The Berlin Wall Grows Higher In Sochi
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: