There is no real substitute for collecting for review as many games of a particular opening you want to play yourself from either side. One of my correspondents years ago asked, “I play the Pirc. My question is: How do I handle the defense in the spirit of the opening after, 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Bd3 that my opponent played. In checking with MCO, the move is given with conclusion of being too committal, mentioning 3. … g6 4. Ne2 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. Nd2 e5 =.
If World Champion Emmanuel Lasker’s axiom holds merit, 3. Nc3 g6 4. Nf3 is logical with good chances for both sides after 4. … Bg7 5. Be2 keeping pressure on the center while preserving square count options.
An interesting game offers a good example of a positional treatment of handling both sides. White: Ken Rogoff vs. Black: Palacious Opening: Pirc Defense
1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Nf3
This move has remained popular but the Austrian Attack by 4. f4 tends to offer an aggressive approach aimed at gaining square count.
4. …Bg7 5. Be2 O-O 6. O-O c6
6…Bg4 is a good alternative. Both vie for good position and chances.
Shades of Alekhine! This prevents possible …b5 while giving White more scope on the Q-side, plus s/c.
7. …Nbd7 8. Rel e5 9. Bf1!
This move keeps the diagonal under guard while adding Rook protection of e4 and future influence on the e-file.
9. … Re8?
Black should restrict White’s a-pawn with the idea of holding e5 by Re8 and Qc7 by gaining s/c with 9….a5! Now, he will suffer because the advanced pawn will be a thorn in his side and open up more s/c.
10. a5! exd4 11. Nxd4 Nc5 12. f3 d5 13. e5 Nfd7 14. f4 f6 15. e6 Nf8
Black has aided the 2-time US Junior Champion by weakening the central complex of squares.
How do you further turn the screws in Black’s coffin? When you have your opponent discouraged, smash the pawn structure to pieces!
16. f5! gxf5 17. a6! Nxa6 18. Bxa6 bxa6 19. Nxf5 Qb6+ 20. Nd4 Rxe6 21. Be3 Re5 22. Nxf5 Qe6 23. Nxg7 Kxg7 24. Qd2 Bb7 25, Bd4 Rxe1+ 26. Rxe1 Qd6 27. Rf1 Nd7 28. Ne4 Resigns. (1-0).
Kenneth Rogoff eventually went on to win the coveted title of Grandmaster and represented the USA both in international tournaments and on USA student teams. He graduated Yale and went to work for the World Bank as an economist, and often appears on TV news interviews.