The Modern Tiger

Here’s a snippet from The Modern Tiger, which will be available soon. The position is taken from the new chapter covering the Pirc as a back-up weapon against the Austrian. The following position is reached in analysis. Can you find a strong continuation for Black?

Black to play

Tiger’s notes are reproduced below:

16…Bxh3!! 17.gxh3 Nf4

White’s defence is difficult. A possible continuation is:


Vigus shows that 18.Qc4†?! Kh8! is excellent for Black. One possibility is 19.Rae1 Qd7 with a massive attack.


Since the c7-pawn is not under threat here, it seems better to keep the f6-pawn covered while avoiding any potential checks on the back rank.


19.Rae1 Qc8! 20.Bd1 Nxh3† 21.Kh1 Be3 22.Bxe3 Nxe3 is at least a bit better for Black.

19…Qc8 20.Qc5 b6! 21.Qc6 Ne7 22.Qe4 Ned5 23.Ne5 Nxc3 24.bxc3 fxe5

Black is clearly better.

10 thoughts on “The Modern Tiger”

  1. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I recognise this immediately from 5…0-0 6. Bd3 Nc6, so apparently Tiger recommends Nc6 although I prefer 6…Na6. …Bxh3 gxh3 Nf4 Qc4+ Kh8 with the double idea of Nxh3+ and …b5 was my first idea looking at the diagram. Did Tiger feel that 6…Na6 and 6…Nbd7 were too chaotic?

  2. Personally, as an amateur and a not 2200 player 🙂 , in the Austrian, I never come till 5… O-O as I move away before with White…

  3. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    Indeed he is recommending …Nc6. I wonder what he recommends against 6.Be3, which is Andrew Greet’s recommendation in ‘beating unusual chess defences: 1.e4’ – especially if Andrew is the editor of The Modern Tiger 🙂

  4. @Dennis M
    I agree with you – apparently 16…Bxh3 was already given by Vigus so it seems a bit odd to speak about ‘Tiger’s notes’. Of course it’s perfectly normal to build further on other people’s work, but maybe another example, showing a move with two exclams found by Tiger himself, would have been more appropriate. Anyway, I’m still very much looking forward to this book!

  5. I’m interested in White’s sneaky 3.Nf3 move orders trying to force Black into Pirc lines with 4.Be3 (Game 43), 4.Be2 (Game 57), or 4.h3 followed by Be3 (Game 60, in The Modern Tiger). Tiger prefers 4…Nf6 accepting all these Pirc transpositions, mentioning in each case that 4…a6 would be met by 5.c4! when …a6?! makes much less sense in a KID/Modern Averbakh (though against 4.Be3, 4…c5 is also mentioned as “the only decent alternative”). However, when I’ve tried these move orders with White, the almost exclusive choice of my opponents has been the obvious 4…Nd7, still ready for either an …a6 Modern (or for that matter a …c6 Modern), some kind of Averbakh, or a KID with …Nd7. You could argue that at least with Nf3 and Be2 played, White has done nothing “suboptimal” and should just invite a KID or Averbakh with 5.c4, but that’s not so clear in the other two lines (3.Nf3/4.h3 and 3.Nf3/4.Be3). I find it odd that …Nd7 isn’t even mentioned; surely some Black players will also wonder why they shouldn’t try it.

    Apart from this it’s a very impressive book!

    P.S. One slight gripe though: The index of variations (at least on my Forward app) is split into chapters, but that makes it a detailed table of contents, NOT an index. This is fairly common in chess books, but it doesn’t make sense and even less so in a book with mysterious chapter titles like “Flexible Dragon Unleashed”, “Flexible Dragon Restrained” and “The Hippopotamus”. A real index enables the reader to quickly and easily find a line even if he only knows the moves, without having to first know or guess which chapter it’s in.

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