The Petroff Defence

1.e2-e4 e7-e5 2.Ng1-f3 Ng8-f6


In the 80s the Petroff had the image in top chess of a boring drawing opening. The top grandmasters of the day developed it into a perfect way to neutralise White’s advantage of the first move but from the start they were satisfied with a draw. The popularity of the Petroff in top level chess led to many variations being analysed to death.

That is unimportant for club and amateur players. There the Petroff is a solid and active opening for Black. Often what arises is a black knight anchored on e4, which even offers chances for an attack on the king.

Gegen Russisch spielen


In the following diagrams you can reach the starting position with and from there move back and forward through the opening moves with the arrow keys  and .

Subsequently click on the title of the openings to receive more detailed information.

Petroff - Main variation with 3.Nxe5

Petroff Main variation: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3

In the main variation of the Petroff White wants to undermine the knight on e4 and make his advantage in development count.

Petroff with 5.Nc3: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3

This is another way to solve the problem of the knight on e4: White accepts after 5.Nc3 doubled pawns. In return he develops the queenside quickly and castles long.

Petroff with 3.d4 (Steinitz Variation)

Steinitz Variation with 3... Nxe4: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5

Steinitz Variation with 3... exd4: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.e5 Ne4 5.Qxd4 d5 6.exd6 Nxd6