The Nimzowitsch Attack (5. Nc3) is the most popular choice against the Petroff Defense in the modern practice of world’s top players.
White’s main idea after 5… Nxc3 6. dxc3 is to first develop his queenside with Bf4(e3), Qd2 and O-O-O, and create some pressure along the d-file. After Black’s short castling, White starts preparing the attack on the kingside. If Black wants to avoid double-edged positions, long castling is the safer option, like in the following line: 6… Be7 7. Be3 Nc6 8. Qd2 Be6 9. O-O-O Qd7. However, Black usually has to play a7-a6 first, prevent the unpleasant Bb5, and with a couple of precise moves should be able to fully equalize.
Move 5… Nf6 is a reasonable alternative to the main 5… Nxc3. Black loses a tempo or two, but White has no direct means to make use of it. After 6. d4 Be7 7. Bd3 O-O 8. h3 Re8 9. O-O Black usually transfers the Knight from b8 to f8, and White has difficulties getting something concrete out of his better development.
[Diagram: White to Move] R. Ponomariov – B. Gelfand, Odessa (rapid) 2008. Black’s last move was capturing the Bishop on e2: Bg4xe2, which gives his opponent an opportunity to play an intermediate move, giving him big advantage. How should White continue from the diagrammed position?
Click here to see the line in our viewer…