5

My last opening of choice as White was the King's Indian Attack to avoid having to learn a lot of opening lines, it being a system opening. I've read Eric Schiller's and Ken Smith's books on the KIA. I get the planned control of e5 and the desired strong piece and pawn presence on the kingside for an attack but rarely seem to be able to bring home the point. The sample games I look at always seem to find strong continuations. Am I just seeing the successful games? Does this suggest basically a tactical shortcoming on my part, or could I be missing something else critically important that I need to know about the opening for complete understanding? I seem fairly tactically astute in open games. I might add that I haven't been particularly successful with the companion King's Indian Defense either. Maybe positional play just isn't my forte.

The following game is the most recent KIA from several days ago against the computer, which although flawed by the blunder on move #30 yet will illustrate what I'm talking about.

[FEN ""]
[White "Conero"]
[Black "SparkChess"]

1.Nf3 g6 2.d3 d5 3.Nbd2 Bg4 4.g3 Bxf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bg2 Nf6 7.O-O Bg7 8.c3 O-O 9.Qc2 Nc6 10. Bf4 b5 11.e4 Ng4 12.Rad1 f5 13.Rfe1 fxe4 14.dxe4 Nf6 15.e5 Nd7 16.h4 a5 17.a3 a4 18.Bh3 Nc5 19.Ng5 Qe7 20.Qe2 Rab8 21.h5 h6 22.Nf3 gxh5 23.Nd4 Qe8 24.Nxc6 Qxc6 25.Qxh5 Qe8 26.Qg4 h5 27.Qg5 Ne4 28.Qh4 c6 29. f3 Nc5 30.g4? Rxf4 0-1
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    Could you give an example of a game you have played? – Dag Oskar Madsen Jul 16 '15 at 18:47
  • Certainly, Dag. Let me go through my game scores tomorrow to find an example. – CConero Jul 17 '15 at 2:05
  • This was the most recent KIA from several days ago against the computer, which although flawed by the blunder on move #30 yet will illustrate what I'm talking about. Will have to type out a handwritten older game first before I can post one of those. Conero vs SparkChess 1.Nf3 g6 2.d3 d5 3.Nbd2 Bg4 4.g3 Bxf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bg2 Nf6 7.O-O Bg7 8.c3 O-O 9.Qc2 Nc6 10 Bf4 b5 11.e4 Ng4 12.Rad1 f5 13.Rfe1 fxe4 14.dxe4 Nf6 15.e5 Nd7 16.h4 a5 17.a3 a4 18.Bh3 Nc5 19.Ng5 Qe7 20.Qe2 Rab8 21.h5 h6 22.Nf3 gxh5 23.Nd4 Qe8 24.Nxc6 Qxc6 25.Qxh5 Qe8 26.Qg4 h5 27.Qg5 Ne4 28.Qh4 c6 29. f3 Nc5 30.g4? Rxf4 0-1 – CConero Jul 17 '15 at 13:08
  • Is it OK if I add the game to your question? – Dag Oskar Madsen Jul 17 '15 at 15:01
  • Sure. It only lets me type so many characters in this box per comment, so I had to leave out some game comments I was going to add originally, nor do I know how to put up those interactive game diagrams I see on the site. – CConero Jul 17 '15 at 19:24
7

Am I just seeing the successful games?

Of course! If you were writing a book trying to sell / promote a particular opening you wouldn't call it something like "How to Lose with the KIA". Nor would you fill it full of games where white played the KIA and lost. You'd fill it full of games where white won.

I get the planned control of e5 and the desired strong piece and pawn presence on the kingside for an attack but rarely seem to be able to bring home the point.

Hey! You know what? That's chess. It's a pretty even game. The thing is, every time you move your opponent gets a move too. There is no forced win for white from move one and nor is there a forced win for either white or black at the end of the "book" part of almost all openings.

Your realistic aim should be to get a good playable position out of your chosen opening with white, a position you feel comfortable in, one where you know and understand the plans that follow from that particular opening. Then it's an even game. If your opponent understands the position and plays it better than you then he will likely win. If not and you both play it with equal understanding and ability it will be a draw. Only if you play the resulting positions better than your opponents will you win.

