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   Please bring a chess board, there is only one diagram - so you will definitely need a board. I suggest that you 
   use several boards ... or maybe one main board, at least one smaller board; and even a possibly a magnetic 
   chess set.  (Click  HERE  to go to my big  "GeoCities"  chess web site. Then go to my  "Training Page,"   
   for more details on this procedure.)     ---> Click  HERE  to see this game in js-replay format.   


This is a game I first saw as a teen-ager ... I forget who it was who showed it to me. But I did not forget the game, it has a charm all it's own. Later, I was given a copy of Evan's book, and once again ... I was fascinated with this game - especially the problem-like finish of this game. 

When I got my own computer, I immediately began annotating games, this was one of the first I did. Then I came back to this game ... many, many, many times. I started annotating this game (again) when I was working at a radio station ... but I lost all those files when my hard drive crashed on that unit. (At that time, I had no back-ups. This was probably circa 1996.) Then I got another computer, and once again I turned my attention to this game. 

I took this game up again in like March of 2000, but it was, "a hit-or-miss" affair. (I would work on it for a few hours, then lay it aside, perhaps not returning to it again until weeks later.)  I finally got serious about this game in May of 2002, but I did not work on it consistently. I later decided to include a brief opening survey, this turned into a small repertoire on my computer on the Petroff Defense. (I only include a very small portion of that work here.) I also wanted to high-light GM L. Evans' notes, I felt they were above average. Most of his conclusions are valid, even after I subjected them to intense scrutiny and computer analysis. (This is very rare!) 

This game eventually resulted in a repertoire (to learn the basic theory of the line), an untold number of Internet searches, dozens of database searches, and also literally hundreds of hours of computer-assisted analysis. (Tedious work, yet always worth it in the end.)  I wanted to create a deeply annotated game that was several cuts above the norm. Yet I wanted the average player to be able to follow along. I also wanted to retain - as much as possible - the original flavor of GM Larry Evans' original notes. Only you can decide whether or not I have succeeded. 


  GM Larry Evans (2550)  - GM Arthur Bisguier (2500) 
[C42]
U.S. Champ. New York, NY, 1959.

 [A.J. Goldsby I] 

***

One of the best games Evan's ever played. It features a finish to this contest that 
could have been a composed problem.  (Exceptionally beautiful and problem-like!) 

***

"An excursion into a forgotten branch of an almost forgotten defense." 
(This was written before Karpov began regularly using the Petroff Defense.) 
"On move six, Black plays with the recklessness of an angry bull charging a 
locomotive."  - GM Larry Evans.  (See the book,  "Modern Chess Brilliancies," 
by GrandMaster Evans. Game # 39, page # 96.).  

***

See my letter to  GM Larry Evans  in the  February, 2003  'Chess Life'  magazine. 
(As concerns this game. Page # 65.)


1.e4 e52.Nf3 Nf63.Nxe5, {Diagram?} 
The most common line at the GM level. 

  (Click  HERE  to see a recent GM game with the Petroff.)  

*****

     [  White can also play the line: 3.Nc3 Bb4; is called the  "3 Knight's Variation." 

         ( The move 3...Nc6; transposes to the line, called,  "The Four Knight's Variation." ).

***

        Fischer recommends: 3.d4
        Steinitz once opined that this is the only way for White to gain an advantage here. 
        3...exd4; 4.e5 Ne4; 5.Qe2!?,  
        An interesting attempt at gaining an advantage. 

           (GM L. Evans says White could play the line: 5.Qxd4 d5; "=" {Diagram?}  
            and the position is pretty close to being equal. And modern opening theory 
            basically bears this opinion out.) 

        5...Nc5This is almost certainly best. 

