The King's Indian Attack
Notes on a Lecture by FM Steve Stoyko

The great thing about an opening like the King's Indian Attack as White is that it is more about piece placement and positional motifs than it is about specific book lines. Every piece has its best square -- except the dark-squared Bishop. As FM Steve Stoyko pointed out in discussing these games, the successful development of White's queen's Bishop thus often signals the end. As he put it: "As soon as you know where that Bishop goes, the game is over." It is remarkable how well that idea holds up across these nine examples.

Steve Stoyko (2341) - John Jarecki (2239) [B50]

New Jersey 1983


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3 d6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O Nc6 7. Nbd2 Nge7 8. a4 O-O 9. Re1 Rb8?!

9... e5! 10. Nc4

 

10. h4 f5?!

In his notes to the game, John Nerney writes that 10... e5 is the "only move."

 

11. exf5! gxf5 12. Nc4 b5?

12... d5?! 13. Nce5 Nxe5 14. Nxe5 Nc6 15. Bf4 or 12... b6 13. c3 a6

 

13. axb5 Rxb5 14. c3 Qc7?!

14... e5!?

 

15. Ng5! Rf6

No better are 15... d5 16. Na3 Rb6 17. Nxe6 or 15... e5 16. Ne3 h6 17. Qa4! a6 18. Qc4+ Kh8 19. Ne6 Bxe6 20. Qxe6 Rf6 21. Nd5 Nxd5 22. Qxd5

 

16. Qh5 h6

16... Rh6? 17. Qe8+ Bf8 18. Qf7+ Kh8 19. Qxf8+

 

17. Bxc6! Qxc6

17... Nxc6 18. Nxe6! (18. Rxe6!?) 18... Bxe6 19. Qe8+ Kh7 20. Rxe6

 

18. Rxa7 Bb7 19. Rxb7! Rxb7

19... Qxb7? 20. Nxd6

 

20. Na5 Qc7 21. Nxb7 hxg5 22. Bxg5!

Decisive. Not 22. hxg5? Rg6!

 

22... Rf7

22... Qxb7 23. Qe8+!+-

 

23. Rxe6 Qxb7 24. Rxd6 Rf8 25. Qe2 Nc8

25... Ra8!? 26. Kh2 Ra1 27. f3+-

 

26. Rg6

26. Qe6+ Qf7 27. Qxf7+ Kxf7 28. Rc6+-

 

26... Qf7 27. Re6 Qd7 28. h5 Kf7 29. Ra6! Nd6 30. Qf3+- 1-0


Steve Stoyko (2340) - Fitzko (1950) [A04]

New York/New York, NY 1984


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 g6 5. O-O Bg7 6. d3 Nf6 7. Nbd2 O-O 8. a4 Rb8 9. Nc4 e6?! 10. e5! dxe5 11. Nfxe5 Nxe5 12. Nxe5 Nd5 13. Re1 Qc7 14. Nc4 b6 15. h4!?

15. Bxd5!? exd5 16. Bf4 would appear an even more decisive entry of the dark-squared Bishop but that it leaves Black with complete control of the light-squares and an attack on the long diagonal. 16... Qc6 17. Bxb8 dxc4 18. Be5 Bb7~~

 

15... Bb7 16. h5 Rbd8 17. Bg5!

The Bishop enters with threat and invites the decisive weakening of Black's kingside.

 

17... f6?! 18. Bd2+/- Rfe8 19. hxg6 hxg6 20. c3

White contin ues to attack on both sides of the board rather than over-commiting to the kingside by 20. Qg4 Qf7 21. Re2 is unclear.

 

20... e5 21. Qb3 Kf8?! 22. a5 Bc8 23. axb6

23. d4

 

23... Nxb6

23... axb6 24. Bxd5 Rxd5 25. Qxb6 Qxb6 26. Nxb6 Rxd3 27. Be3

 

24. Be3 Nd5 25. Bxd5 Rxd5 26. Nb6! Rxd3 27. Nxc8

Fritz finds the rather deep and complex idea 27. Rxa7! Qxa7 28. Bxc5+ Re7 29. Qc4 Ba6 (29... Rd8 30. Nxc8) 30. Bxe7+ Kxe7 (30... Qxe7 31. Qxa6 ) 31. Qxd3! Qxb6! (31... Bxd3 32. Nc8++-) 32. Qxg6 Kf8 33. Rxe5! with a decisive attack for White. Steve's approach is just as fast.

 

27... Rxc8 28. Qc4 Rd7 29. Ra6! Ke7?

There is no easy way for Black to defend against the threat of R1a1, Rxa7 and Bxc5+, but letting the White Queen invade on the kingside or e6+ is not helpful.

 

30. Rea1

30. Qe6+ Kf8 (30... Kd8 31. Qg8+) 31. Bxc5+ Qxc5 32. Qxd7+-

 

30... Ke8 31. Qg8+ Bf8 32. Bh6 Ke7 33. Re6+ Kd8 34. Qxf8# 1-0

[Michael Goeller]


Steve Stoyko - Paul Truong [B40]

N.J. Open/New Jersey (6) 1983


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3 Nc6 4. g3 d6 5. Bg2 Nf6 6. O-O Be7 7. Nbd2 O-O 8. a4 Re8 9. Re1 Bf8 10. e5 dxe5 11. Nxe5 Nxe5 12. Rxe5 Bd6 13. Re1 e5?! 14. Nc4 Rb8 15. b3 Bg4 16. Qd2 Qc7 17. Bb2

White already has a substantial advanage, which the Bishop's placement on the long diagonal helps to solidify due to the pressure on the Black e-pawn.

 

17... Bh5?

Necessary was 17... Nd7 18. Qg5 Be6 19. Nxd6 Qxd6 20. Bxe5 Nxe5 21. Qxe5 though Black still loses a pawn.

 

18. Nxd6 Qxd6 19. Qg5 Re6

19... h6 20. Bxe5! hxg5 21. Bxd6+-

 

20. Bxe5 Rbe8 21. Bxd6 Rxe1+ 22. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 23. Bf1 Bg4

23... Be2 24. Qd2

 

24. Qd2 Rb1 25. Kg2 1-0


Steve Stoyko (2340) - Peter Radomskij (2260) [A05]

Quad/New Jersey (1) 1990


1. e4 e6 2. d3 c5 3. g3 d5 4. Nd2 Nf6 5. Bg2 Nc6 6. Ngf3 b6 7. O-O Bb7 8. Re1 Be7 9. a3 Qc7 10. c3 dxe4 11. dxe4 Rd8

11... e5 12. Nh4

 

12. e5 Nd7 13. Qe2 g5!? 14. Nc4 h6?!

14... g4

 

15. h4! b5?!

15... g4 16. Nh2 h5 17. Bg5! Bxg5 18. Nd6+ Kf8 19. hxg5

 

16. Nd6+! Bxd6 17. exd6 Qxd6 18. hxg5 c4 19. Bf4! Qe7

19... Qd3 20. Qxd3 cxd3 21. gxh6

 

20. g6!?

20. Nh4!? or 20. Ne5 are also strong.

 

20... Nc5 21. Ne5 Nxe5 22. Qxe5! f6 23. Qh5

23. g7! Rg8 24. Qh5+ Qf7 25. Qxc5+-

 

23... Kf8 24. Bxb7 Nxb7 25. Rad1 Kg7 26. Rxd8 Nxd8 27. Qxb5+- e5 28. Qxc4 Ne6 29. Rxe5! fxe5 30. Bxe5+ Kxg6?!

