Understanding before Moving 68: Ideas in the King's Indian

by ChessBase
2/27/2022 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books about chess training and chess strategy. In the 68th instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman shows some ideas of how to play against the King's Indian. | Photo: Tommy Grooten

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One of the most beautiful openings for Black is the King's Indian Defense. The initial moves mock the view that you cannot leave the center to your opponent in the opening. Tarrasch claimed that Black's only answer after 1.d4 was 1...d5 because Black would otherwise lose influence in the center.

But Nimzowitsch showed that the center can also be covered with pieces (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 - the Nimzo-Indian!). In the King's Indian, Black goes a bit further and leaves the center entirely to the opponent (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4).

We know by now that this mode of play gives Black full counterplay and several world champions had the King's Indian in their repertoire. Black's idea, of course, is to try to attack the center at a later stage (with ...e7-e5) which usually leads to a so-called "pawn chain struggle".

The pawn chains also indicate the main plans for both players, and they define which bishops are "good" and which are "bad" and how the middlegame will probably proceed.

The diagram position is from a game between the great anti-King's Indian specialist Viktor Korchnoi, who had White against the top Dutch player, Loek van Wely.

After White's last move Nb4-c6, Black had to decide where to put his queen. He chose the wrong square and played ...Qd8-d7?. Do you see how "Viktor the Terrible" punished this error?


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