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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders (Read 8036 times)
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #55 - 09/15/18 at 07:59:35
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In addition to CbT's excellent comment: 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3/Bf4/Bg5 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 is all the same of course.

6...O-O (iso 6...Bxh6) is as risky as 5...O-O but is probably better than its reputation. As IM Vigus pointed out in Dangerous Weapons after White's Bh6 GM Donner's setup (compare Ree-Donner, Dutch Ch 1967, Zierikzee) often is very reliable. It's not easy for White to find optimal transpositions to the Argentinean Attack (f3) or 150-Attack (Nf3).

5...O-O 6.f3 (or 6.O-O-O) is an improved version of 4.f3 Bg7 5.Be3 O-O 6.Qd2 as ...e5 simply loses a pawn and ...c5 7.d5 is a pretty good version of the Schmidt-Benoni (1.d4 c5 2.d5 d6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e4 g6 etc.). I haven't been able to figure out which version of 5...O-O 6.O-O-O c6 7.f3 b5 8.h4 (8.Bh6 again is nothing but a transposition) is best for White - the bishop on e3 or on f4.

Overall I do suspect that 4.Bf4 is anohter good reason to prefer Robatsch' move order, provided that Black also plays the King's Indian. After 1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Bf4 Black has better than Nf6.
  

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Leon_Trotsky
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #54 - 09/15/18 at 00:49:43
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 07/31/18 at 11:27:04:
6...Bg4 7.d5! Bxf3 (8... Nb8 9.Nd4 +=) 8.dxc6 Bxe4 9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.Qb4 Nxf2 11.Kxf2 bxc6 and I don't think black has full compensation.


I see, this line.

But why does Black have to go crazy and sac with 10...Cxf2¿ 10...Cc5 and Black has two centre pawns to none. 11. cxb7 Tb8 and b2 looks shady. Highly materialistic 12. Ab5+ Rf8 13. Ac6 Cxb7! and Black should be able to gain back the piece with ...c5 and put queen on either c7 or d7. And b2 is still shady and likely to fall, with Black having a safe king despite loss of castling wrights  Cheesy

If try to defend b2 with 12. c3, then White gets into a mess with the development and king safety:

« Last Edit: 09/15/18 at 04:42:11 by Leon_Trotsky »  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #53 - 09/15/18 at 00:18:35
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Hi.

Leon_Trotsky wrote on 09/14/18 at 23:55:49:
Maybe just preference, but I rather be Black here much than White  Cheesy

You mean after 11...bxc6? That would be brave. Smiley

Leon_Trotsky wrote on 09/14/18 at 23:55:49:
Did you look at Davies'' book¿ I think he has the game Grosar-Смирин 1997 for Af4 lines.

Yes and I have the book but not with me now. As I recall the pages devoted to 4.Bf4 (and 4.Bf4 with 5.Nf3) were quite alright.



This 8.dxc6 though. 8.gxf3 looks like it just unbalances the game for little cost to black.

Have a nice night.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #52 - 09/14/18 at 23:55:49
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 07/31/18 at 11:27:04:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bf4 Nc6 6.Qd2
6.Be2 0-0 7.0-0 Bg4 8.d5!? Bxf3 9.Bxf3 Ne5 10.Be2 c6 and I suspect the f4 bishop is not placed so well, meaning black should have a not so difficult time.
6.Qe2!? Nxd4!? 7.Nxd4 e5 8.0-0-0 Ng4! 9.Ndb5 exf4 10.Nd5 0-0 11.Nbxc7 Rb8 when black's bishop pair seems nice despite weakened structure.
6...0-0
6...Bg4 7.d5! Bxf3 (8... Nb8 9.Nd4 +=) 8.dxc6 Bxe4 9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.Qb4 Nxf2 11.Kxf2 bxc6 and I don't think black has full compensation.
7.0-0-0 a6!?
Or if you want to be safe 7...Bg4 (7...d5 8.e5 +=) 8.Be2 Bxf3 9.Bxf3 e5 (9...Nd7 10.Bh6!? Bxd4 11.Bxf8 looks a bit speculative) 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Be3 Qe7 += White is a little bit for choice; although with accurate play black is probably OK.


