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possibilities. The reader should convince himself that here 8 e5 dxe5 9 fxe5 £>g4 only further increases White's difficulties. This line, and the lines derived from it, are very important. There is a major fight going on in the centre, and little things can make a big difference. If White can turn that fight to his advantage, then 5 f4 could be the correct way to proceed. However, the evidence as of today is that it is not possible for White to do this, and further, and possibly more importantly, 5 f4 leaves the centre over-extended, and one would expect a significant reaction by Black. The final word on this line has certainly not been said; however, we consider the move 5 f4 to be wrong (very subtly) because it over-exposes the white centre.

The 5 f3 line

In view of the coming challenge to White's centre by either ...c5 or ...e5,

White does best to prepare to hold his d4-pawn in place as long as possible. In order to do this, he must use the g 1-knight and also the cl-bishop. The bishop must go to e3, which is the only place from which it can support d4. It must be able to rest securely there without having to worry about being exchanged by ...£>g4. So, we come to our System recommended move: 5 f3 (D).

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This move establishes firm control over e4, and prevents an eventual ...£>g4, thus paving the way for an early J.e3 together with £>ge2.

It would be rather euphoric to believe that all this comes clearly out of my present-day understanding of the System. However, in following all the arguments above, it should be clear that what fuels Black's counter-attack are the moves ...e5 and ...£>g4 after White has played J.e3. This is strong motivation for eliminating the possibility of ...£}g4 and preparing to defend the centre by i.e3 and £>ge2.

The above arguments are not typical System arguments. The fact that ...£>g4 is strong is something that is the result of tens of thousands of games and much discussion over the chess board in top tournament play over the past 50 years.

How should Black continue after 5 f3?

Let us now look at how the System selects the moves that follow. One important continuation is 5...0-0 6 J.e3 e5 7 £>ge2 (it is necessary to be able to reply to ...exd4 with £>xd4, as after J.xd4, ...£>c6 would again threaten to exchange White's valuable bishop). The reader should note that the nature of the white pawn position has made his dark-squared bishop considerably more valuable than his light-squared one. Now follows 7...c6 8 Wd2 (D).

All of White's moves are a logical harmonious continuation of the plan begun with 5 f3.

From about 1952 until the 1980s, 8 ®d2 had been considered bad. The reason was that Black can now make a break into the centre by means of 8...exd4 9 ^xd4 d5 and threaten to isolate White's e-pawn. If White meets this by 10 cxd5 cxd5 11 e5 £>e8 12 f4, Black's coming ...f6 will

soon show that White's central setup is weak. However, it was then discovered that White can play 10 exd5! cxd5 11 c5 £>c6 12 i.e2 Se8 13 0-0 with an excellent position.

Black also can continue less aggressively with 8...£>bd7 9 0-0-0 (the Systematic way to continue) 9...a6 10 ibl b5 11 £>cl exd4 12 i.xd4 leading to an excellent position for White.

So, the variation beginning with 6...e5 is again considered good for White, and Black has had to search for other means of defending against the 5 f3 variation.

All lines where Black does not play 6...e5 consist of Black holding back his ...e5, and instead making some demonstration on the queenside first, mostly against the c4-pawn by means of ...b5. One very popular line of play after 5 f3 0-0 6 J.e3 is 6...&C6 (D).

This is a flexible move that can be a prelude to ...e5, or to ...a6 followed by ...Bb8 and ...b5. The move waits for White to choose his set-up, and then the c6-knight may be very useful. In the meantime, it avoids making a target by ...e5. However, the move threatens nothing, which is White's cue to action with Principle 9: Attack or make a Space-Grab. Well, we know that attacks that try to enforce h4-h5 in this position will not work as Black will open the centre by ...e5, long before the attack gets serious. But how about the space grab? Before Black gets in his ...b5, why can't White get in b4? This is undoubtedly the correct strategy, and another major contribution of this book.

After 7 Sbl!! (D) Black has difficulty in finding a workable plan.

The move b4 is imminent and will sweep aside all of Black's hopes on the queenside once it is played. White need only be careful about his min »#r mm suit!

« w iii timing, as there may be tactical counter-chances starting with ...e5 and if d5, then ...<SM4. So we have: a) On 7...i.d7 (7...a6 leads to similar play) White plays 8 b4. Now, in order to avoid being swept away, Black is practically forced to play 8...e5 9 d5 &d4 10 £>ge2 £Mi5! 11 «d2! (11 ^xd4 exd4 12 i.xd4 «h4+ is too strong; however, now i.f2 becomes possible as the c3-knight is defended). Now Black can no longer maintain the d4-knight without sacrificing a pawn in a rather unproductive way. If 1 l...«f6, then 12 i.g5. Or if ll...«h4+ 12 i.f2 «f6 13 &xd4 exd4 14 £>e2. And 1 l...c5 12 dxc6 is hardly to be considered. So Black must play 1 l...£>xe2 12 i.xe2, when White has an excellent position, several tempi ahead of similar positions that occur in this variation. 12...f5 can be met by 13 0-0, when 13...5M4 14 i.dl «g5?! 15 ¿hi «h5 16 i.c2 gives White a formidable queenside initiative, while Black's attack still has a long way to go before it becomes dangerous. Nor does 13...f4 14i.f2i.f6 15 «el g5 16 c5 offer Black much as White is again well ahead compared to usual positions in this variation.

