Pavel Eljanov: The Ruy Lopez Breyer Variation

by ChessBase
3/7/2016 – Pavel Eljanov is one of the world's best players and if you ask him what to play against 1.e4 he will have a clear answer: the Breyer Variation - which also happens to be a favorite of Magnus Carlsen. This line of the Spanish leads to interesting, rich and varied positions, in which understanding is crucial. On a ChessBase DVD Eljanov shares his insights.

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Pavel Eljanov: The Ruy Lopez Breyer Variation

A review by Max Müller

2015 was a good year for Pavel Eljanov. At the FIDE World Cup in Baku he made it to the semifinals (where he was stopped by the eventual winner Sergey Karjakin) and was the player with the highest performance. And at the European Team Championship in Reykjavik he helped Ukraine to a number of crucial wins and scored an excellent 5.0/7 on board two.

Currently Pavel Eljanov can boast of a rating of 2765 - his highest ever - which makes him number 11 on the world's ranking list. Thus, I was very happy to see that a strong player like Eljanov recorded a DVD, in which he shares his knowledge about the Spanish Breyer Variation.

Eljanov treats all main lines and explains key concepts and ideas how to play the various structures of this intricate position.

The Breyer Variation arises after the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Nb8

Starting position of the Breyer Variation and starting point of Eljanov's DVD.

After the popular moves 10.d4 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.Bc2 Re8 the following position arises:

Now White has to decide how to continue.

Possible and popular are 13.Nf1 and 13.a4.

After 13.Nf1 Bf8 the most popular continuations are 14.Bg5 h6 15.Bh4 or 14.Ng3 g6:

The line with 14.Bg5

This formation is characterized by a maneuver with which Black redirects the black-squared bishop via f8 to g7. This allows Black to increase the pressure on White's center - the e4 pawn turns out to be particularly vulnerable and after ...exd4 is attacked by no less than three black pieces.

Position after 14.Ng3 g6

In this position Black again redirects his bishop to g7. Another interesting idea of Black can be to attack White's center with ...c5. Strategically highly interesting positions arise if White keeps the center closed with d5 and Eljanov has a lot of hints to offer how to play this positon.

Another popular line arises after 13.a4 Bf8 14.Bd3 c6:

Position after 14.c6

These positions show that Black's pawn structure is very healthy in the Breyer Variation.

All in all this Fritz-Trainer fully met my expectations and demands. With top level GM Pavel Eljanov ChessBase managed to get an absolute expert of the Breyer Variation on board. And Eljanov impressively managed to explain the intricacies of this demanding position even though I wished he would at times have been a bit more entertaining.

To play the Breyer with success requires deep strategic knowledge - knowing long and forced lines is less important and strategy dominates tactics.

I also liked how Eljanov showed that you can play the Breyer Variation (or 1...e5) if you want to play for a win and that contrary to widespread belief the resulting positions are not dead drawn or slightly better for White.

A little treat is the final interactive test with video feedback. It allows you to test and confirm your knowledge. It also helps to get a better grip on the positional intricacies of this line.

If you look for an opening in which spectacular attacks are rare and strategic knowledge is crucial and that still allows you to play for a win with Black - then you might want to give Eljanov's video lectures about the Breyer a try!

Sample video:

Pavel Eljanov: The Ruy Lopez Breyer Variation


• Video running time: 5 hours 13 min(English)
• With interactive training including video feedback
• Training database with 50 essential games and analyses
• Including CB 12 Reader

€ 29,90
€25.13 without VAT (for Customers outside the EU)
$27.14 (without VAT)

This DVD can be purchased as a hard copy or it can be downloaded directly from the Internet, that way sparing you the few days needed for it to arrive by post.

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