         ( Grand-Master Larry Evans gives the line:  5...Bb4+!?;  {Diagram?} 
           This looks dangerous to me. 6.Kd1 d5; 7.exd6 f5; 8.Ng5!? Kf8; {Diagram?} 
           This is probably best.  (GM Larry Evans gives the lines: 8...0-0!; 9.Nxe4 fxe4;  
             10.Qc4+ Kh8; 11.Qxb4 Nc6; "~" Evans calls this unclear, but that is silly -  
              White is clearly better. ("+/-") {White should play Qe1!})   9.Nxe4 fxe4;  
           10.dxc7 Qxc7; 11.a3 Bd6; 12.Qxe4, "+/="  White is clearly just a little better here. ) 

        6.Nxd4, This is probably best.  (Perhaps playable is: 6.Bg5!?) 
        6...Nc6; 7.Nf3!, "="   It is best for White to avoid any exchanges at 
        this point. The position is quite level. {A.J.G.} 

         a).  The position is almost certainly equal after the continuation:  7.Nf3 Be7; {Diag?} 
                This is easily best.   (Larry Evans quotes the line: 7...Rb8!?; 8.c4 Be7;  
                  9.Qc2, "~"  {Diagram?}  GM Evans claims a large advantage here for White, but  
                  that is not all that clear.  GM R. Fischer - German;  Stockholm, 1962.)     
                8.Nc3 a6
9.Be3 0-0; 10.0-0-0; "~"  {Diagram?} 
  
                White may even have a small advantage in this position. (Analysis line.)  
                {A.J.G.} 

         b).  The modern book line is:  7.Be3 Nxd4; 8.Bxd4 Ne6; 9.Bc3 Be7; 10.Nd2 d5; 
                11.exd6 Qxd6; 12.Nc4 Qc5; 13.0-0-0 0-0; "="  {Diagram?}   with close to 
                an equal position.  ].   

*****

 

3...d6;  {Box.}  
This is, of course, completely necessary. 

      [  A common trap is: 3...Nxe4?; 4.Qe2 d5; 5.d3, "+/"  {Diagram?}  etc. 
         when White is clearly better. ].  

 

4.Nf3 Nxe4;  
"This position was also reached for the first time in modern world championship history 
in the thirteenth and fifteenth games of the match: GM B. Spassky - GM T. Petrosian
Chess World Championship, Moscow, 1969." 

"Black achieved his objective by scoring rather short draws in both." 
  - GM Larry E. Evans

White to move, common here is the move d4. 
5.c4!?
, (Interesting.)  
"Playable, but harmless." - GM Larry Evans
(I respectfully disagree, I have won many games - even against Masters ....... 
  -  with this line. {A.J.G.}) 

 

     [  MCO-14  gives the line:  5.d4 d5; 6.Bd3 Be7; {Diagram?}  Currently, this is the 
        main line according to several books.  (The move 6...Bd6; {Diagram?} is also 
        very popular from the 1990's, to the present.)   7.0-0 Nc6; 8.c4 Nb4; 9.Be2 0-0; 
        10.Nc3 Be6; 11.Be3!?, {Diagram?}  This is simple and very straight forward. 
          ( Interesting is: 11.a3!?,  {Diagram?} with a complex game. {A.J.G.}  
            MCO-14 says the line starting with the move 11.Ne5!?,  {Diagram?} is also critical. ) 
        11...Bf5!?; (Hmmm.) {Diagram?}  MCO awards this an exclam ... but I have some 
        reservations. {A.J.G.}  ( An alternative line is: 11...f5!?; 12.a3!? Nxc3; 13.bxc3 Nc6; 
         14.Qa4 f4?!; {Diagram?} This definitely looks weak to me.  ({Inferior?}  
         ( Probably better is: >= 14...Re8; ).   15.Bc1 Kh8; 16.Rb1, "+/="  White has a solid 
         edge here.  [ See MCO-14, pg. # 96-97; column # 1, and note # (d.). ]  ).   
        12.Qb3! c6;  {Diagram?}  The end of the column. ( Is the move 12...Nf6!?; {Diagram?} 
        a small improvement over the line in the text? {A.J.G.} )13.c5!?,  {Diagram?}  
        Many sources say this is best here - but I have my doubts. {Serious ones! - A.J.G.} 