  • I don't expect to win every game, but I don't even seem to get the kingside attack that this opening is supposed to generate. This is supposed to be an opening where memorization of long lines isn't necessary. I obviously don't have an adequate understanding of it yet. I realize that my opponent is going to try to thwart my plans from the beginning, but the initiative as white has to mean something. Learning to maneuver in a closed position is apparently a skill I still have to perfect. – CConero Jul 18 '15 at 2:41
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    @CConero The problem is that you only have a hammer (KIA) in your toolbox at the moment and so all problems, even screws, look like nails to you. When your opponent starts to adopt an opening setup which doesn't suit your KIA change plan and adopt a different setup. Once he has exchanged his white squared bishop for your knight, fianchettoed and castled kingside then a more aggressive plan is to line up queen and black squared bishop so you can play Bh6, swap off black squared bishops, maybe castle queenside and ram your h pawn up the board to break open his king position. – Brian Towers Jul 18 '15 at 8:19
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    Yes, I know that trying to force a particular opening despite what the conditions call for is a recipe for disaster. Perhaps I need to learn to not be so stubborn but more flexible. – CConero Jul 18 '15 at 23:35
3

I think the main mistake people make when playing the KIA is to play for the kingside attack regardless of the position, and assuming that they are automatically going to get Fischer-Myagmarsuren by playing the same moves as white each time, regardless of what black does. If you look at modern GM games in the KIA, these kind of attacks are a rarity because everyone has seen the old Fischer and Benko crushes from the 60s and knows how to defend against them.

Others have pointed out that 15.e5 is a mistake, and the subsequent attempt to play for a non-existent kingside attack which black fends off quite easily. White is better centralised and has the two bishops, and black's queenside pawn structure is a bit loose, so opening the position with 15.exd5 makes more sense. After the e-file opens up, the e6 square also looks very weak. Off the top of my head, 15.exd5 exd5 16.Ng5 looks quite annoying for black to face.

2

I took a liberty to embed your game into the answer.

[fen ""]

1.Nf3 g6 2.d3 d5 3.Nbd2 Bg4 4.g3 Bxf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bg2 Nf6 7.O-O Bg7 8.c3 O-O 9.Qc2 Nc6 10. Bf4 b5 11.e4 Ng4 12.Rad1 f5 13.Rfe1 fxe4 14.dxe4 Nf6 15.e5 Nd7 16.h4 a5 17.a3 a4 18.Bh3 Nc5 19.Ng5 Qe7 20.Qe2 Rab8 21.h5 h6 22.Nf3 gxh5 23.Nd4 Qe8 24.Nxc6 Qxc6 25.Qxh5 Qe8 26.Qg4 h5 27.Qg5 Ne4 28.Qh4 c6 29. f3 Nc5 30.g4? Rxf4

It is a pretty decent game until 15. e5, which strikes me as anti-positional. It releases a tension in the center (mostly rendering your Rooks passive); it blocks your dark-square Bishop; it creates a target for Black Bishop. Having played it nevertheless, I would consider an entirely different plan involving a Knight sacrifice at e6, starting with 16. Ng5 threatening the fork, and 17. Ne6 followed by 18. Bd5.

  • 15. exd5 is MUCH better, HTRYC should help you with this. – limits Jul 17 '15 at 20:03
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    I apparently was trying to remember the plan the books had suggested, which I thought was control or occupation of e5 and then launching a kingside attack. The suggested pawn capture also gives my rook the half open "e" file. I should have used my own judgment, since both of the suggestions I've been given here make more sense and might have become apparent to me if I had used some independent thinking. Thanks to you both. – CConero Jul 17 '15 at 22:49
  • When the book says to occupy e5, it means with a piece not a pawn. You don't want to clog your outposts. – limits Jul 17 '15 at 23:53
  • KIA books do suggest putting a pawn on e5; this is to chase away the f6-knight. However, with a pawn on g6, you use the wrong attacking formation. user58697 does give a good tactical play, but I would play 16. Nd4 Nxd4 17. dxc4 with long-term pressure on the c-pawn. – Fred Knight Jun 18 '18 at 14:49
2

The result of this game has nothing to do with the opening.

I would like to point a nice combination you could have played and that is quite typical for KIA: give a piece to open the opponent castle.

At move 22, instead of retreating the knight with 22.Nf3 you can get a complex attack with:

22.hxg6!? hxg5 23.Qh5 threatening mate on h7, and then

  • 23...Bh8 24.Bxg5 Qd7 25.Rxd5!

  • 23...Rfe8 24.Bxg5 Q-a.l. 25.Qh7+ Kf8 26.Bh6 followed by Qh8

  • 23...Rxf4! 24.gf4 (24.Qh7+ Kf8) gf4 with a mess.

