Old Indian Defense

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Old Indian Defense
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
d6 black pawn
f6 black knight
c4 white pawn
d4 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6
ECO A53–A55
Parent Indian Defence
Synonym(s) Chigorin Indian

The Old Indian Defense is a chess opening defined by the moves:

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 d6

This opening is distinguished from the King's Indian Defense by Black developing his king's bishop on e7 rather than the fianchetto at g7. Mikhail Chigorin pioneered this defense late in his career.

The Old Indian is considered sound, though developing the bishop at e7 is less active than the fianchetto, and it has never attained the popularity of the King's Indian. Some King's Indian players will use the Old Indian to avoid certain anti-King's Indian systems, such as the Sämisch and Averbakh variations.

The opening is classified in the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings (ECO) with the codes A53–A55.


Main line: 3.Nc3 e5[edit]

a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black knight
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
d6 black pawn
f6 black knight
e5 black pawn
c4 white pawn
d4 white pawn
e4 white pawn
c3 white knight
f3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Main line after 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.e4
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
d6 black pawn
f6 black knight
f5 black bishop
c4 white pawn
d4 white pawn
c3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Janowski Variation 3.Nc3 Bf5

The Main line is 3. Nc3 e5 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. e4; White can also play 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+, but despite the displacement of Black's king, this has long been known to offer no advantage, e.g. 5...Kxd8 6.Nf3 Nfd7!, with Black often following up with some combination of c6, Kd8–c7, a5, Na6 and f6. Black's position is solid and his piece coordination is good; White's pawn exchange in the center has allowed Black equal space and freed the f8-bishop. 5... Be7 6. Be2 0-0 7. 0-0 c6 8. Re1 (or 8.Be3) and White stands slightly better.

Janowski Variation: 3.Nc3 Bf5[edit]

The Janowski Variation, 3. Nc3 Bf5, was first introduced by Dawid Janowski in the 1920s. The idea behind the variation is that 3...Bf5 prevents White from immediately grabbing space with 4.e4. The variation did not gain much popularity until the 1980s. Several top-level players have employed the line multiple times, including Mikhail Tal, Bent Larsen, Florin Gheorghiu, and Kamran Shirazi.

3.Nf3[edit]

This is also reached by 2.Nf3 d6 3.c4. De Firmian suggests 3...Bg4. 3...c6 and 3...Bf5 are also possible. 3...g6 will likely transpose to the King's Indian Defence, and 3...Nbd7 4.Nc3 to the Main line.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]