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I am having trouble understanding a move studied in an opening book. The move is Bg4 in the Pirc defence in this position.

What is the point of aiming to exchange the bishop on f3? The point d4 does not seem to be the reason.

  • Yes, sorry. I will correct that. – Maths64 Aug 26 '19 at 12:47
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    Why do you say that the point on d4 is not the reason? It is the natural target for the bishop on g7, and even if there is no immediate threat to d4 an exchange on f3 would still weaken d4. Even if d4 is not the only reason for Bg4, it is still at least a reason. – John Coleman Aug 26 '19 at 13:19
  • See this as an opportunity to play Be3 without having to worry about Black playing Ng4 – Patrick Coulombe Aug 26 '19 at 22:47
  • @JohnColeman Indeed - d4 is Black's main target here, after Nc6 and e5. – Ian Bush Aug 27 '19 at 9:02
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Compare that position with other variations where White does not allow ...Bg4 to be played. Black often struggles with the development of the c8 bishop.

Also, the central dark squares are indeed a target, so ...Bg4 is clearly helping there (what else could he possibly do in a different square?) Pawn breaks with ...e5 or ...c5 are a possibility as well

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