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The Cutthroat Petrov
Compiled by Nasruddin Hodja

Yes, you read right. If you think the Petrov Defense is a boring way to start a chess game, that's only because you don't play it correctly. All you need to do is to be on the tactical alert and fireworks result even in this supposedly sleep-inducing opening. Don't believe it? Play over the following games, then decide.

Good play by the Hungarians.
Budapest vs Paris, 1842 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 46 moves

Petrov beats the opening named after him.
A Petrov vs C Jaenisch, 1844 
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 26 moves, 1-0

Staunton knew how to poison his pawns.
E Williams vs Staunton, 1851 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 30 moves, 0-1

3. Bc4--Morphy's pet line for the Petrov.
Morphy vs T Lichtenhein, 1857 
(C27) Vienna Game, 29 moves, 1-0

And check this one out.
Morphy vs T Barnes, 1858 
(C27) Vienna Game, 38 moves, 1-0

"Boden shmoden. Pass me a scotch..."
J Robertson vs Blackburne, 1867 
(C27) Vienna Game, 29 moves, 0-1

An American plays the Russian Game.
Lasker vs Pillsbury, 1895 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 33 moves, 0-1

Let wimps worry about king safety, says Steinitz.
Steinitz vs Pillsbury, 1895 
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 60 moves, 1-0

The Chess Doctor.
Tarrasch vs G Marco, 1898 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 34 moves, 1-0

He didn't play like the Drawing Master in this game, did he?
Janowski vs Schlechter, 1902 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 23 moves, 0-1

Steady defense by Maroczy.
Tarrasch vs Maroczy, 1905 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 51 moves, 0-1

And this was Marshall's pet line.
Spielmann vs Marshall, 1910
(C42) Petrov Defense, 31 moves, 0-1

A Queen sac in the Petrov?! Get real!
Janowski vs Marshall, 1912 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 22 moves, 0-1

Marshall's famous upset.
Capablanca vs Marshall, 1913 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 53 moves, 0-1

How to dismantle passive play by black.
Alekhine vs S Levitsky, 1914 
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 17 moves, 1-0

Complications against Lasker? Forget it.
Lasker vs Marshall, 1914 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 29 moves, 1-0

Alekhine could lob bombs even in "boring" openings.
Alekhine vs A Rabinovich, 1918 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 29 moves, 1-0

The KGB variation, part I.
M Chodera vs J Dobias, 1924
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 30 moves, 0-1

A Marshall K.O.
Yates vs Marshall, 1925 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 23 moves, 0-1

Move 29: Alekhine blows a rook just for kicks.
C Bauer vs Alekhine, 1926 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 32 moves, 0-1

Alekhine's last game is a Russian Game. Poetic irony...
F Lupi vs Alekhine, 1946 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 22 moves, 0-1

A Keres Gem.
Keres vs C H Alexander, 1954 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 22 moves, 1-0

There are no easy draws against Bronstein.
P Trifunovic vs Bronstein, 1957 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 34 moves, 0-1

The KGB variation, part II.
Simagin vs A Khachaturov, 1959 
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 33 moves, 1-0

The start of a long rivalry.
Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1974 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 31 moves, 1-0

Attack as Black! Makarichev uncorks 11. ... Nxf2!
Ljubojevic vs S Makarichev, 1975 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 28 moves, 0-1

Even Tal gets outcombined in this opening.
Tal vs Suetin, 1977 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 38 moves, 0-1

A Petrov specialist at work.
R Korsunsky vs Yusupov, 1979 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 33 moves, 0-1

Larsen discovers the 5. ... Nd7 main line. And what a victory!
Karpov vs Larsen, 1980 
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 66 moves, 0-1

Two hard fighters = a hard fight.
Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1981 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 53 moves, 1-0

A theoretical dispute: 8. ... Bf5 vs. 8. ... Bg4.
Karpov vs Portisch, 1982 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 38 moves, 1-0

How to defend against the Cochrane.
A Vitolinsh vs Khalifman, 1984 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 30 moves, 0-1

Should it be called the Vitolinsh Gambit instead?
A Vitolinsh vs T Viksna, 1985 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 24 moves, 1-0

How to blast open a closed position and checkmate.
de Firmian vs B M Kogan, 1986 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 32 moves, 0-1

