Chess Openings – Pirc

Chess Openings – Pirc


Welcome back to chessopenings.com Today’s
video is all about the Pirc opening which begins with the moves, e4 and
pawn to d6. With this modest looking move, what Black is looking to do
is develop his pieces as quickly as possible and keep the White center restrained.
Only later will he plan a counterattack against the center. Let’s take
a look. The Pirc defense begins with the moves, pawn
to e4 and pawn to d6. Right away Black is doing something a little audacious.
He’s allowing White an opportunity to occupy the center with the
strong move, pawn to d4. Unlike other openings where Black allows White to
do this, Black’s strategy is to leave the center unchallenged for quite some
time to come. Instead, Black will use what’s called a hyper-modern strategy,
that is to say, he’ll focus on developing his pieces quickly, let’s say,
knight f6, g6, bishop g7. He’s going to focus on developing his pieces quickly
restraining the opponent’s center and only later does he plan to use
his piece pressure plus pawn strikes, such as c5 or pawn to e5 to launch
a counterattack in the center. White on the other hand, is going to try to
maintain this powerful center that he has, this powerful duo that he has
at the center, and at the same time he wants to complete his development
and then systematically advance the center forward into the opponent’s position. After the move, pawn to d4, Black now plays
knight to f6. Black’s first move in the Pirc, pawn to d6, is actually
designed to prevent e4 to e5 here. It makes so that this knight to f6 is
much more stable. If White tries to move pawn to e5 just to show how
this works, Black would profit now on the fact that he can exchange on e5
with pawn takes pawn on e5, pawn takes pawn. Now he would simply win material
with the moves, queen takes queen on d1 and king takes queen, and then
simply knight g4 attacking both f2 and e5. Clearly the move pawn to e5 is
out of the question. Instead, what White needs to play in this position
is knight to c3 simply defending the e4 plot. Now Black plays pawn to g6. With
this move he’s looking to develop the position to g7, complete his king
side development and train the bishop towards the center. This position
is the main starting point of the modern Pirc opening. Black’s plan of playing
bishop g7 and castles king side and then chipping away at the center
with pawn to c5 or perhaps pawn to e5, is fairly straightforward here. White, on the other hand, has a few different
strategies which he can choose from. One idea, for example, would
be to advance pawn to f4. This is known as the Austrian attack, aiming to one
day play that move, e4 to e5, anyway and violently attack later in the game.
Of course, the drawback of this strategy is that White is spending even
more time on pawn moves, and this means Black’s counterattack may be more
successful if Black can deliver the blow in time. Another strategy
for White is simply the pawn development strategy, knight f3 and then simple
bishop b2 followed by castle and king side. This is known as the
classical setup. This is also an option for White. Today we’re going to check out a highly interesting
system more or less the 150 attack. That begins with the move, bishop
to e3. With the move, bishop e3, White is signaling a number of important
things which we’ll get to in just a moment. However, I just want to point
out that White is making it,more difficult for Black to achieve the
move, pawn to c5, since the bishop is,now bringing that square under observation.
Also, White is signaling that he plans to develop his queen
side pieces, castle to king on the queen side. Then to play for a pawn storm
attack on the king side. In fact, this so called 150 attack has now been
widely recognized as one of White’s very best options against the Pirc
opening. Over time, many master players handling the
Black pieces have felt so intimidated by the attack White gets in this
system that they searched for methods to avoid castling king side. Or even,
they avoided Fianchettoing the bishop. For this reason, some players
have begun playing with the move, pawn to c6 and then after queen d2 Black simply
plays pawn to b5, threatening to oust this knight on c3 and
attack this pawn on e4. To cover the e4 pawn, White simply plays bishop d3
when Black replies with his own simple developing move, knight B to b7. Black’s
idea here is to get a little head start on attacking the queen side.
This will make castling queen side somewhat less attractive for White.
Another benefit of this setup is that by avoiding bishop g7, Black
has avoided the standard exchanging maneuver, bishop h6 which you’ll
get a chance to see in just a moment. Of course, there are also some real drawbacks
to Black’s strategy here as well. If White simply remains calm and plays
something like knight at 3 followed by castling king side, he does lose
some of his capacity for an attack on the king side, but he can reason
that he’s achieved a little lead in development, and he still maintains the
center pawns, and perhaps these pawns on the queen side turn out to be weakened
one day. This plan of c6 and b5 is interesting, but ultimately White
can still count on an advantage in these positions. Let’s take a look at the more natural move,
bishop to g7, to find out how White still builds his attack there. White
can simply go ahead with the move, queen to d2, but often he likes to start
with the move, pawn to f3, so he never has to worry about knight g4 after
the move, queen d2. Another strong point about the move, pawn to f3, is
that White is starting to support his king side pawn storm. He’s ready
to start looking for g2 to g4 and h2 to h4. This is also a strategically
helpful move for White. Once again, if he’d like, Black can delay
or even just get rid of the concept altogether of castling his king by
simply playing pawn to c6. Ultimately, after the move, queen b2 and b5,
