Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Pirc defense against the Paleface

I have been loosing a number of Paleface games lately as I attacked like a madman on the kingside, whilst my opponent did the same on the queenside.

Now, in a previous post, I showed how to transpose into the Benoni defense, with equal chances for both players. But that is possibile only when black plays c5 rather quickly.

Unfortunately, some black defenders will choose a Pirc-like setup and delay the development of the c5 advance. What is the best white setup against that system ? Let's browse for the moves played by leading grandmasters in the position after 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d6 3.e4 g6 (diagram)

Anand is twice in the database, twice against Mikhail Gurevich. He played 4.Be3 in both occasions ( as to avoid the advance of the c pawn to c5 ). Also Kramnik and Kasparov played the move 4.Be3, so it cant be that bad. Let's look at the Anand-Gurevich game in Venaco (France) 2005. After 4...Bg7, Anand played 5.Qd2, immediately declaring his intentions.

Gurevich now played 5...Nc6. With the advance of the c pawn blocked, Anand played 6.Nc3. With the knight on c6, black was now ready to play 6...e5. Anand now closed the centre with the advance 7.d5 (diagram).

Putting this in Rybka gives white already a decent advantage, and the game continued 7...Nd4 8.Nge2 Nxe2 9.Bxe2 00 and finally 10.g4 (diagram) !!

With the attack on the kingside already in place, Gurevich tries to attack on the queenside with 10...c5, but this is easily countered now with the simple 11.dxc5 bxc6 12.000 (diagram)

Rybka gives white a clear advantage now, eg after 12...d5 13.exd5 Qa5 14.dxc6 ( Rybka improves Anand's play by 14.Bc4, winning ) Be6 15.g5  Rfd8 16.Qe1 Nd5 17.Nxd5 Qxa2 18.c4 and white has a won game.

Bottonline - dont play g4 to quickly in your wild kingside attacks. Make sure you can deal with the c5 counterattack !

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