Queen’s Indian Def. – opening theory

I am putting this out there as a reward to my regular blog readers who have a job and play tournament chess.

This can be a really breezy opening for the player who wants to avoid opening disputes, duels, and neutralize White’s advantage as painlessly as possible. Note that I spent under 5 1/2 minutes on this instructional game.

Incidentally, I missed a simple tactical winning shot for Black – 17…Nxd4 (instead of 17…Qd7).

Okay, so what is the big deal about the opening played in this game? It’s basically a Sicilian Def. where Black has not wasted a tempo playing …c5 and also gotten in …d5. One may not know this, but the strategic goal for Black, which almost never happens, is to get in …d5 in the Open Sicilian. What are the drawbacks of not playing …c5? Mainly one, can White double rooks on c5 file and hit c7 effectively or cramp Black for space on the queenside while generating play for the knights. That is what White should try to do, but it’s too subtle for many.

The key idea is 7…d5, which of course prevents White from playing d5. Here’s another nunace, White played a3. Naturally, if this “were” an Open Sicilian, that would be a big tempo loss for White. I think some “book-savvy” players will play a3 because they see it in all the main lines for the QID. I think that it’s a wasted tempo, poor move for White. So why is it played then? Simple, my theory is that it’s a classification error. Without a3 it would probably be classified as either a Nimzo or Bogo Indian. Plus, there are QGD variations which have a …Bb4, can’t remember which of these lines have it, the Vienna, Manhatten or Ragozin, but anyway they fall under QGD as I remember. White often acts confused about this OTB, and you can take advantage of that fact.

Another common ploy for Black is to play …Ba6, as in 10…Ba6. Did I mention that this opening is easy? Naturally, White made it so by playing e4 as well, and then letting Black get in …d5, but you would be surprised how often that White refrains from playing the strong d5. It’s as if the Q.I.D were witchcraft and spooks them. But the main point is that Black puts the struggle off for the middlegame rather than risking getting caught in the opening “out of book”.

Naturally, 6.Qd3 struck me as an odd duck, as did his knight retreat, but no example is perfect.

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6 thoughts on “Queen’s Indian Def. – opening theory

  1. Farbror, yes do try it out! 🙂

    I am not a fan of the setup c4,d4,e4 for White, in general (usually turns into either a hedgehog or full-Benoni, if White plays d5) – people hear the phrase “Maroczy bind” and think that is something they should be trying to do. I can’t even remember the Q.I.D. ever turning into a Benoni, although it really should(?) – easier for White to go for strategic win with good knights vs. bad bishops.

    But anyway, I think it’s far easier than playing the Owens Defense against 1.e4, where White also does best to gain a strategic stranglehold. Owen’t Def. is much more difficult to play as Black, IMHO. I think playing against 1.e4 is harder for me right now, even though I have _far_ more experience with it!

    But again, this is 1.d4, _2.c4_, and that’s the big thing, as I make no guarantees for using this against the Torre or Colle, where a Dutch Def. or K.I.D is probably the more practical try for an advantage as Black.

    Actually, I think the antidote for the Colle is to somehow get in …e5, that is the key move, IMHO. For example ..Nc6 (w/no ..c5) and then …e5 at some point. I just tried this out after I wrote this and I like it a lot. With …Nc6, ..d6, ..e5 Black is inviting White into a Benoni where c4 would require an extra tempo and otherwise Black can use all of that space that he/she can get.

  2. I just started on this book “Winning with the Nimzo-Indian” by GM Raymond Keene. I already like this book, his bedside manner of presenting games, as I was already spent from too much “serious” study of open positions.

    Finally, a great collection of games just to enjoy and unwind with. Closed positions have always been a major stylistic weakness for me (I do best in semi-open to open positions), so it’s nice to just sit back and learn something.

    Here is the first game from this book, awesome game:
    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1007465

    The end of the game, Black has threats like …Nf3, …Qh1+, Qxg1 mate. White’s position seemed lost so early on, and the finish so well executed, that one gets the feeling that Nimzovitch played this game with hindsight. These are the types of games that I believe people really were able to excel at back in the days with virtually no time-controls, or very long ones – both on offense and defense.

    In comparison, today’s games look like “White missed the win here (sloppy, sloppy), now Black misses a draw here (more sloppy play follows), but Black was already in time-pressure, so the bonzai blunder is understandable given that blah, blah, blah wins for White.”

  3. BTW, if you want to know who Jan Timman is, this game is very emblematic, IMHO:
    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1103663

    Timman points out in “Chess the Adventurous Way” to the tune that 24.Rd4 is a serious error, as 24.Qg5 with the threat of 25.Rd7 is enough to reposition the queen more centrally without loss of tempo. His brilliance comes out in these endgames where it becomes more clear why his rating is about 1,000 points higher than mine. Nunn’s technique was nice as well, but that one slip was all Timman needed.

    Notice how he dominates the knight, which he said was the basic idea in these positions.

  4. Tried to leave a comment yesterday night, didn’t work.
    Interesting opening, game too. Yeah, Nxd4 was a nice little trick. Bxc4 looks bad, leaving Nf3 unprotected (Nd2 was the move) and opening the diagonal is just brutal.

  5. RollinPawns, thanks for the comment.

    Sometimes WordPress seems real slow or bogged down. Almost like maybe if you and I are trying to comment at the same time, this site doesn’t get that much CPU resources or something and cuts off, hehe, dunno.

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