English Chinese (Simplified) German Hindi Romanian Russian Spanish

21 Days to Supercharge Your Chess

Give me 21 Days and I Will Show You How to
Become a Dramatically Better Chess Player

Chess Talk

Chess Players Online:

We have 198 guests online

Middlegame Mastery Lilov

King's Indian Defense: Dealing with the Bayonet Attack (9.b4) E-mail
Written by WGM Raluca Sgîrcea, IM Renier Castellanos   
Monday, 31 August 2015 00:00

king's indian defenseThe diagram shows the starting position of the so-called Bayonet Attack against the King's Indian Defense. For many years, this move 9.b4 has been considered the main line and possibly black's biggest problem in the whole Mar del Plata variation.

Popularized by Kramnik, who used it successfully against the great Garry Kasparov, and later on played by several other strong Grand Masters, the move 9.b4 has earned a well respected place when it comes to theory.

bayonet attack

White's system can be considered very flexible, but also quite aggressive, since white starts direct action on the queenside right away. Against almost any white 9th move, black's response would be 9...Nd7 (e8) preparing to play f7-f5 on the next move, starting his kingside counter attack. However, in this line, by keeping the knight on f3, white makes this idea rather risky, because when f5 is played, black will have to watch out for Nf3-g5 targeting the square e6.

The mainline against 9.b4 starts by black playing 9...Nh5. The current theoretical status of this move is considered to be okay for black, but still white has a slight pull. Also, against 9...Nh5 white has a considerable amount of interesting choices – 10.g3, 10.c5, 10.Re1 (main move) and even 10.Qc2 is possible.

In this article we are going to present 2 ways to deal with this variation in a direct way. While the ideas we propose here are far from perfection, they are good enough to drive your opponent into unbalanced positions where anything can happen.


In order to fight blunders, find the right plan in complex positions and improve your positional and tactical vision we recommend you to sign up for our comprehensive training course. Hundreds of chess players already benefited from our training . Don't wait, start winning chess games today.

bayonet attack

The first line we analyze is the move 9...a5. This is not anything new at all, but the idea we examine after 10.Ba3 Nd7 deserves some attention. This line involves an exchange sacrifice in order to seize the initiative on the kingside. We believe that white may be slightly better, but in such a tricky position the evaluations don't mean much for either side. The play is very concrete. See all the details of this line in the next game:


bayonet attack

Our second choice is the move 9...c6!?, a quite solid continuation and probably much better than its reputation tells. Black's aim is to ease the pressure on the queenside by trading on d5 and sometimes even playing along the C file – something rare on the traditional King's Indian, but when it works it's usually very efficient. We analyze the game between two specialists of each side, Van Wely as white against Viorel Bologan. In this game white played the move 10.Ba3, which doesn't create many problems for black. We analyze this idea and a few other moves in the games below

We hope that our readers who play this opening will find the ideas we shared here interesting and will take them into their repertoire. We have provided one very dynamic approach with 9...a5 for those who like chaos over the board and a much more moderated one with 9...c6, where black creates tension on the queenside before starting kingside play. Both variations deserve attention.

Good luck in your games!

If you want to improve your chess level, you need to have a clear study plan. If you aim for a dramatic improvement at chess you need to work on all of the elements of the game in a systematic way:

  • tactics
  • positional play
  • attacking skills
  • endgame technique
  • classical games analysis
  • psychological preparation
  • and much more

That seems to be like a lot of things, and that is. But no worries, we have made it easy for you. Our comprehensive training course covers it all and much more. Sign up for 21 Day Training right now!

About the Authors:

Raluca Sgîrcea

WGM Raluca Sgîrcea is an active chess player and teaching chess for over two years.  European champion U10, winner of several Romanian national championship medals, Woman International Master title since 2011. One Woman Grandmaster norm. Highest FIDE rating 2302.

Renier Castellanos

IM Renier Castellanos is an active chess player and trainer for over 10 years, have worked for Chessbase and done live commentary on several major events, winner of many international tournaments. One Grandmaster norm. Highest FIDE rating 2529.

"There Are 3 Main Problems That 95% of All Chess Players Are Facing... "

start winning at chess

You will instantly discover how you can significantly improve your game, adding hundreds of elo points without hiring an expensive chess coach or spending 5 hours a day on chess !

Click Here to Start Your Training

Last Updated on Monday, 31 August 2015 09:03

Add comment

Please offer your feedback for the article here. Don't worry, your comment will appear shortly after approval. Only SPAM and abusive comments will be deleted.

Security code