Will the Perreux Never Die?

By Michael Goeller

I have lately begun playing the Two Knights Defense as Black more often than I do as White, so I have seen more than my share of the Perreux Variation (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.Ng5!?) from the Black side. I suppose it is what I deserve for having popularized it with my website.... I now think the line basically stinks, but it is certainly hard to prove in blitz games, where sharp tactics, deep opening knowledge, and a bit of nerve can change a bad opening into a winning middlegame. This one was closer than my opponent deserved, but still proof that the Perreux should be laid to rest...

joesixpack - goeller [C55]

ICC 2 2 u/Internet Chess Club 2006

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. Ng5 d5 6. exd5 Qe7+ 7. Be2!?

A move you will likely see a lot in blitz since you need to know what you are doing as Black to get any edge.

a) The main line runs 7. Kf1 Ne5 8. Qxd4 Nxc4 (8... h6!?) 9. Qxc4 h6! 10. Nc3!? ( 10. Nf3 Qc5) 10... hxg5 11. Bxg5 Qc5 (11... Qd8!?) 12. Re1+ Kd8


b) Basically losing for White is 7. Qe2? Nb4!

7... Nxd5 8. O-O h6 9. Nf3 Qf6

I have also tried 9... Qc5!? against this same opponent but do not have the game. This time I remembered the book move.


10. Nbd2 Bf5 11. Nb3 O-O-O 12. Nbxd4?

Wrong Knight! Better 12. Nfxd4 Nxd4 (12... Ndb4!? 13. Bg4! Nxd4 14. Nxd4 Bxg4 15. Qxg4+ Kb8 16. c3 Nd5) 13. Qxd4 Qxd4 14. Nxd4 Bh7 15. c4 Nb4 Sokolosky-Keres, Moscow 1949 when Black's edge is obvious, even if it might be hard to realize in a blitz game.



12... Ndb4! 13. c3 Nxd4 14. cxd4?

More complicated is 14. Nxd4! Nc2 15. Be3 Nxa1 16. Qa4! though Black should win with best play after 16... Nc2! (better than 16... a6 17. Nxf5! Qxf5?? 18. Bg4!) 17. Qxa7 (17. Nxf5 Nxe3 18. fxe3 Qb6) 17... Nxd4 18. Bxd4 Rxd4!?


14... Nc2 15. Be3!?

15. Rb1?? Nxd4


15... Nxa1 16. Qa4!? Qb6

16... Nc2!? 17. Qxa7 Qb6 18. Qa8+ Kd7 19. Qa4+ Ke7


17. Rxa1 Bd7!?

Much stronger is the simple and greedy 17... Qxb2! I was just seeking simplification so I could enjoy my material advantage in peace....


18. Qd1?!

18. Qc2 Qc6


18... Bb5?! 19. Ne5?!

19. Bxb5! Qxb5 20. Ne5 Qd5 (20... Rg8!?) 21. Qb3! Qxb3 22. axb3 Rd5 23. Nxf7 Rg8 24. Rxa7 c5!


19... Bxe2 20. Qxe2 Qe6! 21. Rc1 Bd6 22. Nc4 f5?!

Safer 22... Kb8.


23. Nxd6+?

Both players were in extreme time pressure, close to the 2-second increment. Best was 23. d5! Qxd5 24. Bxa7 leaving Black with some problems to solve.


23... Qxd6

White forfeited on time in a lost position.


Games in PGN