The will to attack.
Kupreichik vs Yusupov, 1987 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 33 moves, 1-0

Khalifman gives up his queen right out of the opening.
Khalifman vs Rozentalis, 1988 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 43 moves, 1-0

The Kaufmann variation isn't dull either.
Kholmov vs A Raetsky, 1988 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 41 moves, 1-0

Stay humble now that you're World Champ, Vishy.
A Zapata vs Anand, 1988 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 6 moves, 1-0

When computers were patzers.
Kasparov vs Fritz, 1992 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 33 moves, 1-0

A nasty fork by Kasparov.
Kasparov vs Timman, 1994 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 30 moves, 1-0

A Petrov king hunt.
Smirin vs B Alterman, 1995 
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 25 moves, 1-0

The unconventional Karpov: 11. ... Kd8!?
Kamsky vs Karpov, 1996 
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 29 moves, 0-1

"My king likes to go for a walk." (Steinitz)
Shirov vs Yusupov, 1997 
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 36 moves, 1-0

Chucky's nerves get better with age.
Ivanchuk vs Shirov, 1998 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 48 moves, 1-0

Rozen Tal Is.
Macieja vs Rozentalis, 1999 
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 34 moves, 0-1

Sac pieces in the endgame. Shirov does it frequently...
Anand vs Shirov, 2000 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 41 moves, 0-1

A slugfest.
Anand vs Shirov, 2001 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 44 moves, 1-0

Shirov takes black's position apart (ho hum?).
Shirov vs Piket, 2001 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 43 moves, 1-0

Shove that rook in e4 and let white choke on it...
Svidler vs Ponomariov, 2001 
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 44 moves, 0-1

Leko, not Drawko.
Leko vs Grischuk, 2002 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 47 moves, 1-0

No grandmaster draw, this.
Grischuk vs Gelfand, 2002 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 28 moves, 1/2-1/2

Nimzo's 5. Nc3: opposite side castling and cutthroat attacks.
Khalifman vs S Atalik, 2002 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 30 moves, 1-0

Karpov gets the last laugh.
Kasparov vs Karpov, 2002 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 47 moves, 0-1

Anand foils the sacrifice.
Topalov vs Anand, 2003 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 61 moves, 0-1

Stay alert against this lady, oh grandmasters.
Polgar vs Karpov, 2003 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 26 moves, 1-0

A speculative sacrifice from Kramnik, of all people.
Leko vs Kramnik, 2004  
(C42) Petrov Defense, 65 moves, 0-1

Shirov takes the bait, and gets fed his own medicine.
Shirov vs M Bluvshtein, 2005 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 23 moves, 0-1

Kramnik goes bust in his own opening.
Anand vs Kramnik, 2005 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 20 moves, 1-0

Humpy gets zapped with 17. Qh6!
Motylev vs Koneru, 2006 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 25 moves, 1-0

Who's scared of 5. Nc3?
Rublevsky vs Shirov, 2006 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 27 moves, 0-1

A hard struggle. Winning in the endgame is also good.
Grischuk vs Gelfand, 2006 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 65 moves, 0-1

Emre gets canned (sorry...).
E Can vs Yusupov, 2007 
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 21 moves, 0-1

Not Nigel's best tournament.
Short vs Harikrishna, 2007 
(C01) French, Exchange, 19 moves, 0-1

Artur's tragicomedy. Watch those triplets.
I Cheparinov vs Yusupov, 2007 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 36 moves, 1-0

The best Petrov of the tournament, in spite of the draw.
Morozevich vs Gelfand, 2007 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 45 moves, 1/2-1/2

To beat the Petrov with white, you have to play like this!
V Gashimov vs B Lalic, 2007 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 25 moves, 1-0

"A La Kasim..."
Kasimdzhanov vs R D Miedema, 2007 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 42 moves, 1-0

For a kingside attack with black, play the KID...or the Petrov.
S Milliet vs T Mamedjarova, 2007 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 24 moves, 0-1

Gelf's queen dies of embarrassment.
Topalov vs Gelfand, 2008 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 28 moves, 1-0

Marshall? Tal? Bronstein? No, just Kramnik...
Naiditsch vs Kramnik, 2009 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 27 moves, 0-1

70 games

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