Review of the King’s Indian According to Petrosian

The King’s Indian According to Tigran Petrosian by IM Igor Yanvarjov 2019 Russell Enterprises, Inc. 424 pp

When looking at a book such as this one it’s important to understand that there are two main reasons that an author writes a book.

The first is to earn money. Many books are written by authors who are writing about an assigned topic in order to earn a payday because they are working professionals who need to pay the rent the same as the rest of us.

The second type of book is one that’s a labor of love. Any monies generated are almost secondary in nature. Rather the book represents the author’s absolute unwavering love for the topic at hand. This book is of that second type.

Why the title of the book may read as though it’s a opening manual, it is very much not. Yes, the book is themed around Petrosian’s games in the King’s Indian, and reading this book in depth will help enhance the reader’s understanding of the KID, but the real point of this book is to show the nuanced handling of positions that the ninth world champion is so known for.

Having said that, this book will be of some use in learning the opening for players who prefer to take a “deep dive” approach and look at historical games in order to build a proper foundation for an opening.

It’s important to remember that Petrosian passed away 35 years ago, and so every line in this book should be taken with a grain of salt and checked very thoroughly by players just coming to the KID.

The book is divided into three parts with each part being split into several chapters. They are:

Part 1 Tabiyas

Chapter 1 Classical Variation

Chapter 2 The Samisch System

Chapter 3 The Fianchetto Variation

Chapter 4 The Benoni

Chapter 5 Other Systems

Part 2 Elements of Success

Chapter 6 Portrait of a Chess Player

Chapter 7 Lessons from Petrosian

Chapter 8 The Problem of the Exchange

Chapter 9 “Furman’s Bishop”

Chapter 10 “Pawns are the soul of chess”

Chapter 11 Playing by Analogy

Chapter 12 Maneuvering Battle

Part III Experiments

Chapter 13 Realist or Romantic?

Chapter 14 The King’s Indian with Colors – and Flanks – Reversed

Readers who paid careful attention to the above table of contents will have picked up on the fact that with chapters such as Chapter 4 The Benoni this work isn’t strictly a King’s Indian treatise as much as it is the King’s Indian and related positions.

“What about the games themselves?” readers are hopefully asking by this point. The games are all annotated to varying degrees. Some have only light notes, whereas others have very detailed analytical variations. It is in this area that I believe that Yanvarjov does an excellent job.

Many of the games contain quoted historical analysis or comments, whether by Tigran himself or his contemporaries. In addition the author goes into great analytical detail where it makes sense.

I also thought that IM Yanvarjov did an excellent job of mixing in both prose and variations to describe the action taking place within the positions. In some cases a verbal description is given which should be helpful to players of club level in particular.

Take this position for instance, from the second game between Bisguier and Petrosian in the 1954 USA-USSR Radio Match. Here the American GM has just played 18.Nd5

“Bisguier forces the issue but achieves little. The calm 18.Rd2, with the goal of increasing the pressure in the center by doubling rooks, is more unpleasant for Black.”

This is a simple enough explanation for readers of any level to understand, and reams of variationally inclined analysis doesn’t get the point across in as clear as manner.

Here’s an excellent example where some analysis combines with a clear verbal explanation to one again convey a clear image. This is the position after move 31 in the game Borisenko-Petrosian in the 21st USSR Championship.

Here White plays 32.Kh2. Writes Yanvarjov:

“To this point, White had played very consistently, but now Borisenko’s constant companion in his tournament games, time trouble, came into play. Instead of the irresolute king move, by playing b2-b4!, White could have posed challenging problems for his opponent. However, the most principled continuation was probably not 32.b4, but 32.Bd2 and only then b2-b4. For example, 32.Bd2 Kh7 33.b4 Nd7 34.b5 Nb8 35.Qe3 Qf8 36.f4, etc.”

My assessment of this book is that it’s a book written as a labor of love designed to showcase the player who appears to have made the biggest impression on Yanvarjov, while also being very useful as a games collection.

Again, I should stress that those who want to use this book as an opening manual will have a lot of additional work to do, but for those who are looking at this as a games collection you will see a lot of practical use from this book.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this one today.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Korchnoi – Sax 1991 Game 4

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Korchnoi – Sax 1991 Game 3

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Korchnoi – Sax 1991 Game 2

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Korchnoi-Sax 1991 Candidates Match

For our next series of Games of the Day, let’s take a look at what a 60 year old Viktor Korchnoi was able to do in his 1991 Candidates Match with Hungarian Legend Gyula Sax.

For some backstory into this match take a listen to Ben Johnson’s most recent episode of Perpetual Chess where he interviews legendary GM Vladimir Tukmakov, who speaks about his work in this match.

You can find that here.

As for the games, let’s get started. As you will see, age does not have to be a barrier as long as love for the game remains strong.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

If you like this blog, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. Any money I raise will go towards lessons and stronger tournaments.

If you can spare it, please click here and become a supporter. Even $1 a month can help me achieve my dream.

Magnus at Nanjing 2009 – Round Ten

The answer to whether or not Magnus would slow down is answered with an emphatic “NO!”

