The Berlin Wall Grows Higher In Sochi

  • SonofPearl
  • on 8/9/08, 12:26 AM.

The Berlin Defense to the Ruy Lopez is known as the Berlin Wall for a good reason.  Many great players have struggled to breach this solid barricade, not least of which was Garry Kasparov who tried and failed 4 times whilst losing his World Championship title to Vladimir Kramnik in 2000.

As the theoreticians have grown weary of proving an advantage in the main line where Black captures the pawn on e4, attention has increasingly turned to alternatives, but to no avail.  As frustration with White's position grows, so Black has even been able to win games with this resolute defence.

In round 8 at the Grand Prix in Sochi, Vassily Ivanchuk became the third player at the event to actually win using the Berlin (the others were Cheparinov in round 2 and Aronian in round 6).

Peter Svidler was Ivanchuk's victim in a mere 25 moves - the unfortunate Russian was also the loser against Cheparinov in round 2!

Elsewhere in round 8, Wang Yue beat Boris Gelfand and Gata Kamsky slowly crushed backmarker Mohamad Al-Modiaki.  All three winners join the chasing pack half a point behind the leaders, Cheparinov and Radjabov.

The results in round 8:

Cheparinov, Ivan - Navara, David ½-½ 60 A15 English counter King's Fianchetto
Radjabov, Teimour - Grischuk, Alexander ½-½ 38 B96 Sicilian Najdorf
Gashimov, Vugar - Aronian, Levon ½-½ 48 C67 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Kamsky, Gata - Al-Modiahki, Mohamad 1-0 52 B31 Sicilian Rossolimo
Jakovenko, Dmitry - Karjakin, Sergey ½-½ 57 D43 Anti-Meran Gambit
Svidler, Peter - Ivanchuk, Vassily 0-1 25 C65 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Gelfand, Boris - Wang Yue 0-1 54 D17 Slav Defence


The standings after round 8:

1 Cheparinov, Ivan   BUL   2687 5
2 Radjabov, Teimour  AZE  2744 5
3 Gashimov, Vugar  AZE  2717  
4 Kamsky, Gata  USA  2723  
5 Wang Yue  CHN  2704  
6 Ivanchuk, Vassily  UKR  2781  
7 Aronian, Levon  ARM  2737  
8 Jakovenko, Dmitry  RUS  2709 4
9 Grischuk, Alexander  RUS  2728 4
10 Karjakin, Sergey  UKR  2727 4
11 Svidler, Peter  RUS  2738  
12 Gelfand, Boris  ISR  2720 3
13 Navara, David  CZE  2646  
14 Al-Modiahki, Mohamad  QAT  2556  

7640 reads 12 comments
One Vote


  • 3 years ago


    It is my understanding that the term Berlin Wall refers to the variation of the Berlin in which queens are exchanged early (a portion of C67), and not to the Berlin Variation itself (C65-C67). Am I in error?

    Kramnik employed the Berlin Wall variation in his WCC match against Kasparov. In the 2013 WCC, there were four Berlin games, but only one Berlin Wall.

  • 8 years ago


    interesting ideas to learn!, thanks

  • 8 years ago


    The Berlin Defence is my main response in the Ruy Lopez.

  • 8 years ago


    i was partly hoping svidler would win.  i can't understand it either.

  • 8 years ago


    hes losing a pawn so he quit

  • 8 years ago


    good post. It helped me.

  • 8 years ago


    It was a remarkable quick defeat indeed. It seems that Svidler's plan with 10.Bxc6 was logical but without sting. And when the bishop from g3 also disappeared it was the classical clash between bishop pair and knight pair. The poor beasts didn't stand a chance. For those of you who like some analysis: video

  • 8 years ago


    berlin defence u can still just 0-0 then win back the pawn with the pin

  • 8 years ago


    Can someone please explain why Svidler is losing here. For the life of me, I can't figure it out. Did he just lose on time? Is it that white can't stop the king side pawns?

  • 8 years ago


    i was surprised when i knew my favorite move was called berlin wall!!!

    and its true in the past i always lose to my classmate but now i always win to him !!!

  • 8 years ago


    Great post.

    History lesson.

  • 8 years ago


    You are sounding more and more like a news anchor all the time! Cool

    Thx for all the informative updates.

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