Posts Tagged ‘King’s Indian Defense’

The Fabulous 00s: USCL Week 3 OOTW

September 18, 2009

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

The Fabulous 90s: The Manhattan CC 1990 International

October 7, 2008

The Big 1990 Show at Carnegie Hall

The July, 1990 round-robin international at the Manhattan Chess Club (Carnegie Hall, 57th St and 7th Ave., NY NY) was very strong.  We had:

  • IM Alex Fishbein (Samford Award winner, who made a GM norm in this event)
  • GM Gregory Kaidanov
  • Future GM and well-known USSR Trainer Avigdor Bykhovsky.  Bykhovsky stayed with Joel and I and brought with him plenty of food supplies:  dozens of tins of USSR preserved meat that resembled deviled ham (I think).  All he needed to borrow was a can-opener and he was all set.
  • ex-WC Candidate GM Yefim Geller now in the twilight of his career (he passed away shortly after the event)
  • GM Bozidar Abramovich
  • IM (future-GM of course) Alex Sherzer, my guest for the event.  Alex stayed over at a gigantic 3-bedroom apartment real estate barons Joel Benjamin and me controlled on the Upper West Side.
  • IM Michael Brooks
  • IM Mark Ginsburg
  • GM Alex Wojtkiewicz
  • GM Alex Ivanov

It all started well for me in the first round.  Although I was working at a programming job for SIAC (yuck!!) in “Metrotech” (some called this place “MetroDreck”) Brooklyn, I seemed fresh enough here:

Mark Ginsburg – Alexander Fishbein (2470) MCC Int’l 1990 Round 1.

Dutch Defense, 4. Bf4 gambit line

1. d4 f5 2. Nc3 d5 3. e4!? dxe4 4. Bf4 Just another weird anti-Dutch gambit, not allowing 4. f3? e5!.   For more gambits, see this post.


Position after 4. Bf4.  By transposition, the  Pöhlmann Defense of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit.

White plans to simply play f2-f3 and leave black with a sick pawn formation.

4…Nf6 5. Bc4 Very logical is 5. f3!? exf3 (5… e6 6. fxe4 fxe4 7. Bc4 Bd6 8. Nge2 O-O 9. O-O Nc6! 10. a3! and white has some compensation) 6. Nxf3 e6 7. Bc4 Bd6 8. Bg5 c6 9. Qd3 b5 10. Bb3 Na6 and now we follow a chaotic old James Tarjan game. (10… b4 11. Ne2 Qc7 12. Bxf6 gxf6 13. O-O-O with compensation) 11. a3 Nc7 12. O-O h6 13. Bh4 g5 14. Rae1? Unsound. 14. Bf2 is fine. 14… gxh4 15. Qxf5 Qe7 (15… Rg8 16. Nxh4 Be7 17. Qf2 Rg7) 16. Qg6+ Kd8 17. Ne5 Bxe5 18. dxe5 Nfd5 (18… Nd7 19. Ne4 (19.Rf7 Qg5 20. Qe4 Nd5) 19… Nd5 20. Bxd5 cxd5 21. Nd6 Rf8 22. Rxf8+ Nxf8 23. Qxh6 Kc7 24. Nxb5+ Kb8 and white is a bit better) 19. Rf7? (19. Ne4! with a huge edge) 19… Qg5 20. Qd3 Rg8 21. Qf3 h3 (21… Nxc3 22. bxc3 (22. Qxc6 N3d5 23. Bxd5 Nxd5 24. Rf2 Nb6 25. Rd1+ Ke7 26. Qd6+ Ke8 27. Qc6+ Bd7 28. Rxd7 Nxd7 29. Qxa8+ Ke7) 22… Nd5 and black wins) 22. g3 Qd2 23. Re2 Qc1+ Now black should win. 24. Kf2 Qg5? (24… Bd7 wins) 25. Ne4! Qxe5 26. c3 Ne7? (26… Rg6 is fine for black) 27. Qd3+? (27. Nf6 is much better for white ) 27… Ncd5 28. Nf6 Qd6 29. Nxg8 Nxg8 30. Qh7 Nge7 31. Qxh6 Bd7?? A losing blunder. 31… Kc7 32. Qxh3 Kb8 33. Qh5 Nf5 34. Qh8 is equal. 32. Bxd5 Nxd5 33. Rf8+ Be8 34. Rxe8+ and it turns out white had the last laugh – 1-0 Tarjan,J-Gutierrez,J/Bogota 1979

5… e6 6. Nge2 Bd6 6… Nd5!? is interesting here. 7. O-O Be7 8. f3 Nxf4 9. Nxf4 is about equal.

