Phil is a strong player who plays a lot of chess for a number of clubs. He is well known for carefully preparing for his opponents. He knows that I play the French and will surely have prepared an interesting little surprise for me. Under normal circumstances I would welcome the challenge to my cherished French but I was still readjusting to my return to chess and felt I was not playing at my best.
I therefore decided to go back to my roots and looked into the Modern /Pirc complex which I played some years before. In actual fact I had this position on my board earlier in the day and the curious Ng8 manoeuvre appealed to me somewhat although I was mocked for it somewhat in the pub later!