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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!? (Read 11017 times)
Keano
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #19 - 12/09/14 at 19:53:35
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Not too many Whites keen to venture this in the last 2 years!?

I suppose logically h3 is not the most critical move White can play in a 3 pawns attack.

So as it stands 4...a6 and the line mentioned in another thread 4...Bg7 are both holding up well.
  
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #18 - 01/17/12 at 12:40:53
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James Vigus wrote on 08/16/10 at 10:13:22:
Fascinating stuff. I got briefly interested in 4...a6 when writing 'The Pirc in Black and White', but felt that the reply I give there - 5 h3 - was very strong. Main idea: 5...b5 6 e5! The great Pirc guru Peralta has recently won with this as Black - after 6...Nfd7 7 Qf3 Nb6 8 a4 b4 9 Ne4 Bf5 (9...Be6!?), with complications. But I don't trust this and a Black player who wants this kind of position should perhaps take up the Alekhine, not the Pirc... Instead of 8 a4, maybe just 8 Nge2 - White waits for Black to castle and plays Qg3, h4 and after ...h5, Nf4xg6. Black is allowed some moves too(!) but where are his pawn breaks? - that pawn on e5 is quite strong.
So we may be left with this:
Petrik-Tkachiev, Dresden 2008
5. h3 Bg7 6. f4! O-O (better than the 6...b5 I gave in my book) 7. Nf3 e6 8. e5 Nd5 9. Nxd5 exd5 10. Bd3 Nc6 11. c3 dxe5 12. fxe5 f6 13. exf6 Qxf6 14. O-O Bf5 and Black was ok and won this game too. But White has more promising tries here - 8 e5 looks rushed and 7 Qf3 is possible. As I showed in notes to the game Aagaard-McNab, the Hippo against the Austrian Attack (which is what this now is) is quite dodgy. Again: playing neither ...c5 nor ...e5 leaves Black open to a route-one attack with g4 and h4.
Those are my first, non-engine assisted thoughts. But Tkachiev and Kramnik may have seen something I missed  Wink Any guesses?


Indeed - I missed this h3 move in the book (which I bought and is an interesting read btw). No doubt Black needs something well thought out to respond to this h3 and f4 business, the early ....b5 line looks very hairy for Black.
  
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #17 - 01/16/12 at 11:17:00
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Yes - its a strange one this, its what Kramnik does in his very rare outings with the Pirc against 4.Be3 and despite his protests to the contrary I suspect he has investigated this stuff quite a bit.

Its a kind of Hybrid Tigers Modern instead of having a Bishop on g7 to have a Knight on f6. What is strange is that as far as I can see ALL books on the Pirc have not even given it a mention. I'm not a great fan of statistics but this line is also holding up as Blacks best reply at the highest level statistically for Black by quite a bit, although it really needs more games.
  
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #16 - 11/07/11 at 20:40:08
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Smyslov_Fan wrote on 11/07/11 at 20:00:35:
I guess it's too much to expect the first four moves to be given in this thread? Angry


Well, not too hard to guess 1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 a6 - or no?

I have never played either side of this line, but I've studied it a bit, and I think that the ...c6/Qa5 lines, as suggested by Vigus, are the most reliable for Black.
  
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #15 - 11/07/11 at 20:00:35
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I guess it's too much to expect the first four moves to be given in this thread? Angry
  
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #14 - 08/29/10 at 10:13:23
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Thanks James -- I had meant that, and reached the same conclusion as you, but unsurprisingly took a lot longer! Away on holiday now but looking forward to reconnecting with the Pirc!
  
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #13 - 08/18/10 at 18:35:10
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Michael, if you mean 7...b4 8 Nce2 Nxe4 9 f3, I certainly wouldn't recommend this for Black. 8...Nh5 is another story; and the line I gave with 7...Nh5 is massively complicated. If this turns out acceptable for Black, it will highlight the advantage (i.e. not blocking the long diagonal) of 4....a6 over 4...c6, when I think 5 h3 Nbd7 6 g4 and Bg2 is troublesome.
  
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #12 - 08/17/10 at 14:23:30
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Actually, after 7 ...b4 I wasn't really clear about the best follow-up! Should Black sac a piece or not? On balance I tentatively thought not, but I fear I've looked at this only v. superficially!

Interesting comment from [i]Pirc Alert[/i], and a rather ironic one I think -- on the basis of the lines you give in your book I think the 'somewhat too risky' descriptor could fairly be applied to 4 ...c6!
  
