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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders (Read 40490 times)
Confused_by_Theory
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #121 - 06/28/20 at 09:26:21
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Hi.

I beefed up my corr database somewhat and looked again at this previously discussed line.

[b]1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 Bxh6 7.Qxh6 Qa5 8.Bd3 c5 9.d5 Nbd7[b]

Not much has happened after 10.0-0-0 (19 games: +10 =8 -1 with black's win coming from close to a w.o.)

What I find interesting is that black is very much holding after 10.Nf3 c4 (21 games) if we add the probably forced 11.Bxc4 Qc5 score is +1 =18 -0 (with 11...Nxe4 +0 =0 -2).

Have a nice day.
  
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Confused_by_Theory
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #120 - 09/18/19 at 20:26:49
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Hi.

Confused_by_Theory wrote on 09/15/19 at 15:39:14:
Anyone played my 12.Bc6?

MNb wrote on 09/16/19 at 06:37:55:
Tornow,M (2329) - Larsen,A (2084)
Russia25/pr17 (RUS) ICCF, 15.05.2018

Download game in pgn format
1-0

Svalander,F (2168) - Kotyurgin,I (2226)
EU/C2018/pr. 7 ICCF, 30.03.2018

Download game in pgn format
-

Thank you.

Hmm. Very interesting games. 15.Qh4 (Tornow) may be the more clever move based on this. If 15...Rg8 like in the other game, greed with 16.Qxh7 should be pretty good. Don't see why black should be able to afford to lose a second pawn, especially after playing something slow like Rg8. The option I suppose is to make some pawn move on the kingside pretty much like in the game (probably g5 or f5 - the computer doesn't dislike f6 or h6 as well but they look slow and probably wrong). Early g5 seems to be weakening though (white goes Qg3 and threatens simply h3 knight move Qxg5) and against 15..f5 white has an idea of 16.exf5 Bxf5 17.h3 Ne5 18.Qa4. Having gained his queen effectively in play here, white will probably quite easily consolidate and start to torment black.

Maybe the game continuation for black in the 15.Qh4 game is best although it looked to me like white played impressively and had good positional understanding to see that after 18.Kd2! black had no good way to further an initiative.

In the second game g5 was played only later to secure the e5-c4 path for the knight and only once white had gone queenside with the king. Then it may be to late for white to exploit the weakening very much.

I kinda like my move (13.Bc6) better compared to 13.Bxd7 after seeing these games. Both seem highly critical though and black really seems to be struggling in both cases. It's also a highly important variation for black to have work Undecided.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #119 - 09/16/19 at 06:37:55
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 09/15/19 at 15:39:14:
Anyone played my 12.Bc6?



Tornow,M (2329) - Larsen,A (2084)
Russia25/pr17 (RUS) ICCF, 15.05.2018


1-0

Svalander,F (2168) - Kotyurgin,I (2226)
EU/C2018/pr. 7 ICCF, 30.03.2018


-



  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #118 - 09/15/19 at 16:43:03
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fling wrote on 09/15/19 at 12:16:55:
I hope you can consider it. I think the risk is less than to allow Flash (which I have turned off permanently, thus not permitting me to interactively go through the posted games here).

Ditto what fling said.

The user is going to have to be clever when creating the pdf. I checked one of the pdf samples from New in Chess, it was 299 kB for 27 pages so 11.1 kB per page. That's fine, assuming only one page is uploaded. But a chess book scanned by Google was 3.41 MB for 61 pages so 57.2 kB per page. That's a little wasteful. Some of the print-to-pdf programs tend more to the Google size instead of the New in Chess size. I remember my first chess pdf was not very clever, it was more than 1 MB per page, created from scanned TIFFs.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #117 - 09/15/19 at 15:51:15
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Hi.

In fairness. The one game I have was started a couple of months before I even mentioned 10.0-0-0 on this site. Unless they slow played very much I think the white player found the move by himself. Good job.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #116 - 09/15/19 at 15:39:14
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Hi.

I must have a crappy corr database then. But I will endeavour to have a nice day anyway. Anyone played my 12.Bc6? Did not expect to se many holds from black so this is intriguing.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #115 - 09/15/19 at 12:16:55
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GMTonyKosten wrote on 09/15/19 at 08:54:53:
Bibs wrote on 05/27/19 at 23:31:08:
How to post pdf here? Sorry, but I don't know.

Tony K?

I only allow PGN files to be posted here, but I suppose I could allow PDF too, I suppose there shouldn't be any risk?


I hope you can consider it. I think the risk is less than to allow Flash (which I have turned off permanently, thus not permitting me to interactively go through the posted games here).
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #114 - 09/15/19 at 08:54:53
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Bibs wrote on 05/27/19 at 23:31:08:
How to post pdf here? Sorry, but I don't know.

Tony K?

I only allow PGN files to be posted here, but I suppose I could allow PDF too, I suppose there shouldn't be any risk?
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #113 - 09/15/19 at 08:15:24
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 09/14/19 at 20:57:22:
got played directly in the only corr game to reach this position

Make it nine games instead. White scores a whopping 89 percent. The first ones being from 2017 there is a fair chance several of the victors were inspired by your analysis. Time to reveal your identitiy to FM James Vigus or another Pirc-aficionado, so that your name will be immortalized in their next books.
Unfortunately I don't know anymore how to make a pgn-file and am too lazy to find out. So I'll give the two draws only. The first one is theoretically remarkable, because White is the higher rated player.

Steiger,W (2462) - Mislin,R (2324)
SUI/C26/F (SUI) ICCF, 20.10.2017


-


Suihko,K - Hansen,N
EU/SC-OR/286 ICCF, 10.12.2018


-

In two more games White won with 20.Nd1 iso 20.Qe3.
I hope you'll have a nice day with these games.

  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #112 - 09/14/19 at 20:57:22
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Hey.

Apparently
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 Bxh6 7.Qxh6 Qa5 8.Bd3 c5 9.d5 Nbd7 10.0-0-0 b5!? 11.Bxb5 Rb8 12.Bxd7+ got played directly in the only corr game to reach this position. I missed the game because I didn't have a corr database. White won very convincingly anyway. Compare to 12.Bc6 13...Kd8 from reply 71. Maybe black slightly benefits from having moved his king, strange as this sounds. This unpins the knight so black sort of threatens to get coordinated with Ne5+Ba6, white therefore probably should take on d7 but then having the king on d8 could be a slight improvement. Probably not huge though.

After 12.Bxd7+ Bxd7 13.Nge2! (basically the plan is just to develop and let black activate his pieces, content that the max he will achieve is to win back the pawn with a worse position). I don't especially like the look of the game continuation 13...Qb4 14.b3 Ng4 15.Qg7 Rf8 16.Rhf1 Nf6 (what has black achieved?) although maybe good advice is not so easy to give. Most appealing by looks seems to me 13...Bb5!? 14.Rhe1 Bxe2 (although this BxN exchange... what did I say about appeal?) 15.Rxe2 Qb4 16.Kd2 Qc4 when white looks at least somewhat inconvenienced but then again black could just be lost due to the minus pawn. The plan is something like Qc4-Qd4-Qe5 + pawn to g5 to control dark squares. It's also not hugely inspiring though.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #111 - 05/29/19 at 14:11:04
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Hi.

Nice. Thanks everyone. Smiley

/ CbT
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #110 - 05/28/19 at 07:55:08
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AfaIc the mistake is fixed. Thanks, both GM TK and CbT.
  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #109 - 05/28/19 at 07:00:43
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Bibs wrote on 05/27/19 at 23:31:08:
Tony K?

I've just had a look and there was a small (but important!) mistake on the path in my Admin, should be fixed now.  Smiley
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #108 - 05/28/19 at 01:27:06
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My apologies, yes PDF> pgn

  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #107 - 05/28/19 at 00:26:25
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I don't know the answer. Usually GMTonyKosten is well aware of any site issues, but I just sent him a PM, just in case. I have my fingers crossed that the previous pgn attachments still exist somewhere and it is merely an indexing or url problem. Anyway, I have discontinued posting in my Tattersall thread until the pgn-attachments issue is sorted. Bibs, I assume your "pdf" was a typo for pgn? Saving to a file sharing service and linking here would not be a solution for me, all those services are blocked at work so I could not use my breaks for chess.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #106 - 05/27/19 at 23:31:08
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Help anyone?
How to post pdf here? Sorry, but I don't know.

Tony K?

if not, perhaps save the pgn in Google Drive (or Dropbox, any similar free cloud service) and post the link here...?
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #105 - 05/26/19 at 18:25:17
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Hiya.

Any other place on the site I can put the files then? Smiley

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #104 - 05/21/19 at 11:26:12
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Not a sausage here either, alas. Cannot download. Using Chrome.

Much respect for all the work on this by the way CbT. It has been really interesting to follow, and I am looking forward to seeing in CB, upon downloading.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #103 - 05/21/19 at 05:35:32
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With firefox I got nothing. Now on ios I get "Safari cannot open the page because the address is invalid."

https://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/chess/YaBB.pl?action=downloadfile;file=test%5F0...

Should there be a semi-colon? I would expect ampersand.

Edited:
Ampersand gives the same "address is invalid" message.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #102 - 05/21/19 at 05:17:35
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test
  

test_001.pgn ( 0 KB | 108 Downloads )
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #101 - 05/21/19 at 04:46:05
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Maybe we have broken the internet Huh
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #100 - 05/21/19 at 04:19:28
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Leon_Trotsky wrote on 05/21/19 at 03:53:40:
I click on pgn link, but nothing happens. Is it site glitch

Same here. I also clicked on one of my own attachments, and didn't get anything. But I notice the count of Downloads was incremented (after browser refresh).
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #99 - 05/21/19 at 03:53:40
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I click on pgn link, but nothing happens. Is it site glitch
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #98 - 05/20/19 at 06:37:30
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And part 2 Cool
  

4_Bf4_rep_Part_2.pgn ( 34 KB | 160 Downloads )
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #97 - 05/20/19 at 06:37:01
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Hi.

Finally I want to share with you an analysis file. I have been building and using it while doing these summary posts on various 4.Bf4 lines. Going through it (just browsing and trying to spot small errors) was easily a 10min job and I didn't find anything in particular to fix so it was mostly scrolling. There are bound to be small glitches though and of course any and all analysis given can definitely be both tested and challenged.

It all clocked in at 70KB. I had to split it for this reason - There was a file size limit of 50KB. Choosing how was not as enjoyable as splitting a cake. Everything except:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 Bxh6 can be found in part 1 and part 2 is exclusively this line.

Various imperfections aside I feel that with the posting of this very big file anyone aiming to play 4.Bf4 as a repertoire choice would have good possibilities to do so.

Have a nice day.
  

4_Bf4_rep_Part_1.pgn ( 37 KB | 189 Downloads )
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #96 - 05/17/19 at 08:06:14
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Hi.

RdC wrote on 05/16/19 at 06:47:50:
The London system with 2. Bf4 has become very popular. One of the ideas being the line 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6. So the position from the Pirc after 4 Bf4 will have had recent scrutiny at GM level.

Yes. I can see. London players probably need to book up some more on the Pirc though to be honest. Smiley

Leon_Trotsky wrote on 05/16/19 at 08:53:47:
It was definitely a joke, given my name. Лев никогда не крадет Cheesy

Don't speak Russian sadly, even though I have some decent (but fast dimming) understanding of the cyrillic alphabet.

"Lions never steal". Right?
I suppose they are just successful at having other animals voluntarily hand over downed prey in some situations. Wink

Leon_Trotsky wrote on 05/16/19 at 08:53:47:
All of these analyses look like more than I ever saw in other Pirc book. Have you consulted Nunn's Complete Pirc, Wigus, Marin and all others If you could challenge all of their assessments, that would be a thing. But a lot of work.

I have the books mentioned but don't really look in them with the view to challenge assessment after assessment. Neither Vigus (limited by his book format - essentially he is rarely trying to fix every single possible crack in the lines he favours) or Nunn (book to old) would feel right to do this against actively in my opinion.

On the other hand. This very 4.Bf4 repertoire goes into a Marin line at one point and some time ago I also mentioned a possible improvement in his 4.Be3 c6 line. Also at some point I mentioned I was displeased with Kornev's 4.Bg5 lines. So there are moments when I think the last word has not been said and things like this happen. Checking for such lines is not really rewarding for me in practical play though. I already score very well against the Pirc/Modern Grin Edit: and with it Grin Grin (even though less well in comparison). At my level possible tests as black are also quite rare and mostly in the already very forcing lines.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #95 - 05/16/19 at 08:53:47
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 05/16/19 at 07:35:26:
If ever I publish a repertoire book though... You will now get a very nice comment in the introduction  Grin "Some detractors positively salivated over the possibility of making a quick buck from writing their own repertoire book; aimed, of course, solely at bashing this one. Such agregious capitalism and blatant anti-comradeship amongst chess players brings a tear or two to my eyes. Saddest of all though would have been the communist leaders of a bygone era, who tried and (as can be evidenced) failed in ridding the world of the greedy opportunism on display. Cheesy


It was definitely a joke, given my name. Лев никогда не крадет Cheesy

All of these analyses look like more than I ever saw in other Pirc book. Have you consulted Nunn's Complete Pirc, Wigus, Marin and all others If you could challenge all of their assessments, that would be a thing. But a lot of work.

