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The World vs Arkadij Naiditsch
"Suffering from c6-ness" (game of the day Dec-30-14)
Chessgames Challenge (2014)  ·  Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense (C65)  ·  1-0
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-23-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Boomie: I would say that this was one of our best games. GM Naiditsch is considered one of the most knowledgeable Berlin players. The team's decision to play a Berlin against him was perhaps hubris but led to a wonderful game which, I believe, was studied by everyone interested in the Berlin.

Also our decision to play the closed variation rather than the Berlin endgame was remarkable. We had players threatening to leave if we played d3...heh. That decision was team play at its finest, where emotions run high and the vote is close. Not that d3 is the best move. There is no obvious way to judge. But it plays into our style, which is to keep the position as complicated as possible so our unbelievable analytical strength will have more opportunities.

Apr-24-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: I am still very impressed by this game.
May-11-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: Maybe a new challenge is coming? It would be nice to get together with old and new comrades.
May-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  cormier: The most significant phenomenon of the last few years has been the Berlin Variation, putting an end to nothing less than the move 1.e4.

<sergey shipov>

May-14-16  morfishine: <cormier: The most significant phenomenon of the last few years has been the Berlin Variation, putting an end to nothing less than the move 1.e4> This comment seems a bit bombastic; but if there is any merit in it, then chess is truly dead

The fact of the matter is the "Berlin Wall" is exploitable; they just haven't found it yet

*****

May-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  cormier: that was said in 2013 ...
May-15-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: I like the white plan where he plays, in some order, Bxc6, d3, and 0-0-0. This creates an opposite sides castling situation. Keres said that proper play is for both sides to pawn storm the other guy's king. Black is hampered in this effort by his doubled pawns.

Caruana vs Nakamura, 2016

May-15-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<cormier> The most significant phenomenon of the last few years has been the Berlin Variation, putting an end to nothing less than the move 1.e4.>

Shirov should look at the data before making grand pronouncements. At the time I write this Opening Explorer has 367,903 games starting with 1.e4 with White winning 37.5%, Black winning 29.7%, and 32.6% draws for a White winning percentage of 54.0%. After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 Opening Explorer has 7.520 games with White winning 33.5%, Black winning 23.0%, and 43.5% draws for a White winning percentage of 55.3%.

The much larger ChessTempo database has 1,491,382 games starting with 1.e4 with White winning 38.4%, Black winning 31.7%, and 29.9% draws for a White winning percentage of 53.4%. After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 ChessTempo has 17,713 games with White winning 35.6%, Black winning 23.5%, and 40.9% draws for a White winning percentage of 56.1%.

For the more restrictive Masters database (both players rated 2200+), ChessTempo has 699,125 games starting with 1.e4 with White winning 35.0%, Black winning 26.9%, and 38.1% draws for a White winning percentage of 54.1%. After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 ChessTempo has 12,417 games with White winning 30.7%, Black winning 21.8%, and 47.5% draws for a White winning percentage of 54.5%.

The even larger 365Chess database has 1,644,659 games starting with 1.e4 with White winning 38.4%, Black winning 32.0%, and 29.6% draws for a White winning percentage of 53.2%. After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 365Chess has 18,288 games with White winning 37.2%, Black winning 25.5%, and 37.2% draws for a White winning percentage of 55.9%.

For its Masters database 365Chess has 215,102 games starting with 1.e4 with White winning 30.5%, Black winning 21.1%, and 48.4% draws for a White winning percentage of 54.7%. After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 365Chess has 6,036 games with White winning 25.9%, Black winning 18.3%, and 55.8% draws for a White winning percentage of 54.5%.

So it depends on what the Black player's goals are. Looking at the data, White has a higher probability of a win or a draw (winning percentage) after just 1.e4 than after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6, both overall and at the master level. But Black has a higher probability of a draw after 1.e4 than after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 than after 1.e4, also both overall and at the master level. But the Berlin Variation putting an end to 1.e4? No, no way. The differences are just not that significant.