30... Kg8 31. Bxh8 (31. Bd4!? h5 32. f4 Rh6 33. f5) 31... Kxh8 32. Qe4 Kg7 33. f4

 

31. Bxh8 Ng5 32. Qd3+ Kf7 33. Qf5+ Ke8 34. Bf6 Qe1+ 35. Kg2 Ne4 36. Qe6+ 1-0


Steve Stoyko (2340) - G.. McDonald (2220) [C00]

Action Quads/Westfield, NJ


1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6

A more recent game of Steve's went 3... c5 4. Ngf3 Nc6 5. g3 g6!? 6. Bg2 Bg7 7. O-O Nge7 8. Re1 b6 9. a4 Bb7 10. c3 Qc7 11. h4 h6 12. exd5 Nxd5 13. Nb3 O-O 14. d4 Rfd8 15. Qe2 cxd4 16. Nbxd4 Nxd4 17. Nxd4 Nxc3! 18. bxc3 Bxg2 19. Kxg2 Qxc3 20. Bb2 Qb4 21. Nxe6! Qxb2 22. Qxb2 Bxb2 23. Nxd8 Bxa1 24. Nxf7= 1/2-1/2 Stoyko-Bonin, U.S. Amateur Teams East 2005 (24) In this case, he was content to draw against a higher rated player in order to hold first board in our team match. The KIA is well-suited for making sure you do not lose the game!

 

4. Ngf3 b6 5. g3 Bb7 6. e5 Nfd7 7. Bg2 c5 8. O-O Nc6 9. Re1 g5! 10. c4! d4

10... Nb4 11. Nb3 g4 (11... Be7 12. a3) 12. Nh4 is good for White.

 

11. Ne4 h6

11... g4 12. Bg5! Qc7 13. Nh4

 

12. Nfxg5!?

A sacrifice that makes way for the dark-squared Bishop!

 

12... hxg5 13. Bxg5 Qc7 14. Nf6+ Nxf6 15. Bxf6 Rg8 16. Qh5 Rg6 17. Be4 Rh6 18. Qf3 Na5 19. h4 Bxe4 20. Rxe4 Nc6 21. Rae1 Be7 22. Rg4 Rd8 23. Qf4 Rh7 24. Qe4 Rh5 25. Rg8+ Kd7 26. Rg7 Bxf6 27. exf6

and in this complex position, Black forfeited on time. 1-0


Steve Stoyko - M.. Schechter (2293) [B50]

U.S. Teams/New Jersey (3) 1986


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d3 g6

3... Nf6 4. Nbd2 g6 5. g3 Bg7 6. Bg2 e6 7. O-O O-O 8. Re1 d5 9. c3 b6 10. e5 Nd7 11. d4 Bb7 12. Nf1 Rc8 13. h4 cxd4 14. cxd4 Nb4 15. Bg5! Qe8 16. Ne3 f6 17. exf6 Nxf6 18. a3 Na6 19. Bxf6 Bxf6 20. Ng4 Nb8 21. Ng5! Bxg5 22. hxg5 White's domination of the dark squares is now complete. 22... Qc6 23. Qe2 Rc7 24. Rac1! Qxc1 25. Nh6+!+- 1-0 Stoyko-Mondello, U.S. Teams 1984 (25)

 

4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 e6

5... e5 6. O-O Nge7 7. c3 O-O 8. a3 d6 9. b4 h6 10. Nbd2 Be6 11. Rb1 b6 12. Bb2!? Qd7 13. d4 1/2-1/2 Stoyko - Tal Shaked, NY It 1996-04-07. The idea of Bb2 to support the d4 advance and help control the dark squares has since become well known.

 

6. Nbd2 Nge7 7. O-O O-O 8. Re1 d6 9. a4 Rb8 10. h4 a6 11. h5 b5 12. axb5 axb5 13. hxg6 fxg6 14. Nf1 Qb6 15. Rb1 Qa5 16. Bf4 Rd8?!

16... e5 was probably necessary. Now White gains a nice space advantage and develops a classic KIA offensive on the kingside.

