How exactly do you beat the Pirc Defence?




I have a related question; what is the proper pronunciation of "Pirc"?  I say perk, but some people say piertz, and some people say perch.  What do you say?


Andrew Soltis pawn structure book discusses this in about 50 pages. It is based off of the linking of pawn chains and controlling the wings. Black goes for a kingside attack while white goes for a queenside counterplay. White can aim to control the kingside as well. 


Put on your computer and play these first moves as White.

d4,e4,f3,c3. This will trash the Pirc and Moderns.

What follows is Be3,Bd3, Nd2, Ne2.

Then whatever side Black "attacks" on you will have more power. Have Stockfish or Komodo as your teacher vs another computer at 2300. You will be amazed. Restriction a la Karpov is the key here.


GM Yasser Seirawan used to play the PIRC, but seldom does any more. Anyway, his Openings Book discusses the PIRC, as does this video. As a beginner it's all that I played for two reasons. Most other beginners are unfamiliar with it, so were unsure of how to win against it. And, as a beginner it is recommended to concentrate on just one or two openings while understanding opening theory.

Yasser says the Austrian is the hardest to use the Pirc against successfully and uses a 1972 Spassky-Fischer game where Fischer used the Pirc to illustrate various White attacks and how the Pirc counters each. I have spent hours watching this video . . .

Then there is this:

Good luck and enjoy.


You have to be aware of this somewhat dubious Line for Black




It would be a mistake, lello33leone, to think that the Pirc is weak.  I used to be crushed by it by a player rated around 1900+ when I was like 1750 to 1800.  I learned the hard way that it's a robust opening.  I tried playing it then (studied it for both sides a little) but I never got good at it because my playing style is different than the playing style that works well with the Pirc.  


I'm not sure, oregonpatzer, but I say perk as well.  Some people I've known over time have called it the peerc.  

Austrian attack with h4!
I’d play the Chinese Attack! It is a rare and sharp attack that your opponent will likely not be prepared to face.

1. e4 d3 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Be2 Bg7 5. g4

Black’s responses vary greatly from here onward; however, a common continuation is 5...c5 6. g5 Nfd7 7. d5. (with h2-h4 appearing shortly)White can easily start an attack on the Kingside from here.

Hope this line helps some players who are struggling against the Pirc Defense! But do remember that this variation is vastly unexplored. You may also face many differing responses from Black each time you play it; so be prepared.


I play hypermodern 100% of the time.  The 150 and Austrian attack are the most feared white lines against the Pirc.  Your choice depends on whether you prefer pawn storms or piece play.  


Nc3 and e4 if allowed. f4 Qf2 h4 followed by 0-0-0 and Bh6 then pawn storm.



At any level, especially low level, this set tup is crushing most Pirc defences.

Bh6-h4-h5 and mate on h file. Easy (usually) if black castles.

If black doesn't castle, then g4-h4-h5 taking some space.

Simple and easy to play.


Isn't there some funny name for that? I forget what it is.


The London system.


You think IM poucin was describing the London System? ("1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f3 Bg7 5. Be3 ... Bh6-h4-h5 ...")


No that is the Samish/150 attack. The London often omits f3 because of Bg4 and Nc3 move.

swarminglocusts a écrit :

No that is the Samish/150 attack. The London often omits f3 because of Bg4 and Nc3 move.

150 attack is defined by Nf3, Be3, Qd2.

With f3, we could name it the Saemsich attack indeed.

How can u play a London system against a Pirc? Pirc being 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6, u could play Bf4 but it wouldn't be really a London system with e4 played like this.


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They are so many ways to play agaisnt the pirc, you can rarely go wrong. So long as you do not underestimate the power of the king fianchetto in breaking down your kingside, white should keep a modest but persistent edge.

a lot of people have suggested the more aggressive systems to deal with the pirc, but here is a more conservative antidote. 

in general, white aims for the following formation after reaching that position, nge2, qd2 you almost always castle 0-0, then rd1 and f4. White is trying to capitalize with a slow but powerful swarm of pawns on the center and kingside while minimizing the power of the g7 bishop, via moves like bd4, bh6 trade bg5 pin on f6 knight or even a a pawn clamp via f4-f5 g4 g5 and finally f6.

black has to play with some precision to not just end up worse with this white system.