I am looking for some references where this variation is analysed. I have found some YouTube videos where engines play out this position, but they do not explain alternative moves which also lead to extremely complex games. It is called Kholmov System and arises from the Pirc Defence, but is also reachable from the Modern and Alekhine Defence (I almost always get it from the Alekhine).

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1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Bc4 Bg7 5. Qe2 Nc6 6. e5! Nxd4 (6...Nfd7 7. e6!? (7. Nf3)) (6...Ng4 7. Bb5) 7. exf6 Nxe2 8. fxg7 Rg8 9. Ngxe2

The engines claim Black is better, but in human practice White wins by a huge margin. Perhaps some book has good analysis of this variation?

  • 1
    The reason why the engine claims Black is better is because the engine cannot be pressured. Humans lose to this due to the pressure White has psychologically, and the unusual position resulting will cause problems for the opponent.
    – user24344
    Aug 25, 2020 at 7:04
  • @CitrusCornflakes Even in engine vs engine games, White wins. Also if you play the engine moves out, after a few it will realise Black has no prospects
    – B.Swan
    Aug 25, 2020 at 14:04

1 Answer 1


"The Pirc Defence" by Mihail Marin (see e.g. https://www.qualitychess.co.uk/products/1/305/the_pirc_defence_by_mihail_marin/), part of the Grandmaster Repertoire series, covers this line from Black's perspective

  • You beat me for ten minutes. Marin's conclusion is that Black has nothing to fear if he knows what to aim for.
    – Evargalo
    Aug 25, 2020 at 8:53
  • Does he propose to take the queen or a different line? AFAIK Most humans recommend ...Nfd7
    – B.Swan
    Aug 25, 2020 at 14:00
  • Away on hols so will check the details when I get home, but the main line he proposes is to take the queen. But Nfd7, and Nfg4 are both probably at least OK for black - and if black knows what he is doing this is not a very effective line for white. As a Pirc player I certainly like to see if played against me.
    – Ian Bush
    Aug 25, 2020 at 16:26

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