 

17. e5! d5 18. Bh3 Rf8 19. Ne3 d4 20. Ng4 Nd5 21. Bh6 Rb7 22. Bxg7 Kxg7 23. Ng5 h5? 24. Nf6 Nxf6 25. exf6+ Rxf6 26. Ne4 Rbf7 27. f4 Qb6 28. Nxf6 Rxf6 29. Ra1! Ne7 30. Re5 Kf7 31. Qe2 Bb7 32. Re1 Qc6 33. Bg2 Qxg2+ 34. Qxg2 Bxg2 35. Kxg2 Nd5 36. c4 bxc4 37. dxc4 Ne3+ 38. R1xe3 dxe3 39. Rxc5 Ke7 40. Kf3 Rf8 41. Kxe3 Kd6 42. b4 Ra8 43. Ra5 Rf8 44. Ra6+ Kd7 45. b5 Rf5 46. Ra7+ Kc8 47. Re7 g5 48. Rxe6 h4 49. gxh4 gxh4 50. Kf3 Rh5 51. Kg4 Rh8 52. Ra6 1-0


Steve Stoyko - Koval (2113) [A08]

New Jersey Open/New Jersey, USA 1983


1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. Ngf3 Nf6

4... Nc6 5. g3 Bd6 6. Bg2 Nge7 is called the Karpov System against the King's Indian Attack because the former champion employed it successfully several times.

 

5. g3 Nc6 6. Bg2 Be7

6... Bd6 instead would eventually entail playing Pe5 to secure the dark squares-which would only weaken the light!

 

7. O-O dxe4

Many players see this exchange as equalizing, but it surrenders the center and causes Black difficulties preventing White's space-gaining Pe5 except by playing Pe5 himself, surrendering control of the important light squares.

 

8. dxe4 b6 9. Qe2 Nb4

Such short-term tactical threats often help White in achieving his strategic ends.

 

10. Nc4

10. e5!? Ba6 11. c4 Nd7 12. Ne4

 

10... Ba6 11. a3

11. Rd1 Qc7 12. Bf4

 

11... Bxc4 12. Qxc4 Nc6

Black's Knight adventure has lost time and surrendered the two Bishops. White has a very significant edge, especialy as he now advances in the center, opening the long diagonal and gaining space.

 

13. e5 Nd7

13... Nd5 wold cause Black problems after Qg4, Rd1 and c4.

 

14. Qg4! g6 15. Qe4

White could immediately play 15. Bh6!? but he wants to encourage Black to castle into an attack.

 

15... Rc8 16. h4 O-O?!

Not the best idea, but the King will not be safe anywhere.

 

17. Bh6!

As usual, the dark-squared Bishop deploys to its best square and signals that the end is near.

 

17... Re8 18. Rad1 Qc7 19. Rfe1 Bf8 20. Bxf8!

20. Bf4 Bg7 gives Black more chances.

 

20... Nxf8

Defenders like to say you can't mate a King if he's protected by a Knight at f8. In this case, though, it's the dark squares that give White entry.

 

21. h5! Kg7? 22. Qf4 Qe7 23. h6+! Kg8 24. Ng5 Nxe5

A desperate idea that helps White in opening lines.

 

25. Rxe5 f6 26. Rxe6! fxg5 27. Rxe7 gxf4 28. Bd5+ Kh8 29. Rg7! Re6 30. Bxe6 Nxe6 31. Rxa7 fxg3 32. fxg3 White will soon double Rooks on the 7th with deadly consequences. 1-0


Steve Stoyko - K.. Farrell [A04]

Hillside A vs. B/Hillside, NJ USA 1983


1. e4 d6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d3

You can even play the KIA against the Pirc, which is bound to be something for which Black has not prepared.

 

3... g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O c5

Now it is practically a Sicilian. 6... e5!? 7. h3 h6 may be better.

 

7. Nbd2 Nc6 8. a4 a6?!

Against White's a4, Black needs to prepare his queenside advance by b6, a6, Rb8 and only then b5. That gives White lots of time for play on the kingside or in the center.

 

9. Nc4 Rb8 10. a5! b5?!

Black may regain his pawn but his position is weakened significantly by this premature advance. 10... Be6 11. Nfd2

 

11. axb6 Nd7 12. Nfd2! Nxb6 13. Nxb6

13. f4!? 13. c3!?

 

13... Qxb6 14. Nc4 Qc7 15. c3 Ne5 16. Ne3 e6 17. f4! Nc6 18. f5

Black's play on the queenside has been curtailed, but White's play on the kingside is progressing rapidly.

 

18... Na5? 19. f6! Bh8 20. Ra3!