Having said this I do not like encourage too much. After all, I play Pirc from Black's side  Cheesy
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #94 - 05/16/19 at 07:35:26
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Hi.

Well. I've considered changing my current business plan. This can be said without much of a blink. Grin

Write books is not such an obvious phase 2 for me though mainly because a) I'm a weak player compared to most authors and b) because the only subjects that would make sense would be quite niche Pirc/Modern or some other comparativly non standard opening (non-Nf6 KID comes to mind). This will be a hard sell (and a lot of work).

Instead I have more seriously considered making something in pamphlet form (like a self published PDF). On the repertoire I just proposed for example; although there would have to be time for formatting, editing, improving the text etc. In short a fair bit of work. Maybe someday though.

If ever I publish a repertoire book though... You will now get a very nice comment in the introduction Grin "Some detractors positively salivated over the possibility of making a quick buck from writing their own repertoire book; aimed, of course, solely at bashing this one. Such egregious capitalism and blatant anti-comradeship amongst chess players brings a tear or two to my eyes. Saddest of all though would have been the communist leaders of a bygone era, who tried and (as can be evidenced) failed in ridding the world of the greedy opportunism on display. Cheesy

Have a nice day.

Edit: Corrected complete misspelling.
« Last Edit: 05/17/19 at 07:18:10 by Confused_by_Theory »  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #93 - 05/16/19 at 06:47:50
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 05/16/19 at 02:01:50:
Then it will be possible to deduce exactly how far off the mark I am in my promotion of 4.Bf4 as a serious try for advantage



The London system with 2. Bf4 has become very popular. One of the ideas being the line 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6. So the position from the Pirc after 4 Bf4 will have had recent scrutiny at GM level.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #92 - 05/16/19 at 03:51:17
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Have you thought of writing repertoire book Your analyses are fairly damned detailed.

Then I could publish a Pirc book for Black against your recommendations.

That last part was joke by the way  Cheesy
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #91 - 05/16/19 at 02:01:50
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Hi.

I really need to go through it before posting, but in the near future I intend to post an analysis file. Then it will be possible to deduce exactly how far off the mark I am in my promotion of 4.Bf4 as a serious try for advantage.

Have a nice day.

  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #90 - 05/14/19 at 04:43:24
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4.Bf4 Analysis - Part 6: c6 compactness with early Qa5

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 c6
As in 4.Be3 and 4.Bg5 this 4...c6 move can be played in order to reach quite different, yet very interesting variations compared to the immediate Bg7. At first it seemed to me (and certain author GMs who reach this by transposition) like the way for black to play in order to reach something reasonable was:
5.Qd2 Nbd7 6.Nf3 Bg7
Where I analysed the reply 7.Bh6 earlier and thought white ends up with chances to press. That's it then? The way I recommend white to play throughout the 4.Bf4 repertoire is to play Bh6 at the right moment and try to get a favourable forcing of the play against most black attempts. Well... chess appears not so easy. That is because there is at least one line, pointed out by MNb, after 4.Bf4 c6 that doesn't really allow a favourable early Bh6. Checking this line I also think I found another move; which seems very solid for black.
5.Qd2 Qa5 6.Nf3
6.a3!? seems quite decent for those who want an easy life. The idea is to postpone Nf3 for one more move in order to keep maximum flexibility and make Bg4 a non-move for black. I covered some other moves in earlier posts although the main problem I found is that black can play 6...e5. A reasonable couple of lines after that would look like:

6.a3!? e5 7.Be3!
Meek-looking but also the only challenging move. I checked some others when I still had hopes for this to work well for white.
7...Nbd7
7...Bg7 8.dxe5!? dxe5 9.Bc4 O-O 10.Nf3 (+/=) I think looks so harmonius for white that it should be slightly better for him.
8.Nf3 Bg7 9.dxe5!? Nxe5
9...dxe5 10.Bc4 O-O 11.O-O Ng4?! Otherwise white just goes h3 and again appears to have harmony in his position, but lunging rarely helps. 12.Bg5 Re8 13.h3 Ngf6 14.Be3!? (+/ = )
10.Nxe5 dxe5 11.Bc4 O-O 12.O-O-O b5 13.Ba2 Re8 14.Kb1 Qc7 15.f3 Be6 16.g4 (+/ = )
White is more comfortable albeit without having made a serious breach of black's position yet. If he is content with something like this 6.a3 is probably simpler than what I am about to recommend after 6.Nf3.

6...Bg4!?
My attempt at giving black a playable position. Even if it isn't really a sexy move the c8 bishop is not so fundamentally important and exchanging it works towards making black's position easier to play and understand. A nice side-effect is also that kingside attacks are not likely to be very dangerous (immediately at least!) without the soon to be eliminated knight's participation. The downside is the loss of the bishop for knight, which tends to mean black limits the types of positions he can go for strategically. With such a flexible pawn structure  bishops tend to be at least a little bit stronger than knights limiting black somewhat.

6...Bg7
After this white has some kind of positional conondrum to solve. Per formula he would like to play Bh6, but this is unworkable because Nxe4 will happen. If not that he would probably like to develop somehow and start to put pressure on black. How is that development and pressure going to look though? Black will take steps towards equalising the position if given time and just getting pieces out is probably not going to be enough to gain much of an advantage for white. He needs to find near enough optimal spots for his pieces but especially where to put the light squared bishop is not so clear.

I have a move suggestion connected to an idea that I will propose below. It seems decent but is also not the easist way of playing. Still. Checking alternatives convinced me it is not so easy to demonstrate advantage anywhere. Because of this I don't think white should principally be to unwilling to enter into slightly more complex lines. I am talking about the following; where black should have a hard time deviating without doing something very non-standard:
7.Bc4!? b5 8.Bd3 Bg4 9.e5 Nh5 10.exd6 Bxf3 11.gxf3 Nxf4 12.Qxf4 e5! 13.dxe5
Now this could well be just unclear, yet I think white may get chances with the following:
13...O-O 14.Qe4!? b4 15.Nb5! Nd7 16.Nc7 Nc5
16...Nxe5 17.Nxa8 Nxd3+ 18.cxd3 Transposes to 16...Nc5.
16...Bxe5 17.Nxa8 Bxb2 18.O-O Qg5+ 19.Kh1 Bxa1 20.Rxa1 Rxa8 21.Qxc6 Rd8 22.Rd1 (+/ = ) White has an extra pawn for the moment and seems at least marginally better.
17.Qe3 Bxe5
17...b3+ 18.Ke2 Nxd3 19.Nxa8 Nxe5 20.axb3 Qb5+ 21.c4 Nxc4 22.Nc7 Qb8 23.bxc4 Qxb2+ 24.Kf1 Qxa1+ 25.Kg2 Qd4 26.c5 (+/ = ) White is better.
17...Nxd3+ 18.cxd3 Qxe5 19.Qxe5 Bxe5 20.d4 Bxd4 21.Nxa8 Rxa8 22.O-O-O c5 23.Rxd4 cxd4 (+/ - ) White gets a pleasant endgame.
18.Nxa8 Nxd3+ 19.cxd3 Bxb2 20.O-O Rxa8 21.Rae1 Qd5 (+/ = ) (Diagram)
The exchange up side should have at least some advantage; with so many pawn islands exact play is still very important though.

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7.e5!? Nh5
Critical. The idea is to stabilise the position with exchanges. Otherwise:

7...Nd5 8.Nxd5 Qxd2+ 9.Nxd2 cxd5 10.exd6 exd6 11.f3 Be6 12.Kf2 (+/ = ) to (+/ - ) White is definitely more comfortable.
7...dxe5 8.Nxe5 Be6 9.Bc4 Bxc4 10.Nxc4 Qa6 11.Qe2 Bg7 12.Nd6+ Kf8 13.Qxa6 bxa6 14.Nde4!? Nd5 15.Be5!? Nd7 16.Bxg7+ Kxg7 17.O-O-O (+/ - ) White just has a decent plus.
7...Bxf3?! 8.exf6 Bg4 9.fxe7 Bxe7 10.d5!? (+/ - ) White has a positional advantage.

8.exd6 Bxf3 9.gxf3 Nxf4 10.Qxf4 e6 11.O-O-O Qf5 (Diagram)

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This is not at all easy to crack but we'll try. There is another line as well however:

11...Nd7!? 12.Kb1 Qf5 13.Qg3 O-O-O!
Playing to capture d6 at some point and clarify the position a bit.
14.Ne4!? Nf6 15.Bd3 Nh5 16.Qe5 Qxe5
16...Bg7 17.Qc5 Qxc5 18.dxc5 (+/ = ) This may not be quite as bad that one could assume for black but white is better.
17.dxe5 Bg7 18.Rhe1 Bxe5 19.Ng5 Rd7 20.Rxe5 f6 21.Bc4 fxe5 22.Bxe6 Rf8 23.Nxh7 Rxf3 24.Ng5 Rf8 25.c4 b6 26.Rd3 (+/ = ) White has initiative.

12.Qg3 Bh6+ 13.Kb1 Bf4 14.Qh4 g5

14...Bxd6 15.d5!
Seems complicated but probably better for white. See analysis file.

15.Qg4 Qxg4 16.fxg4 h5! 17.gxh5 Rxh5 (Diagram)
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Proving something here seems hard. I will suggest just playing to gain space. Conceivably some deep analysis might yield a better plan somewhere but black is essentially not cracking in the short term.
18.Ne4 Nd7 19.c4
19.Be2 Rh6 20.h4 gxh4 21.Rdg1 f5 22.Rg8+ Nf8 23.Bh5+ Rxh5 24.Nf6+ Kf7 25.Nxh5 Kxg8 26.Nxf4 Rd8 27.c3 Rxd6 28.Rxh4 (=) to (+/ = ) Black should survive this.
19...O-O-O 20.c5 Rdh8 21.Rg1!?
It seems like white has to resort to something slow like this. The significant downside being that the h-pawn disappears.
21...Rxh2 22.b4 (∞) to (+/ = ) (Diagram)
This seems closer to unclear compared to a position where white has advantage. White has some positional factors to work with though and if anybody is better it is him.

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*

Enjoy.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #89 - 04/25/19 at 12:35:12
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Hi.

MNb wrote on 04/24/19 at 09:52:24:
This line (4...c6 5.Qd2 Qa5) annoys me so much that i"ll probably prefer 4.Be3 or even 4.f3.
MNb wrote on 04/24/19 at 09:52:24:
Unless Black wants to transpose to other Argentian and 150-Attack stuff 4...c6 and 5...Qa5 is the answer.

It seems like what one would like to play when faced with 4.Bf4 at least.

Confused_by_Theory wrote on 04/21/19 at 19:56:37:
Decent ideas are nice if they are relevant but all the while looking at this I kept wondering if black can not sidestep it entirely. It struck me earlier that what if black just plays the very straightforward:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 c6 5.Qd2 Qa5 6.Nf3 Bg4!?
I could not find an immediate reply. Black just goes Bxf3 against many moves and if given time he will just play the natural Nbd7+e5 when white would be hard pressed to prove he has a good version of that structure (black after all has not played any especially weird moves). I got as far as checking a bunch of moves, which in most cases all look slow, plus concluding that:
7.e5
Was not good enough because of...
7...Nh5!
Now this just seems to work out fine for black.
8.exd6 Bxf3 9.gxf3 Nxf4 10.Qxf4 e6 (=)
And how to break this? Beats me.

Maybe just giving this as equal was a bit hasty. I don't exactly like doubling white's pawns like this, although probably one can eventually find some kind of an edge. I think I will recommend it for lack of attractive alternatives. So the key proposed lines in a soon to come post would then be:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 c6 5.Qd2 Qa5 6.Nf3 Bg7 7.Bc4!?
+
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 c6 5.Qd2 Qa5 6.Nf3 Bg4!? 7.e5 Nh5 8.exd6 Bxf3 9.gxf3 Nxf4 10.Qxf4 e6

Not exactly easy stuff but it will at least lead to interesting games.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #88 - 04/24/19 at 09:52:24
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This line (4...c6 5.Qd2 Qa5) annoys me so much that i"ll probably prefer 4.Be3 or even 4.f3. Though probably not for the first time I took a short look at 4.Bf4 c6 5.Qd2 Qa5 6.O-O-O Bg7 7.Bh6 Bxh6 8.Qxh6 but Black will just be happy to have avoided 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 Bxh6 7.Qxh6 Qa5 8.Bd3.
Unless Black wants to transpose to other Argentian and 150-Attack stuff 4...c6 and 5...Qa5 is the answer.
  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #87 - 04/21/19 at 19:56:37
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Hi.

I got some time off because of easter and looked a bit more at 4.Bf4 c6. The positions are sometimes quite interesting. With seemingly natural moves doing not a whole lot in black's 5...Qa5 continuation I got stuck quite a bit. The main problem at first seemed like black's natural 6.Nf3 Bg7 reply. It looked fairly hard to tackle actually. Then I came up with the following line, which I think works even if it's a bit complicated:

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 c6 5.Qd2 Qa5 6.Nf3 Bg7 7.Bc4!? (Diagram)

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The reasoning is that white's pieces are almost absurdly naturally placed. If black just goes Nbd7 and e5 it seems especially nice to have the bishop on the a2-g8 diagonal. In fact I more or less think white should have no problems finding a small positional advantage against such means of play. Instead what I felt more troublesome was the following:

7...b5 8.Bd3 Bg4
A very important move. Black, starting with his b5, plays to inconvenience white early. At first I think this was good enough for some kind of unclear play after:
9.e5!? Nh5 10.exd6 Bxf3 11.gxf3 Nxf4 12.Qxf4 e5! (Diagram)

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On further inspection however; I would definitely take white in the following continuation:

13.dxe5 0-0 14.Qe4!? b4 15.Nb5! Nd7 16.Nc7 Nxe5 (and another diagram...)

