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King's Indian, Samisch (E81)
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 f3 O-O

Number of games in database: 3800
Years covered: 1928 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 40.9%
   Black wins 29.4%
   Draws 29.6%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Aleksey Dreev  43 games
Petr Haba  33 games
Chris Ward  28 games
Joseph G Gallagher  28 games
John Nunn  25 games
Wolfgang Uhlmann  22 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Botvinnik vs Tal, 1961
Vitiugov vs Ding Liren, 2012
Kramnik vs Nunn, 1992
Bobotsov vs Tal, 1958
Beliavsky vs Nunn, 1985
S Atalik vs Miles, 1993
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 page 1 of 152; games 1-25 of 3,800  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. B Hoenlinger vs H Weenink 1-0301928The Hague OlympiadE81 King's Indian, Samisch
2. W Schelfhout vs W Michel 1-0451928The Hague OlympiadE81 King's Indian, Samisch
3. W Schelfhout vs A Vajda 0-1341928The Hague OlympiadE81 King's Indian, Samisch
4. Nimzowitsch vs Tartakower 1-0531929KarlsbadE81 King's Indian, Samisch
5. A Zamikhovsky vs Teslenko  1-03119316th Ch UkraineE81 King's Indian, Samisch
6. Celaya / Piazzini vs Tartakower  ½-½411931Tartakower simulE81 King's Indian, Samisch
7. J Pelikan vs Jager 1-0261933PragueE81 King's Indian, Samisch
8. Duchamp vs M Feigin  1-0341933Folkestone OlympiadE81 King's Indian, Samisch
9. E Zinner vs Eliskases  ½-½571933Moravska OstravaE81 King's Indian, Samisch
10. I Kan vs N Riumin 1-0321933USSR ChampionshipE81 King's Indian, Samisch
11. S Vukovic vs M Ninic  1-0421933Belgrade CC-ch 1933/34E81 King's Indian, Samisch
12. Menchik vs H Gerritse  ½-½301934SimulE81 King's Indian, Samisch
13. Kotov vs O Bogatyrev 1-0431935Ch AviarabotnikiE81 King's Indian, Samisch
14. L Engels vs R Elstner  0-1531935German ChampionshipE81 King's Indian, Samisch
15. Szabo vs E Steiner 1-0191935TatatovarosE81 King's Indian, Samisch
16. Euwe vs H G Deckers  0-1441936Simul, 30bE81 King's Indian, Samisch
17. K Havasi vs S Boros  1-0301936BudapestE81 King's Indian, Samisch
18. R Palme vs A Christensen  1-0311936non-FIDE Munich OlympiadE81 King's Indian, Samisch
19. Saemisch vs O Kinnmark 1-0611936non-FIDE Munich OlympiadE81 King's Indian, Samisch
20. B Moller vs A Kiprov  0-1711936non-FIDE Munich OlympiadE81 King's Indian, Samisch
21. H Ullrich vs H Polzer  ½-½471937Bad ElsterE81 King's Indian, Samisch
22. W Euwe vs P Gaarenstroom 1-0211937DD-EindhovenE81 King's Indian, Samisch
23. H Ullrich vs J Pelikan  0-1321937Bad ElsterE81 King's Indian, Samisch
24. K S Ojanen vs A Vajda  1-0421937Stockholm OlympiadE81 King's Indian, Samisch
25. S Petursson vs A D de Groot  0-1401937Stockholm OlympiadE81 King's Indian, Samisch
 page 1 of 152; games 1-25 of 3,800  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
May-07-04  rochade18: I think white sometimes playes g4 in the Sämisch. Do You know where I can find some of these games? Or are they simply distributed over E80-E89?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Rochdade18> Try E83, and as a start:

L Popov vs H Westerinen, 1973
R Cappello vs Keene, 1979
Werner Nautsch vs Hans Helmut Olf, 1999

May-08-04  rochade18: Thank you my friend!
Nov-24-04  PinkPanther: Does anybody have any recommendations when it comes to books or software that deals with the Sämisch Variation of the KID? I'm considering making this my main weapon against the KID.
Nov-24-04  PinkPanther: Is that a no?
Nov-24-04  hongisto24: Gallagher's Samisch book is ok- I have taken this up too- and got the main lines covered from this older book.