7. O-O O-O Black can try to delay castling: 7… Nc6 8. Bxd6 cxd6 9. d5 Ne5 10. Bb3 exd5 11. Nxd5 Be6 12. Nef4 Bxd5 13. Nxd5 and white has some compensation.

8. f3 exf3 Playable is 8… Nc6 9. fxe4 Nxe4 10. Nxe4 fxe4 11. Qd2 Na5 12. Bb5 Bxf4 13.Rxf4! Rxf4 14. Qxf4 with good compensation.

9. Rxf3 Kh8 10. Qd2 Nc6 11. Rd1 Re8 12. Bg5 Be7 Although it looks dangerous, 12…e5 was quite playable here.

13. Rh3 e5 14. Qe1!? At the time, I thought I was doing quite well with this ‘attacking retreat’. However, black does have a good move here, which Fishbein failed to find.


Position after 14. Qe1!? – not as great for me as I had thought.


This was the key moment. 14… Nxd4?? is very weak due to 15. Nxd4 Bc5 (15… exd4 16. Qh4 h6 17. Bxh6 Ng4 18. Bxg7+ Kxg7 19. Qh7+ wins) 16. Qh4 Bxd4+ 17. Kh1 Qd7 18. Nd5 and wins. The right move was 14… Ne4! 15. Nxe4 (15. Qh4? Nxg5 ) 15..fxe4 16. Bxe7 (16. Rxh7+ Kxh7 17. Qh4+ Kg6 does not work) Qxe7 and black stands better, having gotten out of the potentially annoying d-file attack by the white rook.

15. Qh4! White is much better now. Maybe black missed this simple move.

15…h6 16. dxe5 Bxg5? This is hopeless. 16… Bd7 17. Bxe7 Qxe7 18. Qxe7 Rxe7 19. Nf4 is terrible for black but still better than the text.

17. Rxd8 Bxd8 18. Qh5 Rf8 19. e6 Nce5 20. Nf4 From now on, there are numerous wins. White chose the primitive path of eating the most dangerous black pieces.

20…Kh7 21. Be2 Most effective is 21. Bd3! g5 22. Ncd5 Kg7 23. e7 Bxe7 24. Nxe7 gxf4 25. Nxf5+ Rxf5 26. Bxf5 Bxf5 27. Qxf5 Rf8 28. Qe4 and wins.

21… Be7 22. Ncd5 g6 23. Nxg6 Rather crude, but it works Black’s protection of h6 gets overloaded.


22… Bc5+ 24. Ne3 Bxe6 24… Nxg6 25. Bxg4 Bxe3+ 26. Rxe3 fxg4 27. Qxg4 wins.

25. Nxe5 Rf6 No better is 25…Bxe3+ 26. Rxe3 Nxe3 27. Qg6+ Kh8 28. Qxh6+ Kg8 29. Qxe6+ Kh7 30. Qg6+ Kh8 31. Qh6+ Kg8 32. Qxe3 and wins.

26. N5xg4 fxg4 27. Qxc5 Raf8 28. Bd3+

Black resigned. He is down hopeless amounts of material. 1-0 To Fishbein’s credit, he did more than rebound from this first round defeat – he went on to get a GM norm!

In the middle rounds, I had “trouble” losing vastly superior games to Geller and Kaidanov and Avigdor Bykhovsky which I will come back to.  When in doubt, blame the payroll job.   The “Man” costs energy.

In the last round (round 9) this barn-burner occurred:

IM M. Ginsburg – GM A. Wojtkiewicz 2550 FIDE   MCC Int’l 1990, Round 9.  Saemisch Benoni

My first personal encounter with the humorous Alex who unfortunately passed away last year.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 d6 4.Nc3 g6 5.e4 Bg7 6.f3 O-O 7.Bg5 e6 8.Qd2 exd5 9.cxd5 Re8 Igor Ivanov used to harshly criticize this move, saying the rook is much better placed on f8.

