It is difficult to learn to play black from a truly defensive and slow posture. Black’s task is to respond to the attack from white by blocking, exchanging pieces and eventually attacking. That is a crucial statement, “to respond to the attack from white”. It means black must play cautiously through the beginning and middle game phases. One way to slow down black’s game is to have a specific play in mind to execute after the initial four or five moves, all moves in response to white’s opening strategy. Our specific plan is to play a fianchetto (pronounced fee-an-ket-toe). The word fianchetto is an Italian word meaning flank. Fianchetto is the deployment of the bishop, and since there are four bishops, the four possible squares for a fianchetto are white b2 or g2: black b7 or g7. We will look at the movement later. Before we develop this play let us review one of the numbering chess board schemes of the squares in order to move pieces to the correct square, called the alpha numeric system.
Set up your chess board as if to play from white. The square farthest to your left and on the back row is a1 (always a black square). The entire white king row is 1, the pawn row is 2. This numeric sequence continues across the board to where row 7 is black king’s pawn row and very last row, number 8, is the black king row. The numeric values are horizontal. The letter designation is vertical. The white king sits on d1, the black king, d8. The eight vertical rows from left to right are the letters a through h.
Now let’s look at the slow set-up strategy of the fianchetto. The example will come from standard openings in order to see the development, but we must always keep in mind variations and sequence changes in the play itself. The variations do not change the intent of black.
Continued at The Fianchetto.