The Pirc Defence: Chess Openings For Black – GM Damian Lemos (Part 3)

The Pirc Defence: Chess Openings For Black – GM Damian Lemos (Part 3) 

play the Pirc Defence
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Finally, the third and last video of this free three-part video series on the Pirc Defence by GM Damian Lemos is out! If you are looking for chess openings for Black against 1.e4, you’re absolutely right here. Did you miss the first and second video in which GM Lemos investigated White’s most aggressive opening setup against the Pirc – the Austrian Attack – and a more strategic setup with g3? Never mind – you still have the chance to watch them for free here (part 1) and here (part 2).

The aim of this three-part mini-course on the Pirc Defense is to understand the key concepts and the main strategic ideas such as the different pawn breaks against White’s center and various pawn sacrifices which help Black to take over the initiative.

Why play the Pirc Defense against 1.e4?

There are several reasons to integrate the Pirc Defence into your repertoire. First of all, the Pirc Defense has long been the choice of players looking to win as Black against 1.e4. That said, the Pirc Defense is the choice of champions. The opening is named after the Slovenian International Grandmaster Vasja Pirc and frequently played by many top GMs including Vladimir Kramnik, Alexander Grischuk or Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

Another advantage of the Pirc Defense is that many 1.e4 players won’t be expecting it. That said, the Pirc Defense gives you excellent winning chances due to its complexities. It is a highly flexible and double-edged opening with which Black can avoid premature simplification and go for the full point. The Pirc Defence: Chess Openings for Black

Gent 1995: Surmont, Yves – Gurevich, Mikhail The Pirc Defence: Chess Openings for Black

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 – This is the starting position of the Pirc. As we’ve already seen, this position can arise via other move orders as well.

4. f3. This time, White opts for an attacking setup as well. However, the resulting position is not as sharp as in the Austrian Attack which we saw in the first free video. White wants to play Be3, Qd2 and Bh6, followed by h4-h5 with an attack against the Black king. 4…c6 5. Be3 Nbd7 6. Bc4 Bg7 7. Qd2 (see the diagram on the right).

Black chooses a flexible setup against White’s intentions to mate Black’s king. 7…b5. Now the idea of 4…c6 becomes apparent. The move does not only help Black to control the d5-square but also prepares an expansion on the queenside with …b5. As we already know, the Pirc Defence is an opening of counterplay. Black has less space and has to create counterplay in the center or on the queenside.

 8. Bb3 a5 9. a3 (9.a4 could be met by …b4, followed by …Ba6, …Qc7 and …c5). 9…Bb7 (see the diagram on the left). The Pirc Defence: Chess OpeningsThe Pirc Defence: Chess Openings for Black

Black slowly but surely brings all his pieces into play. Once Black manages to counterattack in the center with …c5, the bishop can become a strong piece on the a8-h1 diagonal.

10. Nce2 – This is a slight mistake as White moves his knight to a passive square. 10…0-0 11. g4 (White starts to go for an attack against Black’s king. However, his king is still in the center. Hence, Black can counterattack in the center with 11…c5 12. c3 b4 (see the diagram on the right).

White is already under pressure. His king will neither find a safe place on the kingside nor on the queenside. Moreover, White can’t take the pawn on b4 with 13.axb4 as 13…axb4 14.Rxa8 Qxa8 (see the diagram on the left) looks crushing. Black not only threatens to enter White’s camp with …Qa1+, but also has to possibility to go for a nice combination. He could play …Nxe4! and White loses as his rook on h1 is hanging in the end.

Hence, White decides to keep the tension and plays 13.Nh3. After 13…a4 14. Bc4 d5! (blowing open the center) 15. Bxd5 Nxd5 16. exd5 Nb6 (see the diagram on the right), however, White is in huge trouble.

Less than ten moves later, White throws in the towel. Why? Watch the full video and listen to GM Damian Lemos’ great explanations on the game. The Pirc Defence: Chess Openings for Black

The Pirc Defence: Chess Openings For Black – Conclusion 

At first glance, the Pirc Defence looks harmless as Black does not seize space in the center right from the start. However, it turns out that Black’s position contains a lot of dynamic potential.

Do you want to learn more about the key concepts and ideas of chess openings? Click here to get a copy of “Best Chess Openings – DVD Bundle” from GMs Damian Lemos and Rafael Leitao – with a great discount!

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