So from what I understand, a kingside attack can be started as long as the centre is closed. I very recently started looking into the King's Indian Attack as an opening for white against the French and e6 Sicilians, but since I don't see many of either of those at the 1500 level on chess.com, I have only been able to try it out this one game.

Draws are very rare at my level but I just didn't know what to do by move 29 with my attacking chances completely gone and I guess neither did my opponent.

This is the game:

[Event "Live Chess"]
[FEN ""]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2021.04.06"]
[Round "-"]
[White "Me"]
[Black "Black"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[CurrentPosition "r3r3/1bp3p1/1pn2p1k/p3pPpP/3pP1P1/P2P1BN1/1PP2K1R/7R b - -"]
[Timezone "UTC"]
[ECO "B00"]
[UTCDate "2021.04.06"]
[UTCTime "07:50:38"]
[WhiteElo "1506"]
[BlackElo "1443"]
[TimeControl "600"]
[Termination "Game drawn by agreement"]
[StartTime "07:50:38"]
[EndDate "2021.04.06"]
[EndTime "07:59:52"]

1. e4 Nc6 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3 d6 4. g3 Nf6 5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Re1 e5 8. Nbd2
Re8 9. h4 h6 10. Nf1 Bf8 11. Ne3 d5 12. Nh2 d4 13. Nef1 Ne7 14. f4 Nc6 15. f5 b6
16. g4 Nh7 17. Nf3 Be7 18. h5 Ng5 19. Bd2 Bb7 20. Qc1 Nxf3+ 21. Bxf3 Bg5 22. Ng3
Bxd2 23. Qxd2 Qg5 24. Qxg5 hxg5 25. Kf2 Kh7 26. a3 a5 27. Rh1 Kh6 28. Rh2 f6 29.
Rah1 1/2-1/2 

So is the reason this was so terrible because I missed some great continuation, or does the attack just not work when I don't have a pawn on e5, since I started reading King's Indian Attack Move by Move by Neil McDonald and he puts quite a bit of emphasis on it. So if I commit to the KIA with 3.d3 and my opponent plays 3...d6, not allowing any e5 push, I should just open up the position and be left with a slightly worse opening?

I felt like my worst blunder was basically just creating an outpost for the black knight on g5 but even before that I didn't seem to be getting anywhere. Could anyone help me understand why this went so terribly and how I should know for next time that a kingside attack isn't a good idea?

  • 1
    Not necessarely. If that were the case, Black could simply play ...e5 and get a better position every time. The main reason why your plan didn't work was being forced to play h5. Had you prapred h4 a bit more, you could have followed up with g5, which would indeed give you attacking chances
    – David
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 11:47

2 Answers 2


It's not the KIA at fault (in fact we saw here a color-reversed KID) but you both lacked when it comes to positional play.

  • In the end position, Black is far better. He can act the standard queenside pawnroller while you don't have the slightest attacking counterplay, and a horribly bad bishop.
  • But since so much material has been traded, Black probably didn't have the nerve to press on. (I would have, but then, I tend to win all endgames :-) Specifically, c4 is his only decent plan and you can hope to throw off the bishop.
  • Specifically, what went wrong was that you were "forced" to h5, after that all breakthroughs go through the window. Given that you stand so bad after that, I had played g5 nevertheless and at least got some open lines for the pawn.
  • You could have avoided to be "forced" by carefully preparing the attack: king to f2 and place a dozen rooks behind your pawn roller. Shall he argue with that. (Likewise, Black should have uncompromisingly rolled on the queenside. In KID, you must queen a few pawns and sacrifice the queens against the material that wants to mate you ;-)
  • I'm not even sure if f5 wasn't a bit early.
  • So, get the "Kmoch" (argueably, a bit ancient - the new "Shankland" is also nice) and learn about pawn play (especially levers). Get the "Vukovic" (likewise ancient) to learn how to attack a castled position, especially when to storm with pawns and when to attack with pieces. The good news is: Positional play will come automatically to you the more you learn and the more pattern you encounter. Practice.
  • Maybe irrelevant, but what do you mean by color-reversed KID rather than a KIA? I was under the impression KIA is simply what a color-reversed KID was called... But thank you for the book recommendations. I had heard that Vukovic's book was meant for players far higher than me in elo (I'm somewhere between 1500 and 1600 on chess.com), but I hadn't heard of either pawn books, so thanks!
    – Matt
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 11:28
  • @Matt: I don't know anything about openings, thus I have no idea if KIA is a color-reversed KID (other postings here on CSE let me doubt that). When I first read the Vukovic, I surely wasn't over 1600 either (OK, I made it to 2300...), so this shouldn't be a hindrance. Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 16:28
  • +1 for the Kmoch recommendation, but in the end position black is just minimal better. White regroups and prepares c2-c3. Blacks king is far away from the queen side. Earlier, the moves 3.d3?! 9.h4?!, 13.Nef1?! are passive. Better is 3.d4, 9.c3!? and 13.Nf5/Nd5. 12.exd5, 13.Nxd5 and 14.Nxe5 wins a pawn. If you had not played 9.h4 then 15.Nf3, keeping the pressure on e5, would also have been better. Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 3:03
  • In general, try to avoid playing f5 when his pawn is still on f7. This gives him the option to exchange his bad bishop via g5, like in the game. Even if he has played f7-f6 then f4-f5 is not always good, because it increases the strength of a black center push d5 - e5 is not attacked by the f-pawn anymore. For the same reason a black c5-c4 is often not good in the French: d4 is not attacked anymore, so e5 is more safe, so f4-f5 becomes stronger. This is called "Releasing the center tension too early". Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 3:22
  • @NilsLindemann: Considering the off-side king - this is why I probably as Black would have left queens on the board or tried that I could recapture fxg instead of hxg, and placing a knight on f6 after that. Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 7:02

First, to address your question, "So if I commit to the KIA with 3.d3 and my opponent plays 3...d6, not allowing any e5 push, I should just open up the position and be left with a slightly worse opening?" - I am tempted to say yes, play something else in this case but in no way you are "worse" after losing a tempo after, say, d2-d3 followed by d3-d4.

Regarding the game, 18.h5 was the end of all your attack, but I understand you "had" to play this since h4 was attacked and you had no other way to save this pawn. Yet, this just means that the mistake has been done earlier, so your 16. g4 allowed this situation to occur and should have been prepared better. I do realize it might have been difficult for you to foresee the necessity of pushing h5 two moves later, but hopefully now you will be aware of such situations and plan accordingly.

Moreover, 18. g5 was something to consider too, trying to open up some files at cost of one pawn. It is probably not great objectively, but practically you do get what you wanted (kingside attack) (maybe).

Another (minor) thing is that 7. Re1 was premature (you do this to support your e5 pawn), but later in the game you see that your rook would have been better placed on f1. It looks like you learned a certain set of moves typical for the KIA when black plays e6 and d5, and you were trying to play it no matter what. This is rarely the best approach though.

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