KID

If you study the King’s Indian, then you will realize rather quickly that the Exchange Variation is not a solution. There is too much of a game left to be played and overall white scores less than 50% with it. This is how the pros drew their games in the good old days:

Nowadays it is not that easy anymore. On the other hand, you will discover that the mainline still offers a nice drawing line where white may even have a tiny advantage. Stick to this and refute all the sidelines and you are well on your way to your first IM-norm!

The alternative is also interesting:

Now we come to the line that it surprisingly difficult to deal with: 7… Na6!

There is just one problem:

So what happens if we take on e5 first?

While this position looks rather stable, white’s results are not stellar. That is no surprise, since it is basically just a version of the Exchange Variation with queens still on the board. This is the reason why delaying castling with 7. Be3 became fashionable again amongst the big boys. Unfortunately there are not many forced draws in that line. Here is one, but it isn’t convincing:

The Makagonov-Variation is quite interesting from a conceptual standpoint, because there is a possible transposition to the Benoni.

Play it safe!