b) Nor does 7...a5 8 a3! change anything. White will still advance b4, and not worry about the a-file, which will belong to White in the not-too-distant future.

c) On the immediate 7...e5 8 d5 £>d4 (8...£>e7 9 b4 and the queen-side attack is under way) 9 £>ge2 c5 (if 9...&xe2, 10 i.xe2 and White is several tempi ahead of the standard variations in which White attacks on the queenside and Black on the kingside) 10 dxc6 £>xc6 and White has a large positional advantage.

For many years, I used to defend against the Samisch Variation (5 f3) with the invention of the Byrne brothers, ...c6 and ...a6 intending ...b5. I can't recall ever losing a game with this line. In the Final of the 5th World Correspondence Championship, I played the following game:

H. de Carbonnel - H. Berliner

5th World Correspondence Ch, 1965-8

1 d4

2 c4

4 e4

5 f3

Agf7 d6 c6

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7 Wd2 b5

10 g4 Bb8

13 Sh2?

White should play 13 f4. After this White played more passive moves, and eventually became the victim of a brilliancy1. However, Black's play appears to give him good prospects in any case. Therefore, there is good reason to question White's set-up in the above game. Up to move 6, everything is according to The System. However, at move 7, White should consider how to best meet the coming advance 7...b5.

One of the matters that faces White in the King's Indian, is that Black can choose a set-up that allows him to go to any of possibly 2 to 4 methods of counter-attacking the white centre. The bogey on White's back is how to play to be ready for all of these. It is very much like some openings we have already examined, in which White must establish move-pairs and be ready to respond to any of Black's counter-thrusts.

However, one aspect of all this is that one must be sure that a threat is really a threat. Here the coming 7...b5 opens several possibilities for Black. He could play ...bxc4, and after J.xc4 play ...d5 and further weaken White's centre. He may also want to continue with ...b4 at some future time, and thereby get more space on the queenside. White must establish which of these threats is worthy of countering.

Consider the normal developing move 7 J.d3, and the continuation 7...b5. This cannot be played for tactical reasons, because White will respond 8 e5! £>fd7 9 f4 with a strong space advantage. Black does not have any meaningful breaks, e.g. 9...b4 10 &a4 Wa5 11 &f3 c5 12 dxc5 £>xc5 (12...dxe5 13 i.e4!) 13 £>xc5 dxc5 14 J.e4 with a big advantage.

1 The game and notes are presented in Chapter 7 (Game 11).

So Black must play either 7...0-0 or 7...£>bd7 first. Since both these moves have to be played by Black in this variation, it does not appear to matter which is played first. Let's consider 7...0-0. White then continues his development with 8 £>ge2 and now comes 8...b5 (D).

9...cxb5, White has everything his own way. It is like certain positions from the Ruy Lopez. White has a very strong centre, and can operate anywhere on the board. So if this is to be a meaningful variation, Black must play 9...axb5, whereupon White plays his ace: 10 b4! (D).

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The Byrne Counter-Attack

This position has been examined thousands of times by well-qualified players all over the world. Is the black attack something worth preventing? Almost everyone seems to believe that is the case. But is it really? White can be happy about the fact that Black has had to make a concession by castling or moving the b8-knight in order execute his plans. But now on to the position at hand. How is White to meet the twin threats of ...bxc4 and a possible ...b4?

The answer is the simple 9 cxb5!. If Black now plays the unthematic

Now Black should play 10...£tod7, but 11 a4! bxa4 12 Hxa4 gives White a significant space advantage on the queenside and complete command of the centre. If seems safe to say that here Black has not realized any of the counter-attacking possibilities he was looking for when he went into this line.

What to do Versus the King's Indian

Have we mapped out a battle plan against the King's Indian that will carry you to victory in all future contests? Of course not! We have applied the System principles to what is most likely the right plan, but much is left incomplete. There are some things that I am quite sure of and which the reader sympathetic to my approach would be well advised to remember.

a) 5 f3 is definitely the right way to proceed. Anyone who believes he/she is pursuing Nirvana with 5 £>f3 or 5 J.e2 or any number of other alternatives may be learning some clever traps, but he/she will not be developing a long-term winning plan.

b) The basic plan for White, due to the lack of competition in the centre, is:

bl) Be sure the centre is secure by developing the bishop to e3 and knight to e2 when required.

b2) If Black fails to challenge with ...e5 then make a space-grab on the queenside with a well-timed b4 advance.

b3) If Black challenges the centre with ...e5, then control d4, and build up pressure on the d-file. This will eventually force Black to play ...exd4, after which White owns a significant part of the board.

b4) If Black challenges with ...c5, then play d5 and handle the position as if it were a Modern Benoni (see Chapter 6, p. 119).

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