Chess openings – King’s Indian Defence

Chess openings – King’s Indian Defence


Welcome back to Chessopenings.com. Today’s
video is all about the popular opening and very well-known opening, the King’s
Indian defense. This opening is very popular, since it’s given
players looking for counterattacks as Black some very notable
successes. Today we’re going to lay the groundwork for understanding this
fascinating opening by looking at one of White’s most aggressive replies in
some detail. Let’s take a look. The king’s Indian has primarily replied to
the queen’s pawn opening, so it occurs after the moves, pawn to d4, knight
f6, pawn c4, pawn g6, and knight c3 and now, just a simple move, bishop to
g7. This is the proper starting point of the opening known as the King’s Indian
defense. I do want to point out that this simple setup by Black, the introducing
the bishop and developing the knight, this can be used also
against the English, saying if White would have opened up with pawn to c4
or knight f3. So, Black can use this setup against a number of opening moves.
This is one of the solid points of this opening. Most games in the
king’s Indian continue with White, building upon his space advantage with
pawn to e4. Black replies pawn to d6, and needs to avoid an early e4
to e5 by White. Now, what’s so unique about this setup for
both sides? With this setup, Black has turned its back on one of the major
principles of the opening play, which is that you should generally try
to establish one or maybe two pawns in the center. In this position, Black
has not placed any pawns in the center, and in fact, he’s allowed White
a full occupation there. However, he’s banking on the fact that A)
he’s achieved his development rapidly. He’s already very close to castling
king side, whereas White has a long way to go. And secondly, he’s hoping
to eventually launch an effective counter strategy against the center. To help
with this, he’s already poised his bishop on g7 against the sensitive point
on d4. White has a few major ways of continuing in this position. In today’s
video, we’re going to deal with the most radical and aggressive move
here, which goes pawn to f4, leading to what’s known as the Four Pawns
attack. White has a ferocious pawn front here, and
threatens to literally blow Black off the board with an eventual e4 to
e5 or f4 to f5. Surprisingly, of White’s three options at e5, this one has
the weakest reputation, as White is continuing to kind of fall behind in development
here. He’s continuing to leave some squares vulnerable to attack,
especially this square d4. By studying Black’s method of playing against
the Four Pawns attack, we begin to gain insight into Black’s strategy as a
whole in the King’s Indian defense. In this position, Black surprisingly
just castles normally here. Black knows that it would be premature for
White to play pawn to e5 in this position without yet having developed any
of his pieces to support it. Now Black can simple capture, for example, B takes
e5, F takes e5, knight e8, and Black is ready to strike in the center
with this move, pawn to c5. This really doesn’t seem to lead anywhere for White.
Instead, he plays knight to f3, finally continuing some development and
maybe making this threat to play e5 stronger. Black has completed the most obvious aspects
of his development in this position. He’s got his king castled and he’s
completed the fianchetto here. It’s time to launch an effective counterstrike
against White’s most sensitive point. In this position, that’s
going to be the d4 point. Black has two ways to try to deliver a one-two punch
here and demonstrate that White’s center is overextended. The first
way for Black to go about delivering a one-two punch in this position
would be pawn to c5 attacking d4. After d5, he delivers the second blow,
pawn to e6. The idea of this setup is just to play pawn takes d5 at some
point. Let’s imagine that it’s Black’s move. Pawn takes c5, pawn takes pawn;
now the target, the e4 pawn. Black shifts from attacking d4 to attacking
e4, and vigorously develops his pieces and his counter-play in this way. Of
course, White has his own move here, and depending on what he plays, the
play can take on a different character. Black has a more modern and potentially more
difficult one-two punch for White to handle. This is to start with the
seemingly innocent move, knight to a6. After bishop e2, he delivers the second
blow, pawn to e5. With this setup, Black is so confident in the weaknesses
which are going to be left behind in White’s position that he’s willing
to give up a pawn to destroy the center. Notice that in both cases, Black
is attacking the sensitive d4 point, and that’s how he’s beginning his attack
in these positions. The goal here is to force the pawn on d4 to either
trade itself off or move itself to d5. In both cases, this allows Black
to gain stability on the dark squares and then to complete his development
more easily since he’ll always know what the pawn structure is going
be defined as. In this position, in this particular position, we
are going to see this attack on d4 carried out in a tactical fashion. Let’s focus on this very tactical idea, knight
e6 followed by pawn to e5. Knight e6 did look like an innocent move,
but, in fact, it is one of the many ways Black can typically deploy the queen’s
knight in the King’s Indian. Black is hoping that after he later
undermines the center with his move, pawn to e5, that he’ll gain a strong
square for his knight on the c5 square. Then, he will use this as the basics
for attack on the e4 point in the center. An example of this occurs after
bishop to e2 and pawn to e5. Once explained in the moment, what happens
if White tries to win a pawn by capturing twice on e5? But first, I want to
show this key motif of bringing the knight to c5. After one of the main continuations,
F pawn captures on e5, pawn takes pawn, and now pawn to d5, Black
would play knight to c5 with a big attack on the e4 pawn. A big secret in the King’s Indian is that,
although Black’s attack begins on the dark squares, particularly against
this d4 point, it turns out that he often uses the stability which he gains
on the dark squares to transfer his attack to the light squares, particularly
on e4. We see this in this position that Black is now attacking from
the dark squares onto this light square, e4. It actually turns out that because
White falls so far behind in development in the Four Pawns attack, it turns
out that Black’s attack on the e4 already has to be taken very seriously.
For example, if White made the slightest misstep, a very easy move to
make here would be queen to c2. But now Black would have a crushing blow,
knight to F takes e4. Now after knight takes e4, bishop to f5,
bishop to e3, Black can recover his piece with simply bishop takes
e4 and home to f5. This variation shows the enormous risk which White
is taking by pushing so many pawns in the King’s Indian, and just how quickly,
especially the Four Pawns attack, that Black’s attack can very quickly
become revolutionary. In this case, we were able to make a sacrifice on
e4, and recover the piece very quickly, and Black has a better position. Of course, I don’t want to create the impression
that this is what has to happen to White in the Four Pawns attack.
The Four Pawns attack is sound and shouldn’t lead to a disadvantage for White
by any means. Instead of queen to e2, for example, white can get a
decent position with the move, bishop to g5, though Black is also doing quite
nicely in this position as well. You’re probably wondering what happens if
White tries to go up a pawn. For example, what if he plays a pawn takes pawn
on e5 instead of this move pawn to d5? In this case, black could easily regain
his pawn by simply playing queen takes queen and now knight g4 with an
attack on a5. It wouldn’t be possible for White to hold on to this pawn
for very long. A more testing idea through which White could use would be,
maybe knight takes e5. Here, Black is still able to continue his assault
on the center with the move pawn to c5, totally busting out White’s extra
perfect life in the center and damaging his pawns. White would like to
play pawn to d5 here, but there’s knight takes e4. Because of this,
White generally plays bishop to e3, pawn takes pawn and bishop takes pawn,
trying to hold on to this knight and hold on to this extra pawn in this position.
But the knight on e5 is very shaky, and also the pawn on e4 is very
shaky in this position. Theories show that, while the position is
a little bit tricky, it’s approximately equal with chances for both
sides. This concludes the variations which I wanted
to show for today. Through this look at the Four Pawns attack, we’ve
started to gain some real insight into the King’s Indian as a whole, and we’ve
begun to understand some of the key strategic ideas. Black usually, first
of all, stages his counterattack against the dark squares and
then shifts to trying to put pressure on the center as a whole in order
to gain counter changes. With the Four Pawns attack, I think Black’s chances
of equality are very high, but there are some other dangerous attacking
ideas for White in the King’s Indian which we’ll take a look at in other
videos. That’s all for today, and we’ll see you soon.

