By Davide Nastasio
Disclaimer: Unlike other chess authors who write opening book after opening book claiming they have played the openings, I declare that I don’t play the King’s Indian, and I’m not sure if I will play it in the future.
“Then why did you get this DVD?” you may ask.
Because the road to mastery is clear. In the last 50 years or so, the greatest battles between the greatest chess players of all time have been fought around the King’s Indian. Knowing this opening is a MUST! Just as it is for the aspiring writer, it is important to know the classics. This opening forms the mind of the player in all the aspects of the game.
Do you want to learn tactics? Then you don’t need to go to a chess site and practice tactics, because this opening will teach you tactics.
Do you want to learn important pawn structures, and the plans to attack on the kingside or defend on the queenside? This opening will teach you that, too.
Let’s also tackle the topic from another angle. Being a club player, I see many of the top master players in my state, and nearby states, who do play the King’s Indian. Sometimes they would show me their games and give me good explanations of what was happening and why. I honestly felt in awe of this opening. I understood that it was my duty to learn more about this opening in order to complete the formation of my chess persona.
Mihail Marin is a GM from Romania, who has won the Romanian championship multiple times. He has played in 11 chess Olympiads! He has been a candidate in the interzonal tournament at least twice (which is the main tournament played to qualify for the world championship). GM Marin’s work is widely known; especially famous is his series of books on the English opening, and of course the collaboration with Judit Polgar for the trilogy “Judit Polgar Teaches Chess.”
Why do we need a GM like Marin to teach us the King’s Indian? In today’s world, many amateurs think that computers can help us with the analysis, and give us the winning lines. In the case of the King’s Indian, this way of thinking can be particularly dangerous, and lead to disaster. In the video, GM Marin warns against this type of thinking; he shows the classical line with the Mar del Plata attack, and why White moves Nf3 to d2. While long, generated computer lines are often impossible to remember, the ideas behind the moves are easy. GM Marin, with few strokes and phrases, made me remember why White needs to play a certain move in a line which is longer than 9 moves — in a few seconds. I also find GM Marin intellectually honest. He clearly says that he cannot give us all the possible lines and moves played by Black in the King’s Indian. His promise, however, is to give us the ideas behind the main moves, and the critical opening and middle game positions one must know in order to effectively play this opening. I also like the passion with which GM Marin tries to convey the subject in his introductory video. He emphatically hopes that the student will learn the tactics and the strategic subtleties of the system he teaches.
This is the main line GM Marin begins his teaching from:
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Nd2
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2
The main database used for the videos is based on 29 example lines.
Another database of 286 deeply annotated games is provided. Inside we find the games of many illustrious players: Chuchelov (Caruana’s coach), Gelfand (candidate to the world championship), Kasparov, Kasimdzhanov, Karpov, and Spassky, just to mention few of the world champions who have used this opening. The database also contains the games of many other players who have played in the arena provided by the King’s Indian.
Today’s chess world is quite complex. The amount of knowledge we have at our disposal is bewildering, and as GM Soltis once said, chess has become a case of TMI (Too Much Information). In my reference database on the main line proposed by GM Marin, I have more than 30 thousand games! How to decide which are good or bad is likely impossible.
GM Marin’s selection of 286 highly annotated games is in my opinion a gold mine which every serious student must dig into. A student cannot find them on his own, but with this DVD, the road to understanding is paved. With the videos, training questions, and sample games, the chess player is introduced to a whole gamut of ideas for playing this exciting opening.
I highly recommend this product for the serious advanced student who wishes to achieve master-level in chess. Just to be sure I’m not misunderstood, I don’t recommend this DVD to the chess beginner, or the player who has less than a 1500 rating. For those players, the following title would be more appropriate: The ABC of the King‘s Indian, 2nd edition, by Andrew Martin. This is also published by Chessbase.
I’d like to share one of the games from the database which I found particularly interesting. When most chess authors write about a specific opening, they often focus on amazing wins by White using that opening. Certainly, it is nice for giving inspiration, but not useful for avoiding losses in a tournament. In this game, White lost. In order to win with the King’s Indian, one must learn when White loses and why. In this sense I find the selection of games made by GM Marin quite useful.
(5) Ftacnik,Lubomir (2585) – Cvitan,Ognjen (2570) [E97]
Bundesliga 9798 Germany (2.1), 19.10.1997
[This game shows how tactics, sacrifice, and also a tactical blunder can be common in a King’s Indian game. I will add some comments for beginner players, which have not been made by GM Marin, because he intended the DVD toward a more expert audience. ]
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0–0 5.e4 d6 [GM Marin doesn’t comment on this position, because the DVD is not directed at beginners; however, we can see that White has developed a strong center, while Black has been able to develop his dark-square bishop on a very active diagonal. Black will attack White’s center at the right time. For beginners, the best games to watch on this opening are the ones played by Bronstein and Boleslavsky in the 1940s-50s.]
6.Be2 e5 7.0–0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Nd2 [The idea behind this move is to stop Black from playing Nh5, says GM Marin. However, there are also other factors: the Pd5 and Pc4 give White a space advantage on the queenside, which means that the Nd2 could become an important piece in such a fight. While Black will need to move the Nf6 in order to gain a space advantage on the kingside, with Pf7–f5, and attack.]
9…Ne8 [9…a5 This move could be played to prevent White from playing Pb2–b4.]
10.b4 f5 11.c5 Nf6 12.f3 f4 13.Nc4 g5 14.a4 [This is clearly a race on both sides.]
14…Ng6 15.Ba3 [GM Marin points out that the dark-square bishop on this diagonal is very important, because it puts pressure on D6, and consequently on F8.]
15…Rf7 16.b5 dxc5 17.Bxc5 h5 18.a5 g4 [I’ve seen this kind of race in other openings. The Dutch can be an example; the problem is that on the queenside there is no king, while on the kingside one can get checkmated if the opponent wins the race.]
19.b6 g3 20.Kh1 Nh7 21.d6! Qh4 22.Bg1
22…Bh3!? [22…Ng5 23.dxc7+– Nh3 24.Qd8+! Marin, Stoica]
23.bxc7?? [23.gxh3! Qxh3 24.Rf2 gxf2 (24…Nh4 25.Bf1+–) 25.Bxf2 ‘’ 25…axb6 (25…Nh4 Marin, Stoica 26.Bxh4 Qxh4
27.bxc7+–; 25…cxb6 Marin, Stoica 26.Bf1 Qd7 27.axb6 a6 28.Na4 Rc8 29.Nc5 Rxc5 30.Bxc5 Ng5 31.Na5+–; 25…c6 Marin,
Stoica 26.Bf1 Qd7 27.bxa7+–; 25…c5 Marin, Stoica 26.Bf1 Qc8 27.bxa7 Rxa7 28.Nb6+–; 25…cxd6 Marin, Stoica 26.Nxd6 Rd7
27.Qb3+ Kh8 28.Nf7+ Rxf7 29.Qxf7+– axb6 30.Qxg6) 26.Nd5! (26.a6! Marin, Stoica26…Rxa6 (26…bxa627.dxc7+–)
27.Rxa6bxa6 28.dxc7 b5 29.Qd8+ Rf8 30.Nd6+–) 26…cxd6 27.Nxd6 Rff8 28.Nxb6 Rad8 29.Bf1 Qe6 30.Bc4 ]
23…Bxg2+! 24.Kxg2 Qh3+!! [24…Ng5? 25.Rf2!]25.Kxh3 Ng5+ 26.Kg2 Nh4+
[A nice short game, which teaches us a lot on both White and Black roles in this opening.]
[26…Nh4+ 27.Kh1 g2#]