23 December 2012

Annotated Game #76: Strategic blunders in the English

The most notable feature of this second-round tournament game is the two strategic blunders made by White out of the opening, an English vs. King's Indian Defense (KID) setup.  Move 10, where White pushes b4 without the a3 pawn to support it, is an excellent lesson in how not to execute the standard queenside expansion plan.  White's rook, after retaking on b4, is pushed around and Black easily takes over the initiative after White's second strategic error on move 13.  With 13. Qc1, White was attempting to play on the kingside and exchange off the Bg7, but this is far too slow and never actually happens.

There are some other interesting points to the game, which I managed to draw in the end.  However, the strategic lessons of 1) not pushing b4 when opposed by a5, until the b-pawn can be supported by the a-pawn, and 2) not haphazardly switching from a queenside to kingside strategy, are the most valuable for anyone playing a similar setup as White.  For those inclined to play the KID as Black, the game and analysis variations included offer a good guide to exploiting these types of errors.


  1. Perhaps you could have played on, after ...Kf8 or ...Kh8, you can pick up the h-pawn with a tempo (either check, after Kh8, or threat of mate on the back rank after ...Kf8. Then you could also pick up the g-pawn, and have the plan of advancing the h-pawn coupled with pressure on the f-pawn and threats to the enemy king.

  2. I definitely could have played on, and probably would if I were playing the game now. As it happened, at that point in the game psychologically I was happy to take the draw, after Black blew his advantage.