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Mainline, Saemisch, or Fianchetto

  • #1

    I was wondering what the reputations of the "big three" King's Indian variations.  I'm not sure which I would like more; I want to have a steady repertoire against the King's Indian, but would like to know about the variations' goals to accomplish.  Thanks in advance to all willing to help.

  • #2

    Fischer used to advise 5.f3 back when it was a big danger to the KID. Of course now Black has ways to play against it but I wouldn't bet on anyone having that kind of technique anyway.

    [Edit:] here's an article dug up by Edward Winter:

  • #3

    Do you know of the other two variations?

  • #4

    And also, book suggestions will be appreciated.

  • #5

    The fianchetto variation was nearly always played in the early days of KID popularity.  Play over the games from the Zurich 1953 Candidate's Tournament (Bronstein's tournament book is one of the absolute classic chess books, and very instructive in the development of this line of the KID) to get the ideas.

    The Classical and related lines use simple development ideas, but there are a number to choose from.  This is the most played family of ideas at high levels today.

    Also, the ideas of the Saemisch have evolved since Fischer's heyday, and the old pawn storm with castling on opposite sides isn't the default anymore, although it's still very popular at lower levels of play. 

    All King's Indian formations have some common themes, though.  White nearly always obtains a more "classical" center and has a space advantage and a natural Queenside advantage with which to expand it.  Black seeks counterplay on the Kingside, and his play is very hard to stop, so the game often depends on which side can establish an initiative, making threats strong enough to require the opponent to answer them instead of pursuing his own attack.


    You will be better served to learn this by playing over entire games by GMs, including those won by both sides and draws, to see the range of ideas and how they continue into the middlegame and even the typical endings.  Watch for the recurring ideas and patterns, and try to implement them in your own games.

  • #6

    Join the King's Indian Defense: Saemisch Variation to learn more about this complex and fascinating opening.


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