Originally posted by rubberjaw30
1. (insert any of white's 20 legal moves here) g6
why does this look so damn good, but the big-name GMs don't use it?
I can't tell you why the GM's do or don't play the Modern. I only know that after experimenting with it as Black (1.e4 g6) I found that if White knew what he was doing and held the center while developing, I found myself without much counterplay and getting squeezed. I went through a phase trying to find an opening response to 1.e4 as Black, where I played the Pirc, the Robatsch (Modern), the Pterodactyl (kind of a Robatsch with an early...c5), the hyper-accelerated Dragon (kind of hard to tell the difference between some lines of the last two anyway, I think), then on to the O'Kelly Sicilian and now, finally, to the Paulsen (aka Kan) Sicilian. So far I'm reasonably happy with the Kan and plan on pursuing it.
There are actually a number of similarities in the openings named. Gradually I decided that I wanted to contest the center from the very first move, without playing into highly favorable White lines with 1.e4e5, and since I had so much experience regarding ...c5 as a "freeing move" in so many of the lines I had been trying, why not get it in right away? I also wanted to get to know one opening for replies to 1.e4, and 1...e5 lets White take the game into countless openings -- Spanish, Italian, Center-Counter, etc., etc., etc.. The Kan is also flexible depending on how White develops. On the other hand, it doesn't offer the aggressive tactical lines that the Najdorf does (at least, not right away).