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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc? (Read 4401 times)
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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #28 - 05/16/16 at 19:01:18
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It's a bit off-topic, but seeing as how the discussion has turned this way... as a long-standing 1.e4 player, I used to *hate* the Caro-Can't (as I oh-so-wittily thought of it) with a passion -- until I started playing it myself; and then I learned that it can lead to very interesting positions. Perhaps the epithet of "boring" is applied by those who don't want to learn how to play such positions?  I see in retrospect that this was true in my case.               
  
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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #27 - 02/03/16 at 12:51:17
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I get the 'boring' tag, and I recognise the vintage there. 'Black castles queenside and tries to hang on', seemed to be the moral of the opening tale as far as I could work out as a young 'un.

Yes, Houska's work is a good one. Caro is certainly unbalancing, and unlike e5 (Scotch 4 knights), and sicilian (Bb5), there's no obvious life-squashing approach. Panov, Short Advance, 2 Knights, Fantasy, main lines are all lively enough.
(Well, apart from the Nh3, ...e5 Qe2 line, but ssssh)

  
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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #26 - 02/03/16 at 12:20:18
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Funny how things like that stick. However, a short time with Houska's Opening Repertoire: Caro Kann and I don't think the "boring kid's opening" tag will stick very long. I'm just getting back acquainted with the 3.e5 c5 line and find it fascinating.
  
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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #25 - 02/03/16 at 09:40:32
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Zatara wrote on 02/03/16 at 01:11:55:
What about the Caro Kann


When I was considering alternatives, the Caro-Kann was certainly amongst the candidates. It's a good defence that I've never played myself. Possibly goes back to my school days which it was thought of as the move the boring kids played  Smiley

  

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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #24 - 02/03/16 at 01:11:55
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Hi JEH,
What about the Caro Kann if you play the c6 lines in the Pirc?  You get open semi open positions less theory maybe then 1....e5, only maybe have to be thoroughly prepared vs e5 lines in Caro? Plus some variety in caro as apposed to the "gurg"??
zatara
  
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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #23 - 10/31/15 at 17:50:58
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JonathanB wrote on 10/31/15 at 17:36:42:
Did you ever test empirically whether your opponents actually would be likely to go 3 c4 in that line?  I’m wondering how likely it would actually be.


I would expect an e4 only player is highly unlikely to switch back to a d4/c4 system, but I'd not like to chance not being ready for it. The Averbakh variation could be something to have ready for such circumstances.
  

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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #22 - 10/31/15 at 17:36:42
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JEH wrote on 10/31/15 at 12:12:27:
... I'd taken up 1. ...d6 as a universal reply to avoid various KID systems, but necessitating using the Pirc rather than the Modern, the latter requiring you to play the KID in full or choose what are to my mind inferior although probably playable systems in the Modern.


I’ve been playing via the Pirc move order until now - in part to avoid any chance of White going 1 e4 g6, 2 d4 Bg7, 3 c4

Did you ever test empirically whether your opponents actually would be likely to go 3 c4 in that line?  I’m wondering how likely it would actually be.

  

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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #21 - 10/31/15 at 12:12:27
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JonathanB wrote on 10/31/15 at 11:46:48:
btw: with respect to your problems with Austrian attack did you ever try

1 e4 g6, 2 d4 Bg7, 3 Nc3 c6, 4 f4 d5
or
1 e4 g6, 2 d4 d6, 3 Nc3 c6, 4 f4 d5


I just call it the Gurg  Wink

Yes, done this. Some opening books influenced my repertoire choices early on, and one was Opening Tactics for Club Players by Sergiu Samarian and E. Pritchard. Actually a collection of opening systems, and within it was the Gurgenidze modern. Later I got more ideas on the Modern from Norwood's "Winning with the Modern" including the accelerated move order.

The book that put me off this system for Black was Khalifmann's Opening for White According to Anand book 4.

Also, I'd taken up 1. ...d6 as a universal reply to avoid various KID systems, but necessitating using the Pirc rather than the Modern, the latter requiring you to play the KID in full or choose what are to my mind inferior although probably playable systems in the Modern.

I see Chess stars are planning

http://www.chess-stars.com/Future_Plans.html

"• A Complete Black repertoire book based on the Pirc and the KI
by Alexei Kornev

Expected in February 2016"

Which hopefully will re-inforce this system for me.

I find though 1. ...e5 much easier to play as I find the White players in my usual opposition pool (say club players up to FMs) duck the critical systems, whereas against the Pirc, they have something better prepared.

In De la Villa's "Dismantling the Sicilian", his philospophy is main lines against main lines, side lines against side lines. Yet often I find my opponents doing the opposite.

I want to expand my general chess knowledge too. I've not just played the Pirc over my chess career, but I'm enjoying looking at a new opening and encouraged by the results.

