one that makes logical sense.

Placing the Bishop on e6 gets in the way of a Knight's access to that square (to reach d4).

The Bishop on d7 gets in the way of the Rook.

It's not feasible to play b6 to deploy at b7 as this weakens the Queenside.

Ideally exchange the c8 Bishop for the f3 Knight, as he is the defender of d4 and prevents the manouevre of this Knight to d6.

Don't miss chances to exchange the Black light squared bishop for any piece.


 Thematic Idea 5: Redeploy Dark squared Bishop to c5 to fight for d4

Another new idea for me. Don't be afraid to exchange dark squared bishop for your opponent's one.

This will not result in any weakening of dark squares (given no Queens).


Thematic Idea 6: Remember to play 10. ... Rf8

In this position White is threatening to play Nxe5 exploiting the pinned d7 Knight. Hence 10. ... c6 can not be played.

Black can not 10. ... Re8 because of 11. Nb5 with the threate of a fork or Rooks at c7. Thus the c7 pawn would be lost.

It is critical to play 10. ... Re8 after which 11. Nd5 c6 12. Ne7+ Kh8 13. 0-0 Re8 14. Nxc8 Rxc8 is a natural sequence of moves.



Model Game: Grynfeld-Geller, Schiavno Zdroj 1950



The following themes from this game for me were:

* Black's dark square domination at d4 and c5

* Thematic regrouping of Knight via d7-f8-e6 and Bishop to f8-c5

* Use of the Rook at a5 for defence (of e5) and attack along b-file