Reviews - What do customers think about Understanding The King's Indian?
Apart from some minor flaws in sidelines: quite a good book! Feb 22, 2006
"Easy guide to the Dragon" and "The Sicilian Sozin" were the first two books written by Grandmaster Golubev. Packed with lots of original analysis, they are just excellent and outstanding. This time, he turns to another favourite opening of his: the King's Indian. Using 56 model games played by Golubev himself, he gives lots of repertoire-recommendations for the second player.
I have to admit that my expectations were great, probably because of those works mentioned above. And for some reason, I felt a bit disappointed when the book finally arrived. Why that? First of all there is no list of literature in the book. This is a pity as Golubev cites analysis from Gallagher here and there and I guess there are others, too. Secondly, I doubt if it was such a good idea to only use games of his own as maingames. The problem is that when a variation appeared less often in Golubevs practice, his treatment of it falls somewhat short. This is the case regarding 5. Bd3 and 5. Nge2. For a closer look on those, please check the belonging titles from Watson, Panczyk and Forintos.
This is especially obvious in case of the variation 5. h3 followed by 6. Nf3. Neither Redjepagic-Golubev, Bosch-Golubev nor Golubev-Kochetkov really deal with the critical lines. Instead, in the first two examples the first players each fail to play the strongest and known continuations, in the third it is quite the same. Thus, commenting on the critical line b3 on page 96 Golubev "succeeds" in escaping with the comment "with chances for both sides". Here we are talking about an absolute standard-position from the h3-King's Indian, with move eleven just being made. First players equipped with the excellent Chessbase CD-ROM "King's Indian with h3" from Breutigam and the belonging Krasenkov-games surely have a big advantage - they know the resulting middlegame-plans for both sides which is always of great importance. Consulting Watson's "The unconventional King's Indians" or Gallagher's "Play the King's Indian" is strongly recommended in this case. It is quite the same with Golubev's second recommendation against the Sämisch which is 6. Be3 c5. There is just no analysis of 7. d5 at all and only a short note
of 7. Nge2 while both of them are played regularly and important to know. Gallagher is much more complete here, too. But luckily, those flaws make just about a tenth of the whole book.
Apart from this, Golubev shines in style: the well known Gambit-presentation is clear and well laid out. In most of the cases, Golubev even gives two or more recommendations against the most popular white lines and his strategical explanations can be called good to outstanding. His repertoire-recommendations are well-chosen, especially against the Classical and the Averbakh-System, the Four Pawns Attack and the Fianchetto-variation. You can sense Golubevs great expertise in the King's Indian in every line of the book and he makes a strong case for the black pieces. So in spite of the minor critic above, you can really take a lot out of this book. And in the end, we all have to build our repertoires on our own, anyway.
To cut a long story short: 4 stars for quite a good and honest book containing lots of original analysis. Perhaps, Golubev could have treated some of the sidelines in more detail as he actually did. But the brilliant and to-the-point-explanations help very much to grasp the dynamics of the King's Indian Defence - and thus the title naturally keeps what it promises.