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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Pirc 4 Be3: Best Lines/Move Orders (Read 8038 times)
Confused_by_Theory
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Re: Pirc 4 Be3: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #15 - 11/25/17 at 22:55:57
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Hi.

MNb wrote on 11/21/17 at 12:47:15:
The reason I haven't commented on 10.O-O-O yet is that I need to take a very good look at it. Being an amateur I only will do that when I feel like. However a superficial glance taught me that it looks very, very promising. Recently I have decided to go back to 4.f3 (iso 4.Be3) exactly because 7...Qa5 didn't seem to promise more than an endgame edge. Now I'm in doubt again. At one hand 10.O-O-O is the stuff I like, at the other hand I'm not sure if I would be capable to reproduce it all behind a board (I've never had the chance to crush the Pirc in a corr. game alas).
So I've simply postponed my decision - the luxury of the amateur.

Later addition: if you don't mind positional play now and then 4...c6 5.Qd2 is to be considered. After 5...b5 6.Bd3 and castling kingside White has the undermining a2-a4. This is basically a very good version of the Classical. So we must look at 5...Nbd7 again. Now 6.f3 may be underappreciated:
a) 6...Bg7?! 7.g4! and the threat g4-g5 is annoying, because Black hasn't played ...b5 yet.
b) 6...b5 7.h4 scores surprisingly well.
c) 6...e5 7.O-O-O indirectly pinning Nd7 doesn't look half bad.

I hope this makes your day nice.  Tongue

Generally my day gets a bit better when I have interesting chess stuff to think about, so yea. Smiley

I actually wondered a bit if Marin's:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 c6 5.Qd2 Nbd7
Could somehow be countered in a way that reveals drawbacks to developing the knight so early. Reasoning a bit it seemed like 6.Nf3 should actually make both 6...b5 and 6...Bg7 not so great (although Marin misses, sort of, a key line after the latter move and goes ahead to recommend it). What's left then are moves like 6...Qa5, 6...Qc7 or maybe 6...e5 (which is liked by Vigus if I recall) but they don't look terribly attractive to me. 5...b5 and 5...Bg7 are alternatives along with possibly also 5...Qa5 (not that it doesn't look early for her majesty to enter the game) and obviously if 5...b5 is not so good then that is more problems for black.

5...Nbd7 6.f3 I am not sure about how it compares to similar positions. Reckon there is a lot of digging to do to prove something concrete.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Be3: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #14 - 11/25/17 at 22:17:16
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Good evening.

Confused_by_Theory wrote on 11/21/17 at 12:28:05:
These h3+f4 systems somewhat attract me as well although Marin's:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 c6 5.h3 Nbd7 6.f4 e5
Is a bit of a nut to try and crack. Just checking one of Marin's presumably more important lines though:
7.Qf3 b5 8.0-0-0 b4! (Marin)
I wonder if white can not throw a bit of caution out in search of positional gain (open d-line) with the move:
9.dxe5!?
9.Na4 and 9.Nce2 are the only moves covered by Marin.
Instead now there are two lines 9...dxe5 10.Na4 when probably white has improved a bit compared with the immediate 9.Na4 (I think it looked fairly nice compared to the other line at least) ...

Fairly obvious move order issue spotted. Possibly it is not so bad, although if it works it is a bit sad because long castling seems very natural (as it always is Cheesy).

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 4.Be3 c6 5.h3 Nbd7 6.f4 e5 7.Qf3 b5 8.0-0-0 exf4
8...b4! (Marin)
9.Bxf4
9.Qxf4 b4 10.Nb1 Qa5 11.Bc4 d5 12.exd5 cxd5 13.Bb3 Be7 (=)  Black does not look to have many problems.
9.e5?! fxe3 10.exf6 Nxf6 11.Bxb5 cxb5 12.Qxa8 Bh6 (=+) to (-/+) Black has quite good compensation since white will have terrible difficulties coordinating.
9...b4 10.Na4 Qa5
Transposes back into Marin's line.