Maybe just preference, but I rather be Black here much than White  Cheesy

Did you look at Davies'' book¿ I think he has the game Grosar-Смирин 1997 for Af4 lines.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #51 - 09/14/18 at 22:52:46
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Line A analysis part 1:

(A) 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7
To meet this it appears most players have gone 5.Nf3. It does not put pressure on black though and since black will meet it with some developing move of his own both sides will have gotten a move to improve their position. Relatively speaking this probably benefits black slightly as he is the one who needs to get his position in order more acutely than white. Had the knight move opened up new avenues to put positional pressure on black the picture could have been nicer for white, although it does not appear to do that to a great extent. Just castling for black seems alright e.g. 5.Nf3 0-0 planning 6.Qd2 c5. Instead of the knight move...
5.Qd2(!)
Appears more dangerous. White's plan is to threaten to disturb black with Bh6 early. Black has:

A1) 5...c6
A2) 5...0-0
A3) 5...Nc6

Others:
5...a6?! 6.Bh6 0-0 (6...Bxh6 7.Qxh6 Nc6 8.0-0-0 += ) 7.0-0-0 Nc6 (7...b5 8.f3 += Is just more comfortable for white) 8.h4 Bxh6 9.Qxh6 e5 10.d5 Nd4 11.h5! (+=) With positional pressure
5...Nbd7?! 6.Bh6 Bxh6 7.Qxh6 e5 8.Nf3 += With no immediate disaster for black, though also a somewhat prospectless position
5...b6? 6.Bh6 0-0 7.h4! (+/-) When black has played a sub-optimal move like b6 the pawn thrust seems effective.

(A1) 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6!?
A sensible move in the Pirc. Black prepares b5, to seize space and possibly disturb white's important c3 knight or he will continue Nbd7 and e5; a bit depending on what white does. Other positive effects of the move is that the queen gets squares on a5, b6 or c7 and that should e4-e5 come from white black can now often go Nf6-d5 and this is generally a good square.
6.Bh6!?
Other moves have been tried e.g. 6.Nf3 and 6.0-0-0. They keep some control but going Bh6 right away has the big advantage that castling as a reply is probably made less attractive. Black has two replies. they lead to very different types of play.
(A1A) 6...Bxh6
(A1B) 6...0-0

(A1A) 6...Bxh6 7.Qxh6 Qa5!?
The most active move. Given the reply suggested later it could well be somewhat risky though. In terms of other approaches. Black does not have much positional leeway. Even if white is temporarily a bit underdeveloped his active queens is an asset and black does not have impressive developement either. There is one approach that does make some sense though and could be a decent alternative for black.

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 Bxh6 7.Qxh6 e5

This has been discussed a fair bit on chesspub. Black strikes back at d4 and hopes for simplification via dxe5 or if there is tension some undermining action with Bg4. Noteworthy is that 7...e5 appears to be the way to execute since 7...Nbd7?! looks weaker. The Bg4 resource is missing and black should not get anywhere with what little counterplay he has e.g. 7... Nbd7?! 8.Nf3 e5 9.Be2! Qe7 10.0-0 exd4!? 11.Nxd4 Ng8 12.Qf4 Ngf6 13.Rad1(+=). My suggestion against 7...e5 is to play the way described below. Basically I can't write an even more huge post so I will give only the most important lines now and come back with a file at some point, including less good black alternatives at the various points of the game:

