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King's Indian Attack

King's Indian Attack
a b c d e f g h
8
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7 7
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5 5
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2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Typical KIA setup for White against semi-open defenses by Black
Moves Opening system involving moves e4, d3, Nd2, Ngf3, g3, Bg2, and 0-0
ECO A07-A08
Synonym(s) KIA, Barcza System

The King's Indian Attack (or KIA), also known as the Barcza System (after Gedeon Barcza), is a chess opening system for White.

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 d3, Nd2, Ngf3, g3, Bg2, and 0-0, it can also arise from 1.g3, 1.Nf3, or even 1.d3.

Characteristics

The KIA is a mirror image of the setup adopted by Black in the King's Indian Defence. 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.

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. 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 sacrifices.

Use

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 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 memorising specific move orders to avoid bad positions.

Barcza System

a b c d e f g h
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1 1
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1.Nf3 d5 2.g3

King's Indian Attack (A07) is 1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 (see diagram). Common Black responses are 2...Nf6, 2...c6, 2...Bg4, 2...c5, and 2...g6. Then White can play 3.Bg2.

King's Indian Attack (A08) is 1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 c5 3.Bg2.

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Bg4 3.Bg2 Nd7 is the Keres Variation.

Transposition from other lines

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5
1. Nf3 c5 2. g3 d5

Transposition to other lines

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. d4 (D02)

Famous games

The following games are perhaps the most famous examples of the KIA.

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Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy