“King’s Indian: A modern approach” by Victor Bologan - A review by Jana Schneider

8/25/2020 – On his DVD “King’s Indian: A modern approach”, Victor Bologan presents a complete repertoire for those wanting to try their hand at the exciting King’s Indian Defence. Jana Schneider watched the DVD to prepare this opening. Here is her opinion about the DVD.

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A romantic opening

“The King’s Indian Defence, the most romantic opening of all times”. Thus Victor Bologan starts his second DVD about the King’s Indian. World champions Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov made the opening famous. 

Bologan learned the opening at a young age from grandmasters Ion Solonar, Vyacheslav Chebanenko and Zigurds Lanka, among others. Now he passes on his accumulated knowledge in the form of a complete repertoire. In just over seven hours, Bologan shows all the important variations of the King’s Indian Defence in his DVD “King’s Indian - A modern approach”, released in 2015.

General information

The DVD is divided into 26 videos, each of which lasts no longer than 20 minutes. For main variants such as the Fianchetto Structure or the Classic System, several videos are provided. After the explanation, the videos include ten positions for analysis in order for the student to test his or her knowledge. In addition, the DVD contains further analyzed games with the discussed variations and almost 200 example games — 10 played by Bologan himself. Bologan’s English is slow, clear, with a strong accent, but very easy to understand.

Author

Victor Bologan is a Moldavian grandmaster considered to be an opening expert. He has published books on the Catalan, the Rossolimo Sicilian and the Chebanenko Slav, among others. In addition to this DVD, ChessBase has published a number of other works by the expert on various openings, including one on the King’s Indian Attack with White. His style of presentation might seem monotonous to some people. Objectively and soberly he shows the moves on the board and only shows a little smile when he is telling one of his rather seldom jokes. To me he seems serious, but very charismatic. To understand this description, I would recommend you to watch the sample video for the DVD, either on YouTube or via the ChessBase Shop.



I liked the fact that Bologan not only shows the moves, but pauses frequently to explain what the position is about and why he has chosen each move. Nevertheless, as a King’s Indian beginner, I would have liked to see more of these explanations.

Content

After a short introduction, which should not be skipped, Bologan starts with a couple of side variations like the early Bg5 or Bf4. He also looks at 5.h3 — the Averbakh system, the Four-Pawn Attack and the Sämisch. Then he slowly moves on to the main fianchetto variations, and finally gets into the classical system with e4, Nf3 and Be2.

If this order bothers you, you can watch the videos in any other order. It can also be useful for special game preparation to watch the video for a particular variation. If you want to adopt Bologan’s variations to your own repertoire, which is quite possible, you should get used to play the Benoni and the Volga Gambit, as some of the variations presented transpose to these systems. For example, against the Four-Pawn Attack, Bologan recommends transposing into a Three-Pawn Benoni with 5...c5.

 

Even after an early Bg5 or Bf4, c5 will transpose into Benoni structures.

He demonstrates the “modern approach” as promised in the title, for example by going for a piece sacrifice against the Sämisch.

 

Review

In many variations, such as the Four-Pawn Attack, Bologan does not recommend the main line, but a rarer move. I would have liked him to say why he prefers this side move or briefly refer to the main move. He also shows very few example games in the videos. Instead, there is only the database with about 200 games, although it is not fully structured by variations and therefore seems a bit confusing.

What bothered me the most is that I myself have no experience with the King’s Indian. Therefore, I had difficulties in many positions to understand the moves that were chosen. So I built my own databases based on the videos using the engine and the online database. I have searched many games for each variation, and this helped me a lot to understand and remember what I had learned. If you already have a basic knowledge of the King’s Indian, you will probably have a much easier time and you will profit more from the DVD.

If you are a beginner in this opening like I am, I would definitely recommend you to look at example games and check Bologan’s variations with the help of a database, especially when his moves are considered a sideline so you can check which other alternatives are available — for example, alternatives to his piece sacrifice in the Sämisch. Due to the year of publication, there are of course even more modern approaches by now.

Conclusion

Overall I really liked the DVD and I learned a lot about the King’s Indian. Going into it, my knowledge was almost non-existent, while now I already feel like an expert. Whether this is really true will be shown in my games. I definitely plan to try out Bologan’s repertoire, but I will also look at other alternatives in some variations.

Bologan himself recommends his DVD for everyone, regardless of playing strength and prior knowledge of King’s Indian. I think he has managed to reach a good compromise in this respect. In any case, it is easier to do so if you already know the basics of the King’s Indian Defence. His variations are approved by the engine. I would like to mention that there are numerous correspondence games that delved into the King’s Indian — the opening is one of the most popular in e-mail championships and you can learn a lot from these games.

But what is most important according to Bologan: practice! You can’t expect to win all your games with the King’s Indian after going through the DVD, as you need practice and experience.


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."


Translation from German: Carlos Colodro

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