1 Nf3 repertoire: The Double Fianchetto System

The Double Fianchetto System is similar to the Hedgehog System in its basic philosophy of establishing a solid set-up, with the potential to counter-attack should White over-extend. The basic position arises after 1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 b6 3 g3 Bb7 4 Bg2 c5 5 0-0 g6, although as with the Hedgehog, there are various different routes to that position. Although, as noted, this line has similarities to the Hedgehog, there are a couple of crucial differences, based on Black choosing to develop his king’s bishop with …g6 and …Bg7, rather than …e6 and …Be7. These can be summarised as:

  • The bishop is more active on g7 as opposed to e7.
  • The d5 square is weaker, and White can offer safely move a knight there, as …e6 is then less attractive both because Black has played ….g6, and also because as the bishop is on g7, it is less well placed to defend the d6 pawn.

These differences give the line its distinctive character.

White’s main continuation is 6 Nc3 Bg7 7 d4 cxd4 8 Qxd4. Black’s best strategy is then to delay castling for a while to avoid giving White and automatic kingside attack, as happens after 8 …0-0 9 Qh4 followed by Bh6. The best square for Black’s b8 knight is d7. The other developments seem less promising:

  • 8…Na6 9 b3 0-0 10 Bb2 Nc5 11 Rac1 d6 12 Rfd1 Rc8 and now 13 Bh3 is interesting.
  • 8…Nc6 9 Qf4 intending Qh4 and Bh6, should Black castle.

Therefore Black plays 8…d6 and the main line of play then goes 9 Rd1 Nbd7 10 Be3 Rc8 11 Rac1 0-0 12 Qh4 a6 13 b3. In this position White has three basic attacking plans, which can be combined:

  • Exchanging the bishop on g7 with Bh6
  • Moving a knight to d5 via Nf3-e1-g2-e3-d5 or Nf3-e1-d3-f4-d5
  • Increasing control of d5 by kicking the f6 knight with g4-g5

The following game is a good example of play in this variation. Black maintains a solid position until he slips up with 21…Kxg7.

Visit the Bibliography for recommended reading relating to the 1 Nf3 Repertoire.
This entry was posted in 1 Nf3 Repertoire, Opening Analysis, The Symmetrical English. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *