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LCB, Issue #104 --, Take Down the Pirc Defense
February 01, 2024

Take Down the Pirc Defense

Lapoc Chess Board, Issue #104 -- GOTM #74

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In the Pirc Defense Black answers 1.e4 with 1...d6. It first showed it's face in the 1920s when Hypermodern theory was tearing down the Classical dogma.

Vasja Pirc developed the opening into a fully fledged, credible defense to 1.e4. The Pirc has ways and means of undermining this center with the defining move ...g6 and the fianchettoed Bishop. ...e5 and/or ...c5 would apply the hammer blows to the center at the appropriate moment.

Good plan but are there remedies for the 1.e4 player to overpower the Pirc? There are ways to overcome any idea on the chess board. Your execution of your plans needs to be better than those of your opponent.

Let's see a great demolition of the Pirc Defense. The game was played in the USSR in 1974 between two famous Soviet masters. Mihail Tal had White and Tigran Petrosian had Black.

Take Down the Pirc Defense

Tal, Mihail - Petrosian, Tigran V [B08]

GotM #74, USSR, 1974
[Annotation taken from Chessbase]

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Be2 0-0 6.0-0

Game position after 6.0-0

This is the Classical Pirc, an opening in which Black concedes the center in return for rapid development, hoping to strike back later.

6...Nc6 7.d5 Nb8 8.Re1 e5 9.dxe6 Bxe6 10.Bf4 h6 11.Nd4 Bd7 12.Qd2 Kh7 13.e5 dxe5 14.Bxe5 Ne4 15.Nxe4 Bxe5 16.Nf3 Bg7 17.Rad1 Qc8 18.Bc4 Be8

Black's pieces are out of play, and although there are a few defenders near the monarch, White's pieces can break through quickly.



position after 19.Neg5+!

White sacrifices a knight in order to shatter the pawn barrier protecting the Black king.

19...hxg5 20.Nxg5+ Kg8 21.Qf4

There is now additional pressure at f7, and the queen threatens to transfer to h4 from which it can deliver mate at h7.


Black plans to bring this knight to f6 to defend the critical f6 square. But Tal puts paid to this plan with a simple and effective sacrifice.


Game position after 22.Rxd7!!

22...Bxd7 23.Bxf7+

Game position after 23.Bxf7+

Here Black resigned, because the king gets mated if it moves to the h-file but capturing the bishop also leads to immediate disaster:

(23.Bxf7+ Rxf7 24.Qxf7+ Kh8 25.Qxg6 Bf5 26.Nf7+ Kg8 27.Nh6+ Kh8 28.Nxf5 Qg8 29.Re7 Bf8 30.Qh5+ Qh7 31.Qxh7#)


Tal, Mihail - Petrosian, Tigran V [B08]

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