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Petrov Defense (C42)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6

Number of games in database: 10032
Years covered: 1497 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 36.3%
   Black wins 18.1%
   Draws 45.5%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Viswanathan Anand  85 games
Peter Leko  65 games
John Cochrane  58 games
Artur Yusupov  113 games
Boris Gelfand  108 games
Vladimir Kramnik  83 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Anand vs Kramnik, 2005
Polgar vs Karpov, 2003
Capablanca vs Kostic, 1919
Janowski vs Marshall, 1912
Leko vs Kramnik, 2004
Lasker vs Pillsbury, 1895
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 page 1 of 402; games 1-25 of 10,032 
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 0-1281842Casual gameC42 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 ExhibitionC42 Petrov Defense
11. NN vs Kieseritzky 0-1251846ParisC42 Petrov Defense
12. B Greville vs Kieseritzky 1-0261846Casual gameC42 Petrov Defense
13. Kieseritzky vs Horwitz 0-1371846Kieseritsky - Horwitz MatchC42 Petrov Defense
14. B Greville vs Kieseritzky  1-0381846Casual gameC42 Petrov Defense
15. Kieseritzky vs Horwitz 1-0411846Kieseritsky - Horwitz MatchC42 Petrov Defense
16. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-0251848CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
17. E Lowe vs H Kennedy ½-½451848Kennedy - Lowe mC42 Petrov Defense
18. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-0401850CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
19. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-0431850CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
20. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-0201850CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
21. C Talbot vs H G Cattley  1-0231850Casual gameC42 Petrov Defense
22. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-0271850Calcutta mC42 Petrov Defense
23. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-0291850CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
24. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-0291850CalcuttaC42 Petrov Defense
25. C Stanley vs J H Turner  1-0411850Stanley - Turner mC42 Petrov Defense
 page 1 of 402; games 1-25 of 10,032 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 16 OF 16 ·  Later Kibitzing>
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

Jan-01-13  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.

May-05-14  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

Jan-02-16  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#

Mar-30-21  749770: Who are the strongest players in Petrov's defense history?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <749770>
<Who are the strongest players in Petrov's defense history?>

I'm not sure what you mean by this. As White or as Black? Strong player generally, or having particularly strong results with this opening?

A lot of strong players have played it as Black, notably Karpov, but evidently mostly when playing for a draw. Marshall is the only one I can quickly think of with a significant number of wins against strong opposition using this opening as Black.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Caruana has a number of quality classical wins with Black. In 2018:

Robson at the 2018 US Championship
Kramnik at the 2018 Candidates
Grischuk at the 2018 Candidates
Vitiugov at the 2018 Grenke Classic

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <749770>
<Who are the strongest players in Petrov's defense history?>

I probably would vote for Kramnik. In terms of frequency, he seemed to play it about 2/5 of the time against 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3, Karpov more like a quarter. Caruana played it a lot less frequently than either but clearly played it quite a bit between 2016 and 2019. Of course, Kramnik abandoned it in his most critical match.

Marshall leaves them all in the dust; he played it in almost half of his opportunities.

All from Repertoire Explorer and the usual caveats apply, especially for more recent players.

Mar-31-21  749770: And in terms of theory, which players are considered the greatest theorists of this opening?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <749770: And in terms of theory, which players are considered the greatest theorists of this opening?>

I don't know what a great theorist is. Particularly w/r/t the Petrov.

Tarrasch, maybe?

Tarrasch vs Alapin, 1889

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <749770>
<greatest theorists> In terms of knowing all the ins and outs and contributing many novelties?

Since Karpov used it repeatedly in world title matches against Kasparov and Kamsky, one has to believe he had deep prep in it.

Artur Yusupov is also worth a mention. He plays it a lot and has written a book on it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: On the White side, Anand has a lot of wins against strong opposition.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <749770>
But if your motive is something like <whose games should we study to learn this opening>, bear in mind that anyone could play an important game. For example, probably nobody would list Browne or Bisguier as major Petrov players, but we'd still want to be aware of the famous Browne vs Bisguier, 1974 game.
Jun-29-21  VerySeriousExpert: First of all, I recommend the main article on 3.Nc3! Nc6 4.Bc4! Nxe4 5.Nxe4! d5 6.Bd3! dxe4 7.Bxe4! Bd6 8.Bxc6+! etc. by Yury V. Bukayev ( )! Thus, White gets the advantage after 7...Bd6 8.Bxc6+!, and 7...Ne7 8.c3!, and 7...Nb4 8.a3!, and after other responses (you can find them in this article too). ChessCafe linked it in 2012 (see Abby Marshall's article "The Two Knights Defense, Center Fork Trick": "Pertinent responses").
Sep-24-21  Bartleby: <VerySeriousExpert: First of all, I recommend the main article on 3.Nc3! Nc6 4.Bc4! Nxe4 5.Nxe4! d5 6.Bd3! dxe4 7.Bxe4! Bd6 8.Bxc6+! etc. by Yury V. Bukayev ( )! Thus, White gets the advantage after 7...Bd6 8.Bxc6+!, and 7...Ne7 8.c3!, and 7...Nb4 8.a3!, and after other responses (you can find them in this article too).>

In your line above 7. ...Nd4!? may prove a better practical equalizing move rather than 7. ...Bd6, 7. ...Ne7, or 7. ...Nb4. (8. Nxe5 runs into 8. ...Qe7).

However black is better off deviating a move earlier with 6. ...Nb4! (instead of the obvious 6. ...dxe4). 7. Ng3 (or 7. Nc3) e4 8. Bxe4 dxe4 9. Nxe4 Bf5 10. d3 Bxe4 11. dxe4 Qxd1 12. Kxd1 Bc5, with ...O-O-O and ...Rhe8 to follow, and the initiative. White almost certainly can't maintain his extra pawn on e4 without contorting into knots.

Black could also essay a more chancy and aggressive 6. ...f5!? instead, to further support 7. ...e4 next move, which I think is a fascinating alternative. I.E. 6. ...f5!? 7. Ng3 e4 8. Bb5 exf3 9. Qxf3 Bc5 and I think if anyone is better it must be black, or at least an easier position to play. Or 6. ...f5!? 7. Nc3 e4 8. Bb5 exf3 9. Qxf3 a6 10. Bxc6ch bxc6 11. O-O Be7 and black is fine, his two bishops and extra space should offset weaknesses in his pawn structure.

Sep-24-21  Olavi: <749770: And in terms of theory, which players are considered the greatest theorists of this opening?>

Makarichev, by a country mile.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <VerySeriousExpert> <Bartleby>

Probably not much of an indicator how the opening would fare in practice, but SF thinks White is significantly worse after 8.Bxc6+ bc 9.d4 (recommended by the linked website; 9.d3 Bg4 or 9....0-0 is also not promising) 9....e4 10.Ne5 0-0 (11.Nxc6 Qf6 12.d5 Qg6 13.g3 Bg4). -(0.86, 36 ply) Engines have reached the point where you really can't avoid checking them if you're publishing opening analysis.

White does better with 8.d4, and if 8....exd4 9.Bxc6+ bxc6 10.Qxd4 it's pretty much even. Tartakower played this way 100 years ago. Tartakower vs Reti, 1920

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