I admit that I've only started taking chess seriously in the past few months, but I'm having some trouble wrapping my head around this bit of theory. To be crystal clear, when I refer to the Pirc Defense, I'm referring to the following (or some transposition thereof):

[FEN ""]
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6

I know I understand Black playing Nf6, and I can understand the logic somewhat of d6 since it opens up Black's queenside bishop while preventing e5 from White, but I can't understand the benefit of g6. I know that the idea is that it allows Black to fianchetto kingside at some point, but I can't comprehend why that would be desirable here. White's d pawn blocks access to the knight on c3, meaning it's not pinned, and black's only developed knight blocks the move anyway. Is the appeal just that it threatens Bb4+ at some point in time, or is there something more elegant that I'm missing?

  • The d4 pawn is on the way but Black's idea is to target it in the near future (whether by ...e5 or ...c5)
    – David
    Commented Oct 30, 2021 at 8:18
  • 1
    I had problems understanding the last sentences in your post, maybe they contain typos? Anyway, where else would the f8 bishop develop except g7? On the last move (...d6) black has just created an additional obstacle to the bishop's f8-a3 diagonal.
    – nyymi
    Commented Oct 30, 2021 at 13:28
  • 1
    For just starting out pirc may not be the best choice. I suggest learning the openings in the order in which they gained adoption as new openings are in part a reaction to previous ones. Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 12:52

1 Answer 1


It seems to me that it's the best way to quickly develop the bishop and castle. The pawn on d6 prevents the bishop from developing immediately to (say) b4. Developing to g7 puts the bishop on a long diagonal, which is a great place for a bishop to be. Even if it doesn't make immediate threats, it will likely have a lot of mobility as soon as the knight moves, and may end up threatening a1 or b2 later on. Moreover, since white has a large pawn center in this opening, castling early should be a priority, and the fastest way to do that is to develop the kingside bishop.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.