Instead there are two more knight moves: 10.Nce2 (which does not quite transpose to Marin's 8...b4 9.Nce2 Qe7) and 10.Nb1. The first does not look advantageous for white, the second is probably the best attempt.

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 4.Be3 c6 5.h3 Nbd7 6.f4 e5 7.Qf3 b5 8.0-0-0 exf4 9.Bxf4 b4 10.Nce2 Qe7!?
10...Bb7 is more positionally optimistic but could also be alright.
11.e5
11.g4 Qxe4 12.Qf2!? Qe7 13.Bg2 Nd5 (=) I find hard to see as problematic for black even if white definitely has full compensation.
11...dxe5! 12.Qxc6 exf4 13.Qxa8 Nb6 14.Qc6+ Bd7 15.Qc7
15.Qb7 Bh6 16.Nf3 0-0 17.Kb1 Nfd5 (=) With enough positional compensation for the exchange.
15...Nfd5
15...Qd6 16.Qxd6 Bxd6 17.Nf3 Nfd5 is also not obviously better for white.
16.Qb8+ Bc8 17.Nf3 Bg7!? (∞)
White lacks the really natural moves to improve his position so black should have at least decent compensation.

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 4.Be3 c6 5.h3 Nbd7 6.f4 e5 7.Qf3 b5 8.0-0-0 exf4 9.Bxf4 b4 10.Nb1 Be7!?
This looks a bit like it is asking for Bh6 at some point and black does not exactly need to play it right here. It is not obvious to me how black gets on with playing his position if he doesn't go here at some point though, Bg7 drops d6 and making moves with just other pieces looks to only get black so far.
11.Nd2 0-0
White now needs to prove he has something, even if it looks like he has the more pleasant position.

Have a nice day.

  
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Re: Pirc 4 Be3: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #13 - 11/21/17 at 12:47:15
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The reason I haven't commented on 10.O-O-O yet is that I need to take a very good look at it. Being an amateur I only will do that when I feel like. However a superficial glance taught me that it looks very, very promising. Recently I have decided to go back to 4.f3 (iso 4.Be3) exactly because 7...Qa5 didn't seem to promise more than an endgame edge. Now I'm in doubt again. At one hand 10.O-O-O is the stuff I like, at the other hand I'm not sure if I would be capable to reproduce it all behind a board (I've never had the chance to crush the Pirc in a corr. game alas).
So I've simply postponed my decision - the luxury of the amateur.

Later addition: if you don't mind positional play now and then 4...c6 5.Qd2 is to be considered. After 5...b5 6.Bd3 and castling kingside White has the undermining a2-a4. This is basically a very good version of the Classical. So we must look at 5...Nbd7 again. Now 6.f3 may be underappreciated:
a) 6...Bg7?! 7.g4! and the threat g4-g5 is annoying, because Black hasn't played ...b5 yet.
b) 6...b5 7.h4 scores surprisingly well.
c) 6...e5 7.O-O-O indirectly pinning Nd7 doesn't look half bad.

I hope this makes your day nice.  Tongue
  

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Re: Pirc 4 Be3: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #12 - 11/21/17 at 12:28:05
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Hello.

MNb wrote on 11/20/17 at 12:37:49:
If I understood you correctly you want something aggressive.

Anything that works but aggressive would suit me best probably Cool.


