The Modernized King’s Indian – Mar del Plata The King’s Indian Defense, and the Mar del
Plata variation in particular, has played a huge role throughout my entire chess career. I started
doing extensive analysis of the ensuing rich positions from a very young age. I believe what lured me
to it was that it is an outlier among well-established openings in the sense that it gives Black a
chance to attack right from an early stage of the game. This rather romantic approach to chess made
a deep impression and stayed with me for a long time. The history of the line is well known – many
big King’s Indian experts used to play it frequently.
It was Gligoric who managed to devise the perfect setup for simultaneous attack and defense, which
completely revolutionized the King’s Indian as a whole, not only the Mar del Plata variation. Thanks
to that and also to significant theoretical contributions by other legends of the game such as
Bronstein and Boleslavsky, and later on Stein, Fischer and Kasparov, the King’s Indian was
established as one of the key battlegrounds of opening theory right to this day. I consider the King’s
Indian to be one of the last remaining areas of classical chess where engines are not omnipotent over
The Modernized King’s Indian – Mar del Plata
The usual pattern is that engines will always strongly favor White from the beginning of the game,
but the entire point of the King’s Indian is to understand the deep nuances in closed positions. The
positions are so rich with hidden dynamics, yet complex enough that the lines are never too forcing.
The wealth of possibilities for both sides means that a strong understanding of chess is far more
important than knowing how an engine evaluates the position. When the game finally opens up and
the tactical fireworks erupt, it is essential that your pieces are correctly positioned for it. This
intuition only comes after much study and experience.