This year’s Rilton Cup turned out well for me. It was not because I played very well, but rather due to the fact that I was a bit lucky and then didn’t make a mess of it in the later rounds. In the sixth round I managed to win a King’s Indian with the black colours against Maxim Turov and then in the seventh I got the chance to play the same side of the same opening against Mihail Krasenkow. It was clear to me that whatever happened I would always know less of what was going on than my opponent did. Maybe my real advantage was that I would not know how bad my position really was?
I’ll be back soon.
So, how do you learn to play an opening well? Read a book, or go through a DVD on the subject? Good idea. Play it in some blitz games (and then analyze them!!)? That’s another good idea. Try to find thematic exercises and solve them? Right on spot. Those are the basics, but where do you go from there? I would recommend two things:
1. Find a position in that opening and study it until you know it better than anyone (that you can imagine). Try to find something New, something that is your own idea.
2. Select someone who plays that opening well and go through that player’s games until his/her style becomes your second nature. You do not have to choose a world class player. Rather, choose someone that is principled and who plays a lot of lower rated opponents! In this way you will learn how to recognize and play against mistaken concepts. You will evolve.
I often get questions concerning the Kings Indian. Is it still playable? Can you avoid it if you play the Modern? How do you deal with the fianchetto variation? And it goes on. I do believe it to be playable. One reason is that Radjabov still plays it and another reason is that Smirin still plays it. Yes, Smirin; there you have your principled guy and one who does not only play against world class players. He is the kind of guy I would pick if I tried to learn the Kings Indian: