I am looking for a line as White against the King's Indian Defense to play in blitz. With the short time I find it hard to play the lines where White might be winning on the queenside, but has to endure an attack on his king. I've looked at the Smyslov line, but I don't understand what White is trying to do there. I would consider pure English type lines or Reti if there is a good recommendation.

5 Answers 5


I think a good way of preventing Black's kingside play is the Makogonov (or Makagonov) variation:

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1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.h3

This is more strategical than tactical, and most of the times prevents Black's ..f5 by playing g4 with White! Not to attack, but to restrain.

After 5..0-0 you can choose:

  1. either a setup with 6.Nf3,
  2. or first develop the queen's bishop (6.Bg5), keeping the option open of playing Nf3 or Nge2.

For the first setup, reply all games played by Chessexplained, he has a tremendous score with this variation, explaining plans while playing: https://www.youtube.com/user/Chessexplained/search?query=makogonov. I especially liked

For the second, more flexible, setup, read John Watson's "A strategic opening repertoire for White".

Good luck!


You could try to take a look at the Exchange Variation. I have used it a few times in blitz and tournaments. It's easy to pick up and involves a few complications in the opening that if Black is not familiar with, may cause them to use up precious time. Plus, it has the psychological advantage that most KID players are looking for a complex fight and this makes them play a very different kind of game, as it involves an early Queen exchange.

Granted, you have to like those kind of positions!


In general there is no easy way around the King's Indian: it is a highly theoretical opening that players must know how to play against.

With the short time I find it hard to play the lines where White might be winning on the queenside, but has too endure an attack on his king

Well, if you know the opening lines well enough it really makes no difference what the time control is, as in any case the first 10-15 moves are (somehow) forced. This said, the standard main-main line (Mar de la Plata variation) for White against the King's Indian is indeed an attack against Black's Queen side (especially against c5 or by playing Be3-Nb5 pointing at a7) where White tries to move the focus elsewhere to counterattack what Black is carrying out on the King's side: in this respect the plan is conceptually easy, in the sense that especially in a blitz game you already know where your pieces go and what they must attack without having to actually think of a plan.


I've looked at the Smyslov line, but I don't understand what White is trying to do there

the Smyslov line is indeed one way to play it without all the hassle that the main line involves: White tries to make ...e5 somewhat more difficult (by pinning the f6 Knight) and to avoid the standard maneuver Ne8-f5 (as the Knight is pinned on the Queen). As such, Black usually tries to un-pin with h6-g5 and in that case it is White to start carrying an attack on the King's side against the prematurely exposed g-h pawns of Black's; the play anyway is to be studied line by line (do not take the above as a general recipe).

Another attempt may be the Panno variation (fianchetto variation), where the structure g3-Bg2 makes it more difficult for Black to break open the King's side checkmating the White King very fast. There is a didactic video here that may give you a taste thereof (but there is a lot of free GM content elsewhere too).

  • There are a lot of choices against g3-Bg2 besides the Panno, but I appreciate the link to the video.
    – Ywapom
    Sep 25, 2017 at 21:03

An effective blitz approach is to play the 150 Attack / Barry Attack.

This means not playing c4 on move 2. Instead play Bf4 then Nc3 and play the 150 (e4, Qd2, 0-0-0, Bh6, h4, h5, in some order followed by checkmate) in the case black doesn't play d5. In the case black does play d5 then play the Barry Attack with moves like e3, h4, etc. again with the idea of blasting open the h file and checkmating black's castled king.

This is a crude attempt to take black away from standard KID lines and blow him out of the water if he doesn't know what he is doing and just plays stereotypical KID moves, perfect for blitz if you do some preparation first.


I merely depends on what kind of a blitz player you are. If your main point is to avoid learning complicated opening lines, you can try and play schemes with g3, e.g. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 d6 [you would also need to have an idea how to play against 4...d5] 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 etc.

There is a lot of theory in these variations, but it is more dispendable than in the main lines. Thanks to your kingside fianchetto you are not in danger of a direct kingside attack, so it is much easier to naviguate with general concepts (fight for the center!) and without specific knowledge.

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