The Austrian Attack | Pirc Defense Opening Theory

Taking up the center is the best way to counter hyper-modern defenses such as the Pirc, and the Austrian Attack is the most aggressive and most direct way to do so.

For the basics of the Pirc Defense, watch this introductory video:

The Austrian Attack is the most aggressive setup white can choose against the Pirc. Bringing the third pawn to the center with f4, white prepares a strong central and kingside attack. This variation almost always leads to attacking games with no time to waste for either side. The Austrian Attack is also the most popular way for white to play with thousands of grandmaster games.

The idea behind the move f4 is pretty simple; white wants to expand in the center with the move e5, gaining space, and reducing the scope of black’s main defensive piece, the fianchettoed g7 bishop. If white manages to go unpunished and he gets e5 in with no direct counter play for white, then he indeed will have reduced black’s pieces to the first three rows and condemned them to passivity.

Therefore, black must react as soon as possible to make sure that doesn’t happen. Black plays in hyper-modern style; he fianchettoes and castles kingside as soon as possible, and then at the earliest opportunity strikes at white’s expanded pawn center either with the move c5, or, less commonly, with the central strike e5.

There are two ways for black to continue the position. He can either opt for an early c5, breaking white’s center before castling, or he can choose the safer approach and castle first. After the opening moves: 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. Nf3 black makes a choice between c5 and 0-0. White can then choose the style of play.

5…c5 Dragon Formation
6. Bb5+
6. dxc5
6. Bd3 Weiss Variation
6. Be3 Kurajica Variation
6. e5 Unzicker Attack
6. Be2

As for the engine evaluation, as in every hyper-modern opening which neglects the classical chess principles, they prefer white. The space advantage and superior piece activity do serve as a strong argument for that claim, but, as in the King’s Indian, black has his chances and, with active enough play, white’s center could collapse and black could strike in the center and achieve more than equality!

#chess #pircdefense #chessopenings


  1. wonderful variations to consider. as a pirc player, the way i audibly gasped at the white pawn to e6. i'll have nightmares.

  2. This is my favourite response to the Pric Defense

  3. looks like knight to g4 is a bad move 8 for black in kurajica and dxe5 is better

  4. David Everything in Defense and Attack in the Pirc is a #1 fascination for me in Chess Oline

  5. Wish you would do a video on the advantage of the modern over the pirc in avoiding or blunting the Austrian attack formation of pawns at d4, e4 & f4.

  6. good video. Can you make a video on Grunfeld defense, please. Thanks

  7. Thank you very much for wonderful video with wonderful instruction techniques which I used your technique while I study my opening repertoire
    Could you please make videos on hedgehog opening
    Thank you

  8. i just wondering why didn't you include the old steinitz variation in your ruy lopez series? does that variation got already refuted or not that common anymore?

  9. Just came back to this vid after watching the introductory one. Great content keep it up. I really enjoy learning theory for modern openings like the pirc.

  10. good video the austrian attack is good but i think 150 attack will be more aggressive

  11. I have a question, I often play the move h3, mainly to stop black's knight from taking white's dark square bishop (so i can exchange on h6), and also it restricts black's light square bishop from pinning the knight on f3. Is this a waste of a tempo?

  12. How to participate tournament and how be a rated player how to calculated rated etc please make video this related

  13. Great video, I learned a lot, thank you. Your teaching style is excellent,

  14. I agree as a Pirc Defense player I only play 5.c5. I know it's not the best move to play because after takes you wasted time but so much simpler to play and almost everyone plays takes. I only got the bishop to check a few times and never thought it was any good because they just trade. I think I only got e5 once in a blitz game against a higher rated opponent and got crushed. Now I understand why and knowing that forced draw is really good for both sides.

  15. Very helpful. Thanks!

  16. What can black play after
    6.dxc5 Qa5
    7. Qd4

  17. If 13.h3 like at 6:33 then not 13…Nh6? but 13…Bh6!. Then all three top-level games I found continued 14.Ng5! exf4 15.Nxf7! Rxf7 16.hxg4 Bg5. Two ended in draw and black won one.

  18. At 5:41 f6 don't give advantage to black. Example: 15.Bc4+ Kh8 16.h4 Nxe5 17.Bxe7 Nbd7 18.Bxf8 Nxf8 19.Bd5 Bxd5 20.Qxd5 Qxd5 21.Rxd5 Ned7 22.Ne4 Re8 23.Nd6 Re7 24.Ra5 fxg5 25.hxg5 Bg7 26.Rxa7.

  19. This channel is a great find. Tons of videos and superb training to develop my game play. I have subscribed and shared with others. 😀

  20. What do you do as black after knight a6 and white takes the pawn and you recapture with a6 knight

  21. I love learning from your videos even though I never achieve these positions in the games I play

  22. This is amazing content. I used to watch gothamchess but thought his videos were too simple (I am 1650). You explain things very clearly; I really feel like I'm improving by watching your videos. Could you do a video on how to create attacking opportunites with the Pirc?

  23. Do you know why it is called the Austrian Attack ?

  24. If you want to get a blast of pure theory, Stjepan is the man. Great stuff. Been learning the French, like the Kings Indian defence for d4, thought I would try the pirc as an alternative to the French, so these videos are very useful.

  25. Had to come watch this again, it's just excellent work and most appropriated Blessings your way from Oregon & Thank You. … Mike.!

  26. Blender Compositor& Rotoscope Master says:

    Hi after Bb5+ black should play Nc6 if d5 a6 dxc6 bb5 dxc6 Qb6 to preveny Nd5 directly nd5 qxc6 bb3 and c4 black is ok here

  27. At 5:28 he says, taking e5 is not an option because fxe5 leads to a losing position, but what about Nxe5? That one looks viable with a fair exchange opening up by exchanging pawns and knights. Any thoughts?

  28. Used the kurajica variation in a tournament game yesterday to get my highest otb elo win ever! Besides that it was just fun to play, we had opposite side castling I gave up an exchange for two pawns and had my h pawn on h7 for most of the game. Thanks for your awesome content!

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