CBM 158: The Match and the Berlin Defence

by ChessBase
3/16/2014 – In this issue of ChessBase Magazine GM Mihail Marin draws an interesting parallel between the Anand-Carlsen match in Chennai and Kasparov-Kramnik, London 2000. It was Kramnik who first used the Berlin Defence that had not been seen at this level since the days of Lasker and Capablanca. Prof Nagesh Havanur tells us what we can learn about it in ChessBase Magazine 158. Review.

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ChessBase Magazine #158

Reviewed by Prof. Nagesh Havanur

This issue of ChessBase Magazine is dedicated to the World Championship match that ended in a conclusive victory for Magnus Carlsen against Viswanathan Anand who had reigned for more than a decade. It also offers games from events like the Bundesliga, European and World Team Championships. A salutary reminder to Carlsen fans that there are other gladiators in the arena. To return to the world championship, the games of the match are analysed here by Mihail Marin and Lev Guman among others.

GM Mihail Marin draws an interesting parallel between the Anand-Carlsen and the Kasparov-Kramnik Match that concluded at the turn of the century. It was Kramnik who first used the Berlin Defence that had not been seen at this level since the days of Lasker and Capablanca. The ensuing ending neutralized Garry’s knowledge and experience of Ruy Lopez altogether. He could not bring himself to play e4 anymore, a factor that turned fatal for him in the match. Marin maintains, Anand repeated the same error allowing Carlsen to play the Berlin. Vishy did try to avoid the endgame with 4.d3. But he was not successful with it. The challenge before White is how to liven up play against Berlin and recent developments have shown, there is hope. What is interesting, it’s Carlsen who is leading the way with white. In the recent Zürich Chess Challenge he employed 4.d3 against Caruana and beat him convincingly. With Anand he tried a line they have played before with colours reversed.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.Re1

Carlsen had a reason for playing this line with white. He had some uneasy moments playing Black in this position with Karjakin in Tal Memorial Tournament 2013. While that encounter ended in a draw he wanted to see what Anand could do here as Black. This time the former world champion defused the tension and there was a draw. So what is preferable for White, 4.d3 or 4. 0-0 Nxe4 5.Re1 still remains an open question. Hopefully, the next issue of ChessBase Magazine would shed some light on this issue.

The other point of interest is Lev Gutman’s analysis of Nimzo-Indian from Game 9 of the Match. Commentators (with the exception of Shipov) have been cautious about passing the verdict on 8…c4 played by Carlsen in the game. But white does need an improvement on the line played by Anand. One option is to play 13.Ra2 just as Anand did and deviate later. The other is to play13. Rb1!? proposed by Lev Gutman in this issue. In his opening survey he offers both games and variations to show how White should proceed with his attack. It’s a good starting point even if you don’t have to agree with everything.

[Event "FWCM Chennai"] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.11.21"] [Round "?"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E25"] [PlyCount "37"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. cxd5 exd5 8. e3 c4 $6 {This move prevents normal development of the White bishop to d3.But it overlooks the fact that the same piece can be effectively posted on g2 as Anand demonstrated in Game 9 of the Match. The other drawback of this move is that it releases pressure on d4 allowing White to play e4 in due course and build a powerful pawn centre.} (8... O-O {is standard.}) 9. Ne2 Nc6 10. g4 O-O 11. Bg2 (11. Ng3 Na5 12. Bg2 Nb3 {transposes.}) 11... Na5 12. O-O Nb3 13. Rb1 $5 (13. Ra2 a5 14. Ng3 b5 15. e4 $5 {A brilliant TN offering a pawn sacrifice.} (15. g5 Ne8 16. e4 {leads to Game 9 of the Match.}) 15... dxe4 (15... Nxc1 16. Qxc1 dxe4) 16. Bg5 $1 {and White went on to win. He has sufficient compensation, anyway. Volkov,S.-Smirnov,A /Khanty Mansiysk 2013.}) 13... b5 ( 13... Qa5 {is slow, coming in the way of a-pawn that needs to advance along with the b-pawn.} 14. Qc2 Bd7 15. Ng3 Rad8 16. g5 ({The pawn sacrifice} 16. e4 dxe4 17. fxe4 Nxg4 {is rather speculative. After} 18. e5 Be6 19. Ne4 (19. Bxb7 $2 Nxe5 $17) 19... Bd5 {Black is not without chances and White has to recknon with the possibility of ...Nxe5 as well.}) 16... Ne8 17. e4 {with excellent attacking propspects on the kingside}) 14. Ng3 Re8 15. g5 Nd7 16. e4 Nb6 17. e5 Na4 18. Bd2 Qa5 19. Be1 {and White follows up with f4-f5, N-h5, B-g3, e5-e6 and B-e5. This main line of Gutman's analysis is full of promise for White.} 0-1

