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Starting Out: The Pirc/Modern (Starting Out) Paperback – 5 Aug 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman Chess (5 Aug. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857443365
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857443363
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 17.8 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 527,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Joe Gallagher is a Grandmaster and lives in Neuchatel, Switzerland. He plays regularly for the Swiss national team and is a well-respected chess writer.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
The Pirc and Modern Defences are two closely related openings based around the fianchetto of Black's king's bishop. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am just getting back into chess and wanted an easy explanation to these defences. It is well written and for someone like me who don't have hours to spend studying chess it is ideal. I think I well definitely buy another of the starting out series again.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A useful book about the Pirc 26 Nov. 2005
By Jill Malter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a good introductory book on the Pirc and the Modern. Still, I wish it had covered just a little more material.

I rarely play either the Pirc or the Modern as Black. But when I do play the Pirc with Black, I don't play it the way this book describes it.

Gallagher starts by showing us the Austrian attack: 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 g6 4 f4. That's always been a good reason for Black to avoid the Pirc. But in 1988, Seirawan found a way for Black to draw by repetition in a key line: 4...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+ 13 Ke1. And now, some folks have gone back to the Pirc.

Next we see the Classical attack: 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 g6 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Be2 0-0 6 0-0. Black has three good replies here, the relatively risky 6...Nc6, the more solid 6...Bg4, and the obvious and strong 6...c6. In the Austrian attack, ...c6 is a poor move and ...c5 usually needs to be played, in order to give some counterplay and to soften up that a1-h8 diagonal. But in the Classical, ...c6 is typically an excellent move, as it frees the Queen (which then heads to a5, where it covers e5, or to c7, where it indirectly covers e5, or to b6) and also prepares ...b5.

We also see White play an early Be3. I tend to avoid Be3 for White in most openings. And here we see some reasonable Black defences, generally involving an early ...c6, of course. We see 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 g6 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 h3 0-0 6 Be3 c6. And 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 g6 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Be3 c6 6 Qd2 Qa5. Here, White is playing the so-called "150 attack," which became popular after folks realized that White could survive an early ...Ng4 and thus did not need to play h3 right away.

Several authors recommend the line 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 g6 4 Be3 for White. And this book discusses it. The idea is to splatter Black if she castles into it with 4...Bg7 5 Qe2 0-0. The best move for Black is (you guessed it) 4...c6.

Gallagher does discuss 4 g3 for White. And then we get to the line I play for White. 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 g6 4 Bg5. Black can play 4...c6, 4...h6, or 4...Bg7. White's idea is to play e5, generally preceded by f4, and blast Black off the board. A key game Gallagher cites is Ulibin versus Himdan, from 2002, which went 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 g6 4 Bg5 c6 5 Qd2 b5 6 e5 (can White really do this?) dxe5 7 dxe5. In the actual game, Black got in trouble by playing the obvious 7...Qxd2+, after 8 Bxd2 Ng4 9 f4. Gallagher suggests 7...Ng4 8 Qxd8+ Kxd8 9 Nf3 Bg7 10 Bf4 Nd7 11 Rd1 Ke8. He points out that White can now try 12 e6, which I think is better for White, or even 12 Nxb5, which I think is probably playable for White.

Still, if I were to play 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 as Black, this book would not help you much against me. After 3 Nc3, I would not play 3...g6. I would play either 3...c6 (the Pribyl defence) or 3...e5 (which can transpose into a line of the Philidor). Neither of these are covered in this book, but I think they ought to be. With White, after 3...c6, I play 4 f4 Qa5 5 Bd3 (I think 5 e5 is reasonable as well). After 3...e5, I'm willing to let Black play that Philidor line after 4 Nf3. Other options are 4 f4 or 4 dxe5, but I don't like them.

The book concludes with a couple of chapters on the Modern Defence: 1 e4 g6. First, we see White try 2 c4. That's what I do! My idea is to get c4 in before I have to play Nc3 to defend my e-pawn from a Knight on f6. After 1 e4 g6 2 c4 Bg7 3 d4 d6 4 Nc3, Black can play 4...Nf6, after which I am happy to take the White side of a King's Indian (obviously outside the scope of this book). Black's alternatives are 4... Nc6, 4...Nd7, and 4...e5, all of which are covered in the book.

Of course, it is more normal for White to try 1 e4 g6 2 d4 Bg7 3 Nc3, blocking that c-pawn. And now Black can try 3...c5 or 3...c6 instead of 3...d6. 3...c5 gives White a chance to transpose into a Benoni or an Open Sicilian, and the book does not cover it (although I think it ought to at least mention 3...c5 4 dxc5). But to his credit, Gallagher does cover 3...c6, the Gurgenidze defence. He tells about three White ideas: 4 Nf3, 4 f4, and 4 Bc4. Actually, I think it is also worth knowing about a couple of less popular tries for White here, namely 4 Be3 and 4 h3, but Gallagher does not mention these.

I thought the section on the Modern Defence was a little too short, and I think it failed to get across many of Black's ideas for taking advantage of her opportunities on the a1-h8 diagonal. But in general, I liked this book, and I recommend it.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Only for the Pirc! 3 July 2004
By David - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As usual Gallagher has produced a solid opening book. However take note that the section on The Modern is really short and should have been replaced by more stuff on The Pirc.
The Pirc is quite a complex opening which can led to many deferent pawn structures. All in all, this opening would have deserved a whole book, even though I admit Gallagher explained the ideas of the Pirc (especially of the main lines) quite well.
I therefore especially recommend this book as a first one on the Pirc Defence. If you are interested only in the Modern, you should avoid this book.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Starting Out ; that's me ! 6 April 2004
By pbro - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book delivers on it's basic premise; and I believe adds much more. I found it more readable than Pirc Alert. The book review above clearly states what's inside. There are numerous full games, variations, tips, warnings and new strategies discussed. The author even shows the winning white % for the lines chosen and variations discussed. There is no "quick fix" to meeting e4; as far as I can tell. I like the flexibility within the Pirc system. It meets my needs as a learning student of the game who doesn't have the time to study the more complicated defenses. Memorization isn't for me. (...)
6 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Starting Out: The Pirc/Modern 4 Dec. 2003
By Jiri Dufek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Book for player under 2000 with basic strategy.
Lot of games was analyzed/published in books like as Pirc Alert! (Alburt), Modern defence (Speelman), Pirc defence (Videki), Pirc by Nunn&McNab without blunder check.
Not useful for experience player.
However missing more space for Modern (when is in the title ...)
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