Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Petrov's Immortal Game

Alexander Dmitrievich Petrov was born into a noble family and is usually remembered as the first great Russian chess master. From 1804, he lived in Saint Petersburg. In 1809, he defeated Kopev and Baranov, Petersburg’s leading chess players, and became Russian best player at the age of 15. Since then, over half a century Petrov was the strongest Russian player.

He is an author of the first chess handbook in Russian. He also analysed with Carl Friedrich von Jänisch the opening that later became known as the Petrov's Defense or Russian Game.

Petrov died in 1867, and was buried in the Russian Orthodox cemetery in Warsaw.

The following game is Petrov's best chess game and popularly known as "Petrov's Immortal Game".

Warsaw, 1844
Italian Game: Classical Variation, Center Attack

1. e4,  e5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. Bc4, Bc5
4. c3, Nf6
5. d4, exd4
6. e5, Ne4
7. Bd5? ....

Better is 7. cxd4 Bb4+, 8. Nc3 Ne4, 9. Qd2 ...

7. .... Nxf2!!
8. Kxf2?, dxc3+
9. Kg3, cxb2
10. Bxb2, Ne7
11. Ng5? ....

Much better is 11. Be4, preventing Black from deploying his Knight against the King, and avoiding Bishop-Knight exchange.

11. .... Nxd5
12. Nxf7! ....

If 12. Qxd5, Qxg5+.

12. .... 0-0!!

This Queen sacrifice paved the way for a very strong attack.  The f file is wide open!  Black could not have done any better.  If 12. .... Kxf7, 13. Qxd5+ and 14. Qxc5.  If 12. .... Qe7, then 13. Nxh8 followed by 14. Qh5+ or 14. Qxd5.

13. Nxd8, Bf2+
14. Kh3, d6+

Now, the two Black Bishops are active.

15. e6, Nf4+!!

Maintaining the strong attack of Bishop Pair.  Chess theory holds that the power of two Bishops working in tandem is one of the most powerful forces on the chessboard.

16. Kg4, Nxe6
17. Nxe6, Bxe6+
18. Kg5, Rf5+
19. Kg4, h5+!
20. Kh3, Rf3 mate.

Note that White's Queen has not moved an inch.  The most powerful game piece has been rendered useless.  Not only that, White's other pieces are still in their original positions.


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