For me, I absolutely adore using the Pirc as black.
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6
At my level, my opponent does not know this line but play is straightforward letting me control the flow of the game. And, even though black looks like he goes into a spiral ending in permanent disadvantage, it is all a facade to lure white into overconfidence. And the look in a scholastic player's face when he seeds 1... d6 for the first time is priceless.
When I was an active player, I relied on a solid Pawn center with White. I opened 1.d4, and stuck to main lines. I played the Saemisch against the King's Indian, the Exchange Variation against the Gruenfeld, the Exchange Vartiation agains the Orthodox Queen's Gambit (but not against the Slav. I avoided the Meran with 6. Qc2.) Against Benonis and the Benko I played systems with e4, Nf3 and Be2.
With Black, when I needed a win against Kin's Pawn I played the Sicilian, defending Rausers and Sozins. When I was playing a strong player, so I did not have to worry about a drawish line, I defended double King's Pawn, particularly the Breyer Ruy.
Aainst the English I played the King's Indian with 1....e5. Against the Reti I invited a transposition into the Sicilian, even if it allowed the Maroczy Bind.
Let's see if this is readable when I paste it. It's an e-mail game I played against the co-President of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, with some notes I wrote at the time.
White - Dan Barker
Black - George Kane
Started October 1, 2001
1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. d4 cd4:
4. Nd4: d6
I don’t know if this move order is common today. I used to adopt it as an invitation to the Maroczy Bind, 5. c4. Then 5….Nf6; 6. Nc3 g6; 7. Be2 (7. f3) Nd4: 8. Qd4: Bg7, followed by 9…. O-O, 10….Be6, 11….Qa5, 12…..Rfc8, 13….a6 and 14….b5 is the Gurgenidze System, with which I felt comfortable.
Obviously sharp. The idea, as you employed in the game, is g4-g5, Rhg1-g3-h3, Qh5 with a mating attack. A subtlety in move order is 11. Rg1. Then, if Black continues with this plan of development by continuing 11….Nd7, 12. Qh5! makes it hard for Black to organize his defense. For example, 12….Nc5 13. g4 Bd7 14. Rg3 followed by 15. Rh3. Black does not get to seal the Kingside as in the next note, while White’s Pawn remains on g4.
11. … Nd7
12. Rhg1 Nc5
13. g5 Bd7
14. f4 …
This is new to me. Playing from ancient memory, 14. Rg3 Rfc8 15. Qh5, g6 16. Qh6 Bf8 17. Qh4 Be7 stalls White’s attack, since if 18. Rh3 h5! But 14. f4 contains the threat of a lever with 15. f5. In order to avoid ceding the d5 square to White’s Knight, Black must dislodge it from c3.
14 … b5
15. Rg3 b4?
Natural, but premature. The difference from the last note is that White’s f2 - f4 and Black’s b7 – b5 have been played. A more reliable defense would be 15…Rfc8, as in that note, or at least 15….g6..
16. Qh5! …
On any other move, Black is clearly on top. If White withdraws his QN, Black forestalls the K-side attack with 16…g6, threatens the White e-Pawn, and is ready to roll White up on the Queenside with a6-a5-a4. After the text, White’s attack is unstoppable. Black’s only hope is to checkmate White first.
16. … bc3:
17. Rh3 h6
18. f5? …
If 18. gh6: g619. Rg1 Kh7 or 19. h7+ Kh8 20. Qh6 Bf6 and Black is secure. I was expecting 18. Rg1, threatening 19. f5 or 19. gh6: I was resigned to the not-especially satisfactory 18. … Be8, defending g6, to be able to answer 19. gh6: with 19. … g6. But 19. f5! is a tough nut to crack, with the threat of 20. f6.. I saw nothing better than 20. … Nd4: 21. Bd4: Nb3:+ 22. ab3: cb2:+ 23. Kb2: ef5: 24. ef5: f6 25. g6, when Black must find a mate before White gets in Bd4 - e3 – h6:
18. … Nd4:!
A simple, liquidating refutation of White’s 18th. If 19. Bd4: Bg5:+, or 19. Rd4: Nb3:+ 20. ab3: cb2:+ 21. Kb2: ef5: 22. gh6: g6 and wins. White therefore presses forward with his attack, ignoring the loss of material.
19. gh6: Ncb3:+
20. Kb1!? …
A last, desperate hope, to avoid giving Black any opportunity to organize his defense. Black must find an answer to the threat of 21. hg7:
20. … Nc2:!
Black breaks through first. 21. hg7: Na3+ 22. ba3: c2+ 23. Kb2 Bf6+ wins easily (but 23. … cd1:N+? 24. Kb1!). Also losing are 21. Kc2: bc2:+ 22. Kb2: Bf6+ 23. Kb1 Rfc8, as well as 21. ab3: Ne3: 22. bc3: (otherwise 22….c2+) 22…. Qc3:
Resourceful to the end! The point I thought was that if 21. … Qc5: 22. ab3: Na3:+ 23. Ka2! Black’s initiative cannot falter for even a single move. But you mention 22. bc3:, which also looks difficult.
21. … Na3+!
Best because it is the most forceful. Every move is a check or a mate threat.
After 22. ba3: c2+ 23. Kc2: Qc5:+ 24. Rc3 Qf2+ 25. Kb3: Rfb8+ 26. Kc4 Bb5+ 27. Kb4 a5 and mate next move.
When I posted this I should have shown that it related to the folder theme, favorite openings. In my initial post I stated that as Black I liked to defend aainst the Sozin. This game is an example of the sharp tactical play that is typical of these lines.
When I play white, I like to use either queen pawn opening or king pawn opening. When I play black, I like to use Sicilian against king pawn opening and either queen's Indian or King's Indian or Benko Gambit against queen's opening. I hate to play against Benko Gambit when I play queen pawn opening.