Practical repertoire against Pirc and Modern Defence
IM Renato Quintillano
In his first database for Modern Chess, Brazilian IM Renato Quintillano is analyzing two of the most aggressive Black's choices against 1.e4 - The Pirc Defence and The Modern Defence. The author provides us with quite an interesting repertoire, not only rich in ideas, but also in new concepts of play in these setups. In the database, you can find some very sharp lines and a lot of endgame positions, which the author analyzed in depth.
Chapter 1 starts with one of the most topical positions in Pirc Defence.
The first important crossroad arises after the moves: 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3 c5!?
Тhis move is one of the most analyzed ones in the Pirc Defence. Мany of the variations are quite sharp and one needs a very precise knowledge in order to play them. Obviously, the move 5...c5!? is suggested in a number of opening books dedicated to the Pirc Defence.
In this position, 6.e5 is premature due to 6…Nfd7!.
White should start with 6.Bb5+ and only after 6…Bd7 (6…Nd7 and 6…Nc6 are also analyzed) playing 7.e5! is justified. The main line continues with 7…Ng4.
It is important to point out that in this position White can force a draw by means of 8.e6 fxe6 9.Ng5 Bb5 10.Ne6 Bd4! 11.Nxd8 Bf2+ 12.Kd2 Be3
with a perpetual.
Of course, Renato suggests another continuation. After 8.Bxd7 Qxd7, instead of the main move 9.d5, he opts for a more fresh approach - 9.h3!?.
IM Quintillano doesn't claim an advantage in all the lines. Nevertheless, he manages to find new and unexplored ideas. Given the fact that Black’s position is strategically dangerous, White can pose practical problems.
Chapters 2 and 3 are dedicated to the main line of the Austrian Attack.
The main line arises after the moves 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.e5!?
This is only the third most popular move in this position, but as we already said, Renato has his own approach to the opening. That is the reason why this database is mainly focused on creating practical problems.
Here is what the author has to say about his choice:
This aggressive move can surprise Black, as it is just the third most played option, and the arising positions are very interesting. White is taking the initiative very quickly in the center, seizing space and trying to disturb Black's development.
Chapter 2 deals with all the knight moves after 6.e5 – 6…Nfd7, 6…Ne8, 6…Nh5?! 6...Ng4?!
6…Nfd7 is definitely the most serious move.
Renato analyses 7.h4 and 7.Bc4 and claims an advantage after the second option. In his annotations to this position, the young Brazilian IM has done a great job. Besides the lines and ideas, he provides the reader with an entire attacking concept.
In Chapter 3, the author starts dealing with Black's main reply after: 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.e5!? – the move 6…dxe5.
Here, after 7.fxe5 Black is at a crossroad.
After 7…Nd7?! 8.h4! White’s attack is very serious.
7…Nd5 is by far the most serious option. White should play 8.Bc4 where Black faces a choice again.
Despite the fact that the moves 8…Nb6 and 8…Be6 are playable, Renato convincingly proves us that White has an upper hand in the following strategical battle.
Chapter 4 features two of the most popular alternatives to the main lines 5…a6 and 5…c6.
Of course, these two moves are perfectly playable, but it seems that in such a sharp variation Black has to play in a more principled way. It is not a surprise that both moves fail to equalize.
After 5…a6 it is not hard to guess that Renato is suggesting 6.e5!? which is of course not the most popular move. Even in such sidelines, the Brazilian manages to find a bunch of novelties.
Very impressive is the variation 6…dxe5 (6…Nfd7 is better) 7.dxe5!N with the idea 7…Qxd1 8.Kxd1 Ng4 9.Nd5!.
This position shows to what an extent the move 5…a6 is pointless here. Black’s position is awful after the forced 9…Kd8 10.h3 Nh6 11.Bd2!
At this point, White is planning to follow with 0-0-0 and Ba5 with a devastating attack.
After 5…c6, surprisingly, White is not playing 6.e5 immediately but Renato prefers to delay it for one move.
The main line is 6.Bd3!.
White doesn’t need to rush. Only now, after 6…0-0, he is playing 7.e5!. The main line goes 7…Nd5 8.Nxd5.
Renato explains very well the arising structure and White’s plans, but even with an unarmed eye, you can see that White should be better.