***

          ( I spent several different study sessions, ......   - over many different days - 
            exploring the complexities of the following line here, which seems to be a fair 
            improvement over the actual text line as given by MCO:  >/= 13.cxd5! cxd5!?; {Diag?} 
            Is this forced?   (An alternative line is: 13...Nxc3;  {'risky'} 14.bxc3 Nc2; 15.Rad1 Nxe3; 
             16.fxe3 cxd5; 17.Qxb7, "+/="  {Diagram?}  White definitely has a small advantage  
              here. {A.J.G.}).   14.Rfc1 Qd7!?;  It is hard to say what move Black should play in 
            this position.   ( Maybe better is: 14...a5!?; 15.Bf1!, "+/=" )   15.Ne5! Qd6; 16.g4! Be6; 
           17.a3!,  "+/="  {Diagram?}  when White definitely has the upper hand, here.  (Maybe "+/")  
            July  through  August,  2002.  {A.J.G.} )

***

         (Returning to the {analysis} line that MCO gives.)  
         13...Nxc3; 14.bxc3 Nc2; 15.Qxb7!?,  {Diagram?}  This is an attempt to complicate 
         things, apparently more conventional methods yield no advantage at all for White. 
          (15.Rad1 Nxe3; "="  MCO).   15...Nxa1; 16.Rxa1; "~" {Diagram?}  (Maybe - "=/+") 
         GM N. de Firmian - Marciano;  Elista Olympiad, (RUS); 1998. 
         [ See MCO-14; pg.'s # 96-97, column # 1, and also note # (f.). ].  

**********

        White could also play: 5.Qe2!? Qe7;  "="  {Diagram?} which led to a tame draw  
        in the 15th game of the famous  Spassky - Petrosian  Match.  ].  

 

5...d5; (center)   
Black anchors his Knight almost permanently on the e4-square. 

*****

     [  The main alternative is: 5...Be76.Nc3,  ('!?') {Diagram?} The sharpest move. 

***

         ( White could also play: 6.d4 0-0; 7.Bd3 d5; ('!?')  {Diagram?}  
           This looks natural, but ... 

           ( Perhaps a better line is: 7...Ng5!; 8.Nxg5!?,  I am not sure if this is best. 
               (Seemingly an improvement here is: 8.0-0!, "+/=" {A.J.G.}).   8...Bxg5;  
             9.Qh5!? Re8+; 10.Kd1 h6; 11.Bxg5 Qxg5; 12.Qxg5 hxg5; 13.Nc3 Bd7; 
             14.Kd2 Nc6; 15.Nd5 Rac8; 16.Kc3 Ne7;  "="  {Diagram?}  
              This position is approximately level. This is from the encounter:  
              GM V. Kupreichik GM E. Rozentalis;  U.S.S.R. 
              Championship, (semi-finals).  Daugavpils/RUS/1989.  
               (Black went on to win, but the current position is equal.)  {A.J.G.} ).   

            8.0-0 Nc6; "="  {Diagram?}  The position is equal.   - GM Larry Evans
             (This may be nothing more than a transposition back to the main lines.) {A.J.G.} ) 

***

        (Returning to the main analysis line that began with  5...Be7.) 
        6...Nxc3; 7.dxc3 Nc6; 8.Bf4 Bg4; "~"  {Unclear?}  (Maybe "+/=")  {Diagram?} 
         ... "with even chances."  - GM Larry Evans.   
        Richard Teichmann
  -  Frank Marshall;
  San Sebastian, 1911.  ]

*****

 

6.Nc3!?, (Maybe - '!')   
This is probably the most energetic option for White here, at this point. 

     [ 6.cxd5 Qxd5; 7.Qc2 Nc6; "=" ]

 

6...Bc5!?; ('?' - GM Larry Evans)  {Diagram?}  
"Black is seized by a severe attack of daydreaming."  - GM L. Evans

Black plays a move that provokes White into a good move - an advance in 
the center with a gain of time. 