It would be interesting to see the equivalent results for games played after 2000, when Kasparov - Kramnik World Championship Match (2000) revitalized the Berlin defense. Alas, none of the databases above provide a means of filtering and summarizing the results by date. If anyone has access to a database that allows that, please post the summary results.

May-15-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Rookfile> I like the white plan where he plays, in some order, Bxc6, d3, and 0-0-0.>

It depends on what White's goals are. White's winning chances usually depend on exploiting its k-side pawn majority, and for that (particularly after the queens are exchanged) the White king's support of the pawn majority is essential. And, in that case, Black's king is needed on the k-side to counter the presence of White's king there. So if Black is aiming for or is at least satisfied with a draw (and, if not, why would he be playing the Berlin defense?), Black's best approach is to mirror the placement of White's king; either in the k-side, the center, or the q-side.

However, if Black is trying for a win, then your (and Keres'!) approach of opposite side castling probably maximizes the chances for a win (or a loss, everything comes with increased risk!). It would be interesting to find out with a database and appropriate filtering and summarizing capability the respective winning, losing, and drawing percentages for games when the kings are on the same side and when the kings are on opposite sides.

May-15-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: Here are some more meaningless statistics re: the Berlin defense putting an end to the move 1.e4:

First of all, playing the Berlin defense requires both White's and Black's cooperation. Black must respond to 1.e4 with 1...e5 and must respond to 2.Nf3 with 2...Nc6, and White must play 3.Bb5. Here are some percentages which you can compare with the previous percentages I provided.

<A. % of games starting with 1.e4 e5>:

Opening Explorer: 106,398 games, 28.9% of total 1.e4 games. White wins 38.8%, Black wins 27.9%, 33.3% draws. White winning percentage = 55.5%

Chess Tempo database, all games: 318,479 games, 21.4% of total 1.e4 games. White wins 40.0%, Black wins 28.3%, 31.7% draws. White winning percentage = 55.9%

Chess Tempo database, master games: 153,449 games, 21.9% of total 1.e4 games. White wins 34.1%, Black wins 24.3%, 41.6% draws. White winning percentage = 54.9%

365Chess database, all games: 387,953 games, 23.6% of total 1.e4 games. White wins 41.4%, Black wins 29.2%, 29.4% draws. White winning percentage = 56.1%

365Chess database, master games: 51,370 games, 23.9% of total 1.e4 games. White wins 27.6%, Black wins 18.2%, 54.2% draws. White winning percentage = 54.7%

<B. % of games starting with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5>:

Opening Explorer: 48,403 games, 13.2% of total 1.e4 games. White wins 36.6%, Black wins 24.4%, 39.0% draws. White winning percentage = 56.1%

Chess Tempo database, all games: 138,543 games, 9.3% of total 1.e4 games. White wins 38.9%, Black wins 26.0%, 35.1% draws. White winning percentage = 56.5%

Chess Tempo database, master games: 81,806 games, 11.% of total 1.e4 games. White wins 34.2%, Black wins 23.0%, 42.9% draws. White winning percentage = 55.6%

365Chess database, all games: 143,454 games, 8.7% of total 1.e4 games. White wins 38.8%, Black wins 25.8%, 35.4% draws. White winning percentage = 56.5%

365Chess database, master games: 30,289 games, 14.1% of total 1.e4 games. White wins 27.8%, Black wins 17.8%, 54.4% draws. White winning percentage = 55.0%

So the Ruy Lopez is only played in ~ 9% to ~ 14% of all 1.e4 games, so talk about the Berlin defense putting an end to 1.e4 is silly, given that there have been relatively little opportunities to do so. And it is instructive to compare the number of draws for all games to the number of draws for master games; the drawing percentage for master games is much higher. Which is what one should expect given that in order to win a game the loser must have made the last mistake, and mistakes are a lot less likely in master level games.

