Generally speaking I’m a conservative and solid player so going against the King’s Indian tends to be abrasive to my style. This game was a little different than usual. I had been reviewing games where Black moves the knight from f6 in preparation to play f5 and White replies with g4 immediately before f5.
The position is going to get very sharp for Black but not so much for White. Since I haven’t castled yet I have the liberty of playing Qc2 and then 0-0-0 when the time is right, the g and h pawns will be thrown up the board supported by two rooks and the center is closed so there won’t be any center attacking pressure. As for Black, their pieces aren’t very active. In the position above both bishops aren’t on good diagonals, the rooks aren’t connected, the knights are on the 7th and 8th ranks still and the pawn shield in front of the King is more of a liability than anything when h5 and h6 come.
Because Black pushed f5 largely unsupported after 12. exf5 Rxf5 what can Black do? Whites plans of Rg1, Qc2, 0-0-0, and Ne4 are very easy to play but not very easy to interact with. In the next position we can see Black hasn’t accomplished very much, two tempi were wasted with a superficial Queen side attack.
Black is under a lot of pressure here, the h7 pawn is weak, there is a pin on g7 looking to be exploited, Ne5 is on the table, the h pawn can still be thrown up the board.
The game is over in a few moves after this position because there is no possible defense for Black. The e3 Bishop is coming to h6 threatening to remove the best defender of the Black King and from there the combination of Queen and rook is too much with so few pieces.
So I managed to play against two of my favorite opening structures in one game. The KID has been popular because it’s aggressive and is a a must know when playing online at this point, I enjoy playing against it because I know it well. The Exchange Grunfield is very similar to the Marshall Defense against the Queens Gambit (if you’ve read I’ve wrote about the Marshall on this blog you’ll know I say to never play it).
Black is going for the counter strike to the center from the flanks as more modern openings go. The downside here is if you don’t know that you have to play on the flanks and continue in the fashion of a normal game White gets an absolutely awesome position. I have a feeling that Black knew some theory but it quickly ran out in the next 3 moves as c5, the proverbial pawn break Black needs after 6…Nxc5 7. bxc3, was never played.
Here is the position stated above, Black needs to break the control White has over the center immediately. Rather than c5 Black plays a6 which is far too slow and continues to push the Queen side pawns in lieu of developing the Queen side pieces.
We come to the above position where Black has played b5 and I respond with a4. Playing a4 forces Black to make some choices where none of the answers lead to anything good. The computer recommends Black to play b4 in the attempts to undermine the structure temporarily giving away a pawn and then play Nc6 to fork the b and d pawns while accepting isolated a and c pawns.
Minor advantages add up over time, the weak c pawn, the lack of center control, the eventual two bishops all culminate in a dominate position for me in the end. Check out the full game and analysis on Lichess below.