I tested this position extensively in the year 1997. Many strong programs and 
D.M.P.'s (dedicated micro-processors) of that time also picked this move. 
 {A.J.G.}  

( It would seem that Evan's branding of this move as a question mark is a little bit 
   of a knee-jerk reaction. {Overly harsh.} ) 

     [ Another alternative was: 6...Be6; 7.cxd5 Nxc3; 8.dxc3 Qxd5; 9.Bf4, "~"  
       
with a position that is roughly equal. 

        Another playable move is: 6...Nf6; "~"  (About "=")  which is 
        the course of action recommended by GM Larry Evans. ].  

 

7.d4 Bb48.Qb3! c5!?;   
Black wishes to vigorously counter-attack the center. 

While on paper, this might seem like a good idea, it is probably NOT a wise idea 
for Black to open up the game at this point ... especially with his King still in the center 
of the board. 

GM L. Evans makes  NO  comment here, but this could be ... THE LOSING MOVE ... 
for Black. ('!!')  (It probably deserves the appellation of:  '?!'  - at the very least.) 

     [  A modern book line is: 8...Qe7; 9.Be3 c6; 10.cxd5 cxd5; 11.Bd3 0-0; 
        12.0-0 Bxc3; 13.bxc3 Be6; 14.Ne5, "+/="  {Diagram?}  and while the first player 
        holds a slight advantage here, this is certainly much better than what occurred 
        in the actual game! (This is an analysis line from one of my books. The authors 
        quote no games from this position, and I could find no significant matches in a 
        search of different databases - by position - at this point.)  ].  

 

White comes up with an excellent way of exploiting his opponent's (mis-guided) idea 
of opening the game up before his King was safe. (Not a wise idea.) 
9.Bd3!
,   
A very energetic idea, and perhaps the most logical way of getting the advantage. 

I would also be negligent if I did not point out that this game bears a strong resemblance 
to many of Morphy's contests. (The basic idea of White sacrificing a pawn to catch his 
opponent's King in the center was seen in MANY of Morphy's games!)

     [  9.cxd5 Qa5; 10.dxc5; "~" {Diagram?} The position is unclear.  ].   

 

9...Qa5!?;   
This may be Black's best move here - now, in this position. 
 (Computer analysis confirms this.)  

     [  Much worse for Black was:  </=  9...dxc4!?; ('?!')  10.Bxc4 Nd6; 11.0-0 Nxc4
        12.Qxc4 0-0; 13.dxc5 Na6; 14.Be3, "+/="  {Diagram?}  when White holds a 
        marked edge in this position.  ]

 

10.0-0!,   
"White uses his advantage energetically and with classic simplicity." 
  - GM Hans Kmoch

     [  10.a3 Nxc3, "=/+"   {Diagram?}  (Black is slightly better.)  ].  

 

10...Nxc3;   
This looks to be just about forced here. 

     [ Worse for Black is: 10...Bxc3?!; 11.cxd5! Bxd4; 12.Bxe4, "+/"  {Diagram?}  
        and White is much better here. ].  

 

11.bxc3 Bxc3;   
This seems to be forced as well. 

"Black not only attacks a Rook, he also prevents a check on the King file. But it is the 
  setting for a debacle." - GM Larry Evans.  (He goes on to discuss the exact specifics 
  of the position. Mainly that White is ahead in development and must use the  "Morphy 
  Principles"  to exploit his advantage.) 

      [ 11...dxc4?; 12.cxb4! cxb3; 13.bxa5 bxa2; 14.Re1+ Kf8; 15.Ba3, "+/-"  
        White is clearly winning here.  ].  

 

12.Bb2!,   
A nice part of the whole chain of ideas that White began with the concept 
of a sacrifice of a pawn. 

     [   Playable is:  12.Rb1 cxd4; 13.cxd5, "~"  {Unclear.}  {Diagram?}   
         The position is unclear. (But White has fair play.) 
         (If 13.Ba3!? dxc4; 14.Bxc4, and White has some compensation.)  ]

 

12...Bxb213.Rae1+, ('!')    
The point, Black's King is misplaced. (He is unable to castle.) 