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James Vigus
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #11 - 08/17/10 at 13:58:44
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Michael, thanks for pointing out 7...b4.
The first edition of Pirc Alert (p.362) just says 'A new, sharp idea, ...a7-a6, seems somewhat too risky for Black.' Well, that's what I used to think too...
  
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #10 - 08/16/10 at 20:24:08
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NB: I just browsed through my copy of Pirc Alert and didn't find the section on 4.Be3 a6 that I was so sure was there! (On the other hand the Modern with 4.Be3 a6 and 4.Be3 c6 are covered). Sorry for the misinformation!

James Vigus wrote on 08/16/10 at 13:41:14:
I didn't mean to be quite so gloomy! 4...a6 seems to have stood up well lately at the top level and somehow it's hard to believe that 5 h3 can be a completely deadly reply. Another quick thought - 5...Bg7 6 f4 e6!? (Tkachiev's method a move early) delaying castling would allay my fears about a quick hack. In the Hippo the knight would prefer to be on e7 than f6, but maybe Black can play ...Nc6-e7 next? At some point over the next few moves White must decide which side to castle...

This is identical to Nigel Davies' old treatment of the Austrian from the Modern move order: 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 Nc6 and after a later ...e6, ...Nf6 and ...Nc6-e7 a Hippo-like formation arises. For example 5.Be3 Nf6 6.Nf3 e6 7.Be2 0-0 8.0-0 Ne7 9.Nd2 b6 10.a4 a6 11.Qe1 c5 Engedal-Davies, Gausdal 1990. This is a main game in Davies' Starting Out: The Modern which I'm currently reading to expand my general Pirc/Modern horizons.

Davies says 5.Bb5!? is the reason he dropped the line, and this is avoided in the Pirc 4.Be3 a6 5.h3 move order. So unless the entire setup is rubbish (I'm not ruling this out...) it comes down to which tempo is more useful, h3 or ...a6. Hard to say, but in sum Black should be fairly happy with this version of the setup.
  

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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #9 - 08/16/10 at 17:14:55
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Fascinating stuff! But am I being careless? -- anything wrong with 7 ...b4 here? (Not that the 'North Sea' treatment looks bad!)
  
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #8 - 08/16/10 at 16:53:11
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Yes, this could become as big as fashions get in the Pirc... I like the idea of 5...Nbd7 but I'm not sure it's exactly safe - there is also 6 g4 to think about, then if 6...b5 doesn't work Black must have problems. 7 g5 Nh5 8 Be2 Bb7 9 Bxh5 gxh5 10 Qxh5 b4 11 Nd5 e6 is what I've just looked at - and Black seems fine(?), but again there are hundreds of paths here.
  
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #7 - 08/16/10 at 15:57:55
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Thanks James! I forgot in my last post that in the 5 ...Nbd7 line Black doesn't (necessarily) have ...c6 in. Maybe this is Black's safest? (If that's what he wants.) I guess all this could become a theoretical growth area ...
  
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #6 - 08/16/10 at 15:18:02
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Exactly, ...d5 in the Hippo can be good, whereas a combination of ...0-0 and ...e5 may not be, e.g.
Skorchenko-Kondenko, Russia 2004:
1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. f4 Nc6 5. Be3 Nf6 6. h3 e6 7. g4 a6 8. Bg2 O-O 9. Nge2 e5 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. f5 Re8 12. O-O and White is very happy.
5...Nbd7 is interesting! So if 6 f4 b5 7 e5 b4. At first glance I don't see why 6 Nf3 e5 should be bad for Black. But this obviously needs much more work...
  
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #5 - 08/16/10 at 14:29:45
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Interesting idea! I can see that if White goes long and tries a quick hack a well-timed ...d5 might put a spanner in the works.

I notice some games have followed Petrik--T but with 7 Qf3 c6 preparing counterplay. It's all v. complicated! ...

5 ...Nbd7 has also been seen but after 6 Nf3 I guess both 6 ...e5 and ...c6 first leave Black in an inferior Accelerated Classical?
  
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #4 - 08/16/10 at 13:41:14
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I didn't mean to be quite so gloomy! 4...a6 seems to have stood up well lately at the top level and somehow it's hard to believe that 5 h3 can be a completely deadly reply. Another quick thought - 5...Bg7 6 f4 e6!? (Tkachiev's method a move early) delaying castling would allay my fears about a quick hack. In the Hippo the knight would prefer to be on e7 than f6, but maybe Black can play ...Nc6-e7 next? At some point over the next few moves White must decide which side to castle...
5 a4 is obviously reasonable, but it can't be critical in the sense that it gives Black the information he wants: White's king is going to the kingside. 5...Bg7 6 Nf3 0-0 7 h3 Nc6 is not the only possible path, but it transposes to what I've called the Accelerated Classical.
  
