When to Fianchetto in Chess [Strategy]

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There are some moves in chess games that all players that go to tournaments become familiar with, openings, and fighting strategies that many people are not even aware of when playing for fun. Many of the best strategies are those that have been perfected over many years, with a significant amount of tournament players learning how to counter them. One of the most well-known, and first things people learn to do, and counter is the fianchetto, but when are you supposed to do it.

You will fianchetto in almost all modern opening when playing chess, especially if you are playing black so that your bishops can have as many movements as possible to control the center of the board. Usually, you will fianchetto one or both of your bishops within the first few moves of the game this ensures that you have the proper board set up to counter-movements from the other player.

Understanding what fianchetto is, when to use it, and its advantages has been one of the great questions of the chess world with a large majority of early chess players being confused as to when the best time is to do it.

Knowing when to fianchetto, why it is effective, and where the movements are used the most will be important to your career. Learning as much as possible from the fianchetto will allow you to counter some standard opening manoeuvres and have a strategic plan of your own in place to easily control the diagonals on the board.

What is a fianchetto?

Fianchetto in its basic terms is moving a bishop to take the pawn position that is directly in front of your knight. Doing this should give the bishop a clearer path to move across the board to take a rook once they do open up.

This is an effective play that most modern opening calls for and if you want to incorporate it into your game there are some things that you need to learn about the move.

The first thing many players forget about fianchetto is that once the movement has been made you should forget about the bishop until later in the game. This is because the move is there to build the opportunity for later development, many beginners forget about this and once the bishop has been fianchettoed they want to continue moving it.

Usually, those that rely heavily on the bishop to corner other pieces or just to have them rapidly move across the board will not be able to leave the bishop alone. When this happens it usually causes the bishop to be taken by enemy pieces within a few short movements, as the bishop is strong but can also be extremely vulnerable when not surrounded by enough other pieces.

Why is it such an effective move?

What makes the fianchetto so strong in an actual game is two-fold for most basic players, as people either forget about the bishops and their current position or become hyper-focused. A lot of players fianchetto only one of their bishop, moving the other one around throughout the game. This causes their opponents to lose focus, and then suddenly they find that their rooks are taken by a bishop they have forgotten about.

Having your rooks taken is usually a big hit for most players as the bishop is one of the stronger parts of any game and can mean that your kind can be checked without much work. Having at least one bishop in the fianchetto position will allow you to comfortably get the game under control. A large part of the challenge that players face is when they lose focus on what has been done previously.

Some of the more surprising moves that can be accomplished with the fianchetto are when a queen has been drawn out to the middle of the board only for the player to forget that there is fianchetto on the board. This happened because the bishop in its location is easy to forget about as there are many other pieces and pans still around it that can cause people to lose focus on what and where they need to move.

Where is the fianchetto used?

The fianchetto is not an old opening and has only been a popular move to make in the last few years, with many grandmasters still learning how to effectively use it. This is why you will see that the fianchetto is not an old move and that many hyper-modern openings and techniques have only just started to use it. A large majority of the chess openings that rely on the fianchetto specifically calls for the fianchetto to be played in such a way that it only becomes useful in the middle game or later.

While modern openings favor the fianchetto, Indian openings have also started to rely heavily on the move, having it take place as one of the first things that players should be doing in fundamental chess strategy The Indian openings relying heavily on getting the king heavily protected behind a wall of pawns, knights, and rooks to ensure it cannot be reached with ease.

Each opening that relies on the fianchetto bishop has it for different reasons with a large majority of techniques requiring end-game strategies that will mean players need to make the game last longer. Plenty of players that learn about fianchetto openings are not always sure how to use the moves, instead of causing them to lose rapidly as their pieces are taken before the fianchetto can become effective.

What strategic moves require the fianchetto?

There are five great plays currently in the world that relies heavily on the fianchetto to be effective with many people not always aware of how to even counter these. This is why you will see that people sometimes train for hours how to effectively counters some openers, especially those that require the fianchetto. Having the fianchetto on the board can easily mean that opponents’ kings are being placed into corner squares with castling where it can be hard to put in checkmate.

This is usually when you see several people having opening played for them and then working against it. These openings are all considered puzzles that should be solved, not so that you can learn the dead set way of overcoming the openings, but to know how the opponent will move. Being able to predict how an opponent will work is easily one of the most important parts of playing chess as this allows you to easily counterattack your opponent.

  • Sicilian Dragon: The Sicilian Dragon is a late-game fianchetto that is the exception that proves the rule, with black usually using this strategy to put the king in safety behind the bishop. This move is done quite a few moves in the game, with both knights place on row 6, to gain control of the center of the board.
  • King’s Indian Defense: An early defensive move the King’s Indian Defense is done early in the game to allow people to easily and comfortably get the king into a safe location. It sacrifices taking control of the center in the early game to allow for late-game control.
  • Pirc Defense: Considered to be a hypermodern defense the Pirc Defense is one of the late-game moves that gives you control of the center not through pawns but with minor pieces from the side. This is a more risky maneuver as it will eventually lead to your king being exposed if you are not careful.
  • Modern Benoni: First created in 1825 as an adjustment to the normal Benoni, meaning son of sorrow, and focuses on controlling the center of the board by sacrificing pawns. Fianchetto allows you to take one or both rooks when the pawns from your opponent have been lured out by the movement of your pawns.


Fianchetto is one of the obvious moves you can learn do to on your chessboard, however, mastering the techniques associated with it can be a real challenge. Usually, people think that they understand fianchetto, but make the mistake of moving their bishops too much afterward. Being patient and knowing when to use the right pawns, pieces or move will mean a lot more than just having moved across the board.

Usually, you will be playing against players in the world that have no idea& what the openings are, however, when playing a tournament you should be sure that you understand your opponents will not be so easy to beat!

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