100 thoughts on “Chess openings – King’s Indian Defence

  1. Another great video, Dereque! I look forward to any other videos you might share with us on the KID. If I might suggest a possible topic, how about the Bayonet Attack and how to play against it as black? Thank you very much!

  2. The Bayonet Attack sounds great, I'll note this suggestion! Thank you for the kind words 🙂 -Dereque

  3. @ 3:26 Would the move … c5 by black be considered a pawn sacrifice? Because Na6 could be met by Na4, then maybe Bd7, but the knight on a4 would be defended by the queen. Also Nf3 would make it hard to attack the e5 pawn as well. Maybe I just didn't look deep enough into the position it seems?

  4. This could be viewed as a temporary pawn sacrifice after 8.Nf3 c5 9.dxc5 Qxd1+ 10.Nxd1. But the pawns on e5 and c5 are so weak that it's impossible for White to hold them. Just 10…Nd7 would be enough but more accurate would be 10….Nc6! 11.Bf4 Nc7! with the idea of 12…Ne6. In any case, this is all kind of crazy for White 🙂

  5. Ahh, I may have wanted to mention this move, but I do not think that White is better after 9…c5! The position is very sharp but I believe that Black has the advantage. I just now saw this comment! -Dereque

  6. And after the Bayonet Attack it would be nice to get some instruction on the Saemisch. I heard it was a very difficult variation for black to acheve good results. Keep up the good work.

