Why does Petrov Defence unpopular at low level?

yestwo

I started playing it on black now and it seems like a strong and basic opening. It seems like it would be a better defence for low levels than the more popular ones like Sicilian because it seems pretty straightforward and not too much theory or tactics.

 

Only time I see it though is when I am as black and play it. On white when I open e4 it always becomes Spanish, Italian, or Sicilian game...

 

Is it not good or do people just think it is boring or something?

Yigor

The reason is probably simple and psychological: when a pawn is attacked, the most basic instinct is to defend it (not to attack an other pawn instead)! peshka.png

ichiro_bloodmoon

I love the Petrovs Defense. I play it against the computer when with black and e4 by white. I smash with it.

Sqod

The Petrov requires learning the first few moves accurately because players of Black can lose very fast with it (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 Nxe4?! 4. Qe2), and players of White very often don't know the opening even out to the third move (I see 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d3?! surprisingly often), so club level players or lower who haven't learned anything about the opening get nervous about it, and rightfully so. Once I even had an expert tell me he shied away from playing 1. e4 against me in our tournament match because he saw me playing the Petrov in casual games in earlier days, and he admitted "I don't know that one." Also, most club players as White encounter 2...Nc6 (Two Knights Defense) or 2...d6 (Philidor's Defense) in response to the standard 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3, so the Petrov is a less common opening, therefore less often studied, and that novelty adds to the fear of it. At least that's how I see the situation.

 

IMBacon
yestwo wrote:

I started playing it on black now and it seems like a strong and basic opening. It seems like it would be a better defence for low levels than the more popular ones like Sicilian because it seems pretty straightforward and not too much theory or tactics.

 

Only time I see it though is when I am as black and play it. On white when I open e4 it always becomes Spanish, Italian, or Sicilian game...

 

Is it not good or do people just think it is boring or something?

You will find at lower levels, there is a mindset of "Im an agressive/tactical player"  Where everyone thinks they are Mikhail Tal.  When you see someone using terms for openings like "boring" "slow" etc.  They are telling you that they have no clue as to what is going on.

Daybreak57

It's actually very popular among beginners that have no freaking clue what they are doing.  They get this stupid idea somewhere where they think if they copy their opponents moves than maybe they can be just as good as he is, and they will play Nf6 in response to Nf3.  Then they will get this classical setup for a common trap.  Even if he doesn't fall for it, black can still lose to other tactics that are left on the table just because he played an opening he has no idea about by merely "copying" his opponents moves. 

 

Play any beginner.  A certain percentage of the time they will just merely copy your moves and play this way and lose to this trap that I talked about but didn't post because I'm assuming everyone knows it.  

 

Never copy your opponents moves.  Always carefully consider your options.  The second you start to just merely copying your opponents moves, rather than carefully considering your options, could cause the game to turn into a disaster.

hitthepin
Petrov’s defense is a good opening that I sometimes use. I guess the other openings are just more mainstream.
Ziggy_Zugzwang

As a club player I have found it an extremely rare defence. In fact as white I wonder if the best thing is to try and transpose into a three knights or four knight and save opening prep for more common replies. I tried it a couple of time myself with two draws and a loss and have faced it three times over the board in over forty years of club chess with a win and two draws - although I haven't always played 1e4 on move one.  I think I may have faced it once or twice here on chess.com.

pfren
Sqod έγραψε:

The Petrov requires learning the first few moves accurately because players of Black can lose very fast with it (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 Nxe4?! 4. Qe2), and players of White very often don't know the opening even out to the third move (I see 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d3?! surprisingly often), so club level players or lower who haven't learned anything about the opening get nervous about it, and rightfully so. Once I even had an expert tell me he shied away from playing 1. e4 against me in our tournament match because he saw me playing the Petrov in casual games in earlier days, and he admitted "I don't know that one." Also, most club players as White encounter 2...Nc6 (Two Knights Defense) or 2...d6 (Philidor's Defense) in response to the standard 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3, so the Petrov is a less common opening, therefore less often studied, and that novelty adds to the fear of it. At least that's how I see the situation.

 

3...Nxe4 is speculative, but not such a bad move.

Alyff_Najmy

Can be defused by bishop opening

NelsonMoore
pfren wrote:
Sqod έγραψε:

The Petrov requires learning the first few moves accurately because players of Black can lose very fast with it (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 Nxe4?! 4. Qe2), and players of White very often don't know the opening even out to the third move (I see 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d3?! surprisingly often), so club level players or lower who haven't learned anything about the opening get nervous about it, and rightfully so. Once I even had an expert tell me he shied away from playing 1. e4 against me in our tournament match because he saw me playing the Petrov in casual games in earlier days, and he admitted "I don't know that one." Also, most club players as White encounter 2...Nc6 (Two Knights Defense) or 2...d6 (Philidor's Defense) in response to the standard 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3, so the Petrov is a less common opening, therefore less often studied, and that novelty adds to the fear of it. At least that's how I see the situation.

