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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Berlin Wall and clubplayers? (Read 12125 times)
TimS
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Re: Berlin Wall and clubplayers?
Reply #13 - 10/13/13 at 14:47:01
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Good point!
  
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RdC
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Re: Berlin Wall and clubplayers?
Reply #12 - 10/13/13 at 14:14:33
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TimS wrote on 10/13/13 at 09:53:33:
I don't play the Berlin all that often but came across a "new" move yesterday in a county match:
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.c3?!
It doesn't lose a pawn, but it does seem a rather strange choice.


It appears playable, perhaps the player of White had considerable respect for Black's erudition in the main line  ending.
  
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TimS
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Re: Berlin Wall and clubplayers?
Reply #11 - 10/13/13 at 09:53:33
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I don't play the Berlin all that often but came across a "new" move yesterday in a county match:
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.c3?!
It doesn't lose a pawn, but it does seem a rather strange choice.
  
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JonathanB
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Re: Berlin Wall and clubplayers?
Reply #10 - 10/12/13 at 07:14:16
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kylemeister wrote on 10/11/13 at 19:00:18:
7. Bxc6 makes me weep ...  I wonder what the ratings of those individuals were.


After

1 e4 e5, 2 Nf3 Nc6, 3 Bb5 Nf6, 4 0-0 Nxe4, 5 Re1 Nd6

I have only ever faced 6 Bxc6.  I've also read elsewhere that this is quite a common way for White to play.

When I took up the Berlin I expected to find lower rated opponents going for this line.  I've even had some guy who was high 2100s playing this way too, though.

I really don't understand why.  I doesn't seem that hard to me to see that after 6 Nxe5 Black can't chop the bishop on b5.  I'm sure the folk I played would see this if it was a middlegame position but for some reason because it's still the opening they don't.
  

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BPaulsen
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Re: Berlin Wall and clubplayers?
Reply #9 - 10/11/13 at 20:51:20
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kylemeister wrote on 10/11/13 at 19:00:18:
7. Bxc6 makes me weep.  (Perhaps this should be included in an extended set of Informator symbols, like "Not the British Chess Magazine" or some such published many years ago.)  I wonder what the ratings of those individuals were.


I feel like I've heard this somewhere before.

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kylemeister
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Re: Berlin Wall and clubplayers?
Reply #8 - 10/11/13 at 19:00:18
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7. Bxc6 makes me weep.  (Perhaps this should be included in an extended set of Informator symbols, like "Not the British Chess Magazine" or some such published many years ago.)  I wonder what the ratings of those individuals were.
  
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JonathanB
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Re: Berlin Wall and clubplayers?
Reply #7 - 10/11/13 at 18:14:58
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Seeley wrote on 10/10/13 at 15:01:16:
If you want to understand this opening, I would unreservedly recommend John Cox's superb book, 'The Berlin Wall'. It is well-organised, lucidly written and full of useful insights.


Seconded.  It's a few years old now and doesn't mention the currently fashionable 9 Nc3 Ke8 10 h3 h5.  To consider it out of date is to miss the point, however.  The real value of the book comes in the first half where Cox explores typical endings and middlegame themes.  These are the pages that make the book the best starting point for a club chesser trying to understand the Berlin.  IMHO, anyway.

I've been playing the Berlin against 1900-2200 opposition since around May 2011.  I haven't been extremely active in that period, but I have about 30 games as Black against 1 e4 and this is what I found:

  • About half my opponents didn't play the Ruy/Spanish
  • Of those that did, about a third didn't play 4 0-0 but went for d3 (4), Qe2 (1) or Nc3 (1) instead.
  • Of those that castled, about half went for Re1 (none of these guys went for Bd3 or Bf1 - they all went for the unnecessary exchange on c6)


Which leaves n=5 for actual Berlin Wall games.  (When taking up the opening I'd guessed the proportion would be about 1 in 10, but it's been about 1 in 7 mostly and currently around 1 in 6).


  

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Re: Berlin Wall and clubplayers?
Reply #6 - 10/11/13 at 08:49:22
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To me, looking at it as white, the ending does look very unbalanced and the sort of thing you'd want to study/play reasonably often before trying it.
(And I dislike going Bxc6 in general anyway.).

I've actually played Re1/Bf1 a couple of times myself and yes not super exciting but no complaints really - I got to nibble away a tiny bit both times. No real theory on either side in the games though and likely black can kill the position more efficiently.

The other thing that you'll get a lot of is 4 d3.
  
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Seeley
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Re: Berlin Wall and clubplayers?
Reply #5 - 10/10/13 at 17:55:14
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katar wrote on 10/10/13 at 17:19:35:
I expect you would get the Re1 lines (rather than the "wall" endgame) very often at this level.

Of course these lines are fine, but it must be said candidly they are sort of Exchange-French-like positions without queens and possibly boring depending on one's taste.  I tend to think Black is possibly minutely better if White chops Bxc6.  However if white goes Bf1 or Bd3 I think it is flat equal and not very exciting.
Just my opinion, ymmv.

I completely agree with this (except that in my experience Queens don't always come off until later). The 5.Re1 line with Bf1 in particular makes it very difficult for Black to inject any life into the game, and certainly more people of the rating level in question played that against me than played into the Berlin endgame.
  
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Re: Berlin Wall and clubplayers?
Reply #4 - 10/10/13 at 17:19:35
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I expect you would get the Re1 lines (rather than the "wall" endgame) very often at this level.

Of course these lines are fine, but it must be said candidly they are sort of Exchange-French-like positions without queens and possibly boring depending on one's taste.  I tend to think Black is possibly minutely better if White chops Bxc6.  However if white goes Bf1 or Bd3 I think it is flat equal and not very exciting.
Just my opinion, ymmv.
  

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Seeley
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Re: Berlin Wall and clubplayers?
Reply #3 - 10/10/13 at 15:01:16
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My experience of playing the line against players of that approximate rating level is that there are quite enough imbalances in the Berlin ending itself to make the game interesting, and it's surprisingly easy for players of the White pieces to go wrong if they don't know what they're doing.

If you want to understand this opening, I would unreservedly recommend John Cox's superb book, 'The Berlin Wall'. It is well-organised, lucidly written and full of useful insights.
  
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Re: Berlin Wall and clubplayers?
Reply #2 - 10/10/13 at 13:27:54
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Appelstroop wrote on 10/10/13 at 09:30:20:
Is the Berlin Wall a suitable weapon for clubplayers rated around 2000-2100? What do you think?


Yes, so long as you are satisfied with a draw out of the opening. Though as snakebite implied, most of your opponents may not have a good enough understanding of the endgame to know how to hold a draw. Over the board, you will probably get moves like 4.d3 and 4.Nc3 a lot from people who aren't prepared and want to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
  

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Re: Berlin Wall and clubplayers?
Reply #1 - 10/10/13 at 10:19:48
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Absolutely.  If you don't mind queenless middlegames and are prepared to study the typical ideas in the Berlin Wall, I'd expect black to do fine.  Players on the white side may struggle due to lack of experience/familiarity with the pawn structure etc unless they play the exchange Ruy Lopez.
  
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Berlin Wall and clubplayers?
10/10/13 at 09:30:20
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Is the Berlin Wall a suitable weapon for clubplayers rated around 2000-2100? What do you think?
  
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