Indian Defense Chess Attacking Options


Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareEmpty dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareEmpty light square

Indian Defense Chess: Nimzo-Indian Main Line after 7.0-0

The most important opening in Indian Defense chess has to be the King's Indian Defense. It is though by no means the only one. There are a number of others. Some of these are quite important chess openings.


The Queen's Indian, Nimzo-Indian, Bogo-Indian, Old Indian and Grunfeld Defenses together form an important block of chess opening theory. Any of these would enrich your repertoire considerably.


They embody a really cleverly blended combination of defense and attack. Solidifying your King and attacking the center in the same act, your pieces are utilized to the max.


The Flexible and Dangerous Queen's Indian Defense




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Indian Defense Chess: Queen's Indian Defense - 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6

The Queen's Indian Defense is a solid and insidiously dangerous weapon for Black against 1.d4. After 1...Nf6 2.c4 2...e6 you will answer 3.Nc3 with 3...Bb4 which is the Nimzo-Indian Defense, a direct challenge for control of e4.

Since a lot of players fear this great opening they won't allow it and will play 3.Nf3 instead. You now have a choice between the Bogo-Indian (3...Bb4) and the Queen's Indian Defence (3...b6).

The QID is popular because in addition to giving you a solid position, your pieces get posted in prime locations to enable a counter-attack on White's center a little later. The light square Bishop takes up a post on the long diagonal.

The Queen's Knight goes to d7 to support the eventual pawn breaks ...c5 or ...e5. This will typically take place after a couple of pieces have been traded to neutralize White's initiative. White continues with 4.g3 in the Main Line prepping the Bishop for a fianchetto.


Petrosian Variation for the e4 Push




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
White pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Indian Defense Chess: Petrosian Variation - 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.a3

The Petrosian Variation is a popular option in the QID for White. You play 4.a3 here instead of 4.g3. The main purpose of this move is to shut the enemy dark square Bishop out of b4. This smoothes the way for one of your main objectives in this opening.

You want above all to achieve the e4 advance. All of Black's efforts so far have been to impede this. He has played ...Nf6 to control this square and has prepared ...Bb7 to reinforce that control. The outcome of the game will be influenced by who wins the strategic battle for this square.

Now that you have denied Black access to b4, Nc3 can be played in comfort. This move will lend support to the e4 push that you hope to soon achieve. Now both players will attempt to combine their development with maneuvers to help or hinder this move.


Stop e4 with the Nimzo-Indian Defence




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Indian Defense Chess: Nimzo-Indian Defense - 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4

The Nimzo-Indian Defense stops White's e4 dream in it's tracks as the Knight is now pinned to the King and can't offer any support to a pawn on e4.

The difference between stopping e4 in this way as opposed to the classical approach of the QGD (3...e5) is that you still retain all options in terms of pawn structure. 3...e5 is a much more committal move because the pawn can't be withdrawn to e7 later.

Several things have been tried in this position. White's main alternatives are the Rubinstein System (4.e3) and the Classical Variation (4.Qc2).

The Samisch Variation (4.a3) was one of the earliest attempts to directly refute the NID. Forcing the trade and accepting doubled pawns on the c-file that White hopes will give him some dynamism in the center. Nimzowitsch himself was largely successful with the Black pieces against this line. He provided a blueprint for playing against the Bishop pair by exploiting White's compromised Queenside.


Get the Bishop Pair in the Classical Nimzo-Indian




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Indian Defense Chess: Classical Nimzo-Indian - 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2

The Classical NID (Capablanca Variation) begins with 4.Qc2. This was the original Main Line before the Rubinstein System put it in the shade. White does two things with this move.

The first thing he does is put the Queen on the b1-h7 diagonal, supporting the much longed for e4 push. He also ensures that should the Nimzo-Bishop trade on c3 he can recapture with the Queen instead of doubling the pawns.

As Black you will usually continue with 4...0-0 as White can't really play 5.e4. That move would run into 5...d5 6.e5 Ne4 7.Bd3 c5 making White really uncomfortable. 5.Nf3 and 5.Bg5 are not threatening to Black.