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The position is still sort of unclear and the lines (they tend to multiply...) continue but I feel white's king will be safe on g1 or f1 and he should be able to play to make his material advantage count. I wouldn't hesitate recommending this at all; unless there is something clever for black that I've missed. When this continuation appeared to me I was therefore quite pleased.

Decent ideas are nice if they are relevant but all the while looking at this I kept wondering if black can not sidestep it entirely. It struck me earlier that what if black just plays the very straightforward:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 c6 5.Qd2 Qa5 6.Nf3 Bg4!?
I could not find an immediate reply. Black just goes Bxf3 against many moves and if given time he will just play the natural Nbd7+e5 when white would be hard pressed to prove he has a good version of that structure (black after all has not played any especially weird moves). I got as far as checking a bunch of moves, which in most cases all look slow, plus concluding that:
7.e5
Was not good enough because of...
7...Nh5!
Now this just seems to work out fine for black.
8.exd6 Bxf3 9.gxf3 Nxf4 10.Qxf4 e6 (=)
And how to break this? Beats me.

For whatever reason I also looked at white just playing useful moves but it didn't look convincing:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 c6 5.Qd2 Qa5 6.Nf3 Bg4!? 7.a3 Nbd7 8.0-0-0 e5 9.Be3
This is a downside to white's whole piece arrangement. If black gets in e5 white will lose a tempo.
9...Bg7
And when that happens I don't see why black can't just start playing natural moves, not really afraid of any possible white initiative since it would be started with black having been gifted an extra tempo.
10.Be2 0-0
If white is to gain advantage here it will be because of good middlegame play.

So anyone have any ideas against 6...Bg4? Otherwise I am seriously tempted to just recommend 6.a3 even if it feels wrong somehow to not go for 6.Nf3 after black plays something non-obvious (at least over Bg7 or Nbd7) like 5...Qa5. I think this is enough for some kind of minimal positional advantage but nothing that will punish black.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #86 - 02/07/19 at 01:04:29
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Hi.

I have been meaning to post something more here but have regretfully not had much time to do analysis. Am doing a lot more time sink heavy tasks at work right now compared to a few months ago and this is the main reason for not working on chess.

Will try to do one final post covering 4.Bf4 fourth move alternatives in the near future I guess.

When it comes to this continuaton after 4...c6:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 c6 5.Qd2 Qa5 6.Nf3 Bg7(!)
I think it gives black a playable game without much effort. White can apply pressure but black seems generally flexible. Plausibly white can find some kind of advantage by just playing natural moves but how is not clear to me. I tried a lot of continuations but often it seems like white does not put enough pressure. Once black gets to make his most natural moves (Bg7, Nbd7, 0-0 and usually e5) his position makes a lot more sense compared to a few moves earlier.

If this line props up I would probably forego 6.Nf3 and try 6.a3 instead. The main upside being white can then try to not include Nf3. For example:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 c6 5.Qd2 Qa5 6.a3 Bg7
6...Nbd7 7.Nf3
Now this goes into some lines I covered earlier. Taking away the option of Bg4 is a bit inflexible from black.
7...Bg7
7...e5 8.Bh6 Bxh6 9.Qxh6 exd4 10.Nxd4 Qh5 11.Qd2!? O-O 12.Be2 Qe5 13.f3 (+/ = ) White is at least a little bit more comfortable.
7...b5?! 8.e5 Nh5 9.Be3 dxe5 10.dxe5 Ng7 11.Nd4 Bb7 12.O-O-O O-O-O 13.f4 (+/ - ) Black's position doesn't really make that much sense.
8.Be2 c5
8...e5 9.Bh6 O-O 10.Bxg7!? Kxg7 11.O-O-O (+/ = ) White is very comfortable.
8...O-O 9.Bh6 b5 10.Bxg7!? Kxg7 11.e5 dxe5 12.dxe5 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 b4 14.Nxc6 bxc3 15.Nxa5 cxd2+ 16.Kxd2 (+/ - ) This should be very nice for white with some technique.
9.Be3 Qc7 10.dxc5 Nxc5 11.e5 Nfe4 12.Nxe4 Nxe4 13.Qb4 f5 14.exf6 Nxf6 15.Qb3 d5 16.O-O (+/ = ) to (+/ - ) White looks to have the clear better of it in this IQP position.
7.h4!? b5 8.Rd1!? Nbd7 9.Be2
I'm not sure white is really better but there are dynamics waiting to play out in the position. Supposedly white should have some kind of pull; in the short term at least.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #85 - 01/18/19 at 22:42:23
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Hi.

Wow. The forum is back.

If nothing else this means we can have long discussions about the Pirc again.

MNb wrote on 01/14/19 at 07:22:11:
6...Bg7 is worth taking a look. Most interesting is probably 7.O-O-O and while b5? is refuted by 8.e5 Black may try Nbd7, Bg4 and O-O.
It's a bit weird that there are only two games with 7...Nbd7 8.h3 and both saw two strong players blundering with b5?

6...Bg7 appears very relevant. I was focused on Nbd7+e5 plans and missed it of course but on the face of it I think it's a second major way to handle the 4...c6 move order.

White can not, obvously at least, make his main ideas of Bh6, e5 or h4 work well. Some reasonable couple of moves seems in order and then perhaps something active but black should have decent development. I am not sure if there is something very clever for white but your 7.0-0-0 is up there as one of the moves that looks critical.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #84 - 01/14/19 at 07:22:11
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 12/27/18 at 01:38:40:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 c6 5.Qd2 Qa5 6.Nf3

6...Bg7 is worth taking a look. Most interesting is probably 7.O-O-O and while b5? is refuted by 8.e5 Black may try Nbd7, Bg4 and O-O.
It's a bit weird that there are only two games with 7...Nbd7 8.h3 and both saw two strong players blundering with b5?
  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #83 - 12/27/18 at 10:21:36
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Hi.

Leon_Trotsky wrote on 12/27/18 at 05:07:07:
Maybe a bits late to ask. But are you trying to make a White repertoire for 4. Af4, or
various Black repertoires against it Or both Cheesy

A white one. If in the process there would be some half-decent black line that got figured out then that's also good.

Good people who both read and recollect will note that only black's fourth move alternatives are not yet looked at. Was hoping to find something comfortable for black up to this point, basically making a dent in my own repertoire, although I haven't really managed.

MNb wrote on 12/27/18 at 07:16:32:
There is yet another option: 6...b4 7.exf6 bxc3 8.Qxc3 and it's exactly here that Bf4 is better placed than Be3.

It is an option but looks bleak for black. In large part because this well placed bishop.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #82 - 12/27/18 at 07:16:32
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 12/27/18 at 01:38:40:
The alternative is to swap queens but this does not really equalise.

There is yet another option: 6...b4 7.exf6 bxc3 8.Qxc3 and it's exactly here that Bf4 is better placed than Be3.
  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #81 - 12/27/18 at 05:07:07
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Maybe a bits late to ask. But are you trying to make a White repertoire for 4. Af4, or various Black repertoires against it Or both   Cheesy
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #80 - 12/27/18 at 01:38:40
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4.Bf4 analysis - Part 5: c6 compactness

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 c6
This is quite clearly a move. A reasonaby important one as well, since there are always a number of types who tries to avoid an early Bg7.
5.Qd2
Playing this seems most flexible. Now black has options.
5...Nbd7!?
Not the most popular but a normal way to keep delaying Bg7. There is not a huge plentitude of alternatives:

5...Bg7 6.Bh6
Transposes to 4...Bg7.

5...Qa5 6.Nf3 Nbd7
Transposes to 5...Nbd7. Also good appears to be 6.a3; although it allows a direct e5 from black somewhat needlessly.

5...Qb6?! 6.O-O-O Bg7 7.Kb1 Nbd7 8.f3 (+/ - )
Black's setup is not optimal.

5...Nh5?! 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 b5 8.g4 Nf6 9.g5 (+/ - )
White is a tempo ahead and this should count for something.

5...h6?! 6.h3 Bg7 7.Nf3 Nbd7?! 8.e5 Nd5 9.Nxd5 cxd5 10.exd6 (+/ - )

With the above being either troublesome or transpositional, if there is an alternative to 5...Nbd7 it is one of the following:

5...b5
This has been tried a couple of times but can be met by a standard idea that somewhat exploits that white is a bit more ready for immediate conflict.
6.e5! (Diagram)

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*

6...Nh5
The alternative is to swap queens but this does not really equalise.
6...dxe5 7.dxe5 Qxd2+ 8.Bxd2 Nfd7

8...Nh5 9.g3 Nd7 10.Bg2 Nxe5 11.f4 Nd7 12.Nxb5 Rb8 13.Nxa7 (+/ - ) Black is behind.
8...Ng4 9.f4 h5 10.Nf3 Bg7 11.Bd3 a5 12.h3 Nh6 13.O-O-O (+/ - ) Black is not well placed.

9.f4 Nb6

9...Bg7 10.Be2 O-O 11.Bf3 b4 12.Ne4 a5 13.O-O-O (+/ = )
9...Na6 10.g3!? This seems simplest. 10...Bb7 11.Bg2 Rb8 12.O-O-O b4 13.Ne4 c5 14.h4 h5 15.Rh2 Nc7 16.Be3 e6 17.c4 bxc3 18.Nxc3 Bxg2 19.Rxg2 (+/ - )
9...Bb7 10.Nf3 Na6 11.h4 (+/ = )

10.g3 Bg7 11.Bg2 O-O 12.Nge2 b4 13.Ne4 Na6 14.Nf2 Bb7 15.a3 bxa3 16.Rxa3 (+/ = ) White has better pieces.

7.Be3 dxe5
7...Bg7 8.f4 f6 9.Nf3!? O-O 10.Bd3 fxe5 11.fxe5 Nd7 12.a4 b4 13.Ne4 (+/ = )
7...b4 8.Ne4 Bf5 9.Bd3 Nd7 10.f4 a5 11.Nf3 (+/ = )
8.dxe5 Qxd2+ 9.Bxd2 Bg7
9...b4?! 10.Na4 Nd7 11.Nf3 Bg7 12.g4 Nb6 13.gxh5!? Nxa4 14.h6 Bf8 15.a3! Bg4 16.Nd4 Rd8 17.Be3 (+/ - ) Black's position is close to collapse.
9...Bb7 10.f4 Ng7 11.O-O-O Nd7 12.Nh3 a5 13.g3 b4 14.Ne4 c5 15.Bg2 (+/ = )
9...Nd7 10.f4 Bb7

10...b4 11.Na4 e6 12.Be3 Ng7 13.Bf2 Nf5 14.Nf3 (+/ = )

11.Nf3 a6 12.g3 c5 13.Bg2 e6 14.O-O (+/ = ) White should be slightly better.
10.f4 f6 11.exf6
Here white has choice. Also interesting are 11.Be2 and 11.Nf3.
11...Nxf6 12.O-O-O Nbd7 13.Nf3 Nb6 14.Re1 b4 15.Nd1 Nfd5 16.g3 (+/ = ) to (+/ - ) (Diagram) With relatively simple play it looks like white has got a decent size advantage. Black has got a backward pawn and white will relatively quickly get his pieces around to better squares.

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5...Qc7!?
Just making a useful move is not such a dumb idea. It is a bit passive though so I think just playing a normal move will do for white.
6.Nf3
Across many Pirc lines I don't overtly aim for Nf3 setups and instead try to keep open the possibility of moving the f-pawn or developing only later, when the knight development can be easily determined to be best. Here black is not going to become active any time soon but has some basic solidity. Generally I like the idea of playing a simple setup when black is a little bit passive so therefore I give the knight move. By playing Nf3 early we also weave into lines covered under 5...Nbd7.
6...Bg7
Somewhat more consistent with Qc7 is the following developing move - it doesn't work though:
6...Nbd7?! 7.e5 Nh5 8.exd6 exd6 9.O-O-O Nxf4 10.Qxf4 Be7 11.Re1 (+/ - )
7.Bh6 O-O 8.h4 Bxh6
Instead playing to reduce white's attacking potential is not so easy.
8...Bg4 9.Nh2 (+/ - )
9.Qxh6 Ng4 10.Qd2 h5 11.a4!? c5 12.Nd5 Qd8 13.dxc5 dxc5 14.Qg5 Nc6 15.Bb5 e5 16.c3 Kg7 17.Rd1 (+/ = ) (Diagram)
White has played unremarkably. He should be somewhat better though, due to a higher degree of activity compared to black.