Nov-25-04  PinkPanther: Strange...I was looking on amazon earlier today and missed this book. Thanks
Dec-02-04  Denali: Well, the Samisch King's Indian is the opening of the day today. As Black, this is an annoying system for me to face. After 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 O-O 6.Be3, the traditional 6...e5 is suffering quite a bit. The Panno, 6...Nc6, is scoring better, but I still tend to struggle against White's kingside attack, and I think White can often get an advantage out of the opening.

I think I have found how I might play the KID Samisch as Black. 6...c5! is a pawn sacrifice that has put some White players off playing the Samisch. The diagonal for the fianchettoed bishop is good, Black has a lead in development, and White's pawn on f3 will further hinder his development. White has a hole on d4, and furthermore, his king can come under danger. This would all be terrific compensation, but White also can eventually play Nd5. Still, I like this for Black.

Against 6...c5, White scores less 47% in my database. Not very good. GM Joe Gallagher, in his excellent "Starting Out: The King's Indian", says that the Samisch is looking like an "imperial variation slightly over the hill."

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Petrosian played about 45 games as white playing 5.f3. He never lost and scored 83%.
Feb-16-05  ughaibu: Offramp: any views on this one: Petrosian vs Geller, 1973?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: After 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f3 O-O 6. Be3 Nc6 7. Nge2 a6 8. Qd2 Rb8 9. h4 h5, somebody on gameknot astonished me with 10. Nd5. Has anyone ever seen this before? The game continued 10....e6 (apparently 10...e5 and ...b5 have been played before. 10...e5 doesn't look logical to me since it just invites 11 Bg5.) 11. Nxf6+ Bxf6 12. Bg5 b5 13. g4 (I was convinced I would be mated in a few more moves at this point) 13...hxg4 14. fxg4 Bxg5 15. hxg5 f5?! 16. Qe3? fxg4 17. Qg3? Qxg5 18. Rh4 Rf3 19. Qh2 Rh3! (now Black can relax) 20. Rxh3 gxh3 21. Bxh3 e5?! (a little too relaxed) 22. Bxc8 Rxc8 23. Qh3 Rf8 24. Qe6+ Kg7 25. Qd7+ Ne7 26. Qxc7 Rh8 27. Qxd6 Rh1+ and Black won. Still, I thought 10 Nd5 was pretty frightening.
Oct-02-05  percyblakeney: My opening knowledge usually ends around the 7th move, and I don't think I've seen Nd5 before. What I have seen (with a little help from Shredder) is that 18. ... Nb4 would have been an extremely unpleasant move to meet for white, but in any case everything is already going fine by then...
Premium Chessgames Member
  WTHarvey: Here is a little collection of winning combinations from Saemisch (E81) miniatures:
Jul-18-06  pwnerer: I've recently made the KID and the Dragon my main defenses and it's nice that they have similar setups but now I'd like to try to understand some of the key differences between the samisch and the dragon-yugoslav attack. In the Samisch white has less development because of c4, but, black also doesn't have an open c file to operate on(and the central pawn majority. Of course this c pawn should make the b5 break harder on white. Then again c4 makes more room for black's dark squared bishop to breath fire. Also, white's King's knight isn't developed yet when in the dragon it has a nice outpost, as well as c4 being taken so white's light squared bishop has to find a different home. It seems the Yugoslav is better when you weigh those factors but maybe the pawn structure is so important that white can stifle black's attack while carrying out his own? As a disclaimer I must say I haven't played against the Samisch yet!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: I just made a major discovery thanks to the Opening Explorer

In the Samisch attack, there is a certain gambit which is seen a great deal, that arises in this position:

click for larger view

White now has the opportunity to play 7. dxc5 dxc5 8. Qxd8 Rxd8 9. Bxc5 and be up a pawn, but with considerable development difficulties. Play often continues 9...Nc6 10. Nd5 Nd7 reaching this complicated position:

click for larger view

In an old copy of MCO, Nick DeFirmian recommends 11.Ba3! (his exclam, not mine). He was probably basing it on Beliavsky vs Chekhov, 1980, but let me tell you that was just about the last time White ever won that variation.

I found myself in exactly this spot against a young Chinese kid, maybe 12 years old, who totally ripped me apart. (To save face I must add that I saw his face in Chess Life with a giant trophy, I think this kid is 2000+ now.) Ever since that game I simply vowed to never accept that "free" pawn and refuse to play into their prepared lines.