These h3+f4 systems somewhat attract me as well although Marin's:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 c6 5.h3 Nbd7 6.f4 e5
Is a bit of a nut to try and crack. Just checking one of Marin's presumably more important lines though:
7.Qf3 b5 8.0-0-0 b4! (Marin)
I wonder if white can not throw a bit of caution out in search of positional gain (open d-line) with the move:
9.dxe5!?
9.Na4 and 9.Nce2 are the only moves covered by Marin.
Instead now there are two lines 9...dxe5 10.Na4 when probably white has improved a bit compared with the immediate 9.Na4 (I think it looked fairly nice compared to the other line at least) and the principled:
9...bxc3!? 10.exf6 Nxf6
10...cxb2+ 11.Kb1 Nxf6 (11...Qa5 12.Bc4 +=) 12.e5 Nd5 13.Rxd5! cxd5 14.Qxd5 Rb8 15.Bxa7 Rb4 16.a3!? += Looks to pose some problems for black.
11.Kb1!?
11.Bd4 cxb2+ 12.Kb1 Bg7 13.e5 dxe5 14.Bxe5 Bd7 (14...Qb6 15.Bd4 Qc7 16.Qc3 +/-) 15.Qa3! += Is some initiative for white and is possibly enough for some kind of +=.
11...Bg7
11...cxb2+ 12.e5 transposes to the line given earlier - 10...cxb2+
12.b3 0-0! 13.Ne2 Bb7 14.Nxc3 c5!
And black may have enough play but he may also not have enough.

Have a nice day.


P.S. When it comes to lacking reactions I am a bit more wondering why no one has commented on the 10.0-0-0 of reply #6. Thought this would be exciting stuff Grin.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Be3: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #11 - 11/20/17 at 12:37:49
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 11/19/17 at 14:06:33:
Hi.

So anyone got any ideas against 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 c6 (?)
Apart from finding and burying as many copies of Marin's Pirc book as possible that is Cheesy

Putting the question out there basically. Not quite sure myself.

Have a nice day.


Hmmm, no serious reactions up to now.
If I understood you correctly you want something aggressive. There are a few options.
You can play a weird version of the Argentinean Attack with 5.Be2 Bg7 6.Qd2. I don't really believe in it - after a well timed b5 White already needs to play a3. Ugh.
There is the Archbishop Attack with 5.h3 and 6.g4
White may try to get a good version of the Austrian Attack with 5.h3 Bg7 6.f4. The attacking scheme known from the GPA and (gasp!) the BDG with Bd3, Nf3, O-O, Qe1 and Qh4 is pretty dangerous. Instead 5.h3 Nbd7 6.f4 e5 has been recommended, but a setup with Qf3 and Bd3 (or with the reverse move order) looks promising to me.
  

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Re: Pirc 4 Be3: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #10 - 11/19/17 at 18:21:10
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 11/19/17 at 14:06:33:
Apart from finding and burying as many copies of Marin's Pirc book as possible that is Cheesy


I'm prepared if they come for mine  Grin




  

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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Re: Pirc 4 Be3: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #9 - 11/19/17 at 14:06:33
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Hi.

So anyone got any ideas against 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 c6 (?)
Apart from finding and burying as many copies of Marin's Pirc book as possible that is Cheesy

Putting the question out there basically. Not quite sure myself.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Be3: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #8 - 11/15/17 at 01:26:22
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Hello.

mn wrote on 10/31/17 at 11:55:53:
Regarding 4...a6 5 f4, I think 5...b5 is critical. The first thing I'd looked at was 6 e5, but I wasn't totally convinced after 6...b4 7 Qf3 c6 8 exf6 bxc3 9 fxe7 Qxe7 10 bxc3 - it looks like Black has decent compensation after ...Bg7, ...0-0, ...Re8 and ...f5.

I've found the principled line in 4.Be3 a6 5.b5 to be what is given below, with early knight moves also possible to investigate:

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 a6 5.f4 b5!? 6.e5 b4 7.Qf3
7.Na4
7...c6 8.exf6
7.Na4 ; 7.Nd1
8...bxc3 9.fxe7 Qxe7 10.bxc3 Bg7 11.Bd3 0-0 12.Ne2 f5
and now...
13.d5 c5

Would be my best try. On the other hand afterwards it is not at all certain white's extra pawn will matter.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Be3: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #7 - 11/05/17 at 22:34:37
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Hi.

And a PGN that I couldn't put in the last post because of space.



Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Be3: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #6 - 11/05/17 at 22:33:13
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Hello everyone.

