Petrov Backfires Again

History in English Lesson: Having made some headway through the XXIst chapter of Gibbon‘s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in which the early church dispute over the relationship of the Son to the Father, the homoousion or “consubstantial” position of the the Orthodox party (which itself included a tendency towards Tritheism on the one hand and Sabellianism on the other), and the homoiousion or “of like substance” position of the Arian party, Dr M and I cleared away our books and got out the chess set.

Chess: We played two games of chess and the second game was by far the best we have played so far.

In the first game, I was White and Dr M was Black and I was pleased to see Dr M resorting to the Petrov Defence again, but it turned out that he had not fully digested the lessons of the last game in which the Petrov Defence was wheeled out, probably because it was me who blundered by failing to take advantage of his …Kt x P move. Dr M repeated the move in this game and this time I took proper advantage of it.

MoveDPHDr MComments
 2.Kt-KB3Kt-KB3Dr M plays the Petrov Defence.
 3.Kt x PKt x P?Dr M's move will cost him his Queen if he is not careful...
 5.P-Q3Kt-B3In attempting to save his Knight Dr M loses his Queen.
 6.Kt-B6 ch.Q-K2
 7.Kt x QB x Kt
 8.B-B4B-K38. B-B4, attacking Black's undefended QBP. It could be defended by ... Kt-R3.
 9.B x PKt-B3
11.Kt-K4Kt-Q4I'm quite happy to trade pieces, but Dr M is looking for a way to win a piece...
12.Kt-Q6 ch?B x KtMy 12th move is complacent and careless, but Dr M doesn't notice that he could win a piece with 12... K-Q2.
13.B x BR-Q1
15.P-QB40 - 0?
16.P x KtKt x P ch
17.Q x KtB x P
18.B x RR x B
19.Q x QPR-K1 chThe last series of brutal exchanges has left me with decisive advantage, but even so, defending my King with B-K2 would allow ... B x KKtP.
20.K-Q2R-Q1Dr M hopes to pin the Queen, but his Rook is unsupported. Actually, my Queen is pinning his Bishop...
21.P-B3P-QR4Now my Bishop is free to join the attack.
23.Q x BP-R5
25.R-K8R x R
26.Q x P chK-R1
27.Q x R mate.

In the second game Dr M was white and played his best game to date. For my part, I managed to avoid any big blunders and had to play carefully against Dr M’s development and wait for him to make a mistake. Here are the moves. I’ll add a few comments later:

MoveDr MDPHComments
 1.Kt-KB3P-K3Dr M opts for the Réti Opening. DH later discovered that P-K3 is one of the "orthodox" responses...
 2.P-K4Kt-QB3The usual line for White is P-KKt3. Although my move as Black didn't get me into trouble in this game, I was a bit worried about it after I'd made it. What if Black replies with P-K5 or P-Q4?
 3.B-Kt5P-R3A reversion to Ruy Lopez...
 4.B x KtQP x BThe exchange variation...
 5.0 - 0Kt-B3Dr M continues with prudent play. With my KP on K3 and QP on B3 he could have developed a strong centre with P-Q4, or advanced his KP to K5...
 6.P-Q3B-B4Again, I think White would be better to play P-K5. In the event, Black is free to play B-B4, part of a long term strategy of exerting pressure on the castled King from the Bishop pair operating at a distance on Black's Queen side.
 7.B-Kt5P-Kt4Dr M pins my Knight, but I was happy to let it be and continue developing the Queen-side. Black's move is intended to clear the way for B-Kt2 as well as B-Kt3 or B-R2. I was also keen to send the leading doubled pawn into the attack... Actually, I could lose my knight in the event of 9. P-K5, but it can be met with P-R3, then 10, P x Kt, P x B, 11. P x P, R-Kt1... White can get a two pawn advantage, I think, but Black would also have some good attacking opportunities in a suddenly fluid game...
 8.Kt-K5B-Kt2I was quite relieved to see Kt-K5 as I no longer had to worry about P-K5 and was free to move my Bishop, preventing 10. Kt-B6
 9.P-QB30 - 0
12.P x P?KB x PI think accepting the offered pawn is Dr M's first mistake. It fatally weakens whites centre and allows Black to smash through... (12. Kt-Kt4 seems better, piling pressure on the Knight...)
13.B x KtP x B
16.Q-Kt3 chK-R1
17.P x PP x P
18.Kt-Kt3?R-KKt118. Kt-Kt3 is weak. 18. Kt-B3... then aiming for Kt-Kt5 and then if nothing has changed on the back row, Kt x p ch, forking the King and Queen.
19.Q-R3?R x P chThis is Black's decisive move...
20.Q x RB x Q
21.K x BQ x Kt
22.QR-Q1Q-K5 ch
23.P-B3R-Kt1 ch
25.K-R4Q-R2 mate.