GM Vladimir Kramnik: The King's Indian Slayer - Series 2

King's Indian Defense: Bayonet variation 9. b4

14/09/2021 –    The Bayonet Attack is one of several Anti-King’s Indian systems main goal is to tame the dangerous bishop at g7. The bishop at g7 many times chessplayers call it  “The Dragon Bishop”. Other strategy is to control the center then executes attack at black’s queenside in a methodical manner.

Above are King's Indian Defense variations vs. Bayonet Attack

The Series 1 of the Bayonet Attack (chess blog No. 29/dated: 09/09/2021), we discussed black variations 10…Nf4 and 11…Nf6. Today, we will check how to defend against black variations 9…a5 (GM Kasparov’s move) and 9…c6. Let’s check below games…

GM Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime: The "John Rambo" of Chess

The wandering king...

11/09/2021 –  Grandmaster’s responsibility before the game starts is to prepare/research upcoming opponent’s  weakness and strengths.  In this game between  super GM Vachier-Lagrave versus the rising star – 15 year old genius from India GM R. Praggnanandhaa, who do you think was much prepared? 

 Have a coffee and food while checking this game. I am sure you’ll need brain energy to analyze positions and to gain knowledge about the variations used in the Sicilian Four Knights. That’s all for today.. thank you, enjoy your weekend…

GM Vladimir Kramnik: The King's Indian Slayer - Series 1

King's Indian Defense: Bayonet variation 9. b4

09/09/2021 –    The Bayonet Attack is one of several Anti-King’s Indian systems main goal is to tame the dangerous bishop at g7. The bishop at g7 many times chessplayers call it  “The Dragon Bishop”. Other strategy is to control the center then executes attack at black’s queenside in a methodical manner.

Above are King's Indian Defense variations vs. Bayonet Attack

GM Vladimir Kramnik has contributed heaps of theoretical novelties using the Bayonet Attack. Even the great King’s Indian protagonist GM Kasparov is a victim of this super interesting “Bayonet Attack”. Let’s check the game of GM Karpov vs. GM Kasparov using the Samisch line for white and compare it with the game of GM Kramnik vs Kasparov using the Bayonet Attack for white.  Enjoy… bon appetit…

The English Opening: 3. b3 variation

2021 European Championships

08/09/2021 –    The 2021 European Championships was held on August 26 to September 5, 2021 in  Reykjavik, Iceland. It is  a qualifying event to the 2023 World Cup (23 qualifying slots). GM Demchenko, Anton (2596) and 16 year old GM Vincent Keymer (2602) tied for first in this tough event participated by 180 chess players (members of European Chess Union).

The highlight of this tournament belongs to 16 year old German GM Vincent Keymer. His opening setup: The English Opening – 3. b3, based on my analysis, it is rich in ideas. Many times I see GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Wesley So use this line in exhibition – blitz games. I think it is  sound and reliable opening. Let’s check this 2 games while enjoying cool music and hot coffee…


2021 Aimchess US Rapid Champion

07/09/2021 –  Updates:   Impeccable performance of World Champ GM Magnus Carlsen, the winner of the 2021 Aimchess US RAPID. He defeated GM Vladislav Artemiev (2704) of Russia in entertaining fashion. Lots to learn from his games…

Our featured 2 games are intellectual nourishment for our brains to digest. We thirst for new ideas..not just anybody’s ideas but from his home preparation by the World Champ himself, delivered to us for free… Congratulations!!!! GM Magnus Carlsen….You did it again!!!

The Finals: GM Carlsen vs. GM Artemiev

The Champion's Match: 1st Set Result

06/09/2021 –  Updates:  World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen (2847) won 2 games versus GM Vladislav Artemiev (2704) in the 1st set of the 2021 Aimchess US Rapid Finals.

The games were super interesting because the prepared lines are a bit above  my opening knowledge, I admit. The lines chosen by GM Carlsen are intended to startle GM Artemiev. It is imperative to check nerves in order to focus well. Meditation or Yoga may work…before the game starts. Below are  2 exciting games for you mentally to decipher and digest.