Okay. So let's discuss 4...Bg7 5.Qd2 c6. I have a nice idea for white that I've known about for some time. Smiley

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6
Sort of principled in my opinion. Black must now choose between taking the bishop and castling.
6...Bxh6 7.Qxh6
Taking is most common. Castling basically transposes to positions from 5...0-0.
7...Qa5
7...e5 is a clear option, which has been discussed on chesspub before.
8.Bd3 c4 9.d5
Apparently liked by Marin is 9.Nf3 cxd4 10.Nxd4 Nc6 11.Bb5 (! - Marin). See Marin 2017 p.202. I don't know though. Maybe white is slightly more comfortable but that should pretty much be that.
9...Nbd7
The main move but not entirely obligatory. Now. Does white go for 10.Nf3 c4! 11.Bxc4 Qc5 12.Bd3 Qxf2+! and attempt to grind something out in a queenless middlegame? Or try...
10.0-0-0!(N)
A daring move for sure. Why willingly castle to the side where black already has his queen and on top of that is about to advance with b7-b5?

As I see it the reasoning is twofold. On a more immediate tactical level getting b2 protected is actually a bit of an achievement since if black directly goes 10...b5 (what you would think to be a principled reply - to open lines or secure space in front of the opposing king) taking the pawn with 11.Bxb5 Rb8 12.Bc6! does not drop the b2 pawn. In fact black needs his rook and queen to cooperate if he wants to pick up b2 and, while such cooperation is essentially possible to get with Qb4, it probably has to happen soon lest white be ready for it.

There is a small problem though and this is the second part of why I think 10.0-0-0 is very much an attempt at advantage. Black, apart from the pressure exerted by Qa5 and (after 10.0-0-0 b5 11.Bxb5 Rb8) the rook on b8, has very few positional factors that are in his favour. Concretely this pretty much means that even if black gets in Qb4 and Qxb2+ the white king will be able to sit on d2 and not be in danger. At the same time Qb4 and Qxb2+ are not moves that solve the fundamental problems of the black position. Opening the b-line may even bring some problems since after for example 10.0-0-0 b5 11.Bxb5 Rb8 12.Bc6 Qb4!? 13.Nf3! Qxb2+ 14.Kd2 the back rank has been cleared for white and he threatens Rb1. Continuing the line it even seems like 14...Rb4 is needed but then 15.Rb1 Qa3 16.e5!? is a bit of a punch. Admittedly the line becomes a bit messy after that but it does look like white has good chances of ending up on top.

So what about slower moves than 10...b5? This is one beauty of 10.0-0-0 for white. They all look quite deficient. Black seems to be so far behind positionally that he can not afford to try and right the ship by scooping away. The radical 10...b5 on the other hand could possibly save black. At the same time white definitely looks like he can put serious pressure in that line as well though. Some analysis attached below:

Have a nice day.
  

Pirc_4___Bg7_5_Qd2_c6_analysis.pgn ( 8 KB | 132 Downloads )
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Re: Pirc 4 Be3: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #5 - 10/31/17 at 11:55:53
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Regarding 4...a6 5 f4, I think 5...b5 is critical. The first thing I'd looked at was 6 e5, but I wasn't totally convinced after 6...b4 7 Qf3 c6 8 exf6 bxc3 9 fxe7 Qxe7 10 bxc3 - it looks like Black has decent compensation after ...Bg7, ...0-0, ...Re8 and ...f5.

I think 6 a3!? (N) might be interesting, just with the idea of playing e4-e5 without ...b4 being available as a reply. 6...Bg7 7 e5 Ng4 8 Bd2 0-0 9 Qf3 looks better for White, but a better try is probably 6...Bb7 7 e5 Nd5 8 Nxd5 Bxd5, when it feels like White should be able to organize a favourable b3/c4 push, but I haven't found a completely convincing way of doing this without running into a well-timed ...c5.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Be3: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #4 - 10/29/17 at 02:58:33
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Quote:
Hopefully Marin will have something decent against 4...c6 5.h3


