The Kings Indian Defense represents a completely new scheme in dealing with 1.d4. Unlike the Semi-Slav there is no attempt made to prevent 2.e4. You are quite happy to allow White to build a big center.
You challenge for control of e4 in the QGD, the Slav and Semi-Slav Defenses but not here. Now instead of grinding your way towards equality you will fight violently for the initiative.
Starting with the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6, you will do this by targeting White's big center. You will play to get your e and f-pawns rolling towards White's Kingside in a winner takes all strategy. These along with your powerful dark square Bishop are some of your main weapons in the opening. White has many continuations on move 3. The main one is 3.Nc3 leading to the Classical KID.
3.Nc3 Bg7 makes the game a King's Indian. 4.e4 d6 takes you to the Main Starting Position of the KID. There is one significant ramp taking you off the Main Line at this point. You have another choice with the White pieces. You can play 4.Nf3 leaving the e-pawn on it's starting block.
This move also rules out the possibility of f4 for some times and signals another game plan. Instead of expanding with a big center you will meet 4...d6 with 5.g3. This is the Fianchetto Variation.
Your strategy is to get a powerful g2-Bishop searing into Black's Queenside. With the e-pawn staying on the second rank the Bishop's power will be felt via x-ray all the way to a8. You're also prioritizing piece development over spatial expansion. Black will not have targets on e4 and f4.
The Panno Variation is one of the most important lines in the Fianchetto complex. After 5...0-0 6.Bg2 Nc6 7.O-O you play 7...a6 with the Black pieces. This move along with 8...Rb8 preps 9...b5 and an assault on the Queenside.
The only critical move White can play here is 8.d5, challenging the c6-Knight. Any other move would just allow you to get on with your Queenside attack unhindered.
Your best reply has to be 8...Na5 attacking White's vulnerable c4-pawn. After 9.Nd2 to hold this pawn you can play 9...c5, securing the a5-Knight by preventing b4. After 10.Qc2 Rb8 11.b3 you are all set to get in 11...b5 and set your Queenside in full flight.
White will then play 11.Bb2 and the game has reached the main starting point of the Panno Variation. Here many deeply analyzed lines begin with tactical and strategic ideas in the mix.
4.e4 d6 takes the game to the Main Starting Position of the King's Indian Defense. Several heavily analyzed variations spring out from here. The game can go in a number of directions.
5.Nf3 is the most common move and the game follows the path of the Classical KID. The Exchange, Orthodox, Petrosian or Gligoric are all possibilities in this complex. These lines contain the bulk of KID but White has other options on move 5.
The Makagonov, the Samisch, the Four Pawns Attack and the Averbakh are great weapons for your tool kit in the KID. These lines show how you can take this opening in all kinds of directions.
The Classical Variation is reached by the moves 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5. Now you reach a crossroads with White. By playing 6...e5 Black has injected tension into the position. From here both players will decide with every move whether to maintain this tension or relieve it.
With either color you can maintain by declining to capture. Instead you will continue to mount the pressure by building up your position. Just continue to develop. Sooner or later someone will dissipate the tension by capturing or perhaps White will play the advance d5.
There are four main options on move 7. You can simply castle in the Orthodox Variation. You can play the d5 advance in the Petrosian System. You can take on e5 in the Exchange Variation. Finally you can support d4 with Bd3 in the Gligoric System.
The Orthodox is a flexible move for White in this position. All of your ideas are still in reserve and you can make Black choose a course of action before committing to any particular pawn structure.
Black will usually play 7...Nc6 here though 7...Nbd7, 7...Na6 and 7...dxe4 have been tried. After 7...Nc6 your Main line will be 8.d5 closing the center and kicking the Knight back to e7. Then the maneuvering starts with Black advancing his Kingside pawns and you will do the same on the Queenside.
7...Nbd7, 7...Na6 and 7...dxe4 see a mixture of d5 and dxe5 where two very different types of games emerge. The Advance games see much maneuvering behind the pawns while the Exchange games see things get much sharper.
Kings Indian Defense: Petrosian System - 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Be2 e5 7.d5
The Petrosian System seems less violent but it can give White an ongoing initiative. Now you have the natural plan of attacking Black's pawn chain with c5.
Black can respond with 7...Ne8 with the thinly veiled threat of ...f5 striking at e4. It is now that the Petrosian shows it's great flexibility. You have not yet castled and you have resources to attack on the Kingside. 8.h4 daring Black to open the Kingside will give him something to think about.
Sometimes Black will try 7...Nh5 instead with ideas of ...Nf4. A simple 8.g3 rules this out along with 8...f5 because of 9.exf5 gxf5 10.Nxe5! with a discovered attack on the hanging h5-Knight.
