Robert Ris’ Fast and Furious: Carlsen playing the Modern Defence

by Robert Ris
9/22/2022 – This week Robert Ris will have a look at the Modern Defence with 4...a6, which World Champion Magnus Carlsen tried with Black in two interesting games against Arjun Erigaisi and Praggnanandhaa in the Julius Bär Generation Cup. | "Fast and Furious" is available on-demand with a ChessBase Premium Account. You can register a Premium account here.

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In this video course, twenty-nine examples with multiple questions are presented in the interactive format, which is ideal for a range of playing strengths. Step by step you will be taken through the complex positions.


In his games with the Indian youngsters Erigaisi and Praggnanandhaa, the World Champion opted for the Modern Defence with 4...a6 which led to fascinating play.

Erigaisi went for the classical plan with Qd2 and 0-0-0, but timed the central pawn push e4-e5, enabling Black to take over control on the light-squares and eventually build up a massive attack against the white king.

The next day Pragg decided to go for the even sharper 5.h4 and after 5...Nf6 played 6.h5, initiating a powerful exchange sacrifice, which is close to winning for White.

But things are not that simple, and various strong players had difficulties to bring home the full point in this advantageous position and Pragg, too, let Carlsen off the hook.

Exercise: The critical moment. White to play!


Feel free to move the pieces on the live diagram!

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Robert is an International Master who mostly spends his time training and coaching talented youngsters. On the PlayChess server The Fast and the Furious is a popular show where he explains sharp opening lines for a wider audience. He is also a well-known ChessBase author who produced numerous DVDs and regularly contributes to ChessBase Magazine as well. Since 2015 he is the organizer of the Dutch Rapid Championships in his home town Amstelveen. He has started a YouTube channel with chess analysis as well.