Pirc power

by Jonathan Speelman
12/2/2018 – This week GM JON SPEELMAN takes a submission from a Belgian 2200 player featuring the Pirc Defence. Feel free to send in your own games! Jon can always use more material from readers. If your games are selected for the Agony column, not only will you get free detailed commentary of your games by one of chess’s great authors and instructors, and former world no. 4 player, but you also win a free three-month ChessBase Premium Account!

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Speelman's Agony #88

This week's pair of games are by Thomas Maes, a forty-year-old Belgian rated round about 2200. Both feature successful provocation in the Pirc Defence.

In the first, Thomas got a better ending after complications but somewhat disappointingly decided to offer a draw after a hard week's work. In the second, he took over the initiative to unleash a devastating attack.

Marin and Maes

He sent a very few notes but the rest, which I've mostly remembered to mark as 'JS', are mine.

Editor's note: GM Mihail Marin (pictured with this week's Agony/Ecstasy subject) has authored a video series on the Pirc and writes of the opening:

When playing the Pirc, one must know what to do against White's attacking systems. White's space advantage offers him a lot of active possibilities, but when White proceeds aggressively he creates weaknesses in his own camp that Black can use for counterplay. There are a number of forced lines but they are mostly based on the elementary principles of dynamics and development. With these principles, one should find one's way when confronted with a novelty or ... forgot one's analysis! The resulting positions are usually dynamic or double-edged and offer fairly balanced chances. The better tactician may win, but do not be disappointed if the game ends in a spectacular and logical draw!

 

Click or tap any game in the list below the board to switch games


Play the Pirc like a Grandmaster Vol. 2: Attacking lines

The resulting positions are usually dynamic or double-edged and offer fairly balanced chances. The better tactician may win, but do not be dissappointed if the game ends in a spectacular and logical draw!

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Jonathan Speelman, born in 1956, studied mathematics but became a professional chess player in 1977. He was a member of the English Olympic team from 1980–2006 and three times British Champion. He played twice in Candidates Tournaments, reaching the semi-final in 1989. He twice seconded a World Championship challenger: Nigel Short and then Viswanathan Anand against Garry Kasparov in London 1993 and New York 1995.
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