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Pterodactyl Trapped in Modern Mayhem

Pterodactyl Trapped in Modern Mayhem

Nov 11, 2012, 6:57 PM 3

In the 1966 film, One Million Years BC, a pterodactyl carried off the scantily clad Raquel Welch. Wikipedia cites pterodactyls as the first identified flying reptiles that existed up to the late Jurassic Period. They were a carnivore and probably preyed upon fish and other small animals. From a movie trailer of Jurassic Park III shown below, you will see what kind of a reptile is a pterodactyl.

I participated in a tournament dubbed Modern Mayhem at chess.com where I played several games under the Pterodactyl Variation of Modern Defence (B06). The Modern Defense is a hypermodern chess opening in which Black allows White to occupy the center with pawns on d4 and e4, then proceeds to attack and undermine this "ideal" center without attempting to occupy it himself.

Modern is closely related to the Pirc Defence, the primary difference being that in the Modern, Black delays developing his knight to f6. Transpositional possibilities between the two openings are rife. The Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings classifies the Modern Defense as code B06, while codes B07 to B09 are assigned to the Pirc. The tenth edition of Modern Chess Openings (1965) grouped the Pirc and Robatsch together as the "Pirc–Robatsch Defense". Incidentally, this is the favorite opening by one of our best players in our local chess club.

I once searched for short games of Tarrasch, Capablanca, and Fischer and found that they had easy wins playing white against Modern-Robatsch-Pirc using the Austrian Attack. See the games in my blogs: Fischer vs Benko, 1963: A brilliant attack, Capablanca vs Lyubitel: Another f4 in the opening, and  Tarrasch, years before Capablanca and Fischer, showed no respect to Robatsch/Modern/Pirc.

Pterodactyl is a very varied chess opening according to FM Eric Schiller. In his blog, Pterodactyl: Unpin Variation with 5.Bd2, he wrote that one of the most important variants is the unpin variation 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 c5 4.Nc3 Qa5 5.Bd2!?, setting up a discovered attack on the queen. This is exactly the same line I played in the Modern Mayhem tournament. I learned an effective trap move or a cheap trick that I was able to use against all my opponents in the second round. Almost everyone fell for the trap. Three of these games are shown below. I am supposed to be still playing in Round 4 of the tournament but I had to withdraw from my online games for the meantime. However, I play "live" chess, usually 5/0 blitz, whenever I am free.

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