The Finals: GM Carlsen vs. GM Artemiev

The Champion's Match

05/09/2021 –  GM Vladislav Artemiev (2704) ended the winning streaks of 18 year old genius GM Alireza  while  World Champion Magnus Carlsen ( 2847) ousted GM Levon Aronian (2782). Both advanced to the Finals of the 2021 Aimchess US Rapid.

GM Artemiev used the Trompovsky line as part of strategy to discourage GM Firouzja  play his favorite  complex/ aggressive style. On the other Semi-Final match, GM Magnus Carlsen outmaneuvered GM Levon Aronian in a exciting, nail biting Sicilian Najdorf game.

The SemiFinals: GM Firouzja vs. GM Artemiev

The Gladiators in Chess Arena

04/09/2021 –  GM Alireza Firouzja (2759) versus GM Vladislav Artemiev (2704) is a nice match up, both are competitive and hungry for glory.  Vlad is a builder/likes structured  play yet with calm attitude, similar to World Champ Anatoly Karpov.  Alireza on the other hand likes  dynamic and aggressive play, his games are entertaining to watch.

I have selected two games which are contrasting  type of play.  One thing is specific, both are good at handling white pieces. Who will win this match? Your guess is as good as mine…

GM Alireza Firouzja eliminates GM Wesley So

The Semi-Finals: Aimchess US RAPID

02/09/2021 –  18 year old genius Super GM Alireza Firouzja get past GM Wesley So, reached the Semi-Finals in the 2021 Aimchess US Rapid. 

Such exciting and dynamic play performed by young GM Firouzja- played like Bobby Fischer on a rapid fire fashion. He chose complicated variations with toxic precision combinations to eliminate GM Wesley So in the quarterfinals. To beat a positional player, play ala Bobby Fischer or Mikhail Tal. Let’s check this 2 games and learn how to play versus positional players. 

GM Wesley So: Fantastic Chess Moves

Exciting Games : 2021 Aimchess US Rapid

01/09/2021 –  I see you in September when summer is gone… nice song by Gary Lewis and the Playboys (entitled – When Summer is Gone). It is September again and my birthday soon coming…well, I count backwards now…hehe.

Now, the 2021 Aimchess US Rapid – Prelim has met expectations,  presented exciting games. Our featured 2 games of chess genius Filipino-American Super GM Wesley So will provide us insights about his opening strategy versus the  Nimzo-Indian and Petroff Defense. I played him in the National Grandfinals in the Philippines. He was just a kid before, I better not tell you the result, hehe. Let’s check his wonderful games and learn from it.


UPDATES: 2021 Aimchess US Rapid Prelims

30/08/2021 –  The era of world champion GM Magnus Carlsen – he has been  kind of spark plug igniter in popularizing chess globally despite of pandemic caused by Covid19. Same with  netflix “The Queen’s Gambit” which won the hearts of millions worldwide, such a lovely chess story. Also, organizing an event “Sinquefield Cup” won by French Super GM Maxime- Vachier Lagrave is such a fantastic event feasted by chessplayers globally to learn new trends and be entertained.

Now, the 2021 Aimchess US Rapid is ongoing where I selected 2 games which delivered an explosive and impressive wins by GM Alireza Firouzja and world champ Magnus Carlsen. Check how GM Alireza beat GM Carlsen below…

Ruy Lopez: The Berlin "Wall"

Check and Balance: The Berlin Endgame

27/08/2021 –  The Ruy Lopez – Berlin Defense is classified as underrated chess variation because of inferior pawn structure at queenside. However, some grandmasters like this setup because of their preference to positional  or endgame play.  GM Magnus Carlsen and Wesley So are both positional players, therefore it suits them using the Berlin Defense. 

Let’s check 2 games below why it requires patience and endgame technique to be able to master the Berlin Defense.

Masterfully smooth and elegant game...

GM Levon Aronian's Masterpiece

23/08/2021 –  “Patience takes courage. It is not an ideal state of calm. In fact, when we practice patience we will see our agitation far more clearly.” – PEMA CHODRON

GM Levon Aronian showed his patience and calm in this game. His character during the game is a great example for chess beginners to become more mature in their play and learn self-control.

