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2008 has ended on quite a good note for the King's Indian. The Bayonet remains popular, but is no longer the weapon it once was. Moreover, 7...Nbd7 has begun to make something of a comeback in the Classical, due in no small part to Bologan's efforts, as we will see this month.

Download PGN of December '08 KID games

The Classical: 7...Nbd7

Until quite recently one would expect either 7...Nc6 or 7...Na6 after 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 Nf3 0-0 6 Be2 e5 7 0-0, but not 7...Nbd7. However, this old move has recently staged something of a comeback due in no small part to the realisation that 8 Be3 Re8!? is a playable option so long as Black meets 9 d5 with 9...Nh5!:

This has received quite a bit of attention of late and will soon appear in the forthcoming Everyman book Dangerous Weapons: The King's Indian. Turov - Bologan certainly confirms that the ball is currently in White's court here.

A solid alternative to 8 Be3 is 8 Re1 and this is not an approach which Black should neglect in his preparation. He appeared to do just that in Wang Yue-Cheparinov and quickly found himself in a rather unpleasant situation.

The Classical Main Line: 9 Nd2

Unlike in the Nineties, 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 isn't seen too often these days. However, this remains quite dangerous and Black must know what he's doing here. Chuchelov - Degraeve went straight down a fairly old main line with 9...a5 10 a3 Bd7 11 b3 Ne8 12 Rb1 f5 13 b4 axb4 14 axb4 Nf6 15 c5:

At this juncture I feel that Black is probably best off trying 15...fxe4 16 Nxe4 Nf5, although even this may not be enough for rough equality, since the game confirmed that 15...Bh6 16 Nc4 Bxc1 17 Qxc1! fxe4 18 cxd6 Nf5 is slightly better for White in view of the logical novelty 19 dxc7!.

The Bayonet Attack

Black might currently be in reasonable theoretical shape here, but this remains ever popular. This month we take a look at the line 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 b4 Nh5 (Bologan recently tried 9...c6!? which is a reasonable way to get off the beaten track) 10 Re1 f5 11 Ng5 Nf6 12 Bf3 c6 13 b5!?:

I've always considered this line to be slightly annoying, since it's not at all easy for Black to drum up any real winning chances. Unfortunately, though, I haven't a magic solution. Bacrot - Radjabov confirms that Black can hold with a little care, but that it will need some rather poor play from White to allow him a sniff of anything more.

The Classical Main Line: 9 Ne1

In recent months White has begun to return to 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 Ne1, which still contains much fertile territory as well as plenty of theory! We begin with a look at the unfashionable line 9...Nd7 10 Nd3 f5 11 f3 in which Milutin - Petrosian quickly flares into life! It seems that White was doing quite well (check out the old simul game Vaganian-Martin!) before he carelessly allowed Black a neat if standard finish:

It's Black to play and win, but how?

More fashionable is the tricky line 10 Be3 f5 11 f3 f4 12 Bf2 g5 13 Rc1:

Here Black has a few options, but I feel that he should prefer either the traditional 13...Ng6 or the direct 13...Rf6, but not 13...a6 since 14 Nd3 Rf6 15 c5 Rh6 gives White a few promising options, as we'll see in Dambacher - Ponomariov.

Finally we take a look at Portisch and Pinter's old favourite, 10 f3 f5 11 g4!?. Meeting 11...Kh8 with 12 h4 is the modern preference and one against which Black is yet to decide on the best response:

In Eljanov - Radjabov the leading King's Indian authority introduces the novelty 12...c6!?, which eventually turns out well, but I wouldn't be surprised if White was slightly better until well into the middlegame.

That's all from me. I'm delighted to say that no lesser King's Indian legend than Mikhail Golubev will be along next month! Richard

Don't hesitate to share your thoughts and suggestions with me. Any queries or comments to the KID Forum, or to me directly at (subscribers only) would be most welcome.