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That was some alternatives. Now for what seems to me like the main way of extracting value from the 4...c6 move.
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 c6 5.Qd2 Nbd7
Again I don't mind developing the knight.
6.Nf3 Bg7
6...Qc7 transposes to 5...Qc7.
6...b5 7.e5 b4 8.Na4 Nh5 9.Be3 Qa5 10.b3 dxe5 11.Bc4 (+/ = ) With good compensation in a non-forcing position.
6...Qa5 7.a3!? Bg7
7...e5 8.Bh6 Bxh6 9.Qxh6 exd4 10.Nxd4 Qh5 11.Qd2!? O-O 12.Be2 Qe5 13.f3 (+/ = ) White is at least a little bit more comfortable.
7...b5?! 8.e5 Nh5 9.Be3 dxe5 10.dxe5 Ng7 11.Nd4 Bb7 12.O-O-O O-O-O 13.f4 (+/ - ) Black's position doen't really make that much sense.
8.Be2 c5
8...e5 9.Bh6 O-O 10.Bxg7!? Kxg7 11.O-O-O (+/ = ) White is very comfortable.
8...O-O 9.Bh6 b5 10.Bxg7!? Kxg7 11.e5 dxe5 12.dxe5 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 b4 14.Nxc6 bxc3 15.Nxa5 cxd2+ 16.Kxd2 (+/ - ) This should be very nice for white with some technique.
9.Be3 Qc7 10.dxc5 Nxc5 11.e5 Nfe4 12.Nxe4 Nxe4 13.Qb4 f5 14.exf6 Nxf6 15.Qb3 d5 16.O-O (+/ = ) to (+/ - ) White looks to have the clear better of it in this IQP position.
7.Bh6
It looks like white should go for this. We now actually go into some analysis from Marin in his 2017 repertoire book on the Pirc.
7...0-0
7...Bxh6 8.Qxh6 Transposes all the way to 4...Bg7. Please remember though; putting the knight on d7 early is probably not the best way to play this Bxh6 setup.
8.e5!?
There is a bit of a choice here. Still a lot of the white moves don't seem obviously threatening to me. Black is after all just a few moves from starting his own play now and has sensible pieces so white may well need to be exact.
8.Bxg7 is given by Marin and seems equivalent as black should probably aim for the same variation in both continuations. It allows different side-variations though. I won't go in to much detail as I prefer "risking" more open play after 8.e5!?
8...dxe5
A definite option is:
8...Bxh6!? 9.Qxh6 dxe5 10.O-O-O!
White sacrifices and plays for long term attacking chances. Now I found two palpable lines for black and many others where he just loses. I will give the two reasonable ones and refer to a future analysis file for the rest.
10...Ng4
10...exd4 11.Rxd4 e5 12.Rh4 Re8 13.Ng5 Nf8 14.Bc4 Be6 15.Bxe6 fxe6 16.Re1 Qe7 17.Rxe5 Rad8 18.Re1 (+/ = )
11.Qh4 exd4 12.Rxd4 h5 13.Bc4!? Ngf6 14.Qg5 Kg7 15.Ne2!? e5 16.Nxe5 Nd5 17.Qxd8!? Rxd8 18.Nxd7 Rxd7 19.Bxd5 Rxd5 20.Rxd5 cxd5 21.Nd4 Bd7 22.Re1 (+/ = )
White is somewhat better in a simplified position.
9.Bxg7 Kxg7 10.dxe5 Ng4
10...Nd5 11.O-O-O N7b6 12.Ne4 Bf5 13.Ng3 e6 14.h4 (+/ - )
11.O-O-O Qb6 12.e6! (Diagram)
As given by Marin.

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One can also consider:
12.h3 Ngxe5 13.Nxe5 Nxe5 14.f4 Nd7 15.g4 ; which gives ok compensation. The other way of sacrificing seems more enticing though.

12...Ndf6!

12...fxe6?! 13.h3 Nxf2 14.Na4 Qc7 15.Qxf2 Qf4+ 16.Kb1 Qxa4 17.h4!
White should be able to build up serious pressure after this. The two extra pawns are not very important positionally. For example:
17...Qf4 18.h5 g5 19.h6+! Kh8 20.Qe1 (+/ - )
White has very good compensation for the two pawns. Black's position is seriously at risk of collapsing.
13.exf7
13.h3 Nxf2 14.Na4 Qc7 15.Qxf2 Qf4+ 16.Kb1 Qxa4 17.exf7 Be6 18.a3 Bxf7 (=) Should be ok for black, as indicated by Marin.
13...Qxf2 14.Bc4 b5 15.Bb3 Qxd2+ 16.Rxd2 (Diagram)

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A position where white can push but where it is also not entirely clear if this will translate to something tangible. All in all I have no huge wisdom to share here. As white play reasonable moves and try to put pressure on black. Black will have to defend somewhat in practically all decent continuations. This makes it all a matter of choice for white at this point (mostly). Black has somewhat of a choice at this specific point as well though...

16...a6 (! - Marin)
This prepares c5-c4, disrupting a good white piece. Instead:

16...a5!? 17.a3 Ra7

17...b4?! 18.Na4 Nd5 19.Re1! Rxf7 20.Bxd5 cxd5 21.Nb6 Rb8 22.Nxc8 bxa3 23.bxa3 Rxc8 24.Rxd5 (+/ = ) White is more active and it is not obvious how black initiates liquidations in an effective manner.
18.h3!? Nh6 19.Re1 b4 20.Na4 Nxf7 21.Rde2 (+/ = ) With good compensation.

17.h3!?
I would be tempted to play this. It appears to be a very banal continuation so the appeal is clear.
17.Re1 is covered by Marin as main move while he does give 17.h3 in a note. Yet...
17...Nh6 18.g4!?
Is not mentioned (only 18.Ng5). I would probably play it though since it appears to me it counters black's current main positional idea of c5-c4. How you may ask? Well. There is a fork coming so even if black traps the b3 bishop it would not be in a complexity-free environment. He can also try to forget the c5-c4 plan, but then it is not obvious he has played in the best manner as I see it.
18...c5
18...a5!? 19.g5 a4 20.gxh6+ Kxh6 21.Bxa4 bxa4 22.Re1 Kg7 23.h4 a3 24.b3 (+/ = )
White seems more compact in the play to come. I think he should have a small advantage.

18...Nxf7 19.Re1 e6
19...e5 20.Bxf7 Rxf7 21.Nxe5 Re7 22.Rd6 (+/ = ) White is very active.
20.Bxe6 Bxe6
20...Re8 21.Bxf7 Rxe1+ 22.Nxe1 Kxf7 23.Rd6!? (+/ = ) White is more active and black has weakened himself at least slightly.
21.Rxe6 Rac8 22.g5!? Nh5 23.Rd7 (+/ = )
White has got real activity. I think this is risky for black.

19.g5 c4 20.Bxc4 bxc4 21.gxh6+ Kxh6 22.Re1 Kg7 23.h4 (+/ = ) (Diagram)
Potentially black is ok but this looks comfortable for white.

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That is it for 4...c6 I think.

Have a nice night.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #79 - 12/13/18 at 09:33:53
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MNb wrote on 12/08/18 at 19:26:44:
Another important question is when exactly to play f2-f3. CbT gives 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 O-O 6.O-O-O c6 7.Bh6 b5 8.f3 while I'd arrive via 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 O-O 6.O-O-O c6 7.f3 b5 (best move anyway - without this move Black can't develop sufficient counterplay) 8.Bh6. However iso 8.Bh6 White has an equally dangerous move, namely 8.h4 when h5 is best. With the bishop on f4 iso e3 the line has never been tried afaIk.


Confused_by_Theory wrote on 12/12/18 at 21:35:39:
If 8...h5 is best ....
Maybe the same idea can even work with the bishop on e3 also.

You're right: especially when starting the typical sacrificial attack with g2-g4 it might make a difference having the bishop on e3 or f4.
Other moves than 8...h5 allow White the very, very nice choice between playing h4-h5 at once or playing Be3(f4)-h6 transposing. That choice is denied to White when Black plays 5...c6 6.Bh6 O-O. And that again makes it important to look at other moves than 7.O-O-O.
Mover order here is important, all the more because there are no clear answers.
I'm looking forward to your posts about 4...c6, because it seems to me that it's here that the benefits of 4.Bf4 iso 4.Be3 become clear.
  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #78 - 12/12/18 at 21:39:47
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Hi.

4...c6 was the next thing to look at here. It will be a few days. As I recall we looked at this at some point though, so it shouldn't be horribly hard.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #77 - 12/12/18 at 21:35:39
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Hi.

MNb wrote on 12/08/18 at 18:05:36:
It should be noted that 5...O-O 6.Bh6 c6 is especially important because of 5...c6 6.Bh6 O-O.
Indeed.

MNb wrote on 12/08/18 at 19:26:44:
Another important question is when exactly to play f2-f3. CbT gives 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 O-O 6.O-O-O c6 7.Bh6 b5 8.f3 while I'd arrive via 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 O-O 6.O-O-O c6 7.f3 b5 (best move anyway - without this move Black can't develop sufficient counterplay) 8.Bh6. However iso 8.Bh6 White has an equally dangerous move, namely 8.h4 when h5 is best. With the bishop on f4 iso e3 the line has never been tried afaIk.
If 8...h5 is best then something like this seems like easy initiative for white:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 0-0 6.0-0-0 c6 7.f3 b5 8.h4 h5 9.Nce2!? Nbd7
Other moves are similar.
10.g4 hxg4 11.Ng3!

Maybe the same idea can even work with the bishop on e3 also.

MNb wrote on 12/08/18 at 19:26:44:
More important is 8...Be6 (not mentioned by CbT) 9.h4 Qa5 10.h5 transposing to 8...Qa5. Black won in Jeras-Vavpetic, SLO 1996 with 9...Nbd7 10.Kb1 (10.h5!? but White had played Kb1 at an earlier stage) Nb6 11.h5 b4 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.hxg6 fxg6 14.Qh6+ Kg8 15.Nce2 (15.e5!?) Na4 but 16.Nh3 looks strong.
I Missed that move in the post. Did look at it though and I think both transposing to 8...Qa5 and the following looks good:
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 0-0 6.0-0-0 c6 7.Bh6 b5 8.f3 Be6 9.Bxg7 Kxg7 10.d5
White seems better.

MNb wrote on 12/08/18 at 19:26:44:
8...Qa5 9.h4 (9.Kb1? Bxh6 10.Qxh6 Be6! Mola-Sarno, Arvier 2003) b4 10.Nb1 (no a7-a5-a4 here; not that White had a choice) and according to IM Vigus Ba6 is critical; CbT and I agree: 11.h5 Bxf1 12.Rxf1 Nbd7 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.hxg6 fxg6 15.Qh6+ Kg8 16.Nh3 Rf7 17.Ng5 Rg7 Ulbig-Mehlhorn, corr 2016, 18.f4 Nf8 is unclear (Vigus). CbT's 15.Nh3 is an attempt to improve; after Qxa2 16.Ng5 Kg8 (CbT) I suggest 17.Rh6!?
Another attacking idea is 11.Bxa6 (iso 11.h5) Nxa6 12.h5 Nc7 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.Ne2 Ne6 15.hxg6 fxg6 16.Qh6+ Kg8 17.Qh3 Tornow-Mehlhorn, corr 2017.

This also seems good. Compared to my 17.Re1 a bit more direct as well. Maybe easier overall.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #76 - 12/08/18 at 19:26:44
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Another important question is when exactly to play f2-f3. CbT gives 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 O-O 6.O-O-O c6 7.Bh6 b5 8.f3 while I'd arrive via 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 O-O 6.O-O-O c6 7.f3 b5 (best move anyway - without this move Black can't develop sufficient counterplay) 8.Bh6. However iso 8.Bh6 White has an equally dangerous move, namely 8.h4 when h5 is best. With the bishop on f4 iso e3 the line has never been tried afaIk.
Black has two more options at move 8 (assuming White has played Bh6).

8...a5 9.h4 Nbd7 10.h5 a4 11.Bxg7 Kxg7 12.hxg6 fxg6 13.Qh6+ Kg8 14.e5 is a typical idea to decide the game.

More important is 8...Be6 (not mentioned by CbT) 9.h4 Qa5 10.h5 transposing to 8...Qa5. Black won in Jeras-Vavpetic, SLO 1996 with 9...Nbd7 10.Kb1 (10.h5!? but White had played Kb1 at an earlier stage) Nb6 11.h5 b4 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.hxg6 fxg6 14.Qh6+ Kg8 15.Nce2 (15.e5!?) Na4 but 16.Nh3 looks strong.

The two moves presented by CbT are the most important ones:

8...b4 9.Nce2 (I distrust 9.Nb1 because indeed the knight is misplaced here and Black hence can try a5!? as in Ginzburg-Scalise, Villa Martelli 2000) and the main line of my analysis runs Qa5 10.Kb1 Be6 (Black does amazingly well in practice) 11.Nc1 Nbd7 12.h4 (makes me kind of wish I'd played it on the 8th move) Rfc8 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.h5 Nxh5 15.g4 Nhf6 16.Qh6+ Kg8 Guido-Gaido, Montecatini Terme 1994, and I like 17.g5 Nh5 18.f4 Bg4 19.Be2 and White has his/her attack going.

