Fast and Furious: The Berlin with 5.Re1

by Robert Ris
5/16/2019 – Today on the Fast & Furious show we will have a look at how White can try to beat the Berlin with sharp play, starting with 5.Re1! The live show at 17:00 UTC (19:00 CEST / 2 PM EDT) is free to watch, and available on-demand for ChessBase Premium account holders (but FREE for a limited time!). To chat, please visit or login via Playchess for Windows.

Beating the Berlin Defence 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.


The Berlin with 5.Re1

Ever since Kramnik defeated Kasparov in their match back in 2000, the Berlin (Endgame) has posed White so many problems finding new ideas to fight for an advantage with 1.e4. Lately the Berlin Endgame has been avoided by many White players and the variation with 5.Re1 is currently trending. Could one ever expect these ensuing symmetrical positions to be problematic for Black at all? Despite the fact it was a blitz game, Topalov's loss against Karjakin must have been one of the most painful miniatures of his career. More about this game and other interesting ideas with 5.Re1 will be discussed in tonights Fast & Furious show.

The live show is free to watch and available on-demand for ChessBase Premium accounts.

An appetizer

White is an exchange and a pawn down, but how should he continue developing a massive attack?


Move the pieces on the live diagram

This week's show

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Born in 1988, Robert Ris is an International Master who has represented The Netherlands in various international youth events. Nowadays his main activities in the Amsterdam area consist of teaching in schools, chess clubs and giving coaching sessions to private clients. On top of that, he is also an active online trainer with a number of students from a host of different countries. Between 2009 and 2013 he contributed to the online magazines ChessVibes Openings and ChessVibes Training and now has a monthly endgame column in the Masters Bulletin at On the PlayChess server The Fast and the Furious is a popular show where he explains sharp opening lines for a wider audience. He has also made a number of contributions to ChessBase Magazine, and has had several appearances as a live commentator for prestigious events, including the Dutch National Championships 2011-2013 and the Tata Steel Chess Tournament in 2013 and 2014.And he is a popular ChessBase author who produced a number of DVDs on how to play the opening.
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