Kasparov on Berlin Defense

Kasparov on Berlin Defense

| 10 | Opening Theory

During dramatic fourth game of the World Championship match between Vishy Anand and Magnus Carlsen, Garry Kasparov has tweeted from the battlefield in Chennai: " Game 4 demonstrated exactly what I wrote for my last Chess Informant column: The Berlin is a sharp & rich middlegame, not an ending."

Great recommendation for the new Chess Informant 118! Therefore, let's read a story about Berlin Defense from the greatest chess authority of our time.

Please note that it's not our intention to present a full article (!). You have to go for Chess Informant 118 Cobra edition! Finally, isn't it a Black Friday today :)

In his 6th "Garry's Choice" column, the 13th World Champion annotates Caruana-Adams encounter from Dortmund super-tournament 2013.

Berlin Ruy Lopez! We would add "C67" since Chess Informant is a founder of ECO Code. It's Garry's turn:

" In my past columns I have often shared games with openings near and dear to my heart and my career. For the most part they have represented the sharp defenses on which I based my own repertoire, such as the King's Indian and the Sicilian. This time it is again an opening that had a considerable impact on my career, but it is neither near nor dear to me, the Berlin Ruy Lopez.

When Emanuel Lasker played what we can now call the "classic" Berlin Defense with 5...Be7 in a World Championship match, the crossword puzzle did not compete with chess in the newspapers because it had not yet been invented. Lasker scored a loss and two draws against Tarrasch with it then in 1908 and was not eager to try it again.

Then there was a seventy-three year gap and a solitary appearance when Korchnoi played the Berlin - again the original flavor with 4.0-0 Ne4 5.d4 Be7 6.Qe2 Nd6 7.Bc6 bc6 8.de5 Nb7 - against Karpov in 1981 and lost. That line was condemned as passive and inferior for Black, correctly in my opinion. It says something about its reputation back then, that the positional maestro Karpov never played the Berlin himself other than a few games against weaker players."

* Tarrasch,S - Lasker,Em, Deutschland (m/8) 1908

** Karpov,An - Korchnoi,V, Merano (m/2) 1981 Chess Informant 32/422phpnoCoeL.jpeg

"The reputation of the modern version with 5... Nd6 was not a great deal better in 2000, so it was no small surprise to see it on the board in the first game of my match with Kramnik. It is only the smallest exaggeration to say that the Berlin cost me my World Championship title against Kramnik in 2000."

*** Kasparov,G - Kramnik,V, London (m/1) 2000 Chess Informant  80/353

**** Kasparov,G - Kramnik,V, London (m/3) 2000 Chess Informant  80/354

 ***** Kasparov,G - Kramnik,V, Zuerich (rapid) 2001 Chess Informant  81/(273) 

Reference (annotated) games are part of the column.

"After he surprised me with his ingenious invention in game one, my team and I assumed ..."

Sorry that we are cutting the story, obviously in such an interesting moment :) Let's go back to the game. It's Caruana-Adams but Anand-Carlsen (4th WCC) as well! Garry's comments are inside.

A Crossroad! Garry Kasparov is annotating a game that has continued with 10...Kc8 11.g4 Ne7, while Carlsen vs. Anand opted for 10...Be7 11.Nc3 Kc8. Excitements are yet to come!

Garry's conclusion would stand for both games equally:

"The sharp character of these games shows the Berlin is indeed a rich and subtle middlegame, and not an endgame. And if White pushes too hard, the absence of queens from the board does not offer him any safety."

Chess Informant 118

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