Petrosian Variation of the King’s Indian Defense

The Petrosian Variation is a great way to confuse the King’s Indian Player because it goes against the most common plans for both colors.

For an introduction to the KID, watch this video on the basics:

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As opposed to the Classical System (of the Orthodox KID) which we looked at in the last video, where white allows the black knight to develop itself to the c6 square and chases it away later on, in the Petrosian Variation, white stops that by playing d5 immediately! And that one move difference makes the variation completely different.

Since the knight is unable to develop to c6 (and then to e7 once it’s chased away), it has to go to an inferior square, either a6 or d7. That one detail makes the Petrosian KID much harder to play for both sides, as the plans change from the normal ones you see after white plays 7. 0-0.

Black can respond with three different moves, a5, which is the main line, and two knight-developing moves, either Nbd7 or Na6. All three try to solve two issues at once. Develop the knight and stop white’s queenside advance. Since white cannot really go for the usual c5 break here (because the knight is controlling the square from both a6 and d7), he goes for b4 first instead. That makes a5 the logical main move and the variation makes sense.

So white is going for b4. And at all costs that is. You will often see white spend 4-5 moves to make b4 happen, and albeit a useful move, I prefer what black is going at the same time. Black is trying to break through on the kingside, and, as in any variation of the King’s Indian, start a deadly attack!

I really think that the Petrosian Variation is inferior for white when compared to the Bayonet attack or the Classical system. Still, if the great Tigran Petrosian played it and popularized it, it has to be a viable opening.

If you play the King’s Indian, prepare one of the moves against it, and you will not have a too hard time getting a good position!



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