 

3...Nxe4 is speculative, but not such a bad move.

 

It loses a pawn but if you move the knight away it loses a lot more when Nc6+ follows.

Correct is to continue the "copy" with Qe7!. Now after Qxe4 the knight on e5 is pinned so you can just attack it with one of your pawns and win back the piece but you end up a pawn down.

 

 

ChessBooster

 someone said : "straightforward ".

it may be problem. i tried to study it and to play it, because white has not so many deviations from basic position, but after some moves it goes that black has no enough freedom of choices and flexibilities to suprise opponent and/or to deviate

pfren
NelsonMoore έγραψε:

It loses a pawn but if you move the knight away it loses a lot more when Nc6+ follows.

Correct is to continue the "copy" with Qe7!. Now after Qxe4 the knight on e5 is pinned so you can just attack it with one of your pawns and win back the piece but you end up a pawn down.

 

 Black has certain compensation for the missing pawn from your final position after 7...Nc6. There is no point to adress every posible continuation- suffice to say that even a couple of GM's occasionally play the line as Black-especially if they don't mind a draw.

It's even quite playable at the highest correspondence level- that is, engines have not been able to refute the line.

 

Dr. Ljubicic is the current correspondence World Champion. 

 

TomPetty

I think the reason is beacuse it is known as a drawish opening, which to club players mean a boring opening. Club players are not proffesionals, they play for fun, so they don't want drawish and/or boring positions. But they are very wrong, Petrov is maybe drawish on GM level, but on club player level it is not a boring opening, and actually club players can get quite interesting games with Petrov.

Take my comment with a grain of sand as I rarely play the Petrov from either side. (I play French vs 1.e4 and with white I almost always open 1.d4)

Nic_Olas

I have started to play the Petrov as black in my daily games and I have had a learning curve to deal with. In several games I fell into probably common traps and in others I have obtained slightly worse, passive positions but I have just begun to play it and I think it is a good option if you want to try to be solid in the opening as black. 

I think the idea that Bobby Fischer has popularized as his "hating draws" has been very bad for chess, causing total beginners to refuse draws on the grounds of the statements of this and other grandmasters. The fact is that all beginners, (and I don't claim to be better than a beginner, I have just been beginning for a while) should probably try out some games as black playing for a draw. 

After all, though everyone always talks about the draw death in chess, isn't it worse if good players are just losing games where accurate defense could have made for a real fight?!

One of the hallmarks of many of the great players has been the ability to defend well, starting with Louis Paulsen in his games against Morphy; Steinitz in his very close matches with Chigorin for the world championship; Lasker in New York 1924 a knight down; Fischer in game 13 of the 1972 world championship against Spassky!!!!(Fischer's five passed pawns battle against a rook!!!!!)

I could go on and on and still neglect to mention "Iron Tigran" or Lev polugaevsky and this would seem long winded (and slightly off topic) but I think to Shirk the Petrov on the basis that it is "too drawish" is really silly for inexperienced players to do.

An aside, Frank Marshall, renowned for his attacking chess, played many Petrov defenses as black in order to sharpen the game. That was a long time and a lot of theory ago but, if one knows almost no theory, what deficit could time possibly render one?

      Adeu, Nic_Olas(kinda snarky, sorry. I'm way into it at this point)

McCredie

The Cochrane gambit is the reason I stopped using the Petrov.

Sqod
McCredie wrote:

The Cochrane gambit is the reason I stopped using the Petrov.

 

What's so dangerous about the Cochrane Gambit?

It just requires some additional general knowledge (e.g., you must castle by hand, usually by developing your KR to e8, then walking your king to g8) and some additional memorization (e.g., when and how to return the pawn, such as by ...c5 dxc5 and don't recapture it via ...dxc5). In the mean time White usually usually trades bishops via Bc4+ ...Be6 Bxe6+ ...Kxe6 which hurts White because White is trading down while a pawn down, which is suicidal if White's gambit-fueled attack fails.

kaukasar

I didn't have a good defence against e4 as black until i learned the Petrov. The sicilian requires tons of theory to play successfully, the italian and spanish game are well studied and gives white great attacking chances. Petrov is simple to learn, solid and relies on common chess principles after the initial moves/variations. No need to memorize a lot. The reputation that it is drawish is bullshit, except at the very top level perhaps. But at that level most solid openings/defences are drawish.

I have faced the Cochrane Gambit once in tournament play and it was difficult to coordinate my pieces afterwards, it gives lots of compensation for white but after some careful maneuvering black is fine.

Chessflyfisher
ichiro_bloodmoon wrote:

I love the Petrovs Defense. I play it against the computer when with black and e4 by white. I smash with it.

You must have a program that is NOT top of the line.