Instead White will play 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 and the Main Starting Position of the Classical NID is reached. White has gained the Bishop pair without any structural weaknesses but Black is castled and has a comfortable position.


Throw the Rubinstein System at the NID




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Indian Defense Chess: Rubinstein System - 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3

The Rubinstein System took over as the Main Line of the Nimzo-Indian. It became the way to play against it. 4.e3 is laden down with a deluge of theory after nearly 90 years of practice in the field.


A vast complex of variations and subvariations have been developed through competitive games and pain staking analysis. As far as Black's options go for answers to the Rubinstein, 3 moves stand out above the rest.


The first is 4...b6 to pave the way for ...Bb7 and control over the e4 square. Then you have 4...c5 with an immediate attack on White's center. Finally you have 4...0-0 with simple development while retaining all options for the future.


Keep Your Options Open in the Bogo-Indian




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Indian Defense Chess: Bogo-Indian Defense - 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+

The Bogo-Indian Defense answers 3.Nf3 with 3...Bb4+. Efim Bogoljubov used this move back in the 1920s but it did not really catch on before the 1980s. It was originally felt that the move did not do enough. What's more, it seems to simply allow White to develop with tempo.


The move is remarkably flexible though and this is a trait that gains far more recognition these days than before. You can still transpose to the QID, the QGD or the Old Indian. Another big plus is that since it transposes in many lines to other openings there is only a certain amount of independent theory to learn.


It's unlikely that White would want to transpose to the Nimzo-Indian with 4.Nc3 having probably played 3.Nf3 precisely to avoid it. He is then left with just two other possible moves. He must either play 4.Bd2 or 4.Nd2.


Old Indian Defense - The Early KID




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Indian Defense Chess: Old Indian Defense - 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6

The Old Indian Defense was the predecessor of the King's Indian Defense. As the Hypermodern School of thought began to sweep aside the Classical School in the 1920s the Old Indian was one of the new kids in town.


After 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Black would implement the then new revolutionary concept of allowing White to build a big center before then attacking it. 2...d6 was a preparation for 3...e5 giving us the central formation so familiar from the KID.


This was prior to the innovation of fianchettoing the dark square Bishop. In the Old Indian the Bishop would go to e7. This is why it got dismissed as a passive opening. Since then all of the great possibilities of the Indian Systems have been unearthed. We now know the rich potential of the Old Indian. And hey you can always play ...g6 at some point, transposing directly to the KID, which is really the Old Indian 2.0.


Grunfeld Defense - Hit White's Center with ...c5




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Indian Defense Chess: Grunfeld Defense - 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5

The Grunfeld Defense also belongs to the Indian family and is sometimes referred to as the Grunfeld-Indian Defense. It is also similar to the the Queen's Gambit Declined. It is though a much sharper clamp-down on e4, using pieces rather than pawns to support the d5-pawn.


In the Exchange Variation after 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 an important Starting Position is reached. Black has encouraged White to build a big center. White has a formidable looking center with pawns on e4 and d4 and a supporting pawn on c3. The full force of the fianchettoed Bishop's power will be felt after Black delivers the thematic break ...c5 which is always in the air.


White has three possible moves here. He can play 7.Nf3, 7.Bc4 or 7.Ba3. 7.Nc3 seems a humble developing move but contains plenty of venom. It is one of the two main branches of this entire opening. 7.Bc4 was the most popular move in the position before being shunted into second by 7.Nc3. The point is to allow 8.Nd2 protecting the d4-pawn free from any harrassment by 8...Bg4. 7.Ba3 does not have a reputation to compare with either of these moves.


Moving On




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Indian Defense Chess: 1.d4 Openings - Benoni Defense

You can enter any game with confidence by incorporating these systems into your repertoire. Knowledge of the themes and motifs will enable you to reach the starting positions of Indian System openings and play them effectively and efficiently.


Mastering the Queen's Indian Defense or getting to grips with the many variations of the Nimzo-Indian Defense can only improve your overall chess understanding.


1.d4 still has more to offer. The Benoni Defense, the Dutch Defense, the Catalan Opening, the Trompowsky Attack and more will add another layer of possibilities in the Queen's Pawn Game.


> Indian Systems