This was the first time I had faced the opening in a serious game and to meet it I relied on a piece of advice I had read at some point earlier in my career, which was to play a Queen's Indian Defense setup against it. This is not an attempt to "punish" the opening by challenging it directly; rather, the idea is to give Black a solid setup and achieve an easy equality without creating any obvious weaknesses. (I took a similar overall approach when playing against 1. b3 more recently - see Annotated Game #106 - although with a different defense.) The strategy worked, as White left his kingside bare and allowed me to play a (first) classic bishop sacrifice. In the late middlegame I even was able to use some ideas from the Dutch Stonewall to seal the victory. (This is an example of how effective it can be to "cross-train" openings, a topic I hope to treat at greater length.)
In terms of my opening preparation, I was pleased that this game justified my decision to briefly examine the opening, determine a strategy against it, then move on and concentrate on more popular setups. I believe that facing offbeat openings with healthy respect is definitely the way to go, rather than believing you can beat somebody in the opening phase in their pet line, simply by applying some general principles and playing aggressively. Flank openings without obvious targets to go after, such as in this game, can become passive and ultimately succumb to a more traditional approach of central play, in this case combined with a kingside attack.