CHESS

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The Independent Culture
To have a chess opening named after oneself is a mixed blessing and, indeed, one that I have myself shunned. You will look in vain for Polhill's Defence or the Polhill Gambit in your openings manuals, for I have always taken care to attribute my innovations to other theoreticians. The danger, you see, is that a man may become too easily associated with the qualities of the opening named for him, rather than his own distinctive virtues.

Alexander Petroff is a case in point. Petroff's Defence is one of the game's dreariest openings. symmetric al and drawish, it is the sort of thing one associates with bank clerks or pen-pushers of the humblest sort. Yet Petroff's achievements mark him out as senior management material at the very least - as he very capably demonstrated in the following game played in the Warsaw tournament of 1844.

White: A. Gofmann

Black: A. Petroff

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6

Petroff eschews Petroff's Defence!

3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5

6...Ne4 7.Bd5 Nxf2

Having launched his knight into e4 instead of playing the prudent 6...d5, Black seeks salvation in tactics.

8.Kxf2 dxc3+ 9.Kg3 cxb2 10.Bxb2 Ne7 11.Ng5?

Had White retreated his bishop to e4, he would have some advantage from the opening. Instead, he is lured into an adventure.

11...Nxd5 12.Nxf7 (see diagram)

White believes his opponent is forced to play 12...Kxf7 when 13.Qxd5+ followed by Qxc5 will leave him with a big advantage. A grand disillusionment is in store.

12...0-0!! 13.Nxd8

White has to take the bait. It is too late for 13.Qxd5 Rxf7 14.Qxc5 Qg5+.

13...Bf2+ 14.Kh3 d6+ 15.e6

15.g4 Nf4 mate is quicker.

15...Nf4+ 16.Kg4 Nxe6 17.Nxe6

Or 17.Qd5 Rf4+ 18.Kh5 Rh4 mate.

17...Bxe6+ 18.Kg5 Rf5+ 19.Kg4 h5+ 20.Kh3 Rf3 mate.

Better than Petroff's Defence, isn't it?

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