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King's Indian with h3 from the publisher "ChessBase"

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Title: King's Indian with h3 Author: Martin Breutigam
Language: Published: 2002
Publisher: ChessBase Gmbh Homepage:
Price: € 24,99
System requirements: Pentium, 32MB RAM, Windows 95/98/2000/Me/XP
Reviewed by: Allan Holst Date: 3/3 2003

King's Indian with h3

This time we take a look at German Martin Breutigam's second opening CD. The first was about the Chigorin, which was reviewed earlier by Erik Sobjerg. Here The King's Indian with h3 is in focus. This used to be one of GM Bent Larsen's favourite variations when confronting the Kings Indian. For example he won a splendid game against Kavalek in Solingen 1970. Interestingly enough in his notes in the German magazine Kaissiber no. 13 to the game Larsen - Crespo, Las Palmas 1999 Larsen writes about 6.h3: “Damit gewann man früher Partien. Jetzt wissen die Leute zuviel.”!

Nevertheless strong GMs like Krasenkov, Khalifman, Bareev and Beliavsky also stick to this ambitious system involving h3. Another compatriot of mine Correspondence GM Arne Bjorn Jorgensen is also a great expert in this field. In the Danish magazine “Skakbladet” nr. 4/2002 he even considers whether he should write a book about it? It would certainly be nice, but for now let us direct the attention to Breutigam's work.



Three main positions are covered on this CD:

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.h3


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.h3


and 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 Bg4

The material is divided in the following way:

  • 19 text files covers the theory of these three positions
  • around 150 games are annotated
  • 20 training games where the reader faces a direct challenge and can score points
  • a database including over 10.000 games

What makes these opening CDs very nice to use in general is the ability to jump back and forth from the theoretical sections to illustrative games with a single mouse click. It becomes apparent quickly that Breutigam has done a lot of work both regarding the theoretical section and the comments to the games. For some people it might be confusing that the comments to the same game sometimes are partly in English and partly in German language. All in all I think Breutigam has done a very good job explaining and selecting the material.

I was pleased to note that John Watson has begun reviewing chess books on TWIC again. The title of the first two new reviews has been “One Good, One Bad”, so now I am looking forward to the next review entitled “Two Ugly” I presume! My reason for mentioning it is that he also deals with Breutigam's h3 - CD and he also likes it. Whereas Watson discusses many of the variations, I shall limit myself to show some typical games and give my opinion of Breutigam's work.


8.Nh2 or Not - That's the Question!

One interesting point is that after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.h3 e5 7.d5 Nh5 opinions differ as to whether white should play 8.Nh2 or not.

Larsen once wrote that 8.Nh2 is the only good move, but Watson appears to disagree. Breutigam writes 8.Nh2! and as I felt sure that this was one of the main ideas behind the 6.h3 variation I was a bit puzzled to read Watson's opinion. Watson recommends 8...a5 instead of for example 8...Bf6? from the famous game Larsen-Kavalek.

Bent Larsen - Lubomir Kavalek
Solingen 1970
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4. d4 Bg7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.h3 e5 7.d5 Nh5 8.Nh2 Bf6 9.Be2 Ng7 10.h4 Bxh4 11.Qd2 h5 12.Qh6 Be7 13.g4 g5 14.gxh5 f5 15. Bd2 f4 16.0-0-0 Nd7 17.Rdg1 Rf7 18.Nf3 Nf8 19.Nxg5 Rf6 20.Qxg7+ Kxg7 21.Ne6+ Kh7 22.Nxd8 Bxd8 23.Bg4 Bxg4 24.Rxg4 Rf7 25.f3 Nd7 26.Be1 a6 27.Nd1 Bf6 28.Nf2 Rg8 29.Rxg8 Kxg8 30.Ng4 Rh7 31.Bf2 Kf7 32.b4 b6 33.Kd2 Be7 34.Kd3 Rh8 35.a4 Ra8 36.Nh6+ Kf8 37.Rg1 Ke8 38.Rg8+ Bf8 39.Bh4 a5 40.b5 Nc5+ 41.Kc2 Nxa4 42.Nf5 Rf7 43.Rg1 1-0. 


Much Scope for Investigation

Besides this interesting debate there is much scope for investigation for both sides in the h3-systems. As shown already in the three main positions white has some choices to make: Does white want to play Nf3 or Nge2? Does white want to play the strategically complicated position with a closed centre or is the early exchange on e5 more to his taste? Admittedly an early exchange variation does not seem to give any real hope of an advantage according to Breutigam.

However as a surprise weapon against the typical Kings Indian player it surely has some psychological merits. Many highly interesting games are analyzed involving players like Kramnik, Kasparov, Anand and many other top players on both sides. Ivanchuk also tested it against Ponomariov in their only encounter before the final in FIDE's World Championship. This leads me to the conclusion that the h3 systems are highly relevant alternatives to the long well trodden paths against the Kings Indian.


The Database

The database contains more than 10.000 games which is quite impressive, but I still think some important correspondence games could have been included. For example Arne Bjorn Jorgensen has been involved in some theoretically valuable games. Take for instance the following positional lesson:

Arne Bjorn Jorgensen - Soares de Sa Ermano
Najdorf Memorial corr. 2001-2002:
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.h3 e5 7.d5 Na6 8.Bg5 Qe8 9.g4 Nd7 10.Rg1 Kh8 11.Qd2 Ndc5 12.0-0-0 Bd7 13.Kb1 f6 14.Be3 Rg8 15.Ne1 Nb4 (15...f5 is the main line) 16.Nb5 Nba6 17.f3 Na4 18.h4 Nb6 19.b3 Bxb5 20.cxb5 Nb8 21.g5 f5 22.Rc1 f4 23.Bf2 Qe7 24.h3 Bf8 25.a4 Qd8 26.Nd3 Rg7 27.Rc2 Nc8 28.Rgc1 1-0.

Overall it must be concluded that Martin Breutigam has done a terrific job again. An interesting approach against the Kings Indian is covered very well both regarding theory, annotated games and training games. Players of very differing levels can learn and get inspiration from this CD I think. Therefore it is recommended for both the club player as well as for the serious tournament player below grandmaster level.



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