Have you found your favourite Fritz Trainer DVD?

4/25/2008 – John Watson, famous author and one of the great critics of chess books and software, did. Kasimdzhanov's King's Indian DVD is not the latest one in the Fritz Trainer series but it will give you lots of ideas and enjoyment. 'You'll like it even if you're a 1 e4 player who never intends to get near the King's Indian as White or Black.'. Buy it now or read Watson's review with sampler.

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Kasimdhzanov: A world champion's guide to the King's Indian

Review by John Watson (chesscenter.com)

I've discovered my favourite DVD among the new crop of ChessBase multimedia products. Rustam Kasimzhdanov lays forth his ideas on the King's Indian in A World Champion's Guide to the King's Indian. The author is an Ex-FIDE World Champion who hasn't received much publicity of late due to his relative inactivity. He is a creative player (especially brilliant at Blitz) who has many other interests besides chess, and we are lucky to have him around. In this video, Kasimdzhanov presents his material with a sense of humour, and demonstrates an obvious love for chess. The lecture is organised by variation, with games to illustrate each. Thus we don't get a complete repertoire, but there are plenty of good ideas in the main variations around which one could form the core of what what's needed in practice. His emphasis is on aggression, so the many slower lines of the King's Indian are not to his taste, as the viewer soon discovers.

Rather than try to describe the DVD in detail, let me show an excerpt that I think typifies its appeal and high quality. Here's a transcript that I've created from Kasimzhdanov's lecture on g3 systems (only selected portions, with few side variations). The first game that I picked at random to look at was Neverov-Kasimdzhanov, Hoogeveen op 1999. Apologies for only approximating the precise commentary - it's always accurate as regards meaning, and I'll use quotation marks to separate verbatim remarks from paraphrasing:

Click here for replay the beginning of the video in reduced quality.

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nf3 Bg7 4 g3 0–0 5 Bg2 d6 6 0–0 Nc6

6...c5 can lead to a cute trick: 7 d5 (Kasimdzhanov isn't thrilled with the ending after 7 dxc5 dxc5 8 Qxd8 or 8 Nc3 Qxd1) 7...b5 8 cxb5 a6 9 bxa6

9...Bf5! Here Kasimdzhanov pauses, with a wry and pleased look at the viewer and says, 'We expected 9...Bxa6 with a Benko gambit', but now the two bishops rake the queenside, for example, 10 Nc3 Ne4 11 Nxe4 Bxe4 and the bishop on g7 is tremendously strong, Black will capture on a6' (jw: probably with the knight, but the rook looks promising as well). 'White is struggling for equality.'

7 Nc3 a6

This helps support ...b5, perhaps after ...Rb8, 'but it is also a waiting move. In this position without any weaknesses Black's position is rock solid ... Black just wants to be solid and wait before committing to any developing moves. ..It is actually White who has to show what he is doing.'

8 d5

[jw: alternatives are given along the way; I'll stick with the game]

8...Na5 9 Nd2 c5

Basically if he can make use of the knight on a5, Black will be fine. 'If not, this knight is doomed to be forever on a5, or b7, or d8 and none of them are very attractive.' In the note to move 12 below, he points out that this happens if Black simply develops naturally without the urgency that the dynamic KID demands.

[jw:] Here's an example of what in my Mastering the Openings book call 'cross-pollination' between seemingly radically different openings. In the Ruy Lopez, Chigorin Variation (1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 d6 8 c3 0-0 9 h3 Na5 10 Bc2 c5 11 d4), a position such as this can arise:

Black has developed, but too automatically, because, exactly as Kasimdzhanov has pointed out in our game, the knight on a5 can't move except to b7, from where it has no squares; so then it might go to d8, from where it is still prevented repositioning itself by White's d-pawn! Looking at the potential paths is in general a good way to assess the strength of a knight on the edge of the board, whether for White or Black. In the KID, for example, a knight on h5 can move to f4, retreat to f6 after ...f5, or in a very few cases, support ...f5 from g7; you have to assess not only the knight's current position, but how good and realistic the retreats may be.

10 Qc2 Rb8 11 b3

Now c4 is defended, and it looks as though the knight will have to stay on a5. 'But miracles happen, and this case it's not even a miracle, but almost a tradition of this variation that the knight enters on c4'.

11...b5 12 Bb2

12...Bh6

'A little unorthodox I admit...but sometimes in order to free your worst piece [you have to play unusual moves].' 'If Black plays normal moves like 12...Bd7 , maybe followed 13...Qc7 and [develops the king rook], White will simply consolidate, play Rac1, Nd1, e4, Ne3, and then this knight on a5 will never get in.'

