by GM Magesh and GM Arun
The Modern Defense is not one of the mainstream opening choices for elite chess players. However, it still surfaces at the top as an occasional surprise weapon. It is quite natural that several side lines that were deemed bad back in the days are revived with the help of computers in modern days. Even though the Modern Defense was never a bad choice, it still remains low on the priority given that white is allowed to take complete control of the center and at times even gain a huge amount of space.
Interestingly enough I find it confusing to play against such openings. Sometimes you just feel you have to have a big advantage because of black's passivity, but in reality he does not have a glaring weakness in the position which means any amount of good moves will not help you breakthrough.
Our first game today is between Veselin Topalov and Alexey Shirov. In this game Shirov was lucky to snatch a full point from a seamingly difficult position. Let us take a look at the game now.
Our second game is to show a clear plan for black in this position. Bologan plays the opening with very good understanding. Let us take a look at our second game now:
It is easy to see the resemblance between the Modern Defense and the Pirc Defense. The piece placement and the idea of giving central control to white and fighting back for it at a later time is the same in both openings. However, there is some difference in the move order. In the Modern Defense black delays the development of the king knight thereby allowing white to play c4 and transpose the game into the King's Indian Defense in the queen pawn opening. We hope our readers gained a good insight into the Modern Defense.