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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, 1-0

Petrov beats the opening named after him.
Alexander Petrov vs 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 W 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.
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 I Viksni, 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 V 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.
Judit 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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