Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Attacking the fianchetto

This week is the 5th round of the MCC Open and my opponent plays the fianchetto defences. Whilst I've been guilty (for the first time in a while!) of studying some opening lines, I'm trying to stay true to the philosophy of studying more general themes through whatever opening is relevant each week. On pulling out a few attacking manuals and flipping to the "attacking the fianchetto castled position" chapters, I've gone through some great games.

The first is a win by Mikhail Tal which features all three techniques against the fianchetto that i'll be focusing on:

1) "The Benoni Jump" which features a knight jumping in to f5 after white has played g4 and usually a rook to g1. The knight obviously threatens the defensive Bishop and the dark squares around the black king as well as opening the g-file after gxf5, gxf5.

2. Pushing the h-pawn. The fact that black has played g6 means that white's h (or f!) pawn can come into contact with black's defensive shield a move earlier than usual. What is impressive in this game is how long Tal maintains the tension before playing an eventual hxg6.

3. Lining up Queen and Bishop on the dark squares

The second game is the very famous Karpov - Korchnoi game II from the 1972 candidates final, an important moment for the Yugoslav Attack against the Sicilian Dragon. Karpov's novelty 19. Rd3 caused a change in Dragon theory with h5 to block white's h4-h5 push often played by Dragon players today.

This game, as is often the case in the St. George attack, features a lot of the tactical theme "deflection" and "removing the guard" (the f6 knight). If you haven't seen the game before, take the time not to treat it as the "theory" it has become- personally I've never looked at these lines out of disdain for the 'memory-work' the Yugoslav requires, but once you start to look at the reasons behind each move rather than just look at it as a variation 26000 sixteen-hundred players have memorised, then you can appreciate it and learn from it.

Finally- here's a random tactic! White to play and win, enjoy!


  1. Hi Paul, come along on Wednesday as attacking fianchetto defences is the main theme of the evening. However, I will be looking at some of the more direct approaches :)

  2. ha- Tal's 800 move build-up too much for me too..!

    Sounds great- i'll be there.