You Can Trust the Queen’s Indian Defense


Table of Contents

The Queen’s Indian Defense shares some of the strategies found in the Nimzo-Indian Defense and is an excellent choice to include in your repertoire, alongside the Nimzo-Indian opening.

  • Several World Chess Champions have played the Queen’s Indian Defense. Among them are Euwe, Kasparov, Anand, Karpov, and Kramnik.
  • The Queen’s Indian Defense is an excellent choice when White chooses to avoid the Nimzo-Indian with 3.Nf3 instead of playing 3.Nc3.
  • Although very much positional in nature, there are attacking opportunities and chances to play sacrifices in this solid defense.
  • The queen’s Indian Defense is great for players of all levels, from beginner to grandmaster.

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The Mighty Queen's Indian Defense

The Queen’s Indian Defense: Ideas and Strategies

The starting position of the Queen’s Indian Defense is reached after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6

The starting position of the Queen's Indian Defense is reached after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6

The main battle in this chess opening revolves around control of the critical e4 and d5 squares. Black seeks to control these squares with a knight on f6 and a bishop on b7.

Controlling these squares can include occupying them with pieces and playing moves like …Ne4.

Also, keep in mind that in the Queen’s Indian Defense, instead of …Bb7, the bishop is often developed to a6. From a6, the bishop puts pressure on the c4-pawn. This is particularly effective if White chooses to play the fianchetto variation ith g3 and Bg2.

White chooses 3.Nf3 instead of 3.Nc3 to avoid the pin after 3…Bb4. There is obviously nothing wrong with a natural developing move like 3.Nf3 and Nc3 can be played later.

The Fianchetto Variation With 6…Bb4+

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb7 6.Bg2 Bb4+

Black played 4…Ba6 to tempt White into defending the c4 pawn with b3. Once black achieved that goal, the bishop moved back to the long diagonal to challenge the white bishop on the long diagonal.

After 6…Bb4+ white has little choice but to play 7.Bb2 when black responds with 7…a5. The idea is to gain control of the a-file and prevent Nc3 if white plays Bxb4.

7.Bd2 a5 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qc2 d6 10Nc3 Nbd7 11.Rfe1

The c2-square is a natural square for the white queen because the queen helps support e4, and when white plays Rfe1, the intention to play e4is quite clear.

Black must remember a two-move combination to prevent e4 – Bxc3 and Be4. Once the queen moves away and no longer supports e4, the black bishop can return to b7.

Ivanchuk sacrificed the exchange in this game while playing the Queen’s Indian Defense against a strong opponent rated over 2700 Elo.

The Queen’s Indian Defense 4.a3

This variation of the Queen’s Indian Defense is named after the 9th World Chess Champion, Tigran Petrosian. The line gained in popularity when another Wold Chess Champion started winning games with it in the 1980s – none other than Garry Kasparov.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb7 4.a3

The a3 advance covers the b4 square and allows white to play Nc3 without worrying about a pin. Avoiding the pin with …Bb4 is one of the main reasons White chose 3.Nf3.

On the downside, a pawn move is not a developing move, so white loses time. Time is a valuable commodity in chess and especially early in the game.

In the Queen’s Indian Defense, black can play the same moves against different variations. A good response to 4.a3 is 4…Ba6.

4…Ba6 5.Qc2 Bb7 6.Nc3 c5 7.e4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bc5 9.Nf3 Ng4 10.Nd1 Qf6

Black has very active pieces, and if they get driven back by white, it will create weaknesses in the position. For example, b4 to force the bishop from c5 will give black a target to attack with …a5.

Final Thoughts

Openings don’t need to start razor-sharp to be effective or lead to exciting play. The Queen’s Indian Defense can lead to attacking play even with a solid positional character.

Since the hallmark of a good chess opening is to help you reach playable middlegames, the Queen’s Indian Defense ranks as one of the best chess openings.

There is no need to worry about getting caught in a trap early in the game, and there is not a lot of theory to learn. The Queen’s Indian Defense will take you quietly to an equal position in the middlegame without any trouble at all.

Queen’s Indian Defense: Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Queen’s Indian defense good?

Yes, the Queen’s Indian Defense is an excellent defense to 1.d4.

Is the Queen’s Indian Defense refuted?

No, the Queen’s Indian Defense is not refuted.

How do you play the Queen’s Indian defense?

The Queen’s Indian Defense begins with the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6

Is the Queen’s Indian Defense good for beginners?

Yes, the Queen’s Indian Defense is suitable for beginners, and it is good enough for them to keep using it as they become stronger players.

Is the Accelerated Queens Indian Good?

Can you play the Queen’s Indian against e4?

No, you cannot play the Queen’s Indian Defense against 1.e4. You can play Owen’s Defense (1…b6) against 1.e4, which also involves a queenside fianchetto of the bishop.

This video is from our “The Accelerated Queen’s Indian Defense” course

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The Mighty Queen's Indian Defense

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