Did you take enough Vitamin KID this year?

by Davide Nastasio
2/20/2018 – Licensed chess professionals recommend patients take at least one DVD or book on the KID every year, in order to keep their combinations robust, and tactics sharp. If you are in doubt about the amount of vitamin KID you should take, Davide Nastasio provides a small dose, and a prescription for Victor Bologan's DVD, which is sure to cover all your tournament needs.

King's Indian: A modern approach King's Indian: A modern approach

Bologan: "If you study this DVD carefully and solve the interactive exercises you will also enrich your chess vocabulary, your King's Indian vocabulary, build up confidence in the King's Indian and your chess and win more games."


King's Indian a modern approach

A review

Book cover

I got this DVD because Bologan just published an impressive nearly 450 pages book on the King's Indian. Unfortunately, also if I truly love chess books, at the speed I'm reading them I'll be able to enjoy only 29 of them cover to cover, before departing this muddy sphere traveling across the galaxy!

Since I wanted to actually play the King's Indian (from now on abbreviated as KID), I went onto the next more suitable solution for my way of learning, which is videos, and a selected database of games.

What totally convinced me of the worthiness in investing my time to study the KID was the following game:


Photo copyright © 2013 Anastasiya Karlovich, courtesy of FIDE Press Office.

Carlsen and Radjabov a year earlier at the London Candidates | Photo: Anastasiya Karlovich, FIDE Press Office

Bologan Modern Pirc

But there is another reason I wanted to learn the KID: A very similar opening is the Pirc/Modern which can give raise to similar pawn structures and ideas. Practically I thought with two DVDs made by Bologan I could cover the entire major openings as Black, and focus more on studying the middlegame and the endgame, which often are neglected by players at my level.

Of course we cannot limit ourselves to mere pragmatic tournament reasons, for example the greatest champion of all times, Fischer, was using it, so to learn about the KID would make our understanding of his great games easier. And then of course there are a lot of champions like Kasparov, Bronstein, Tal, who also essayed the KID.

In fact, Bologan packs the DVD with a database of "model games" a total of 198 games to study, and while few of them are played by Kasparov, this one stood immediately out!


But who could resist and avoid to sneak in a magical Fischer game with the KID, when he was beating the best players on the planet with tennis scores?


Of course there are many more exciting games, but clearly the KID can be a dangerous opening, and help us win more games with Black!

Why did I show these games? Because Bologan in the DVD says that he studied all games by Fischer and Kasparov on the KID, which means we need to do it too, if we want to reach mastery over this opening. Now, thanks to Bologan, and this DVD, we can also learn the intricacies of the KID.

Another important point Bologan raises in the introductory video is relative to the many different school of thoughts on how to play the KID. This remark is important, because in fact two books have just been published one by Bologan and one by Smirin, and they couldn't be more different in the way they handle the KID.

Bologan also mentions Boleslavsky's school. He was a very strong player in the 1950s, who helped Spassky to reach World Champion level.

Boleslavsky (right) facing Botvinnik in 1944 | Photo: (unattributed) chesspro.ru

Apart those classical players of the past who is playing it now? Bologan mentions Hikaru Nakamura who has had numerous successes with this opening. Here an example of how Nakamura destroys one of the world's best players in a blitz game using the KID!


Bologan mentions that the KID has changed a lot thanks to deep analysis made during world correspondence championships. In fact the ICCF centaur method (in modern correspondence games players are allowed to use engines) enabled far greater search depth for new ideas than has been seen before in chess history.

Generally, in a review, I don't put all the lines treated in the DVD because, well, it would make it boring. But in the case of the KID both sides, Black and White, should always be on the lookout. White must also be prepared and updated, hence the need also for White players to know what Bologan teaches too!

We have the King's Indian after the moves: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6


The second video shows the plans with Bg5 and Bf4: after the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 White can continue with 4.Bg5


Bologan clearly explains what Black should do once White plays Bg5, and what are the weak points Black can exploit, and how.
Here an example of Bologan explanations, of course inside the video it becomes more clear:


Bologan also shows some of the typical pawn sacrifices that give Black a better position.

White can also play 4.Nf3 0-0 5.Bf4 (or Bg5); or 4.e4 d6 5.Bg5

I believe it is important to practice, in order to achieve the maximum from Bologan's teaching. He also advises to play some blitz games using the opening, it doesn't matter if one loses or wins, because the experience will teach one more on where to place the pieces, or how to avoid common mistakes.

The third video is dedicated to the plans with Nge2: after the moves: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Bd3 0-0 6.Nge2 (or immediately 5.Nge2)


On the fourth and fifth video Bologan discusses a tricky move, 5.h3, which we have after the moves: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.h3


The line analyzed on the sixth video is called Averbakh's System after the moves: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3-Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 we have 5.Be2 0-0 6.Bg5


For those curious of how many games were played by Averbakh with this particular system, I located 16, thanks to Megabase, here one of the nicest one:


A young Averbakh | Photo: (unattributed) Chess in Translation

On video number seven, Bologan treats one of the most scary options by White, the four pawn attack!

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4:


Obviously, you'll discover what Bologan believes is the best weapon to neutralize such attack, only through watching the video!

From videos eight to video eleven, Bologan analyzes what Black should do after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Bg5 — the Saemisch variation of the KID:


Bologan admits this is a very solid line, and he was playing it as White too! However for these videos he has prepared some solid long term strategic ideas which work well against this setup.

The videos from 12 to 17 are dedicated to the fianchetto system, after the moves: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.g3 0-0 5.Bg2 d6 6.0-0 Nc6 7.Nc3 a6


About the fianchetto Bologan admits White can enjoy a little space advantage, and he found himself in comfortable positions as White. In fact another Chessbase author, GM Nick Pert, a while ago made a DVD on the fianchetto, in which he claimed to have neutralized the kingside attack KID players habitually use against White.

Bologan is quite aware of the problem, and explains clearly how to deal with the fianchetto.

In video 18 Bologan deals with the Classical System, Exchange Variation 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bg5 Re8


This is a very important line for Bologan, because often some Black players are afraid of it, and we all know chess is a psychological sport. However, the important novelty is related to a new recommendation. In previous books/DVDs Bologan said he recommended 9...Rf8 now he believes 9...Re8 is better. 

From video 19 to 26 the Classical system, Bayonet attack/variation are treated in detail. After the moves: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.d5 a5:


The DVD ends with 10 video clips of exercises where Bologan asks questions, and gives feedback, to let us understand how much of the material we were able to absorb. Like all DVDs it comes with 2 databases, one of theoretical framework based on 26 games/lines, and one of model games, based on 198 games.

Before concluding this review, I'd like to point out, for those serious in mastering and playing the KID at tournament level, that Chessbase has already published other DVDs on the KID. For example Kasimdzhanov, currently Fabiano Caruana's trainer, authored A World Champion's Guide to the King's Indian.

And of course one should never miss Andrew Martin's DVD, The ABC of the King's Indian, since he shows a lot of games, outlining quickly the main points one must remember or know.

There are others, but the point is not to advertise all Chessbase products, just to make the reader aware of the tools Chessbase has created for us to excel at this opening.

The ABC of the King's Indian 2nd edition

On this original and entertaining DVD, International Master Andrew Martin takes you on a guided tour of this fascinating and creative opening. Through the use of complete games, both classic and modern and some repertoire suggestions Martin paints a comprehensive picture of the current state of play and looks towards the future. In the new, expanded 2nd edition there are many recent clashes and some remarkable modern ideas are discussed. The King’s Indian is as uncompromising and resilient as ever!

In conclusion

I found the DVD by Bologan quite instructive for pointing out the main ideas behind Black's moves, and how to play against White's moves. I think the DVD is better than Bologan's latest book on the KID, because is more immediate. I can better understand from Bologan's words what is needed to do in some positions, and for me, it is easier to remember his words. On the other hand, I'm sure some people prefer to read books, so maybe that media is perfect for them. I have both, so I can also use the book as reference. One last idea, while now thanks to Bologan I can play the KID like a master level player, however my middlegame and endgame are still not at that level. It would be interesting to see Bologan teaching upon these two important topics in some Chessbase DVDs.

King's Indian: A modern approach

Bologan: "If you study this DVD carefully and solve the interactive exercises you will also enrich your chess vocabulary, your King's Indian vocabulary, build up confidence in the King's Indian and your chess and win more games."


Davide is a novel chess aficionado who has made chess his spiritual tool of improvement and self-discovery. One of his favorite quotes is from the great Paul Keres: "Nobody is born a master. The way to mastery leads to the desired goal only after long years of learning, of struggle, of rejoicing, and of disappointment..."


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