13 f4

Now Black must continue with concrete measures:

13...bxc4 14 bxc4 e5

'White has a choice. He has many moves. But Neverov told me told me that he wanted to choose something little known to me, something out of the modern ways, and he remembered that Botvinnik 50 years ago in this position against Donner played:'

15 Rae1

', and he thought that Botvinnik could not be wrong. Besides the move is developing a piece' The plan is Nd1 and Bc3, with e4 and Ne3 to come, 'after which Black's collapse is actually imminent.'

15...exf4 16 gxf4 Nh5

'And ... [here he pauses] ...O.K., putting another knight onto the edge of the board would usually be a very silly move, unless it works. And in this case it simply does work.'

17 e3

'After which I retreat my bishop to g7:'

17...Bg7

'You know, this is basically one of the essences of modern chess: you put your knight on a5, you put your other knight on h5, you bring your bishop to h6, and them back to g7. And for some strange reason, it works. Why does it work? We do not know. We'll probably never know. This game is just too complex for us to understand...'

18 Nd1

'When you look at this position you see that the square c4 is adequately defended.'.... 'I always find it mysterious that when you look at this position, White loses the fight for the very important vital square e4. When you look at this, you say "No, this is impossible: White cannot possibly lose the fight for e4. In fact White's pawn can go to e4. The square is controlled by a bishop, queen, knight, and indirectly the rook on e1." You say that it is just impossible. But see what happens:'

18...Bf5 19 Qc1

'White can play 19 Be4 to keep the status quo. And by the way that's what to do: When one of your opponent's pieces stand badly you try to exchange all other minor pieces and leave your opponent with a minor piece that stands badly. And using this strategy, the normal move would be 19 Be4.' Then 19...Bxb2 20 Nxb2 (You usually don't want to play 20 Bxf5 Bg7 because the bishop is extremely strong on the long diagonal....the rook can come to b4...) 20...Rxb2 21 Qxb2 'And here this miracle of chess happens:' 21...Nxc4! 22 Nxc4 Bxe4 'As I said in the beginning of this game,' Black is doing well if the knight gets to a good square or sacrifices itself on c4. Now 'Black wins the fight for the square e4, which was controlled by all White's pieces, and in fact' the bishop on e4 is terribly strong, White's king is a little vulnerable... 'probably White's position is already beyond rescue. And knowing some such details in a tournament game is absolutely vital'.

'It's difficult to meet ...Bf5. A natural move is 19 e4 ', when a very typical sacrifice in the King's Indian is' 19...Rxb2 20 Nxb2 Bd4+ 'This bishop is actually stronger than any rook you could put anywhere.' 21 Kh1 Qh4 22 Qd3 Bg4.

[After 19 Qc1:] 'And here we see that even in a quiet position something went wrong for White after making normal developing moves. [which he says, also happened in his Classical KID game vs Atalik]. But it's not enough in this opening to just play normal developing moves. ..'

19...Bxb2 20 Nxb2 Qf6 21 Nd1 Bd3

'attacks the rook on f1 and puts pressure on c4, which as we know, is the gate through which the knight on a5 enters the game.'

22 Rf3 Nxc4

'If a move like this works it [effectively] ends the game for White. Because his whole strategy was to keep the knight at bay, and if that doesn't work then something has gone seriously, seriously wrong.'

23 e4

23 Nxc4 Rb1 24 Qd2 Bxc4 'And Black wins a pawn and you will see that White's pieces are totally disorganized. Because his strategy was to keep the knight on a5, but to do so he had to make decisions that he would not make otherwise. That he would rather not to have done.' For instance, to weaken his kingside by playing f4 and so forth.

23...Nxf4 24 Nxc4 Qd4+ 25 Nf2

25 Kh1 Nxg2 26 Kxg2 Bxc4

25...Rb1

'and Black won ...This is another example of how things can go wrong for White, although it would be really difficult to show where he made a mistake. After all [impish smile], it would be blasphemous to say that Botvinnik's move Rael was a mistake, wouldn't it?' This is a sort of model game for Black. 'You don't want to just play according to some general idea, developing your pieces and all that. You see your idea and some very concrete variations based on calculation' [as you see in other games from this system].'

26 Qxb1 Bxb1 27 Rxf4 Bxa2 28 Ne3 Qd2 29 Kf1 Rb8 30 Rf3 Rb1 31 Rxb1 Bxb1 32 Kg1 Qd4 33 Nfg4 Bxe4 34 Nf6+ Kh8 35 Rf2 Bxg2 36 Nxg2 a5 37 Ne1 a4 38 Nc2 Qe5 39 Kg2 a3 40 Nxa3 Qg5+ 0–1

I'll plead lack of space for not going on and on about this video. You'll like it even if you're a 1 e4 player who never intends to get near the King's Indian as White or Black.


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