Our featured game of the day:    GM Levon Aronian (Rated: 2781) demolished GM Alexander Grischuk (Rated: 2776) in a high level strategical play that transfomed into a tactical game.

When Age Defies The Odds...

70 year old - GM Karpov beats 2 Super GMs

21/08/2021 –  In the 90’s, I bought GM Karpov’s book “Anatoly Karpov’s Best Games”. One thing I learned about him, he  likes solid opening repertoire such as Ruy Lopez, Caro-Kann, Queens-Indian and Queen’s Gambit.  He was also very calm and mild mannered.  Until today, he is still brilliant and dangerous at the age of 70, beating the likes of Super GMs Sergey Karjakin (2765) and Maxim Matlakov (2760) in the Region Group Cup -Moscow, Russia. Have a look at  chess diagram, can you win white?

Aside from his stock knowledge, no doubt GM Karpov is updated of latest chess opening improvements.

The Magnificent Sicilian Taimanov


17/08/2021 –  Emotion plays  a big part in order to win games. If you can not hold your temper or anxiety can be the reason to misjudge a position or miscalculate a winning move. If you are calm and controlled,  your mind will work much better to find better moves.  The cause and effect is the result of our actions we make.

Our featured game is a Sicilian Taimanov encounter between GM Fabiano Caruana (USA) vs. GM Richard Rapport (Hungary). This game will teach us why it is important to control our emotions while playing. To fear is normal but overcoming it is essential.

Let’s take a look at the exciting game below…

The aggressive Caro-Kann

Updates: 2021 GCT Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz

15/08/2021 – The  4th Leg of the GCT Saint Louis Rapid 2021 is an exciting, all action event as shown in our featured game: GM Le, Quang Liem (Vietnam) vs GM Jeffery Xiong (USA). I have not used Caro-Kann defense in my entire chess playing years. My preference is the Sicilian or other sharp openings.

However, GM Xiong’s  aggressive  style modified the Caro-Kann  to a sharp/combative opening, beat GM Le Quang Liem in just 20 moves. 

A brave move 3. d4 that backfired

Experimental move at the category 2700 tournament level

12/08/2021 – The  4th Leg of the GCT Saint Louis Rapid 2021 started on August 11 to 15th at the Saint Louis Chess Club. Our featured game today is the game between GM Mamedyarov, S. vs GM Le, Q.

Prepared lines is significant to outplay incoming opponents but sometimes can backfire depends who are you playing with.

Let’s find out why 2782 rated GM Mamedyarov used this 3. d4 line versus a  very strong 2709 rated GM Le of Vietnam. Do you think its a bluff move or opening preparation at move 3?



09/08/2021 – Congratulations to GM Wesley So on achieving  another significant milestone in winning the 2021 Chessable Masters. He beat GM Le Quang Liem of Vietnam in the Finals (Rapid).  GM Wesley So is such a well prepared player either using e4 or d4 as white. His unpredictability and high chess IQ make him dangerous to play with.

GM Wesley So is a rare prodigy combined with passion to learn more and more is his super skill. He has God-given talent which he nurtured well.

I am fascinated of his game versus GM Le Quang Liem how he handles the Ruy Lopez Opening.  Let’s find out and learn from it…

The Power of the White Bishop

Amazing "GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda"

06/08/2021 – Beating the likes of 3 Super GMs (Grischuk, Gujrathi, Karjakin) and the current world champion (Carlsen) is such a feat. Newest World Cup 2021 Champ GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda is “no doubt” a contender to the World Championship Title. His style is solid (Karpov like) with deep theoretical knowledge and very calm.

But the highlight of this story remarkably his game against GM Sergey Karjakin showed mastery and brilliance to refute the Queen’s Gambit – Semi Tarrasch variation.

Now, let us check why the white bishop can become a powerful piece to win a game.

More Guts, More Glory in World Cup 2021

GM Duda ousted GM Carlsen in tiebreak games

04/08/2021 – It takes courage and determination to beat World Champion Magnus Carlsen in  match games. GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland is facing GM Sergey Karjakin of Russia in the Finals of the World Cup 2021 – Sochi, Russia.

