On counterplay in some Petrosian King's Indian formations

Jan 30, 2013, 9:34 PM |

This is a subject that has interested me since I started to face the King's Indian while playing white, in other words, ever since I started playing 1. d4 like systems. And as we know, the KID is a particular favorite amongst players of all levels, from the common patzer to the best GMs. Owing to it's aggressive and unbalanced nature, we cannot but understand the allure.

Positions arising from the KID are fascinating. Black stakes the house on getting the pawn move f5 in, and this leads to wildness in the mainline variations where white expands on the queenside, while black goes forth with the kingside pawn and piece attack. I do not wish to examine those lines. My main course in the dozen or so OTB games I've played has been the Petrosian system, which comes about from the innocent looking bishop move Bg5, pinning the Nf6.We also find echoes of this theme in similar lines in the fianchetto systems (see Petrosian-Fischer 1959).

Most of what I know comes from reading Kasparov's great treatise on his predessors (part 3 examines Petrosian and Spassky, and it has a very enlightening chapter on the nature of this variation). As we all know, the KID is not an opening we can memorize. Action usually takes place later in the middlegame - with little contact occurring for a long time. The ideas though, are fungible. I will discuss these themes in a series of posts featuring my own games. I think it is also a good idea to sit down with the board and evaluate the consequences of the f5 move in many systems from the KID and the English.