  7. Dereque, you know what I love about you and your videos? You actually take time out of your busy schedule to actually answer your fan questions instead of telling us to go fire up Houdini or Rybka like "some" channels. You have no clue how much it means to me that you address me personally. Also Dereque, I started out a 1200 player, I have improved to 1600 and I dedicate it your videos. Thank you so much Dereque and keep up the fantastic work! :3

  8. I am learning new openings as a 1900 uscf rated player, and prefer openings which are very complex and tactical like the Spanish and Sicilian, which I play from both sides. I am trying to decide on what to play as black vs. 1.d4. I am torn currently between the Slav and the KID. given my rating and style preference, do you have a recommendation? I would consider other openings as well of course.

  9. Congratulations for your willingness to take on complex and tactical openings! The Slav and/or KID could work quite nicely, though you will want to probably play the "Semi-Slav" and not the Slav Proper or 4…a6 Slav. Personally, I shy away from the KID since it is theoretically dangerous and many d4-players have a hobby of trying to study and beat the KID. There is also no shortage of complexity in the Nimzo-Indian or Grunfeld. So pick your poison! Is there anything further you'd like to know?

  10. wow… what a prompt reply!!!! I am indeed strongly considering the Semi-Slav and the Slav, sometimes transposing to a Semi-Slav from the Slav… I really appreciate your input! for myself personally, I do not care for giving up the center as often happens in the Grunfeld, and the Nimzo/Queen's Indian structures are not to my taste, while the Slavic structures very much are., Perhaps one day soon you will do a video on the Semi-Slav, which will be as outstanding as all your others!!!! Thanks!!!!

  11. Quick question is it odd as a player I like to play more positional like the english with the white pieces and I love sharp openings like the french winawar variation and the scilian dragon. Also advice because in jaunary I will be active with the local chess club

  12. Advice: Have fun! Answer to is it odd: No I don't think so, but it wouldn't matter if it were odd of course. You say you like English with White and love sharp openings with Black. What's wrong with liking and enjoying? 🙂

  13. I'm not sure I understand? White develops more slowly in the King's Indian Defense than in other defenses, whereas Black actually develops pieces quite rapidly! But what do you mean?

  14. Oh my.. I was watching this video to get an idea of what positions I enjoy. Last night and I noticed that with openings like the english, closed scilian and french I noticed a few things at school and online I did better, I felt safe positionally with pawn chains and piece movement, finally i still retain the ability to play sharp and once im out of the book i do well in the middle game because I can evaluate the postions and calculate my position after the fireworks have settled

  15. i think that what he means is that the indian defence you do amost the same moves, it doesnt have variety. I think its a great defence vs the english opening or the queens pown openning same as the nimzo-indian defence

  16. Thank you for the suggestion, 5.Nf3 is most popular and definitely important to look at if one intends to play this as Black

  17. In all your videos you pronounce fianchetto with "ch", which is well, logical. But word its pronounced with "k", like "car" 😀 Its italian word

  18. The 4 pawns from white looks funny to me. looks like White is charging in ready to steam roll his opponent with that lol. As white, I sometimes play against the kings indian but I haven't tried pushing 4 pawns up. I usually get my other knight into play and fianchetto my bishop as well but I haven't studied up on this opening as much as I probably should and theres a lot of variations in the kings indian defense. Great video!!!

  19. Yes, I've gone through this discussion a few times over a decade's time but ultimately I have heard that both are acceptable. Not sure though!

  20. I was reading your articles part i and partii on how to pick a chess opening, and you say to pick one thats more main stream. My question is do I pick one such as the english, and kings defense or should I focus on one for both attack and defensive moves? (beginner chess player).

  21. I have to laugh – I had forgotten about these articles! 🙂 I'm having some trouble interpreting the question you are asking but I will say that I no real general advice comes to mind. I can at least say that there are many approaches and as a beginning player almost everything you do to learn more can help you improve … especially if you enjoy what you're doing! Best of luck

  22. i have been trying to learn this opening but i cant get it. i think it is very counter-intuitive, when i try this i get completly lost and i have no idea what to do. nice video though and please make more videos on the king indian defense

  23. I can show these videos to beginners, and while they still might be a bit lost, they're able to get the general gist after one viewing. Chess theory can be very esoteric, but this video breaks everything down and derives each move, versus saying: "well that's just the way it is." It is always more important to understand "why," and not just "what." This video is a great example of effective teaching techniques, whether in the realm of chess or otherwise. Thank you Dereque.

