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This month I've decided to concentrate on the Pirc and Modern setups which I haven't looked at in detail for a while. Strong players often use these setups for greater winning chances and in this update we have three players over 2700 defending the Black side.

Download PGN of April '11 1 e4 ... games

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Pirc/Modern - The Sniper (1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c5) [B06]

We'll start off with a contribution from a subscriber. Many of you will have noticed the heated debate on the forum on the subject of the new book 'The Sniper' by Charlie Storey. The critical position appears after 7.Qb4!:

Harvey challenged Charlie to a correspondence game and sent me the game with his annotations. I've added in my comments in Williamson - Storey.

Tiger's Modern [B06]

The Austrian Attack is the sharpest way of meeting the Modern. Smeets - Siebrecht sees a important line against the 4...a6 Modern. The critical position is reached after 8.Bd3:

I've included an overview of all the critical variations.

Classical Variation [B06 & B08]

Instead Stevic - Nepomniachtchi saw White try the Classical Variation. Stevic played with a critical early a4 and the following interesting and unbalanced position was soon reached:

Vallejo Pons-Gashimov was a high rated clash in the Pirc. Black equalised rather easily before the Spanish GM erred with 11.Be3?!:

See if you can spot Gashimov's strong response. In this and the following game Pridorozhni - Cheparinov I thoroughly analyse the recent developments in the mainlines of the Classical Variation.

Caro-Kann/Modern Hybrid [B15]

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6 has always struck me as quite an interesting move order as Black can decide whether to play ...d6 or ...d5 depending on White's setup. In Kraemer - Vitiugov White went for the critical 4.f4 and already after a few moves the 2700+ playing Black was in trouble. The following position was reached after 9.g4!:

when Black was struggling for space.

Austrian Attack 5...c5 [B09]

Returning to the Austrian Attack, Jovanovic - Bukal followed the topical 5...c5 6.dxc5 Qa5 7.Qd4:

which has been looked at in detail in the archives. I have included the old analysis with recent updates in what looks like a serious test of Black's opening.

Philidor by stealth [B07]

In the last game of the update I examine Shabala - Shtanko which saw the interesting 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 4.f4 e5 5.dxe5!? I hadn't seen this idea before but it should not be underestimated and indeed has been tried by Spassky. White quickly drummed up a strong initiative and here:

12.Ndb5+! was decisive.

Next month I'll return to examining the Caro-Kann and Scandinavian and have a look at some important new theoretical ideas from the European Individual Championships.

Until next time! Gawain

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Please post you queries on the 1 e4 ... Forum, or subscribers can email me at