Again, it would be instructive to look at the data before and after 2000.

May-15-16  jindraz: I think Shipov really refers to much higher level than just master games. The predilection for the Berlin wall and Italian game at the highest level is something that I do not enjoy watching.

I did stop playing 1. e4 partly because of this, even though of course it is pretty irrelevant at my level. I suppose a car maker whose top model is the drabbest p.o.s. imaginable will lose customers even for their decent cheaper cars.

May-17-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<jindraz> I think Shirov really refers to much higher level than just master games.>

That makes sense. So, since the ChessTempo database allows you to filter games in rating point increments of 100, I calculated a similar set of statistics for those games where both players were rated 2600+ and for those games where both players were rated 2700+. Here are the results.

<A. Both players rated 2600+>

Games starting with 1.e4: 26,056 games. White wins 30.4%, Black wins 18.5%, 51.1% draws. White winning percentage 56.0%

Games starting with 1.e4 e5: 10,314 games, 39.6% of games starting with 1.e4. White wins 28.1%, Black wins 16.9%, 55.0% draws. White winning percentage 55.6%

Games starting with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc5 3.Bb5: 6,575 games, 25.2% of games starting with 1.e4. White wins 28.1%, Black wins 15.8%, 56.1% draws. White winning percentage 56.2%

Games starting with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc5 3.Bb5 Nf6: 1,989 games, 7.6% of games starting with 1.e4. White wins 24.4%, Black wins 15.4%, 60.2% draws. White winning percentage 54.5%

<B. Both players rated 2700+>

Games starting with 1.e4: 5,614 games. White wins 28.7%, Black wins 18.2%, 53.1% draws. White winning percentage 55.3%

Games starting with 1.e4 e5: 2,610 games, 46.5% of games starting with 1.e4. White wins 25.9%, Black wins 15.4%, 58.7% draws. White winning percentage 55.3%

Games starting with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc5 3.Bb5: 1,732 games, 30.9% of games starting with 1.e4. White wins 25.2%, Black wins 15.6%, 59.2% draws. White winning percentage 54.8%

Games starting with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc5 3.Bb5 Nf6: 636 games, 11.3% of games starting with 1.e4. White wins 22.5%, Black wins 14.6%, 62.9% draws. White winning percentage 54.0%

So in cases where both players were rated 2600+, White's winning percentage after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc5 3.Bb5 Nf6 (54.5%) was only 1.5% less than all the games started with 1.e4 (56.0%). And in cases where both players were rated 2700+, White's winning percentage after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc5 3.Bb5 Nf6 (54.0%) was only 1.3% less than all the games started with 1.e4 (55.3%). I'll let everyone decide whether they think that a 1.3% to 1.5% decrease in White's winning % constitutes "an end to nothing less than the move 1.e4". And since in only 30.2% of Ruy Lopez games where both players were rated 2600+ and in only 36.7% of games where both players were rated 2700+ did the Black player choose the Berlin defense when they had the opportunity, I don’t think that Shirov's opinion was shared by these players.

May-22-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Boomie: <AylerKupp>

Note that the quote was by Sergey Shipov, not Alexey Shirov.

This has been a public service announcement.

May-22-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: Thank you <Boomie>. I stand corrected. And I don't know why I said Shirov and not Shipov.
May-22-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Boomie: <AylerKupp: I don't know why I said Shirov and not Shipov.>

Dyslexics untie!

You have nothing to chain but your losses!

Well, 'p' and 'r' are close enough to be switched.

May-22-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Boomie> Yes, but mere distance is no impediment to my messing up. :-(
May-22-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  cormier: Sergey Karjakinand the defending world champion, Norwegian Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, will meet in a battle of wits for the world chess crown in New York in November 2016.
Jun-24-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: The opening of this Chessgames Challenge (Anti-Berlin with 4.d3) is still very popular at the highest level. Here is a real masterpiece by Caruana.