10.Nge2 Na6 11.Ng3 Nc7 12.Be2 a6 13.a4 Rb8 14.a5 Bd7 15.O-O Bb5 16.Na4 Bxe2 17.Nxe2 Nb5 18.Rac1

So far, both sides seem to be doing logical things. Now the game goes crazy.

Position after 18. Rac1.  Things get weird.


This move astounded me.  Black gambits king safety for initiative on a wing where there are no kings!

19.Bxh6 Bxh6 20.Qxh6 Qxa5 21.Nac3 Nxc3 22.Rxc3 Qb5 23.Ng3 Aren’t I checkmating this guy?

23…Nh7 24.f4 Qxb2

I really thought he had gone cuckoo for setting his king on fire in order to go after this b-pawn.  And maybe he had.  But I wasn’t up to the challenge (see note to white’s 27th).

25.Rfc1 Kh8 26.e5!

Obvious but nice. See prior comment.


Position after 26..Qd2!

Ingenious!  The lone queen to the rescue!  For some reason, I expected 26…dxe5 27. Ne4! Rg8 28. fxe5 and white wins easily.  Now I became disoriented.  To fight ingenious… one needs ingenious!


Wrongly forcing a draw.   The grotesque blunder 27. Ne4 Qd4+ 28. Kh1?? loses, as 28…Qxe4 29. Rh3 g5! defends h7.  But white can torture some more with 27. Ne4 Qd4+ 28. Nf2! Qd2 29. Ng4! Kg8 30. Ne3! with nasty ideas like 30…dxe5?? 31. Nf5! winning.  White keeps an edge.  This ingenious Ne4-f2-g4-e3 maneuver never occurred to me.  I didn’t have much time, but still this position is so “attractive” I should have worked harder to find something.

27…gxf5 28.Rh3 Qxc1+

With the grand fizzle – a perpetual check.

29.Kf2 Qd2+ 30.Kf1 Qd1+ 31.Kf2 Qd4+ 32.Kf1 Qc4+ 33.Kf2 Qc2+ 34.Kf1 Qd1+ 35.Kf2 Qd2+ 36.Kf1 1/2-1/2

It was a distinct relief to finally end this tournament.  Why?  When I fill in the report with the losses, you will understand. 🙂

And for Something Different

The Clock Punching Monkeys article in Chinese (translation requested by a curious Asian reader, I presume).  Click to enlarge.

Clock Punching Monkey Chinese Style

I just hope the Asian reader wasn’t trying to learn about monkeys and stumbled across this non sequitur.

The Fabulous 00s: Can Blitz Teach Us Anything about the King’s Indian Defense Bayonet Attack?

December 30, 2007

The ICC and other online forums (fora??) are, I think, a good vehicle for learning-by-example. More specifically, the 5-minute pool where there are plenty of GMs to serve as sounding boards.

I like trying out the Bayonet Attack in the King’s Indian Defense.  It happens to have the ECO code of E97 – this can be useful when conducting online searches.  Let’s see how it did in some recent ICC blitz games.

IM Aries2 – GM Boing777 (Orazly Annageldyev) 

The first moves are familiar – popularized by Kramnik and his second, Dutch GM Loek van Wely.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. b4

I like this variation because it is forcing and white can often channel black into some special, narrow, labyrinths.  Van Wely has had some exciting games versus Radiabov recently (admittedly, Teimour came out on top, but Loek certainly had his chances as he explains in New In Chess magazine). And here the Central Asian GM plays a common defensive scheme.



Position after 9…a5!?  Is this a good reaction? 

Is this a good reaction, or playing on the side of the board where white is stronger?
It brings back good memories for me, I defeated GM Biyiasis way back in 1982 in this line.  But black can be more clever and introduce the a7-a5 move in a roundabout way. For example, 9…Nh5!? (the most common) in  aries2- SNOEBE ICC blitz 2007 which saw 9…Nh5!? 10. c5!? a5!? (a mixture of ideas with some thematic links to this game) and there followed 11. cxd6 cxd6 12. bxa5 Rxa5 13. a4 with murky play.  White won the game but it had little to do with the opening.

I’ve also faced 9…Nh5 in numerous OTB games.  Here, for example is a smooth win over Dmitri London, a player who created a stir in the early 80s with some flashy wins over strong players – but then “retired”, I suppose, probably by simply entering the workforce.