8...Qa5 9.h4 (9.Kb1? Bxh6 10.Qxh6 Be6! Mola-Sarno, Arvier 2003) b4 10.Nb1 (no a7-a5-a4 here; not that White had a choice) and according to IM Vigus Ba6 is critical; CbT and I agree: 11.h5 Bxf1 12.Rxf1 Nbd7 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.hxg6 fxg6 15.Qh6+ Kg8 16.Nh3 Rf7 17.Ng5 Rg7 Ulbig-Mehlhorn, corr 2016, 18.f4 Nf8 is unclear (Vigus). CbT's 15.Nh3 is an attempt to improve; after Qxa2 16.Ng5 Kg8 (CbT) I suggest 17.Rh6!?
Another attacking idea is 11.Bxa6 (iso 11.h5) Nxa6 12.h5 Nc7 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.Ne2 Ne6 15.hxg6 fxg6 16.Qh6+ Kg8 17.Qh3 Tornow-Mehlhorn, corr 2017.

It's peculiar that Black apparently gets to decide whether White will play Nb1 (a pawn sacrifice already known by the Argentinean players who pioneered this variation via 4.f3 and 5.Be3) or Nce2. Often White will transpose after 8.h4 (iso Bh6) by playing Bh6 a bit later, but equally often the typical pawn sac 9.h5 is dangerous. It's not clear to me which is stronger and again the transposition 5...c6 6.Bh6 O-O plays an important role - can White postpone castling queenside? That might allow Donner's defense with ...e5 and ...Qe7 again.
  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #75 - 12/08/18 at 18:05:36
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It should be noted that 5...O-O 6.Bh6 c6 is especially important because of 5...c6 6.Bh6 O-O.
After 5...O-O 6.Bh6 Black has other moves and especially Bxh6 7.Qxh6 e5 deserves attention; as shown in Ree-Donner, NEDch 1967 Black's position is extremely hard to crack when the queen goes to e7. This is an underrated but very important defensive idea after Be3 (or Bf4 or Bg5) -h6, assuming that Black has castled.
Obviously 5...O-O 6.O-O-O c6 7.Bh6 Bxh6 8.Qxh6 e5?? and 7.f3 b5 8.Bh6 Bxh6 9.Qxh6 e5?? don't work.
  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #74 - 12/08/18 at 16:24:21
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Part 4: Castling - when our opponent does it we hope it's less good

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2
This again. But what if instead of 5...c6 black tries:

(A2) 5...0-0
Both natural and in some ways quite flexible move. No pieces or pawns have had their places determined. Black's hope is that he will know better what will be a judicious setup for him after he has seen one more move from white. While in a more general sense this can be part of good strategy castling actually gives white attacking possibilities. Starting at move six I recommend:
6.0-0-0 (Diagram)

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6.Bh6
Is another way of going about things. One of the main points is that
6...c6 7.h4
Is dangerous for black and pretty much forces him to go forego his most active plan involving moving the b-pawn due to:
7...b5 8.Bxg7 Kxg7 9.h5
White has good initiative despite not having done much for his position besides playing the typical hack moves.

Not a bad alternative overall really. Check John Shaw's book for more lines.

6...c6
After white's castling playing for an immediate c5 or e5 becomes problematic. This has made 6...c6 black's main way of handling the position.
7.Bh6
Of similar value appears to be 7.f3. Black can't really do much but accept the fact that he is going to be under some pressure on the kingside. Probably he should go 7...b5. The following radical way of playing would not be so dumb if it worked as intended; neutralising white's kingside chances before they even became something tangible. The problem is that white is not forced to play for hack attacks in order to disturb black's position.
7.f3 h5!? 8.Kb1! b5 9.e5 dxe5 10.dxe5 Qxd2 11.Bxd2 Ne8 12.f4 (+/=) White is better.
7.Kb1 b5 8.f3 Seems less flexible compared to 7.Bh6.
7...b5
Alternatives look problematic.

7...Qa5 8.h4! Bxh6 9.Qxh6 Ng4
9...b5 10.h5 Ng4 11.Qd2 (+/ - ) Black does not have enough compensation.
10.Qd2 c5 11.dxc5!?
11.f3 cxd4 12.Nd5!? Qxd2+ 13.Rxd2 Ne3 14.Nxe7+ Kg7 15.Ne2 Be6 16.Nxd4 Re8 17.Nd5 Bxd5 18.exd5 (+/ = ) Black is a pawn down for not much. Technically this should be good for white.
11...Qxc5 12.Nh3 Be6 13.h5 (+/ = ) With a good amount of positional pressure for white.

7...Bxh6 8.Qxh6 b5
8...Qa5 9.h4 Transposes to 7...Qa5.
8...Ng4 9.Qd2 b5; 9...Qa5 10.Nf3 Nd7 11.h3 Ngf6 12.Qh6 (+/ - ) Black has problems positionally.; 10.h4 b4 11.Nb1 Nf6 12.h5! Nxe4 13.Qh6 g5 14.Bd3 f5 15.Bxe4 fxe4 16.Qxg5+ Kh8 17.Nd2 (+/ - ) Black has an unenviable position.
9.e5!?
This becomes pretty forcing since black can not afford to have his pieces driven back. Instead:
9.f3 b4 10.Nb1 Transposes to 7...b5.
9...dxe5 10.dxe5 Ng4 11.Qh4! Qc7
11...Qb6 12.Ne4 Qc7 13.Nf3 Na6 14.e6 Bxe6 15.Nfg5 h5 16.h3 Nf6 17.Nxe6 fxe6 18.Ng5 Qa5 19.Kb1 Rad8 20.Be2 (+/ = ) With good positional compensation.
12.Nf3 Nxe5 13.Be2 Nxf3
This seems best. Instead:
13...a5 14.Ng5 h5 15.Qg3 f6 16.Nf3 Kh7 17.Rhe1 Ra7 18.Nh4 g5 19.Bxh5 Rg8 20.Nf3 (+/ = ) With some advantage for white in a slightly strange position.
13...Na6 14.Nxe5 Qxe5 15.Rhe1 Qc7 16.Bf3 Be6 17.Qh6 Rad8 18.Re4 Bf5 19.Rh4 g5 20.Qxg5+ Bg6 21.Rhd4 Rxd4 22.Rxd4 b4 23.Ne4 (+/ = ) White has better centralisation and less weaknesses.
13...Ng4!? 14.Ne4 f6!? 15.h3!? Ne5 16.Nxe5 Qxe5 17.Rhe1 Qc7 18.Nc3 a6 19.f4 (+/ = ) Since black has weakened his kingside and white is well placed with his pieces this will be good compensation.
14.Bxf3 Be6
14...Na6 15.Rhe1 Be6 transposes.
15.Rhe1 Na6
15...Nd7 16.Qxe7 Qf4+ 17.Rd2 Nb6 18.Re4 Qxh2 19.Rh4 Qe5 20.Bxc6 (+/ - ) White is a lot more active.
16.Qh6 Rad8 17.Re4 Bf5 18.Rh4 g5 19.Qxg5+ Bg6 20.Re1 (+/ = ) White should be somewhat better.

8.f3 b4

It is not obvious what is best here for black. A serious alternative exists in 8...Qa5. This was also the 2009 "Dangerous Weapons The Pirc And The Modern" recommendation.

8...Qa5 9.h4!
9.Kb1?! Bxh6 10.Qxh6 Be6 11.e5 dxe5 12.dxe5 b4 13.exf6 exf6 14.Nge2 bxc3 15.Nxc3 Nd7 (=) Black is OK.
9.Bxg7?! Kxg7 10.e5 dxe5 11.dxe5 Ng8 Neither side is greatly placed. Black should be about OK.
9...b4
I could find little better.

9...Be6 10.h5 b4 11.Nb1 Nbd7 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.a3!?
Maybe a bit simpler compared to 13.hxg6 in DW: Pirc Modern. Basically I am not really impressed by black's position and think white can play calmly.
13...Rab8 14.hxg6 fxg6 15.b3 (+/ = ) (Diagram)
White should be able to absorb active attempts by black. If he can play a long middlegame it looks to me like black will have more weaknesses to worry about.

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9...Bxh6 10.Qxh6 b4 11.Nb1 Ba6 12.Nh3!? Bxf1 13.Rdxf1 Qh5 14.Qd2 Nbd7
14...Qa5 15.h5 Nxh5 16.Qh6 f6 17.f4 Rf7 18.f5 (+/ - ) With great pressure for the pawn.
15.e5 dxe5 16.g4 Qxh4 17.Rfg1 h6 18.dxe5 Nxe5 19.Nf2 Nxf3 20.Rxh4 Nxd2 21.Nxd2 (+/ - ) There is not enough compensation.

9...Nbd7 10.h5 b4 11.Nb1 (+/ = ) As given by Vigus 2009 is a decent initiative for white.

10.Nb1 Ba6
It makes sense on a positional level to exchange the bishops like this and it is the mainline in DW: Pirc Modern. I have an idea of how to face it but before this is discussed it makes sense to note that there are quite a few alternatives; although most are quite bad.

10...Qxa2
Is not such an important pawn. I will give my mainline of analysis and refer to a future analysis file for more.
11.h5 Nbd7 12.g4 a5 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.hxg6 fxg6 15.Qh6+ Kg8 16.g5 a4 17.gxf6 Nxf6 18.e5 Nh5 19.Bd3 Qf7 20.Ne2 Bf5 21.Bxf5 Qxf5 22.Rdg1 Kh8 23.Ng3 Qf4+ 24.Qxf4 Nxf4 25.Nd2 (+/ - ) Black does not have full compensation.

10...Bxh6 11.Qxh6 Rd8?
DW: Pirc Modern p.21 This was briefly mentioned in DW: Pirc Modern but seems way to risky.
12.h5 Qxa2 13.g4 (+/ - ) Black will get crushed on the kingside.

10...Nh5 11.Ne2 Ba6 12.Bxg7 Nxg7 13.a3 Nd7 14.axb4 (+/ - )
10...Be6 11.h5 Transposes to 9...Be6

11.Bxg7
11.Nh3?! Bxf1 12.Rdxf1 Qxa2 (∞) White does not appear to have anything great even if he has his pieces positioned quite well.
11...Kxg7 12.h5 Bxf1 13.Rxf1 Nbd7 14.hxg6 fxg6 15.Nh3!
Not exactly caring about black's play and just getting an important piece in play. 15.Qh6+ is covered in DW: Pirc Modern and also looks good.
15...Qxa2
15...Kg8 16.Re1! e5 17.dxe5 dxe5 18.Rd1 (+/ - ) White is very much for choice.
15...c5 16.Ng5 Qxa2 17.Nxh7 Nxh7 18.Qh6+ Kf7 19.Qxh7+ Ke8 20.Qxg6+ Qf7 21.Qxf7+ Kxf7 22.dxc5 Nxc5 23.Nd2 (+/ - )
16.Ng5 Kg8 17.Re1 Nb6
17...e5? 18.Rh6 a5 19.Reh1 a4 20.Nxh7! a3 21.Nxf6+ Nxf6 22.Qg5 Qxb2+ 23.Kd2 Qxd4+ 24.Kc1 Qb2+ 25.Kd1 Qxb1+ 26.Kd2 Nxe4+ 27.fxe4 Rf2+ 28.Ke3 Re2+ 29.Kxe2 Qxc2+ 30.Ke3 Qc5+ 31.Kf3 Rf8+ 32.Kg4 Rf4+ 33.Kh3 Qe3+ 34.g3 Qxe4 35.Qd8+ Rf8 36.Rh8+ Kxh8 37.Qxf8+ Kh7 38.Rf1 Qf5+ 39.Rxf5 gxf5 40.Qxf5+ (+ - ) White wins.
18.b3 a5 19.e5 dxe5 20.Qd3 e4
20...a4 21.Rxh7! e4 22.Rxe4 Nxh7 23.Re6 Rf7 24.Rxg6+ Kf8 25.Ne6+ Ke8 26.Rg8+ Nf8 27.Qg6 (+ - )
21.Rxe4 Nbd5 22.Reh4 Rf7 23.Nxf7 Kxf7 24.Rxh7+ Ke6 25.Qxg6 (+/ - ) White is better in a strange position.

9.Nb1!?
White does somewhat misplace his knight and going 9.Nce2 might be stronger. Now it does look like black should invite white's queen though and that is in some ways potentially a bit risky.
9...Bxh6
9...Ba6 10.Bxg7 Kxg7 11.Qxb4 (+/ = )
9...Nbd7 10.h4 e5 11.Bxg7 Kxg7 12.dxe5 Nxe5 13.Qxb4 d5 14.Nc3 Be6 15.Nge2 (+/ - )
9...Qb6 10.h4 Nh5 11.Rh2 f5 12.Bc4+ d5 13.exd5 (+/ - )
9...Qa5 10.h4 Transposes to 8...Qa5.
10.Qxh6
Black, who has played a bit risky so far, now needs to play something smart and anticipate a white initiative. If he does not do this he risks losing quite fast. There are two moves.
10...Qc7!
10...Kh8!? 11.h4 Rg8 12.g4 (+/ = ) White should be a little better thanks to his space advantage. Play is very non-forcing so providing a clear projection of what play might look like seems hard.
11.h4 c5 12.Ne2 cxd4 13.Nxd4 Nc6 14.h5 (Diagram)
This looks like a good place to take stock of the position. Both sides will try to attack and if white wants something he probably needs to display some accuracy in the play to come.