The last game between GM Carlsen and GM Duda is very interesting because the chess opening used was Sicilian but transposed to a French Defense setup.

The game below  shows why the white’s light bishop is essential to protect queenside and has a prospect attack on black’s kingside as well. Does GM Carlsen’s choice of opening in his last game is  worthy to aim for a win? Let’s find out.

Marshall Attack in World Cup 2021

GM Carlsen advanced to Semifinals

31/7/2021 – Fantastic performance by World Champion Magnus Carlsen in winning both games versus GM Bacrot, Etienne (France) in the quarterfinals. I have noticed  his deep understanding of the Marshall Attack as demonstrated on his  fantastic “queen sacrifice” game.

To chess beginners, let me introduce you “The Marshall Attack” which is a theoretical contribution of  legendary US GM Frank Marshall. 

GM Etienne Bacrot used the Anti-Marshall Attack variation 8. a4, unfortunately, it was refuted by GM Carlsen’s flawless execution as shown in his game.

GM Carlsen's successful bait!!

World Cup Quarterfinals

28/7/2021 – What a relief for the current  world champion GM Magnus Carlsen to reach the quarterfinals of the World Cup 2021. It was a tough match against GM Esipenko, Andrey (Russia), FIDE Standard Rating: 2716. The match started with standard games resulted to a draw,  then moved to 10 minute tiebreak games both scored 2 each. Finally, for another tiebreak,  into 5 minute blitz game which Carlsen won and clinched the match.

Additionally, GM Esipenko’s FIDE blitz rating (2595) is way much lower  than GM Carlsen’s FIDE Blitz rating of 2886. Playing under time constraint is a major factor to miss checking threats, traps or baits. Therefore, it is essential  for experts and upcoming masters to practice playing shorter time controlled games such as blitz either 5 or 3 minutes per game.

In this game, GM Carlsen setup a bait which GM Esipenko fell for it.

World Cup 2021 Updates

Unusual way to place the king safe

25/7/2021 – In a battle of wits between  super GM (Lagrave) versus the rising star – 15 year old genius from India (GM Praggnanandhaa), we may never know what to expect. But with the help of seconds/coaches/analyst, they may find ways to outwit opponent by way of opening surprise preparation. In this game, who do you think is much prepared? This is the 4th round game in the World Cup 2021.

Kasakhstan's Future GM

17 year old special talent

24/7/2021 – Chess skill can be developed with the help of a chess coach. But according to Sun Tzu “Art of War” knowing your own strength and weakness is essential to self improvement. Other than what you learn from your coach, you need to self-research and learn how to create your own study method. Sun Tzu also stated that you must also know your opponent other than yourself to win every battle. IM  Bibisara Assaubayeva is a special talent combined with focus and determination to improve. Currently, she is playing  in the 4th round  of  World Cup 2021 – Ladies Division representing Kasakhstan. In my opinion, she will be Women World Chess Champion someday.

The Krasenkow Variation

Tribute to GM Michal Krasenkow

23/7/2021 – In recognition to GM Michal Krasenkow’s contribution to chess theory, I would like to thank him for this wonderful move 4. g4 “The Krasenkow Variation”.  Recently, at 57, he represented Poland in the World Cup 2021, reached the 3rd round but lost to 15 year old Indian chess  genius GM Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa  on tiebreak games. I want to share you one of his best games using the “Krasenkow Variation”.

WORLD CUP 2021 (updates)

17 year old GM upsets GM Anish Giri

22/7/2021 – GM Anish Giri of Netherlands is ousted in the 3rd round/tiebreak on his encounter against  17 year old GM  Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan.  The young GM has a style of GM Garri Kasparov because of his dynamic play and tenacious character. I have strong feeling that he will become World Champion someday.  He has no fear due to his  broad theoretical knowledge as shown in his games.

Upsets in World Cup 2021

20/7/2021 – GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov has won his first match in the 3rd round of the World Cup 2021. However, he is defeated by GM Haik Martirosyan in the 2nd game to even the score. Now they are playing for tiebreak. I am fascinated by this game because it illustrated how small weakness can be a reason or it is enough to lose a game. You can never say it is a bluff move to scare a young GM (Martirosyan), to make positions complicated. But for a Karpov minded young chess GM, this will not work.

