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Modern Defense, Averbakh System (A42)
1 d4 d6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4

Number of games in database: 3774
Years covered: 1855 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 40.4%
   Black wins 29.9%
   Draws 29.7%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Wolfgang Uhlmann  21 games
Ivan Farago  20 games
Miso Cebalo  20 games
Miodrag Todorcevic  37 games
Borislav Ivkov  35 games
Duncan Suttles  30 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Korchnoi vs D Solak, 2002
Reshevsky vs Ljubojevic, 1973
Timman vs Suttles, 1974
D Rivera vs Suttles, 1965
W Thormann vs K Bischoff, 1982
J G Nielsen vs Larsen, 1965
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 page 1 of 151; games 1-25 of 3,774  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  1-0471855CalcuttaA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
2. Cochrane vs Somacarana 1-0581855CalcuttaA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
3. B P Grigoriev vs B Yankovich 1-03519012nd All-Russian TournamentA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
4. E Steiner vs K Havasi 1-0151926Budapest 1st FIDE MastersA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
5. A Chistiakov vs K Baranov  1-0611933Ch RabprosA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
6. A P Lacy-Hulbert vs R W Bonham  1-0261934Midlands Individual ChampionshipA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
7. G Friedemann vs G Danielsson  0-1301935Mustpeade Club 75th JubileeA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
8. E Klein vs R Bruce 1-0291936BCF-ch 29th Major Open AA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
9. E Glass vs J Lokvenc  0-1791936Trebitsch MemorialA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
10. Flohr vs Bronstein ½-½321947ParnuA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
11. A Medina Garcia vs A Rico Gonzalez  0-1331947AvilesA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
12. S Ribeiro vs S Guimaraes  1-0291951Brazilian ChampionshipA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
13. Fresqui vs Baratz  0-1191953FRA Cup finalA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
14. B Rabar vs A Bulat  ½-½421953Yugoslav ChampionshipA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
15. P N Wallis vs D Horseman  1-0221954British ChampionshipA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
16. O'Kelly vs M Cuellar Gacharna 1-0361954Amsterdam Olympiad Final-BA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
17. W Fairhurst vs J H Donner  0-1671954Hastings 1954/55A42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
18. N Padevsky vs Robatsch  ½-½531955LjubljanaA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
19. M Bertok vs S Krivec  1-0421955LjubljanaA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
20. D Franolic vs A Zaradic  1-0321955Zagreb-BA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
21. J Rejfir vs Niephaus  1-0571956Moscow Olympiad Final-AA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
22. P Kondratiev vs Kotov  1-0421956URS-ch sf LeningradA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
23. J Sajtar vs O Sidlo  ½-½411956Czechoslovak ChampionshipA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
24. C Incutto vs Kotov  0-1271957Mar del PlataA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
25. Y Nikolaevsky vs Stein  1-0411957Ukrainian ChampionshipA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
 page 1 of 151; games 1-25 of 3,774  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-14-04  Catfriend: I prefer other ways to play the Pirc, but here it seems O.K. Though I'd play 2.e4, without c4. because it may be a loss of tempo and even can cause troubles on d4 and b4.
Feb-14-04  marcus13: Thank you. Do you play the system whit f3 that seem really good.
Apr-19-04  Vischer: This really isn't much of it's own opening. Black usually just plays 4...Nf6 and it's a KID.
Apr-19-04  Kenkaku: I generally play the Austrian Attack against setups like this.
Apr-19-04  BiLL RobeRTiE: Yeah this code is for when Black deviates from the usual and optimal 4...Nf6 with moves like ...Nc6, etc.
May-17-04  ruylopez900: It seems that the Pirc, Modern and Robatsch are all quite similiar, good transpositional possibilities =D (and also from the Pirc into the King's Indian.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Black side has a eerie similarity to pirc classical B08...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eric Schiller: <WannaBe> Not really. The pawn at c4 takes it into an entirely different world of openings and changes the nature of the game. Black's formation is a King's Indian without a knight at f6, and transpositions to normal King's Indian lines are easy and common. The importance of the pawn at c4 is that it controls both d5 and b5, while at the same time it can sometimes prove weak in the endgame.
May-12-06  ganstaman: I don't have much experience with this specific line or with the KID, so please correct me if I'm way off here. As others have mentioned, with a ...Nf6 soon, this becomes a KID. In the KID, doesn't black eventually try to play an ...f5 break? In order to do that, he first needs to move his N from f6, and then it often goes back, 'wasting' two moves. Can black instead play this line (if white cooperates) and get in ...f5 before ...Nf6 (he may need to play ...e5 first or something)? That would seem to lead to a KID with 2 extra tempi (that is the plural, right?) for black.

