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. Bd3 Weiss Variation
6. Be3 Kurajica Variation
6. e5 Unzicker Attack
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!
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