IM M. Ginsburg – NM D. London NY State Masters 1982
1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. e4 d6 4. d4 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. b4 Nh5 10. c5!? (Kramnik later popularized 10. Re1) 10…Nf4!? 11. Bxf4 exf4 12. Rc1 a5 13. a3 axb4 14. axb4 Kh8 15. Qd2 Ng8 16. Rfe1 f5 17. Bd1!? Nf6 18. cxd6 cxd6 19. exf5 Bxf5 20. Nd4 Qd7 21. Qxf4! (Safe!) 21…Bd3 22. Qd2 Bc4 23. Ne6 Rfc8 24. Bf3 b5 25. h3 Ra3 26. Nxg7 Kxg7 27. Qd4 Re8 28. Ne4 Re5 29. Nxf6 Kxf6 30. Bg4 Qa7 31. Qf4+ Black resigns 1-0.  

The reader may be wondering about the leap 10…Nf4!? – is it necessary?  No, the move 10…f7-f5 is also possible.

Here’s an example:

IM Aries2 – NM WaShiHwanNi  ICC Blitz 2007 

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. d4 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. b4 Nh5 10. c5 f5 11. Nd2 Nf6 12. f3 f4 13. Nc4 g5 14. a4 (White is faster in this race on opposite wings) 14…Ng6 15. Ba3 Rf7 16. b5 Bf8 17. b6! (A thematic breakthrough; black is lost) 17…axb6 18. cxb6 h5 19. Nb5 Ne8 20. bxc7 Nxc7 21. Nbxd6 Once the bastion on d6 falls, the rest is carnage. 21…Rg7 22. Nxc8 Rxc8 23. d6 Ne8 24. Qd5+ Kh7 25. Nxe5 Nxe5 26. Qxe5 Nf6 27. Qf5+ Kh8 28. Rac1 Black resigns 1-0

And we’ve already seen this subvariation 9…Nh5 10. c5!? Nf4!? in the famous M. Ginsburg – I. Gurevich “Pawn Box” game in another post.  I also had it in a game versus NM Glenn Lambert, Lloyds Bank 1978 as reported in a Lloyds Bank nostalgia post.

Another quite original idea is aries2- IM Roberto Paramos (xadrezgalego), ICC Blitz 2007, which saw 9…Ne8!? 10. c5 f5 11. Nd2 a5!? 12. cxd6 Nxd6! (behold the value of 9…Ne8!) 13. bxa5 Rxa5 with complex play. That game was eventually drawn.

But let’s see the thoroughly modern December 2007 blitz game with the newfangled 9….a5!? first.

10. bxa5 Rxa5 11. a4 c5!? 12. Nd2 Nd7 13. Nb3

According to Openings Explorer feature (a ‘premium’ feature for those members who want ‘to go to 11’ [cf. Spinal Tap movie]), 13. Nb5!? has been seen in a few recent games with mixed results.   In this game, I innovate by dispensing with the leap Nc3-b5. It’s not clear how useful that is, anyhow.   Just to give one example of 13. Nb5!?:   13. Nb5 Ra6 14. Ra3 Kh8 15. Qc2 f5 16. exf5 gxf5 17. Nf3 h6 18. Nh4 e4 19. f3 exf3 20. Raxf3 Ne5 21. Rg3 Kh7 and white had some edge and went on to win a sharp game, Gulko-Reinderman, Las Vegas FIDE World Ch. 1999.

13…Ra6 14. a5 f5 15. f3 f4 16. g4!?   The move g2-g4 is seen in other King’s Indian lines, in particular 9. Ne1 variations. White doesn’t want to sit and wait passively for a pawn storm to swamp his kingside.  Philosophically, does white have the “right” to create some holes on the kingside in exchange for the obvious claims to some space?  Can the bottled up rook on a6 justify this ambitious scheme? 


Position after 16. g4!?  What’s going on? 

16…h5 17. h3 g5 18. Bd2 Ng6 19. Be1 Nf6 20. Kg2 Nh4+

The situation is very sharp. White loses his useful dark square bishop but maintains a king side blockade. 

