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Pirc, Austrian Attack (B09)
1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 g6 4 f4

Number of games in database: 4592
Years covered: 1850 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 41.2%
   Black wins 28.2%
   Draws 30.6%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Sergey Karjakin  26 games
Gyula Sax  21 games
Ljubomir Ljubojevic  21 games
Jan Hein Donner  41 games
Raymond Keene  39 games
Fernando Peralta  36 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Fischer vs Benko, 1963
Marshall vs Pillsbury, 1904
So vs M Mahjoob, 2007
Fischer vs Korchnoi, 1962
Beliavsky vs Anand, 1991
Harris vs Weeramantry, 1972
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 page 1 of 184; games 1-25 of 4,592  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 0-1371850CalcuttaB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
2. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  1-0661854CalcuttaB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
3. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  1-0351854CalcuttaB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
4. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  1-0451854CalcuttaB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
5. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  0-1481854CalcuttaB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
6. M Weiss vs Paulsen 0-1391883NurembergB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
7. Burn vs Paulsen 1-0291889BreslauB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
8. Tarrasch vs Charousek 1-0171896NurembergB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
9. Marshall vs Pillsbury 1-0231904Cambridge SpringsB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
10. Capablanca vs S T Sharp 0-1421911Simul, 20bB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
11. J Juhl vs B Rask  1-0351916Nordic Congress-B 7thB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
12. Tartakower vs L W Stephens 0-1501924Blindfold simul, 10bB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
13. K Richter vs Hubert Schorn  1-0201925Schachverein (1876) Winter TournamentB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
14. R Castells Mendez vs G Holtey 1-0211927Buenos AiresB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
15. L Prokes vs Lokvenc 0-1281927London OlympiadB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
16. Kashdan vs M Bluemich 1-0181928The Hague OlympiadB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
17. O Rocas vs J de Souza Mendes  1-0341934Brazilian Championship MatchB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
18. A Polyak vs Bondarevsky  1-064194424th Ch Moscow (sf-Group 1)B09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
19. R G Wade vs F Crowl 1-0361945AUS-chB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
20. M Czerniak vs Pelikan  1-0481945QuilmesB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
21. A Strautmanis vs R Balins  0-1451948Latvian championshipB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
22. Tartakower vs G Stalda  ½-½541949VeniceB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
23. H Staudte vs Vidmar  0-1461950Dubrovnik OlympiadB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
24. H Staudte vs G Primavera  ½-½261950Dubrovnik OlympiadB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
25. Rossolimo vs H Mueller 1-0411950Dubrovnik OlympiadB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
 page 1 of 184; games 1-25 of 4,592  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-09-05  Greginctw: <misguidedaggression> your game has a slight flaw. Black has a blatant exchange sacrifice (unless i copied the game wrong) at move 15. Rxc3!

It makes no sense that she missed it because isnt that the whole purpose of moving the rook to c8? Its like playing e4, e5, qh5, nf6, and missing qxp+.

Anyway no matter what you do you have a worse position

A) Bxg7 Nxd3+

B) Bxc3 Nxa2+ Kb2 Nxc3 Then if Qxc3 the bishop on h6 is hanging if the Bxg7 then the Knight takes the rook with check. if the king taks the knight on C3 then it is mate (double discovered check. Not to be a jerk and ruin things, but black did have a tactical shot that could have won him the game.

Sep-27-05  capanegra: <georgeIV> <ionnn> <e4Newman> After a little more study of the 6.e5 line, I arrived to the conclusion that 6…dxe5 is the best reply. In case of 7.dxe5 Qxd1+ 8.Kxd1 Black may continue with 8…Rd8+ 9.Bd3 Ne8 (and not Nd5 nor Ng4). Here are some examples with that line, where Black avoids any danger in the opening:

Kozomara vs Pachman, 1963
Gligoric vs Keene, 1971
J Fichtl vs Hort, 1972

On the other hand, Black can also play 8…Nh5, which I presume it is even better than 8…Rd8+. Here I found some games which prove its validity:

M Gonzalez Angel vs Dzindzichashvili, 1976
Ljubojevic vs Timman, 1980
Velimirovic vs J Rukavina, 1981