White gets a pleasant game after either g4 or simply even castling king
side. It may appear that Black has a little bit of a head start on the queen
side attack in this position. However, because Black has already played
bishop g7 in this position, bishop h6 will be much stronger when White
achieves it. Instead, after the move, f2 to f3, Black often prefers to castle
king side. Let’s recall that in doing this Black is simply with his overall
opening strategy of developing quickly and then striking against
the center later. Many games have eventually demonstrated, however,
that White gets great attacking chances here, but many players handling
the Black pieces still aim for this traditional setup. The idea is
that after White’s standard play, queen to d2, Black begins counter strike
in the center with pawn to e5, knight g d2 and then knight to c6, putting
pressure on the d4 point. From this position White has a couple of different
ways of building his attack. For example, d4 to d5 is a definite
possibility here. The simplest approach
is probably castles king side, just leaving this tension alone in the
center and completing development. Now White very primed to begin launching
his with the move, g2 to g4, as soon as he gets the opportunity. To show an example of how White’s attack comes
together, after the popular move, a6 preparing b5, White can continue
with his stock move, g2 to g4, beginning the sharp attack on Black’s king.
Black plays b5 and Black’s idea is simply to play b4 and bring those pawns
forward in search of an attack on the queen side. It’s now this moment that
White plays d5. No matter whether Black plays the knight to e7 or to
a5, White will continue with the move, knight g3, and he’s getting very close
to the big attack idea, which is simply h4 and h5 beginning to open lines
and create a critical attacking condition for White here. At the same time, White is also with his last
move uncovered the bishop on f1 so that if the knight were to try to sink
itself into c4, White would simply capture the knight and then get on
with his ambitions on the king side. These positions are so dangerous for
Black that we might even go so far as to say that he’s close to being objectively
lost, and it’s positions like these that have modern grand masters
so enthusiastic about White’s chances in the so called 150 attack. Realistically,
after White has castled on the queen side, Black probably needs to
try another strategy rather than that straightforward move pawn to a6. Therefore,
another popular attempt has been pawn takes pawn on d4, knight takes
pawn on d4, knight takes knight, bishop takes knight, and now bishop
to e6. By bringing about some exchanges, Black has freed his position a
bit and no longer has to worry about d4 to d5 since he’s exchanged the pawn
off from d4. However, White still has plenty of scope for a king side
attack whereas Black is a long ways away from creating real threats against
White’s king. In positions where both sides castle on opposite sides
of the board, attacking the king is the essential strategy, and Black is still
probably going a little too slowly here. So White simply continues with
the move, g2 to g4. Now to the [inaudible 10:17] aggressive post,
Black plays c5, and after bishop e3 he plays queen a5. There are fascinating
complications ahead. If White tries to take on d6, he actually will
find himself in big trouble after the outstanding move, knight takes e4,
a sharp tactical blow which wins in all variations. For example, if White
plays pawn takes knight on e4, he immediately runs into bishop takes
c3. If he were to try to recapture this bishop, he would simply lose
after a queen a3 check. If White moves the king to d2 which would be
the only move here actually, Black would, of course, play rook a d8 picking
up the queen. If the king moves to b1, there’s the standard mating procedure.
Bishop takes A to check, king a1, bishop b3 check, king b1 and
it will be mate on c2. So White cannot recapture on c3. This means that
he is simply going to be down in material in this position. The other option would be knight takes e4.
However, after knight takes e4, Black plays rook F to d8 and no matter where
we bring the queen we’re going to get hit with the same tactical blow. For
example, after queen g3, it’s lights out after bishop takes b2 check. After
king takes b2, queen takes a2 check, and it’s going to be mate next move,
either king c3, queen a3 mate or king c1, queen a1 mate. If White were to
take on c5 with the queen rather than moving the queen to g3 it would
still be lights out with bishop takes b2 check. King takes b2, queen takes
a2 and now in this situation Black doesn’t have the simple mate queen a3
mate, but he’s still completely winning after the move, rook takes d1, when
he has way too many threats in this positions, and the material is roughly
equal so White is simply lost. So White can definitely not take the pawn
on d6, but the general consensus here is still that Black is in quite a bit
of danger and what White will simply do in this position is bishop h6, or
perhaps he’ll do something about the a2 pawn with king b1 or a3. Each
of these strategies still leaves White with an initiative. my favorite being
bishop to h6. Even though Black is in quite a bit of danger in this position
as well, his position is much more solid than the disastrous scenarios we
saw when he tried to play the straightforward a6 and b5 in the previous
positions that we looked at. Once again, keep in mind that grand masters
today often avoid these kinds of positions by either refusing to castle
or even sometimes refusing to Fianchetto the dark squared bishop even after
Black has played the move, pawn to g6. As we’ve seen Black is just a
couple natural developing moves away from an incredibly dangerous situation,
and so many club players will fall into this situation. That’s it for today,
and I’ll see you again soon.

