Saturday, May 21, 2011

Winning with a Forced Draw in the Petroff

Black to play after 6.Nxf7!?
I have annotated the game Mangion - Kernighan, KCC Quads 2011, which featured the Petroff line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5.  I have previously analyzed 5.dxe5 in my "Anti-Petroff Repertoire with d4."  However, 5.Nxe5 is the more popular move, and though it leads to more symmetrical positions it can be very sharp and interesting.  Kernighan's response 5...Nd7 was recently analyzed in "Plugging Away at the Petroff" (Chess Life, March 2011), where Andy Soltis told how the famed Harvard economist Ken Rogoff developed the line, which theory had previously frowned upon, and helped make it the most popular response to 5.Nxe5.  Soltis also points out that Mangion's surprising 6.Nxf7!? (shades of The Cochrane Gambit) was first played in Zaitsev - Karpov, Leningrad 1966 (a "GM draw" frequently repeated, including in a 2009 US Championship game).  

Mangion had looked over these lines and felt secure in being able to force a draw with 6.Nxf7!? against his higher rated opponent.  After 6....Kxf7 (Karpov's 6....Qe7! is probably more interesting -- see my annotations) 7.Qh5+ Ke6!? 8.Qe2 (threatening f3 to regain the piece with attack), Kernighan likely should have chosen 8...Kf7 when White simply repeats with 9.Qh5+ etc. splitting the point.  Instead, he chose the more "principled" but losing continuation 8....Kd6? when followed a typical Kernighan king walk and speedy victory for Mangion.

With his win over NM Kernighan, Mangion (rated 1971) has beaten two masters in as many weeks (having defeated KCC Champion Ken Chieu in the first game of the quad).  If he has success in his final game, he may very well break the 2000 rating barrier.


Ian said...

I had forgotten about the Soltis article, thanks for pointing that out. Also, it's good to finally make it into your website for a good game rather than the usual fiasco ;)

DACarrelli said...

typical king walk....ha!