Monday, September 15, 2008
Anti-Petroff Repertoire with d4
Today I offer up an interesting Anti-Petroff Repertoire with d4 focused on lines where White gets an attacking set-up with a pawn at e5. While it has been played at the highest levels, this is still a relatively unusual line and one that players as Black will not often see, since the 3.Nxe4 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe5 exchange is so standard at every level. In fact, a number of books on the Petroff give scarcely a chapter on 3.d4. And those that do discuss 3.d4 focus on the more traditional lines where White takes at e5 with the Knight (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5). The positions where White takes at e5 with a pawn, however, are less symmetrical and more frequently give White kingside attacking chances.
I first became interested in this line after seeing some nice White wins after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.dxe5 Be7 6.O-O Nc6 7.Nc3! (see diagram above). I like this move a lot. White allows doubled pawns in exchange for getting rid of the centralized Knight, speeding development, and gaining open lines (note the half-open b-file) and added control of the center (especially the d4-square). It is an interesting trade-off and one that has proven somewhat favorable for White in practice, including in our featured game Kosteniuk - Pourkashiyan from the ongoing Women's World Championship tournament (where GM Kosteniuk is playing in the final).
I call this a "repertoire" because I do not offer complete coverage of 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4, focusing only on my recommendations where White tends to get a pawn at e5. The only place where I have erred on the side of inclusiveness is against Murey's surprising 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 Nc6!? where White has a number of interesting options, though I do tend to prefer 5.Bxe4 d5 6.Bg5! Against the less common 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 exd4, White always has, of course, the option of transposing to my favorite Urusov Gambit (with 4.Bc4), but I also offer the interesting line 4.e5 Ne4 5.Qe2!? which sidesteps the extensive theory of 5.Qxd4 and tends to produce interesting attacking possibilities based on the pawn at e5. As always, I welcome reader input and improvements.