Petrov's Defense in the King's Gambit

     In the King's Gambit (after 1.e4 e5 2.f4) there are many ways to decline the free pawn. Some are:
The Classical variation: 2...Bc5
Norwalde Variation 2...Qf6
Panteldakis Counter Gambit 2...f5
Nimzowitsch Counter Gambit  2...d5 3 exd5 c6
Adelaide Counter Gambit 2...Nc6  3.Nf3 f5
Keene Defense 2...Qh4+ 3.g3 Qe7
Mafia Defense 2...c5
Petrov Defense 2...Nf6
...each giving White certain advantages and certain problems.

     The Petrov Defense has one of the worst records of them all, almost to the point where one might conclude that it's been refuted.  However it does have some intriguing points.

     The Petrov Defense in the KGD is defined already by Black's second move, 2...Nf6:


Greco gave a fragment of this opening in 1620:

     Nimzowitsch felt the opening was immediately losing for Black.  In "My System" he gives the following example:


     In his book "How to Beat Bobby Fischer," Edgar Medis call the move 2...Nf6 dubious. Still some players tend to give the Petrov Defense a try.

     After 2...Nf6, White has a couple of proven options:  3.fxe5 and 3.Nf3.




Moves that transpose:

     The Petrov Defense bears a strong resemblance to the Vienna Gambit, the main difference being that White has played Nc3 (and reached the same position transposed as 1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nf6 3.Nc3) :

     White has the option to play 3.d3 which leads to a position transposed from the Maroczy Variation of Alekhine's Defense.  Below is the original game between Maroczy and Alekhine:


  • 3 years ago


    a thing to avoid for me now! though i havent experimented that move as far as i can remember. thanks for the blog! it helps

  • 3 years ago


    thanks for writing this, very interesting.  It seems the Petrov Defense doesn't believe in the  Rule #4 - Don't Move a Piece Twice Before Move 10!

  • 3 years ago


    Bronstein is one of my favorite players. I still have my copy of 200 Open Games (with descriptive notation!). Check out this uncharacteristic loss by Dave against the KGD: Bronstein David I vs Matulovic Milan .

      This game made me laugh more than once. This is 19th century tactical hi-jinx at their best:

  • 3 years ago


    Wow, Petrov got credit for this one too? I guess he figured, either way, you attack my pawn on e5, I'll attack yours on e4 Smile

  • 3 years ago


    Thanks for the great article!  I especially like to see any games by Robert Fischer or Sammy Reshevsky.

  • 3 years ago


    Nice article :) Thanks for posting :)

  • 3 years ago


    okay, thanks for all

  • 3 years ago


    "I can not send friendship to you because your account is locked for friendship"

    We can be friends in spirit.

  • 3 years ago


    Thanks for everything,
    I was excited to learn chess
    but unfortunately,
    I can not send friendship to you because your account is locked for friendship

  • 3 years ago


    Kiwi,  Well Spielmann vs Reggio was actually a Vienna Gambit.  The same position can be reached in a King's Gambit Petrov Defense, however, with cooperation.  I think the Petrov Defense is stronger than the King's Gambit Petrov.  Black really has statisically poor showing with this opening, more so the higher the level.  So, in club level games, the KG Petrov might be a nice surprise weapon, but few masters have lost to it.

    GreenCastleBlock, the best I can do is find the stats and go with them.  The Wade variation seems pretty taxing for White and maybe if Wade hadn't been playing Fischer in his prime, the game might have gone the other way.

    Ninzo, if you are asking if you can reproduce any of this, feel free to use whatever you like.

    Mobidi, Thanks. :-)

  • 3 years ago


    Nice blog,
    I asked permission for the information to my blog for my group

  • 3 years ago


    Nice article as always bg.  I had always heard of this referred to as the Wade variation.  After 3.fxe5 (3.Nc3 d5 is a Vienna) Nxe4 4.Nf3 Ng5 and the simplification that follows, White has an edge but Black's position is reasonable.  (Of course I met a guy at some club once who SWORE that 2...Nf6 was a forced draw)  In the game you posted in this variation, Black lost because of later decisions (also maybe because White was Fischer)

  • 3 years ago


    Thanks! Very nice collection! My favorite game by Michael Rohde ( 17.Qh3!!)-simple ,but very impressive!

  • 3 years ago


    I liked how Nimzowitsch overcame the petrov defense displayed in his "My system", the two centre pawns are in line, if white can defend those pawns with its minor pieces, black will have to worry about whites really high pawn line. 

    In the game Fischer vs Wade, I felt as though black did a decent job of preventing the usual main lines of play against the petrov defense, black seemed to have a decent enough and solid enough opening. Good game. 

    The Petroff or Petrov defense is a very drawish opening if I am correct, GM Magesh speaks relatively highly (or somewhat) of the defense, claiming it does offer a decent enough opportunity for middle game play and I feel the game Spielmann vs Reggio echoes this. 

    The Petrov defense can certainly throw amateur players off their game if they are not aware of the opening, like in my case. 

    I myself first encountered this defense when playing the Ruy Lopez, never read into this defense before today, but it was interesting to see the Petrov being deployed against the Kings Gambit. 

    Thanks for the blog. 

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