Sunday, 15 May 2016

The Galli Defence

Karl Galli is a long time Canberra chess player, who is well known for his particular choice of opening. He favours a hyper-hedgehog type system (both as Black and White), where he pushes most of his pawns to the third rank. and invites his opponents to take all the space beyond that. Normally this would be suicidal, but the extra wrinkle is that he tries to meet each pawn push with a corresponding push on an adjacent file, trying to keep the position closed. This also prevents the opening of files, often blunting any attacking ideas that normally come from having extra space.
It can be a very effective systems, as the lack of open lines can frustrate his opponents into over pressing and blundering.
I have lost at least once to this system (back in 1993) where the game basically followed the above script. I kept trying to open the position on the kingside, but did not succeed in doing so in an effective manner. Karl however did open up the queenside, allowing his heavy pieces to get into my position. Despite all this, I was still winning for most of the game, until a few moves before the end (maybe I was in time trouble), where I blundered in a bishop ending and resigned a couple of moves later.

Press,Shaun - Galli,Karl [B07]
Tuggeranong Canberra, 1993

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