Black's play on the queenside is stymied and his kingside is ripe for invasion.

 

20... Qb6 21. Ng4 h5 22. Nh6+ Kh7 23. Qd2! Nb3 24. Rxb3!! Qxb3 25. Nxf7! Rxf7 26. Qh6+ Kg8 27. Qxg6+ Kf8 28. Bh6+ Ke8 29. Qg8+ Kd7 30. Qxf7+ Kc6 31. e5+

and Black resigned rather than face 31...d5 32.Qe7 with an inevitable new queen by f6-f7-f8=Q.

1-0


Steve Stoyko - Spiro [A08]

Independent League Match/Hillside, NJ USA 1984


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3 d5 4. Nbd2 Nf6 5. g3 b6 6. Bg2 Bb7 7. O-O!?

Trying to encourage the following exchange by Black, which surrenders the center.

 

7... dxe4 8. Ng5 Nbd7 9. Ndxe4 Qc7 10. Qf3 Rb8 11. Re1 Be7 12. Bf4!

As usual, the dark-squared Bishop enters the game with an important effect. Black is now forced to make the following advance, which only further weakens the light squares and creates targets for White's growing initiative.

 

12... e5 13. Bd2!

With the idea of redeploying to c3.

 

13... h6 14. Nxf6+ Nxf6 15. Ne4 Nxe4 16. dxe4

Black appears at first to have equalized by the exchange of Knights and by forcing White's pawn to e4, blocking the e-file. But the resulting position leaves White with the much better Bishops (since the Bishop at g2 can redeploy), the safer King, the better pawns, and the better development (which guarantees he will have control of the important d-file). These are not in themselves winning advantages, but together they create a solid edge for White.

 

16... Bd6?!

A rather dubious redeployment of the Bishop, making it difficult to challenge on the d-file. Necessary was 16... Rd8 17. Rad1 c4!? (17... h5!?) 18. Qg4 g6 19. Bc3 h5~~ with the plan of not castling but working to gain a favorable position for the ending.

 

17. c4!?

Locking up the queenside so that White's play on the kingside by Pf4 will be even stronger. 17. Bf1!? c4 18. b3!? was another idea.

 

17... Qe7 18. Rad1 O-O 19. Bh3 Bc8?

The following exchange of Black's best piece is good for White, as Stoyko recognizes. Most importantly, Black will now not be able to prevent White from completely dominating the open d-file by Rd5!, Re1, and Qd3 if he chooses.

 

20. Bxc8! Rfxc8 21. Qg4 Kh8 22. Bc3

White's positional advantage grows and grows.

 

22... Rd8 23. Rd5 Bc7 24. f4

White's attack practically plays itself since the plan is dictated by clear features of the position. Now the pressure on e5 aids White to a breakthrough.

 

24... Rxd5 25. exd5

The e-file opens again.

 

25... f6 26. fxe5 Bxe5 27. Bxe5 fxe5 28. Qe6

Simple chess.

 

28... Re8?

Black's best try is 28... Qxe6 29. dxe6 Kh7 30. Rxe5 Kg6 31. Rd5! (31. e7? Re8 32. Kf2 Kf6 33. Re1 Rxe7 34. Rxe7 Kxe7 35. Ke3 Ke6 36. Ke4 g6= will get White nowhere.) 31... Re8 32. Rd7 Rxe6 33. Rxa7+/- when White has a long road ahead to convert his pawn advantage.

 

29. Qxe7 Rxe7 30. Kf2 Kg8 31. Ke3 Kf8 32. Ke4 Rf7 33. d6! Rf2 34. Kd5!!

...in the classic fashion made famous by the game Capablanca - Tartakower, New York 1924, White eschews the win of Black's pawns in order to use them to shield his King from checks from behind as he supports his passed pawn to the queening square.

 

34... Ke8 35. Kc6 Kd8 36. Rxe5 Rf7 37. g4+-

Black resigns since, to prevent Rf5, he must play 37....g6 38.Re6 Rg7 39.h4! and White will win with the aid of zugzwang. This was an admirable technical handling of the KIA.

1-0

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