Who would think that?  

2 months ago I thought that Petrov is an interesting alternative to my 2. … Nc6 (after winning 1 OTB game) with a clear, easy play and maybe I should add it to my OTB repertoire.  Now, after playing a few Petrov correspondence games I have one draw as White and 2 heavy losses as Black (also another one is coming up), 0.5:3.5.  As Black I get under attack right after a few moves out of the book.  I, probably, don’t understand the strategy here and seriously think about giving it up,  at least for some time. 

What about French defense? I always thought about it as some crowded, passive, etc. opening  (if I am Black) – not my style at all, so I never played it as Black. As White I played Exchange variation, because I considered other variations as tricky, with dangers to my d4 pawn, etc. But recently I decided that it’s a shame to play Exchange and I should learn something better.  I started playing thematic games,  all Tarrash. Because it’s a tournament I have to play Black too.  Suddenly, I have 2 wins as Black, as White – 2 wins are coming up (hopefully), and a chance to win in another one. So,  it could be 4.5:0.5 or 5:0.  I completely understand the ideas for both sides and feel comfortable, … weird.

I consider this interesting, a sharp re-evaluation of the opening.  

I had it before, not to such degree, with Colle and Accelerated Dragon, that I don’t play anymore. Still Colle is not bad, just a bit boring and Accelerated Dragon just doesn’t give the expected results.  Another one is Marshall attack for White, which I was afraid of before playing in a thematic tournament, now I consider it not frightening, but exciting.

I played this Sunday the last game of the tournament.  My opponent was the guy I knew, had 2 hard fought draws with him, rating 50 lower than mine. He started with 1. e4 and after 1… e5 2. Nf3 I knew he will play Scotch game (saw his games on the Web).  I never played “rated” Scotch before. I didn’t quite like the positions I got online few times and didn’t want to play opening that somebody obviously knows better than me, so I decided to change decorations.

What about Petrov defense  ( also called Petroff defense, in Russia it was Russian game)  2… Nf6?  I knew first few moves, hoped he knows no more than that (that was right assumption), also knew it was Kramnik’s weapon.  Later I learned his statistics with Black:

+5 – 11 = 64 – 46.25%

This is higher than average in DB ( 40-43%), and 80% draws!

After several moves the position was symmetrical, boring and drawish.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d3 ( French Attack) Nf6 6. Nc3 Be7 7. Be2 O-O 8. O-O Nc6 9. h3 d5 10. d4 Re8

I remembered all bad play in this tournament and realized why GMs after that just make a draw in the next round. If he would offer it, I would agree right away.  But then situation suddenly changed.

11. Bb5 h6 This is the move I didn’t like after the game, allows Ne5. 12. Bxc6 bxc6 13. Ne5 ( now it doesn’t have the same effect as before ) Bb7 14. a3 c5

15. f4 cxd4 16. Qxd4 c5

After double c5, like after double shot of … ( whatever you drink ) the blood started to run faster in my veins.  17. Qf2 d4

18. Ne2 Ne4 19. Qe1 Bh4. Bishops are becoming very dangerous.

20. Qd1 Qd5 21. c4 Qe6 22. Qb3 Rab8 23. Qa4

( Crafty found 23.  … d3 24. Nxd3 Nd2 25. Bxd2 Qxe2 26. Nf2  Qxd2 27. Qxa7 Qxf4 28. Rad1 Qg3 29. Rd5 Re2 30. Qxc5 where White wins the piece for 2 pawns ).

23. .. a6 24. Qd7

loses the game –  24. … Qxd7 25. Nxd7 Rbd8 26. Ne5 d3

White resigned ( 27. Nc3 d2 ).