Are You Upset When Your K-Side Fianchettoed Bishop Gets Traded Off Early in the Game?

SeniorPatzer

30+ years ago when I was actively playing tournament chess I learned a technique to trade off my opponent's fianchettoed bishop.  There are a lot of openings that have that set-up.  The Sicilian Dragon, the King's Indian Defense, the Pirc/Modern, etc....

 

It goes like this (supposing that I am White):  I put my dark-square bishop on e3 (or f4 or g5), and my Queen on d2.  My opponent castles, or has castled.  He makes a natural developing move.  Then Blam!  My bishop goes to h6!!

 

My opponent never takes on h6 because then my Queen recaptures on h6.  He can't move his bishop to h8 because then he'll lose his rook on f8.  

 

After I do the Bh6 maneuver, I do a quick glance to see if he is disgusted that he is about to have his fianchettoed bishop traded off.  That fire-breathing Dragon Bishop in the Sicilian is about to be extinguished!!  Your Queenside pawn advance will have to be done without your dark square bishop, sucker!

 

Plus, there are now holes at f6 and h6.  How do you like them apples, baby!  I am going to march Harry pawn down there and ka-pow!  your castled position is going to be torn apart.

 

Now there is one antidote to the Queen-Bishop battery.  Moving the black rook over to e8.  Then if Bh6, you move your fianchettoed bishop to h8.  

 

Sometimes this strategy works, sometimes it doesn't.  What happens is that the Black King recaptures on g7 and tries to protect the holes on f6 and h6 by himself.  The Black player simply figures you wasted a lot of tempo in trading off his fianchettoed bishop and tries to make progress elsewhere.  

 

Other times, they sit in dismay and I win because they're not used to seeing their beautiful and lovely "offensive/defensive" King-side fianchettoed bishop get taken off the board so early.  

 

When I play against someone who looks like they might do that to me, I inevitably move my rook to e8 (or e1 as the case may be) so I can preserve my bishop.

 

If you've run into an opponent doing this to you in your games, what is your preferred response to the Bh6 maneuver to take out your fianchettoed bishop?

knighttour2

The usual trade off is that it wastes time.  You need Be3/Qd2/Bh6 to trade and black usually develops an attack on the queenside during that time.  It's a normal part of some openings.  If white goes straight for mate (like the 150 Attack) black usually has adequate defensive resources even without the DSB.  Plus, white's plan is usually pretty transparent, giving black time to calculate a defense (if necessary).  It's not a sure-fire way to get an advantage, especially at the higher levels.  I like this plan myself but as I got higher rated I saw it working less and less.  The history behind the name "150 Attack" is a good clue as to why... happy.png

fightingbob

It all depends upon the position, Daniel.  Here is a fine game where the loss of Black's fianchettoed bishop is tempted through an exchange sacrifice and he goes on to lose quickly.

 

SeniorPatzer
knighttour2 wrote:

The usual trade off is that it wastes time.  You need Be3/Qd2/Bh6 to trade and black usually develops an attack on the queenside during that time.  It's a normal part of some openings.  If white goes straight for mate (like the 150 Attack) black usually has adequate defensive resources even without the DSB.  Plus, white's plan is usually pretty transparent, giving black time to calculate a defense (if necessary).  It's not a sure-fire way to get an advantage, especially at the higher levels.  I like this plan myself but as I got higher rated I saw it working less and less.  The history behind the name "150 Attack" is a good clue as to why...

 

The "150 Attack"?  Never heard of it. I don't even remember if that even existed back in the 1980's.  Is this a popular thing these days?

knighttour2
SeniorPatzer wrote:
knighttour2 wrote:

The usual trade off is that it wastes time.  You need Be3/Qd2/Bh6 to trade and black usually develops an attack on the queenside during that time.  It's a normal part of some openings.  If white goes straight for mate (like the 150 Attack) black usually has adequate defensive resources even without the DSB.  Plus, white's plan is usually pretty transparent, giving black time to calculate a defense (if necessary).  It's not a sure-fire way to get an advantage, especially at the higher levels.  I like this plan myself but as I got higher rated I saw it working less and less.  The history behind the name "150 Attack" is a good clue as to why...

 

The "150 Attack"?  Never heard of it. I don't even remember if that even existed back in the 1980's.  Is this a popular thing these days?

It's of British origin.  It describes a system for white to play against the K-side fianchetto by trading off the DSB and going for an all out attack.  Google it.

ThrillerFan

In addition to what was already said, there are often times that Black DOES take on h6.  The Queen is often out of play as he has nothing there on the kingside BUT the Queen, and Black can often play ...Kh8 and ...Ng8 to both cover f6 and h6 and also to kick the Queen away at his own convenience.

 

I'm not afraid of those silly enough to waste that much time going out of their way to trade it off.

 

In many cases, I love it when they do.  In the King's Indian Defense, that's often a bad bishop for Black, so you trade it off with your good bishop?  THANK YOU!

SeniorPatzer
knighttour2 wrote:
SeniorPatzer wrote:
knighttour2 wrote:

The usual trade off is that it wastes time.  You need Be3/Qd2/Bh6 to trade and black usually develops an attack on the queenside during that time.  It's a normal part of some openings.  If white goes straight for mate (like the 150 Attack) black usually has adequate defensive resources even without the DSB.  Plus, white's plan is usually pretty transparent, giving black time to calculate a defense (if necessary).  It's not a sure-fire way to get an advantage, especially at the higher levels.  I like this plan myself but as I got higher rated I saw it working less and less.  The history behind the name "150 Attack" is a good clue as to why...

 

The "150 Attack"?  Never heard of it. I don't even remember if that even existed back in the 1980's.  Is this a popular thing these days?

It's of British origin.  It describes a system for white to play against the K-side fianchetto by trading off the DSB and going for an all out attack.  Google it.

 

Just did.   I got to look up some games.   I just went over in clickety-split fashion a Kasparov-Topalov game from 1999, and I didn't really understand some of the deep moves that Garry was making.  He moved Bh6 without Topalov even castling King-side!

SeniorPatzer
fightingbob wrote:

It all depends upon the position, Daniel.  Here is a fine game where the loss of Black's fianchettoed bishop is tempted through an exchange sacrifice and and he goes on to lose quickly.

 

 

Najdorf played a very impressive game.  First time I ever saw an exchange sacrifice like that by any player.   That was truly surprising sacking the Rook on a1.

MetalRatel

If someone is playing an unambitious Closed Sicilian as White, I usually welcome the trade and play in the center. If there is no real attack, it is often time-consuming and simply weakens the dark squares in White's camp. This is a common positional mistake I see at under 1600 level.

I tend to play the Najdorf nowadays, but I used to play the Dragon. This is a common plan in the Yugoslav Attack, but even there timing is very important. I remember winning some games as Black by taking on h6 and sacrificing the exchange on c3 for a counterattack.