Monday, February 24, 2014

The Misa Pap Attack (C02)

Position after 9.Nbd2!?

There have been some recent publications on IM Jiri Nun's variation of the Milner Barry Gambit (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Qb6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.cxd4 Bd7 8.O-O Nxd4 9.Nbd2!?), which some would rename the "Misa Pap Attack" after its most recent and public GM advocate (see videos below).  In analyzing the game Melekhina-Forestier, Poland 2010, I definitely gained some respect for this gambit line against the French Defense, and there are many attractive lines in GM Misa Pap's recent analysis in Chess Informant #113 (available for instant download for only $3.99).  Besides Nun, Pap, and Melekhina, GM David Smerdon has used the gambit on occasion.   The line receives only passing reference in books; for instance, Sam Collins in The French Advance (2nd ed. Everyman 2006) gives only the game Jesus Baron Rodriguez - Carlos Matamoros Franco, Campillos 2005 as his example.  So fans of surprise lines (and perhaps fans of the Smith-Morra) are sure to find it attractive.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tricky Bishop in the Bird Defense (C61)

I have annotated the game Balakrishnan - Goeller, Garden State Chess League 2014, played last week at Rutgers University.  It features the Bird Variation of the Ruy Lopez (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nd4), which has long been a favorite of mine. In fact, I have played the line that we reached in the game well over a hundred times in tournaments and online blitz: 4.Nxd4 exd4 5.O-O Bc5 6. d3 c6 7. Bc4 d5. So it was quite a surprise to see the tricky Bishop retreat 8.Bb3! which was completely new to me.

Position after 8.Bb3
As my analysis shows, this move poses some very difficult problems for Black in the 5...Bc5 line of the Bird.  For one thing, Black cannot get rid of his doubled pawns with 8...dxe4? due to 9.Bxf7+ or 9.Qh5 with a big edge for White.  And the natural 8...Ne7 (which I played without thinking) will directly transpose (after 8.Bb3! Ne7 9.f4! f5) to a line that usually arises by the move order 5.O-O Bc5 6.d3 c6 7.Ba4 Ne7 8.f4 f5 9.Bb3 d5.  This has long been known to give White a big edge.  

Despite my set-back in the opening, which eventually cost me a pawn, I managed to get some play on the king-side by opening up the h-file.  In fact, late in the game I had a chance to win with a surprising shot (see diagram).  I missed it, but I regained my pawn for a draw with 28....Qe7, threatening Qh7 and Qxb4.  What was the stronger move?

Black to play and win after 28.Qf2.

Praveen recently won the Kenillworth Chess Club Championship for the second time in a row (see 2013 and 2014). That is an impressive achievement for a sixth grader!  The game I've annotated was the third we have played in as many years. All three games have featured the Bird Variation of the Ruy Lopez and are included in my notes. 

Previous posts on the Bird Defense:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Classical King's Indian with 6...Na6 Bibliography

The Classical King's Indian begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Be2, and now the most popular continuation is 6...e5 7.O-O Nc6, which can lead to the Mar del Plata variation after 8.d5 Ne7.  But this line has accumulated a lot of theory, so it is tempting to explore the more offbeat alternatives.  Previously I posted a bibliography devoted to the "Old Main Line King's Indian with 7...exd4" (with Nc6 to follow -- as opposed to the c6 lines examined by Ronen), and in Dangerous Weapons: The King's Indian, IM Yelena Dembo does an excellent job of trying to revive the 7...Nbd7 (or 6...Nbd7) lines that Najdorf and his Zurich 1953 contemporaries preferred.  But the most interesting alternative to 7...Nc6 is offered by 7...Na6 (or 6...Na6), a variation attributed to GM Igor Glek.

Though Glek developed the Na6 system with the move order 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Be2 e5 7.O-O Na6, it is now increasingly common for Black to prefer 6...Na6, delaying the e5 advance until White has committed to 7.O-O.  Sometimes called the Kazakh System, this approach has the chief advantage of sidestepping the annoying exchange line that follows 6.Be2 e5 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bg5, where White can play Nd5 and/or O-O-O with quick development and a slight but annoying initiative.  By comparison, the exchange line that follows 6...Na6 7.O-O e5 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Qxd8 Rxd8 is completely innocuous due to White's short castling and the useful position of the Knight at a6, which prevents Nd5xc7 tactical threats and prepares to strike back at the e4 pawn with Nc5.  After this exchange, Black has the better breaks, more targets, and excellent long term chances to exploit the weak d4 square -- see Morchiashvili - Volokitin, Batumi 2003 for an example (though, like most games with this line, it features a much lower player as White trying to hold a draw against a strong Black player.)

