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At some point, when I was young, I learned an opening that involves the following moves: possibly after moving queen's pawn to the centre (d4), move out king's knight to above the bishop (Nf3), move knight's pawn up one (g3), move bishop up behind knight's pawn (Bg2), castle on king's side (O-O). This results in a very tight and turtle-like defensive formation that was sufficiently aesthetically pleasing to my young self that, in the years since, I've found it quite hard to get out of the habit of using it as my opening. (I'm not a chess expert in any way, I hasten to point out if it's not already obvious, though I do usually beat other casual players.)

White position after 5. O-O

Is this a well-known opening and does it have a name? Given my apparent overwhelming predilection for playing it, what are its advantages, and what weaknesses does it have that I should watch for my opponent being able to exploit? Any recommendations for taking my opening game to the next level would also be appreciated!

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I'm wondering if someone who knows about chess nomenclature would be willing to edit the above question to include the official notation of the move. I think a picture showing the position of the critical pieces after the opening would be useful. –  Adam Wuerl May 7 '11 at 21:52
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2 Answers 2

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Moving your bishop like that is called a fianchetto. There are a lot of openings which fianchetto the king's bishop; what you are describing sounds somewhat like the King's Indian for white.

The advantage of fianchetto-ing your bishop is that it very quickly puts the bishop on the long diagonal, its most powerful position. However, it takes two moves, and weakens your kingside (specifically the f3 and h3 squares), giving your opponent potential areas to attack. For example, a common plan for black in many openings (if his pawn structure allows it) is to force the trade of bishops by Bd7, Qc8, and Bh3. Once the bishops are traded, your king would be very vulnerable to attack.

Traditionally (beginning with Steinitz), it was taught that one of the goals of the opening phase was to control the center by occupying it with pawns. However, Nimzovich introduced hypermodernism, which states that the center should be controlled from a distance by pieces, not occupied by pawns. Neither view is more correct than the other - even today, both have very strong Grandmaster supporters, and accepted opening theory draws from both sides. I mention this because yours is a hypermodern opening.

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That would be the King's Indian defense. It's been always considered to be a good opening.

While it cedes control of the center to white, Black is setting up to take it back later with center pawn moves of its own.

The variation I liked to play a lot, since it was somewhat forcing is the Sämisch Variation, which goes: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3.

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A "hypermodern" opening... regarded as "highly suspect" until the 1930s! Crikey! One further question: that article seems to take it as read that the King's Indian player is black. Would it therefore be considered really bizarre to play a similar sequence of moves as white? Because (not being a very deep chess thinker) I've never made much of a distinction between playing it as white or black. –  thesunneversets May 5 '11 at 18:42
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@thesunneversets, yes, as BlueRaja points out, there is a King's Indian for white. –  Lance Roberts May 5 '11 at 18:52
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the indian defense is a black opening against 1.d4 As white it is just the King's Indian (Attack) –  user545 May 8 '11 at 13:25
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