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Petrov Defense (C42)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6

Number of games in database: 7408
Years covered: 1497 to 2021
Overall record:
   White wins 36.9%
   Black wins 18.2%
   Draws 45.0%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Viswanathan Anand  65 games
John Cochrane  58 games
Peter Leko  57 games
Artur Yusupov  111 games
Boris Gelfand  96 games
Vladimir Kramnik  84 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Anand vs Kramnik, 2005
Judit Polgar vs Karpov, 2003
A Zapata vs Anand, 1988
Leko vs Kramnik, 2004
Janowski vs Marshall, 1912
Lasker vs Pillsbury, 1895
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 page 1 of 297; games 1-25 of 7,408 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. P Damiano vs NN 1-0141497CasualC42 Petrov Defense
2. Greco vs NN 1-0151620Miscellaneous GameC42 Petrov Defense
3. Posen vs Berlin 0-1231839City MatchC42 Petrov Defense
4. I Calvi vs Kieseritzky 0-1201842MatchC42 Petrov Defense
5. Staunton vs Cochrane 0-1281842London m2C42 Petrov Defense
6. Budapest vs Paris 1-0461842UnknownC42 Petrov Defense
7. Budapest vs Paris 1-0481843UnknownC42 Petrov Defense
8. G Perigal vs Saint Amant  1-0221843Great BritainC42 Petrov Defense
9. NN vs Saint Amant 0-1271843OrleansC42 Petrov Defense
10. The Turk vs A Zerega 1-0351845Private Exhibition, New YorkC42 Petrov Defense
11. Kieseritzky vs Horwitz 0-1371846Kieseritsky - HorwitzC42 Petrov Defense
12. Kieseritzky vs Horwitz 1-0411846Kieseritsky - HorwitzC42 Petrov Defense
13. NN vs Kieseritzky 0-1251846ParisC42 Petrov Defense
14. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-0251848CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
15. E Lowe vs H Kennedy ½-½451849MatchC42 Petrov Defense
16. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-0431850CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
17. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  1-0201850CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
18. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  1-0291850CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
19. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-0291850CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
20. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-0401850CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
21. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-0271850Calcutta mC42 Petrov Defense
22. C Stanley vs J H Turner 1-0411850Washington mC42 Petrov Defense
23. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-0551850Casual gameC42 Petrov Defense
24. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-0261851CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
25. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  1-0271851CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
 page 1 of 297; games 1-25 of 7,408 
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In the final edition of the "Handbuch" (1916) Schlechter recommends 9...♗d7, but adds the remark "it prevents 10.♘b5, but 9...c6 is better."

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: The <Opening of the Day> today goes to : The <Petrov Defense>!.1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 ♘f6
Apr-13-11  Maatalkko: Thoughts on the Cochrane Gambit:

The more I look at it,

The more I like it.

I do think it's good.

The fact is

No matter how much I study it,

No matter how I take it apart,

No matter how I break it down,

It remains consistent.

I wish you were here to see it!


Apr-13-11  Maatalkko: Funny you say that you don't want to face the Cochrane, <acirce>. I was thinking the same thing myself. I can't think of any example of an opening choice being rejected that's more extreme than the Cochrane.

The thing is, it's a slow gambit. The pawns do the work, not the pieces, and if you develop too quickly and exchange a piece or two the opening is dead.

I've been looking to see if there's a knock-down theoretical refutation, and I don't see one. I can't find a model game where Black wins smoothly and White had no improvements. It's remarkably underplayed.

Old as the opening is, the 5. d4 variation only existed beginning in the 1980's. The old method with 5. Bc4+ is looks less strong, but I don't think it's been refuted either.

Everyone assumes it's an unsound gambit without even looking at it, which is probably why it's so underexplored. I think it's a dual conspiracy. White players don't want it to be sound because they don't have the stones to play it. Black players don't want it to be sound because it would ruin the Petrov if people started playing it all the time.

Wouldn't it be funny if the theoretical "perfect tablebase" showed the Cochrane as a refutation of the Petrov?

Apr-13-11  Maatalkko: Gambits produce a strange psychology.

Player A thinks an opening is sound, Player B disagrees. They play it out and Player A wins. Player A says, "See? I told you it works." Player B says, "No, you just beat me with an unsound gambit."

Apr-13-11  Maatalkko: My friend and I used to keep playing this same line in the Dragon, where I would play Bh6 at some point. My friend mistakenly believed it to be an unsound variation because there's a trap in it, but if you play it properly it's actually a recognized line. I beat him in that line five or six times in a row, and then told him it had been sound all along. He still didn't believe me.
Apr-13-11  MaxxLange: <Maatalkko> what does "unsound" mean, anyway? a gambit loses by force?, OK, that's unsound. It gives you worse chances of winning or drawing and better chances to lose, than if you had played a solid line? That's also unsound, OK.

But, I have known amateurs, my fellow class players, who are far too materialistic. If they work up their nerve to play a gambit, they then try as hard as they can to win back the gambit pawn by force! If they can't get back the pawn with equality, they say the gambit is "unsound".

That seems to miss the point, the idea is supposed to be that you get compensation in the form of development, initiative, attack, or positional features, in exchange for giving up some wood.If your attack looks like it is starting to peter out, you should look for a way to sac MORE material, not look for a way to make a draw.

The kind of stubborn duel among friends you describe reminds me of the titanic fight that the strongest and third-strongest guy at my old club had, in the KGA Fischer defense. The stronger guy, who had White, won more of them, of course

Apr-13-11  MaxxLange: I can;t think of too many other gambits that involve giving up a Knight as early as White does in the Cochrane.....