If so, is that a good plan for black? I'd imagine that in an unbalanced position, saving tempi would be very useful as it would allow your attack to break through before your opponent's. On the other hand, black may need to waste those tempi in order to see what white is doing before choosing his plan of attack. So if black can enter a KID up 2 tempi, would it be advantageous?

If it's possible and advantageous, why isn't this more popular? Also, if black refuses to play c4, would a similar idea still work?

Sorry if I'm asking too much, but I'm very interested in this line, and this page could use a lot of discussion. Thanks.

May-12-06  ganstaman: Pretty much exactly like this, actually: K Cottrell vs E Epstein, 2006

It looks like it worked here, so is it good?

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: <ganstaman>, 4...f5 is very rare but playable. White should probably maintain his or her normal opening edge. Playing 4...e5 first allows the pawn swap followed by the Queen exchange.

4...Nf6 is probably the best move objectively, and if Black already has the KID in his/her repetoire, then 1...g6 becomes an even better defense vs. 1.e4.

May-13-06  ganstaman: If I may ask, what exactly is the purpose of 4...Nf6 here? Usually, the knight goes there to attack e4 or d5, but both seem adequately guarded by white. It does allow for faster castling, but I don't think the black king will get in too much trouble by sitting in the center for a few more moves (maybe here's where I'm wrong).

The game I posted went: 4...Nc6 5. Be3 e5 6. d5 Nce7 7. Bd3 f5 8. f3 Nf6

I like this because it preps ...e5 without having to trade queens. Also, it delays ...f5 until ...e5 has been played. Black does get ...Nf6 in on move 8, so hopefully it can serve the same purpose now as it would on move 4. I wonder how black would respond to 5. d5, though.

Thanks for the thoughts so far.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: <ganstaman>, 4...Nf6 has a short term objective of 5...0-0. The long term objective depends upon the ultimate pawn formation.

Pawns c4, e4 vs. c6, e5: pressure on e4.
Pawns c4, d4 vs. c6, d6: even more pressure on e4 in conjunction with Re8. Also, redeployment to e5 or c5. Pawns c4, d5, e4 vs. c7, d6, e5: usually move to h5, follow up with f5-f7, and attack like a madman.

Your ideas involving ...Nc6 are sound and have been played before. Yes, 5.d5 is annoying. So is 6.dxe5. Also, 7.Bd3 is weaker than 7.Qd2.

But whatever you do, study all these lines very carefully. Aside from having a lot of theory, they are full of tactical surprises, pleasant and unpleasant.

May-13-06  ganstaman: I gave it a try in a G/5 internet game. Of course, neither of us played perfectly, so it may not be the best of tests. Still, I don't fully like how the opening ended up. I still need to work on this.

[White "guinea pig"]
[Black "me"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1426"]
[BlackElo "1523"]
[TimeControl "300+0"]

