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Vladimir Kramnik vs Vassily Ivanchuk
13th Amber Rapid (2004) (rapid), Monte Carlo MNC, rd 2, Mar-21
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. l'Hermet Variation Berlin Wall Defense (C67)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-19-04  Hanzo Steel: Playing the Berlin Defense against Kramnik just seems like a bad idea.
Aug-30-04  nikolaas: 17....Bxe4 too. It just looses a pawn. Or is there something I don't see?
Jan-18-05  PinkPanther: This was just badly played by black. It has nothing to do with playing the Berlin against Kramnik being a bad idea.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Ouch!

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Nc3 a5 10. h3 a4 11. Rd1+ Ke8 12. a3 h6 13. Bf4

<F El Taher vs A G Aleksandrov, 2000 saw 13. Ne2. Basically anything could be played here, maybe 13. Ne4 would be my choice.>

13...Be6 14. Ne4 Ra5

<For a patzer like me, the line 14...Be7 15. g4 Nh4 16. Nd4 h5 17. Nxe6 fxe6 18. Bg3 hxg4 19. hxg4= is preferred, as optically it is simpler to play.>

15. g4

<Probably 15. Rd2 is a tiny bit more natural. The position is completely equal in any case.>


<This is really difficult to understand. Removes a piece from the e-file, instead of guarding the king along it until artificial castling becomes possible. Obviously, 15...Ne7 16. Nd4 Ng6 is not bad at all for Black:>

<<17. Nxe6 fxe6 18. Bg3 Nxe5=>>

<<17. Bg3 Nxe5 18. Nxe6 fxe6 is the exact same.>>

16. Re1 Ne7 17. e6 Bxe4?

<It is not trivially easy to calculate, especially in rapid and blitz, that 17...Ng6 18. Bxc7 Ra8 19. exf7+ Kxf7 20. Re3 Kg8 21. Nc3 Bxf3 22. Rxf3 Kh7 leads to a playable position for Black, although White is more comfortable.>

<Also, the hyper calm 17...Kd8 18. Rad1 Kc8 19. exf7 Bxf7 20. Ne5 Be8 is not terrible for Black.>

18. exf7+ Kxf7 19. Rxe4 Ng6

<Interestingly, 19...Nd5 is not significantly better: 20. Ne5+ Kg8 21. Ng6 Nxf4 22. Rxf4 Bd6 23. Rf3>

20. Bxc7 Rb5

<Maybe 20...Rd5 21. Rxa4 Be7 22. Re1 Bf6 was a tiny bit better in the practical meaning, with massive complications. In rapid or blitz this is the proper way to play an inferior position - create chaos at all costs!>

21. Ne5+ Nxe5 22. Bxe5 Bc5?

<Closes the path of the rook. 22...Rd5 23. Bc3 Bd6 24. Rxa4 Re8 25. Ra7 Re7 26. Re1 Rd7 was required, hoping that the activity on the d-file could be grabbed, with a terribly difficult battle for the draw.>

23. Bc3 Ra8

<There are tricks like 23...Rd8 24. Rxa4?! Be7! with a tiny bit easier play, but White is still better.>

24. Rd1 Bf8 25. Rd7+ Kg8 26. Kg2

<Here Ivanchuk understood that the b-pawn cannot be saved without ruining his position even more, thus resigned.>


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