Pirc, for better or worse!

Vasja Pirc in the 20s

Η άμυνα Pirc χαρακτηρίζεται από το φιαγκέττο του μαυροτετράγωνου αξιωματικού και το πλεονέκτημα χώρου που συνήθως διαθέτει ο λευκός, τουλάχιστον κατά τις πρώτες κινήσεις. Δεν είναι από τα πιο δημοφιλή ανοίγματα, καθώς συνήθως οι κορυφαίοι GMs επιλέγουν κάτι πιο σταθερό. Υπάρχουν όμως και περιπτώσεις που θέλουν μία μαχητική παρτίδα και ριψοκινδυνεύουν με το συγκεκριμένο άνοιγμα.Κάτι τέτοιο συνέβη και στην παρτίδα του 6ου γύρου ανάμεσα στον Van Foreest και τον Fedoseev, με τον δεύτερο να επιθυμεί μία μαχητική παρτίδα. Αντικειμενικά πέτυχε το στόχο του, έστω και αν το τελικό απότελεσμα δεν τον δικαίωσε. Η παρτίδα είχε εναλλαγές, με τον μαύρο να ισοφαρίζει γρήγορα, να παίρνει την πρωτοβουλία με μία ενδιαφέρουσα θυσία πιονιού, αλλά η μετατροπή της υπεροχής σε νίκη δεν έγινε ποτέ.
Στην πορεία προέκυψε ένα περίπλοκο μέσο με ανόμοιους αξιωματικούς, όπου ο βασιλιάς του μαύρου δεν ήταν λιγότερο ευάλωτος από αυτόν του λευκού.

A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event “Tata Steel Chess Masters 2019”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee”]
[Date “2019.01.18”]
[Round “6.2”]
[White “Van Foreest, Jorden”]
[Black “Fedoseev, Vladimir”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “B09”]
[WhiteElo “2612”]
[BlackElo “2724”]
[PlyCount “91”]
[EventDate “2019.??.??”]