100 thoughts on “Chess Openings – Pirc

  1. 2. "Avoided" is perhaps a strong word. The general idea is that Black delays …Bg7 so that if White ever plays Bh6 …Bxh6 can be played without Black having lost any time or having to castle kingside and expose the king. Since White is "poised" for this exchange (due to his moves Qd2 & Be3) Black often tries to delay …Bg7 for as long as possible and simply expand on the queenside and in the center. It's a risky concept however!

  2. 3. This is also a viable option. White simply recaptures 10.Nxd4 with an advantage. (Sample lines being: 10…Ne5 11.Be2 b5 12.h4!? or 12.g5!?; 10…Nxd4 11.Bxd4 b5 12.h4 or 12.g5 += in all cases)

  3. plz show me how to crush the caro kan my brother is 2100 and play the caro kan and i cant find a plan to crash him i am a 1749

  4. Its truly rare to find someone who is so insightful and still so willing to teach and help.
    This is one of the true gems of the internet. Says so much about your spirit and character. Can't thank you enough.

    Tremendous.

  5. Just like to say, that of all the authors on chess you are by the best. You are clear and concise with your moves and move orders, plus why's and whens!
    Very instructive and good, clear audio and video! Bravo!!!

  6. (1/2) Get to 2100? 🙂 In all likelihood it will take persistent work to eventually beat your brother with a dose of regularity. Yet it's wonderful to use a challenge like this to motivate your studies at least for a while. Rather than focusing on "which plan" I suggest focusing on knowing "a plan" very well – it doesn't have to be crushing.

  7. (2/2) Another suggestion: When assessing my progress against higher-rated opponents I've often not looked at my concrete results because that is likely to remain at a dismal percentage for sometime. Rather, I have had success with setting a more short-term goal like "making it out of the opening with a reasonable position" or "having the initiative at one point in the game". When you achieve a good batting average at this kind of intermediate goal you're ready to set something more challenging.

  8. if i play d4 and my opponent plays d6 can i just transpose into the pirc opening or would you say theres a better why to play with d4.

  9. That is one quite viable way to go. Another good idea which Queen's Pawn players often prefer is 2.Nf3 followed by 3.c4 (but not 2.c4 first since this allows an annoying variation 2…e5!? which, I think, is comfortable is Black). In that case, play often transposes to the King's Indian (if Black develops his bishop to g7) or a somewhat more passive system known as the Old Indian if Black plays an early …e5 and …Be7. White has good chances in both.

