The King's Indian reloaded – part 2

3/23/2007 – Thanks to Radjabov, Kasimdhzanov and others the King's Indian is part of a lively discussion in the top level chess again. Another KID expert, Alexei Shirov, recently made an over five hour DVD, in his famous and highly praised "best games" series. Buy his King's India DVD now or read this review with sampler.

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The KID is back in town
Review by Steve Giddins

There are few openings which have more of a cult following than the King’s Indian, probably the most respected of Black’s dynamic options against 1 d4. After a period in the doldrums, as far as the super-GM popularity stakes are concerned, the KID is firmly back on the agenda, thanks largely to the efforts of that other “Kid”, Teimour Radjabov. His 3.5 / 4 score with the opening at the 2007 Corus Wijk aan Zee tournament has once against made it the centre of attention.

Amongst the super-GMs of the past 15 years, Alexei Shirov is one, who has played a major role in the theoretical and practical debates over the KID. Unlike many others, his experiences are not confined only to one side of the board, as he has extensive experience as both White and Black in this opening. This makes him almost uniquely qualified amongst the world’s top players to explain the nuances of this most complicated, but rewarding, of opening systems. On this DVD, he does exactly that, presenting 12 of his most interesting King’s Indian battles, half as White, and half as Black. The vast majority concern the Classical System, starting 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. Of all KID lines, this is possibly the sharpest and most principled approach for both sides. White sets out to prove that his space advantage and qualitative pawn majority on the queenside is the most important factor, whilst Black prepares to counterattack on the kingside. It is certainly not a line for those of a nervous disposition, but suits chessboard warriors, and it is no surprise that the various champions of the two sides include such legendary fighters as Fischer, Kasparov and Korchnoi, as well as Shirov himself.

Shirov’s opponents, in the over five hours of action on this DVD, include such champions and KID experts as Kramnik (twice), Gelfand, Nunn, and Radjabov himself. Shirov’s overall score in the above games is 4/5, which says all one needs to know about his expertise in the KID. In addition to the 12 main games, many other game fragments are mentioned in the commentaries, which build into an unrivalled guide to the intricacies of one of the most complicated and controversial opening systems in modern chess.

Start Gelfand vs. Shirov here (video in reduced quality)...


Buy it now...

In addition to the most well-known opponents, I was especially impressed with Shirov’s exposition of his 1991 game against Zigurds Lanka. This game had an interesting background, as Lanka was Shirov’s trainer at the time, and it was he who had been responsible for Shirov playing the KID as Black during the period. The two had spent much time analysing the opening together, so Shirov’s first task was to find a way to avoid lines they had already dissected. This apart, the game shows a classic strategic king march by White, whose monarch first castles short, and then marches all the way to b3, before the final assault is launched by White – not on the queenside, as is usual, but on the kingside. Such is the strategic depth of the Classical Variation, all the more reason for devotees to take this great opportunity of over five hours of top-class tuition from one of the line’s leading experts.

Whether you are a KID player yourself, for either colour, or merely want to see one of the world’s strongest and most exciting GMs demonstrating some of his most interesting games, you are sure to love this DVD.


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