The most promising development in the 6...Na6 line, at least for us amateurs, is the appearance of a number of very good video presentations on it, especially by American GM Eugene Perelshteyn (at,, and most recently Empire Chess) and GM Dejan Bojkov, whose excellent ChessBase DVD, "A Modern Way to Play the King's Indian," offers a complete KID repertoire built around an early ...Na6.  There are also several online game collections at 365 Chess, Chess Tempo, and

I have tried to include everything I can find on this fascinating King's Indian line.  But the King's Indian is such a dynamic and widely discussed topic that I am sure I have overlooked some interesting coverage.  As always, I invite readers' additions and corrections.

Eugene Perelshteyn, Dominate White with the King's Indian Defense 6. Na6 System.  DVD Empire Chess 2 (2013).  Perelshteyn has made three presentations on the 6...Na6 Classical line -- for,, and now for's Empire Chess series.  They all cover similar material, but this last video might be his most detailed.  However, if you have a or membership, I don't think you would have to invest in this video too, though it is nice to be able to watch it on your DVD player on TV rather than on your computer only.

Karsten Müller and Raymund Stolze, "His Great Love the King's Indian: A Short Repertoire a la Nakamura."  Fighting Chess with Hikaru Nakamura.  Edition Olms (2012): 186-197.  This book on Nakamura's games is worth having in its own right (see my collection of games from the book), but it also features an interesting chapter on Nakamura's KID repertoire, a couple pages of which cover his use of Na6 (though the focus is on Nakamura's use of the Classical with Nc6).  Games discussed include Kreiman - Nakamura, Foxwoods 2003; Alekseev - Nakamura, Santo Domingo 2003; Ponomariov - Nakamura, 3rd St Louis 2011; Ponomariov - Nakamura, 5th St. Louis 2011; Gavrilov - Shimanov, Moscow 2011; Finegold - Nakamura, US Open Cherry Hill 2007; and Vallejo Pons - Nakamura, World Cup Sao Paulo / Bilbao 2011.

Eugene Perelshteyn, My Pet King's Indian, Na6. DVD Chess Lecture Volume 28 (2011).  This is an excellent set of videos on the Na6 line, but unless you think you are going to watch it several times you would probably be better off just joining for a couple months, which will also give you access to a bunch of other excellent King's Indian videos by Perelshteyn, David Vigorito, and Leonid Kritz, among others.

Dejan Bojkov, A Modern Way to Play the King's Indian ChessBase DVD (2011).
A really excellent video, which does not stop at covering Na6 against the Classical but covers this modern, flexible approach against most lines that White can throw at you, from the Four Pawn Attack to h3 lines.  He does not recommend it against the Saemisch (where he recommends the popular c5 gambit) or the Fianchetto (where he recommends the interesting line with c6 and Qa5).  Specific games discussed include Plaskett - Nunn, Borehamwood 34/737 1982; Nakamura - McShane, London 2009Likavsky - Richter, Germany 2006; Yevseev - Zhigalko, Cappelle la Grande 2006Popov - Loginov, 77th St. Petersberg Championship 2004; Stellwagen - Iordachescu, Corus 2002; Avrukh - Milov, Gibtelecom 2009.

Eugene Perelshteyn, The King's Indian Defense 6...Na6 Variation, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.  By Subscription only.

Arun and Magesh, "The King's Indian 7...Na6."
Annotates the game Khachiyan - Kamsky, St. Louis US Ch. 2010.

Alexey Kuzmin, "Quite an Original Move." NIC Yearbook 97 (2010): 200-204.
Focuses on the line 8.Re1 Qe8 ("quite an original move").  Games include Pashikian - Miton, Khanty-Mansiysk ol 2010; Karpov - Milov, Biel 1996; Yermolinsky - Milov, Moscow 2001; Margvelashvili - Kasimdzhanov, Konya tt 2010; Gonzalez-Garcia - Vachier-Lagrave, Sestao tt 2010; Timoshenko - Grigore, Berlin 1998; Rama - Miton, 
Khanty-Mansiysk ol 2010; Eljanov - Areschenko, Sochi tt 2005; Akopian - Radjabov, Bursa 2010; Dottling - Milov, Kemer tt 2007; Ftacnik - Efimenko, Bundesliga 2004-2005; Rychagov - Khamatgaleev, Patras 2002.

John Sanders, Nakamura - McShane, London Chess Classic  2009.  ChessBase (2009).
Some useful contemporary notes on this great game from McShane from Round 5 of the 2009 London Chess Classic.  Also available at the official tournament site.

Malcolm Pein.  "Wild Win for Luke McShane."  The Telegraph (15 Dec. 2009).

Bogdan Lalic, "A Modest but Venomous Rook Move."  NIC Yearbook 88 (2008): 213-216.  Mostly from the White perspective, focused on the line 8.Be3 Ng4 9.Bg5 Qe8 10.Re1!? (the "modest but venomous rook move") 10...exd4 and now the new idea 11.Nd5!  Lalic recommends Black consider 11...h6 or 11...d3!? (following Topalov). Games discussed include Lalic - Bates, Hastings 2007-2008; Anand - Polgar, Leon advanced chess rapid playoff 2000; Bauer - McShane, Bundesliga 2003-2004; Popov - Nevostruev, Kazan 2005Kramnik - Topalov, Nice rapid 2008; Khuzman - McShane, Saint Vincent 2005; Gustafsson - Bojkov, Ermioni tt 2006.

