I wheeled out the good old Modern 1… d6 Defence to 1.e4 in this game against my regular opponent, but I missed a great opportunity in the fifth move to claim an advantage with 5… Nxd5!

Here are the opening moves:

1. e4 d6 2. d4 e5 3. d5 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. Nc3 Nxd5!

This sequence is a variation of the Pirc Defence known as the Maróczy Defence, which brings out Black’s central pawns in the first two moves, delaying Nf6.

The “easy chess tip” in this game is easy to learn but not so easy for a casual player to spot if unaware of it.

Here is the set up and the key move that delivers Black with an opening advantage (which is probably why it is so difficult to find anything about this move sequence on online chess databases):

If white advances his pawn to d5 and then brings out his Bishop to g5 to pin the f6 Knight to the Queen, after 4…Be7, Black’s f6 Knight can take the d5 pawn if the g5 Bishop remains en prise.

Black wins the d pawn even though it is triply defended by the e pawn, the Knight and the Queen.

Sadly for me, even though Nxd5 remained an option for a couple of moves in my game, I completely missed it.

For this opportunity to arise, White must fail to address the potential weakness of his situation. In our game, instead of addressing the problem of the g5 Bishop, White continued development with 5. Nc3.

What is a better alternative for White?

It turns out that any attempt to defend the g5 Bishop leads to the loss of a central pawn. For example, if White attempts to do so with 5. Nf3 Black can respond with 5…Nxe4 – capturing the e pawn instead of the d pawn!

So White’s vulnerability here springs from the fact that both the g5 Bishop and the e4 pawn are undefended.

A better alternative for White would be to exchange the Bishop for the Knight, 5. Bxf6 Bxf6.

Another option is 5. Bb5+.

The game was played on Gameknot.com over Skype without a clock.

These basic chess training videos are suitable for anybody below 1700 or so. Learn from my middle-game blunders when playing the Pirc Defence!

David Hurley


Check out Gameknot and play for FREE at: https://gameknot.com/#hirohurl (Search for “hirohurl” when you join, and challenge me to a game!)

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FURTHER READING: Erik Zude and Jörg Hickl, Play 1…d6 Against Everything: A Compact and Ready-to-use Black Repertoire for Club Players https://amzn.to/2pKTjJ3