How can I break the King's Indian Attack? I think my h7 square is vulnerable to attack; what is the best way to break this strategy?

  • 2
    This question does not really have an answer. There is no "best way". You should find a piece development scheme that you feel comfortable with
    – David
    Jun 20, 2019 at 8:40

4 Answers 4


I doubt that the King's Indian Attack can be 'broken'. It's a very solid position that White takes the time to setup, if Black is not careful, White may be able to gain space on the kingside, with moves such as e5, and develop dangerous attacks if Black has castled there.

As for h7 being weak, many things need to happen from Black in order for this to be realized (such as a semi-open h-file, Bg7 has been exchanged, in which case it is h6 that is weaker), so there may not be anything there worth exploring.

I can't comment on what the 'best' defense would be, but there are many good ones, one such is the Botvinnik System. Black makes use of the extra available tempi to set up a strong and flexible defense. The typical structure would be pawns at c5, e5, d6, g6 and pieces at Nc6, Nge7, Bg7 and 0-0. Black has a firm control over the d4 square and can potentially break with either ...b5 or ...f5.


I recently faced a very similar problem when I organized a King's Indian Attack themed blitz tournament at my club. The problem is that it takes quite a few moves to establish White's KIA position and I had to find moves for black that preserved Black's flexibility in light of the many Youtube videos out there that promise to "crush Black with the KIA" :-).

The solution I came up with was to follow a line recommended by England's "Ginger GM", Simon Williams in his series of videos on the French Defence. It goes like this:

[fen ""]
1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. Ngf3 Nc6 5. g3 g6 6. Bg2 Bg7 7. O-O Nge7 8. Re1 b6

There are a number of ideas here.

  1. The King's knight has gone to e7 not f6. This is important because it takes the sting out of e5 by White and of ed. The e file is blocked by the knight on e7 and Black's king sheltered.
  2. Black has delayed castling. There is no urgency and castling queenside may be more appropriate. In any case don't castle automatically into the programmed KIA king's side attack. Make your opponent think! Try and frustrate his plans.
  3. Black is ready to meet ed with ed and O-O. If necessary then a5, Ra7 will redeploy the queenside rook along the 7th rank opening up new defensive and attacking possibilities.
  4. Black will meet e5 with moves like Qc7 and g5 with the idea of exchanging his g pawn for White's e pawn and if White defends with Qe2 Black will happily initiate the exchange of queens on e5. Black is more likely to castle queenside in this variation
  5. If White follows a traditional move order with moves like c3, Nf1 h5 etc then Black will respond with something like h6, a5, Ra7, Rd7 with threats to play either de to embarrass the White queen or d4 to drive a wedge into the center and take space.

Of course this does not refute the KIA but it does give a flexible and rich way to combat White players who bang out the first 10 or 12 moves like an automaton.


So far, I’ve had success with the Pachman System, d5 g6 Bg7 e5 Ne7. If they play d4 before you can get the e5 off, you can go for Nf6, Nd7, and Nb6, allowing you to capture any c4 pawn, and get a good position while they recapture.


I believe that the best way is to stop your opponent from getting an imbalance by copying White's setup. This will lead to drawish positions, if you are aiming for a draw. If you are aiming for a win, then you should then control the center after these moves.

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