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a b c d e f g h
8 a8 rd b8 nd c8 bd d8 qd e8 kd f8 bd g8 h8 rd 8
7 a7 pd b7 pd c7 pd d7 pd e7 f7 pd g7 pd h7 pd 7
6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 nd g6 h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 pd f5 g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 d4 pl e4 pl f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 nl g3 h3 3
2 a2 pl b2 pl c2 pl d2 e2 f2 pl g2 pl h2 pl 2
1 a1 rl b1 nl c1 bl d1 ql e1 kl f1 bl g1 h1 rl 1
a b c d e f g h
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 4.Nxe5

Petrov's Defense, Steinitz Attack (also known as the Modern Attack) is a variation on Petrov's Defense, and is classified under ECO code C43. It is one of many variations named after Wilhelm Steinitz. The opening moves are:

  1. e4 e5
  2. Nf3 Nf6
  3. d4

It is one of two popular responses by white to 2... Nf6, the other being 3. Nxe5, the Classical Variation.

Main Line[]

Black has two pawns they may capture. The main line is 3... exd4, which then usually results in white playing 4. e5 (if white recaptures the pawn with the knight, black can take the e-pawn for free). This typically leads into:

4... Ne4
5. Qxd4 d5
6. exd6 Nxc6

After black and white each develop their queenside knights and white retreats the queen, the position is fairly equal.

Symmetrical Variation[]

Instead of the main line, black may opt to capture the other pawn with 3... Nxe4. This usually continues along the lines of:

4. Bd3 d5
5. Nxe5 Bd6

This results in a symmetrical and roughly equal position for both white and black, and one which is played with frequency at master level. A common master-level continuation from this opening is:

6.0-0 0-0
7.c4 Bxe5
8.dxe5 Nc6
9.cxd5 Qxd5
10.Qc2 Nb4
11.Bxe4 Nxc2
12.Bxd5 Bf5
13.g4 Bxg4
14.Be4 Nxa1
15.Bf4 f5
16.Bd5+ Kh8
17.Rc1 c6
18.Bg2 Rfd8

Now, white is considered to have a slight advantage heading into the endgame. Of course, this is just one common example of a middlegame that could follow this variation.


If black responds with 3... d6, this transposes to the Philidor Defense, Nimzowitsch Variation.

After the main line of 3... exd4, white may choose to play 4. Bc4, transposing to the Urusov Gambit of the Bishop's Opening.