     [  If 13.Qxb2!? cxd4; {Diagram?}  or  13...0-0; and Black is about OK. ]

 

13...Kf8;   
Forced. 

     [  13...Be6?; 14.cxd5!, "+/-" {Diagram?}  & White wins.  ]

 

The next couple of moves are really forced.
14.Qxb2 cxd415.cxd5 Nd7;      
GM L. Evans calls this, "A desperate attempt to catch up in development." 

     [  Not 15...Qxd5??; 16.Qb4+, ("+/-")  {Diagram?}  and White mates.  ].   

 

16.Qxd4 Nf617.Qe5 Qc518.Ng5!? Bd7{Diagram?}  
"This meets the threat of NxPch and frees the QR. Superficially Black's only 
  problem is the disastrous placement of his King."  - GM Larry Evans

     [  Worse for Black would be  </= 18...h6?; 19.Nh7+, "+/-"   {Diagram?} 
        and White wins. {A.J.G.}  ].   

 

19.Ne4!?, (Maybe - '!')   
A very energetic move.

GM Evans gives this move an exclam ('!') but I am not 100% convinced of that. 

     [  Seemingly better is:  >/= 19.Rc1, (!)  19...Qa320.Bf5 Bxf521.Qxf5 Qe7
         22.Rfe1, "+/" {Diagram?}   and White is nearly winning.  (Maybe "+/-") 
         This is a definite improvement over GM Evans' analysis!  ].   

 

19...Nxe4;   
This appears to be forced. 

     [  A bad mistake is:  19...Qxd5??; 20.Nxf6 Qxe5; 21.Nxd7+ Kg8
         22.Nxe5, "+/-" {Diagram?}   and White wins easily on material.  ].   

 

20.Rxe4 Re821.Qf4 Qxd5;   
Black seems to be defending fairly well, especially given the circumstances 
Black finds himself in. 

22.Rfe1!,   
White comes up with a creative and very energetic offer of a piece. 
It is also one Black may not accept. 

     [  The continuation:  22.Rxe8+ Bxe8; 23.Re1,  
         just transposes back to the game.  ]

 

22...Rxe4;   
The best move. (Black dares not gobble the bait.) 

     [  Its a quick finish after:  22...Qxd3??; 23.Rxe8+ Bxe8; 24.Qb4+ Kg8
        (The move 24...Qd6; delays the mate, and lasts one extra play.)  25.Rxe8#  ].  

 

23.Bxe4 Qe6;   
GM L. Evans says this is probably best. 

     [  If Black plays: 23...Qc5?!; 24.Qb8+ Be8; 25.Bxb7 Qb5; 26.Qd6+ Kg8; 27.Qd8!
        ("+/-") {Diagram?}  and White wins.  - GM Larry Evans. ]

 

24.Qb8+ Be825.Qxa7 b6?!; (Maybe - '?')   
"Black has defended sensibly, but his game is lost. Only 25...g6; offers some 
  fighting chances."  - GM Larry Evans

     [  The best defense is ...g6;  but White should still win, i.e. 25...g626.Qxb7 Kg7!
         {Diagram?}   Many days of computer-assisted analysis reveals that this move 
         is probably the best play for Black.  

          ( GM L. Evans gives the slightly weaker move  ...Qxa2;  and considers it the 
             best line for Black.  26...Qxa2; 27.Bd5!, {Diagram?}  The best move, this 
             is confirmed by deep computer analysis. 

***

               Evans now gives the following slightly inferior line, and considers it best. 
               27.Qb4+!?  Kg7;  {Diagram?}  This is forced.    (27...Kg8??; 28.Bxg6, "+/-")   
               28.Qd4+ f6; 29.Bd5 Qa3; 30.Ra1 Qd6; 31.Ra7+ Kf8; 32.g3!, "+/-"  {Diagram?} 
               and ... "the threat of Rb7 and then Rb6 totally immobilizes Black."  - GM L. Evans.
                 (For example: 32.g3! h5; 33.Qb2!, "+/-" winning for White.)   

