Chess Openings: Queen's Indian Defense

| 2 | Opening Theory

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Category – Semi Closed Game 

Opening Move Sequence – 1 d4 Nf6, 2 c4 e6, 3 Nf3 b6

ECO CodesE12 to E19 

Queen's Indian Defense is usually played to avoid the Nimzo-Indian Defense (1.d4 Nf6, 2.c4 e6, 3.Nc3 Bb4) with its sharp play. It incorporates the hyper modern opening theory which aims to attack the White central pawns from wings using pieces. As such Black will not contest the center with pawns.  

Queen's Indian Defense is classed among Semi Closed Games and with Indian systems (which are a subset of Semi Closed Games) which start with moves 1.d4 Nf6, 2.c4. Variations in Queen’s Indian Defense are classified under ECO codes E12 to E19. 

Moves and Variations

1 d4 Nf6

2 c4 e6

3 Nf3 b6 

While this is the main order of moves, positions in Queen's Indian Defense can be reached from many other move orders and openings.  

White’s 3.Nf3, unlike the Nc3 in Nimzo-Indian Defense, does not aim for e4 advance. It is in fact aimed at avoiding Nimzo-Indian Defense. When 3…b6 is played, it is called the Queen's Indian Defense. Black also has several other options after 3.Nf3. 3...Bb4+ leads to Bogo-Indian Defense, 3...d5 transforms to Queen's Gambit, while 3...c5 can lead to Benoni Defense.  

In Queen's Indian Defense, as mentioned before, Black will not contest the central squares with pawn advances, in accordance with hyper modern theory. Black will try to fianchetto the c8 bishop to b7 and threaten e4 from the wing instead, to prevent White from playing e4. White, on the other hand, will go on with his central strengthening and development and using that strength will try to launch an attack. In the process White will try to negate claims of hyper modern theory that such a center is in fact a weak liability.  

The main variation in Queen's Indian defense branches off from White’s forth move;   4.g3, 4.a3, 4.Nc3, 4.e3, or 4.Bf4.

4.g3 aims to reply to Black’s fianchetto with a fianchetto of White's f1 bishop, creating tension in a8–h1 diagonal. This variation has been used by players in highest level. 4.a3, called the Petrosian Variation, aims for the move 5.Nc3 without the harassment of Black’s Bb4 pin against the Knight. 4.Nc3 dispenses with 4.a3 and after 4...Bb4 can be transformed to Nimzo-Indian Defense. 4.e3 allows the f1 Bishop to develop normally and clear the way for King side castling. 4.Bf4 is called the Miles Variation, and is simply a good developing move.

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