GM Magnus Carlsen

19/7/2021 – World Champion Magnus Carlsen has been holding his crown since 2013. There were 2 challengers who have tried to dethrone him the likes of GM Fabiano Caruana (USA) and GM Sergey Karjakin (Russia) but won both matches.

Now, another very strong challenger GM Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia) will try his best to outwit  him on November 24, 2021 in Dubai Exhibition Centre.

I was checking his games particularly a 17 year old game in the Calvia Olympiad (2004). One thing I found out, he was already playing maturely and aggressively. But today, he plays like AlphaZero in my opinion.


Amazing endgame by GM Magnus Carlsen. It takes brilliance to find the right moves to win.

News and Games

18/7/2021 – Its interesting to check  games in the ongoing World Cup 2021 Russia.  You can sense the tension on each participants in striving to win each game. Even GM Magnus Carlsen needed to grind to win an endgame shown at the diagram reminiscent of a classic knight and bishop endgame. How fascinating to see this games live and having chance to ask for an autograph being a fan of the current world champion. 


I have also checked the game of GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. His opening preparedness is evident  using the Petroff defense vs 1. e4, having comfortable position from opening to winning the game. The position shown in the diagram illustrates why at the critical moment, correct judgment is important. In other words, “One mistake is too costly”. To all my students, It is sweet to win when the fruit of your labor in studying chess theories, middle games and endgames would come up with fantastic games just like this.


At the Women’s Division, my eyes was glued to this position played by WGM Gurnar Mammadova – FIDE Rating (2385). She has superb understanding of the King’s Indian Defense as displayed in this endgame position. I always tell my students to study endgames. This will help you form a mature and focus minded thinking in the process as it builds your confidence in every  competition. Lets check the diagram. Please keep safe always due to pandemic as Sydney currently on lockdown. 

The Bayonet Attack

Grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik is super theoretical when playing against the King’s Indian Defense.  His style has magic and unpredictability makes him dangerous to play with.


15/07/2021 - If you are a chess beginner, you may be asking what is Swiss system or Round-robin tournament? In the long run you will experience what it is all about this type of tournament system. Of course, every tournament is guided by FIDE Pairing rules; for example: playing an opponent higher rated than you or much lower rated player, also playing either white or black would confuse you but do not worry because the computerized pairing system is proven accurate. Now, most Swiss system/Round robin tournament are 9 rounder or even much longer, if you noticed, it is always odd number. Have you evaluated about your playing style? Do you have a proper system to study chess openings to surprise your opponent? Are you better when handling the white or black?These are questions to assess yourself about how ready you are to compete. Since chess is governed by willing attitude to learn, determination and patience, be confident in playing Swiss or Round robin event. Why grandmasters are mentally conditioned before the tournament starts? Is it due to their deep theoretical understanding and well preparedness? But this is no secret at all, GMs have pet lines or prepared lines or noticeably some are much confident playing white other GMs prefer black.

In year 2000, he became World Champion also undisputed World Champion in FIDE and Classical titles.

Grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik has won 3 team gold medals in Chess Olympiad. He is highly theoretical  and dangerous when  using 1. Nf3 as white.

He authored my favorite book “KRAMNIK, my life and games”.

The Dutch Defense is a cunning but solid defense. Especially the Leningrad and Stonewall variation. Many white setup has been successful in diverting positions in unusual way where black is not comfortable.

Youngest ever undisputed World Chess Champion in 1985 at age 22

Grandmaster Garry Kasparov is one of the most successful and respected player in chess history. He authored “My Great Predecessors” and one of my favorite books” Fighting Chess”. 

He still coaches but if he has time, plays in Invitational Tournaments.

The King’s Indian Defense is one of the most feared black chess openings versus 1. d4. It plays a highly tactical game that if you do not defend well,  may wreck your kingside or the central control. There are several white openings that somewhat stick to methological strategy to tame the attack of the King’s Indian Defense. Please check the image below.