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14...Ne5
14...Nxd4? 15.Rxd4 Nxh5 16.g4 Nf6 17.Rd2!? Qb6 18.e5 dxe5 19.g5 Nh5 20.Bd3 Bb7 21.Rxh5 Qg1+ 22.Rd1 Qxd1+ 23.Kxd1 Bxf3+ 24.Be2 Bxh5 25.Bxh5 gxh5 26.Qxh5 (+ - )
15.g4
Remarkably white's possibilities looks to be diminished if he plays even one slow move e.g.
15.Nd2?! 15...a5! 16.g4 a4 17.hxg6 fxg6 18.g5 Nh5 19.Rxh5 gxh5 20.Bc4+ Nxc4 21.Nb5 Qb7 22.Nxc4 b3 23.g6 e5 24.Nbxd6 Qg7 25.gxh7+ Kh8 26.Nf7+ Qxf7 27.Nxe5 Qf4+ 28.Qxf4 Rxf4 29.Ng6+ Kxh7 30.Nxf4 bxa2 (∞)
Black has two dangerous passers which collude to give him counterchances.
15...Bd7
15...a5 16.Bh3! e6 17.Qg5 Qd8 18.Qh4 gxh5 19.gxh5 Kh8 20.f4 Ned7 21.Bxe6 fxe6 22.Nxe6 Qe8 23.Nxf8 Qxf8 24.Rhe1 (+/ = ) White seems better, potentially much so, even if the position has not been totally resolved.
16.Nd2
Only now after black played a relatively slow last move does this knight come out.
16...Kh8 17.Bb5 Rg8
17...a5 18.hxg6 fxg6 19.Nc4 Nxc4 20.g5 Rf7 21.gxf6 Bxb5 22.Nxb5 Qc5 23.Rd5 Qe3+ 24.Qxe3 Nxe3 (+/=) May be preferable but still looks to lead to clearly worse endgames.
18.hxg6 fxg6 19.Kb1 a5 20.Bxd7 Qxd7 21.Nf1 a4! (Diagram)
It is important for black to do something before white gets his pieces in order.

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22.Ne3 a3
22...b3 23.cxb3 axb3 24.a3 Rg7 25.Nd5 (+/ - ) Changes to little.
23.b3 e6 24.Ng2!?
There are lots of interesting continuations here and a deep analysis might prove fruitful. I settled for this mildly mysterious knight move though, since it allows the queen to centralise.

24.f4 Is probably to direct.
24.Qh2 looks like an alternative, though I reckon the queen will get involved anyway.

24...Rg7 25.Qe3!? (+/=) (Diagram)

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Is a position where white keeps control and should likely be somewhat better. Black does have weaknesses and there there is quite literally lots of room for white to manouvre as the game goes on.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #73 - 11/29/18 at 05:40:06
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Hi.

MNb wrote on 11/29/18 at 04:57:18:
10.O-O-O still is a great find.
It made several of my days very nice!

Very nice even. Smiley

For me I too find it an uplifting find. Have yet to have the chance to play it though. Despite having gone something like 4.Be3, 4.Bg5, 4.Bf4, 4.Bg5 in my last (white) Pirc games. Some day... Roll Eyes

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #72 - 11/29/18 at 04:57:18
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10.O-O-O still is a great find.
It made several of my days very nice!
  

The book had the effect good books usually have: it made the stupids more stupid, the intelligent more intelligent and the other thousands of readers remained unchanged.
GC Lichtenberg
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #71 - 11/28/18 at 16:15:48
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Part 3: The mainline that got castled into, 7...Qa5 with 10.0-0-0

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 Bxh6 7.Qxh6
Now making an active queen move is most popular by far and appears the second major variation to look at.
(A1B) 7...Qa5 8.Bd3 c5
This seems like the only attempt at equalising. Black can possibly develop some piece instead but white will be happy.
9.d5 Nbd7
Little else exists as decent alternative.
9...c4? 10.Bxc4 Qc5 11.Be2 (+ - ) Is a clear extra pawn, since tactics on f2 doesn't work without a knight on f3.
9...b5 10.Bxb5+ Nbd7 11.Qd2 Rb8 12.Bxd7+ Bxd7 13.Rb1 (+/ - ) Black does not look to have nearly enough compensation.
9...Bd7 10.0-0-0 is comfortable for white.
The following could perhaps be contemplated. Trouble is that white meets it much the same way as he does with 9...Nbd7.

9...a6!? 10.0-0-0! Ng4
10...b5 11.e5 dxe5 12.Nf3 Nbd7 13.Rhe1 (+/-)
10...Nbd7 11.Nf3 Ng4 12.Qg7 Rf8 13.e5 Ngxe5 14.Nxe5 dxe5? 15.Rhe1 Qb6 16.Ne4 Nf6 17.d6 Nxe4 18.dxe7 Kxe7 19.Qxe5+ Be6 20.Bxe4 (+/-)
11.Qg7 Rf8 12.Nf3! Nd7
12...Nxf2?! 13.Ng5 Nxd1 14.Rxd1 Bg4 15.Nxh7 Nd7 16.Rf1 O-O-O 17.Nxf8 Rxf8 18.h3 (+/-)
13.e5! Ndxe5 14.Nxe5 Nxe5 15.Rhe1 (+/-) (Diagram) White has very good compensation.

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If we go back to the main move 9...Nbd7. Many have realised that after the almost automatic 10.Nf3 there is the following trick:
9...Nbd7 10.Nf3 c4! 11.Bxc4 Qc5 12.Bd3!?
This square is not the only one available but alternatives are not obviously more threatening.
12...Qxf2+! 13.Kxf2 Ng4+ 14.Kg3!?
Again other squares are possible.
14...Nxh6 (Diagram)

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Instead of allowing this late middlegame with a let's squeeze something out attitude I prefer the more direct:
10.0-0-0!! (Diagram)

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This looks weird but is at the same time quite natural. The immediate tactical problems are sidestepped, white keeps flexibility with his knight and f-pawn (augmenting white's possibilities) and long castling also develops meaning black can't just meet it any which way.
10...b5!?
Others are not obviously sufficient so I think black might as well go for the most active.
10...a6 11.Nf3 b5
11...Ng4 12.Qh4 Nge5 13.Nxe5 Nxe5 14.f4 Nxd3+ 15.Rxd3 b5 16.Kb1 b4 17.Ne2 (+/ = ) to (+/ - ) Black faces no immediate danger. Also important though are positional factors and here black has the clear worst of it.
12.e5 dxe5
12...Nxe5?! 13.Nxe5 dxe5 14.d6! (+/ - )
13.Rhe1 Qc7
13...Qb6 14.d6 exd6 15.Ng5 Bb7 16.Be4 d5 17.Bxd5 Nxd5 18.Nxd5 Bxd5 19.Rxd5 O-O-O 20.Nxf7 Qe6 21.Nd6+ Kb8 22.Qd2 Nb6 23.Rexe5 Qf6 24.Ne4 Rxd5 25.Rxd5 Qh4 26.Re5 Rd8 27.Qg5 Qxg5+ 28.Nxg5 (+ - )
13...b4? 14.Nxe5 Nxe5 15.Rxe5 bxc3 16.Qg7 Rg8 17.Qxf6 (+/ - )
14.d6 exd6 15.Bxb5 Bb7 16.Bxd7+ Nxd7 17.Ng5 Nb6 18.f4 O-O-O 19.fxe5 dxe5 20.Rxd8+ Rxd8 21.Qxh7 (+/ - ) With pressure for white and definite black weaknesses.

10...Rb8 11.Bb5! a6 12.Bxd7+ Bxd7 13.e5! dxe5 14.Nf3 Bg4
14...b5 15.Nxe5 b4?! 16.d6 bxc3?! 17.Qg7 Rf8 18.dxe7 cxb2+ 19.Kb1 Kxe7 20.Rhe1 (+ - )
15.d6 Bxf3 16.gxf3 Qd8 17.Ne4 (+ - ) Black will almost certainly fall apart soon. He has no king safety, own play or rooks.

10...Ng4 11.Qh4 Nge5 12.f4 Nxd3+ 13.Rxd3 c4
13...Nb6 14.Nf3 Bd7 15.Nd2 f6 16.e5 O-O-O 17.a3!? (+/ - ) Black has a middlegame to look forward to that should be very much prospectless.
13...b5 14.e5 dxe5 15.d6 exd6 16.Nh3 f6 17.Rxd6 O-O 18.Rhd1 Nb6 19.a3 Bxh3 20.Qxh3 b4 21.Ne4 bxa3 22.bxa3 (+ - ) With quite dangerous threats for white.
14.Re3 b5 15.e5 dxe5 16.fxe5 Bb7 17.Nf3 O-O-O 18.a3 Nb6 19.d6! exd6 20.Ng5 Nd5 21.Nxd5 Bxd5 22.Rd1 h6 23.Rxd5 hxg5 24.Qg4+ Kb8 25.Qg3 dxe5 26.Rdxe5 Qd2+ 27.Kb1 Qd1+ 28.Ka2 Ka8 29.Re1 Qd7 30.Re7 Qd4 31.R1e5 Qb6 32.Rxf7 (+/ - ) With a fairly dominating position for white.

10...Nb6 11.e5 dxe5 12.Nf3 c4 13.Bxg6 fxg6 14.d6 exd6 15.Rxd6 Bd7 16.Qg7 O-O-O 17.Qxf6 (+/ - ) Should pose problems for black, who is not the best coordinated.

10...Ne5 11.Nf3 Nxf3 12.gxf3 Bd7 13.e5!?
3.Rhe1 O-O-O 14.e5 dxe5 15.Rxe5 e6 16.Bc4 exd5 17.Bxd5 Nxd5 18.Rdxd5 Bc6 19.Rxc5 Qa6 20.Qh3+ Kb8 21.Re1 (+/ = )
13...dxe5 14.d6 exd6 15.Qg7 Ke7 16.Bc4 Raf8 17.Rxd6 Kxd6 18.Qxf6+ Kc7 19.Nd5+ Kc8 20.Rd1 (+/ - ) With good activity and more than sufficient compensation for white.

11.Bxb5 Rb8 12.Bc6! (Diagram)

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This position is quite interesting. Black has given up a pawn but gained an open file towards the white king. Normally this would be enough compensation but to me it looks like back does not have much to back up his b-line pressure.
12...Kd8!?
This seems desperate although the alternative appears to be going for counterplay directly and this is not obviously a good strategy.

12...Ba6? 13.e5 dxe5 14.a3! (+/ - ) Black's pieces are pointing at to many different squares.
12...Rxb2 13.Kxb2 Qb4+ 14.Kc1 Qxc3 15.Ne2 Qa3+ 16.Kb1 Qb4+ 17.Ka1 Qxe4 18.Nc3 Qxc2 19.Nb5 Kd8 20.Rd2 Qf5 (+/ - ) Black is having quite severe coordination problems.
12...Qb4!? 13.Nf3! Qxb2+ 14.Kd2 Rb4 15.Rb1 Qa3 16.e5!? dxe5 17.Nxe5 Rd4+ 18.Nd3 Kd8 19.Nb5 Qa5+ 20.Kd1 Qxa2 21.Qc1 Nxd5 22.Rb3 (+/ = ) White should have at least slightly better chances.

13.Bxd7 Bxd7
Taking like this is probably necessary to diminish black's possibilities to activate his pieces in the most effective manner.
14.Nge2!
This seems like the most exact move. Directly going after b2 now is not so great. Instead:
14...Ng4! (Diagram)

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15.Qf4
15.Qh4 g5!?
15...f5 16.exf5 Qb4 17.b3 Bxf5 18.h3 Qa3+ 19.Kd2 Nf6 20.f3 Rb4 21.Qh6 Rg8 22.h4 (+/ = ) Is probably good for white as he has kept his extra pawn and has many ideas of how to kick away or nullify the effectiveness of black's pieces.
16.Qg3 h5!?
16...Ne5 17.b3 h6 18.Kb1 Qa3 19.Ka1 f5 20.f4 Nc4 21.Rb1 Nd2 22.Rbe1 fxe4 23.Nb1 Nxb1 24.Rxb1 (+/ = )
17.h4 Ne5 18.b3 Qa3+ 19.Kd2 g4 (∞) to (+/ = ) Again. This is hard to asses. White is up a pawn although it is not totally obvious what he should do to break out.
15...f5 16.b3 h6
16...fxe4 17.h3 g5 18.Qg3 Qa3+ 19.Kb1 Nf6 20.Qxg5 Rg8 21.Qe3 Rxg2 22.Nf4 (+/ = ) White looks a bit better. He targets e4, has fairly good pieces and is placed solidly enough to parry active attempts by black.
17.Qg3 fxe4 18.Nxe4 Qxa2 19.Qc3 Rf8 20.f3 Nf6 21.Nxf6 Rxf6 22.Kd2 Qa6 23.Rhe1 (+/ = ) (Diagram) Arguably white will be more comfortable in this late middlegame. He has good centralisation and not as many weaknesses as black.

