The Fabulous 00s: USCL Week 3 OOTW

2009 USCL Opening of the Week – Round 3

IM Jonathan Schroer – GM Joel Benjamin King’s Indian Defense

Two stalwart denizens of the 1980’s Manhattan Chess Club (located at the world-famous Carnegie Hall) go at it in 2009-style online combat.

1.d4  Nf6  2.c4  g6  3.Nf3  Bg7  4.g3  0-0  5.Bg2  d6  6.0-0  c6  7.Nc3  Bf5!?

Not Incredibly Strong but Not Stupid

Not Incredibly Strong but Not Stupid

There’s something positionally appealing about setting up a d6,c6 pawn chain, getting this bishop out, and preparing a later d5.  In a related setup, black can try Nc6 (instead of c6) and then B to g4.  Then his idea is hit in the center with e7-e5 after the N on f3 is diverted or traded.

For example, Ron Henley – MG Lone Pine 1980 went

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. O-O d6 6. c4 Nc6 7. Nc3 Bg4!? Unusual but interesting.  I can recommend this for further research to KID explorers out there.

8. Ne1 Qc8 9. b3 e5 10. d5 Ne7?

Here I go wrong and go ‘passive’.  The bubbly 10… Nd4! is correct with level chances. For example, 11. f3 Bh3 12. e3 Bxg2 13. Kxg2 Nf5 14. Nc2 c5! and black is fine.

11. f3 Bh3 12. e4 Bxg2 13. Kxg2. White has a definite pull now and I was lucky to draw.

Let’s return to the diagram position.  What should white do?  This is the key theoretical moment.

8.b3?! White is giving too much respect to black’s offbeat idea.  Our first guess based on prior evidence is that 8. Ne1! is correct. It accomplishes several aims.  Mostly, it aims to establish a white square pawn chain and induce black to trade B/f5 for B/g2. Secondly, it prevents Nf6-e4 which is strong in the game!

Let’s look at 8. Ne1! more closely.  We only give it an exclam here due to its success statistically in ChessBase prior games. As we shall see, this may be misguided.

After the possible followup 8…Qc8!? 9. e4 Bh3 10. f3 Bxg2 11. Kxg2 we reach another critical moment.  In practice, white has been scoring very highly here with his space advantage.  However, a single database game stands out for an interesting black response:

11. … c5! An amazing two-step with the black c-pawn.  It makes sense!  Rather than wait passively for a white build-up, black takes action to clarify the structure.  On the other hand, WEAK is 11…e5? 12. dxe5 dxe5 13. Be3! with a pleasant exchange-KID style safe edge for white, who has gotten rid of his problem child light squared bishop!  (Don’t remind Bruci Lopez about Exchange KIDs after he lost to Jesse Kraai in Weak 3 action, apparently an Altounian “special” delayed exchange variation because white cannot lose.  And who, after all, wouldn’t mind a KID where white cannot lose!).

Let’s see this ingenious 11…c5!.


Position after 11…c5!

12. dxc5 Qxc5 and black is OK; or

12. d5 Nbd7 (in Amann-Martinovic, Austria 1998, the weaker 12…Na6 was played but black still drew) 13. Nc2 a6 and black has an acceptable Benoni with level chances.  12…Nh5 is also playable.

Well, let’s see, we might have to re-think and go back.  Maybe 8. Ne1 is not so fearsome!  What else?  8. Nh4 has been tried by such luminaries as Karpov and Portisch but that’s not dangerous; the WN is offside there.  8. Qb3!? is another try which has some logic, after all black’s Bf5 unguarded b7.  After 8. Qb3!? Qb6 9. Re1!? (Wojo used to try this)

A Wojo Special

A Wojo Special

White emerges with a small edge after the optically scary 9…Qxb3(?!) 10. axb3 Bc2 11. b4 Na6 12. b5 Nb4 13. e4!.  Wojo was a big openings expert so it makes sense to focus further research on his idea.  Even so, black doesn’t have to take, and can play e.g. 9…Na6.  His position looks fine.

Conclusion:  there’s no clear path for a white advantage in this KID sideline!

Returning to the game, recall that Schroer has reacted cautiously and rather passively with 8. b3.  This permits…

8… Ne4! Black is completely OK already; an opening success. In subsequent play Schroer vacillated between “solid” and “aggressive” with predictable results.

9.Bb2  Nxc3  10.Bxc3  Be4  11.Qd2  e6  12.Qe3  d5  13.Bh3  Bxf3  14.Qxf3  f5  15.Qd3  Nd7  16.f3  a5  17.Kh1  Qg5  18.Bg2  Qh5  19.Qe3  Rfe8  20.Qd3  Nf6  21.e4  dxe4  22.fxe4  Rad8  23.Rad1  c5  24.Bf3  fxe4  25.Bxe4  Ng4  26.Qe2  Rf8  27.Bf3  Rxf3  28.Rxf3  Nxh2  29.Kg2?

This has nothing to do with the opening, but the inhuman machine finds a way for white to get a half point here. 29. Qxe6+! Kh8 30. Rf7!! Qxd1+ 31. Kxh2 cxd4 (31…Qc2+ 33. Kh3 Qxc3 34. Rxg7! and draws) 32. Bxa5 Qh5+ 33. Kg1 Qxa5 34. Qe7 Rg8 35. Rxg7! with a draw!  What a line!

29…Qxf3+  30.Qxf3  Nxf3  31.Kxf3  b6  32.Ke4  cxd4  33.Rd3  e5  34.c5  bxc5  35.Bxa5  Ra8  36.Bb6  Rxa2  37.Bxc5  Re2+  38.Kf3  Re1  39.Kf2  Rc1  40.b4  e4  41.Ra3  e3+  42.Ke2  Rc2+  43.Ke1  Be5  44.Ra8+  Kf7  45.Rf8+  Ke6  46.Re8+  Kd5  White resigns 0-1

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3 Responses to “The Fabulous 00s: USCL Week 3 OOTW”

  1. coelacanth Says:

    Has anyone tried, in response to 8. Ne1, 8. … d5?

    Anyway, this blog was mentioned in Chess Life, in connection with the Chess Life cover photo of young Mr. Rohde.

  2. nezhmet Says:

    That Rohde cover was one of the halcyon days of CL (“CL&R”).

  3. Scourge Says:

    Personally, I just think that White isn’t testing the KID severely enough if he delays e4 longer than necessary. I’m sure it’s just a question of taste and move order preferences.

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