  10. Thanks, your video has been very helpful. 2. e5 does look annoying. Now I know how to deal with black's d6 move whether I play d4 or e4. I'll try transposing into the pirc opening if i'm not in the mood to play against the king's indian.

  11. Do the ideas in this Pirc video basically cover the Modern Defense – due to the similar structures – or is the Modern Defense another discussion ?

  12. Modern Defense warrants another discussion , there are many ways Black may choose to deploy his pawns in that system. Also Black often delays …Nf6 for some time in the Modern Defense whereas in the Pirc Black plays …Nf6 early.

  13. Nice Video, explains some of the problems I have when playing Pirc, especially after c3 🙂
    Pirc could be a good choice against players on same level or slightly weaker, but never use it against significantly better opponents – you'll get simply crushed.

  14. Excellent Class! One of the best chess videos I´ve seen so far…and I watch a lot of them. Elegant! He is a modern Borovsky!

  15. At 3:15, when white plays f4, cant black put the bishop on h6 and pin the pawn? Great vid and pls review the kings gambit (unless u already did) keep up the good work!

  16. amazing video on the pirc defence! i deff want to add it too my repertoire…. btw its pronounced peerts. 

  17. Thank you so much for the uploads! I was wondering if you could make the digital board have the coordinates, just so that it's easier for me to follow along. I'm sure there are others who feel this way. Thanks so much 😀

  18. its actually pronounced pirc (peerts) defense. but good vid and yasser says austrian attack was best against pirc. its also a favorite response of mine to the pirc defense. 2nd is classical. 3rd saemisch. 4th can be 150 or four pawns.

  19. Nice explanation as always. I really enjoy get to know openings, but people usually say that is a thing for more advanced players. People say that a beginner like me should focus on tactics almost exclusively. What U think about that? Thanks once again.

  20. I do love your videos Dereque. I became a serious student of the game because of them! So thank you. Therefore the following criticism is primarily meant to dissuade people who watch this video from prematurely characterizing the Pirc as an undependable or shaky defense to 1.e4 rather than to disregard your analysis.

    In response to the rather bleak outlook on the Pirc from this video which some people are accepting as I scroll through the comments below..

    From Chess Developments The Pirc by James Vigus 2012:

    "The most creative of players, Vassily Ivanchuk (35th in the world), has taken up the Pirc as a weapon of choice when playing for a win with Black against 1.e4, with predictably impressive results. Vladimir Kramnik (5th in the world!), who has been known to struggle with White against the Pirc, recently saw the light as well and likewise began to employ our opening in top-level tournaments. The Pirc has another elite champion shakhriyar mamedyarov (22nd in the world)…" pg. 7, parenthesis mine.

    He goes on to list Grischuk, Topalov and Aronian as dabblers in the opening. Whether Paul Vigus is showing bias towards the Pirc defense or not (his first ever win against a GM was with the Pirc!), it remains a "fact" that the Pirc is gaining in popularity at the top levels of chess even though since the mid-1990s publications on how to defeat the Pirc have abounded.

    I myself purchased The Pirc in Black and White by Vigus and began memorizing the lines of the f3-system right away due to this video. Now, to be fair, you did focus in on castling kingside as highly dangerous for black in the midst of the "150 attack" followed by the slow a6-b5 Queenside counter-play so your conclusion is warranted. Moreover, you qualified it with the statement that Grandmasters today often refuse to castle kingside in these type of positions, and therefore this unfavorable situation is unlikely to be reached so quickly. And according to James Vigus and Andrew Martin's analyses, you're right. But to say that White can ultimately count on an advantage in these positions is not at all what James, Andrew (and lowly ranked I) have discovered, and both Yasser and Akobian have stated in their videos something to the effect that they consider only the Austrian to be truly critical for the Pirc.