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That was it. Mainly I have reposted analysis posted on chesspub earlier so nothing seriously fresh. A file will be posted later.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #70 - 11/12/18 at 09:48:39
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Part 2: 7...e5 with the critical 19...Nd4

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! (Diagram)

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Black plans to go directly for f7-f5, maxmising the effect of already having a rook on f8 and hitting white at the earliest opportunity. There is now a threat to the c2 pawn so white has only two moves that make sense. I will take 20.Rac1 as mainline even though it may well be that it is more promising to go with the other rook (a move I'll cover as well). The plan behind Rfc1 would be to keep the a1 rook on a1 with the hope of giving extra punch to an eventual a4.
20.Rac1

20.Rfc1 f5 21.exf5 gxf5 22.Ne2 f4 23.Qh3+
23.Qe4 Nxe2+ 24.Qxe2 f3 25.Qe4 Qf6 26.Rd1 fxg2 27.Rxd8+ Rxd8 (+/ = ) to (=) For what it's worth white looks a little bit better, although making progress does not look given.
23...Ne6
23...Qe6?! 24.Qxe6+ Nxe6 25.Rd1 Kc7 (+/ = ) It's not going to be easy to convert but white looks a little better here with no queens on and a clear extra pawn.
24.Rd1 Rde8! (Diagram)

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Black's piece arrangement looks mildly weird now but ok... The idea should be something like that by setting up compactly black gets chances to decide when and how he starts attacking white's kingside. White now has quite many attempts but most look possible to defuse for black. If black wanted to force play he could have tried:
24...f3 25.Nc3 Rxd1+ 26.Rxd1 fxg2 27.Ne4 Kb8 (+/ = ) Which looks less solid to me. Crucially though, it looks to give white to well placed pieces for black to be able to aspire for equality.

25.c4

25.a4 b4 26.Nc1 e4 27.Nb3 f3 28.g3 e3 29.fxe3 Qg5 30.Rd2 Qxe3+ (=) With counterplay.
25.Qf3 Kb7 26.b4 axb4 27.a4; 27.axb4 Qxb4 (∞) I can't see a way through for white.; 27...e4 28.Qxe4 Nc7! 29.Qxe7 Rxe7 30.Nc1 c5 31.Nd3 Kc6 (∞) Black's activity compensates the pawn deficit.
25.Nc3 Kb8 26.a4 Nd4 27.axb5 Rh8 28.Qd3 Qh4 29.h3 Reg8 (∞) Is counterplay.
25...f3 26.Ng3 Kb8 27.cxb5 cxb5 28.Rd5 Nd4 29.Qh6
29.Rc1 Qg7; 29...Rd8!? 30.Rxd8+ Qxd8 31.Qh6 Rf7 32.gxf3 Nxf3+ 33.Kh1 Qd5 34.Qb6+ Rb7 35.Qc6 Rh7 36.Nf1 Qxc6 37.Rxc6 Kb7 38.Rc1 Kb6 39.Kg2 e4 (=) to (+/ = ) Black should be able to hold.; 30.Rcc5 Rd8 31.Rxd4; 31.Rxb5+ Nxb5 32.Rxb5+ Kc7 33.gxf3 Qf7 34.Rc5+ Kb6 35.Rc3 Rh8 36.Qg4 Rd1+ 37.Kg2 Rd4 38.Qf5 Qxf5 39.Nxf5 Rg8+ 40.Ng3 (=) I Don't see how any side can win with accurate play.; 31...Rxd4 32.Rxb5+ Kc7 33.gxf3 Qf7 34.Rc5+ Kb8 35.Rc3 e4 36.Qf1 Qd7 37.Qe2 Rd1+ 38.Kg2 exf3+ 39.Rxf3 Rxf3 40.Qxf3 Rd4!? (=) Black should not be worse objectively.
29...Rf6 30.Qe3!? Qe6 31.Rc5 fxg2 32.Rd1 Kb7 33.b4
33.a4 Qg4 34.Rxd4 Qxd4 35.Rxb5+ Kc7 36.Qc1+ Rc6 37.Qg5 Rb6 38.Rxa5 Rxb2 (∞)
33.Ne4 Qg4 34.Rxd4 exd4 35.Rxb5+ Ka6 36.Rxa5+ Kxa5 37.Qd2+ Ka6 38.Qd3+ Kb7 39.Qb5+ Ka7 40.Qxe8 Qd1+ 41.Kxg2 Qf3+ 42.Kf1 Qd1+ 43.Kg2 Qf3+ 44.Kf1 Qd1+ 45.Kg2 (=)
33...Ka6 34.Qe4 Qa2 35.Nf5 Qe2 36.Qxe2 Nxe2+ 37.Kxg2 Nf4+ 38.Kf1 Rxf5 (=) Is not worse for black even if white's rooks will get active.

20.Rac1 f5 21.exf5
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+
23.Qe4 Nxe2+ 24.Qxe2 f3 25.Qe3
25.Qe4 Kb7 (=) Black's control over the lines combined with his f3 pawn being highly useful means he seems to have compensation.
25...Qh4 26.Qb6 Rf6 (=) Perpetual check seems a likely outcome.
23...Ne6
23...Kb7 24.Nxd4 Rxd4 (+/ = ) Black has not gotten in f3.
23...Qe6 24.Qxe6+ Nxe6 25.f3 Seems (+/ = ) - esque
24.Rcd1
24.Rfd1 f3 25.Nc3 Rde8 26.a4 fxg2 27.Ne4 Kb8 28.Qc3 Nd4 29.Qxa5 Qc7 30.Qxc7+ Kxc7 31.Kxg2 Rf4 32.Nc5 Rg8+ 33.Kf1 Rfg4 34.Ke1 Rf4 35.axb5 Rg1+ 36.Kd2 Rxf2+ 37.Kd3 Rxd1+ 38.Rxd1 Rxh2 39.c3 Nxb5 (=) Black is OK.
24...f3 25.Nc1
25.Nc3!? Rde8! 26.Rfe1 Kb8 27.Qg4 Qf7 28.g3 Rg8 29.Qe4 Nd4 30.Re3
30.h4 Qh5 31.Kh2 Rg4 32.Rxd4 Rxe4 33.Rdxe4 (∞)
30...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

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25...fxg2
25...Rde8 26.Rfe1
26.g3 Qg7 27.Rfe1 Kc7 28.Qf1 Nf4 29.Nd3 Ne2+ 30.Rxe2 fxe2 31.Qxe2 e4 32.Nc5 e3 (∞) With play for black.
26...Qf6 27.Nd3 Rh8 28.Qxf3 Qxf3 29.gxf3 Nd4 30.Re3 Nxc2 31.Rxe5 Reg8+ 32.Kh1 Rh3 33.Re4 Rgh8 34.Kg1 Rxh2 35.Rd2 Na1 36.Nc5 Rh1+ 37.Kg2 Rc1 38.Ne6 Nb3 39.Rd6 Rhh1 40.Rxc6+ Rxc6 41.Kxh1 Rc2 42.Kg2 (+/ = ) It's hard to say if white will win but he seems better.
26.Rxd8+ Kxd8 27.Rd1+ Kc7 28.Qe3 Qc5 29.Nd3
21.Qxc5!? is similar but the pawn is kept on f2.
29...Qxe3 30.fxe3 (+=)
White is a little better since he will soon be a pawn up. This is not the end of the story though as there will be a considerable technical task.

Analysis file will be found in later post.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #69 - 11/12/18 at 08:18:50
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Hello.

RdC wrote on 11/10/18 at 23:33:21:
Confused_by_Theory wrote on 11/10/18 at 21:50:14:
4.Bf4 analysis part 1: Apparently solvent play (7...e5)


6.Bh6!?


There's going to be a lot of games with this because it can arise from positions where White has played Be3 or Bg5

Yer. As long as black allows 6.Bh6 it seems like a useful move for a decent amount of people.

Even for London-system players in fact; which in itself means it's useful to almost everybody out there.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #68 - 11/11/18 at 16:07:20
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12.O-O iso 12.Ng5 in the main line is what attracts attacking players like me.
  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #67 - 11/10/18 at 23:33:21
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 11/10/18 at 21:50:14:
4.Bf4 analysis part 1: Apparently solvent play (7...e5)


6.Bh6!?


There's going to be a lot of games with this because it can arise from positions where White has played Be3 or Bg5
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #66 - 11/10/18 at 21:50:14
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4.Bf4 analysis part 1: Apparently solvent play (7...e5)

(A) 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7
By far the main move. Also very natural if white can't (probably somewhere in the early middlegame) draw benefit from black having put the bishop where it can be threatened by Bh6. In practice White players have mostly gone 5.Nf3 now. It puts a negligible amount of direct pressure on black though. 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.

Castling for black seems alright e.g. 5.Nf3 0-0 planning 6.Qd2 c5. From what I can tell black can also try 5...Nc6 as long as he is aware of the following sequence; where white essentially does not get anywhere:
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! (Diagram)

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Instead of the knight move...
5.Qd2!
Appears more dangerous. White's plan is to retain more flexibility and disturb black with Bh6 early. Black has:

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

Others:
5...Nc6 will be covered in another move order.
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 versatile move in the Pirc. Black prepares b5 in order to possibly seize space and disturb white's important c3 knight. He can also sometimes decide to 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.
6...Bxh6
6...0-0 is quite serious. I recommend 7.0-0-0 but will cover this under a 5.0-0 move order later. Instead capturing is the only move apart from castling and also recommended by some sources.
7.Qxh6
Black now has to decide how to pursue both development and own play. There two serious choices that lead to different types of positions:

A1A) 7...e5
A1B) 7...Qa5

Originally I took the queen move as mainline and made a heck of a long comment about 7...e5, before continuing to give more moves after the queen move. I think now that giving these two variations separately is better. They are different and in both there is an extensive body of positions to check, meaning there is no lack of material for either move. This post will details how I think white sould play after 7...e5, while 7...Qa5 will be covered in a separate post after.

(A1A) 7...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(+=) White looks more comfortable.

My suggestion against 7...e5 is to play the way described below. Given is only what I think are the most important lines. An analysis file will be made available with more extensive coverage:

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 is not obviously so much worse than 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 (diagram)

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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 now would be either move with the a-pawn. But it took me some time to evaluate both options.

At first I thought (11...a5) 12.a4 was about equally strong compared to moving the pawn forward one step. Then I found this nice sequence and it looked like Black was fine:
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.

An addition to this though is that for a while I likely underestimated the continuation below. It looked like it needlessly dropped a central pawn. This is not really so bad though and white should have serious chances for advantage:

12.a4 b4 13.Nb1 Nbd7 14.Nbd2 Ba6 15.Bc4! Bxc4 16.Nxc4 Qc5
16...Nxe4? 17.O-O-O Nxf2 18.Rxd7 Qxd7 19.Re1 Qe6 20.Nfxe5 Rd8 21.Qg7 Rf8 22.Qxh7 (+/ - ) Despite having netted a central pawn earlier it does not seem like black has been successful in defusing white's pressure.
17.Nfd2 Qxf2+ 18.Kxf2 Ng4+ 19.Ke2 Nxh6 20.Nb3 Ke7 21.Nbxa5 Ra6 22.Nb3 (+/ = ) It looks hard to organise the black position. White seems fairly easily better.

I was also always pleased with the more modest 12.a3 and would perhaps slightly prefer it anyway:
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.

12.Ng5 Rf8 13.Nxh7 Nxh7 14.Qxh7 Nc5 15.Qh6
Somewhat surprisingly considering black pretty much having played a passive setup I don't think white has much leeway to experiment. If he wants an advantage I would recommend playing exactly these last couple of moves. For alternatives see the analysis file.
15...a5 16.a3 Be6!
Critical. The weakening of support for the b3 bishop means white almost has to exchange on e6 and then, even if black is still a pawn down, he at least has a very good knight. Taking the bishop directly does not work so well with the queen ready to come back e.g.
16...Nxb3?! 17.cxb3 Be6 18.Qe3 f6 19.Qb6 Rc8 20.Qxa5!? Kf7 21.Qb6 Bxb3 22.O-O Rfd8 23.Qe3 (+/ = )
There is also:
16...Ba6 17.Rd1 Nxb3
17...Rd8 18.Qe3 Rxd1+ 19.Kxd1 Rh8 20.Ba2 Bc8 21.Kc1 Kf8 22.Nb1 Kg7 23.Nd2 (+/ = )
17...b4 18.axb4 axb4 19.Ba4 Nxa4 20.Nxa4 Bb5 21.b3 Rg8 22.g3 (+/ = )
18.cxb3 b4 19.axb4 axb4 20.Na4 Bb5 21.Nb6 Rd8 22.Qe3 Rxd1+ 23.Kxd1 Rh8 24.Kc2 Qf8 25.h3 (+/ = ) White is somewhat better.
17.Bxe6 Nxe6 18.Qe3 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!? (Diagram)

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White has a serious alternative to castling that perhaps is even a bit more simple to play and understand. It also leads to pawn up positions although ones where I think there should not necessarily be good chances to make something out of this. Here are some lines:

19.Qb6!? Qc7 20.Qxc7+ Kxc7 21.Rd1
Probably best. I could not find anything special in other continuations e.g.
21.f3 Nf4 22.Rg1 Rh8 23.h3 f5! 24.Rd1 b4! 25.axb4 axb4 26.Rxd8 Rxd8 27.Ne2 fxe4 28.fxe4 b3 29.Nxf4 exf4 30.Ke2 bxc2 31.Rc1 Rb8 32.Rxc2 Rb3 (=) Black should have enough compensation because of his active rook.
21.Ne2 Nd4 22.Rc1 Rd6 23.Ng3 b4 24.h4 Rfd8 25.Nf1 b3 26.cxb3 Nxb3 27.Rb1 Nc5 28.Ne3 Nxe4 29.h5 gxh5 30.Rxh5 Nc5 31.Kf1 Nd3 32.Rf5 f6 (=) Black is OK.
21...b4 22.axb4 axb4 23.Ne2 b3
23...Nc5!? 24.f3 b3 25.Rd2 bxc2 26.Nc1 Ne6 27.Rxc2 Rd4!? (=) to (+/ = ) This seems to be a safe pawn up kind of position for white. At the same time making use of this extra asset is highly problematic and black has very good pieces. I think black should hold.
24.Rd2 Ra8 25.cxb3 Nc5 26.O-O Nxe4!? (=) to (+/ = ) Black is just marginally worse. (Diagram)

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19...Nd4!
Now is the correct time for this move. Black gets chances to hold the position thanks to general activity and possibilities to make pawn advances against white's still not amazingly developed position. Analysis of this will follow in the next post (character limit nearing).