At a recent tournament, I had a nice win in the Black side of an Italian, but didn't like either of my Pirc middle games, despite them being normal theory positions, and was lucky to get 0.5/2

The plan is still to keep both, using the Pirc/Czech/Philidor for mainly just the d4 players.
  

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"Those who want to go by my perverse footsteps play such pawn structure with fuzzy atypical still strategic orientations."
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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #20 - 10/31/15 at 11:46:48
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JEH wrote on 10/29/15 at 16:55:09:
Bibs wrote on 10/29/15 at 11:59:53:
oh, what is your level?


Trying to get back over 2000, or maybe even back over 2100 Embarrassed


Well with English tournaments that could almost be anything between average club player and FM - although I know you play abroad too so your rating probably more reliable.

I’m slightly disappointed to hear you may be sticking with the Pirc after all. As somebody who’s currently in the process of switching from open games as black to the pirc/modern complex I was going to suggest we courier each other all our books.


btw: with respect to your problems with Austrian attack did you ever try

1 e4 g6, 2 d4 Bg7, 3 Nc3 c6, 4 f4 d5
or
1 e4 g6, 2 d4 d6, 3 Nc3 c6, 4 f4 d5

?

(I know what these systems are called I just can’t spell it)
  

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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #19 - 10/29/15 at 16:55:09
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Bibs wrote on 10/29/15 at 11:59:53:
oh, what is your level?


Trying to get back over 2000, or maybe even back over 2100 Embarrassed
  

"Football is like Chess, only without the dice."

"Those who want to go by my perverse footsteps play such pawn structure with fuzzy atypical still strategic orientations."
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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #18 - 10/29/15 at 16:51:35
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Bibs wrote on 10/29/15 at 11:59:53:
For the love of Zeus, do not go near the Czech. It simply smells.


Been near it since '99. I must pong pretty bad.  Smiley

True, I've had my fair share of stuffings in it.
  

"Football is like Chess, only without the dice."

"Those who want to go by my perverse footsteps play such pawn structure with fuzzy atypical still strategic orientations."
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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #17 - 10/29/15 at 11:59:53
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For the love of Zeus, do not go near the Czech. It simply smells.
I'd say the various Philidor lines are decent enough, depending on your level - oh, what is your level? Not something that white ever prepares very well.
  
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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #16 - 10/29/15 at 11:20:08
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Thanks for the replies. I think my crisis of faith might be dwindling.  Smiley

To replace the Pirc I would need either moving from 1. d4 d6 to 1. d4 Nf6 (I pair it with the KID) and/or playing the Czech (1. d4 d6 2. e4 Nf6 3. Nc3 c6, which does OK for me) or the Philidor (1. d4 d6 2. e4 Nf6 3. Nc3 e5 which seems OK).

But I'd like to keep those 1. d4 d6 2. e4 players having to prepare for the Pirc too, at least for the time being, and for blitz/rapid against 1. e4 I can rattle lines off and get away with not being punished as much Cool
  

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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #15 - 10/29/15 at 00:31:42
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Hello.
JEH wrote on 10/27/15 at 11:33:51:
The first e4 defence I "learned" as a teen was the Dragon. I knew little theory. When I got to a point of thinking I needed to learn some, I got a bit scared  Shocked

Then I found this lovely defence called the Pirc, where I got a Dragon bishop, but without all this Sicilian theory  Smiley

Lovely indeed and with very few lines being extremely theoretical.

The Pirc bishop is a bit like a younger/less developed cousin of its dragon counterpart. With a bit of time, the right environment to grow and no Bh6xg7 bullying it can become great. Sadly it doesn't always turn out that way.

JEH wrote on 10/27/15 at 11:33:51:
That was over thirty years ago, and despite the Pirc being my long standing friend against 1. e4, I now wonder if I'm just in denial about its soundness, and it is time to say farewell  Cry

After thirty years I would encourage you to switch opening. There is more to chess than one opening.

About the metatheoretical status of the Pirc defense. Hard to say. Have not seen anything that indicates the unsoundness of the entire opening system (which realistically would be something like a fairly forced line leading to a white plus with no or bad alternatives for black). There are however plenty of indications that various variations, continuations and setups in general inside the Pirc opening are bad.

CarriedbyGg wrote on 10/27/15 at 14:14:33:
To add something of my strange humour, just buy "the modern tiger" by Hillarp Persson and you will love the Pirc/ the modern again! Wink
JEH wrote on 10/27/15 at 14:41:50:
Already have it. Nice book, but when he says transpose to the Pirc... Huh

He seems to do it at the times when it is certainly a very reasonable thing to consider (even for inveterate Modern players Wink).