21. Bxh4 gxh4 22. Qe1 Nh7 23. Na4 Qg5 24. Nb6 Rxb6 25. axb6 Nf6 26. Kh2(!) Sidestepping problems. The sacrifice introduced by black on move 24 may be insufficient.

26… hxg4 27. hxg4 Bxg4 28. Rg1 Qh6 29. Nd2 Bh5 30. Ra7 Rf7 31. Qxh4 Kh7 32. Qg5! This simplification wins.

32…Bg6+ 33. Qxh6+ Bxh6 34. Rga1 Nh5 35. Rxb7!

A typical blitz finale. Black gives up as 35….Rxb7 36. Ra7 wins for white. 


I am going to add to this post and introduce the historical 1982 Biyiasis material, as well as other topical games in this 9…a5!? defensive line.  Interestingly, I could not find the Biyiasis game (Philadelphia Swiss) in the usual Chessbase databases – yet another game from the past that this column will “contribute” to future databases.

The Fabulous 80s: Fun and Chess in Eeklo Belgium

November 16, 2007

Belgium has always been a nice place to play. Eeklo is in Flemish Belgium (Dutch language, no French) nestled near the Dutch border (Sas van Gent, Holland, has been another location for the event). It is slightly larger than the proverbial one-horse town that would be a one-horse town if somebody gave it a horse. In the center of town, there was a cafe with the crowd-pleasing “crevette salade” – very yummy.

Here is a battle versus future GM Danny King in the Eeklo, Belgium ECI International. There is also a concomitant ECI Youth Open. Luminaries who have played in this event in years past include John van der Wiel, David Goodman, Pavel Blatny, Philipp Schlosser, Ferdinand Hellers, Erik Pedersen, and more!

Danny King – IM M. Ginsburg ECI 1983 Eeklo, Belgium

1. Nf3 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 O-O 5. O-O d6 6. c4 Nbd7 7. Nc3 e5 8. h3 c6 9. e4 Re8 10. Re1 exd4 11. Nxd4 a5 Needless to say white has good chances to gain an edge starting from here, but white’s next few moves seem tentative.

12. Rb1 Nc5 13. b3 Nh5 14. Be3 Be5!? White can’t repel with f4 because the g3 pawn would be hanging. The text sets up an unusual re-arrangement to keep black’s piece activity alive, but in retrospect it’s a little dubious.


15. Qd2 Ne6 16. Nde2?! 16. Nxe6 Bxe6 17. g4! is a strong idea. Black is running severely short of space after 17…Ng7 18. f4 Bf6 19. g5 Be7.

16…Qf6 17. Rbc1?! And here, 17. Na4! eyeing b6 is strong. Sometimes it’s best to simply vacate the a1-h8 diagonal in King’s Indian structures, leaving black’s pieces pointing at nothing.

17… g5! 18. Rf1 If 18. Na4 now, black has 18…Nhf4! (not 18…Nef4? 19. Nb6!) with counterchances.


I have managed to totally confuse the strong captain of the white forces with my unusual play. This move prohibits white’s agenda with f2-f4 in the most radical way and cements black’s advantage. A classic example of two sides each pursuing their own agenda, almost unmindful of the other, with one side arriving slightly earlier at the goal.


19. g4 Ng7 20. Ng3 h5 21. f3 Nge6?! 21…hxg4 22. fxg4 Qh6! is strong.

22. Nce2! White hunkers down an plays a set of optically horrific moves, but in fact they are strong and limit black’s pull to a minimum.

22… hxg4?! Stronger is the immediate 22…Qh8! – it is careless to let white operate on the f-file right away.

23. fxg4 Qh8 24. Bxf4 Nxf4 25. Nxf4 Bxf4


26. Rxf4!? White is doing his best to stay afloat.

26…gxf4 27. Nh5 Qe5 28. Rf1 Re6! A very useful transfer of the rook for offensive and defensive purposes. See the note to black’s 32nd move for how I should have to used this rook to get at white’s king.

29. Rxf4 Rg6 Of course there is some risk that the rook will wind up stranded here with nothing to do – which occurred in the game after I made a mistake!

30. Qf2 Be6 31. h4? A major mistake. This is tactically playable due to the fork on f6 but it’s much too optimistic and now black should win. Correct was 31. Nf6+ Kg7 32. Nh5+ Kf8 33. Qb6! with counterplay; for example 33…Qc5+ 34. Qxc5 dxc5 35. e5! and white is OK.