And with this win Magnus propels himself into the 2800 club and into a solid lead in the conversation about heirs to Vishy’s throne.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

If you like this blog, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. Any money I raise will go towards lessons and stronger tournaments.

If you can spare it, please click here and become a supporter. Even $1 a month can help me achieve my dream.

Magnus at Nanjing 2009 – Round Nine

Tomorrow we’ll look at the final round – will Magnus slow down?

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

If you like this blog, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. Any money I raise will go towards lessons and stronger tournaments.

If you can spare it, please click here and become a supporter. Even $1 a month can help me achieve my dream.

Magnus at Nanjing 2009 – Round Eight

Tomorrow we’ll look at round nine!

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

If you like this blog, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. Any money I raise will go towards lessons and stronger tournaments.

If you can spare it, please click here and become a supporter. Even $1 a month can help me achieve my dream.

Review of Attack and Counterattack in Chess by Fred Reinfeld

Attack & Counterattack in Chess by Fred Reinfeld – 2019 Algebraic Edition by Russell Chess Enterprises, Inc. 88pp $12.95

With this volume REI continues their translation of many of the classic works of Reinfeld into algebraic notation for a new generation of readers.

While Reinfeld is often dismissed these days, it’s important to note that he is referred to by FM Alex Dunne as “The Man Who Taught America Chess” and not without good reason.

Yes, he wrote over 100 volumes on chess, and many of them are rightfully considered to be potboilers. Yet at his best he was very, very good. Even today Reinfeld often serves as one of the earliest authors introduced to young players just coming in to the game. Note for example that Chess in a Nutshell was Ray Robson’s first chess book per his dad.

Let’s also not forget that Reinfeld was immensely strong as a player. The first rating list issued by US Chess in 1950 saw Reinfeld listed with a rating of 2593, good for sixth in the nation behind only Reuben Fine, Sammy Reshevsky, Alexander Kevitz, Arthur Dake, and Albert Simonson.

Attack & Counterattack in Chess is as much a pamphlet as it is anything, which does explain the lower price, but it’s an excellent early book for those starting out. One reason for this is that the annotations are primarly verbal explanations with minimal variations. This allows for concepts to be communicated quite clearly to those players who may not yet be able to understand positions based on the variations that lie within.

This book is presented in two parts. Part One from White’s point of view, with Part Two coming from Black’s.

The Chapters in Part One are

  • How to Control the Center
  • How to Exploit Superior Mobility
  • How to Exploit Black’s Premature Opening Up of the Position
  • How to Exploit Black’s Premature Counterattack
  • How to Exploit Black’s Weakening Pawn Moves
  • How to Exploit Black’s Errors of Judgement
  • How to Exploit Irregular Defenses

The Chapter in Part Two are

  • How to Seize the Initiative
  • How to Play against Gambits
  • How to  Defend Against a Powerful Attack
  • How to Seize the Attack
  • How to Exploit Unusual Openings

Here’s an example of the kind of prosaic annotations readers will be treated to:

White has just played 16.b4!!

“With his last move White has established a lasting bind on the position. By preventing …c5 for good, he has stamped Black’s c-pawn as a backward pawn on an open file. In all the intricate maneuvering that follows, White keeps his eye on this pawn and finally piles up enough force to capture it.”

A few moves later this position is reached after 21…Nd5

“Now that White has pinpointed the weakness, he goes on to the next phase: piling up on the weakness. First comes a very fine knight maneuver aimed at transferring his knight from c3 to a5. At this latter post the White knight will bear down on the weak c-pawn.”

Here’s another excellent example.

“Black’s position looks uncomfortably cramped, but he has his compensations. By attacking White’s e-pawn, he limits White’s freedom of action. Also, Black is well posted to prevent the aggressive advance of e4-e5.

But Black has other ideas. His main idea is to free himself sometime later by …d5. First he must play …c6 to make that move possible. Second, he must play …d5 at a time when the powerful reply e4-e5 is not feasible. The later course of the game will show how Black carries out his idea.”

These types of annotations are invaluable to those who are post beginners.

My only real complaint is that the names of the players and tournament information is omitted from the games themselves. So each game is simply a list of the moves along with the opening.

This is particularly a pity in a work such as this where that could have been easily corrected in this day and age. I especially wish this was done as many of the younger players today aren’t aware of the of the all time greats who’s games appear in this book, such as Gligoric, Tarrasch, etc.

Nevertheless, this book is worth acquiring by anyone who is either just starting out in chess, coaches someone who fits that description, or who wants to relive a volume they might have lovingly perused in their salad days.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

If you like this blog, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. Any money I raise will go towards lessons and stronger tournaments.

If you can spare it, please click here and become a supporter. Even $1 a month can help me achieve my dream.

Magnus at Nanjing 2009 – Round Seven

Tomorrow we’ll look at round eight!

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

If you like this blog, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. Any money I raise will go towards lessons and stronger tournaments.

If you can spare it, please click here and become a supporter. Even $1 a month can help me achieve my dream.