There are less good alternatives also e.g.
19...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.

More to follow soon. Enjoy!
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #65 - 11/10/18 at 21:42:49
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Hi.

Okay. So I will make an effort with 4.Bf4 analysis in the coming week. There was some match or something that made me take out a couple of vacation days anyway. Since last post I have quietly looked again at our favourite 7...e5 continuation and checked some (hopefully promising) paths against black castling on move five or six. Now what is going to happen is I will start posting stuff; although for reasons of pure evil I think I will do it piece by piece in some manner. So expect a post of content once every few days at best. Having already thought a bit about structure as well and this is probably how everything will be presented:

Post 1: The apparently solvent 7...e5 (excluding 19...Nd4)

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

Post 2: The critical 7...e5 with 19...Nd4
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!

Post 3: The mainline that got castled in to 7...Qa5 with 10.0-0-0
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 Bxh6 7.Qxh6 Qa5 8.Bd3 c5 9.d5 Nbd7 10.0-0-0

Post 4: Castling - when our opponent does it we hope it's less good
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 0-0 6.0-0-0 c6 7.Bh6
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 0-0


Post 5: Compact c6 play
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 c6

Post 6: Keeping creative types in check - 4..Nc6 and others
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 Nc6 (4...Nbd7, 4...a6, 4...e6, 4...Na6)

Feel free to comment and as always have a nice evening!
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #64 - 10/21/18 at 22:43:48
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I played over Confused_by_Theory's analysis from #61, see the attachment.
  

chesspub-1517943784-61.pgn ( 1 KB | 126 Downloads )
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #63 - 10/20/18 at 19:23:12
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Hi.

MNb wrote on 10/20/18 at 14:36:00:
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 14:36:00:
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 14:36:00:
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 14:36:00
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 10/19/18 at 23:38:20:
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 - 10/19/18 at 23:38:20
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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 16:20:03
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 10/06/18 at 11:01:54:
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 11:01:54
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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 06:10:58:
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, ST 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 17:25:47:
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 17:25:47
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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 06:10:58
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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, ST 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 10:13:52 by MNb »  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #56 - 09/15/18 at 07:28:49
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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 06:59:35:
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 06:59:35:
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 06:59:35
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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 - 09/14/18 at 23:49:43
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 07/31/18 at 10:27:04:
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 03:42:11 by Leon_Trotsky »  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #53 - 09/14/18 at 23:18:35
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Hi.

Leon_Trotsky wrote on 09/14/18 at 22:55:49:
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 22:55:49:
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 22:55:49
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 07/31/18 at 10:27:04:
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 21:52:46
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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 07:35:22 by Confused_by_Theory »  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #50 - 09/14/18 at 21:47:05
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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 20:07:28
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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 10:27:04
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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 17:23:19
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Hi.

Keano wrote on 07/25/18 at 14:18:35:
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 18:48:24
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Stigma wrote on 07/25/18 at 14:36:59:
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 14:36:59
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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 14:18:35
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 07/24/18 at 17:09:54:
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 17:09:54
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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 10:54:09
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That was limp stuff from MVL. Disappointing from white.
I dont see how h3, Qd2 and e5 are supposed to fit together.
That said Im an FM duffer, not 2800.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #41 - 07/24/18 at 09:40:11
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Thanks for the link

Carlsen beating MVL with the Pirc!

Smiley

  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #40 - 07/23/18 at 12:35:35
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #39 - 03/18/18 at 04:34:21
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Confused_by_Theory wrote on 03/17/18 at 21:03:36:
I had to look a bit to find it Smiley but check reply #6 in the 4.Be3 mega-thread for a brief rundown of this long castling idea in the 6.Bh6 with 7...Qa5 line.


Confused_by_Theory wrote on 03/17/18 at 21:03:36:
Much pleasure looking at this.


Thanks for your efforts, and for MNb Minotauring for the White side

For those lost in the maze

http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/chess/YaBB.pl?num=1509173142/6#6

  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #38 - 03/17/18 at 21:03:36
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Hi.

I had to look a bit to find it Smiley but check reply #6 in the 4.Be3 mega-thread for a brief rundown of this long castling idea in the 6.Bh6 with 7...Qa5 line. I'd quote or repost here though I'm on a mobile just now so not today. Anyway a not so far fetched vision of the future would have it as at the very least a serious alternative to the more standard queenless middlegame line. Maybe more as it becomes widely known.

Going back to the other move 7...e5 (and the 11...a5 line). I think 12.a3 may have at least a small drawback compared to 12.a4. This is that after 12.a3 Be6!? (which was probably not so good a move earlier e.g. 11...Be6 12.Ng5 Bxb3 13.axb3 as covered briefly by Shaw) black doesn't really seem like he is losing a pawn. Maybe he can even tough it out somehow; even if white still exerts annoying pressure. This is more of a thought than anything else but ok. Better write it down.

Much pleasure looking at this.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #37 - 03/17/18 at 15:26:49
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Sorry, doesn't look OK.
  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #36 - 03/17/18 at 10:40:10
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MNb wrote on 03/17/18 at 08:52:11:
JEH wrote on 03/17/18 at 07:52:09:
Therefore I'd prefer 7. ...Qa5 to 7. ...e5. I like the Queen here, and b5 and e5 can await their turn.

Somewhere in that long Bg5 thread CbT analyzed 7...Qa5 8.O-O-O combined with a well timed e4-e5. Play is very complicated, but it doesn't look for Black.


Doesn't look OK or doesn't look bad? Sad

For future Pirc players lost in the maze, here's a link to the other thread...

http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/chess/YaBB.pl?num=1466412326/30#30

Maybe the line where Be3/Bf4/Bg5 needs to be a seperate thread so the nuance of the Bishop placement can be discussed seperately.

I'm also thinking there will need to be a follow up to Pirc Hospital! called Pirc Labyrinth!



If you look carefully, you can see me lost in there just past the second wall, but I'd only recommend the very brave or the very foolish follow me Smiley
  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #35 - 03/17/18 at 08:52:11
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MartinC wrote on 03/16/18 at 21:05:57:
I'd definitely want to analyse taking e4 as black on move 13 a fair bit too. Not obvious (to me?) how it gets punished.

12.a4 b4 13.Ne2 Nxe4 14.Qg7 Rf8 15.Nxe5 f6 16.Qxe7+ Kxe7 17.Nc4 with quite a lead in development.

JEH wrote on 03/17/18 at 07:52:09:
Therefore I'd prefer 7. ...Qa5 to 7. ...e5. I like the Queen here, and b5 and e5 can await their turn.

Somewhere in that long Bg5 thread CbT analyzed 7...Qa5 8.O-O-O combined with a well timed e4-e5. Play is very complicated, but it doesn't look for Black.
At the moment it seems to me that 7...e5 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Nf3 Qe7 10.Bc4 Nbd7 (iso b5) and only after 11.O-O taking the initiative on the queen's wing with b5. Still 12.Bb3 a5 13.a4 b4 14.Nb1 looks pleasant for White at first sight.
That urges once again the question: should White play 4.Be3, 4.Bf4 or 4.Bg5 ?
As for Black it perhaps pays off to study Dangerous Weapons chapters 1 and 2 carefully (4...Bg7 5.Qd2 O-O).

Of course those who combine the Pirc with the KID should strongly consider 1.e4 g6.
« Last Edit: 03/17/18 at 10:24:59 by MNb »  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #34 - 03/17/18 at 07:52:09
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Carrying many wounds of battle from playing the Pirc, I'm very mindful of playing moves like b5 and e5 too early. They are crucial to some of Black's plans, but timing is everything.

Therefore I'd prefer 7. ...Qa5 to 7. ...e5. I like the Queen here, and b5 and e5 can await their turn.

Has this been covered in any of the threads so far? It's also Kornev's practical repertoire suggestion.

I think we might need a follow up to Pirc Alert! called Pirc Hospital!

  

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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #33 - 03/16/18 at 21:05:57
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Why is 12 a4 obvious? Leaving e4 en prise like that isn't something people will do without thinking quite hard about it.

I'd definitely want to analyse taking e4 as black on move 13 a fair bit too. Not obvious (to me?) how it gets punished.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #32 - 03/16/18 at 14:42:08
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Hello.

Confused_by_Theory wrote on 02/17/18 at 06:18:34:
If there is renewed interest, some months ago I remember having a realisation somewhere when I rechecked the 7...e5 analysis I posted in the 4.Bg5 thread. Will probably get back about that. Been quit busy so haven't followed up at all.


To follow up on this. What I realised was that in the long though probably important sequence:

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bg5 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 Bxh6 7.Qxh6 e5 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Nf3 Qe7 10.Bc4 b5 11.Bb3 a5!? 12.a4 b4 13.Nb1 Nbd7 14.Nbd2 Ba6 15.Ng5 Rf8 16.Nxh7 Nxh7 17.Qxh7 Qg5(!)
May be a better try compared to the 17...0-0-0 I gave just over a year ago in the 4.Bg5 megathread (reply #67).

The basic problem with castling long is that after 18.Qh3 black does seem forced to go Kc7, which amounts to a tempo likely not spent so well. With 17...Qg5 black just places his pieces actively and with some accuracy he seems to be able to get positions that look defensible. Here is a PGN with some plausible lines of play:



A problem is that 12.a3 still looks good. With some luck white players will go for the more obvious (to my eyes) 12.a4 though and practically I think it could be worthwhile to check both lines. Also. If black's cause after 12.a3 is somehow strengthened I don't see why this entire line wouldn't be simply playable. This would be a major thing as well because this 6.Bh6 line seems so, relatively speaking, hard to combat for black.

Have a nice day.
  
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Re: Pirc 4 Bf4: Best Lines/Move Orders
Reply #31 - 02/23/18 at 15:20:55
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Hi.

MNb wrote on 02/21/18 at 10:52:48:
So my day is not completely nice yet, especially as I'm not convinced either of 6.Bd3 Bg7 7.Bh6. The well known (from Ree-Donner, NEDch Zierikzee 1967 for instance) black square strategy Bxh6 8.Qxh6 e5 keeps on transposing to weak versions of the 150-Attack (Black can but is never forced to play ....Bg4).
Yesterday I've been toying a bit with 6.Bd3 Bg7 7.a4 (a novelty, so it seems) b4 8.Ne2 a5 9.Nf3 as (via transposition) Bg4 10.h3 went well in Krueger-Ruether, corr. 1996. Neither will White object 9...Nbd7 (iso 9...Bg4) 10.Bh6 O-O 11.Bxg7 Kxg7 12.e5, Lutz-Lorscheid, Oostende 1992 (again via transposition). And a third transpostion is 9...Nbd7 10.Bh6 Bxh6 11.Qxh6 e5, eg Gipslis-Sedov, Swidnica 1996. This might be Black's best, but I don't think it's fully equal. Notice that Bd3, the problem bishop, does something useful: controlling square c4.

Checking in after some busy days. I can say that I did not find anything that looked like a clean equaliser against this 7.a4. While black gets somewhat ok looking positions they rarely seem fully equal. The white queen is a positional asset on h6 in many lines, possibly helping to set up an attack and also preventing castling. Also worth mentioning is that if the queen stays on d2 it attacks b4, which may draw the non-developing a5 from black.

In terms of thought out responses I came up with the idea of letting b4 hang for a move or two (or more, although who's keeping count anyway) by going with the natural looking move of castling followed by a quick Bg4. Also I think there is point to castling before playing a7-a5 and I came up with a line of play trying to demonstrate how this could be. If black is looking for quick equality this could be it; although there is some concreteness to be navigated. To the first line though:

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 c6 5.Qd2 b5 6.Bd3 Bg7 7.a4 b4 8.Nce2 0-0
Possibly most accurate. Now 9.Qxb4 is actually not so good. Instead...
9.Nf3
9.Bh6 Bxh6 10.Qxh6 e5 is different compared to if the knight had already moved to f3. Very playable for white, at the same time it doesn't look so threatening to me.
9...Bg4!? 10.Bh6!? Nbd7
Natural development from black obviously; made possible by the ordering of his moves. But wait...
11.Bxg7 Kxg7 12.Qxb4
A pawn drops! Now does black get compensation? I am not exactly sure but at the same time after a few natural moves it isn't going to look so bad for black. I mainly checked 12...Bxf3 now, which depending on how you see it deviates a bit from being a natural move. Crucially though it seems to work out OK.
To note earlier is that 10.Qxb4 is actually a real possibility as well. Keeping the g7 bishop alive makes for different positions entirely though.

Some analysis: