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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Help with understanding the Berlin! (Read 8941 times)
TimS
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Re: Help with understanding the Berlin!
Reply #23 - 06/04/08 at 10:03:17
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IMJohnCox wrote on 06/03/08 at 11:10:05:
It's been virtually delivered, Tim, and should therefore be out in about three months, I imagine.

I'm not sure delays are too important theorywise at all, since developments can usually be incorporated. I realise they're frustrating sometimes, but I don't think they affect the product muct at all.

Good news - a chance to extend my repertoire, which is justly famed for its width but is even better known for its shallowness!
  
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IMJohnCox
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Re: Help with understanding the Berlin!
Reply #22 - 06/03/08 at 11:10:05
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It's been virtually delivered, Tim, and should therefore be out in about three months, I imagine.

I'm not sure delays are too important theorywise at all, since developments can usually be incorporated. I realise they're frustrating sometimes, but I don't think they affect the product muct at all.
  
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TimS
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Re: Help with understanding the Berlin!
Reply #21 - 06/03/08 at 09:46:53
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IMJohnCox wrote on 05/20/08 at 17:52:36:
Why is the bishop a bad piece? I suppose it's because the Berlin is fundamentally about blockading White's kingside majority on the light squares and turning it into a liability, and the dark bishop's best role in connection with that is to destroy a knight which can help break the blockade. Black's main dream is to get the bishop stable on e6 playing on both wings, and the best way to do that is to exchange White's knights. Something like that, anyway. This stuff - plug, plug - is all in my forthcoming book with some hopefully persuasive examples of the relevant endings.

Hi John,
Any news on when your book is likely to come out?
I guess delays aren't so important theory-wise with the Berlin as they would be with, say, the Najdorf?
  
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micawber
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Re: Help with understanding the Berlin!
Reply #20 - 05/26/08 at 04:41:36
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Here is the original thread. It's in the endgame section  Roll Eyes

http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1201632403/15

The contents of the thread, provides some extra information on the manner in which I approached this endgame, why the positions in the pgn-file were selected and about the connection with John's forthcoming book.
(the original pgn-file was in the last message of this thread).
  
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trw
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Re: Help with understanding the Berlin!
Reply #19 - 05/23/08 at 18:47:08
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I've oftened ended up in inferior B vs N endings which is hard to win but at best i'm fighting for a draw. With the opposite color bishop endings yes it can be hard to win but it is white who is fighting for the draw. The reason being the most common opposite color bishop endgame in the berlin ends up with the 'crippled' majority being a strength. With pawns on a5 b6 c5 c7 to white's dark squared bishop and white's pawns being typically on  a5 b3 c2 .... black has targets for his monster light square bishop and it is WHITE who is trying to blockade because the base of black's pawn chain unattackable.

Micawber put together some common BvsB same color endgames on the Berlin. (I reuploaded it here simply so you don't have to go searching for it since i'm nore sure where it is).

Black's main problem in the mainline of the berlin 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 is the use of the e7 square. While the King in the center of the board with queens off is a possible advantage (double edged though it is), the darksquare bishop, knight and king all want use of the e7 square. You'll have to discover which type of setup you prefer. Often black players will feel a little cramped and try to trade square dark bishop or a set of knights to alleviate this. Also common is hiding the king in the fortress a7b6c7c6(orc5) where it can quickly come into the game but not hinder his pieces.
  

Berlin_endgames_001.pgn ( 7 KB | Downloads )
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Gerbarts
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Re: Help with understanding the Berlin!
Reply #18 - 05/23/08 at 17:46:03
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IMJohnCox wrote on 05/20/08 at 17:52:36:
Why is the bishop a bad piece? I suppose it's because the Berlin is fundamentally about blockading White's kingside majority on the light squares and turning it into a liability, and the dark bishop's best role in connection with that is to destroy a knight which can help break the blockade. Black's main dream is to get the bishop stable on e6 playing on both wings, and the best way to do that is to exchange White's knights. Something like that, anyway. This stuff - plug, plug - is all in my forthcoming book with some hopefully persuasive examples of the relevant endings.

Agree with you about the Berlin being a pre-knowledge opening.


Good explanation! In the source, http://www.chess.gr/tourn/2000/kasparov-kramnik/analysis.html,
given by trw the annotator says "Black may exchange his black-squared B for a N and thus provoke an endgame with opposite-color Bs, with clear drawing tendencies." Is this one plan or the only plan? Would it be possible to play like I have done so far (trying to trade down to bishops vs. knights) or is this just wishful play that do not work in OTB against strong opponents? As for your book, trust me that I will buy it as soon as it comes out!

Trw, thanks for the great resources. I have started to use a lot of it!4.d3, Qe2, Nc3 are completely different openings but I still believe I can play them without too much knowledge.

And I agree, the master you played against played quite strange... not only Rxe7 but other moves too.
  
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Re: Help with understanding the Berlin!
Reply #17 - 05/21/08 at 09:56:23
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I used to play the Berlin as well, and the best thing to do is to study the games of a (the best?) specialist of it : Zoltan Almasi.
  
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trw
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Re: Help with understanding the Berlin!
Reply #16 - 05/21/08 at 00:16:37
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Gerbarts wrote on 03/28/08 at 14:23:54:
Thanks Tim, Ke8 it is. I've decided to keep on playing the Berlin after a few wins with it in blitz.

Are Kasparov-Kramnik games still relevant to study or what are the latest games that have been played in the Berlin against super masters?



Yes, the kramnik games are still good to study. I recommend if you can finding a way to get Kramnik's my path to the top DVD where he talks about the Berlin in detail. Also a good website that has some analysis on these games: http://www.chess.gr/tourn/2000/kasparov-kramnik/analysis.html

Also I have a pgn collection on chessgames.com of the games I studiedi n the last 10 months to learn the Berlin: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chesscollection?cid=1012881

Kramnik, Topalov, Radjabov, Sargissian, Bacrot and Wang Yue have been playing the Berlin recently so watch for them to bust it out again. Even Short played it in Corus Group B this year. Carlsen played it both in linares against Ivanchuk and faced it against Aronian in Amber this year. There is no lack of master games to study on this opening. Bisguier and Aleksandrov seem to employ almost religiously Smiley My personal favorite master to watch is Leonid Kritz, recently crowned GM, who seems to play my exact opening style with Slav and Berlin defenses.  He tends to have very creative approach to most openings.

Lines I recommend you be familiar with and have prep for people that try to decline the Berlin because they are common: 4. d3 4. Qe2 4. Nc3

Acceptance lines to be aware of 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. 0-0 Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 (6. Nxe5 seems to be very common in blitz! also be careful of 6. Bg5 is a line whose intention is to keep the queens on the board. Either f6 or Be7 is fine here. also be aware of 6. dxe5 Nxb6 7. a4 (regaining the knigh) Nbd4 8Nxd4 Nxd4 9 Qxd4 d5) but also know the line where white attempts to keep Qs on board via Qe2. 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qe2 Nd4 9 Nxd4 Qxd4 10.   Rd1 Bg4! 11 Rxd4 Bxe2 12 Nc3


I often as John Cox suggested trade my dark square bishop (though with certain dismay as I enjoy holding the bishop pair) because it can be a clumsy piece. I will head for a light square bishop vs knight ending where I hope to have the bishop become superior.

I've had some strange games on ICC with masters in the Berlin: notably one where the master decided on an exchange sac right in the opening (which I found unsound!).
[Result "0-1"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Nxe5 7. Rxe5+ Be7 8. d4 f6 9. Rxe7+ Qxe7 10. Bd3 O-O 11. Nc3 Re8 12. Be3 c6 13. Qh5 g6 14. Qf3 Nf7 15. h3 d5 16. Ne2 Nd6 17. Nf4 Bf5 18. Bxf5 Nxf5 19. Nh5 Kf7 20. Kh1 Nxe3 21. fxe3 gxh5 22. Qxh5+ Kg8 23. Rf1 Rad8 24. Qh6 Qg7 0-1

Finally if you have an ICC account LarryC's round 5 video of Baku is a good video on the Berlin to watch.

and of course be pumped and ready for John Cox's book!! Smiley

I hope this helps some... good luck to you in the Berlin. I enjoy this opening immensely!
  
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Re: Help with understanding the Berlin!
Reply #15 - 05/20/08 at 17:52:36
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Why is the bishop a bad piece? I suppose it's because the Berlin is fundamentally about blockading White's kingside majority on the light squares and turning it into a liability, and the dark bishop's best role in connection with that is to destroy a knight which can help break the blockade. Black's main dream is to get the bishop stable on e6 playing on both wings, and the best way to do that is to exchange White's knights. Something like that, anyway. This stuff - plug, plug - is all in my forthcoming book with some hopefully persuasive examples of the relevant endings.

Agree with you about the Berlin being a pre-knowledge opening.
  
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Gerbarts
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Re: Help with understanding the Berlin!
Reply #14 - 05/18/08 at 17:47:22
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IMJohnCox wrote on 05/16/08 at 19:42:13:
9 Bg5 Be7 is a bad move not because it allows the exchange of bishops - Black is fine after 10 Bxe7+ Kxe7 - but because it allows 10 g4, driving the knight to h6. Black's dark bishop is his worst minor piece; he shouldn't be afraid of trading it especially for a knight, but even exchanging it for White's worst minor piece (the bishop) has its compensations in that it unites the rooks and brings Black's king to a great square on e7 from which it may well be able to attack e5 later.

