Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Black Fianchetto System in the Open Games, Part One

I have posted A Black Fianchetto System in the Open Games, Part One, which is the first of a projected seven-part series on a classical way of playing against 1.e4 with 1...e5 and an eventual g6.

The viability of a black fianchetto in the open games was demonstrated by Wilhelm Steinitz in the late nineteenth century (see, for example, Rosenthal - Steinitz, Vienna 1873 and Mackenzie - Steinitz, London 1883), and it has been played with success by the likes of Alekhine, Keres, Geller, and Smyslov. Black has had success with a fianchetto against many lines in the open games:
  • Spanish / Ruy Lopez, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6
  • Scotch Game, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 g6
  • Three Knights, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6
  • Scotch Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 g6
  • Italian Game / Giuoco Piano, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 g6
  • Ponziani Opening, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 Qe7!? 4.d4 d6 5.Bd3 g6
  • Center Game, 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Qxd4 Nc6 4.Qe3 g6

Where a fianchetto system is not so successful is against lines where White can play an early f4, such as the Vienna, the Bishop's Opening, and the King's Gambit. But we will examine an alternative system against these lines where the Bishop is often developed to b4.

In this first of a planned seven-part series, we examine lines where White plays c3 followed by d4, striving to establish a classical center. This is one of the best places to begin our discussion because it helps us see the g6 system as a potential tabiya that can work across various opening lines that are typically treated quite separately in the opening manuals.

The Tabiya of the Fianchetto System

In subsequent articles, we will look at:

  • historical games with the g6 line
  • various gambit tries for White with d4 followed by c3
  • attacking tries with d4 followed by Bg5
  • lines with d4 and Nxd4
  • attempts to attack by h4
  • and various closed systems for White with d3
The Black fianchetto system in the open games fits very well into an opening repertoire that involves the King's Indian Defense or other fianchetto lines against the d-pawn openings. For ideas on how you can build an entire repertoire around these lines, see my earlier article, "Repertoire Renovations." As always, I welcome reader feedback.



Blogger dfan said...

I'm very happy to see this! I just started playing the Smyslov against the Spanish recently, and I'm sure to learn a lot from these articles.

Sun Jun 21, 09:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diamondback said...

A very daunting chess blog post in seven parts covering the black fianchetto system in open games.

How soon can we expect subsequent parts to be posted ?

Upon completion, are you contemplating a possible Electronic Chess Book utilizing all or some of these material along with additional resources for possible sale ?

I for one would buy your chess E Book on this chess opening just based on reading part one.

And I'm not just whistling dixie.


Sun Jun 21, 10:15:00 PM EDT  
Blogger katar said...

Ambitious and brilliant-- you need a book contract. :)
Your chess blogger rating is over 2800.

Mon Jun 22, 12:03:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Michael Goeller said...

Yeah, I was thinking about a book. But I am more interested in the analysis right now than the final form it takes. I am shooting to get another one up in a week or so, and the blog motivates writing. Maybe an improved version and full repertoire for the book? I invite publisher commentary....

Mon Jun 22, 10:24:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Great, looking forward to this!

Mon Jun 22, 03:43:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Mikko said...

What about Philidor with g6?

Sat Jul 04, 03:16:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


For the last six months or so I have also been experimenting with these lines in blitz (except for the one vs the Ponz, but I'll try that one too if the chance arises), though I have generally preferred to enter it via 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4/Nf3 e5 - especially since I found some of the lines first in Berdichevsky's book on 1...Nc6.

Actually, I was also toying with the idea of a book on it - but now I can cross that one off the itinerary, great!

Good luck with the project, I hope you finish it!


Thu Jul 09, 12:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Michael Goeller said...

Thank you for all the comments. Part Two is now almost complete and should be published by Monday, July 27th, which will mean I am almost on a monthly pace. Part Two will focus on White gambits with d4 and c3 and will consider both accepting the gambit and declining it (generally with the ...d3 "push past" and with Nge7 followed by d5). I had to do a lot of original research for this one, and I have been developing the entire project, so I expect others will come more easily. Part Three will focus on lines where White plays d4 followed by Bg5, then Part Four on lines where White plays d4 and Nxd4.

I have also decided, in response to Mikko, to look at the Philidor with g6, which Larsen introduced in "Why not the Philidor?" I have often asked that question myself, and lately wonder "Why not the Larsen Variation?" since it does seem a lot simpler than the system I am developing.

More soon.

Sat Jul 25, 08:27:00 AM EDT  

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