So does this line have a future? If anyone has the answer, it’s Carlsen. At the recent Zürich Chess challenge Nakamura did “invite” him to play it again and Magnus sensibly declined. He knows, it spells trouble. (He tried a different line and got into greater trouble! That’s another story.)

This brings us to the endings from the match. Two critical moments (Game 5 and Game 6) are presented on video and analysed by Karsten Müller. As they take considerable space, here is a lighter exercise for our young readers. In the following position it appears that White is losing the a-pawn. Would it help Black to draw the game?

Black to move

Black plays 1…Rc5 + 2.Kg6 Rc6+! 3. Kg7 Rc7+=. But not 2…Rxa5?? After this mistake White plays 3.Rf7! shielding the king from checks and promoting the h-pawn thereafter.

While the Match takes much of the space in this issue other events are not ignored. One major competition was the World Team Championship won by Russia ahead of China and Ukraine. The Russians managed it in spite of a shock defeat in the hands of the U.S. team. The other major competition was the European Team Championship. While Azerbaijan won gold, it was France that stole the show with their bravura performance. They came second, narrowly outpacing Russia and Armenia. Several of these games are annotated in this issue.

This brings me to other sections of the issue. There are twelve surveys and two videos on openings. The latter deserve a special mention. As is known, Alexei Shirov is a great connoisseur of the Botvinnik System in Semi-Slav Defence. It’s wonderful to have him on this video and speak on his favourite opening.

Sections on strategy, tactics and endings bring up the rear. In the section on strategy Dorian Rogozenco deals with the theme of exchanging pieces and if you look at the illustrative examples, each position is different from the other! Instructive stuff.

In all this issue has 1448 games of which 119 are annotated. If you are a serious player, there is ample material here for tournament preparation.


Source: Nagesh Havanur, The Chess World

ChessBase Magazine 158 – Highlights

  • Magnus Carlsen is the new World Champion! Daniel King analysed all ten games in video format.
  • Many annotated games from the World Team Championship, f.e. by Fridman, Meier and Krasenkow
  • Adams, Andreikin and Radjabov annotate one of their games from the European Team Championship in Warsaw.
  • NEW! Interactive video training: Daniel King „Move by Move“, Oliver Reeh "Tactics", and Karsten Müller "Endgame" offer feedback to your ideas!
  • 12 new opening articles. Michael Krasenkow shares his knowledge of the Semi-Tarrasch, Lars Schandorff introduces you to a "Carlsen Variation" and many more.
  • Language: English + German
  • Delivery: Download or post
  • Price: €19.95 – €16.76 without VAT (for Customers outside the EU) – $22.81 (without VAT)

Order ChessBase Magazine 158 here

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New: ChessBase Magazine 158 – with free sample
2/7/2014 – The new ChessBase Magazine provides star analysis by some of the world's best players. There is also a wealth of openings analysis and surveys, like Alexey Kuzmin's explanation of the "Romanishin Principle" (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.c4). You can download this sample article for free – or check out state-of-the-art GM analysis your favourite line in the eleven opening surveys.

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