    I offer a final quote below from James Vigus' book to those viewers who might dismiss this defense too quickly after watching this video as I had.. It's a shame to think that I may have never picked up this rich defense had I not accidentally came across other resources. While Dereque is trying to be fair and balanced in his handling of the Pirc for those who are beginning their journey in opening theory, it just seems to me that he has nothing truly positive to say about it. I was left thinking, "Well, if I'm going to get real serious about chess it's probably to my advantage to pick up something other than this" and I can't see how others haven't thought along the same lines. In my opinion, it's unfortunate and unfair to the Pirc. Talk about a first date: Hi, I'm the Pirc! I struggle to prove an advantage in every position, want to go out again sometime!? lolol

    Nigel Short:

    "The Pirc Defense is one of those openings I find difficult to take seriously: Black concedes the centre and allows his opponent to adopt just about any set-up he fancies. If White likes a sharp attacking game he might choose the Austrian Attack [4 f4], or if he prefers a quieter approach, the Classical system [4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Be2]. Either way he decides. And yet it must be admitted there is still something to be said for this flexible hypermodern system which can either confuse the opponent or, alternatively, lull him. …I, for one, am rarely able to demonstrate the inadequacy of (a) Black's development or (be) his neglect of the centre."

    Yea, both Nigel and Kramnik struggle to prove an advantage over the board. Even if it is indeed true that White always has an advantage to whatever degree, if top GMs have difficulty demonstrating it then shouldn't that be even more true for us mortals?  "Significantly, Short nowadays tends to avoid the challenge of the Pirc altogether, inviting transpositions to a Sicilian with 1 e4 d6 2 Nc3 and 3 f4." pg. 9. If you like hypermodern systems, or are new to opening theory and find them interesting, know that there is plenty to get excited about in the rat (otherwise know as the Pirc!), though it will probably take more effort than the more "solid" defenses. Mamedyarov would applaud you, and Nigel and Kramnik may some day fear you 🙂

  21. Dereque, your chess video instructions are presented well, and your skill as a chess National Master is remarkable. One major help would be to have black openings demonstrated from the black side to the viewer, please. It's the only reason that I also go to other videos on chess openings, and I'm sure this is the case for others viewing chess openings. Thanks for the colorful and knowledgeable presentations, Dereque!

  22. Dereque I like your videos.this opening is my most used opening.i am very good at middle game but not so good at end game.Cn you give some tips plz.Thx

  23. Excellent teacher! His teachings aided my game greatly. I went from a 1100 to a 1695 standard rating over the last few years!

  24. Outstanding presentation. Your enthusiasm for the pirc is enough to ensure that I'll be both using it and studying it further. Thank you.

  25. An instructive (as usual) video! Just for viewers' info, @10:17, in the bit that the English (and Spanish) subtitles regard as 'inaudible', Dereque actually says, 'And now, to deploy his queen to an aggressive post, Black plays c5'.

  26. You have quality videos that are easy to understand. I like how you explain things. I'd like to see you do on separate videos different variations of openings.

  27. Hi there ! I like the Way you explain your thoughts. Your Passion is going to inspire everyone, especially Beginners and the Youth . Keep on goin ! Do u have some Thoughts about the chinese Attack against the Pirc? (4.Be2 and 5.g4) Thx !

  28. Hey, I just have a quick question, when the Knight is developed to c6 what would be black's ideal response to d5?

  29. Explanation is so good..This made me to understand easily..It inspired me a lot..Excellent Teacher…Thanks a lot for this video…

  30. im playing the pirc defense inverting the King and the queen with e4 – d6 – Any White move – Kd7 – … – Qe8 – … Kd8 (LOL) …Just playing something different…

  31. At 2:08, you mention that black wins material by attacking both pawns, but can't white just go f4 and defend the one by moving the other? I guess I don't know that would play out, but just noticed this as I was watching.

  32. As somebody who only got his first official chess titles this year, ACM first, then AFM Arena FIDE Master, I still feel it's always beneficial to watch these kinds of videos and refresh these ideas into your mind. It's amazing how many times you can learn from such instructional videos, especially with a very enthusiastic teacher. Good work.

  33. Just wanted to say thanks for the video Dereque. Your videos are my go to when researching or deciding on using a new opening to get an idea of the strategies.

  34. great presentation, the only sad thing is that after watching this i feel like pirc must be the worst opening ever. I know it isn't, so maybe we need another video showing its strengths 😉

  35. lmao very good demonstration, but idk which side your trying to help black or white? you've unraveled quite alot within 12mins thanks!

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