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September '01- What's New



For anyone who plays the Pirc or Modern, the Austrian Attack (3.Nc3 followed by 4.f4) is a major issue. During my own Modern/Pirc career I switched from normal Pirc lines with 5...0-0 to Keene's 'Modernesque' 4...Nc6 before finally discovering my own idiosyncratic 4...e6!? (after 1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.f4). From the requests for Pirc lines with 5...c5 and the Gurgenidze system, I see that many subscribers face similar issues so in this month's update I am addressing these two lines.

Pirc Defence

The Pirc lines with 5...c5 6.Bb5+ Bd7 7.e5 Ng4 8.e6 and 8.h3 were well covered by my predecessor, Alex Volzhin, but I also feel that both 7.Bxd7+ and 8.Bxd7+ need more coverage. In both cases Black must be very accurate with his counterplay and games 1-3 show some professional Pirc players doing exactly that.

Hernandez - Khalifman (SEP01/01) looked quite scary and I would suggest that you make sure you'd be comfortable with this kind of game before wielding 5...c5 in anger.

Bracaglia - Korsunsky (SEP01/02) was a recent (if theoretically unimportant) example of 8.Bxd7+ in conjunction with 11.hxg4.

In SEP01/03 we see the World's strongest Pirc specialist, Mikhail Gurevich, defend against 11.Nxe4, I like his subtle 13...Qd6 which is underestimated by the books.

Black has another possibility after 6.Bb5+, namely 6...Nc6. In SEP01/04 we see Black keeping his chances alive (if only just) with some especially daring play, does he have enough for the pawn? Frankly I doubt it, though I admit that it's far from easy for White.

Modern Defence

Moving on to the Gurgenidze system, this is not something I'd recommend for Black in its traditional form (with the bishop on g7 already) unless you like totally passive positions and have masochistic tendencies. SEP01/05 (plus the de Firmian plan in the notes) show why. Black does better to play this a tempo 'down' with 1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.Nc3 c6 4.f4 d5!? as recommended by David Norwood in 'Winning with the Modern'.

Actually Black's bishop is much better on f8 than on g7, due largely to the fact that his main plan is ...c6-c5. Just try doing that with the bishop on g7!

Games SEP01/06, SEP01/07, SEP01/08, SEP01/09, and SEP01/10 illustrate this treatment, with Black doing much better than in a 'normal' Gurgenidze. Gurevich, Chernin and Norwood have all played it with (moderate) success though this isn't really a plan that I personally like. My objections are probably a question of taste, to me it seems to be a rather stodgy game and I wouldn't like to be committed to ...c7-c6 lines against fourth moves other than 4.f4. Having said that, I wouldn't want my prejudice to put you off, if you like these lines then play them.

See you next month and keep the requests rolling in!

Best wishes

Nigel Davies