The Petrov or Russian opening is seldom seen these days:

[fen ""]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6

Why? Is it fully refuted? Or merely uncomfortable for Black?

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    Why do you say that the Petrov is seldom seen these days? Are there any statistics that show this? – Akavall Sep 14 '13 at 1:10

There is nothing wrong with the Petroff and it is still used regularly at the highest levels. If it is less popular than it used to be (and I'd have to check the data before claiming that), then that would likely be because it is usually played when Black is trying to make a draw, and these days the Berlin variation of the Ruy Lopez is the most popular way to try to achieve a draw against 1.e4.


What's "wrong" with the Petroff is that it is "boring," and associated with playing to draw, because it is somewhat symmetrical.

Most people, even Black, like to play to win, and when they do, their choice is "sharper" Sicilian, or French, or even certain variations of the Ruy.

I remember people using it in my high school days (forty years ago) when they were ahead in the tournament, and just wanted to finish with a good score.


I wouldn't call any of those moves wrong, but I would say it is a bad idea for Black to move 2. ... Nf6.

If you are an optimistic player who thinks that White and Black are even at first glance, my Houdini counters by saying White is already one point ahead.
In one classical game, it goes like this: C42 Russian Game: Classical

[FEN ""]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 Be7 6. Bd3 f5
  • 1
    Three downvotes and not one comment offering a suggestion? – Tony Ennis Sep 14 '13 at 13:30
  • 2
    The line is bad (5...d5 6.Bd3 is the normal line), and suggesting that a line that has been played by many World Champions is a bad idea isn't that helpful. – RemcoGerlich Sep 17 '13 at 19:55
  • I'd like to say that my Houdini 'counter' increased the value for White since first move, it means that Petrov are not primary opening even still at tough opening class. Thanks. – Ahmad Azwar Anas Sep 18 '13 at 3:35
  • Downvoting should be followed by constructive feedback. I am not going to vote on this answer for now. I can comment though that 2...Nf6 is a solid system and should not be commented as a "bad idea". This can confuse those who are less well oriented in opening systems. Cheers. – Rauan Sagit Feb 14 '14 at 10:46
  • Oh.. Ok. I appreciate that. Since some people think chess can be deliver equally, petrov will presented as the solid one of them.. – Ahmad Azwar Anas Feb 15 '14 at 20:10

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