In diagram:

[fen ""]

1.Nf3 g6 2.d3 d5 3.Nbd2 Bg4 4.g3 Bxf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bg2 Nf6 7.O-O Bg7 8.c3 O-O 9.Qc2 Nc6 10. Bf4 b5 11.e4 Ng4 12.Rad1 f5 13.Rfe1 fxe4 14.dxe4 Nf6 15.e5 Nd7 16.h4 a5 17.a3 a4 18.Bh3 Nc5 19.Ng5 Qe7 20.Qe2 Rab8 21.h5 h6 22.Nf3 gxh5 (22.hxg6!? hxg5 23.Qh5 Bh8 (23...Rfe8 24.Bxg5 Qd7 25.Qh7+ Kf8 26.Bh6) (23...Rxf4!) 24.Bxg5 Qd7 25.Rxd5!) 23.Nd4 Qe8 24.Nxc6 Qxc6 25.Qxh5 Qe8 26.Qg4 h5 27.Qg5 Ne4 28.Qh4 c6 29. f3 Nc5 30.g4? Rxf4
1

If your rating is up to 1400 at least, you probably need to develop planning skills.

Silman's "How to Reassess your Chess" is a highly recommended book by many chess players. It covers planning based on imbalances.

If you have a strong player look over some of your games, they will likely be able to point out something you are misunderstanding.

  • Since you recommend Silman, I suppose that I can unrecommend him. I own the book you mention. It has some strong points but, on the whole, I dislike it. It's not even the book's chess content that puts me off, but the author's writing style and alienating personal perspective. Some readers positively like the style and perspective, but I don't. Besides, even the chess content (though competent and workmanlike) is hardly brilliant. Now, Silman strives to be a good citizen of the game, and his blog is valuable, but I cannot say that I like this book. – thb Jun 20 '18 at 13:36
1

How is Black supposed to defend after 13. Ng5? The idea is that it knocks out Black's defense of the d5 square, hence the a2-g8 and h1-a8 diagonals because if Black plays something like 13... Re8 14. Nxe6 Rxe6 15. exd5 White wins material.

So my answer to the original question is that Black lets you take their stuff and you don't just take it to the bank.

EDIT: I'll try some FEN here

r2q1rk1/p1p3bp/2n1p1p1/1p1p1p2/4PBn1/2PP1NP1/PPQ2PBP/3R1RK w - - 0 13

1. Ng5 e5 2. Ne6 Qd6 3. Nxf8 exf4 4. Ne6 fxg3 5. hxg3 dxe4 6. dxe4 Qxe6 7. exf5 gxf5 8. Qb3 Qxb3 9. axb3 Nge5 10. f4

Well, just a sample variation, but hopefully it can be seen that Black's vulnerabilities on the h1-a8 diagonal can be exposed if White choose to play smashmouth chess.

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    This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review – Herb Wolfe Jun 18 '18 at 21:31
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    @HerbWolfe Sorry, I am new to the forum. I have now provided an answer to the original question. – user5713492 Jun 18 '18 at 22:25
0
  1. Ng5! looks almost winning to my eye (I am a national master).
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    Welcome to Chess! Could you explain this a bit more for the 99.9% users here who are not national masters? – Glorfindel Jun 19 '18 at 7:19
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    The e6 pawn is a very serious weakness. Playing 15.e5 makes it harder to pressure that weak pawn, while 15. Ng5 (with ideas of Bh3 and the like) ties Black down. I don't see any way for Black to defend – John Smith Jun 19 '18 at 15:46
-1

Learning openings at below 1800 makes absolutely no sense. And even above -> I'd up to 2100 it makes no sense to seriously study openings, as you do not have the propper skills to convert what ever achieved (either make a draw from an equal position or win from a better position). Ofcourse you need to know some stuff to not loose immediately or fall for any traps. But with ratings <2100 your aim should be to first learn to play decent chess!! -> Hence I totally agree with overtheboard and also his recommendations!! So work hard and play hard -> and if there's a chance also hit hard ;-D (btw: its always hard to come up with some rating bounds -> those I mentionend are just a rough direction ...)

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    I see "learning openings < 2100 makes no sense" quite a lot - do you have any link or studies that support this? – firtydank Jul 17 '15 at 9:50
  • It's more like < 1550 or so for openings - the material balance is quite volatile below that level and so slight advantages are inconsequential. But a decent player from 1500 to 2100 would benefit from openings because they don't hang material. – limits Jul 17 '15 at 18:07
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    @firtydank I have never seen "learning openings < 2100 makes no sense", well, until chessRocks said it ;-). What I have seen is "Don't spend all your time studying openings" and "under about 2300 it makes little sense to spend large amounts of time studying openings" (Jonathan Rowson and others). Notice, I said "studying openings" not "learning openings" because if you don't spend any time learning a few openings you won't make it out of the opening and on the rare occasions when you do you won't have any time left on your clock. – Brian Towers Jul 18 '15 at 8:27
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    @Brian Sure, but is there anybody that really believes that they should spend all their time studying openings - at any level? Who is this advice intended for? – firtydank Jul 18 '15 at 9:09
  • @firtydank Belief and practice are two entirely separate things. Just ask smokers, drinkers, overweight people. – Brian Towers Jul 19 '15 at 8:11

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