1. d4 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. e4 Nc6 5. d5 Ne5 6. Nxe5 Bxe5 7. Nc3 f5 <maybe a little pre-mature, but I get away with it> 8. g3 Bg7 9. Bg5 h6 10. Be3 e5 11. dxe6 Bxe6 12. exf5 Bxf5 <so I have a bad kingside. Maybe the opening didn't do what I hoped it would> 13. Bg2 c6 14. O-O Bxc3 <in hindsight, I don't like this move. I give him isolated doubled pawns, but I get rid of a potentially strong bishop. Also, in case I castle queenside, I've just opened the b-file for him to place a rook on> 15. bxc3 Qd7 16. Bd4 Rh7 17. Re1+ Re7 18. Rxe7+ Nxe7 <not sure why he's so intent on trading pieces, but what can I do?> 19. Qe1 O-O-O 20. Bxa7 c5 <he took the pawn very quickly, like he was just waiting for me to castle. Sure, he wins a pawn, but now the bishop is trapped for a while. I feel this is very good for me> 21. Bb6 Re8 22. a4 Nd5 23. Qxe8+ Qxe8 24. Bxd5 <so it's a rook, bishop, and pawn that he has for the queen. If his bishop wasn't trapped, I'd be less sure of this trade.> g5 25. a5 Be6 26. Rd1 <I think ...Be6 was a blunder, and Re1 was necessary to show this. Lucky me> Bxd5 27. cxd5 <now we will see my queen battle his rook. Like I said before, he does have a rook and bishop to counter my queen, but the bishop is useless> Qe2 28. Rf1 Qd3 29. Kg2 Qxd5+ 30. Kh3 h5 31. Rc1 Qd2 32. Rf1 Qxc3 33. Kg2 g4 34. h4 Qf3+ 35. Kg1 c4 36. Re1 c3 37. Rc1 d5 38. Be3 Qf6 39. Bg5 Qd4 40. Be3 Qd3 41. Rxc3+ Qxc3 0-1 <was that last move just desperation? an honest mistake? either way, I feel like I'm winning here, despite the awkward position I got in after the opening>

May-15-06  ganstaman:

I have another question, and some sad news. The 4...Nc6 is called the Kotov Variation, and that above link is Kotov playing it. He lost all those games (I don't know how much I trust his ...Nb8 retreat in the face of d5, though).

My question is that after black plays ...f5, I often see exf5 followed by ...gxf5. Why does black often recapture with the g-pawn? It opens up the g-file, which black may eventually put a rook on (but usually he's castled his king onto that file for the time being). I read somewhere that it keeps a more fluid pawn structure, but I don't fully understand what this means or how it helps out. To me, ...Bxf5 looks much stronger. It preserves some pawns around the kingside, gets the bishop off the back rank, thereby activating it and connecting the rooks. Also, this keep the f-file half open, which is where black already has a rook if he castled.

I'm starting to think that I'd be better off playing the KID and Dutch (Leningrad) if I want to achieve the type of positions they all have in common.

Jun-21-06  Kings Indian: <ganstaman> The reason is that although gxf5 weakens the kingside, it strengthens the center and might become a powerful attack. Bxf5 or any other move weakens black's control over e4 and the center. Also Bxf5 kinda ruins Black's attack if you're like me and like to do stuff like ...f4, g5 and h5.
Jun-21-06  themadhair: <ganstaman> What <Kings Indian> said is true but a bit of a gross simplification. Black will NEVER play gxf5 if the centre is not locked (eg: White pawns on d5,e4 and black pawns on d6,e5). When the centre is locked then the weakened kingside by black isn't really serious since white usually has no way to exploit it.

No ordinarily (as in the King's Indian) gxf5 is the prelude to a black attack but it is also an important endgame move as it leaves black with a larger central pawn island. The isolated h-pawn isn't really a weakness since white still has their own h-pawn which shields it from the white rooks. In many cases this slight improvement in pawn formation has been enough for black to win.

In your above game check out the line <1. d4 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. e4 Nc6 5. d5 <Nd4>>. This is more mainline modern. Unfortunately this is one of those openings where a few general principles aren't enough and you need a ton of theory to survive.

NN-Me Gknot Blitz
1. d4 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. e4 Nc6 5.
d5 Nd4 6. Be3 c5 7. Nge2 Qb6 8. Na4 Qa5+ 9. Bd2 Qa6 10. Nxd4 Bxd4 11. Nc3 Nf6 12. Be2 O-O 13. O-O Bd7 14. Qc2 Rab8 15. Be3 Bxe3 16. fxe3 Qb6 17. Rf2 a6 18. Raf1 Qc7 19. h3 b5 20. a3 b4 21. Nd1 Rb6 22. Bd3 Rfb8 23. Qe2 bxa3 24. bxa3 Rb3 25. a4 Bxa4 26. Bc2 R3b4 27. Bxa4 Rxa4 28. Nc3 Ra3 29. Qc2 Qa5 30. Rc1 Nd7 31. Kh2 Ne5 32. Nb1 Rxe3 0-1. A queenside attack by black is not uncommon in this line.

