Monday, March 19, 2007

King's Indian / Pirc Defense

IM Walter Shipman (USCF 2433) - NM Jim West (USCF 2299), Marshall Chess Club 8/1988

1.d4 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Ne2 O-O 6.Nbc3

With 6.c4, a position from the King's Indian Defense would be reached. Now the game resembles more a Pirc Defense. This move 6.Nbc3 is a favorite of Walter's, having played it against me twice.

6...e5 7.h3

Larry Epstein, from the Toms River club, usually plays 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 with a drawish position.

With 7.O-O, White could have transposed into Benko-Fischer, Curacao 1962. That game continued 7...c6? (better is 7...Nc6!) 8.a4 Nbd7? (better is 8...a5), and according to Mednis the position is already strategically lost for Black. Benko went on to win in 40 moves.

Walter's move 7.h3 prepares 8.Be3 by preventing 8...Ng4.

7...Nc6 8.Be3 exd4 9.Nxd4 Bd7?!

Black should ease his defensive task by exchanging pieces, since he may become cramped. Consequently, the immediate 9...Nxd4 is correct.


In a later game, Walter improved with 10.Nde2. That game proceeded 10...a6 11.a4 Ne5 (to provoke White's next move) 12.b3 b5!? 13.f4 Nc6 14.axb5 axb5 15.Rxa8 Qxa8 16.e5! Ne8 17.Nxb5 Qa5+ 18.Nbc3 Nb8 19.Qd5 Qa6 20.O-O Bc6 21.Qd3! Qxd3 22.cxd3 dxe5 23.Bxc6 Nxc6 24.Nd5 f5 25.Rc1 with clear advantage to White who won in 50 moves.

10...Re8 11.a4 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 Bc6 13.Qd3 a6 14.a5

As previously noted, White's plan is to cramp Black. This last move is in keeping with that strategy by preventing ...b5 at some point.

14...Re7 15.f4 Qe8 16.Rae1 h5 17.Re2 Nd7 18.Bxg7 Kxg7 19.Qd4+ Kh7

One of the advantages of Black's 16th move is, besides preventing 17.g4, it allows this last king move by creating a flight square on h7. Now Black is prepared to contest the diagonal with 20...Qh8.

20.Bf3 Qh8 21.Qd2 Qf6 22.b4

This move was played to keep Black's knight from c5.

22...Rae8 23.Rh2 Rh8

Now the h8 square proves pivotal in contesting the h-file.

24.g4 hxg4 25.hxg4+ Kg8 26.g5?!

The move I expected was 26.Rff2.

26...Rxh2! 27.Kxh2 Qe6 28.Qd4 f6!

After the game, Walter told me he underestimated the strength of this move.

29.gxf6 Nxf6 30.Nd5 Bxd5

This was the last move of the first time control, and I felt I had a winning attack because my three remaining pieces are all bearing down on White's king.

31.exd5 Rh7+ 32.Kg1 Qh3 33.Qf2 Rh4! 34.Qg2 Qxg2+ 35.Bxg2 Nh5

Now White must lose a pawn.

36.f5 Ng3 37.Rf3 Nxf5 38.Rc3 Rh7 39.Bh3 Kf8 40.Kf2 Ke8 41.Bxf5 gxf5

With his king in front of Black's passed pawn, White hopes for drawing chances in the rook and pawn ending.

42.Rg3 Rh2+ 43.Ke3 Kf7 44.c3 Rh4 45.Rg5 Re4+ 46.Kf3

White elects to keep his king in front of the passed pawn, but now his overextended queenside pawns are untenable.

46...Kf6 47.Rg8 Rc4 48.Rb8 Ke5 49.Rxb7 Rxc3+ 50.Ke2 Kxd5

Now, with two pawns to the good, Black has an easy win.

51.Kd2 Rc6 52.Kd3 f4 53.Rb8 Rc4 54.Rb7 f3 55.Ke3 Rc3+ 56.Kf2 Ke4 57.Rb8 Rc2+ 58.Kf1 Rb2

With his king restricted to the back rank, White can only move his rook around, trying to create threats.

59.Rc8 Ke3 60.Re8+ Kd4 61.Re7 c6 62.Rb7 d5 63.Rc7 Rc2 64.Rc8 Rc3

This allows White's king to move up, but now Black threatens 65...c5 66.Rc6 cxb4.

65.Kf2 c5 66.bxc5 Rxc5 67.Rh8 Rxa5 68.Kxf3 Ra2 69.Rh4+ Kd3 70.Rh1 d4 71.Rd1+ Kc3 72.Ke4 Re2+ 73.Kd5 d3 74.Rc1+ Kb2 75.Rd1 d2, White resigns.

{This article originally appeared in Atlantic Chess News in 1989}