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The Modern Pirc: A Mix of Tactics and Strategy

by CB India - 08/02/2017

An opening destined to become a trend is the rather curious looking Modern-Pirc. Or as some grandmasters are already admiring it, a fusion of the strategies involved in the Modern Defence and the Caro-Kann Defence. If you are wondering how that is done, you are about to find out.

The Modern Pirc: A Mix of Tactics and Strategy

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6, and you have a Modern+Caro!

The main players


There have been some grandmasters who have played this defence in important open tournaments and have had terrific successes with it. One of them is Moldovan GM Viktor Bologan. Bologan, in his best years, was one of the best players in the world, with a career-best performance in 2003 when he won the Aeroflot Open and the Dortmund Super tournament with wins over players like Vishy Anand. He peaked in 2012 with a rating of 2734.


Bologan has played the Modern-Pirc in more than 100 classical games and even more rapid blitz games in the past 25 years. Imagine a grandmaster like Bologan teaching you the secrets of openings!


And it is not just Bologan — one of the very best in the world, late GM Vugar Gashimov — was also a fan of this opening as you can see in this game where he crushed GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (2698).

[Event "Reggio Emilia 53rd"]
[Site "Reggio Emilia"]
[Date "2011.01.04"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Vallejo Pons, Francisco"]
[Black "Gashimov, Vugar"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B08"]
[WhiteElo "2698"]
[BlackElo "2733"]
[PlyCount "114"]
[EventDate "2010.12.28"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "ITA"]
[EventCategory "18"]
[SourceTitle "CBM 140"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2011.01.18"]
[SourceVersion "1"]
[SourceVersionDate "2011.01.18"]
[SourceQuality "1"]
1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c6 4. Nf3 d6 5. Be2 Nf6 6. O-O O-O 7. h3 Nbd7 8. Bf4
Qa5 9. Nd2 Qc7 10. a4 e5 11. Be3 Ng4 12. Bxg4 exd4 13. Bxd4 Bxd4 14. Nc4 Bc5
15. a5 Ne5 16. Nxe5 dxe5 17. Bxc8 Raxc8 18. Qe2 Bb4 19. a6 b5 20. Na2 Be7 21.
Nc1 Rfd8 22. Nb3 Qb6 23. Rfd1 Kg7 24. Qg4 c5 25. Nd2 c4 26. Nf1 Bc5 27. Qg3
Rxd1 28. Rxd1 Qxa6 29. Qxe5+ Qf6 30. Qxf6+ Kxf6 31. Rd5 Ke6 32. g4 a6 33. Nd2
c3 34. bxc3 Bb6 35. c4 bxc4 36. Kf1 a5 37. Rb5 Bd8 38. Ke2 a4 39. Nb1 Ra8 40.
Na3 Be7 41. Nxc4 a3 42. Rb6+ Kd7 43. Rb1 Kc6 44. c3 a2 45. Ra1 Kb5 46. Ne3 Bc5
47. Kd3 Bxe3 48. fxe3 f6 49. h4 h5 50. gxh5 gxh5 51. Kc2 Kc4 52. Kb2 Rb8+ 53.
Kc2 Rg8 54. Rxa2 Rg2+ 55. Kb1 Rxa2 56. Kxa2 Kxc3 57. Kb1 Kd2 0-1


The Azerbaijani great Vugar Gashimov who died at the age of 27. He peaked at 2761 and was the world no. 6.

A mix of tactics and strategy


According to Viktor Bologan, although Black is not occupying the centre for the first few moves, things will change drastically in the middlegame. He says that the Modern-Pirc has deep positional ideas and has been studied by strong players right from the Soviet era!


At 1997 New York Open, the strongest Open of the time, Bologan defended with the Modern-Pirc in 4 games out of nine rounds against players rated above 2600 and won all four, tying for the first place in the tournament.


Outsmarting your opponent even before the real game begins


In the main lines, most of the players opening with 1.e4 will be well prepared. In some cases, they may have studied the latest theory with the help of ChessBase 14 to incredible depths! If you are not young and do not have much time to study theory, you will be crushed without a fight by the younger players who study these things carefully.


But if you begin to play the Modern-Pirc, it will be you who will be in the driver’s seat. Since you will know more about the plans, tactical ideas, and positions arising out of this opening, you will be playing quickly and efficiently. For example:

After studying this opening deeply, you will know what to play in this position in a jiffy!

Bologan explains that in such situations, the white player attacks your pieces and expects you to defend it. Most of the time, they completely forget about counterblows. And this one here is a unique tactical plan that can be found only in the Modern Pirc!


The new ideas will work for a limited time


Chess has become so competitive that if an opening becomes trendy, somebody, somewhere, will come up with improvements and try to refute the defence. However, it will be many months, maybe years, before the new ideas invented by players like Vikor Bologan in the Modern-Pirc will become mainstream to invite a theoretical debate.


Until that day comes, it is a perfect defence to score points in Open tournaments, especially against players rated below 2100. Make full use of it while it is possible!

 With 100+ classical games in 25 years, Bologan has made a career with this opening.

All you have to do is remember…


Bologan is quick to point out that at move nos. 3, 4, 5, and 6, there are several tricky move orders that you need to remember and you will be having a comfortable position to play with the black pieces. No more waiting games and cold defence, or the sharp, counter-attacking defences that your opponent knows better than you.


It is time to counter-attack in an original manner, and yet, stay solid all the time. Viktor Bologan further assures that the theory is much lesser compared to other openings like the Sicilian, etc. It is a compact opening with limitless tactical and strategic venom. It is very hard to find such a beautiful mixture.

[Event "Doha (QAT)"]
[Site "Doha (QAT)"]
[Date "2016.09.15"]
[Round "?"]
[White "2.d4-Bg7-3.f4"]
[Black "for-black"]
[Result "*"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r3k2r/pp3pbp/1qnp1np1/8/4PQb1/1NPBB3/PP4PP/RN2K2R b KQkq - 0 12"]
[PlyCount "13"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
12... Ne5 {!} 13. Qxe5+ (13. Bc2 Nh5 14. Qf2 Qa6 15. h3 Be2 {!!} 16. Qxe2 Qxe2+
17. Kxe2 Ng3+) (13. Bxb6 Nxd3+) 13... dxe5 14. Bxb6 axb6 15. N1d2 O-O 16. h3
Bd7 17. g4 Rfd8 18. Bc4 Bc6 $17 {30.11/0 Vraimakis, Ioannis 1708 - Lykeridis,
Andreas, ICCF EU/WS/O/025} *



Why should we play only for equality with black? We need not…


Traditional theory restricts you by saying that with white, you have to press for an advantage and with black, you have to defend and defend and fight for equality. If you go for sharp and crazy attacks with black, you end up taking a huge risk of losing.


But, with the Modern-Pirc, you can actually stay solid, not doing anything crazy, and yet, fight for a win.


Macro alias: EmbedProduct

The Modern Pirc is one of the trendiest openings among players who want something fresher against 1.e4, other than the usual stuff. Only 10 DVDs of this opening remain in the ChessBase India shop.

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