What is a Fianchetto? | Chess Terms
A fianchetto is unique bishop development on the long diagonal.

What is a Fianchetto? | Chess Terms‎

5 | For Beginners

Fianchettos are made by advancing the pawns on the b- and g-files and developing the bishop behind the knight pawn.

1) What are fianchettos?

Fianchetto is an Italian word which refers to a bishop development on the long diagonal.


The bishops on b2 and g2 for White, and b7 and g7 for Black, are fianchettoed bishops.

Several chess openings use the strategy of the fianchetto bishop to exert pressure on the long diagonals.

2) Chess Openings that use fianchettos

Sicilian Dragon

The fianchettoed bishop on g7 is famous in this opening. Here is an example game with Hikaru Nakamura showing the power of this bishop on the long diagonal. 

King's Indian Defense

Again the bishop on g7 plays a key part. Hikaru Nakamura likes to fianchetto his king's bishop as we see in this game. Notice how the bishop only moves two times but it controls the board.

Larsen's Opening

This opening fianchettoes the bishop on the queenside and is for the player with the white pieces. Grandmaster Baduur Jobava is one of the leading players of this opening. Let's take a look at how he handles the fianchetto.

3) How to keep your fianchettoed bishop strong

A fianchetto is a powerful way to develop your bishops and control the center of the board from a distance. 

  • Try to keep the diagonal free of pawns so that the bishop has scope and can attack the opponent's pieces and squares.
  • If the fianchettoed bishop is in front of your king's castled position, be careful when you trade it off for another piece.
  • Once you trade the fianchettoed bishop in this situation all of the squares around your king become weak.

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