I'd suspect that the reason we don't see it in GM play is that White simply has better winning chances in the main lines. Strong players are going to make a draw

Apr-13-11  Maatalkko: <MaxxLange> Obviously you're a player in some courage to choose that handle. I am learning that opening right now, from "A Startling Chess Opening Repertoire", which also contains good analysis of the Cochrane. Funnily most on Amazon criticize it for recommending the Cochrane, but I don't see why. Petrov is somewhat rare at my strength (Class B) but i'm still pumped to learn it.

I'd say "sound" = white has move sequences that at least draw against all variations and "unsound" = black has move sequences that win against all variations. Of course, that's strictly theoretical, because nobody has or can make a complete tablebase for the opening. We can take a guess at sound or unsound though. Most openings are sound i would guess, even maybe stuff like the Borg or the Albin.

Cochrane: sound or unsound? IDK but if it's unsound that's hard to prove. Cochrane has crushing stats, yet people are too scared to try it.

Apr-13-11  Maatalkko: The Cochrane looks like so much fun, though, that I might scrap the Max Lange and try the Halloween instead. That's the only other early Knight sac opening, besides Muzio KGA, but everyone plays something else vs King's Gambit. Just being like "F it" and going for it immediately has a strong psychological effect, because most opponents are like "dang, I would never dare to do that", especially in a tournament.
Apr-13-11  Shams: Kramnik was on the ropes against Topalov's Cochrane attack a few years ago, which to me means it's sound enough for the purposes of anyone on this forum, ever.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: someone post the game. I've been murdered by the Cochrane in Blitz. I'd like to see a GM suffer through it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Maybe <Shams> is referring to this game where a Knight is sacked, but this is not a Cochrane's Gambit.

Topalov vs Kramnik, 2008

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: <Topalov vs Kramnik, 1999;

No, it was this one, with "Cochrane Gambit" in the header. And, Topa did have a lot of threats.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <HeMateMe> Oh, alright...

I was just checking this one out of curiousity as soon as Cochrane was mentioned: Cochrane vs B Mohishunder, 1848

Apr-13-11  Shams: Ok, I overstated things quite a bit when I used the phrase "on the ropes". But my point stands, play the sucker.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Apparently the right move is play Bishop to e6, even though your King gets dragged out into the open board.

I'm guessing Topa had winning lines worked out at home, but ultimately was surprised by Kramnik giving up material to establish a perpetual check, along the first rank and g3 square.

Apr-14-11  Shams: <Maatalkko> <The Cochrane looks like so much fun, though, that I might scrap the Max Lange and try the Halloween instead.>

The problem with the Halloween Attack is that black can play 5...Nc6 and 6...Bb4 just giving back the piece with a better game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day

Cochrane Gambit
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nxf7

click for larger view

Looks like it has evolved from a Petrov.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day

Petrov Defense
1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 ♘f6

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Ron: Here's an interesting game I played against the Petroff:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 Nxe4 4. Bd3 d5 5. Nxe5 Nbd7 6. 0-0 Nxe5 7. dxe5 Nc5

This position has occurred before.

8. Be2 c6 9. Be3 Be7 10. f4 Ne4
11. Nc3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 Qa5 13. c4 Bf5 14. cxd5 Bc5 15. Bxc5 Qxc5+ 16 Kh1 cxd5 17. Bd3 Bd7 18. f5 0-0

Perhaps Black is castling into the attack, but would Black really be better off keeping the king in the center?

19. f6 g6 20. Qd2 Re8 21. Qh6 Qf8 22. Qe3 Rec8

Here I conceived of an attacking plan. Also, I felt that Black had no real attacking prospects against my king.

23. h4! b6 24. h5 Be6 25. hxg6 hxg6
26. Qg5 Qa3 27. Bxg6! Kf8 28. Bxf7 Bxf7 29. e6 Ke8 30. Qxd5 Bxe6 31. Qxe6+ Kf8 32. Rf3 Rc6 33. Qxc6 Qxf3 34. gxf3 Kf7 35. Qxa8

Feb-18-13  FiveofSwords: about this cochrane knight loss stuff...its actually a knight for two in term of material you are only one pawn behind. It is not so extreme as you say.

I dont recommend playing it if you are trying to 'refute' the petroff. Its not a refutation. But if you jsut want the sort of position you tend to get from it then fine, its playable.

The petroff without the cochrane gambit is already quite often tactically complicated...but somewhat symettrical and balanced. the cochrane forces more asymmetry.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Mating Net: Any thoughts on combating the Petroff with 5.Nc3 leading to the following position:

click for larger view

If Black retreats the Knight to f6, then White has an undeniable lead in development so the usual move is to exchange on c3 leading to the following:

click for larger view

In return for the doubled c pawns, White gets a half open d file and good prospects for an attack with opposite side castling such as the following games:

Karjakin vs Kramnik, 2010

L Dominguez vs W So, 2014

I think it gives White better prospects than the symmetry lines with 5.d4

Premium Chessgames Member
  Ron: After 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 Nxe4 4. Bd3 d5 5. Nxe5 Nd7 6. Nxd7 Bxd7 7. O‑O Bd6

if White plays 8. Re1, Black can force draw by
8. ... Bxh2+ 9. Kxh2 Qh4+ 10. Kg1 Qxf2+ 11. Kh2 Qh4+ 12. Kg1 Qf2+ 13. Kh2 Qh4+ 14. Kg1 Qf2+ 15. Kh2

Apr-11-19  Kukka: This is funny: just mated in 13 moves with black, while trying out the infamous "beginner's trap" ...Nxe4 in the Petroff.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 Nxe4 4.Qe2 Qe7 5.Qxe4 d6 6.d4 dxe5 7.dxe5 Nc6 8.Bb5 Bd7 9.0-0 0-0-0 10.Re1 Nxe5 11.Qxe5 Qxe5 12.Rxe5 Bxb5 13.Rxb5 Rd1#

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