King's Indian Attack

  • Last updated on 1/22/11, 9:59 PM.

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  The King's Indian Attack (KIA), also known as the Barcza System (after Gedeon Barcza), is a chess opening system for White, most notably used by Bobby Fischer. Its typical formation is shown in the diagram to the right.It is an attacking opening for both.      

The opening is not a series of specific moves, but rather a system that can be played from many different move orders. Though the KIA is often reached via 1.e4 followed by d3Nd2,Ngf3g3Bg2, and 0-0, it can also arise from 1. g31. Nf3, or even 1. d3.


By its nature, the KIA is a closed, strategic opening that presents its practitioner with common themes and tactics and a comfortable middlegame against various defences.

The KIA is often used against the semi-open defences where Black responds asymmetrically to e4, such as in the French Defence, Sicilian Defence, or Caro-Kann Defence. Yet it can also be played against Black's more common closed defenses, usually through a move order that begins with 1. Nf3 and a later fianchetto of the white square bishop. For this reason, transpositions to the Réti Opening, Catalan Opening, English opening or even the Nimzo-Larsen Attack (after b3 and Bb2) are not uncommon.

The KIA is a mirror image of the setup adopted by Black in the King's Indian Defense. Yet, because of White's extra tempo, the nature of the subsequent play is often different from that of a typical King's Indian Defence.

The KIA is considered a solid opening choice for White, although less ambitious than many more popular openings. Though rarely used at the highest levels except to avoid certain pet lines, it is extremely popular at the club level, because it is easier to learn than other openings that require memorizing specific move orders to avoid outright losing positions.

White's most common plan involves a central pawn push, e4-e5, leading to a central bind, kingside space, and concrete attacking chances on a kingside-castled black king. Black's resources—more queenside space for example—are not to be underestimated. In fact, this asymmetry often leads to violent middlegames and neatly constructed mating nets involving the sacrifice of multiple pieces.


Famous games

Here is perhaps the most famous example of the King's Indian Attack:

Fischer-Myagmarsüren, Sousse Interzonal 1967 1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.g3 c5 5.Bg2 Nc6 6.Ngf3 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.e5 Nd7 9.Re1 b5 10.Nf1 b4 11.h4 a5 12.Bf4 a4 13.a3 bxa3 14.bxa3 Na5 15.Ne3 Ba6 16.Bh3 d4 17.Nf1 Nb6 18.Ng5 Nd5 19.Bd2 Bxg5 20.Bxg5 Qd7 21.Qh5 Rfc8 22.Nd2 Nc3 23.Bf6 Qe8 24.Ne4 g6 25.Qg5 Nxe4 26.Rxe4 c4 27.h5 cxd3 28.Rh4 Ra7 29.Bg2 dxc2 30.Qh6 Qf8 31.Qxh7+ 1-0

Another example is the fifth game of the 1997 match Deep Blue versus Garry Kasparov.

1997 Game 5, Kasparov vs. Deep Blue

This game was played on May 10, 1997.In this game, the King's Indian Attack opening was played. Like in the previous game, the Deep Blue played a brilliant endgame that secured a draw, when it was looking like Kasparov would win.

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Bg4 3.Bg2 Nd7 4.h3 Bxf3 5.Bxf3 c6 6.d3 e6 7.e4 Ne5 8.Bg2 dxe4 9.Bxe4 Nf6 10.Bg2 Bb4+ 11.Nd2 h5 12.Qe2 Qc7 13.c3 Be7 14.d4 Ng6 15.h4 e5 16.Nf3 exd4 17.Nxd4 O-O-O 18.Bg5 Ng4 19.O-O-O Rhe8 20.Qc2 Kb8 21.Kb1 Bxg5 22.hxg5 N6e5 23.Rhe1 c5 24.Nf3 Rxd1+ 25.Rxd1 Nc4 26.Qa4 Rd8 27.Re1 Nb6 28.Qc2 Qd6 29.c4 Qg6 30.Qxg6 fxg6 31.b3 Nxf2 32.Re6 Kc7 33.Rxg6 Rd7 34.Nh4 Nc8 35.Bd5 Nd6 36.Re6 Nb5 37.cxb5 Rxd5 38.Rg6 Rd7 39.Nf5 Ne4 40.Nxg7 Rd1+ 41.Kc2 Rd2+ 42.Kc1 Rxa2 43.Nxh5 Nd2 44.Nf4 Nxb3+ 45.Kb1 Rd2 46.Re6 c4 47.Re3 Kb6 48.g6 Kxb5 49.g7 Kb4 1/2-1/2

If White plays 50 g8=Q then Black can force a draw by threefold repetition, starting with 50... Rd1+ and then 51... Rd2+.



  • 6 years ago · Quote · #1


    Test of inserting diagram - having trouble inserting diagrams - they disappear

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #2


    Well, when I try to put that diagram in the article, it disappears. 

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #3


    Since I can't get diagrams to appear in the article at present, I added click-able links to the games Fischer-Myagmarsüren, Sousse Interzonal 1967 and 1997 Game 5, Kasparov vs. Deep Blue

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #4


    I really like this Mike. It looks like a very playable opening. Now this may sound really STUPID but. Now this question has really screwing with me. A person plays e4 then black plays c5 can white continue with the KIA disregarding Blacks opening??? Or am I just not getting it. 

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #5


    Sure, it doesn't have to be exact.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #6


    Well, a transposition to the Catalan is not uncommon, but then it's the Catalan. lolz.  But in a sense, as one can start with the KIA and end up with the Catalan.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #7


    I really like this article. It's very interesting. I want to study this line and play it in my next games. Many thanks.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #8


    Love this opening!!! My favorite! Very effective against other openings!!

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #9


    Any video teaching on KIA opening?

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #10


    Sure.  Search You Tube.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #11


    I use the KIA for many games and it rarely fails me. I don't trust it but it works. I can't explain that feeling.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #12


    i like this opening it my favorite one

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #13


    the KIA Kings Indian Attack is an awesome WEAPON for the fighting ExPeRiEnCeD chess player, that means some one way way higher rated than me. I have read widely about the King's Indian Attack and it is a VERY BAD opening for players lowly rated.

    This is because it fails to teach many basic principles that novices need to learn and thus their understanding of how to play and win chess suffers. So while the KIA is an awesome opening and hugely popular if you are fairly new to chess or lowly rated, please ditch the KIA before it harms for game even more unloess you only play chess 4 procrastination or fun reasons.

    Against the KIA is a fearsome WEAPON in SKILLED hands but it is certainly NOT a training system for beginners...

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #14


    To learn more about this opening join KIA inc. where the King's Indian Attack is our business.

    Click our logo to find out more.

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