King’s Indian Defense

Jul 31, 2010, 10:33 PM |

When players first start playing chess matches they most often want to play White. A few simple openings can be learned easily and utilized with variations to win matches against opponents of like skill. The highest learning curve tends to be in playing Black. A good first strategy from Black is to mimic the play that we observe from White. Black plays the identical moves White does as long as possible until board position or opportunity promotes variety and change. As a player advances in skill, White will attempt a queen’s Pawn opening to confuse and surprise Black. Black often gets confused when White plays the white queen’s Pawn first, not knowing what the following moves might be. Playing the white queen’s Pawn is a marked departure from the classic king Pawn to e4. Pawn to e4 is the most often used first move at any skill level, so Black begins to expect the e4 move and is taken off guard by the d4. The King’s Indian Defense is an excellent response to the queen’s Pawn opening and might startle the White opponent.

White’s first move is Queen Pawn to d4. Black’s response is king’s Knight to f6. This will be completely unexpected play from Black. White is compelled to respond with Pawn to c4. White cannot advance king’s Pawn to e4 as the black Knight would capture the white Pawn, clearly leaving White with no response. White could post the queen’s Bishop at g5 but this move would be a fruitless, wasted move. Black’s next move is to g6. This pawn move sets up the Black fianchetto with the king’s Bishop. White’s next move is Knight to c3. This move must be made to protect the king’s Pawn that will eventually be moved to e4. Black’s next move is Bishop to g7.

White may now be completely surprised. When players are surprised and do not have an effective response to unfamiliar play, the natural response is to resort to well-known moves. White may resort to the classic Four Pawn’s Attack by moving the king’s Pawn to e4. Most players focus on controlling center board; the move to e4 supports this philosophy. Black’s response should be to play Pawn to d6. This move appears defensive in nature but actually frees the queen’s Bishop for future attack. White’s next move, completing the Four Pawn Attack, is to move bishop’s Pawn to f4. In response, Black should castle. Black now has a very threatening position against White. Black has negated the first move advantage of White.

Effective castling is now impossible for White because he will soon find himself on the defensive, trying to stay even in point totals and center position with Black. White must protect the King by playing the king’s Bishop to e2. Black now responds with an attack by pushing the black bishop’s Pawn to c5. White then moves his threatened Pawn to d5. Black responds by pushing the King’s Pawn to e6. White clearly sees the threat to his King. The only defensive option White has to protect his King and to eventually castle is to move the king’s Knight to f3.

Now, Black starts the attack by capturing the white Pawn at d5. White will naturally respond by capturing the black Pawn, but Black will continue the drive by posting the black knight’s Pawn to b5. The King’s Indian Defense has transferred the momentum definitely to Black. Black’s Queen, queen’s Bishop and Knight can attack freely. The Black King is safely castled. The most fruitful avenue of attack is the black diagonal that ends at g1. The only piece on the diagonal is currently a black Pawn. More importantly the black Queen can be posted at b6 to set up a permanent threat to any attempted King castle by White.

This strong Black advantage is gained by ignoring the classic mirroring play often seen from Black in the initial moves in a match between relative beginners. Practice and learn the Kings’ Indian Defense. When White opens with a Queen Pawn move, counter with the King’s Indian Defense. White will often fall into the trap by aggressively playing for center board position and ignoring his King side castle option. At the eighth and ninth moves of the match the Black pawns will assert power over center board and shift the momentum to Black for a satisfying checkmate.