Now there is a NEW prepared line which makes me lick my chops. Details to follow!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Here's the idea that I unearthed. Instead of trading queens, just play the seldom seen yet confounding 8.e5! (Link: Opening Explorer)

click for larger view

Clearly 8...Nh5? 9.g4 is right out. If Black tries to simplify with 8...Qxd1+ 9.Rxd1 Nfd7 10.f4 then White is pretty much up a pawn for nothing. Clearly .

And so, we're looking at the natural response 8...Nfd7 and now 9.f4 of course,

click for larger view

Statistically this line does great for White (see but I don't pick my moves based on statistics. The fact is that White doesn't have nearly the same problems as in the other variation that I described.

Now I see that 9...f6 is common and logical as well, but White's game practically plays itself: 10. exf6 exf6 11. Nf3 Re8 12.Qd2 Nc6 13.O-O-O and I can't imagine anybody who wouldn't be happy with White's position here:

click for larger view

A great point of this variation, which makes me want to include in my repertoire, is that the moves are very easy and obvious for both sides. In the above variation, I'm not going to have to strain my head to remember to play 11.Nf3, 12.Qd2, or 13.O-O-O am I?

But wait, one more variation must be considered. The natural 9.Nc6, my computer's pick in the position as well. This might be Black's best option. But after 10.Nf3 I think we can stop looking at variations and make our "static evaluation" of the position:

click for larger view

I'll award this a easily. Why is White better? Three reasons IMO, #1 more space (even a beginner can see that it looks like White is pressing Black backwards) #2 better development (the same number of pieces, but White's are more active and useful.) #3 the pawn structure favors White. White can dominate the d-file with queen+rook(s) while Black really has no good files to place his rooks.

Also see: T Balogh vs J Irsai, 2000 (1-0)

Aug-10-06  euripides: <Sneaky> very interesting, and well worth a punt. In his later MCO de Firmian gives <9...f6 10 ef ef 11 Nf3> as equal but in the diagram you post Black certainly looks better.

Looking at the games you give I wonder if Black should take on f6 with a piece.

In some lines e6 looks tempting for White but Bronstein vs Smirin, 1994 shows that this has some disadvantages.

It will certainly give your opponents plenty to think about !

Aug-10-06  Poisonpawns: lol <sneaky> This line you "unearthed" with 8.e5! is quite old The stem game which has been analysed to death is Portisch vs Gelfand, 1990 But black has since found adequate equalising resources,in your line 9..f6 10.ef ef 11.nf3!? Beliavsky played 11..Qe8! which is stronger than 11..Re8 Beliavsky vs Gelfand, 1991
But this line is a great suprise weapon,as i am also a heavy samich player. <euripides> The idea of taking on f6 with the Knight seems ok also ex; 10..Nf6 11.Qd8 Rd8 12.Bc5 Bf5! as the e7 pawn is immune and also 12..Nc6 is playable. Personally i like B.Altermans old idea: maintaining the tension in the center a little longer with 7.Nge2 Nc6 8.Qd2 a6 9.dc5!? 10.Qd8 Rd8 11.Bc5 Nd7 12.Be3 b5 13.o-o-o bc4 14.nf4 with clear adv to white Alterman-Shirov ussr 1988. or simply Nge2,Qd2,rd1 and slowly build whites game.
Mar-01-07  Stevens: Does anyone play the 6.Bg5 variation of the Samisch? Any good ideas there?

click for larger view

The line i'm interested in goes 6.Bg5 c5 7.d5 e6 8.Qe2 exd5 9.Nxd5

click for larger view

which i think gives white a good position. Play often continues 9...Be6 10.Ne2 Bxd5 11.cxd5

click for larger view

white then puts the king knight on c3, develops the kings bishop to e2 and castles. I'm wondering if avoiding castling and going for h4 at some point is a good idea? Blacks king looks very safe and it seems one way to break open that position. White also has more space and the bishop pair, although he needs to complete his development.

Aug-04-08  Mr.Snrub: Stevens,

Looks to me like Black has a good Benoni after 11...Re8, preventing the exchange of dark bishops after Bh6.

12.Nc3 (else ...b5) a6 13.a4 Nbd7 with approximate equality. Black does not have the piece congestion he often suffers from in the Benoni, and White does not have the standard Nc4 maneuver.

Jul-14-09  WhiteRook48: here's a system I use against a King's Indian:
after 5...0-0 6 b3 to make sure I don't blunder any pawns
Feb-09-10  Cushion: Wikipedia claims that in the Samisch Gambit white can force a draw through opening preparation. Can anyone give an example of those lines?

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