Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

Fabiano Caruana vs Michael Adams
Dortmund Sparkassen (2014), Dortmund GER, rd 6, Jul-19
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. l'Hermet Variation Berlin Wall Defense (C67)  ·  1-0


Click Here to play Guess-the-Move
Given 4 times; par: 74 [what's this?]

explore this opening
find similar games 18 more Caruana/Adams games
PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: You can change the color of the light and dark squares by registering a free account then visiting your preferences page. Or, you can change it with the "SETTINGS" link in the lower right.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.


Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-19-14  DcGentle: <17... c6> would have failed due to <18. Nc7!> and if the king takes, Black's bishop falls and White's rook is in.
Jul-19-14  DcGentle: Well, whether this is already the last word on the Berlin, I doubt it. But one thing is for sure, White has the advantage. But this advantage is positional and not easy to realize. The Wall will remain challenging for a while.
Jul-19-14  Marmot PFL: <The center knight is quite powerful, but Black didn't chase it away. Maybe there is an issue.>

Black could also just trade with Bxd5. Then if cd b5 and black can get a passed pawn too, although it will be a weak pawn. White is slightly better anyway in several lines, and Caruana timed his break very well as well as playing almost mistake free before that.

Jul-19-14  DcGentle: Yes, Caruana's performance in this tournament is very convincing, and this is an understatement.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Isn't this the "Berlin wall" that everyone hates to see? Seems that new improvements are always just down the road.
Jul-19-14  csmath: 10. ...Be7

[Up to this move they were following their game from Dortmund 2013 that was won by Adams in a great display of positional chess. There Adams played 10. ...Kc8]

14. Be3N
[Natural new move in the position.]

20. ...a5?!
[Natural move in the position but more risky approach might have been warranted here: 20. ...Bg5 21. Bxg5 hxg5 22. Re2 f6! 23. e6 Rad8 24. h4 gxh4 25. f4 g5! 26. f5 with a balance and but also a chance to play for a win for both.]

click for larger view

21. Re1 Rad8
[21. ...Bg5 is met with 22. Kg3 since black lost a tempo with his 20th move]

22. Bg3!
[This now leads into exchange favorable for white who continues with his pawn majority play.]

From this point on White is better due to pawn majority. It is interesting how such a master like Adams allowed relatively basic advantage to his opponent. He is going to attempt active counterplay:

28. ...b5!?
29. b3

click for larger view

29. ...a3
30. Kd4 b4

[And thus counterplay produces possible preparation for ending.]

31. ...R6d7
[31. ...Bxd5?! 32. Rdxd5 Rxd5 33. Rxd5 Re8 34. Kf3 Re1 35. g5 looks risky and it does seem that white is simply faster.]

click for larger view

32. Rd2
[32. Re6 looks very dangerous for black but it is hard to see any concrete tactics but black can even respond with 33. ...Ba4 and then 34. ...c6 with rather wild game. Caruana is more inclined to play in classical manner.]

37. Ne7

click for larger view

[So far black has not made bigger errors yet he is fighting for a draw. Active rook is here of big importance.]

37. ...Bh1?

[Giving pawn away. 37. ...Bd7! 38. g6 Rf8 39. Rxc5? Re1! was probably overlooked and it is not easy to see indeed: 40. Re5? Rxe5 41. Kxe5 Re8 42. f6 gxf6 and now Kxf6 is not possible because rook on f1 would be lost after Rf8+]

38. g6! Rf6
39. Rxc5 Rd6

[Adams' game completely collapses here. 39. ...Rf8 40. Re5 Bc6 41. Ke3 (going after black pawns) Rd8 42. Nd5 is not better either and neither is 39. ...c6.]

42. ...Rxd5?
[Desperation or bad calculation. 42. ...Rf6 is better. 43. Rd7?? is not possible because of Rxg6 but 43. Ke3 Re1+ 44. Kd4 also looks rather hopeless for black. It was still the way to go making as much technical problems for Caruana as possible.]

43. cxd5 Kb6
44. f6!

[Decisive and clearly Caruana has calculated well.]

48. Rf5+

[Rg5 to follow leaving no doubt about the outcome.]


Berlin produces another great positional game, this time it is Caruana that exploited errors of Adams. Nice revenge for 2013 loss.

