Keys To The King’s Indian Defence Classical Variation

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Playing the King’s Indian Defence Classical Variation is a lot of fun for both sides.

GM Marian Petrov is here to make playing the King’s Indian Defence a lot easier for you whether you choose to play it with white and black.

This course helps you a lot by explaining what your opponent is trying to achieve. That is one of the many great things of this course.

Clear concise explanations, a thorough analysis of example games, and extensive research add to the exceptional value of this course.

The King’s Indian Defence is a hypermodern opening where black allows white to establish control of the center. Then he attempts to undermine the center or close it and begin a kingside attack.

The King's Indian Defense Classical Variation
The King’s Indian Defence Classical Variation

Two great Russian players, Isaac Boleslavsky and David Bronstein, did a lot to make the King’s Indian a respectable defence.

They did such a good job that greats like Tal, Fischer and Kasparov used it to good effect.

Today, it’s played by Hikaru Nakamura, Teimour Radjabov, and Ding Liren, among others. The respectability of the opening is obviously no longer in question when such strong players include it in their repertoire.

What is the King’s Indian Defence Classical Variation?

The name of this variation derives from the fact white develops his pieces to their natural squares in classical fashion, even going so far as to follow the classical advice to develop knights before bishops.

This position is reached by the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Be2 e5 when 7.d5 is the Petrosian Variation.

Strategies for Both Sides in the King’s Indian Defence Classical Variation

White often seeks to play on the queenside in the King’s Indian Defence and create a breakthrough with the pawn push c5, while black will do his best to block this advance. Usually by placing a knight on c5.

The advantage of play 7.d5 for white is he controls the variation choice. A move like 7.O-O for example would give black the option of 7…exd4 or 7…Na6.

Closing the center makes it safer for white to continue with his plan of queenside expansion.

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Pawn Breaks for White and Black

Black obviously needs to first restrain b4 or else white will get to support his c5 advance with a gain of tempo. To restrain b4 black usually plays …a5 or …Na6, sometimes both.

The black knight can also make its way to c5 via the d7 square. A good tactical resource to keep in mind is the rook on a1 is often undefended, which often causes a delay in the b4 advance.

In order to play b4 white often advances his b-pawn one square. This keeps the black knight from infiltrating with the moves …a4 and …Nb3.

In the King’s Indian Defence black would dearly like to exchange his knight for the bishop on c1. Thus, white will usually play a3 and b3 before pushing the pawn to b4.

Since one of the key pawn breaks for black is the …f5 advance, white will often seek to pin the black knight on f6 with Bg5.

A common tactic to break the pin by black is to play …Qe8. The queen on e8 combines very well with a bishop on d7 to control squares on the queenside.

Although it’s common for black to launch a kingside attack in the King’s Indian Defence, it’s important to restrain your opponent’s plans.

A queenside counterattack by white will divert your pieces from the kingside and your premature attack will falter.

Here is a classic game between Gligoric and Fischer played in the 1970 Chess Olympiad.

Gligoric, Svetozar – Fischer, Robert James, 0-1

One of the advantages of playing the King’s Indian Defence Classical Variation is it requires you to be well-versed in all phases of the game.

Notice how Fischer made use of typical middlegame tactics like pins, mating threats, and a temporary pawn sacrifice. He then went on to win a very nice endgame.

Because the King’s Indian Defence offers chances to both sides it’s important to work on improving. Remember, the general strategies in an opening are guidelines and aren’t set in stone.

What if your opponent doesn’t know the book move or simply chooses to play a little-known line on move 13? You must be able to adapt to the position on the board.

Would you have been brave enough to play the queen sacrifice Kasparov did in this game? Especially against a player as strong as Kramnik.

Kramnik, Vladimir – Kasparov, Garry, 0-1

What an amazing game made even more impressive when you consider Kramnik was no pushover, rated 2710 at the time!

Final Thoughts

The classical variation of many openings often draws out the best of the chess players on both sides of the board. This is very true of the King’s Indian Defence as well.

You will learn a lot about the game of chess from the great chess trainer and strong chess grandmaster that is Marian Petrov.

Considering the legendary and modern chess greats who have embraced this opening you can feel confident the King’s Indian Defence will lead to you enjoying many great games of chess.

This course provides you with more than 4 hours of top-quality training covering much more than only 7.d5. All the main options by white in the Classical King’s Indian are covered – 7.dxe5, 7.Be3, and 7.O-O is covered along with 7.d5.

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