Game 1: Estrin-Berliner 1965-1968


To kick things off, here's a game played between Yakov Estrin and Hans Berliner for the World Correspondence Championship 1965-1968.  Play the role of Berliner and try to guess each move he makes in this game.  Give yourself 3 pts for each correct guess, 1 or 2 if you're sure you made a good alternative move, and deduct 1 or 2 for "bad" choices.  Or, use the "Guess the Move" utility to automate this process for you.  Report your scores and comment on the game in this forum.


This game was very strange for me.  I'm not familiar with the Two Knights Defense, and didn't follow the strategy of the game very well.  I used the "Guess the Move" utility to keep track of my progress, and scored a lousy 41 ("par" was 69).

In reviewing this game, Soltis notes that Berliner introduced a novelty on his 10th move that translated a game with hopeless chances for Black into one with strong play.  See if you can find his novelty (Note:  Black is at the bottom in the following diagrams):


Later in the game, Berliner makes another excellent move.  Can you find it?
And again at move 31.  What did Berliner do and why did he do it?
And finally, on move 37:

Has anyone else played through this game?  If so, how did you do?  What did you think?


I'm at move 11.  I'm still stuck on 56 Bf1?

Why not take the hanging pawn and pin the knight?  Black immediately responds ...Nd4 to protect the pawn and now has an annoyingly dug in Knight to boot.

What am I missing?


Interesting idea, so  I checked Opening Explorer...your suggestion of 6 Bf1   Nxd5 is not played very often, probably because it has a very low win rate for Black (6 out of the 8 times this was played, white came out on top).


Well, I'm going to play it out against Fritz tonight to see why it's not a favored move.  I'll report later!


Fritz actually prefers 6. dxc6.  Having played through that, I have to say that it is positionally favorable.  My idea to pin the knight allows an unleashed Queen to wreak havoc.  The game can still be saved, but it is unlikely you can get better than a draw.

I personally think Estrin was 'seeing ghosts' in this game - a threat around every corner.  He played too scared for my tastes.


I scored 58. I tended toward taking hanging pieces earlier than Hans Berliner.


I find that Berliner plays a very agresive, he is not afraid of sacrifices to push the position, and in most cases, against this kind of lines you need to play very sharply to avoid finding yourself on a lost position. I love his style!

I have to restudy the end of the game, as right now is my weakest point. I am weak at opening and middle game, but I have found out that I am even worse at endings, and I find this ending quite interesting, not because of a beautiful combination (everybody loves that!) but because I find very difficult to understand why, each choice.


I scored a 55. Good game.


I love this game. It's really beautiful. Can't say it in words. I wonder if this game won a place in "Game of Century" award. I hope it did.

Just like so many games I have seen with the opening 1. e4 e5, that players have to take chances, sacrifices, attack, whatsoever.

The real unfortunate thing is I don't play 1. e4 e5. I have just made up my mind along time ago, that 1. e4 e5 is doomed for Black.

That's because my first opening book was Sicilian. And the author has influenced me too much, that he said Sicilian was the best defence against 1. e4.

I wish things were different, and I wish I played 1. ... e5 as Black. It's too late now. :(