  24. Its amazing, how good you can describe the moves!
    Finally someone, who reveals, why GM's are doing the moves, they do.
    Keep up the awesome work!

  25. The right way to pronunce fianchetto is with the k sound! So it's fiankhetto. "Fianchetto" is an Italian word and "ch" makes a "k" sound in Italian, as in "king", NOT as in "cheese".

  26. hi dereque, as you point out starting at 1:36 in the video, black cedes center control to white in this defense. engine analysis appears to show that black cannot overcome this disadvantage unless white makes a mistake. i am curious to know what you think of that. you can find my results online by googling "comparing chess openings part 3". thank you for all your opening videos. they are very professionally done and i find them very helpful.

  27. Im begginer at chess but am i right that this line looks similar to Sicilian Dragon.. mostly in king side with moves like fiancheto bishop etc. ??

  28. Hello, Dereque, I have really benefited from your videos. I would really like to see your views on the Old Indian, if you are wondering what to do next. best wishes.

  29. Firstly, thank you Dereque for all you have taught me. Your videos are incredibly useful for beginner/intermediate players and you have helped my rating improve very rapidly on chess.com!

    My question is at 3:27 why is c5 so dangerous? If after c5 dxc5 and Qd8xQd1 (sorry if I don't know the proper notation) then nxd1 why is this so bad for white? Or am I missing something?

    I'My question may seem amatuerish but please take note that your videos have made me a much more proficient player! =) Your enthusiasm for the game and your dedication towards teaching are very admirable and you have kept me interested throughout my learning experience. I hope this message serves to inform you that you are of great value to a great many people.

  30. when u sacrifised knight at Nf*e4.then bishop is pinning knight to queen.what if white plays Nfd2 instead of bishop d3 to protect the knight?then simply black loses a piece please kindly explain this

  31. Hi Dereque,

    This was a wonderful video. Your videos are very professionally shot, and explanation is comprehensive. Definitely very helpful for a beginner like me.
    I had two doubts. Hope you can help.
    1 – At 6:43, from what I can understand, white has two options – dxe5 or fxe5. You went for fxe5 in the video. Could you guide me about the follow up for dxe5 ? I am not able to see how that would be bad for white. Forgive my ignorance, as I am still a beginner.

    2- At 6:48, after Black plays dxe5, what is wrong if White plays Nxe5 ? How would Black respond and capitalize on that ?

    I appreciate the help. Please keep making these informative videos 🙂

  32. Just played my first match with the KID and I utterly destroyed the guy. Albeit, he did say he was stoned. lol Thanks for the video!

  33. I think this is better than Nimzo-Indian as it is very aggressiive and love attacking. Thank u very much !!!!

  34. hi dereque, i love your videos. i'm trying to learn chess and they are super helpful! i'm just curious… at about 8:00 you have black playing F3 challenging the white B. it seems like white comes out ahead at least in terms of material. if white manages to castle is blacks position that much better than whites without the extra bishop?

  35. why can the king and castle move like that? the rules say castle can't jump pieces?  and the king moves 2 spots as a 1 spot mover I'm not sure why.

  36. Sir, Could you tell me that at 6:49 why did white move d5. White could have taken the pawn on e5. Then there could be exchange of the queens?? Could you tell me more about this??

  37. Dereque, you have a great way of explaining the ideas behind the openings in a very simple and concise way. I always watch a few of your opening videos before tournaments. I hate studying openings, and I rarely memorize variations. However, your videos provide me with a good foundation for me to navigate these openings over the board and are a very efficient means of study! Please keep making them!

  38. dereque I was wondering if you would recommend this opening to a player who is about 1450-1550 and is quite attacking and doesn't really like cramped positions.I would really appreciate your feedback thanks :)!

  39. Wonderful presentation! Question though, at 9:33 you show black Kn takes pawn E4. What prevents white Kn C3 to E4 and capture black Kn?

  40. Is there a mistake in the analysis at 7:47? After White takes back with the knight and Bf5, White can play Nd2 instead of Bd3 and the pawn fork would not happen.

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