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #3 - 08/16/10 at 12:20:39
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Hi James!

Great to have your post -- even though it puts the dampeners on any 4 ...a6 enthusiasm! Somehow I knew the lines I looked at initially were too good to be true ... I have to guiltily confess I hadn't noticed the mention of 4 ...a6 in your book. My only excuse is that I didn't think it'd be in the 150 Attack chapter, but then that just shows I haven't yet read that chapter with proper care ... Embarrassed

I don't much care for Peralta's treatment, and I play the Alekhine! In Petrik-Tkachiev I casually wondered whether 7 ...Nh5 could give counterplay but I haven't really any coherent thoughts yet. This stuff seems well worth a look though -- who knows, better defences may be found ...

  
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #2 - 08/16/10 at 10:13:22
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Fascinating stuff. I got briefly interested in 4...a6 when writing 'The Pirc in Black and White', but felt that the reply I give there - 5 h3 - was very strong. Main idea: 5...b5 6 e5! The great Pirc guru Peralta has recently won with this as Black - after 6...Nfd7 7 Qf3 Nb6 8 a4 b4 9 Ne4 Bf5 (9...Be6!?), with complications. But I don't trust this and a Black player who wants this kind of position should perhaps take up the Alekhine, not the Pirc... Instead of 8 a4, maybe just 8 Nge2 - White waits for Black to castle and plays Qg3, h4 and after ...h5, Nf4xg6. Black is allowed some moves too(!) but where are his pawn breaks? - that pawn on e5 is quite strong.
So we may be left with this:
Petrik-Tkachiev, Dresden 2008
5. h3 Bg7 6. f4! O-O (better than the 6...b5 I gave in my book) 7. Nf3 e6 8. e5 Nd5 9. Nxd5 exd5 10. Bd3 Nc6 11. c3 dxe5 12. fxe5 f6 13. exf6 Qxf6 14. O-O Bf5 and Black was ok and won this game too. But White has more promising tries here - 8 e5 looks rushed and 7 Qf3 is possible. As I showed in notes to the game Aagaard-McNab, the Hippo against the Austrian Attack (which is what this now is) is quite dodgy. Again: playing neither ...c5 nor ...e5 leaves Black open to a route-one attack with g4 and h4.
Those are my first, non-engine assisted thoughts. But Tkachiev and Kramnik may have seen something I missed  Wink Any guesses?
  
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Re: Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
Reply #1 - 08/14/10 at 21:03:00
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Or perhaps 4.Be3 a6 5.f4 b5 6.Bd3 Bb7 7.Nf3 Nbd7 8.e5 is the main line.
Don't forget to consider 4.Be3 a6 5.Qd2 b5 6.a4 either.

I agree with your conclusion. I have never been able to find out which continuation I like best. Alas for you I will leave for a holiday of four weeks tomorrow, so you will have to wait for my contributions.
  

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Pirc, 4 Be3 a6!?
08/14/10 at 13:32:30
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My interest in the Pirc has been completely rekindled/transformed since I realised recently that it was respectable for Black to meet 4 Be3 with [u]4 …a6[/u]!?, as played recently by Kramnik, so I thought I’d start a thread on this! I can’t seem to see much theory on this (not having yet got hold of a copy of [i]Pirc Alert[/i]!) so I’d be interested to hear what folk think are the critical lines. The main line must be [u]5 Qd2 b5 6 f3[/u] (6 Bd3 could transpose to V below) [u]Nbd7[/u] (some strong GMs have played 6 …Bb7 and there’s also 6 …c6), and now:

I  [b]7 Nge2[/b]. Now transposing to a Modern with 7 …Bg7 has been much the most popular recently but Kramnik played 7 …Nb6.

II  [b]7 g4[/b] Nb6 (7 …Bb7!?) 8 g5 and White has done well – is this line a serious threat?

III  [b]7 a4[/b] b4 8 Nd1 Rb8 (also 8 …a5 and others).

IV  [b]7 0-0-0[/b] and now 7 …Bb7, 7 …Nb6 and 7 …c6 have all been played. Is there any consensus on the best line(s)?

V  [b]7 Bd3[/b] (looks less critical?) Bb7 (also 7 …c5!? – see the nice game Caspi –Tseitlin) 8 a4 c6 or 8 …b4.


Of course White has other seventh (and earlier) moves, but overall, I get the impression there’s lots of scope for fresh ideas here and plenty of discoveries waiting to be made …
  
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