Consider the following line

[FEN ""]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ (5... Be7) 6.Bd2 Be7 (6... Bxd2+)

Black hardly ever plays 5... Be7 directly (I could only find one such game), but rather plays the above sequence (this sequence happens 1573 times). The variation 6... Bxd2+ happens 54 times.

This suggests that it is better for black if white has the Bishop on d2. But I cannot see why this is.

  • I am surprised there is not a tag called "tempo" May 30, 2015 at 16:30
  • Tempo tag now created/added.
    – ETD
    May 30, 2015 at 20:08

2 Answers 2


White's intended setup involves fianchettoing his dark-squared bishop on b2. The "free move" 6. Bd2 brings more harm than good:

  1. Transferring the bishop onto the long diagonal, if white wishes to, will still take another move (i.e. Bd2-c3), but more importantly, if he does, the bishop on c3 takes away the square for the knight, which is preferred in many lines.

  2. In many lines, white wants to play d5, aiming for a Benoni-like structure (which is bad for black in these cases); the bishop on d2 blocks the queen's defence of the d5 square, making this push harder to achieve.

For case 1: consider the "old" line, and compare this to a possible variation that arises after giving the check on move 5 instead:

[FEN ""]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 (4... Ba6 5. b3 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Bg2 Bb7 8. O-O O-O 9. Nc3) Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Ne4 8. Qc2 Nxc3 9. Qxc3 f5 10. b3 Bf6 11. Bb2

Clearly, in this case, having the bishop on d2 is worse than having it on c1!

Long story short: the check disrupts white's set-up.

  • I understand point 2, but I disagree with point 1. To Fianchetto in the old line takes two moves, namely b3 and Bb2. Here it takes two moves Bc1 and Bb2, hence the above final position can be reached with the new line as well. See 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Qc2 Bb7 8.Nc3 O-O 9.Bg2 Ne4 10.Bc1 Nxc3 11.Qxc3 f5 12.Bb2 Bf6 13.O-O. Although I do see that White's pieces are somewhat tripping over themselves and precise play is needed. May 31, 2015 at 10:08
  • The problem with the old line is that the position is already very dry after 9. Qxc3; black does not want a transposition to this line, and strives for a more dynamic position; in fact, if I recall correctly, the most popular continuation in the position arising from the new line after 9. Nc3 begins with 9... Na6 10. Bc1!
    – Ken Wei
    May 31, 2015 at 11:30
  • And for the sake of argument, white is under no obligation to follow the moves in your suggested line; in particular, after 9... Ne4, 10. Qc2 is no longer forced as the bishop is defending the knight, and therefore he has the option of playing 10. d5, leaving black slightly cramped. Nevertheless, this is moot.
    – Ken Wei
    May 31, 2015 at 11:41
  • By point (1) I meant that white either suffers from a loss of tempo or a poorly placed dark-squared bishop (although the two are arguably equivalent as transferring pieces costs tempi). But to highlight this loss, the second player needs to play correctly! A move like 9... Ne4 is too cooperative; a clearer example would be a line in the Sicilian Accelerated Dragon after 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Be2 O-O 8. O-O and 8... d6?! transposes to the 'normal' dragon where he strives for the d5 break (which he could have played immediately in this position)!
    – Ken Wei
    May 31, 2015 at 11:47
  • In the variation 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.O-O O-O 7.b3, is 7. b3 a wasted move? If yes, then I must agree with your point 1 (and it seems like it is a wasted move). Jun 1, 2015 at 6:47

According to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen%27s_Indian_Defense

"The effect of Black's check has been to lure White's bishop to c3 where it blocks the c-file. This, the current main line of the Queen's Indian, is considered equal by theory and became a frequent guest in grandmaster praxis in the 1980s."

You should be able to get some understanding from this page. Then look at those games you found.

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