I am having some trouble on defeating this opening. Any general tips you can offer me? I use the d4-Nf3-Nc3-Bd3-Be3 formation.

  • Do you mean a setup with b6 and g6 or just one of them?
    – Cleveland
    Oct 4, 2014 at 14:48
  • A setup with both of them. But the people who play it sometimes chose b6, sometimes g6.
    – MikhailTal
    Oct 4, 2014 at 15:05
  • @MikhailTal, remember to add as relevant tags to your post as you can so that it can be easily seen. Oct 4, 2014 at 15:38
  • This isn't the pirc
    – MikhailTal
    Oct 4, 2014 at 15:47
  • It is the modern defense
    – MikhailTal
    Oct 4, 2014 at 15:48

2 Answers 2


I'm not a long time member here but I was pretty sure that question regarding this opening will show up. First of all, this kind of defense is really great against weaker players, let's say <1800, who don't know how to place their pieces/how to maneuver properly. By doing this, black dodges theoretical conversation, which can be pretty desirable. Since you gave us only two moves of black g6 and b6, I can't provide you lines or variations, no point to consider all possible setups of black pieces. If you want - share a game with us, I'll be glad to point out not-the-best moves. For now I can only give you few tips:

  • Avoid playing Bd3 and Be3. That's too squeezed. The light-squared bishop should be placed on c4 in most cases. (I assume black plays e6 and d6 not d5. (See, you should be more precise!:)).
  • You can wait to develop the dark-squared bishop a bit. g5 might be a nice spot occasionally.
  • As "waiting moves" to use above, you can castle, or play Qe2.
  • When your opponent plays a6 consider responding with a4 to avoid some b7-b5-b4 followups.
  • And the most important: do NOT hurry here. Don't go all in too early, in such set-ups black has an easy counter-attack in the center once you commit to go all in on a side. It's serious. I saw many people losing games due to immediate attacks like Be3, Qd2, Bh6, h4 and stuff.
  • 2
    Can't agree that white's white squared bishop normal belongs on c4 - it's too open to being kicked by b5 or sometimes Na5. I would say by default e2 is the square for the bishop in the quiet systems you seem to be advocating, but a fianchetto or d3 are also possibilities
    – Ian Bush
    Jun 30, 2017 at 13:33
  • I agree with a lot here. Regardless of where you put your bishops, d3 and e3 is too cramped. I would recommend either spreading them out like the answer suggest or stacking them on the same file (i.e. e3 and e2). Most importantly, i totally agree not to hurry! It sounds like their defensive setup is pretty solid. If they are not 1700+, they may not be as comfortable on the attack.
    – rougon
    Jul 2, 2017 at 3:24

I agree with @PhilipRoe.

The Modern defense is a sound opening and OP's setup is sound against the defense. So if you keep losing, it's because the opponent is stronger, not because of the opening.

Also, Nimzowitch once said, if you fear one particular opening the other colour uses, you should play that opening yourself (when using that colour)

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