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Player: United  KeSetoKaibaChessHere Gold Member Subject: Van Geet & One Way To Crush The Fianchetto

2020-07-01 15:00:19
Van Geet & One Way To Crush The Fianchetto

The idea of the fianchetto is an attractive one to chess players at many levels. The idea of a Bishop on a long diagonal is commanding in presence. Many well-known openings often employ this structure: Catalan opening, King’s Indian Defense, Grunfeld Defense and many others utilize the fianchetto motif. “Fianchetto” comes from Italian origin where it translates as “little flank.” In chess, “fianchetto” is the pattern of developing a Bishop to the second rank of the adjacent b-file or g-file where the Knight-pawn is advanced one or two squares forward. In the special case where the Knight pawn is advanced two squares, the fianchetto is known as a “long fianchetto.” With such a popular chess pattern, it obviously pays off if you have several techniques to exploit it. This game impressed me with one such unique method for doing just that.

This game is Dirk Daniel Van Geet vs Guyt, Paramaribo 1967.

1. Nc3 The four most popular moves for White, on move one, are certainly 1. e4, 1. d4, 1. c4 and 1. Nf3. This does not automatically make opening moves like 1. Nc3 unsound. Not by a long shot. Maybe unorthodox, but not necessarily unsound. 1. Nc3 was traditionally known as the Dunst opening in America, but I’ve known it as the Van Geet opening as most of Europe calls it. The Van Geet opening is named such because Van Geet played and promoted it most of his life. 1. Nc3 often transposes into many mainline openings including (but not limited to) the French Defense, Caro-Kann, Closed Sicilian, or even the Closed Scandinavian as it does in this game.

d5 2. e4 Eric Schiller (chess player, author, arbiter and trainer) says here: “Now Black can switch to the French with 2…e6, Caro-Kann with 2…c6, Alekhine via 2…Nf6 or Scandinavian Defense with just about any other move. If Black advances to d4, the position takes on a more original flavor, while the capture at e4 still leaves a variety of transpositional possibilities available.”

Actually, I follow many of Eric Schiller’s annotations on this game; there are some great insights. Schiller graduated from the University of Chicago in 1976 and later became a professor for that school. In 1991, he earned his PhD in linguistics (also from the University of Chicago).

In the chess world, he is better known as a chess author and arbiter. Schiller was the arbiter for many famous chess games and events including the 2000 FIDE World Chess Championship. As a chess player, Schiller’s peak FIDE rating was an impressive 2370. As a chess author, Schiller has written over 100 chess books. IM Jeremy Silman wrote in a review of one such book (The Big Book of Busts) by Schiller and Watson, “I am forced to swallow my bigoted view of Schiller’s work (or does this just validate my opinion of Watson?) and admit that this is a great book.”

d4 3. Nce2 e5 4. Ng3 Here we have a position from the Closed Scandinavian Defense (in the category of “just about any other move” according to Schiller). 4. c3, to attack Black’s central control, is also a common alternative on move 4. For example: 4. c3 c5 5. Ng3 is another solid way to play.

Schiller says, “Looking at this position we see the rationale behind White’s play. Although Black has occupied the dark squares in the center, this formation can later be undermined by moves such as c3 and f4. The Knight has already been transferred to the Kingside, where it can take part in an attack, and White does have a slight lead in development.”

g6?! Schiller likes this move more than I do. I believe that the pawn is misplaced on g6 because it weakens the dark-squares on the Kingside voluntarily. Furthermore, a fianchetto doesn’t appear as appealing with the Black pawn on e5 temporarily fixed (blocking the Bishop’s scope from the long diagonal).

Schiller claims that the move [4…g6] is “A logical reaction, which enables the fianchetto of the dark-squared bishop and denies access to f5 and h5 which otherwise may be useful for White.”

5. Bc4 Bg7 6. d3 c5 7. Nf3 Nc6 The game continues with development and thematic moves.

8. c3 Nge7 White’s plan with c3 is more than just adding tension to the center, this opening features a thematic motif of playing the Queen to b3 and creating a battery against f7. The powerful battery never quite manifested in this game, but keeping options open is a valuable concept for many strong chess players; it is almost like an extension of zugzwang, but with you watching your opponent commit to an action before you decide your own course of action.

9. Ng5 O-O Rather than 9. Ng5, White could have also played 9. h4 with the idea of h4-h5 and opening lines at some point as well. That is one way to handle the fianchetto structure, but I was surprised to find the creative way Van Geet chose to tackle the fianchetto structure instead.

10. Nh5! Schiller and I both give this move an exclaim. In my opinion, this motif is a great resource to crushing the fianchetto structure. This creative attacking move impressed me enough that I chose to share this game because of it.

Bh8? What can Black do? Schiller’s notes state, “Black tries to preserve the bishop, but it leads to disaster. 10…gxh5 11. Qxh5 h6 12. Nxf7 is obviously unacceptable. 10…Na5 11. Nxg7 Nxc4! 12. dxc4 Kxg7 is necessary.” However, I think 10…b5!? is an interesting move that may be even more forcing. If 10…b5 11. Bxb5?? gxh5 gives Black the advantage. If 10…b5 11. Bb3 dxc3 gives Black a small edge. Finally, if 10…b5 11. Bxf7+ Rxf7 12. Nxf7 Kxf7 (or Knight capture on f7 first is the same) 13. Qf3+ is only equal for White. After 13. Qf3+, play may continue: 13…Kg8 14. Nxg7 Kxg7 15. h4 where White is playing for h4-h5, but at least Black is surviving.

11. Qf3 Qe8 White overloads the weak f7 square and the Black Queen tries to defend it. This is Black’s best defense, but it is clear that it isn’t enough to save the collapsing Black position from White’s attack.

12. Nf6+ Bxf6 Forced. The King and Queen fork is obviously a no-no for Black to allow.

13. Qxf6 dxc3?? Schiller’s annotations describe, “This loses by force. Again, it was necessary to harass the bishop at c4 by …Na5.” I agree that this loses by force, but I would like to add that after 13…Na5 then 14. Nf3! still gives White the better game. Black can’t stop all of the threats from the strong attacking move of retreating the Knight. The e5 pawn is attacked and the e7 Knight needs to be protected. 14. Nf3! Nec6?? looks to solve both problems, but it blunders mate in 2 with 15. Bh6 and checkmate to follow on 16. Qg7# regardless of what Black does on move 15.

14. Nxf7 White finally crashes through!

Rxf7 15. Bh6 1-0 Black resigns. The f7 Rook is pinned, so Qg7# is threatened. Black can sacrifice material, but they can’t fend off the inevitable checkmate.

The idea behind 10. Nh5! impressed me a lot. This seems like a good pattern to know against fianchetto structures. Ideas and patterns are important to know in chess. Naturally, there is no single technique to crush every fianchetto structure possible. However, knowing multiple methods that have good success is invaluable because it gives you options to choose from in a game when you can decide which technique to play. The motif of pseudo-sacrificing a piece won’t always be best, but in many cases: it will crush the fianchetto structure and shock your opponent.
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1United  neverherebeforeChessHere Gold Member2020-07-04 21:37:27
FIANCHETTO FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2United  abbyknotChessHere Gold Member2020-07-06 05:56:01
What an amazing game!