Feint Swinging-Rook Strategy (1)

When and how do you decide between a swinging-rook and a static-rook opening? Most players, including many professionals, would have decided before the match itself. However, by playing an opening strategy known as “yōdō furibisha,” you can play a swinging-rook opening after narrowing down your opponent’s opening choices. (For the time being, I will translate yōdō furibisha as “feint swinging-rook.”)

The first few moves becomes crucial for playing the feint swinging-rook. Your goal is to feint a static-rook strategy, force your opponent into playing moves which he or she would not have played against a standard swinging-rook, and then shift to swinging-rook.

P-76 ☖P-34 ☗P-66 ☖P-84 ☗P-16 ☖P-14 ☗S-78 ☖S-62 ☗P-26

1

At this point, sente fakes a Fujii-System type opening and then makes the surprising move ☗P-26. Gote can make two choices. The first choice is to assume that sente is playing a swinging-rook opening and thus move ☖K-42 (or P-54, although the result is the same).

2

Against this, sente should keep on playing a static-rook opening, as this will be to sente’s advantage. The game thus might progress like this:

P-25 ☖B-33 ☗S-48 ☖S-32 ☗P-56 ☖G(61)-52 ☗G(49)-58 ☖K-31 ☗G-67 ☖P-85 ☗S-77 ☖P-54 ☗B-79

3

There are many ways in which this opening may diverge into different sequences, but the principle remains the same: while sente can hold the 8th file with S-77, gote cannot prevent sente from exchanging pawns (and bishops) on the 2nd file. If gote tried to defend the 2nd file early by sidling K-32 early in the game, sente should make the three moves, P-56, S-77, and B-79, earlier in the sequence, which will guarantee an exchange of pawns on the 2nd file.

Dissatisfied with this result, gote might assume instead that sente is going to play a static-rook opening. In this scenario, gote will try and defend the 2nd file as in a standard Yagura opening, thus moving S-42.

4

In response, sente should not hesitate to switch to a static-rook opening.

S-38 S-33 S-27 P-54 S-67 B-31 B-77 P-85 R-88

6

The most important point for sente to keep in mind is to make sure that the rook can directly move to R-88. This is necessary in order to prevent gote from exchanging pawns on the 8th file. Even if gote postponed the P-85 push and made a different move, sente should still swing R-88.

From here, sente should observe gote’s moves very carefully and gradually build a Silver Crown castle.

K-42 K-48 K-32 K-38 G(61)-52 G(69)-58

5

A king for a king, a gold for a gold. In this way, sente can maintain equilibrium and discourage gote from rapid-attacking. The advantage of this opening is that gote’s choices are quite limited. Gote could choose to construct an Anaguma, but in that case the silver must pull back S-22 eventually, which would be a waste of 2 moves. Gote’s other alternative would be the Yagura castle, which is not particularly strong compared to sente’s Silver Crown.

There are a couple of ways for gote to respond more effectively to sente’s feint static-rook. I might consider this more in my next post. In the meantime, comments are welcome on what you think about this strategy. This is something which even top professionals play from time to time – the most notable being Yasumitsu Sato’s recent games – and so merits at least some consideration.

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