King’s Indian Defense - How to Play the d-pawn Openings - The Complete Chess Course From Beginning To Winning Chess! (2016)

The Complete Chess Course From Beginning To Winning Chess! (2016)

Book Eight

How to Play the d-pawn Openings

King’s Indian Defense

This is generally considered the most complex and most interesting of all the Indian defenses. As in other “Indian” lines, Black avoids answering 1.d4 with 1…d5. Instead, he plays 1…Nf6 and continues with …g6 and …Bg7.

Of course, he cannot wholly neglect the center. He almost invariably plays …d6 followed in due course by …e5. After that, he has several possibilities. One is to play …exd4, opening up the long diagonal for his fianchettoes bishop. This has the customary drawback of freeing White’s position as well.

Or Black may stand pat after …e5, giving White the opportunity to push by with d4-d5, which leads to a rather locked position in which the advantage generally goes to the player who can first advance the f-pawn two squares.

Theoretically, White ought to have the advantage because his position is freer. But Black’s position is solid and full of resource; a tenacious player can accomplish miracles with this defense.

(a) 3.g3 Variation with …d6

King’s Indian Defense
White - Black

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0

Experience has shown that fianchettoing is an effective way to develop White’s light-square bishop.

5.e4 d6 6.Ne2

All in all this is preferable to 6.Nf3. At e2 this knight does not stand in the way of f2-f4.

6…e5 7.Nbc3

Also possible is 7.d5, which on the whole seems to give White preferable chances. For he can strive to gain further terrain with f2-f4 as well as b2-b4 followed by c4-c5. A likely sequel is 7…a5 8.0-0 Nbd7 9.Nbc3 Nc5 10.h3 Ne8 11.Be3 f5 12.exf5 gxf5 13.f4 and White’s game is more promising.

7…Nbd7 8.0-0 c6

In order to be able to play …Qc7 or …Qb6. In some cases the move prepares for an eventual …d5, which is, however, too ambitious a project.


White wants to play Be3, but first rules out the annoying …Ng4.

9…exd4 10.Nxd4 (D)


Position after 10.Nxd4

Black has obtained maneuvering freedom for his knights and fianchettoed bishop. However, his weakened d-pawn is readily subject to pressure.

Black has numerous possibilities here, but White maintains the upper hand with accurate play. Thus, if 10…Re8 11.Be3 Nb6 12.b3 d5? 13.exd5 cxd5 14.c5 Nbd7 15.Ndb5 Qa5 16.a3! Ne4?! 17.b4 Nxc3 18.Nxc3 Qd8 19.Nxd5! Bxa1 20.Qxa1 and White has an overwhelming game in return for the sacrifice of the exchange.

Another possibility is 10…Re8 11.Be3 (also good is 11.Re1 Nc5 12.Bf4 with pressure on the d-pawn) 11…Nc5 12.Qc2 a5 13.Rad1 (threatens 14.Nxc6! bxc6 15.Bxc5) 13…Qe7 14.Rfe1 and White has a fine game. (Note the trap 14…Nfxe4? 15.Nxe4 Nxe4 16.Bxe4 Qxe4 17.Bd2! and White wins!)

The superior development of White’s pieces assures him the better game with careful play.

(b) Be2 Variation

King’s Indian Defense

White - Black

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.Nf3

A plausible-looking alternative is 6.Bg5, but Black can take advantage of the absence of White’s bishop from the queenside in this fashion: 6…c5! 7.d5 e6 8.Nf3 exd5 9.cxd5 h6 10.Bf4 b5! 11.Bxb5 Nxe4! 12.Nxe4 Qa5+ 13.Qd2 Qxb5 14.Nxd6 Qxb2 15.Qxb2 Bxb2 16.Rb1 Bc3+ 17.Kd1 Ba6 18.Bxh6 Rd8 19.Bf4 Ba5! and the threat of …Bc7 enables Black to regain his pawn with a superior position, thanks to his two bishops.*


Black does not fear 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Nxe5 which he can answer with 8…Nxe4!.

7.0-0 Nc6!

The old move was 7…Nbd7, which allowed Black to equalize after 8.Re1 c6 9.Bf1 Re8 10.b3 exd4 11.Nxd4 d5! or 10.Rb1 exd4 11.Nxd4 d5!.

However, on 7…Nbd7 White maintains the initiative with 8.d5 Nc5 9.Qc2 a5 10.Ne1! Nfd7 11.Be3 f5 12.exf5 gxf5 13.f4 e4 14.Qd2 Nf6 15.Nc2. White will eventually break through with g2-g4. Meanwhile, he commands the vital d4-square and more than adequately blockades Black’s passed pawn.

8.d5 Ne7 9.Ne1 Nd7! 10.Be3 f5 11.f3 f4 12.Bf2 g5 (D)


Position after 12…g5

A very exciting position. White attacks on the queenside, intending to open lines there with c4-c5. Black attacks on the kingside, intending to open lines there with …g4.

13.Nd3 Nf6

Another way is 13…Rf6 followed by …Rg6 intending …g4.

14.c5 Ng6 15.Rc1 Rf7 16.cxd6 cxd6 17.Nb5 g4

Both sides have carried out their plans according to schedule, and a fierce fight is in progress.

(c) Sämisch Variation

King’s Indian Defense

White - Black

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 (D)


Position after 7.d5

White’s solid fifth move is the key to this variation. He delays somewhat the development of his kingside while he prepares to castle on the other wing and begins an attack with g2-g4 and h2-h4 etc.

7…c5 8.Qd2 Nh5 9.0-0-0 f5 10.exf5 gxf5 11.Bd3 a6 12.Nge2 b5?!

Black offers a pawn in order to open attacking lines against the hostile king. But White is more interested in furthering his own attack.

13.Rdg1 bxc4 14.Bb1!

Played in order to lend greater strength to White’s coming g2-g4. White’s attack on the open file should then win for him.

(d) Four Pawns’ Attack

King’s Indian Defense

White - Black

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4 (D)


Position after 5.f4

White’s last move is very aggressive and may leave Black with a very cramped game. On the other hand, the slightest inexactitude on White’s part may grant Black a powerful counterattack.

5…c5 6.dxc5

Best. After 6.d5 0-0 7.Nf3 e5! Black’s game is quite solid (8.fxe5 dxe5 9.Nxe5 Nxe4!). After the text, 6…dxc5 7.Qxd8+ Kxd8 8.e5 gives Black a poor game.


Threatens …Nxe4.

7.Bd3 Qxc5 8.Qe2 Nc6

White now continues 9.Nf3 followed by Be3, after which his more harmonious development should tell in his favor.

Summary: On the whole, White’s best chance of obtaining a solid positional advantage stems from the early fianchetto of the light-square bishop - Variation (a).