The Austrian Attack in 60 minutes

by Albert Silver
9/30/2015 – Among the many variations that White can employ against the Pirc Defense, the sharpest and no-compromise line is the so-called Austrian Attack. This swift pawn push for central domination, sometimes transitioning into an all-out attack, is one of White’s most fearsome weapons. In just 60 minutes, IM Valeri Lilov gives a quick theoretical lecture.

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Valeri Lilov is a tireless instructor quite familiar to the Playchess crowd as he advertises his lessons and many topics, promising a tailormade class. Here he shares his experience and understanding of one of White’s most attractive lines, or fearsome if you are Black. This is hardly to say that Black is without resources, just that unless he is well-prepared it will be much harder for Black to come out of the opening unscathed than not. In a nutshell, this makes it the ideal club or online weapon.

The Austrian Attack is divided essentially into two main branches, 5…c5 and 5…0-0. Neither is easy for Black and both are full of venom. IM Lilov’s presentation is structured in a very straightforward and efficient way, providing a theoretical overview of the main lines with his recommendations with the whys and why nots, followed by two games that illustrate the line’s more spectacular possibilities as well as serve as some inspiration for the student seeking to adopt the Austrian Attack.

The theory chosen for the most part steers the viewer toward the sharper lines well within the spirit of its name ‘Attack’. It is obvious that in such a complex opening Lilov cannot miraculously cover every possible reply, and he readily accepts that. However, nor does he expect the opponent to be ‘booked to the ears’, and nor should you. It is easy to watch the elite grandmasters rattling off 20-odd moves with surgical precision, and somehow get a distorted perspective of what chess is like, but for the rest of us hacks theory is rarely so unforgiving.

The Austrian Attack against the Pirc Defence - 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4

  1. Intro
  2. The Austrian Attack - 5...c5 Theory Line
  3. Jovanovic,Z - Bukal,V - 5...c5 6.dxc5
  4. Shirov,A - Markowski,T - 5...c5 6.Bb5+
  5. Austrian Attack - 5...0-0 Theory Line
  6. Karjakin,S - Ivanchuk,V - 5...0-0 6.Bd3 Na6
  7. Yegiazarian,A - Minasian,A - 5...0-0 6.Bd3 Nc6
  8. Conclusion

Looking for some inspiration? Watch this game commented by the author!

There are many possibilities to face the Pirc, and the Austrian Attack is merely one of them, but if you relish aggressive attacking schemes, putting pressure on your opponent as soon as possible, then this lecture is for you.

IM Valeri Lilov is to the point just as is the opening

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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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