2020: Masks and Ruy Lopez!

by Arne Kaehler
8/23/2020 – The Carlsen Chess Tour is over. What a pity, because the finals between Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura were outstanding! The most used opening by far was the Ruy Lopez, leaving the Sicilian opening behind. A clear sign of how much this opening is in fashion momentarily, and we all know that everybody will jump on the Ruy Lopez train sooner or later this year. To prepare you in the best way possible, I highly recommend taking a look at Fabiano Caruana's: Navigating the Ruy Lopez Vol. 1-3.

Navigating the Ruy Lopez Vol.1-3 Navigating the Ruy Lopez Vol.1-3

The Ruy Lopez is one of the oldest openings which continues to enjoy high popularity from club level to the absolute world top. In this video series, American super GM Fabiano Caruana, talking to IM Oliver Reeh, presents a complete repertoire for White.

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A Video recommendation to Caruana's Fritztrainer 

In this video, I cruise through Fabiano Caruana's Fritztrainer, and we can catch a glimpse of his opinion on how to play the Berlin Defense properly. What do you think? With d3 or do you prefer castling instead?

The ChessBase Live Database received some serious visits recently!

Fabiano Caruana: Navigating the Ruy Lopez, Vol. 1-3

In a total of three volumes, Caruana examines all Black replies after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5. The world’s number two not only shows very concrete lines, but also outlines general approaches depending on the demands of each variation. How can White keep track of the manifold solid closed set-ups (e.g. the Breyer)? What’s the best way to defuse the risky Schliemann-Jaenisch Gambit? Which transitions to the endgame against the Open Variation are particularly unpleasant for Black? What are the guiding threads to follow against the Berlin Defence? In short, this trilogy not only provides the viewer with a complete premium Ruy Lopez repertoire, but also with fascinating insights into the mindset and chess understanding of a World Championship contender. Epiphanies guaranteed!

Subjects: The Classical Main Lines (Chigorin 9…Na5, Zaitsev 9…Bb7 and Breyer 9…Nb8), Anti-Classical (8.a4), Anti-Marshall (8.a4), Modern Arkhangelsk (6…Bc5), Open Ruy Lopez (5…Nxe4), Berlin Defence (3…Nf6 and 4.Nxe4), Averbakh Variation (6…d6), Schliemann Variation (3…f5), Smyslov Defence (3… g6), Cozio Defence (3…Nge7 and 3…a6 4.Ba4 Nge7), Bird’s Defence (3…Nd4), Steinitz Defence (3…d6) and Modern Steinitz (4…d6), Classical Defence (3…Bc5), Norwegian Defence (4…b5 5.Bb3 Na5)

• Video running time: 16 hours 20 min(English)
• Database with Caruana’s games in the Ruy Lopez
• Bonus: Training with ChessBase apps - Memorize the opening repertoire and play key positions against Fritz on various levels

There is more!

Since the Berlin Defense was the dominating variation in the Carlsen Chess Tour Finals, I highly recommend to check out these three DVD's as well, to not fall behind.

The Berlin Wall, also known as the Berlin Defense, is one of the most solid and frequently played openings of the 21st century, and compared to the real Berlin Wall, there’s almost no chance of it falling. Introduced into serious practice during the WCC match between Kasparov and Kramnik in London in 2000, it heralded a change in chess from the dynamic and romantic style of the 20th century towards a more pragmatic, solid, resourceful and forwardlooking approach. Kramnik won the match and the Berlin Defense became extremely popular. The DVD is divided into two parts. In the first section, we look at what happens when White avoids the endgame in the “Anti-Berlin” systems, while the second section deals with the Berlin ending. Lately, White has been playing Anti-Berlin setups much more frequently - as they cannot find anything in the main Berlin. In a way, this alone is testament to its power! The endgame should be treated as serious, complex setting with lots of possibilities, including many tactical tricks. It goes without saying that studying the Berlin Defense will improve your understanding of the endgame dramatically. The course also includes a number of exercises aimed at improving your practical skills in the Berlin. The DVD caters for a wide range of audiences that ranges from beginners right through to highly skilled players. Add the Berlin Wall into your repertoire and pass the headache of “what to play against it?” to your opponent! - Text from Victor Bologan's "The Berlin Wall"

Alexei Shirov describes the Berlin Defense greatly

The Berlin Wall

On top level the Berlin Defense is a popular defensive weapon but it also offers Black good chances to win if White does not proceed precisely. On this DVD Victor Bologan shows what Black can and should do if White tries to avoid the main lines of the Berlin Defense.

Beating the Berlin Defence

Ever since the Kasparov-Kramnik WCh match (London 2000) players with the white pieces have been breaking their teeth biting on the Berlin Wall in the Ruy Lopez. The situation from White’s point of view has become precarious – ducking it is equivalent to capitulation, because in all alternative variations to the Berlin endgame White gives up from the start on the struggle for an opening advantage. White has to find ways to crack open Black’s defence. There is hardly any other grandmaster of his class who is as well known for his uncompromising and creative play as the Latvian Alexei Shirov.

How to crack the Berlin Wall with 5.Re1

Alexei Shirov shows on this DVD how White can develop pressure and seize the initiative with 5.Re1 against the Berlin Wall.

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Arne Kaehler, a creative thinker who is passionate about board games in general was born in Hamburg and learned how to play chess at a very young age. Through teaching chess to youth teams and creating chess content on YouTube, Arne was able to extend this passion onto others and has even made an online chess course for anyone who wants to learn how to play this game. Currently, Arne blogs for the English news page of ChessBase and focuses on creating promotional and entertaining articles.

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