31…a4! This calm reply puts white in a lost game.

32. b4 A desperate bid at counterplay. If black opens the a-file for the rook it will all be over very soon.

32…c5? First of all, 32…a3! keeps a huge edge. Secondly, I must have been scared of the obvious capture 32…Bxc4! 33. Qb6 Qe7? 34. Qd4, but I had a brilliant sequence here: 32…Bxc4! 33. Qb6 Kh8! 34. Qxb7 Rag8! (every piece attacking) 35. g5 Qc3! 36. Qxc6 Qe3+! 37. Rf2 Qe1+! 38. Bf1 Rxg5+!! and mate in 9! The text doesn’t throw away black’s edge, but it’s third-best. It would have been very nice (for me) to snatch the pawn and then find the mating variation, but it was not on my radar at the time.

33. bxc5 Qxc5?

A big blunder after a small blunder that destroys my hopes of winning. Correct is 33…dxc5! keeping the blockade and black has every chance to win. For example, 34. Nf6+ Kg7 35. g5 Bxc4 36. Rf5 Qd4 with a small black edge. If I converted, this would give me first place in the tournament and relegate Danny to 2nd.

34. Qxc5 dxc5 35. e5 Kh8 36. Nf6 Rd8 37. Bd5!


White has skillfully bottled black up – a consequence of my little miscue at move 32 and big miscue at move 33 which released the blockade.

37…Kg7 38. g5 Bxd5 39. cxd5 b5 40. Kf1 c4 41. Ke2 At adjournment we decided to call it quits, although white now has a huge positional bind. It clinched tournament victory for Danny.


And so Danny captured 1st place and I finished 2nd, to the delight of his Belgian lady cheering section.

Ths game reminds me of the famous quote by Lord Alfred Tennyson (good for barking out after any draw):

“Faultily faultless, icily regular, splendidly null,
Dead perfection; no more. “

That was the result of the game – a big fat null.

Since chess players need culture, a picture of Lord Tennyson to go with his great quote:

Jumping ahead to the end of the decade, here is a battle versus Marjan Mitkov from the same event, 1989. I think he may be the brother of GM Nikola Mitkov who resides in the USA.

Marjan Mitkov – Mark Ginsburg ECI 1989 King’s Indian 4 Pawns Attack

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. f4 c5 7. d5 b5 8. cxb5 a6 9. Nf3? This allows a simple trick.

9…axb5 10. Bxb5 Nxe4! 11. Nxe4 Qa5+ 12. Nc3 Bxc3+ 13. bxc3 Qxb5 14. Kf2 Qc4! Freezing white’s weak pawns.


Position after 14…Qc4! 

15. Qd2 Bb7 16. Re1 Re8 17. a3 Bxd5 18. Qe3 Bxf3?  There is no reason to give up this strong bishop.

19. Qxf3 d5 20. f5 Nd7 21. Bg5 e5 22. Qh3 Qa4 23. Kg1 f6 24. fxg6 hxg6 25. Qd3 Kg7 26. Bd2 Qc6 27. c4 d4 Well, it looks really awful for white anyway.  Nevertheless, he succeeds in finding chances!


 Position after 27…d4.  White finds some chances.

28. Re4 f5 29. Rh4 Rh8 30. Qh3 Rxh4 31. Qxh4 Nf6
32. Qh6+ Kf7 33. Rf1 Rxa3 34. g4!
White is not quitting and the game gets very exciting in mutual time trouble.


 Position after 34. g4! – Excitement!

34…fxg4 35. Qh7+ Ke6 36. Qxg6 Rf3 37. Ra1 e4 38. Bg5 Ke5 39. Ra7 e3 40. Re7+ Kd6 41. Bxf6 White has gained a piece in the time scramble.


Position after 41. Bxf6 – White is up a piece after the time control.
41…Rf1+!  But black finds an aesthetic shot that forces mate!

42. Kxf1 Qf3+ 0-1

This combination was very satisfying to play because it was at the tail-end of a series of blows and counter-blows.

Photo Time

From the 1985 ECI Eeklo event (I won the IM section ahead of future GM Ferdinand Hellers), here is the USA junior representative, Revi Schea.


USA Junior representative Revi Schea, Eeklo Belgium 1985