{PHASE 1: THE OPENING} 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. a3 {a move
played against the c5 break} ({In a blitz game one can afford playing this
line:} 5. Nf3 c5 6. Bb5+ Bd7 7. e5 Ng4 8. e6 Bxb5 9. exf7+ Kf8 10. Nxb5 Qa5+
11. Nc3 cxd4 12. Nxd4 Kxf7 13. Qxg4 Bxd4 14. Bd2 {Nakamura,H (2769)-Carlsen,M
(2843) Stavanger 2018}) 5… Nc6 (5… c5 $2 6. dxc5 Qa5 7. b4) 6. Nf3 O-O 7.
Be2 $6 {aw we will see vanForeest moves his bishop to d3 eventually. Probably
this was a better option immediately.} d5 8. e5 Ne4 9. Bd3 f5 $146 10. O-O ({
White cannot open up the position because he hasn’t castled yet.} 10. exf6 $6
exf6 11. Nxe4 $2 {is out of the question:} dxe4 12. Bxe4 Re8 {[%csl Re1][%cal
Ge8e1]}) 10… e6 11. Be3 b6 {PHASE 2: WHITE TRIES TO REACT BLACK FINDS AN
[%cal Ge7f5,Ge7d5] was an option with the idea of bringing the knight either
to d5 or f5 after recapturing on e4}) 13. fxg5 f4 $5 {an interesting
positional sacrifice} 14. Rxf4 Rxf4 15. Bxf4 Nxd4 16. Bxg6 hxg6 17. Qxd4 Ba6 {
PHASE 3: GRABBING THE INITIATIVE} 18. Qa4 {Black’s idea was to dominate the f
file by bringing his heavy pieces there. The bishop on a6 prevents the enemy
rook from f1 thus White tries to push him back.} ({There was also the
over-protecting move} 18. Re1 {and then the knight maneuver.}) (18. Nd1 {
is interesting trying to bring the knight to f6 via e3/f2-g4-f6}) 18… Bb7 19.
Bg3 Qxg5 (19… d4 $5 {was interesting as well.}) 20. Qd7 {[%cal Gd7e6,Gd7c7]}
Qg4 21. Nb5 ({Or} 21. Qxc7 Ba6 22. Qd7 Rf8 {when Black’s prospects are better.}
) 21… Rf8 22. Nxc7 Bc8 $1 23. Qe7 ({Better was} 23. Qc6 Qf5 {although Black
is still doing more than fine.}) 23… Qf5 {“I thought I was much worse and
was getting outplayed. But then he started playing very quickly.” (Van Foreest)
Quite an accurate evaluation.} 24. Qd6 Bh6 $1 {threatens mate with …Be3+} 25.
h3 {this opens up an escape hole for White’s king} Be3+ 26. Kh2 Bc5 27. Qc6
Qxc2 {with the idea of …Bg1+ xc6} 28. Qb5 Be7 (28… Bd4 $5 29. Qb4 Qxb2) 29.
Na6 d4 30. Nb4 Bxb4 {Following the plan.} ({Although he could have simply
taken the pawn with:} 30… Qxb2 {But apparently he miscalculated somewhere
along the lines. Obviously, he would not have allowed the perpetual after:} 31.
Qd3 Qxa1 ({Instead the endgame after:} 31… Kg7 32. Ra2 Qc3 33. Qxc3 dxc3 34.
Rc2 {Is clearly better for Black after both:} a5 ({Or even the simple:} 34…
Bd7 35. Rxc3 Rc8 36. Rxc8 Bxc8) 35. Nd3 {Now Black needs to go for} g5 $1 ({
Rather than:} 35… Bxa3 36. Rxc3 Be7 37. Rc7 Re8 38. Bh4 Ba6 39. Nc5 $1 {
with a draw.}) 36. Rxc3 Ba6 {There is no question who is better, but a there
will be a ton of technical work going on for Black.}) 32. Qxg6+) 31. Qxb4 Bb7 {
[%csl Gb7,Gc2,Gd4,Rg2][%cal Gc2g2,Gb7g2,Gd4d3]} 32. Rg1 {PHASE 4: TURNING THE
should have secured his kingside with:} 32… Qe4 $1 33. Qd2 Rc8 34. Qg5 d3 {
Black is still much better, although not necessarily winning.}) 33. Qg4 d2 ({
Black should have looked for a draw already:} 33… Kg7 34. Qxe6 Qc6) 34. Qxe6+
Kg7 35. Qd7+ Rf7 ({After} 35… Kg8 36. Qxb7 d1=Q 37. Rxd1 Qxd1 {White has a
pleasant risk-free endgame.}) 36. Qd4 Kg8 ({Or} 36… Rf8 37. e6+ Kg8 38. Qd6 {
with large advantage for White.}) 37. e6 Rf8 38. e7 Re8 39. Rd1 $3 {The rook
is taboo!} Qc6 ({The rook cannot be captured:} 39… Qxd1 40. Qc4+ Kg7 41. Be5+
Kh7 (41… Kh6 42. Qh4+ Qh5 43. Qf4+ Qg5 44. Qf8+ Kh5 45. g4+ Qxg4 46. hxg4+
Kh4 47. Bg3+ Kxg4 48. Qf4+ Kh5 49. Qh4#) 42. Qf7+ Kh6 43. Qg7+ Kg5 44. Qf6+ Kh5
45. g4+ Kh6 46. Qh4#) 40. Rxd2 Rxe7 41. Qg4 {Ironically, now it is White who
has the extra pawn, the attack and the better pieces.} Qe4 42. Qg5 Rd7 43. Rf2
(43. Rxd7 $4 Qxg2#) 43… Rf7 44. Qd8+ Kg7 45. Bf4 Qd5 ({The last chance was:}
45… Kh7 46. Qg5 {although White should be winning here too.} ({With the
point that:} 46. Qb8 $2 {leads only to perpetual after:} g5 $1 47. Be5 Rxf2 48.
Qh8+ Kg6 49. Qg7+ Kh5)) 46. Qb8 1-0

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