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #14 - 10/28/15 at 17:26:40
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It is a false dilemma to commit to an opening or "ditch" it completely.  You will always have it in your back pocket.  I think being a well-rounded player includes having two serviceable defenses to 1.e4 of which at least one is light on theory.

Anyway, picking up 1...e5 can be a great chess education in and of itself.  From a repertoire point of view in your situation, you might consider investigating the 1...e5 lines with an early ...g6.   Depending on your 1.d4 defenses you might also consider Philidor move orders with  d7-d6 or c7-c6 on the first move or two.  I think Pirc/Philidor/"fianchetto open game" is a fertile ground for "cunning" move orders to keep White guessing.

Here is a link from the prolific Kenilworthian blog:
http://kenilworthian.blogspot.com/2009/06/black-fianchetto-system-in-open-games....
  

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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #13 - 10/27/15 at 18:15:16
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JEH wrote on 10/27/15 at 15:00:52:
P.S. There was another reason for choosing 1. ...e5 as a defence, as an analysis of my results with 1. e4 indicated it was the defence I scored worst against, thus a double benefit of studying 1. e4 e5 more, plus overall chess knowledge and new positions.


MNb wrote in a reaction on my blog that he finds switching sides a very questionable decision: http://schaken-brabo.blogspot.be/2013/02/kleuren-omwisselen.html

There is definitely some truth in this. It is well possible that a specific opening can be unattractive irrespective of the colour. On the other hand it is possible that you like to play against isolani but you don't like to have the isolani. Finally it is also possible that you like both sides as I presented in my article http://chess-brabo.blogspot.be/2015/06/switching-colors-part-2.html

So to summarize, it is not really possible to make any firm statements about the usefulness of switching sides in terms of finding the optimal repertoire. Anyway trying it out in a few games won't hurt of course.
  
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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #12 - 10/27/15 at 17:48:57
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I don't think I'll ever give up the Pirc completely; it's very handy against clearly weaker opponents (say, below 2000 FIDE). But there are some really tricky repertoire problems to solve, especially (for me) how to find sound lines against both 4.Be3 and 4.Bg5 that combine in a move-order-proof way.

But it is a risky opening against strong players, and also it's become more theoretical than many Sicilians! Personally I've branched out with various Sicilians (decent results) and with the French (quite bad results, but perhaps not due to the opening itself).

Re: statistical model for creating a repertoire:

I do this myself (though not in a very systematic way). But it's never obvious what should be done when you notice you score poorly with a particular opening. Learn the theory better? Learn the typical middlegames and endgames better? Try it with opposite colors to understand it better? Stop playing it? Only a look at the games themselves and even the thinking process before and during them can answer these questions.

Fitting a repertoire perfectly to one's own style sounds excellent. But then we may also lose opportunities to expand and develop a feel for new position types that could have taken us to a new level, if only we had stuck with that opening we didn't understand at first instead of returning to the safe and well-trodden.

For example, I have added ...e5 Sicilians to my repertoire several times (Sveshnikov, Kalashnikov and Boleslavsky), and always had horrible results. I just can't play with that gaping hole on d5 in my position! But maybe I had been a stronger player today if I had stubbornly stuck with these lines and eventually mastered them?
  

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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #11 - 10/27/15 at 15:00:52
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brabo wrote on 10/27/15 at 14:39:22:
Use a scientific model based on statistics of your own results to build an optimal personalized repertoire


P.S. There was another reason for choosing 1. ...e5 as a defence, as an analysis of my results with 1. e4 indicated it was the defence I scored worst against, thus a double benefit of studying 1. e4 e5 more, plus overall chess knowledge and new positions.
  

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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #10 - 10/27/15 at 14:52:33
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brabo wrote on 10/27/15 at 14:39:22:
Use a scientific model based on statistics of your own results to build an optimal personalized repertoire


To some extent I was using this approach within the Pirc to select variations. For example, against the Austrian, I've wheeled out a Modern a6 (risky), 5. ...c5 (the most played but declining performance for me), 5. ...0-0/Na6 (worst results), and 5. ...0-0/Nc6 (best results but not brilliant). So for various reasons I wasn't happy with any of the systems. Same with e.g. the Classical and Be3.

I have thought spending more time on one, but am thinking, hey, playing  1. ...e5 is actually much easier!



  

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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #9 - 10/27/15 at 14:41:50
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CarriedbyGg wrote on 10/27/15 at 14:14:33:
To add something of my strange humour, just buy "the modern tiger" by Hillarp Persson and you will love the Pirc/ the modern again! http://www.chesspub.com/yabbfiles/Templates/Forum/default/wink.gif


Already have it. Nice book, but when he says transpose to the Pirc... Huh
  

"Football is like Chess, only without the dice."

