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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders (Read 9586 times)
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #64 - 10/21/18 at 23:43:48
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I played over Confused_by_Theory's analysis from #61, see the attachment.
  

chesspub-1517943784-61.pgn ( 1 KB | 32 Downloads )
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #63 - 10/20/18 at 20:23:12
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Hi.

MNb wrote on 10/20/18 at 15:36:00:
As we Dutch say: what's in a good barrel won't grow sour.

Well. I can only thank the people of the low countries for their wisdom and you for conveying it.

MNb wrote on 10/20/18 at 15:36:00:
White also can try to transpose to Kasparov-Radjabov, Moscow 2002 with 10.h3 (iso 10.Bc4) Nbd7 11.O-O-O a6 12.Bc4 etc. Critical is 11...b5 12.Bxb5 cxb5 13.Nxb5 Qc5 14.Nd6+ Ke7 and according to my analysis White has a forced draw at best.

As I recall a draw was the best I could find as well.

MNb wrote on 10/20/18 at 15:36:00:
But I'll happily repeat 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g4 4.Be3/Bf4/Bg5 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 Bxh6 7.Qxh6 e5 8.Nf3 Qe7 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Bc4 b5 11.Bb3 Nbd7 12.O-O Nc5 13.Rfe1 and Black's problem of Ke8 is not solved yet. It may not be much, but I insist that it's something.

I haven't really checked this much since I posted a large file in the 4...Bg5 megathread. I'll repost a portion of that here.

Black needs to know what he is doing. In terms of trade-offs between the continuations. With 12.0-0 instead of 12.Ng5 white won't win a pawn. Part of why I think this is has to do with that going back to pawn-winning play with 13.Ng5 does not seem to lead anywhere special. Instead he gets somewhat faster development.



Have a nice night.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #62 - 10/20/18 at 15:36:00
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 10/20/18 at 00:38:20:
Apologies for not having a predictable posting pattern.

As we Dutch say: what's in a good barrel won't grow sour.
But I'll happily repeat 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g4 4.Be3/Bf4/Bg5 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 Bxh6 7.Qxh6 e5 8.Nf3 Qe7 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Bc4 b5 11.Bb3 Nbd7 12.O-O Nc5 13.Rfe1 and Black's problem of Ke8 is not solved yet. It may not be much, but I insist that it's something.
White also can try to transpose to Kasparov-Radjabov, Moscow 2002 with 10.h3 (iso 10.Bc4) Nbd7 11.O-O-O a6 12.Bc4 etc. Critical is 11...b5 12.Bxb5 cxb5 13.Nxb5 Qc5 14.Nd6+ Ke7 and according to my analysis White has a forced draw at best.
  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #61 - 10/20/18 at 00:38:20
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Hi.

Apologies for not having a predictable posting pattern. Instead of continuing posting about more lines it seems, however upsetting, there might be a case for making a correction in the small subset of stuff I have already posted something about. In the 7...e5 Pirc variation I realised that in reply #51 I gave nothing against:

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 Bxh6 7.Qxh6 e5 8.Nf3 Qe7 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Bc4 b5 11.Bb3 Nbd7 12.Ng5 Rf8 13.Nxh7 Nxh7 14.Qxh7 Nc5 15.Qh6 a5 16.a3 Be6 17.Bxe6 Nxe6 18.Qe3 0-0-0 19.0-0 Nd4

That was bad Tongue. Both because we discussed it at some point and also because it looks like the best move. Anyway. After rechecking and going a bit deeper I am not sure I was correct in my conclusion from when last this was discussed - that white (with work) should be better after 22.Ne2 (in the line with 20.Rac1 below). Essentially as you continue down the lines, white often has trouble meaningfully consolidating. Disclaimer-wise this is by no means easy stuff though and there is a fair bit of endgame evaluation attached. Quite plausibly more diligent analysis could provide some kind of way for white. Or if not that then maybe some deep computer analysis at some point could yield results somewhere. I will drop an analysis file at some point (probably when I have checked every line after 4...Bg7 5.Qd2). Until then here is some textual points.

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 Bxh6 7.Qxh6 e5 8.Nf3 Qe7 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Bc4 b5 11.Bb3 Nbd7
I now think this is most exact. If 11...a5 I think after 12.a3 there does not need to be a difference between the moves. The downside instead is that 12.a4 seems stronger after 11...a5 compared to 11...Nbd7.
12.Ng5
I could not make 12.0-0 work as a threatening move. After 12...Nc5 white would have to a) find something other than 13.Ng5 or b) Go 13.Ng5 although then I think having castled is not necessarily optimal.
12...Rf8 13.Nxh7 Nxh7 14.Qxh7 Nc5 15.Qh6
Extracting the queen looks like the only threatening move to me. Short castling is again some sort of an alternative though. A point is that if black goes a5 now, a3 becomes a very viable reply pretty much because of the fact that the queen is ready to jump back into the action quickly.
15...a5 16.a3 Be6
This seems best. For structural reasons white will have to take when black gets to reroute his knight to a more promising square.
17.Bxe6 Nxe6 18.Qe3
White has some half alternatives but backing the queen directly to the most natural square seems like the only threatening way to play. 18.0-0 is met by 18...0-0-0 when 19.Qe3 should be best and there would be a transposition.
18...0-0-0 19.0-0
19.Qb6 should invite a queen exchange after 19...Qc7 but then is white really that much better?
19...Nd4
This move seems like it invites Ne2 at the right moment. Then the knights gets exchanged and white's task is presumably somewhat simplified. There are some redeeming factors in black's position, sure, but are they enough? I did not think so at first although after some analysis I can't really say I made any progress as white.
20.Rac1
One of the (far from only) lines after the less natural looking but interesting 20.Rfc1!? was:
20. Rfc1 f5 21.exf5 gxf5 22.Ne2 f4 23.Qh3+ Ne6! 24.Rd1 Rde8! 25.Qf3!? Kb7 26.b4 axb4 27.a4 e4 28.Qxe4 Nc7! 29.Qxe7 Rxe7 30.Nc1 c5 31.Nd3 Kc6 (Diagram) (∞) The pawn deficit seems not such a major factor and black should hold.

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20...f5 21.exf5
Seing this pawn get rammed down all the way to g2 in some later continuations makes one consider other moves; although black can then often bypass with f5-f4 and it's probably not so easy for white:
21.f3 Rf6 22.Nd1 f4 23.Qe1 Qc5 24.Nf2 a4 25.Nd3 Nxf3+ 26.Kh1 Rxd3 27.cxd3 Nxe1 28.Rxc5 Nxd3 29.Rc2 c5 (=) The strong knight should offer compensation.
21.Ne2 f4 22.Qh3+ Qd7 23.Qd3 f3 24.Nxd4 Qg4 25.Nxf3 Rxd3 26.Nxe5 Qxe4 27.Nxd3 Qd4 (∞) I am not sure how to assess this.

21...gxf5 22.Ne2 f4 23.Qh3+ Ne6 24.Rcd1 f3 25.Nc1
An alternative that I am not sure about the slightest (both sides seems to get play) is the other knight move; when play might continue:
25.Nc3 Rde8! 26.Rfe1 Kb8 27.Qg4 Qf7 28.g3 Rg8 29.Qe4 Nd4 30.Re3 Qh5 31.Rxd4 exd4 32.Qxd4 Rxe3 33.Qb6+ Ka8 34.Qxc6+ Kb8 35.fxe3 f2+ 36.Kf1 Qh3+ 37.Qg2 Qh6 (Diagram) (∞) Both sides have dangerous play to my eyes.

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25...fxg2!?
Now as far as I can tell white is getting into some pawn up endgames that may or not be hard to win. There are so many positions to check so I can't say if black can find something safe and easy or if he has to suffer. One of the lines I checked (and again it is not so easy at many points to say what the best move is so don't take this as best play by any means) was the following:
26.Rxd8+ Kxd8 27.Rd1+ Kc7 28.Qe3 Qc5 29.Nd3 Qxe3 30.fxe3 Rd8 31.Nf2 31...Rg8 32.Ne4 Ng5 33.Nxg5 Rxg5 34.Rd2 Rg4 35.Rxg2 Re4 36.Kf2 Kd6 37.Kf3 Rh4 38.Kg3 Re4 39.Re2 Ke6
(Diagram) (=) to (+/ = ) Making progress could be difficult.

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Anyone have any better (or worse! Smiley) ideas or refinements I am all ears.
Have a nice night.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #60 - 10/06/18 at 17:20:03
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 10/06/18 at 12:01:54:
Which CBM issue would this be btw? (just to make sure, because I'll buy it) 186?


Yes.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #59 - 10/06/18 at 12:01:54
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Hi.

Have been quite busy and consequently got some problems posting more stuff in some kind of reasonable time.

MNb wrote on 09/16/18 at 07:10:58:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3/Bf4/Bg5 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 Bxh6 7.Qxh6 e5 8.Nf3 Qe7 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Bc4 Nbd7
-10...b5 11.Bb3 Nbd7 12.O-O transposes; note that Cbt suggests 12.Ng5.

11.O-O b5
Iso CbT's Nb6.

12.Bb3
-12.Bd3 achieved nothing in Wittmann-Schlosser, ÖST 1987.

12...b4
-Safer 12...Nc5 13.Rfe1 a5 but the problem of Ke8 remains.

13.Na4 Nxe4
-13...Bb7 14.Ng5 Rf8 15.Nxh7 Nxh7 16Qxh7 c5 17.a3 Bxe4 18.axb4 cxb4 19.Rfe1 += because Black's king has no safe spot.

14.Rfe1 f5 15.c3
-Instinctively I prefer the violent approach 15.Nxe5, but Nxe5 16.f3 Rf8 17.Rad1 Ba6 18.Qe3 Rd8 defends successfully.
15.a3 is also worth looking at.

15...bxc3 16.Nxc3 Nec5 17.Rad1
Black faces a lot of problems for a mere pawn.

Later addtion: White can play the same idea via 7...Nbd7 8.Nf3 e5 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Bc4 b5 11.Bb3 b4 12.Na4 Nxe4 13.O-O (Qe7 transposes immediately). Aggressive natures with an instinctive dislike of CbT's modest but good 9.Be2 might prefer it.
                   

This 11...b5 in the exact sequence above is not dumb at all. The idea I guess would be to take the central pawn and hope white doesn't manage to benefit from a lead in development later. Looking a bit with a computer I think there are probably a few ways to a decent sized advantage but the positions are not easy at all. I will post something on this later this evening.

kylemeister wrote on 09/29/18 at 18:25:47:
By the way, I see that Marin has a video about 4. Bf4 in the latest CBM.

Ok. Interesting. If he gets in to theory and such it could be nice but if it's just general talk about 4.Bf4 it could be a bit dry.

Which CBM issue would this be btw? (just to make sure, because I'll buy it) 186?

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #58 - 09/29/18 at 18:25:47
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By the way, I see that Marin has a video about 4. Bf4 in the latest CBM.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #57 - 09/16/18 at 07:10:58
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1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3/Bf4/Bg5 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 Bxh6 7.Qxh6 e5 8.Nf3 Qe7 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Bc4 Nbd7
-10...b5 11.Bb3 Nbd7 12.O-O transposes; note that Cbt suggests 12.Ng5.

11.O-O b5
Iso CbT's Nb6.

12.Bb3
-12.Bd3 achieved nothing in Wittmann-Schlosser, ÖST 1987.

12...b4
-Safer 12...Nc5 13.Rfe1 a5 but the problem of Ke8 remains.

13.Na4 Nxe4
-13...Bb7 14.Ng5 Rf8 15.Nxh7 Nxh7 16Qxh7 c5 17.a3 Bxe4 18.axb4 cxb4 19.Rfe1 += because Black's king has no safe spot.

14.Rfe1 f5 15.c3
-Instinctively I prefer the violent approach 15.Nxe5, but Nxe5 16.f3 Rf8 17.Rad1 Ba6 18.Qe3 Rd8 defends successfully.
15.a3 is also worth looking at.

15...bxc3 16.Nxc3 Nec5 17.Rad1
Black faces a lot of problems for a mere pawn.

Later addtion: White can play the same idea via 7...Nbd7 8.Nf3 e5 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Bc4 b5 11.Bb3 b4 12.Na4 Nxe4 13.O-O (Qe7 transposes immediately). Aggressive natures with an instinctive dislike of CbT's modest but good 9.Be2 might prefer it.
« Last Edit: 09/16/18 at 11:13:52 by MNb »  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #56 - 09/15/18 at 08:28:49
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Hi.

I'll make a note to always trust chess GM judgement and also to have the most unequivocal trust in Leon_Trotsky.

If black plays the simple:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Qd2 Bg4 7.d5 Bxf3 8.dxc6 Bxe4 9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.Qb4 Nc5 11.cxb7 Rb8 12.Bb5+ Kf8 13.Bc6 Nxb7 14.Bxb7 c6!
To decouple the Bishop from the diagonal, preventing Qe4, he will win back the piece and is clearly better. The computer flips once it sees 14...c6.

But that means White's best 6th move is probably not 6.Qd2. On the other hand; how then to get on with white's position? Black will still have 6...Bg4 against most moves and combined with a undisturbed c6 knight this is very natural. Is white's faith to be put in 6.h3 in the future(?). Unlikely to bring much. It looks like black is simply fine after 5...Nc6 then and this move should be another reason for going 5.Qd2.

MNb wrote on 09/15/18 at 07:59:35:
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.

I'll get to looking at castling next (almost done with 6...Bxh6 7.Qxh6 Qa5)

MNb wrote on 09/15/18 at 07:59:35:
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.

I suspect as well. I'll still look at every 4.Bf4 Pirc line though.

Have a nice day.
  
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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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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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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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