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 Bxh6 7.Qxh6 e5 8.Nf3 Qe7
To keep Bg4 as a possibility. 8...exd4 9.Nxd4 Qe7 10.Be2 (+/-) is good for white
9.dxe5
I also (now) see some danger for black in the following attempt:
9.Bc4!? exd4 10.Nxd4 d5 11.Be2! Nxe4 12.Nxe4 dxe4 13.0-0-0!? Nd7 14.Rhe1 Nc5 15.b4! Nd7 16.Bd3 f5 17.f3 Ne5 18.Bxe4 fxe4 When, after some exact move from black it has to be said, there is nothing obvious for white. He can always play on a bit though. Going instead 11.Bb3, which I briefly looked at and gave in a previous effort at analysing the 7...e5 lines, is just clearly weaker compared to 11.Be2. With the latter move there are dangers to navigate for black, while the former seems unimpressive. Not going for the more open positions after 9.Bc4!?, aiming instead for some pressure in the at least slightly symmetrical looking positions after pxp seems more attractive to me.
9...dxe5 10.Bc4 b5
10...Nbd7 is surprisingly resilient and seems about as good or better as 10...b5. I will recommend:
11.0-0
11.Ng5!? Rf8 12.Nxh7 Nxh7 13.Qxh7 Qg5 14.h4 Qf6 15.Qh6 Rh8 16.Qe3 Rxh4 17.0-0-0 Nf8 (+=) Still leaves black fairly solid but white is a little more comfortable.
11.a4 Nb6!? 12.Bb3 Be6 13. a5 ;13.Bxe6 Qxe6 14.0-0 = to += ; 13...Nc4 14.0-0 0-0-0 (+= to ∞)
11...Nb6 12.Bb3 Be6 13.Rfd1 Bxb3 14.axb3 (+=) White is a little more comfortable.
11.Bb3 Nbd7
This is a major branching point. The other line is if black goes for advancing the a-pawn forward immediately. Compared to moving the knight to d7 the immediate advantage of 11...a5 is that black is a bit more active. If white meets it correctly it does also seems a bit like making multiple pawn moves on the queenside (a5 will be followed up by more) is maybe not strategically optimal though. My main line would be:
11...a5!? 12.a3!

At first I thought this was about equally strong compared to moving the pawn forward two steps. After finding an exact sequence, that I will give below, I am not so sure it isn't just better though.
12.a4 b4 13.Nb1 Nbd7 14.Nbd2
14.Ng5!? Rf8 15.Nxh7 Nxh7 16.Qxh7 Qg5!? 17.Nd2 Nf6 18.Qg7 Ke7 19.h4 Qxg2 20.O-O-O Qg4 21.h5 gxh5 22.Qh6 Qf4 23.Qxf4 exf4 May be a small += but black's somewhat ugly position shouldn't be so bad.
14...Ba6 15.Ng5 Rf8 16.Nxh7 Nxh7 17.Qxh7 Qg5!
17...0-0-0 18.Qh3 Kc7 19.0-0-0 Nc5 20.Qe3 Rd4 21.Ba2 f5!? 22.exf5 gxf5 (∞ to +=) Seems like the alternative, but white could maybe find some exact way forward here. Instead after the queen move.
18.Qh3 Nc5 19.0-0-0 Rd8! 20.Qg3 Nxb3! 21.cxb3 Qxg3 22.hxg3 Ke7 (= to +=) I think black has good holding chances.

Going back to my proposed move; I have found little better than:
11...a5!? 12.a3! Ba6 13.Ng5 Rf8 14.Nxh7 Nxh7 15.Qxh7 a4 16.Ba2 b4 17.axb4 Qxb4 18.Qh3 (+=) And things seem good for white. Black's counterplay isn't so threatening.

And if we continue the underlined line from a bit above:
11...Nbd7 12.Ng5 Rf8 13.Nxh7 Nxh7 14.Qxh7 Nc5 15.Qh6
White has alternatives here, though I think this is best.
15...a5 16.a3 Be6 17.Bxe6 Nxe6 18.Qe3
Now the general idea is to be exact and hope the extra pawn can be utilised.
18...0-0-0
18...Nd4!? 19.Rc1 0-0-0 20.Ne2!? Qc5 21.Nxd4 Qxd4 22.0-0 Kc7 23.Qe1!? (+=) Seems better for white.
19.0-0 Rd6 20.Rad1 Rfd8 21.Rxd6 Qxd6 22.h3 Nd4 23.Rc1 Kb7 24.Kh2 f5!? 25.exf5!? gxf5 26.Ne2 (+=)
There are probabbly some difficulties remaining for black -pawn down but with reasonable activity- to navigate. All in all lines after 7...e5 are a bit long and some precision is needed but it looks to me like white, without mistakes, keeps on having the somewhat more preferable position for a long time. More popular has been 7...Qa5; quite possibly for this reason. This move will be the next subject.