Jun-21-06  Bartleby: The Averbakh-Indian was the first highly theoretical defence against white's d4/c4 setup that I learned. I had some promising games with it, after learning the lines. Black either plays ...Nc6-d4, ...c5, and ...Qa5, fighting for central occupation, or ...Nc6 and ...e5, proceeding to redevelop the Knight Ne5-d7, following with ...f5, Ng8-f6, and starts a King's Indian type pawn storm without needing to spend a move moving the King's Knight.

Makes for enterprising chess away from a few of the more played lines. It appeals to Robatsch/Pirc players as well.

Apr-11-07  gambitfan: Opening of the Day
OPOD We 11/04/2007

looks similar to the King's Indian, doesn't it ?

Apr-11-07  ganstaman: <gambitfan: looks similar to the King's Indian, doesn't it ?>

Yes, black can transpose to the KID with 1 move.

Jun-16-07  Open Defence: [White "dragongirl"]
[Black "philipw"]
[Event "InstantChess"]
1.e4 g6 2.d4 d6 3.c4 Nf6 4.f3 Nc6 5.Be3 Bg7 6.Nc3 O-O 7.Qd2 Re8 8.g4 e5 9.d5 Ne7 10.h4 c6 11.Bg5 cxd5 12.cxd5 h6 13.Bxh6 Bxh6 14.Qxh6 Qb6 15.O-O-O Bxg4 16.fxg4 Nxg4 17.Qd2 Rac8 18.Bh3 Nf2 19.Ne2 Nxh1 20.Bxc8 Nf2 21.Rf1 Rxc8 22.h5 Nxe4 23.Qh6 Nxd5 24.hxg6 Ndxc3 25.gxf7# 1-0

game that went into the Kings Indian with Nf6 but Black could have played 3..Bg7 and c5 or even Nc6.....

Sep-19-08  refutor: <ganstaman>

this opening is for the people who are playing the leningrad dutch hoping to gain two tempos on the king's indian :)

a different (and in my opinion better) move order than 4. ...Nc6 is 4. ...e5

click for larger view

after 5.d5 f5 6.Nf3 Nf6 7.Be2 O-O 8.O-O for instance

click for larger view

you've accomplished your goal of being up on the king's indian e.g. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Be2 e5 7.d5 (Petrosian variation)

click for larger view

of course in the line above (the 4. ...e5 line), White is being very accomodating. the exchange 5.dxe5 is not very threatening, and White doesn't have much ambition. an interesting line though is 5.d5 f5 6.exf5 instead. "theory" runs 6. ...gxf5 7.Qh5+ Kf8

click for larger view

Opening Explorer

it's messy if nothing else. if instead the natural 6. ...Bxf5 is positionally bad, but after something like 7.Bd3 Ne7 as in Bobotsov vs M Schoeneberg, 1968 8.Bg5 O-O 9.Bxf5 Rxf5 might be painful to someone like kramnik or karpov, but i'd be happy enough with that position as Black

click for larger view

Sep-30-08  ravel5184: OOTD 2008.09.30
Modern Defense, Averbakh System
1. d4 d6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4

Votava vs F Jenni, 2001

Game Collection: Opening of the day - notable games

Apr-23-10  rapidcitychess: I remember this as a 4..c5 line but you could play 4...e5 5..Nc6 6.d5 Ne7 7...f5 being a tempo up. In short, you are pretty much forced to play 6.Be3 Being a tempo down in the Taimanov-Aronin is pretty much losing.
Jun-27-14  parisattack: The least pleasant variation for most Robatschers. Punting to the KID is almost certainly best - but it is not something Robatsch players are keen to do.

...c5 then delaying ...Nf6 ala the Franco-Benoni is what I wound up playing the most.

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