The diagram position is interesting. My first thought was that it's simply a draw - Black doesn't often get much from the two bishops in the Berlin - but drkodos may be right that you can play for a win with ...b5 and at some moment ...g5. White can usually manage to unload the knight and a pawn for the dark-squared bishop and reach an opposite-coloured bishop draw, but maybe he's not well placed to do so here.


Since I made this thread I have learnt a lot about the Berlin and I feel like I'm getting easy wins against most players under 1800 on ICC. My strategy has been very simple; my first plan in the opening is to play Be7 and Nh4 and exchange knights. Then I try to exchange rooks and open the position for my bishops.

What you say about trading the dark squared bishop I did not know at all. What is the reasoning behind it being a bad piece? I personally feel many times that it is a problem since it restricts my king from going to e7 but at the same time I always hope that it will become a good piece later which is why I avoid trading it.

I know my understandning of the Berlin is still pretty retarded but I am still learning a lot. I still play the Chigorin in OTB but that will soon change I think.
  
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Re: Help with understanding the Berlin!
Reply #13 - 05/16/08 at 19:42:13
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9 Bg5 Be7 is a bad move not because it allows the exchange of bishops - Black is fine after 10 Bxe7+ Kxe7 - but because it allows 10 g4, driving the knight to h6. Black's dark bishop is his worst minor piece; he shouldn't be afraid of trading it especially for a knight, but even exchanging it for White's worst minor piece (the bishop) has its compensations in that it unites the rooks and brings Black's king to a great square on e7 from which it may well be able to attack e5 later.

The diagram position is interesting. My first thought was that it's simply a draw - Black doesn't often get much from the two bishops in the Berlin - but drkodos may be right that you can play for a win with ...b5 and at some moment ...g5. White can usually manage to unload the knight and a pawn for the dark-squared bishop and reach an opposite-coloured bishop draw, but maybe he's not well placed to do so here.
  
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Gerbarts
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Re: Help with understanding the Berlin!
Reply #12 - 03/28/08 at 14:23:54
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Thanks Tim, Ke8 it is. I've decided to keep on playing the Berlin after a few wins with it in blitz.

Are Kasparov-Kramnik games still relevant to study or what are the latest games that have been played in the Berlin against super masters?
  
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TimS
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Re: Help with understanding the Berlin!
Reply #11 - 03/28/08 at 10:16:13
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Gerbarts wrote on 03/26/08 at 22:18:41:
MarinFan wrote on 03/25/08 at 11:43:56:
Hello,

I am quite suprised that people think answering Bg5, with Be7 is the best approach. Playing to keep the two bishops as the original poster did, looks a lot better to me, especially if playing for a win. Will check what Kaufman recommends, if mentions at all, since Bg5 looks like a side-line.

Bye John S
           


Completely agree, there is no logic to it if you are to exchange bishops. If Be7 is the best then I would decide not to continue playing the Berlin.

Here are the stats from Mega08.
9.Bg5+ has been played 60 times.
50 players answered 9...Ke8, scoring 70%. Players with a rating average of 2283 performed at 2337.
10 players answered 9...Be7, scoring 40%. Players with a rating average of 1956 performed at 1953.
So far, a pretty good statistical vote for 9...Ke8, albeit from a small sample. However, one interesting point is that in the 10 games with 9...Be7, only one saw 10.Bxe7+ (and that was lost by White).
However, on reflection and after seeing the position on a screen, I must say I would prefer 9...Ke8. If White replies 10.Nc3, then we have a transposition to the popular line 9.Nc3 Ke8. In any event, after 9.Bg5+ Ke8 10.Nc3 (or 9.Nc3 Ke8 10.Bg5), I would continue 10...h6, when the move Bg5 is looking pretty silly.
  
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Gerbarts
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Re: Help with understanding the Berlin!
Reply #10 - 03/26/08 at 22:18:41
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MarinFan wrote on 03/25/08 at 11:43:56:
Hello,

I am quite suprised that people think answering Bg5, with Be7 is the best approach. Playing to keep the two bishops as the original poster did, looks a lot better to me, especially if playing for a win. Will check what Kaufman recommends, if mentions at all, since Bg5 looks like a side-line.

Bye John S
           


Completely agree, there is no logic to it if you are to exchange bishops. If Be7 is the best then I would decide not to continue playing the Berlin.
  
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Re: Help with understanding the Berlin!
Reply #9 - 03/25/08 at 11:43:56
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Hello,

I am quite suprised that people think answering Bg5, with Be7 is the best approach. Playing to keep the two bishops as the original poster did, looks a lot better to me, especially if playing for a win. Will check what Kaufman recommends, if mentions at all, since Bg5 looks like a side-line.

Bye John S
           
  
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