Edit: Got a bit sloppy towards the end, leaving a [/i] for example.
« Last Edit: 09/15/18 at 08:35:22 by Confused_by_Theory »  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #50 - 09/14/18 at 22:47:05
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Hey.

Ok so. Having read through the thread I thought of summarising a few lines to form a white repertoire. The thinking behind this is that nothing like this is out there currently (as far as I know) even though white, in 4.Bf4, should benefit a lot from knowing what positions to go for. In fact I would go so far as to argue that it can become a pretty harmless variation should white not know what to do. With a bit of preparation however, which I hope will be made easier by this, 4.Bf4 should be a fine weapon and also one not as well known as 4.Be3 or 4.Bg5. The structure of this whole thing, as will be obvious, will be a bit confused although essentially I will break it all down and post piecemeal everytime I have finished looking at a portion of the repertoire. Sort of like a chapter or part. Also I will use some sort of popularity order to guide how to designate continuations. I hope it makes sense once it gets going.

If we go for some kind of introduction. The 4.Bf4 Pirc is most commonly reached by:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4
and the main move is...
(A) 4...Bg7

and serious alternatives appear to be:
(B) 4...c6
(C) 4...a6
(D) 4...Nbd7
(E) 4...Nc6

Some non-serious moves that do not require much attention:
(F) 4...Nfd7?! 5.Nf3 Bg7 6.Qd2 0-0 7.Bh6 e5 8.h4 (+/-)
(G) 4...h6?! 5.e5 Nh5!? (5...Nfd7 6.Qe2 +=) 6.Be3 Ng7 7.f4 (+=)
(H) 4...c5? 5.dxc5 Qa5? 6.cxd6 Nxe4 7.Qd5 Qb4 8.Qxe4 Qxb2 9.Bb5 Bd7 10.Kd2! Qxa1 11.Qxb7 (+-)

There is nothing major to say about this. 4...Bg7 has been given significant preference by black players and this seems fair. It is a move which will be natural if white manages to set up non-threateningly; something that can be surprisingly easy in the Pirc. One meekly placed piece or mistimed development can generally be enough for black to gain acceptable play and make sense of his position. Of course there will be no meekness suggested here. Instead I will be recommending the earliest possible Bh6. A line where specific knowledge will be most valuable to white and one where previous discussions on this forum have been most fruitful in my opinion.

As for others. It goes without saying that black will often go Bg7 soon after even if he chooses some other fourth move. He can also in some cases try delaying the bishop development for a little bit of time though. This approach has to be respected, yet often there are subtle or direct ways to demonstrate that for every positive there are also negatives.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #49 - 09/02/18 at 21:07:28
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Hey.

So I read this again and it appears we have discussed various lines for black in 4.Bf4 Pirc without obviously finding any place where the ball is clearly in white's court.

I'm thinking therefore that it could be nice to summarise up the relatively many key lines to a repertoire. I'll do this somehow and probably after that we will se what happens. Hopefully black can find something somewhere Smiley

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #48 - 07/31/18 at 11:27:04
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Hi.

Having looked a bit I think It's easiest to go for Kornev's 5...0-0. Marin's 5...c6 line runs into a well timed Bh6 and I'm not sure I like the look of:

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bf4 Nc6 6.Qd2
6.Be2 0-0 7.0-0 Bg4 8.d5!? Bxf3 9.Bxf3 Ne5 10.Be2 c6 and I suspect the f4 bishop is not placed so well, meaning black should have a not so difficult time.
6.Qe2!? Nxd4!? 7.Nxd4 e5 8.0-0-0 Ng4! 9.Ndb5 exf4 10.Nd5 0-0 11.Nbxc7 Rb8 when black's bishop pair seems nice despite weakened structure.
6...0-0
6...Bg4 7.d5! Bxf3 (8... Nb8 9.Nd4 +=) 8.dxc6 Bxe4 9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.Qb4 Nxf2 11.Kxf2 bxc6 and I don't think black has full compensation.
7.0-0-0 a6!?
Or if you want to be safe 7...Bg4 (7...d5 8.e5 +=) 8.Be2 Bxf3 9.Bxf3 e5 (9...Nd7 10.Bh6!? Bxd4 11.Bxf8 looks a bit speculative) 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Be3 Qe7 += White is a little bit for choice; although with accurate play black is probably OK.
8.Be2!? b5 9.e5!
White looks to be more centralised and I think should count for something in the play to come.

After 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.Qd2 I like the look of 6...c5; which of course would not be available with a knight on c6.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #47 - 07/26/18 at 18:23:19
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Hi.

Keano wrote on 07/25/18 at 15:18:35:
He studied it from Black side - coming from 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 etc.

And concluded White had a slight advantage.

This could be it of course.

If there is hope for advantage after 5.Nf3 I cannot say without  analysing a bit (maybe later). The potential downside with 5.Nf3 would be if white somehow needs an early Bh6 option or if the now determined position of the knight means black gets decent options he would not otherwise have possibility to go for.

Interestingly enough I notice there is no consensus in Pirc books about how to meet:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bf4

5...Nc6 - Vigus
5...c6 - Marin
5...0-0 - Kornev

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #46 - 07/25/18 at 19:48:24
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Stigma wrote on 07/25/18 at 15:36:59:
This may reflect a view among many GMs that setups with h3 and Nf3 are often a risk-free way to a slight advantage.

Indeed imo 4.Be3 would have made more sense then as something like Bg7 5.Nf3 c6 6.a4 O-O 7.h3 resulsts in that pseudo Classical System in which White tries to win a tempo with Bf1-c4 iso Bf1-e2-c4.

MVL's play fortunately is not relevant for my anti-Pirc repertoire.
  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #45 - 07/25/18 at 15:36:59
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This may reflect a view among many GMs that setups with h3 and Nf3 are often a risk-free way to a slight advantage - something that can be played if you're surprised by the Pirc (as will often be the case on high levels) and don't have anything sharp prepared.

I remember looking at the move order 4.Be3 [any] 5.h3 in the database a few years ago. While I was most interested in sharp lines like Jansa and Sveshnikov's 4.Be3 c6 5.h3 Bg7 6.f4 and the Archbishop Attack with 6.g4!?, there were also plenty of GMs who played the solid 6.Nf3, reverting to an h3 Classical after Black has committed to a certain setup (with ...c6 or ...a6, and maybe ...Nbd7). Black certainly needs to think through how not to get move ordered by 4.Be3/5.h3/6.Nf3 into a line he didn't intend to play, in addition to the other move order issues presented by 4.Be3.

Though in this case (with Bf4), it may well be that playing it without Nf3 is simply stronger.
  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #44 - 07/25/18 at 15:18:35
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 07/24/18 at 18:09:54:
Hello.

White could have done better, for sure.

I'm mostly curious why MVL went 5.Nf3 instead of 5.Qd2 though. It may indicate he thinks there is some precise reason why moving the knight should be better and that would be truly interesting. More probably though this is not something he studied to deeply.

Very nice play by Carlsen needs to be said as well. Highly worth going through the entire game.

Have a nice day.


He studied it from Black side - coming from 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 etc.

And concluded White had a slight advantage.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #43 - 07/24/18 at 18:09:54
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Hello.

White could have done better, for sure.

I'm mostly curious why MVL went 5.Nf3 instead of 5.Qd2 though. It may indicate he thinks there is some precise reason why moving the knight should be better and that would be truly interesting. More probably though this is not something he studied to deeply.

Very nice play by Carlsen needs to be said as well. Highly worth going through the entire game.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #42 - 07/24/18 at 11:54:09
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That was limp stuff from MVL. Disappointing from white.
I don’t see how h3, Qd2 and e5 are supposed to fit together.
That said I’m an FM duffer, not 2800.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #41 - 07/24/18 at 10:40:11
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Thanks for the link

Carlsen beating MVL with the Pirc!

Smiley

  

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

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, stuck in the middlegame with you
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