Chess Training - #1 Intro to the King's Indian Attack

Jul 16, 2017, 3:53 PM |

Hello guys! Welcome to my blog, where I will be discussing and learning about chess openings, middlegame strategy, and endgame technique. 


Lately, I've been taking a two-year break off of playing competitive chess, for multiple reasons that include time, school, and simply a lack of interest. My rating peaked in 2015 at around 1750 USCF, although judging from my blitz rating (2103), that number should definitely rise once I get back into the hang of things. Meanwhile, I want to fix and improve some flaws that I see in my game so far. One of those prominent flaws is my knowledge of the opening. I don't really have an established opening repertoire so far, and I don't really want to get too involved in theoretical lines. I mainly consider myself to be an all-round player; sometimes on the attack, and sometimes delving into positional play. This is good because it means that I have a versatile array of openings that I can work with. One of those, which I will be discussing today, is the King's Indian Attack (KIA). The King's Indian Attack is a system, which typically means that it is a setup that can be used against all variations that Black plays. In some lines, it can lead to sharp tactical play (French), while in others strategical play (Reversed King's Indian) is necessary. I feel that this perfectly suits my style.


I recently picked up an excellent book: The King's Indian: Move by Move by Neil McDonald, that goes into considerable depth on multiple themes and concepts in the KIA by using illustrative examples. Other books I used (and highly recommend) to study this opening are The Ultimate King's Indian Attack by Angus Dunnington and Starting Out: The King's Indian Attack by John Emms. These books are all fantastic and will definitely help to improve your knowledge of this opening. 


Today we will be concentrating on the KIA versus the French Defense. This occurs after the moves 1. e4 e6 2. d3. This line was used prominently by Bobby Fischer against the French to avoid some of the main theoretical lines that he often scored poorly against. Fischer also utilized the KIA to good effect against the Sicilian as well, such as in his game against Panno at Buenos Aires 1970 and against Sherwin in the New Jersey Open in 1957 (the first game in My 60 Memorable Games). Today, the King's Indian is championed by GMs such as Alexander Morozevich, Viktor Bologan, Sergei Movsesian, and Bassem Amin. Mark Dvoretsky makes a good suggestion in his book Secrets of Opening Preparation, which is to include the KIA as a option (if you are an 1. e4 player) against the French and Sicilian Defenses. I also would highly recommend this system, as not only are you gaining knowledge of this system and its structures, but also throwing a wrench in your opponents own opening preparation (for example, the Sicilian, most players will be prepared against 3. d4 or anti-Sicilians like the Alapin and Closed Sicilian). This is why I highly recommend the KIA as a great option to advancing club and tournament players. Now, I'll be honest, the KIA won't give you an edge out of the opening with exact best play, and it doesn't immediately challenge Black in his development. However, it offers dangerous attacking chances towards players who are not prepared (80-90%) and will undoubtedly, if not that, give White a solid game with good chances for all three results. Let's begin looking at this dynamic opening. 


We will start off with an example in order to illustrate White's excellent attacking chances in this line. I decided not to use Fischer - U. Geller for my example because often I feel that it is overused (although it is a great illustrative game of the tactics and strategical ideas). Instead, I will be using an early example, Bronstein vs O'Kelly, from Beverwijk 1963. Here it is -



The finish would be: 31. Rce1 fxg4 and then 32. Ng5! forces mate or the loss of the black queen. This game is a great illustrative example of the attacking possibilities that White has in the KIA. A splendid performance by the late magician David Bronstein. 


Now we will take a look at the beginnings of the KIA of the French. 


We will consider castling kingside first:
However, in this line, White could simply play a move like 16. Rc1 (as played in the actual game), maintaining his chances for a kingside attack. 
I hope this has given you a little taste of what is possible in this line of the King's Indian Attack. In the future I will be doing more of this series, with more comprehensive coverage of multiple lines and common strategies/patterns for both sides. I hope you have enjoyed our little venture into the landscape of this fierce setup.