Flank opening

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A flank opening is a chess opening played by White and typified by play on one or both flanks (the portion of the chess board outside the central d and e files). White plays in hypermodern style, attacking the center from the flanks with pieces rather than occupying it with pawns. These openings are played often, and 1.Nf3 and 1.c4 trail only 1.e4 and 1.d4 in popularity as opening moves.


1.Nf3[edit]

a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
f3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
e4 white pawn
d3 white pawn
f3 white knight
g3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white knight
f2 white pawn
g2 white bishop
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
f1 white rook
g1 white king
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h

If White opens with 1.Nf3, the game often becomes one of the d4 openings (closed games or semi-closed games) by a different move order (this is called transposition), but unique openings such as the Réti and King's Indian Attack are also common. The Réti itself is characterized by White playing 1.Nf3, fianchettoing one or both bishops, and not playing an early d4 (which would generally transpose into one of the 1.d4 openings).

The King's Indian Attack (KIA) is a system of development that White may use in reply to almost any Black opening moves. The characteristic KIA setup is 1.Nf3, 2.g3, 3.Bg2, 4.0-0, 5.d3, 6.Nbd2, and 7.e4, although these moves may be played in many different orders. In fact, the KIA is probably most often reached after 1.e4 when White uses it to respond to a Black attempt to play one of the semi-open games such as the Caro-Kann, French, or Sicilian, or even the open games which usually come after 1.e4 e5. Its greatest appeal may be that by adopting a set pattern of development, White can avoid the large amount of opening study required to prepare to meet the many different possible Black replies to 1.e4.

1.c4[edit]

a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c4 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h

The English also frequently transposes into a d4 opening, but it can take on independent character as well including symmetrical variations (1.c4 c5) and the Sicilian Defense in reverse (1.c4 e5).

1.f4[edit]

a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
f4 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h

With Bird's Opening White tries to get a strong grip on the e5-square. The opening can resemble a Dutch Defense in reverse after 1.f4 d5, or Black may try to disrupt White by playing 1...e5!? (From's Gambit).

Others[edit]

Larsen's Opening (1.b3) and the Sokolsky Opening (1.b4) are occasionally seen in grandmaster play. Benko used 1.g3 (Benko Opening) to defeat both Fischer and Tal in the 1962 Candidates Tournament in Curaçao.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]