Pirc Defence, Austrian Attack

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Pirc Defence, Austrian Attack
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black bishop
h7 black pawn
d6 black pawn
f6 black knight
g6 black pawn
d4 white pawn
e4 white pawn
f4 white pawn
c3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Moves 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7
ECO B09
Parent Pirc Defence

The Austrian Attack variation of the Pirc Defence is a chess opening characterised by the following moves:

1. e4 d6
2. d4 Nf6
3. Nc3 g6
4. f4 Bg7

Typical continuations include the main line 5.Nf3 0-0, an immediate kingside attack with 5.e5 Nfd7, or a queenside counterattack with 5.Nf3 c5.

The Pirc Defence is one of several hypermodern responses to the opening move 1.e4. The aim of the Austrian Attack is to take advantage of Black's hypermodern approach by establishing a broad pawn centre early in the game. The general strategy for White is to use the pawn on f4 to support a breakthrough with e4–e5.[1] Black will often castle early and attempt to find counterplay with c7–c5, or in some cases, e7–e5,[2] or the development of the queenside knight.[3]


Performance[edit]

The Chessgames.com master game database records approximately 1850 games which opened with the Austrian Attack. Of those games, White won 39.4%, Black won 28%, and the remaining 32.6% were draws.[4] Siegbert Tarrasch successfully employed the Austrian Attack against Rudolf Charousek in 1896, securing a win in just 17 moves.[5] Edward Lasker unsuccessfully used the opening against Miguel Najdorf, resigning after 42 moves.[6] In 1952, Isaac Boleslavsky tried the opening against Vasja Pirc (after whom the Pirc Defence is named), but they agreed to a draw after move 62.[7]

Spassky vs. Fischer 1972, game 17
Exchange sacrifice
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
f8 black rook
g8 black king
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
d6 black pawn
f6 black knight
g6 black pawn
h6 white bishop
c5 black queen
f5 white pawn
e4 white pawn
b3 white pawn
d3 white rook
f3 white queen
h3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
f1 white rook
h1 white king
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position after 21.Kh1
Draw by agreement
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
b7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black king
a6 black pawn
c6 black knight
d6 black pawn
g5 black pawn
c4 white rook
e4 white pawn
b3 white pawn
g3 white king
h3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
c2 white rook
e2 black rook
g2 white pawn
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position after 45.Rc1–c2

In the 17th game of the 1972 World Chess Championship, Boris Spassky opened with 1.e4. Bobby Fischer responded with the Pirc Defence, for the only time in his career.[8] Spassky played the Austrian Attack. The game proceeded as follows:

1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3 c5 6.dxc5 Qa5 7.Bd3 Qxc5 8.Qe2 0-0 9.Be3 Qa5 10.0-0 Bg4 11.Rad1 Nc6 12.Bc4 Nh5 13.Bb3 Bxc3 14.bxc3 Qxc3 15.f5 Nf6 16.h3 Bxf3 17.Qxf3 Na5 18.Rd3 Qc7 19.Bh6 Nxb3 20.cxb3 Qc5+ 21.Kh1 (see diagram) Qe5

By playing 21...Qe5 instead of 21...Rf8–c8, Fischer offered the exchange sacrifice as a means of blunting Spassky's kingside attack. The game ended on move 45 owing to draw by agreement despite Spassky having a slight material advantage.[8][9]

References[edit]

Bibliography

  • Botterill, G. S. & Keene, R. D. (1973). Wade, R. G., ed. The Pirc Defence. London: B. T. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-0361-6.