Lluis Comas Fabrego, True Lies in Chess.  Quality Chess (2007).
This excellent book by one of the early adopters of 6...Na6 offers a full chapter of analysis and discussion of the Classical 6...Na6 line and some discussion of an interesting ending that can arise from it.  Fabrego Comas Fabrego admits that his intention is not to offer a detailed analysis of the line, but some unique insights, games, and discussion.  Worth having for the discussion alone, which has helped my own understanding of the line tremendously.  Gomez Jurado - Comas Fabrego, Foment 1995; Paszek - Petkevich, Germany 1999; Candela Perez - Comas Fabrego, Burgos 2003; Gelfand - Markowski, Polanica Zdroj 1998; Huzman- Comas Fabrego, Istanbul 2003; Atalik - Comas Fabrego, New York 1998; Van Wely - Comas Fabrego, Escaldes 1998; Lautier - Comas Fabrego, Spain 1999; Garcia Ilundain - Comas Fabrego, Spain 1993.

Michael Goeller,  "Classical King's Indian Defense with ...Na6."  Kenilworth Chess Club (2006).  Based on a lecture by FM Steve Stoyko in which he considers the White side of the 6...Na6 line in the Classical KID.

Alexander Khalifman,  Opening for White According to Kramnik 1b, Chess Stars (2006)
Part II (pp. 61-114) covers the line 6.Be2 e5 7.O-O Na6 8.Be3 from White's perspective.

Joe Gallagher, Play the King's Indian.  Everyman Chess (2004): 69-82.
Though Gallagher focuses on the Classical Variation with 7...Nc6, he offers a useful chapter on 7...Na6 for those who find the main line "too sharp or too theoretical."  He also advocates Na6 vs the Averbakh.  Main games include Rogers - Gallagher, Bundisliga 1997; Jackelen - Gallagher, Bundesliga 2002; Van Wely - Gallagher, Biel 2000; Knott - Gallagher, Torquay 2002; Grooten - Motylev, Essent Open Hoogovens 2003; Soffer - Mittelman, Israeli Team Ch 2003; and Gelfand - Markowski, Polanica Zdroj 1998.

Andrew Martin, King's Indian Battle Plans.  Thinker's Press (2004): 231-236.  Martin's book is a collection of over 200 annotated games with interesting ideas in the King's Indian.  Though it does not offer a specific repertoire, it does expose the reader to lots of interesting approaches and ideas in the KID that you will not find in other books.  Games specifically devoted to the Na6 line in the Classical include Anand - Polgar, Leon advanced chess rapid playoff 2000; Markos - Movsesian, Kaskady 2002; and Shulman - Perelshteyn, Milwaukee 2000.

Konikowski E94 ChessBase Magazine (November 2004)
This and the following article appear in the ChessBase Opening Encyclopedia, which is worth having.

Konikowski E94 ChessBase Magazine #98 (March 2004).

Igor Glek, "A New Try in the Glek Variation." NIC Yearbook 63 (2002).

Andrew Martin, Classical King's Indian E90-E99.  Online PDF.

Kick Langeweg, "Developments with 9...Bg4."  NIC Yearbook 53 (2000). 

Graham Burgess, "KID: Kazakh Variation."  101 Chess Opening Surprises (1998 / 2001): 104.  Games mentioned are Bruk - Tsifanskaya, Israel 1997 and Zviaginstev - Tkachev, Biel 1995

Igor Glek, "With Karpov's 8.Re1."  NIC Yearbook 47 (1998). 

Kick Langeweg, "With 8...c6 and 8...Ng4." NIC Yearbook 46 (1998). 

Vladimir Tukmakov, "With 8.Be3." NIC Yearbook 43 (1997). 

Graham Burgess, The King's Indian for the Attacking Player.  Henry Holt / Batsford (1993).
Perhaps the first treatment of the Glek Variation in a repertoire book.  Burgess makes Na6 (against h3 systems, Gligoric, Averbakh, Four Pawns Attack, and Classical) a big part of his repertoire, though he also provides coverage of the Classical lines with 7...Nc6.  This is still a very useful book for amateur players.  Games include Dreev - Glek, Frunze 1988; Berg Hansen - Schandorff, Arhus 1992; Guseinov - Glek, Azov 1991; Aseev - Glek, Krumbach 1991; Miles - Anand, Rome 1990; Karpov - Kasparov, New York WCh (5), 1990; Hansen - Schandorff, Kerteminde 1991; Vladimirov - Kochiev, Gausdal 1991.

Peter Lukacs and Laszlo Hazai, "King's Indian, Glek Variation."  NIC Yearbook 30 (1993). 

As always, I welcome additions and corrections from readers.