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 fianchettoing it at g7. Mikhail Chigorin pioneered this defence late in his career.
The Old Indian is considered sound, though developing the bishop at e7 is less active than in 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 S misch and Averbakh variations.
The opening is classified in the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings (ECO) with the codes A53 A55.
The main line of the opening 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!, often followed by 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.
The Janowski Indian Defense, 3. Nc3 Bf5, was first introduced by Dawid Janowski in the 1920s, although it did not gain much popularity until the 1980s. Several top-level players have employed the opening multiple times, including Mikhail Tal, Bent Larsen, Florin Gheorghiu, and Kamran Shirazi.
The idea behind the variation is that by playing 3...Bf5, Black prevents White from immediately playing the space-grabbing 4.e4.
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