***

             (We return now to the examination of Evan's line that began with 26...Qxa2.)  
            27...Qa3; 28.g3 Qd6;  {Diagram?}  Larry Evans says this holds for Black. 
            But after:  29.Qb2 Rg8; 30.Rd1 Qc5; 31.Bg2! Qa5; 32.Ra1 Qd8; 33.Qc3! Qb6; 
            34.h4 h5; 35.Ra8 Ke7; 36.Bd5!, "+/-"  {Diagram?}   White is winning. ) 

        (We now return to our examination of the main analysis line, that began with  25...g6!
        27.Qb1 Qf6; 28.f3 Qd4+; 29.Kh1 Ba4; 30.a3!, "+/="  (Maybe - "+/")  {Diagram?}  
        and White is clearly better. ]

 

26.Qa3+ Qe7;   
This is forced. 

     [  26...Kg8?!; 27.Bxh7+!, ("+/-")  ].  

 

27.Bc6!;  (nice)  (Maybe - '!!')   (See the diagram just below.) 

  The actual game position afterWhite's final move. A position worthy of a picture.  (greatgm_4-1.gif, 11KB)
The final position of the game.

Black Resigns.  (1 -  0.) 

One of the prettier games ever played in a U.S. Championship!! 

     [  A less impressive line is:  27.Qc3 Qd8; 28.Qb4+, ("+/");  
        White is much better, but not clearly winning. 

        Most of my students find the line: 27.Qxe7+!? Kxe728.Bxh7+ Kf629.Be4, "+/=" 
        {Diagram?}  but Black has ... "some drawing chances."  (- GM Larry Evans.)

        White mates after: 27.Bc6! Qxa3; {Diagram?}  If Black loses his Queen for nothing 
        he may as well resign.  (I.e., 27...g6; 28.Rxe7, "+/-")   28.Rxe8#   ].  

1 - 0  

    (Code Initially)  Generated with  ChessBase 8.0   


Bibliography:

  1. "Modern Chess Brilliancies,"  by  GM Larry Evans
      (ISBN # 0-671-20578-1)  1970.
      A Fireside Book, published by the  Simon and Schuster  company. 
      (I am sorry to say this excellent book is out of print.) 

  2. "A Chronology of U.S. Championship Chess,"  by  I.A. Horowitz
      (The games and stories, covers the mid-to-late fifties and the very early 60's.) 

  3. "Modern Chess Openings, Fourteenth  (14th) Edition."  (McKay Chess Lib.) 
      By  GM Nick de Firmian  &  Walter Korn. (ISBN # 0-8129-3083-5)  1999. 
      Printed by the  David McKay Co a division of  Random House, Inc. (NY) 

I also consulted dozens of other books. For example I have many books that cover the U.S. Chess Championships; like the books by Lombardy, Gaige, and Soltis. 

I have literally hundreds of opening books, & I have at least 10 books and pamphlets that specifically cover the  Petroff Defense[C42]  I also have  ECO, BCO, NCO, SCO, etc. (ECO = The Encyclopedia of Chess Openings, by the Informant folks. Etc.)  I also have the Informant monograph on the Petroff's Opening.  (Informant.)  I don't think I could list all the sources I consulted, (such as back issues of old magazines, etc.);  but the main 3 given I have here are certainly the most significant sources I have quoted. 


SEE MY LETTER!!!!! ... to  GM Larry Evans  in the February 2003 issue of  'Chess Life.' (Page # 65. In his regular column, "Evans on Chess.")  Its about this web page!!
(Would someone who has a good scanner, scan this page of  Chess Life  and send it to me  ...  as an e-mail attachment?)


Here is another game for you to study ... that is also a Petrov/Petroff Defense.  


  Copyright (c) {LM} A.J. Goldsby I 

  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 1995-2008. 
  Copyright A.J. Goldsby, 2009.  All rights reserved.  

  *******  

  This page first posted on the Internet on August 18th, 2002.  
  Last update:  June 10th, 2003Last edit or save on: Thursday, June 20, 2013 11:39 PM .  


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