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Dear readers, This month my section is going to look a bit different. As I promised to cover the Pirc and Alekhine some months ago, now is the time to do it. So this month it is all about these two: the Pirc and the Alekhine.
The Caro-Kann has gained huge popularity these past years and has become probably the second answer to 1.e4 just behind the Sicilian. However, we have to take care of other systems as well, after all chess is not just about popularity. The larger part of this update belongs to the Pirc, which is normal.
Another important thing to add is that I tried to cover the most popular lines in these openings by covering some more aspects of the lines in the annotations.

Download PGN of July '15 1 e4 ... games

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Pirc Defence Austrian Attack 5...c5 6.Bb5+ [B09]

Our first game Wei Yi - Liu Quingnan Chinese Ch., is about the dangerous Austrian Attack, probably one of the best systems for White and surely something that Black has to consider very seriously every time he plays the Pirc or Modern.

After 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3 c5 6. Bb5 Bd7 7. e5 Ng4 8.Bxd7 Qxd7 the move 9. h3 is not the most popular line but is a very interesting one:

A sharp position, and it seems that White has the initiative. Apart from this there are also some notes on 5.Nf3 0-0 6. e5, which is also gaining popularity recently.

Pirc Defence Classical ...a6 [B08]

In Alekseev - Nepomniachtchi Russian rapid, I've analysed the classical approach from the White prospective, 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Be2 0-0 6.0-0, and now the modern and popular 6...a6:

Black didn't face any serious problems in this game, and ...a6 in such slow lines is not played so often without good reason.

Pirc Defence - The 150 Attack 8...Bg4 [B07]

Game 3 is Hammer - Giri Norway Chess. Highly interesting stuff in the popular 150 Attack line 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Be3 a6 6.Qd2, which is kind of a mixture between a solid and aggressive set up. Following 6...b5 7.Bh6 0-0 8.Bd3 we have:

I must say that while analysing this game I started to look at this line from a different prospective, because there were some ideas for Black which I thought were OK, but actually now I am not sure that they stand the test of time.

Pirc Defence 4.Bg5 [B07]

In Istratescu - Firman Albena open, White tried a rare idea, but without success. After 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bg5 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.f4 b5:

Istratescu came up with 7.e5, but the game itself doesn't show any chances for a white initiative, on the contrary Black had the easier play.

Modern Defence 4.Be3 Nd7 5.Qd2 a6 6.h4 [B06]

Morozevich - Shariyazdanov Nezhmetdinov Cup, also featured some highly interesting stuff where White opted for another aggressive set up, 1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Be3 Nd7 5.Qd2 a6 6.h4 which is a very popular line:

White had the better play all the way, but of course the position is rich so improvements are possible.

Pirc Defence - Fianchetto System 4.g3 [B07]

In Chekhov - Parligras European Ch, we are dealing with the solid g3 line, so after 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.Nge2 e5:

White opted for 7.0-0 but gained nothing. Inside I also gave some ideas on the more popular, and probably more accurate 7.h3.

Alekhine's Defence Exchange 5...cxd6 [B03]

Game 7 and 8 are about Alekhine's Defence, not so much about theory but just practical play. However, I must admit that these positions for Black are not bad, a bit passive but solid.

In Isgandarova - Atalik European Ch, after 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4. c4 Nb6 5.exd6 Black tried 5...cxd6:

White opted for a slightly rare choice at one moment and gained the upper hand. An interesting game to study.

Alekhine's Defence 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 [B04]

In Lujan - Yermolinsky American Continental, after 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4, Yermolinsky opted for the solid 5...c6:

The game was not inferior for Black, the line itself shows solidity, it is just that he pushed too hard at some point, but managed to save a difficult rook endgame anyway.

I hope you will enjoy this month's update. Till next month, best wishes Milos.

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