Thursday, August 19, 2010

Beating the Petroff

At the highest level of play the Petroff (or Russian) Defence is generally regarded as a problem for White. Quite often a symmetrical pawn position is obtained, and White struggles to convert his extra tempo into something more concrete. In some quarters the notion of banning the Petroff Defence from tournament play has been suggested. But what do the Petroff experts say?

A more skilful strategic player triumphs in the Petroff Defence regardless of the colour of his pieces and the position's symmetry.” -- Alexander Raetsky and Maxim Chetverik

That is certainly encouraging. And how about this quote from the noted author of Think Like a Grandmaster:

When I stayed behind at school with my school friends after lessons, and managed to play up to a hundred games in a single afternoon, the strategy was simple enough: I castled on the opposite side in the middle of violent (and mutual) King attacks. Whoever got his attack in first, won. [When] the Kings find themselves at opposite corners of the board... the attacker not only can but must carry out the attack with pawns...” -- Alexander Kotov

The message is clear: let's castle queenside against the Petroff!

dadian - lox1900, G/5 Chess Assistant Club 2010, Petroff Defence C42

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 Be7 7.Be3 d5 [7...Nc6 8.Qd2 Be6 9.0–0–0 Qd7 10.Kb1 a6 11.h4] 8.Qd2 c6 9.0–0–0 [9.c4!?] 9...Bg4 10.Be2 0–0 11.h3 Bxf3 12.gxf3 (first diagram) 12...b5 13.Rhg1 Bf6 14.Rg4 [14.Bd4 Nd7 15.Qh6 g6 16.h4 Re8 17.Bd3 Ne5 unclear] 14...Nd7 15.Rdg1 [15.f4!?] 15...g6 [15...Ne5 16.R4g3 Re8 17.f4 Ng6 18.f5 Nh4 19.Bd4±] 16.f4 Bg7 17.f5 Ne5 [17...Nf6 18.Bg5 (18.R4g2 Qa5 19.Kb1 Ne4 20.Qd3 b4) 18...Qa5 19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.Kb1 d4 21.Qd3 dxc3 22.fxg6 and White wins] 18.R4g3± Nc4 19.Bxc4 bxc4 20.Bd4 Qd6?! [20...Rb8! with counterplay] 21.h4 c5 22.Bxg7 Kxg7 (second diagram) 23.h5 f6 24.hxg6 h6 25.Rh3 Rh8 26.Rgh1 Qe5 27.Rxh6 Qxf5 28.Rxh8 Rxh8 29.Rxh8 1–0

About Me

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Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
National master (Canada) since 1984. B.C. Champion 1977 and 1984. Runner-up 1991 and 2002. B.C. Open Champion 1972 and 1982. B.C. U/14 Champion 1964-65-66. Mikhail Botvinnik once wrote that publishing your analytical work forces you to be accurate because it exposes you to criticism. Hence this blog.