These problems led Black to find a different approach. The Main Starting Position these days is reached by 7...a5 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bh4 Na6 10.Nd2 Qc8. Now Black can tuck his Knight away on h7 and go ahead with the ...f5 plan with none of the previous problems.
The Exchange Variation continues 7...dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bg5 where White can get a lead in development and start asking questions. Black has a choice. He can play 9...Re8 knowing that after 10.Nd5 Nxd5 11.cxd5 he has given you only a small edge to try to turn into a win.
This would be a tall order and for a long time 9...Re8 was the main move for just that reason. Another move came to light in the last 30 years.
The move is 9...c6. It gives Black control of d5 and he play for control of the d-file and maybe utilize the outpost on d4. Play becomes tactical and unpredictable when the game goes down this road. Black is taking advantage of White's only real weakness in this line, namely the aforementioned hole on d4.
Kings Indian Defense: Gligoric System - 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Be2 e5 7.Be3
The main attraction of the Gligoric System is that it's the ultimate in flexibility. Even moreso than the Orthodox Variation. Not only can you still go with d5 or dxe5 but after 7.Be3 you haven't committed your King to either wing.
You're forcing Black to commit to a plan before revealing your setup. If he plays 7...Nc6, great, hit him with 8.d5 and after 8...Ne7 you can play 9.Nd2 with no regrets. You now have a superior version to the equivalent Orthodox line as now your dark square Bishop is on e3, not blocked in on c1.
You never get an inferior version of an Orthodox, Petrosian or Exchange line by playing 7.Bd3 and sometimes you get a better position. That's why many players like the Gligoric.
Kings Indian Defense: Makagonov System - 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.h3
White doesn't have to play the KID with 5.Nf3. Several other systems are available with similar flavors. Just subtle little twists on the same ideas. The Makagonov System starts with 5.h3.
This little move does a couple of things. For starters you're taking control of g4. This makes e3 a more comfortable spot for your dark square Bishop who will want to stop there in some lines. This Bishop goes to g5 too but it's not unusual at all to post him on e3.
5.h3 also preps a possible g4 advance. This motif is always an option against the KID. You can castle on the Queenside sometimes and get a pawn storm firing forward with their officers supporting from behind.
The Samisch used to be the Main Line against the KID. 5.Nf3 only overtook it in the last 20 years. It gives you as White some of the same plusses as the Makagonov in that it controls g4. It, like 5.h3, is also a possible precursor for a Kingside attack.
It's more flexible than the Makagonov in that you're not committed to action on either wing. You can develop your pieces in relative comfort before castling on either wing. 5.f3 also gives solid support to your center.
The only real gripe to be had against the Samisch is that it's a little slow. 5.f3 does not develop a piece. Worse again it takes f3 away from the Knight.
This piece must wait for the Bishop to leave home before he can take up residence on the humble e2 post. It is largely this factor that has seen the Samisch slip, albeit slightly, from the top of the list.
Kings Indian Defense: Four Pawns Attack - 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4
The KID is a Hypermodern opening. Black is offering White space, daring him to take it. All the while he prepares his forces to crouch like a tiger ready to spring when White has given him targets to attack in the center.
The Father of Hypermodern Chess, Aron Nimzowitsch called these solid cramped set-ups frog positions. He was likening the explosion of the hypermodern pieces into the game during and after the destruction of the center to a frog leaping through the force generated by his hind legs.
The KID is just such a frog position. With the Four Pawns Attack you take Black's challenge on to the fullest extent. You take all of the available space there is.
Black must now attack your big center to avoid being overwhelmed. After 5...0-0 6.Nf3 he will do this either by 6...c5 or 6...e5. 6...c5 is probably the sterner test of the two.
The Averbakh Variation starts with 5.Bg5. You put Black in an annoying pin while maintaining all of your options. You can follow up this move by advancing your Kingside with g4 and h4. You should be just about ready to castle Queenside if you want to run with this.
On the other hand you can simply play Nf3 and after Bd3, castle Kingside. You are then able to begin operations on the Queenside. Even now your Queen and dark square Bishop can work together on the c1-h6 diagonal.
Exchanging dark square Bishops is always a threat. Often Black may be provoked into loosening his Kingside with a timely ...h6 to prevent this. Your Bishop can drop back to a useful post on e3 if need be.
If you meet this system as Black your chief concern is deciding what to do about this Bishop. You may play ...h6 to chase it or concentrate first on ...c5. This central break should be prepped by 6...Nbd7 or 6...Na6.
The Kings Indian Defense may be just the opening to refresh your game. During it's emergence in the 1920s to it's Golden Age in the 1950s right through to it's still high standing in modern chess, new motifs and ideas to play chess have been found and continuously improved.
Of course the Indian family is a big one with plenty more systems. You have the Queen's Indian, the Nimzo-Indian, the Bogo-Indian, the Old Indian and the Grunfeld Defense also qualifies as an Indian opening.