I would like to know if I can force Windows 8 to use the Modern UI version of Chrome when opening links, rather than the desktop version?
Unlike IE 10, there is only one "version" of Google Chrome on Windows 8, which can be run in either Desktop or Modern UI mode.
So - if you always want links to open Google Chrome in Modern UI mode, start Chrome, then when it's running select "Relaunch Chrome in Windows 8 mode" from the menu (see below).
From then on, Chrome will run in Windows 8 Modern UI mode, and links will automatically go there.
To revert back, repeat the process, which will now say "Relaunch Chrome on the Desktop"