"Those who want to go by my perverse footsteps play such pawn structure with fuzzy atypical still strategic orientations."
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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #8 - 10/27/15 at 14:40:59
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Bibs wrote on 10/27/15 at 14:03:38:
May finally join you on the 1...e5 bus....


Meep meep. I see another open games for Black rep book is already on the way by Martin Lokander.


  

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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #7 - 10/27/15 at 14:39:22
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Bibs wrote on 10/27/15 at 14:03:38:
Well, if your results are better, follow the findings from the data!

Use a scientific model based on statistics of your own results to build an optimal personalized repertoire: http://chess-brabo.blogspot.be/2015/03/openingchoices.html
In fact I already referred once to that article here earlier http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/chess/YaBB.pl?num=1426109357/15

Not so long ago the chess-engine progammer Vincent Diepeveen stated that it could be very useful for professionals to have a program which helps building an optimal openingrepertoire. He was not aware of the existence of such program so it still needs to be written.
  
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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #6 - 10/27/15 at 14:14:33
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To add something of my strange humour, just buy "the modern tiger" by Hillarp Persson and you will love the Pirc/ the modern again! Wink
  
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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #5 - 10/27/15 at 14:03:38
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Well, if your results are better, follow the findings from the data!
Tough decisions these aren't they?
Me, I never settled with anything either. May finally join you on the 1...e5 bus....
  
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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #4 - 10/27/15 at 14:01:26
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brabo wrote on 10/27/15 at 12:38:42:
In fact I wrote earlier this year an article about this topic on my blog: http://chess-brabo.blogspot.be/2015/03/identity.html


Thanks. Great blog as ever and very close to my thoughts. Even players much lower than 2200 can be well prepped, especially with me having many years of games on databases.

I'm not sure if it's just preps worries though. I think I've developed an identity of a "Pirc player" having invested much time in it and thus finding it difficult to drop completely.

On your blog - "Nevertheless when I am convinced an opening is beyond salvation then it immediately and forever disappears from my repertoire. More precisely I only keep the variation in blitz/ rapid. "

Yes, keeping it just for blitz/rapid is a great suggestion so I keep some benefit of my experience with it  Cool


  

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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #3 - 10/27/15 at 12:38:42
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I believe many amateurs have a rather fixed openingrepertoire. We experience joy, grieve, excitement,... by playing our preferred openings so naturally it becomes part of our identity. Giving up an opening can be painful and isn't always easy but we should also realize that after 1,2 or more decades we are not the same person either anymore.
In fact I wrote earlier this year an article about this topic on my blog: http://chess-brabo.blogspot.be/2015/03/identity.html
  
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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #2 - 10/27/15 at 12:20:33
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I've never known how people find the time to maintain a working repertoire in more than one answer e.g. to 1.e4 at a time ! There's also the psychological issue of when to choose which opening and why. For example, if you played both and then choose the Pirc to "keep it more complex", are you already putting more pressure on that game ? In recent years my goal has been to get to 100 over the board games with each single opening to feel confident. I guess you've well passed that with the Pirc if you've played it for 30 years !
My advice would be fully commit to the new opening i.e. 1.e4 e5, get to 100 games and then consider whether you want to reintroduce the Pirc for means of variety.
  
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Re: Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
Reply #1 - 10/27/15 at 12:16:11
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Well you couldn't say you didn't give it a fair run Smiley I'd have switched at least partially well before 30 years!

Suspect you'll probably find it gets rather more effective once people have to prepare a bunch more ideas as well though. Even at club level one (slightly risky) opening is a bit risky nowadays.
  
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Is it time for me to say farewell to the Pirc?
10/27/15 at 11:33:51
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Dear Aunty Chesspub,

The first e4 defence I "learned" as a teen was the Dragon. I knew little theory. When I got to a point of thinking I needed to learn some, I got a bit scared  Shocked

Then I found this lovely defence called the Pirc, where I got a Dragon bishop, but without all this Sicilian theory  Smiley

That was over thirty years ago, and despite the Pirc being my long standing friend against 1. e4, I now wonder if I'm just in denial about its soundness, and it is time to say farewell  Cry

I go back through my games, and my results against all levels of opposition really look bad now. Even lines where previously I had done quite well. I check the theory, but find difficulties playing the accurate abnormal moves required to survive some positions.

In contrast, I have been adding 1. ...e5 to my repertoire. My results with it have been excellent against non-Lopez lines and a good rating performance against the Lopez, from just a few months play, as compared to a few decades!

I was considering keeping both defences for variety, but am now thinking, should it be time to ditch my old friend completely?  Undecided





  

"Football is like Chess, only without the dice."

"Those who want to go by my perverse footsteps play such pawn structure with fuzzy atypical still strategic orientations."
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