Fabiano Caruana – Vladimir Kramnik

(Grand Chess Tour Rapid, Leuven 2016)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. O-O d6 6. c3 O-O 7. Nbd2 Ne7 8. d4 exd4 9. cxd4 Bb6 10. Re1 Bg4


click for larger view

12.a4

Arkadij Naiditsch: "A very modern and theoretic move, although it is hard to understand why exactly 12.a4 is such a good move."

Here, the World Team opted for 12.a3. This move was the subject of intense discussion.

Caruana vs Kramnik, 2016

Jun-26-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  cormier: <cro777> i think the B has a better position with 12.a3
Jun-28-16  yskid: < cro777: The opening of this Chessgames Challenge (Anti-Berlin with 4.d3) is still very popular at the highest level.>I noticed that also, and I'm little surprised how often Whites trade Bb5Xc6 without provocation(a6)< Here is a real masterpiece by Caruana.

Fabiano Caruana – Vladimir Kramnik

(Grand Chess Tour Rapid, Leuven 2016)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. O-O d6 6. c3 O-O 7. Nbd2 Ne7 8. d4 exd4 9. cxd4 Bb6 10. Re1 Bg4>11. h3 Bh5<

click for larger view

12.a4

Arkadij Naiditsch: "A very modern and theoretic move, although it is hard to understand why exactly 12.a4 is such a good move."> During our game I argued at some point (subsequent to 12.Qb3 I believe) that a4 helps Ra1 development and as such worked like a charm in Caruana-Kramnik game. Irrespectively what is the reasoning jury is still out regarding 12. a4. It should be noted that Caruana played it in "rapid" OTB and after 12...a6 13. Bf1 Nc6 offered pawn sac with 14.a5 giving Kramnik 5 choices : 14...Ba7 declining sac (what Kramnik Chose); ...Bxd4; ...Bxa5; ...Nxa5; ...Bxf3 15. Nxf3 Bxa5 the last seemingly favored by engines as per LiveBook on the server. Since smooth attack execution in a rapid OTB it is obvious that Caruana understood the position "inside out", however it is questionable if 14.a5 pawn sac offer would be played in the standard time control OTB or consultation/correspondence game.

Jul-03-16  MuzioFan: M Vachier-Lagrave vs Anand, 2016

Compare http://www.jepflast.com/chesstree/n..., where we considered <14..f6> as in Caruana vs A Giri, 2016 to be a more obvious choice.

Jul-30-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  cormier: here's a coor... game ... it may be of sme interest .... https://www.iccf.com/game?id=794200
Aug-02-16  yskid: <Jul-30-16
premium
member cormier: here's a coor... game ... it may be of sme interest .... https://www.iccf.com/game?id=794200>
This is first won game on ICCF 29 after many already drawn. I think this game is of interest for any KID - Mar Del Plata variation player. a4-b3-Ba3 plan is quite interesting. However, for the WTeam interest may be quite a challenge to give two pieces for the rook at move 24 expecting won endgame after further 20 moves. Even in the final position is IMO not very easy to prove forced win, what Black must have clarified prior to resigning. I ran Houdini inf. anal. just to depth 22 and evaluation was not "overly exuberant" for White and probably requires much deeper analysis to reach TBs. On the server is supplied Stockfish 7 anal. to d 19 with +1.25 only.
Mar-18-17  morfishine: <peterfritz> Any idea what happened to <DCGentle>?

*****

May-10-17  Bigfoot713: There's this very clever-looking pawn sacrifice 24...b5 when after 25.Bxb5 Bb6 (vacating f2 square for the rook in case of g5 and stuff like that), e5 doesn't obviously work and anything else that white does will mean king gets to blockade the pawn. But of course engines refute the sacrifice with the move Rd1 and taking back with the bishop means you just have a ridiculous pawn on b5. Still better than the game continuation because of the free f2 square.
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