The Complete Chess Course From Beginning To Winning Chess! (2016)
How to Play the e-pawn Openings
On the surface this is an aggressive defense, as Black counterattacks on the second move. Actually White has several simplifying drawish possibilities. Consequently Black should avoid the Petroff if he is out to win. On the other hand, if White strives for the initiative, Black has just enough resources to hold the position.
White - Black
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6
The key move. If now 3.d4 exd4! 4.e5 Ne4 5.Qxd4 d5 6.exd6 Nxd6 with even chances.
Position after 3.Nxe5
This position is not as harmless as it looks. If now 3…Nxe4?? 4.Qe2! and White forces the win of some material - for example 4…Nf6??? 5.Nc6+.
3…d6! 4.Nf3 Nxe4
Here White has a colorless line which spoils the Petroff for aggressive players: 5.Qe2 Qe7 6.d3 Nf6 7.Bg5 etc.
5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 (D)
Position after 6.Bd3
Momentarily it seems as if White may succeed in getting a slight initiative, say 6…Bd6 7.0-0 0-0 8.c4! c6 9.Nc3 etc.
6…Be7 7.0-0 Nc6 8.c4
Again White seems to be making headway, for example 8…Nf6 9.c5! and Black’s game is cramped.
8…Nb4! 9.cxd5 Nxd3 10.Qxd3 Qxd5 11.Re1 Bf5
Even game. A plausible follow-up is 12.Nc3 Nxc3 13.Qxc3 c6 14.Re5 Qd7 15.d5! 0-0 16.dxc6 bxc6. In that case Black’s queenside pawns have been weakened, but he has good bishops.