Safety in the Mar Del Plata King's Indian

Safety in the Mar Del Plata King's Indian

Apr 3, 2016, 12:00 AM |

To the south east of Buenos Aires along the Atlantic Sea lies the city of Mar Del Plata. The city has a rich chess tournament history, and from here was born the Mar Del Plata Variation of the King's Indian. This arose from the game Najdorf-Gligoric 1953 0-1. Subsequently, Najdorf employed the ideas in the great Zurich 1953 tourament.

Over 50 years has passed since the game, but the thematic ideas are still the same. Black pawn storming the Kingside and White the Queenside. 
Ideas have evolved not so much from finding ways to speed up attacks, but more so on how to slow the opponent down. This may be through means of sacrifice in order to gain a defensive move.

No Bxh3 = No Worries

I was on the Black side of a King's Indian Mar del Plata where I reached the following position after 21. ... g3.

Admittedly I was worried as White has exchanged off a critical piece of Black's. The light squared Bishop. Without this Bishop, thematic ideas of ... Bxh3 are not possible to allow the Kingside attack to blossom.

To this end, White should not open lines on his Kingside if not necessary. Even if it wins a pawn. Here he played 22. hxg3 which is exactly what Black wants. For his sacrificed pawn, he obtains open lines and piece activity as compensation.

Instead, 22. Bb6 would have been move difficult to face. If Black plays 22. ... gh+ then White plays 23. Kh1 and his King is safe from immediate danger.

If Black doesn't play 22. ... gh+, then White will play h3 and have no fear of any sacrifices on h3 (due to absence of light squared Bishop). White then has a free hand on the Queenside.

Critical Position for White

They often say that calculation is more critical in Defence than in Attack. My opponent played 25. Rfc1 which is immediately losing, as Black is able to remove the guard of c1 easily. Instead, White has to play 25. Rfe1 as his priority is to play Bf1 and solidify g2.

Game Annotations and Analysis