In Chapter 5, the author analyses all other sidelines - this means all piece moves after 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3
This chapter deals with the following moves: 5…Bg4, 5…Na6?! and 5…Nc6?!
White should continue with the natural 6.h3, achieving a bishop pair. After 6…Bxf3 7.Qxf3, White is definitely better. You should just remember one important idea. In general, White is threatening 8.e5. That is why Black should play 7…c6 and now White simply goes for 8.Be3 followed by 9.0-0-0 and starts attacking the poor Black’s king.
In Chapter 6, IM Quintillano is analyzing the position which is being reached after 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6
This is quite a tricky move order. The point of leaving the knight on g8 is that Black can save this tempo and start an active play on the queenside by means of a7-a6, b7-b5 and c7-c5. In this way, he takes advantage of the fact that the g7-bishop has a free path, and the e4-e5 advance loses some strength. However, this move order has some drawbacks. The most significant one is that Black neglects the development of the kingside and his king remains in the center.
The main line is 4.f4 a6!?
5.Nf3 b5 (5…Nbd7?! Is just bad due to due to 6.Bc4! and Black’s position is very unpleasant) 6.Bd3.
This is an important position for the understanding of White's main ideas. He wants to execute the e4-e5 advance prevents Black from playing Nf6 and creates a tension in the center. Furthermore, this move frees the e4 – square.
Black can start with 6…Nbd7 (preparing c5) when the immediate 7.e4-e5 is quite strong. According to Renato's analysis, Black doesn’t have an equality in this line.
6…Bb7 is a possible alternative.
Now, 7.e4-e5 would be still possible, but probably even stronger is the waiting move 7.Qe2 which scores quite well in practice. IM Quintillano comes up with some very interesting ideas in this line and claims an advantage for White.
In chapters 7 and 8 IM Quintillano analyses the position arising after 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6.
This variation is known as “Gurgenidze variation”, but was also a pet line of the famous Moldavian trainer Viacheslav Chebanenko and all his students such as Viktor Gavrikov, Viorel Bologan, and many other strong players.
Black's main idea is to restrict the c3-knight. At the same time, this move is very flexible since Black can play d7-d6 or d7-d5, depending on White's play.
As always, the most principled continuation is 4.f4 when 4…d6 doesn't have an independent value and transposes to some sideline of Pirc. An interesting idea is 4…Qb6, but Renato proves that White has an upper hand. After 5.Nf3 d5 (5…Nh6 is also reasonable alternative) both 6.exd5 and 6.e5 lead to a promising position for White.
The main line arises after 4…d5 5.e5 and Black is at a crossroad again.
In chapter 7, the author analyses the move 5…h5.
Black is trying to stop the possible White’s expansion on the kingside. After 6.Nf3, Black has a choice. He can either exchange the bishop for the knight on f3 with 6…Bg4 or wait for one more move by playing 6…Nh6. In this case, the bishops can be exchanged via the f5-square. Both plans are possible and lead to calm positions in which White has a space advantage and several plans to increase the pressure. However, Black’s position is quite solid. Renato did a great job by explaining this structure in a great detail. If you study it carefully, you should be quite confident to face this setup as White.
Chapter 8 deals with the move 5…Nh6
which is much more dynamic than 5…h5.
Black’s idea is to finish the development quickly and to start attacking White’s center.
The plan includes Bg4, f7-f6 and 0-0 in a different move order.
These 3 moves are all possible after 6.Nf3. Renato chooses the setup based on the development of the bishop on d3 against all Black’s plans.
After 6…Bg4, the most aggressive response is the immediate 7.h3 which lead to a very promising position for White after 7…Bxf3 8.Qxf3 f6 9.Bd3 0-0 10.exf6!?
Concrete investigations show that White is on the driver’s seat in all the variations.
After 6…0-0 7.Bd3 (White can use the e2-square to reinforce the center by means of Ne2 and c2-c3) 7…f6 8.0-0 Bg4 9.h3 Bxf3 10.Rxf3
We reached probably the most important position in this line. Black has various moves at his disposal, but it seems that all of them fail to equalize completely. The only trick that you should remember is that you should meet 10…Qb6 with 11.Be3!. Against other 10th Black’s moves, the key maneuver is Ne2 followed by c3 or c4.
The database contains 20 test questions
You can try to solve some of them now.