Marin gives 5.h3 Nbd7 6.f4 (6.g4 b5) 6...e5.  Of course his book is out on Forward Chess.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Be3: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #3 - 10/29/17 at 01:18:51
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Hi.

mn wrote on 10/28/17 at 10:42:50:
I remember thinking that ...a6 or ...c6 could be considered "concessions" in a sense, allowing White to favourably switch to an Austrian Attack, in the latter case perhaps with 5 f4!?, and in the latter with 5 h3, followed by f4, Nf3, Bd3 and meeting ...b5 with a2-a3. I thought this was pretty pleasant for White (although evidently Marin disagrees!).

4.Be3 a6 5.f4 is a line I would like to look into further. I'm not 100% sure that black is OK, which bothers me a lot.

Hopefully Marin will have something decent against 4...c6 5.h3 Cool

mn wrote on 10/28/17 at 10:42:50:
At some point I decided the 5...0-0 line was the only one I'd be willing to play with Black. This was because allowing ...e5 seemed totally harmless, while I couldn't find an advantage after 6 Nf3 a6 7 Bh6 b5 8 Bd3 Nc6!. This left 6 0-0-0, which isn't ideal as it castles into an attack, and seemed a bit too complicated for a practical weapon. The only slow game I had this variation in was a 45|45 training game on the internet (which incidentally began 4 Bg5 Bg7 5 Qd2 0-0 6 0-0-0, and transposed after an eventual Bh6). In that game, Black made (in my opinion) the mistake of (after 6 0-0-0 c6 7 f3 b5 8 Bh6 Qa5 9 Kb1) playing ...b4 before ...Be6. Chasing the Knight back to e2 and then playing ...Be6 allows Ne2-c1, when the Queenside is very solid (Knight on f8; no mate mirrored), and I eventually won with a Kingside attack. I believe I concluded afterwards that playing ...Be6 before ...b4 in some form avoids the maneuver to c1 and gives Black better attacking chances. I'm not sure I ever got around to analyzing this more deeply.
MNb wrote on 10/28/17 at 16:00:25:
"Heavy strategic play typically ensues."
Not typically. 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 O-O 6.O-O-O c6 7.f3 b5 8.h4 and 8.Bh6 belong to the most tactical lines of the entire opening, as razor sharp as the the sharpest Dragon or Najdorf.

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 0-0
Is very much distinct from lines where black waits with castling, that is true.

It has been some time since I checked, but I remember thinking black's play was a bit insufficient if white played accurately. Anyway. Maybe looking at this line would be good to start off with, since if it works to just play 4...Bg7 and 5...0-0 (pretty much the most natural moves) then why bother playing something else.

Shaw's analysis of 6.Bh6 was not conclusive as far as I could tell (black should be able to improve). So, much like Vigus and MNb concluded in 2009, 6.0-0-0 still seems like the biggest problem imo.

MNb wrote on 10/28/17 at 16:00:25:
"There are many lines after 4.Be3 obviously so I don't know where to start"
Besides specifying Black's 4th move you should begin with specifying White's 5th and 6th. 4.Be3 c6 5.Be2 Bg7 6.Nf3 O-O turns into a classical ....

Argentinean Attack: White plays Be3, Qd2 and f3.
150 Attack: White plays Be3, Qd2 and Nf3 (eventually h3 first).
Pseudo-Argentinean Attack: 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6.
Pseudo-Austrian Attack: 4.Be3, 5.h3 and 6.f4.
Archbishop Attack: 4.Be3, 5.h3 and 6.g4.

I was thinking about trying to get to grips with:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 a6 5.Qd2 b5 6.f3
Not that the above systems are not interesting to look at as well. Thanks for listing them clearly by the way. As it stands now I'm fairly sure I will first try to see if I can't find anything playable for black after 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 0-0 though.

MNb wrote on 10/28/17 at 16:00:25:
If you want to avoid strategic fights the biggest problem might be 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6.

I'd definitely be willing to discuss this as well. Want to see if Marin reaches this (or the same position with 6.Bh6 though via a 4.Bg5 move order) first though.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Be3: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #2 - 10/28/17 at 16:00:25
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"And that in all three of these lines (even if it is not immediately clear after 4...Bg7) the main strategic idea for black is to advance b7-b5."
In many lines to advance e7-e5 is at least as important.

"Heavy strategic play typically ensues."
Not typically. 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 O-O 6.O-O-O c6 7.f3 b5 8.h4 and 8.Bh6 belong to the most tactical lines of the entire opening, as razor sharp as the the sharpest Dragon or Najdorf.

"There are many lines after 4.Be3 obviously so I don't know where to start"
Besides specifying Black's 4th move you should begin with specifying White's 5th and 6th. 4.Be3 c6 5.Be2 Bg7 6.Nf3 O-O turns into a classical ....

Argentinean Attack: White plays Be3, Qd2 and f3.
150 Attack: White plays Be3, Qd2 and Nf3 (eventually h3 first).
Pseudo-Argentinean Attack: 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6.
Pseudo-Austrian Attack: 4.Be3, 5.h3 and 6.f4.
Archbishop Attack: 4.Be3, 5.h3 and 6.g4.

Lines with the early sally ...Ng4 with very few exceptions are good for White.
If you want to avoid strategic fights the biggest problem might be 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6.
  

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Re: Pirc 4 Be3: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #1 - 10/28/17 at 10:42:50
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I play the 4 Be3 line with White but haven't looked at it all that much, mostly because I'm not facing the Pirc all that much. I wrote this in my notes as a general justification for why I believed 4 Be3 is a good move:

Basically, the move ♗c1-e3 is a very generic one. It fits it with the most number of set-ups. Depending on what Black does, White retains the option of going for an Austrian Attack with f2-f4, the traditional 150 plan of ♕d2 and 0-0-0, as well as a Classical plan involving ♘f3, ♗e2, h3 and 0-0.

I remember thinking that ...a6 or ...c6 could be considered "concessions" in a sense, allowing White to favourably switch to an Austrian Attack, in the latter case perhaps with 5 f4!?, and in the latter with 5 h3, followed by f4, Nf3, Bd3 and meeting ...b5 with a2-a3. I thought this was pretty pleasant for White (although evidently Marin disagrees!).

4...Bg7 was the line I was most unsure about. After 5 Qd2, Black obviously has 5...c6 and 5...0-0 as reasonable options.

For a while I thought the ...Qxf2+/...Ng4+xh6 ending resulting from the 5...c6 line was just good for White, but eventually realized it wasn't so simple - I'll have to take a deeper look at this at some point.

At some point I decided the 5...0-0 line was the only one I'd be willing to play with Black. This was because allowing ...e5 seemed totally harmless, while I couldn't find an advantage after 6 Nf3 a6 7 Bh6 b5 8 Bd3 Nc6!. This left 6 0-0-0, which isn't ideal as it castles into an attack, and seemed a bit too complicated for a practical weapon. The only slow game I had this variation in was a 45|45 training game on the internet (which incidentally began 4 Bg5 Bg7 5 Qd2 0-0 6 0-0-0, and transposed after an eventual Bh6). In that game, Black made (in my opinion) the mistake of (after 6 0-0-0 c6 7 f3 b5 8 Bh6 Qa5 9 Kb1) playing ...b4 before ...Be6. Chasing the Knight back to e2 and then playing ...Be6 allows Ne2-c1, when the Queenside is very solid (Knight on f8; no mate mirrored), and I eventually won with a Kingside attack. I believe I concluded afterwards that playing ...Be6 before ...b4 in some form avoids the maneuver to c1 and gives Black better attacking chances. I'm not sure I ever got around to analyzing this more deeply.

I suppose I've been playing Plan D against 4...a6 and 4...c6, and Plan C against 4...Bg7.

These are my very general thoughts, not really based on that much concrete analysis - hopefully this thread will make me do some!  Cheesy
  
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