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The Pirc Defense

The Pirc Defense is a hyper-modern opening for black, which plays with interesting ideas, and plans. Many important grandmasters have used it, like Viktor Korchnoi against Bobby Fischer.

But what makes the Pirc defense special is the opportunities it gives to black to counterattack. The thing is that this opening is not an easy one, and black has to play smartly to win with it.

That is why today we will be looking at the main ideas and lines that you can use in the Pirc defense. The Pirc defense has a structure that is very solid for black, similar to the Sicilian dragon structure.

But here we have a different plan, we will leave the center to white and put pressure on that center with our minor pieces. This way we are likely to create weaknesses in white’s center and get an advantage out of it.

However, we have to be careful, with that space advantage white can also stroke our position and come up with a fast attack. This is why if you are playing the Pirc defense you need to have a very sharp sense to defend the position.

If you want to master the Pirc defense read this post until the end.

The main lines of the Pirc defense

pirc-defense-chess

First, the Pirc defense can be played against both e-pawn and d-pawn, indifferently. For example,

And this is what we call the Pirc defense for black.

Here we have many options to play, and there are many options for white too, this is an opening that has been researched a lot. This means that there is an immense number of lines and plans, we will cover the basic ones.

There are various moves:

  • f4
  • Be3
  • Nf3
  • g3

First, the move f4 is the most aggressive option for white, and one of the most common these days, this is called the Austrian attack. White takes space in the center, and e5 becomes a serious thing to worry about, but black has tricks also:

And we reach one of the typical positions in the opening. Indeed, white will possibly play e5 now, but black will play a6-b5 and generate counter-play.

The second move Be3, is another important line to know, is not as straight as the Austrian attack, but it is dangerous as well. When white plays like this are likely to go for f3 and g4 and maybe throwing the h-pawn too.

It’s similar to the English Attack against the Sicilians, as we mentioned before, the structures are similar so white employ the same ideas. Black can defend like this:

And we are in a healthy position where we are about to finish development.

In case white plays as we mentioned with the advance on the kingside, things are a bit different:

And now we have to cope with an opposite castles attack.

The third move is even more interesting, Nf3 was Anatoly Karpov’s favorite move against the Pirc defense. This is a more positional line in which white doesn’t play too aggressively, but will slowly try to convert his space advantage.

The game could go this way:

And you have a healthy positions, still to be decided.

Actually, there are many variations and many moves for both sides, we would need like 10 more posts on them!

Finally, the move g3 is another important variable to consider. The fianchetto variation, a universal system played by many with white. The game could go like this:

And the position have equal opportunities for both players.

Plans and ideas of the Pirc defense

pirc-defense-play

Basically, the game in the Pirc defense comes to a simple objective for both sides. This opening has so many variations is difficult to classify it among just one kind of opening and are not sure you will end up with the position you want.

Let’s explain what generally every player has to do respectively:

The Pirc defense for white

White will have to use the space advantage he has and wisely take advantage of the mobile center black allowed him to take. The problem is that white needs to find a way to defend and maintain that center until his development is finished.

Once that is done, a central advance in the center should be definitive.

 The Pirc defense for black

As white is taking the center black will try to put pressure on that center, and mess with white’s development all he can. Once you have white’s center under control you will undermine it with moves like c5, and take space in the queenside with thematic moves like b5.

Sample games of the Pirc defense

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