How to get an edge against the Petroff(or Russian game)

Aug 15, 2010, 3:33 AM |

In this new blog we will examine the toughest defence for Black against the 1.e4 opening. The Petroff Defence (or the Russian Game)!This opening is a very hard nut to crack for white because it is based on symmetry (sometimes) and as Kramnik has proven in the recent years it can also become a lethal weapon for 1.e4 players!!

So , our task here is very difficult as this defence is played at the highest level and theory accepts it, that's why we are not going to prove a clear edge for Black but an annoying continuation for Black , were White will have all the fun!!

I am suggesting 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 [4.Nxf7!? is not as bad as it looks and can serve as surprise weapon!] 4...Nxe4 and now play 5.Nxc3!

This move was first suggested by the great Capablanca. His thoughts were these:

"So black has moved his Knight 2 times getting into the centre so it would be very good if one could threaten this knight and make it lose another tempo. We have 5.d3. This move does threaten the knight closes te diagonal of the bishop and white gets a passive game. The same about Qe2. Now what about 5.Nc3? Well it threatens theknight and doesn't close the bishop and also it gets a piece in play!Also , by playing this knight white gets closer to the 0-0-0!"

we continue: 5...Nxc3( black's best) 6.dxc3!

An excellent move as it doesn't harm our pawn chain as bxc3 does and also speeds up our development by letting the bishop out to e3 or f4!

6...Be7 7.Be3! 0-0 8.Qd2 Nd7 9.0-0-0 with a nice position for white.He will secure his king with Kb1 and then play h4-h5-h6 and if neede Be2 and Nd4! Meanwhile Black wont be so quick asthe doubled c-pawn provide our king with extra protection!! Let's see an example of one of my games played in a tournament (not on the internet).


you should also know that this variation is gaining popularity in top chess , with followers as Topalov, Anand and Shirov.If you are still curious with this opening or sceptical i give you then the opening's analysis:

now consider these and the next your opponent plays the petroff you will be better equiped!!

Have fun with this variation!