Modernized — The King’s Indian Defense

Dejan Bojkov

Reviewer: John Donaldson
Metropolitan Chess Publishing
365 pages

That most chess books are published in English shouldn’t come as a big surprise as it is the primary or secondary language of most players. What is a bit startling is how few of the companies that produce these books are based in the United States, the market for roughly two thirds of all sales. The big four: Quality Chess, Everyman, Gambit and New in Chess, are European firms, but this wasn’t always the case. Twenty years ago Yasser Serawan’s company International Chess Enterprises was quite active and before that Chess Digest and the short-lived but excellent RHM were prominent in the field.

Los Angeles based Metropolitan Chess Publishing is trying to buck the overseas trend and it’s first offering, MODERNIZED: THE KING’S INDIAN DEFENSE by Dejan Bojkov is a promising first start.

The Bulgarian Grandmaster and well-known chess teacher is a noted aficionado of the KID and produced a DVD for ChessBase on the subject in 2011 titled A MODERN WAY TO PLAY THE KING’S INDIAN where he advocated a …Na6 based approach (the Saemisch and Fianchetto variations being two significant exceptions). Here, in his first book on the KID, he advocates a different approach based on lines he believes are aggressive, sound and not so overwhelmingly popular that they lead to long sharp forced play which can often lead to a draw.

While 6…Na6 is proposed as the answer to the Averbakh, the “knight on the rim” is nowhere else in evidence in this book which features a very eclectic repertoire. The seldom played 6…e5 is offered against the heavily analyzed Four Pawns Attack while in the Classical Bojkov offers 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 exd4 which sidesteps the tons of theory after 7…Nc6. Continuing the trend of staying off the main highway the counter to the Exchange variation is 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bg5 Na6!? which can lead to surprisingly lively play.

The one variation where the Bulgarian GM does stick to the main lines is the Fianchetto variation where 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 0-0 5.Bg2 d6 6.0-0 c6 7.Nc3 Qa5 is the preferred move order to reach the main line which arises after 8.e4 e5 9.h3 Nbd7, but even here Bojkov has a twist in store. After the further 10.Re1 exd4 11.Nxd4 Ne5 12.Bf1 Re8 13.Be3 Black has traditionally played 13…Be6, but the author prefers the more-doubled edged 13…c5 which he analyzes extensively.

Bojkov has written a book that should appeal to a wide audience. Players in the 1800-2200 range will find the ever present explanatory prose and exercises helpful. Diagrams highlighting key concepts are found throughout the book. Higher-rated readers will appreciate the deep analysis and many new ideas.

MODERNIZED: THE KING’S INDIAN DEFENSE is sturdily bound and printed on good paper. The two-column layout is clean and easy to read. This is a book intended for heavy use.