Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dancing with the King's Indian

Barely 3 months after Queenstown I am back at the chessboard again. With 6 out of 9 points I was more or less satisfied with my results. Nevertheless, it is still my draws and losses that I am more interested in analyzing, to find out what went wrong.

Here's one of my games from Day 1 of the tournament, featuring a classic (and botched) attack in the King's Indian:

Checkerboard 5 vs Opponent
Thomson Chess Fiesta Challengers 2015 Round 4

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

Position after 8... Ne7

In the King's Indian Defence Black allows White to build a pawn centre before trying to undermine it with breaks like ... f5 and ... c6. White will use his extra space and attack on the Queenside, while Black concentrates on the Kingside.

9. b4 Nd7
10. Nd2 f5
11. Nb3 Nf6

Or 11... fxe4 12. Nxe4 blockading the centre.

12. f3 c6
13. Bg5

White could also try 13. c5 cxd5 14. exd5 e4 (14... dxc5? 15. d6 creating a powerful passed pawn.) 15. Bg5 exf3 16. Bxf3 with a very nice position and plenty of space in the centre.

13... cxd5 (D)

Position after 13... cxd5

14. Bxf6

The bishop wasn't doing much on c1, while the f6 knight is an important defender.

14... Rxf6
15. Nxd5 Nxd5
16. Qxd5+

When playing with a pawn chain, one of the attacker's plans is to replace any traded central pawns with his pieces, thus extending his grasp on the centre (see Part 3 of my article on pawn chains)

16... Kh8
17. Rad1 (D)

Position after 17. Rad1

Moving away from the black dark-squared bishop's line of fire and reinforcing the centre. The threat of 18. c5 is now in the air.

17... Qc7
18. c5 dxc5
19. Nxc5?!

Better was 19. bxc5 Be6 20. Qd6 with the threat of creating a passed pawn after the exchange.

19... Rb8
20. Bc4 Rf8 (D)

Position after 20... Rf8

21. Ne6?

21. Qd6! Qxd6 22. Rxd6 with a dominating position.

21... Qb6+!

I totally missed this saving move. I had been hoping for 21... Bxe6 22. Qxe6 followed by 23... Re7.

22. Qc5 Qxc5+
23. bxc5 Bxe6
24. Bxe6 (D)
1/2-1/2

Position after 24. Bxe6

Now the position is more defendable for Black. All he has to do is trade rooks and simplify to an opposite-colour bishop endgame.

...

What can we learn from this game?

  1. When playing with a pawn chain, your goal is to use your spatial advantage to launch an attack.
  2. When the pawn chain falls, the attacker can replace the pawns with pieces to further reinforce his central advantage.
  3. Likewise, the defender should attack the pawn chain and try to advance his own pawns should the chain fall.
  4. When attacking, try to bring in as many pieces as possible to maximize your firepower.
  5. Calculate carefully in complex positions!

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