What Is A Fianchetto

A fianchetto is when you place your Bishop behind your Knight’s pawn (so your bishop can control the long diagonal).

How To Fianchetto

To fianchetto:

  1. move your knight’s pawn forward one square
  2. then place your bishop on the long diagonal

Why Fianchetto

Bishops are best used as long range pieces.

When bishops are too close to enemy pieces, they can get attacked by pawns and knights.

Fianchettoing allows your bishop to control the long diagonals from the side (while also providing a great defense for king castling).

How To Beat A Fianchetto

When your opponent has

  1. castled Kingside and
  2. has a fianchettoed bishop there

You will need to attack this fianchetto set up.

To do so you should want to:

  1. Advance the h-pawn to open the h-file for the rook

  2. Trade off the Fianchetto’d bishop. Once the bishop is off the board, the light squares around the King become weak and the squares around the king become targets for an invasion.

  3. Place a pawn on e4 (to block off Bishop’s diagonal), and then get a Knight on f5 (on exchange King can be mated since pawn on f5 traps king)

When Should You Fianchetto?

If you are playing a hyper-modern opening (Where you control the center indirectly, e.g. Reti, Kings Indian, Pirc, etc.) then you fianchetto to fight for control of the center.

Not only will the bishop help you fight for the center but the pawn on b3 or g3 (for white) will help you with a further pawn break like c4 or f4 to undermine the opponent's center.

When Not To Fianchetto

If you are going to play a classical opening (either d4 or e4) you probably want to place your bishops on the 4th or 5th ranks.

How To Keep A Fianchetto Strong

Fianchettoing lets your bishop control the long diagonal.

Avoid putting pawns on this diagonal (or letting your opponent do so).

Otherwise your bishop will just be blocked in.

If a bishop is fianchettoed in front of a castled king... do NOT trade it off for another piece.

Doing so will just weaken the light squares in front of your King

Why Is A Fianchetto Bad?

Fianchettoing the bishop on the side where you castle creates weaknesses and strengths.

If your opponent can force an exchange of the bishop you will be left with weak holes and your Kingside can be targeted by flank pawn pushes.

What Is A Double Fianchetto?

When one side Fianchettos both bishops, this is known as a double fianchetto.

A double fianchetto is used when someone wants to use side attacks to weaken of the opponent in the center.

Unfortunately, this method doesn’t normally bring positive results (since it takes a long time to fianchetto both bishops).

By then, your opponent can already developed and control the center.

Therefore, the use of this development needs special attention and absolute knowledge of the future strategy.

So, don’t do it if you don’t have a backup plan.