Sep-27-05  e4Newman: it was good to see the <J Fichtl vs Hort, 1972> game played out to a win
Nov-15-05  trumbull0042: I like this opening. f4 is always a refreshing move.
Jan-22-06  philbill: "I play the Pirc all the time and I love it, but I think that is the biggest knock on it: it gives white latitude to choose the kind of game he wants" - Keypusher

One could come to the same conclusion about all of black's main tries against 1.e4. For example, the Closed Sicilian is not going to give a keen Dragon or Najdorf specialist the kind of game he wants, and the Scotch Four Knights or similar is going to make it tough for black to find winning chances if white is happy to draw and knows the system well. Similarly, white can try 2.Qe2 (or the Rubinstein) against the French; or he may prefer to blast things open into an IQP position with 3.dxe5 dxe5 4.c4. So, stylistically white can pick and choose against ANY response to 1.e4, not just the Pirc (Where in fact white has only three or four main systems that black must be ready for).

I think the Pirc is underestimated below IM level, partly because a lot of weekend tournament players play it badly, and partly because there seem to be a lot of quick white wins at club level, based around cheap tricks (often involving a bishop on c4, it seems). With enough preparation, however, I believe it is a good choice for anyone, and certainly anyone below master strength. As someone currently learning the Pirc as a secondary opening, I do not particularly fear the Austrian Attack. The H-pawn sac, sac, mate idea can usually be repelled, too. White's best idea, in my opinion, is to be content with a smaller, positional edge, usually based around the Classical system, 4.Nf3.

I'm aware that the above quotation was posted over a year ago, but I wanted to make my point nonetheless. Give the Pirc a chance is what I say - and wipe that smug smile off your opponent's face! :)

Feb-13-06  misguidedaggression: <Greginctw> Sorry for the late reply. I can't believe I missed that. To be honest, I think after 15...Rxc3 16.Kb1 White still has some chances without too much of a material deficit. I really don't think either of us had a firm grasp of this opening. (Especially considering that I was making it up as I went along.) I have since switched to 4.Bg5 or 4.f3 against the Pirc.
Feb-17-06  misguidedaggression: Ok, I looked at that again, after 15...Rxc3 16.bxc3 Nxa2 17.Kb2 Nxc3 18.Qxc3 Bxh6 material is even: 2♙&♗ for ♖. The black dark square bishop is unopposed, but the white pawn storm is strong, while black's queenside attack is still non-existant. I didn't calculate any exchange sacs, because after 11...b6 the black queen doesn't have the mobility to carry on the attack.
Feb-18-06  e4Newman: i still find 4.f4 useful
Premium Chessgames Member
  WTHarvey: Here are 10 traps and zaps in the Pirc, Austrian Attack (B09): What's the best move?
May-12-06  soughzin: I'm starting to finally decide on a system against the pirc and have been looking into the austrian a lot lately. I'm not expert or anything but looking at fritz I notice in the drawing line on move 10 white can play Nxb5 instead if he/she wishes to avoid a draw and it lists it at .8 or so, while Qxg4 bounces around even. Anyway, after Qa5+ c3 Qxb4 we're still in book and white chooses between Qxg4 and Nxe6 and many moves and ideas for each. I guess the point is if you're white and black wants the draw this is something you can do to avoid it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: When I'm playing black w/ Pirc. I do not have a good record against the Aust. Attack. =(

That pawn front just look and feels so intimidating.

Jun-01-06  Kings Indian: <WannaBe> Just try to get in e5 before white does and you'll be fine.
Jun-01-06  Kings Indian: Opening of the day! Well, I think this is a great opening for white. Just play an early e5, that's what i hated as bLACK. But if i got e5 in before white then it was an even game. If you play the pirc, you have to spend a lot of time studying it. I don't like studying openings so i quit the Pirc.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: The following line doesn't look like a great one to play if you're White.
Dec-08-07  erad1288: anyone notice that over the last 3 or 4 years black has been scoring very well in the line e4 d6, d4 Nf6, Nc3 Nbd7, f4 e5, Nf3 c6, Bc4 exd4, Qxd4 d5? I have a game played today by an 1800 against a 2225 which ended with black winning a full piece and game in 17 moves. It was total carnage. Here's the full game

