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This month we take a look at the sharp Panno Variation against White's fianchetto and we 'visit' some old friends.

Download PGN of December '10 KID games

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Fianchetto Variation

6...Nc6 7.Nc3 Rb8 8.h3 a6 9.e4 b5 10.e5 Nd7 is perhaps the sharpest line of the Panno system:

11.cxb5 has never really been examined on ChessPub! 11.e6 is the equally sharp alternative. 11...axb5 12.Ng5 The dual threats of 13.Bxc6 and 13.e6 force Black to sacrifice material. There are a few ways of going about this. In Kempinski - Nijboer we look at 12...dxe5, while Maze - Hebden covers 12...Bb7!? and some sharp alternatives.

White can force the Panno connoisseur into the Yugoslav variation by playing 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.g3 0-0 5.Bg2 d6 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.0-0 a6 8.d5 After 8...Na5 9.Nd2 c5 the heavyweight battle Aronian - Nakamura sees the world's newest 2800 player choose 10.Rb1

Although hardly rare, this is a bit of a sideline. The main lines arise after 10.Qc2 . I do not think this line should cause Black any particular problems, although as the game shows, interesting play still arises.

Averbakh Variation

Next, our old friend, and my predecessor here, Mikhail Golubev essays the sharpest line against the Averbakh. In his excellent 2005 book Understanding the King's Indian, Golubev looks at the modern favourite, 6...Na6 as well as this line, 6...c5 7.d5 h6 8.Bf4 e6:

This old pawn sacrifice has not been seen so much lately. One reason for this is the lack of popularity of the Averbakh in general, and another reason is the excellent reputation of 6...Na6, which has contributed to the former reason...

I still think this is a good line for Black and I recommend it in my own forthcoming book Attacking Chess: The King's Indian Volume II. 9.dxe6 Bxe6 10.Bxd6 (another possibility, which is equally sharp, is 10.Qd2) 10...Re8 11.Nf3 Qb6!? is examined in some detail in Kutsykh - Golubev, and I reveal some secrets.

Gligoric Variation

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.Be3 exd4 8.Nxd4 Re8 9.f3 c6 10.Bf2 d5 11.exd5 cxd5 12.0-0 Nc6 13.c5 and here Sasikiran uncorks 13...Re5!?:

According to my database, Black has tried nine (!) other moves here. The main line by far is 13...Nh5 which can be found in the archives. This may not be the best move in the position, but it is fresh and does not meet with any direct refutation. Check out Al Sayed- Sasikiran.

The 11.dxe5 line of the Gligoric is not terribly dangerous, despite the result of this game against one of the top King's Indian practitioners. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.Be3 Ng4 8.Bg5 f6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bg3 Nh6 11.dxe5 (White's enthusiasm for 11.c5 has certainly dissipated, as there have not been any new games in a few months) 11...dxe5 12.Qd5+ This can be a tricky move, but here White just uses it to go into a level ending. 12...Kh8 13.Qxd8 Rxd8 14.h4 g4 15.Nd2 Na6 16.0-0-0 Be6 17.Nb3 and in David - Bologan Black tried 17..Nf7!?, which was suggested right here by Mikhalevski. Black should not experience any real problems in this line, but White's pawn sacrifice in the endgame is noteworthy.

Another old friend returns in a King's Indian in Prusikin - Gallagher, but here White strikes first with a new idea in the Gligoric. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.Be3 Ng4 8.Bg5 f6 9.Bh4 Nc6 10.d5 Ne7 11.Nd2 Nh6 (we have looked at the risky 11...h5 quite a bit as well) 12.f3 c5 13.dxc6 bxc6 14.b4 Kh8 (most games continue with 14...Be6 15.Bf2 d5 as Radjabov always plays) 15.Bf2 Nf7 16.b5 This move, combined with White's next, represents a new idea, 16...c5 17.h4!?:

This is White's point. Instead of castling, he looks to tickle Black's kingside. White wins a very nice creative game with an original idea.

7...exd4 Variation

In Van Wely - Mamedyarov the creative alarmist Mamedyarov plays a rather passive line of the King's Indian. Van Wely is well prepared, as usual, and convincingly wins the opening battle. 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.d4 Bg7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 exd4 I have played this King's Indian for a very long time, but this line never held any appeal to me, at least from the black side! 8.Nxd4 Re8 9.f3 Nc6 10.Be3 Nh5 11.Qd2 Nf4:

and here Van Wely's choice of 12.Nxc6!? is noteworthy

This exchange is not so common, but it is more interesting than the simple 12.Rfd1 Nxd4 13.Bxd4 Bxd4+ 14.Qxd4 Nxe2+ 15.Nxe2 b6 16.Nc3 Bb7 with a very slight edge.

Until next month, David

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