Top 9 chess players who play the King’s Indian Defense

King’s Indian defense opening has very much old history. Geller popularized this opening in the 20th century.  People started to pay more attention to it in between 1985-2005. This opening is suitable for attacking style players as it is a dynamic opening and most preferred for a must-win situation with black. Another plus point of this opening is in a lot of positions even engine misevaluates. Also, there are various move orders to reach the basic positions of King’s Indian Defense. This opening is still very popular at the highest level. There are various books and DVDs by top authors on the king’s Indian defense, we will cover that in a different article. Following are top players who played king’s Indian and because of them it becomes very much popular

the basic position of King’s Indian Defense

The above position is generally reached with move order 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6. From here white has various approaches to deal with this position.

Efim Geller

Geller was born in 1925 in USSR. He is the first player who popularized the king’s Indian defense on the top level. He won with Ulhmann, Polguavesky, Petrosian, Gligoric, Lubinsky in kings Indian defense. The following are some popular games of Efim Geller.





Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov who was born in Baku, Azerbaijan is a former World Champion. He used the king’s Indian defense as his main weapon with the black pieces. He is almost has beaten all top-level players in this line. The game between Kramnik- Kasparov where Kasparov gives queen sacrifice for two pieces to Kramnik was legendary. You can watch that game below. Kasparov also won some crucial last round games with the king’s Indian Defense.

Hikaru Nakamura

Hikaru Nakamura is a grandmaster from the united states of America. His peak rating was 2817. He is also known for his live stream on twitch. He is also a master in kings’ Indian defense. His game with Wesley so in kings Indian is world-famous. Following is his game.





Teimour Radjabov

Teimour Radjabov is a Grandmaster from Azerbaijan, he defeated Garry Kasparov when he was just 15 years old and at that time Kasparov was a star. He played kings’ Indian defense almost all his life. His win in kings Indian includes Gelfand Boris, Andreikin, Wang Hao, David Navara, Hikaru Nakamura, Mamedyarov Shakhriyar. The following are some of the best games. Watch and enjoy it.




Ding Liren

Ding Liren is Chinese grandmaster and currently world no 3, he is the first Chinese player to cross 2800 rating barrier. He has a lot of experience in the King’s Indian Defense His victory in kings Indian includes Nikita Vitigov, Ni Hua, Aronian, Radjabov, Richard Rapport.



Kozul Zdenko

Kozul is a veteran grandmaster and Croatian chess player. He played kings Indian defense for almost all his life. He also played the fide world chess championship in 2004. His peak rating was 2640 in 2004. He won various tournaments in his chess career. The following are some of his best games.

Victor Bologan

Victor Bologan is a veteran grandmaster from Moldova. He played various games in King’s Indian. He is also a popular author. His book kings Indian according to Bologan, a complete repertoire is his famous book. He also recorded 2 DVD for kings Indian. You can check out his book and DVDs on and respectively.



Iliya Smirin

Ilia Smirin is an Israeli Grandmaster born in USSR. Smirin has a peak rating of 2702 in 2001. Smirin also played 4 world championship matches. He played kings Indian defense for his whole life and defeated almost all top-level players in the king’s Indian defense. He is author of the famous book Kings Indian warfare. The following are some of his best games.

Robin van Kampen

Van Kampen, Robin is a young Dutch grandmaster. He is currently 2658 and dutch champion also. He played many games in kings’ Indian defense. As he is not very much popular in this particular opening, but I included his name because he recorded one of the best DVDs on kings Indian defense for chess24. You can check out from here.


Cutting Edge KID: Introduction – Robin van Kampen chess video

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There are many other players who contributed and improved the King’s Indian defense. It is a very big list. we picked 9 players. If you know some players who can be added to the list, then let us know in the comment section. Thank you for reading this article.

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