[Site "?"]
[Date "2007.12.08"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Rodriguez, Eric"]
[Black "Ahn, Ju Hyung"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2224"]
[BlackElo "1840"]
[PlyCount "34"]

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nbd7 4. f4 e5
5. Nf3 c6 6. Bc4 exd4 7. Qxd4 d5 8. Bb3 Bc5 9. Qd3 dxe4 10. Nxe4 Qe7 11. Nfd2 O-O 12. Kf1 Re8 13. Nxf6+ Nxf6 14. Nf3 Bf5 15. Qd1 Rad8 16. Qe1 Qxe1+ 17. Nxe1 Rd1 0-1

Jul-20-08  refutor: in the draw line

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3 c5 6.Bb5+ Bd7 7.e5 Ng4 8.e6 fxe6 9.Ng5 Bxb5 10.Nxe6 Bxd4 11.Nxd8 Bf2+ 12.Kd2 Be3+ = as in Sax vs Seirawan, 1988

instead, isn't 10. Nxb5 Qa5+ 11. c3 Qxb5 12. Qxg4 cxd4 13. Nxe6 Qc4 just good for White?

Jul-20-08  micartouse: <instead, isn't 10. Nxb5 Qa5+ 11. c3 Qxb5 12. Qxg4 cxd4 13. Nxe6 Qc4 just good for White?>

It's weird. The database has all the games fizzling out to draws, so there might be some deep reasons why White can't get an advantage in top flight chess. But at least it's a game.

Apr-23-10  rapidcitychess: <WannaBe> I love playing against this! Just play for c5.

By the way, are you comfartable with the Benoni? You will often get a Benoni against the 4/3 pawns attack.

Nov-02-11  jbtigerwolf: I've been playing through this version, but with Bc4 then f4. White needs to be careful. It's very easy to attack too much and give away material when you think you have him. It's easy to neglect development, as you appear 1000 miles ahead.

Black gets cramped at the start but is capable of fighting his way out. It's not clear cut. I think with practice White will smile inside every time Black plays the Pirc, but it does need some bookwork.

I'm also thinking Pirc players are lazy, as it seems White sets up how the game goes.

Jan-27-14  MarkFinan: I just downloaded every single Pirc in thisddatabase and I'm going to choose this as my opening of choice with the black pieces against e4. I don't care if it's outdated, I'm still having it, lol.

Jan-27-14  SugarDom: <Mark>, try the c5 dragon variation.
Jan-27-14  GoldenKnight: The Pirc was my favorite opening for Black in my playing days and I enjoyed seeing stronger players get flummoxed by it -- including Koltanowski when I played it against him one on one (not simul). He thought he was blowing me away, and all of a sudden realized he had to stop and think. He still beat me, though (he was a GM, after all). I also obtained a very advantageous position against USCF Master Roy Hoppe with it in a blitz game.

Incidentally, I agree that Pirc players are "lazy." It's like the French Defense. You don't have to prepare a lot of different openings.

One other thing: Black gets a slightly cramped game, but I used to take great pleasure in demonstrating to my opponents how smoothly and easily Black can get out of it, even equalizing if White wasn't careful. It looks easy to play against, but it is not.

Jan-27-14  parisattack: Good luck with the Pirc <MarkFinan>!

I listed Pirc books on my forum about 5-6 pages back.

As mentioned above - you can get Benoni-like positions and also Sniper/Pterodactyl with ...c5 and ...Qa5.

Jan-27-14  SugarDom: <Incidentally, I agree that Pirc players are "lazy." It's like the French Defense. You don't have to prepare a lot of different openings.>

If you're using KID for d4, it's being "lazy" indeed to use the Pirc for e4.

Jan-28-14  MarkFinan: Sugardom, Parisattack and GoldenKnight.. Thanks for the posts and tips on the Pirc, much appreciated 😄

I played and lost 3 games with it as black last night against droidfish on 55%. I really should have used that time to play just one game and took more time, but I'm learning and I'm definitely sticking with it as black. And the Najdorf, but im a little bit more familiar with that anyway.

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