Jul-19-14  Everyone: <HeMateMe> I would even go so far as to say that <Everyone> hates the Berlin Wall evermore.
Jul-19-14  MountainMatt: I'm going with the idea that this game went the way it did not because of the Berlin Wall, but because Caruana is the better player. Nice job by the soon-to-be world #2!
Jul-19-14  mccraw: i think csmath deserves some love here (he seems to get little recognition for his efforts...). Maybe most of you are happy w/engine analysis & can "see" what he explains here. Maybe i'm old-fashioned, but for us average players, it's a great gift to get international-level analysis (in language!)of what went right/wrong in these terrific games! Thank you, csmath--may you long continue to blitz GMs into submission :-)
Jul-19-14  Ed Frank: Caruana's game are like engineering level chess studies. I don't understand everything he does but I do learn a lot from trying to.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: Congrats to Caruana, who playes with great strength these times. Although I have sympathies for the noble Anand, I'd rather see Caruana in the forthcoming match for the world championship. He has proved to be one of Carlsen's toughest opponents. And, btw, always happy to see the Berlin suffer.
Jul-19-14  Spingilegna: Thank you <csmath>. I subscribe <mccraw> post 1000%. In this web age everything seems to have little value, when everything is supposed to be available in the net, and for free. But I can't forget the times were chess science came with certain soviet-russian books: lots of variations, very few words, and in russian if any. Each (poor) game of ours was followed by the analysis of the players themselves, together with some other club mates. And not always we were gifted by the presence of the club's most talented players. So I do appreciate very much <csmath> effort, and I look for his comments after any of this kind of matches. They are very often cryptic to me, and engines evaluations cannot help at all. Thank you again. Cheers.
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: Adams fell right into Caruana's opening preparations. The novelty 14.Be3 is an idea of Caruana's trainer GM Vladimir Chuchelov. They analysed this move together a couple of months ago.

According to Caruana, after 20...a5?! the things went wrong for Black. 20...Rad8 comes into consideration. Chess engines suggest 20...f6.

After 37...Bh1? Black was lost. 37...Bd7 was necessary.


Premium Chessgames Member
  pilobolus: at move ...28 the black c5 pawn
became unprotected, Fabiano
works 11 moves to capture it...
Jul-20-14  Marmot PFL: <After 37...Bh1? Black was lost. 37...Bd7 was necessary.>

Maybe black was watching this game, where Bh1 also loses-

Naiditsch vs Ponomariov, 2014

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I think csmath's comments were very interesting and informative.
Jul-20-14  Ulhumbrus: If we assume that Black cannot blockade White's king side pawn majority by means of ...f6 this suggests either keeping back the g pawn (or attacking the g4 pawn) by ...h5 or keeping back the f pawn by ...g5 or both. Adams did not play either ...h5 or ...g5 in this game. One justification for ...h5 is that Black's white squared bishop has no opponent
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: <According to Caruana, after 20...a5?! the things went wrong for Black. 20...Rad8 comes into consideration. Chess engines suggest 20...f6.>

click for larger view

Critical position

In the diagram position, Black should have tried 20...Bg5!?, preparing some play against e5-pawn.

Noteworthy might also be 20...f6 - which, however, looks less logical.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <37. ...Bh1?

[Giving pawn away. 37. ...Bd7! 38. g6 Rf8 39. Rxc5? Re1! was probably overlooked and it is not easy to see indeed: 40. Re5? Rxe5 41. Kxe5 Re8 42. f6 gxf6 and now Kxf6 is not possible because rook on f1 would be lost after Rf8+] >

In his time pressure, Adams likely got attracted to the trap that would have come off in case of <41.Rxb4?>. Black then proceeds with <41... Rd4+ 42... Re4+> and collects the knight on e7.

Jul-20-14  ex0duz: <<"DcGentle: Well, whether this is already the last word on the Berlin, I doubt it. But one thing is for sure, <White has the advantage. But this advantage is positional and not easy to realize.> The Wall will remain challenging for a while.">>

Hasn't this always been the case though? Even a patzer like me can tell that white has SOME kind of long term positional advantage after the queen trade..

Like after 9.h3, White has the advantage in terms of development, space in the center, and his King being castled and having rooks connected as opposed to black. But like you said, it's not that easy to realize a bigger advantage from there.

I take it that 9.h3 is still the 'book' line? Is 9.h3 theoretically the best move in the position and everyone plays it? Or what other moves does white play here at move 8 if not 9.h3? The intention here is to always play for g4 afterwards, and also f4 to support the e5 pawn and realize the 4v3 pawn majority on the kingside, while hampering blacks queenside majority and slowing him down from connecting his rooks? Black always seems to go b6/c5 so he can get his king there right? Can white also do something like b3 and fianchetto his bishop himself or is it better to support the e5 pawn from the kingside and that's also why white plays h3, to give room to the bishop on the h2-b8 diagonal?

Does black ever bring his king to the kingside in any variations? Or is that too dangerous because i don't ever recall black playing the Berlin in such a way..?

Can someone tell me what the ideas are on the black side of the Berlin? To me it seems like it's just always slightly inferior. Can black play aggressively and perhaps fianchetto his bishop on the kingside and keep his king in the middle on e7/e6 perhaps? Or tuck his king back into f8/g8 after bringing the kingside rook out?

Sorry for the 20 questions but hopefully someone can shine some light on this opening for me since i've always thought that it was just bad(same wotj the Scandinavian). Boring someone to death in a 'dry' queenless endgame doesn't really seem to me to be a good strategy unless my name is Kramnik and my opponents name is Kasparov who is playing white.. hehe

Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: <ex0duz: White has SOME kind of long term positional advantage after the queen trade. Can someone tell me what the ideas are on the black side of the Berlin?>

Black's defences are very hard to break. Black's assets can simply be expressed as his possibilities of blockading and then playing against the white pawn majority.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Ne4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8 Kxd8

click for larger view

The initial position of the Berlin Wall.

The main contunuation here is 9.Nc3. Recently 9.h3 has gained a lot of popularity. In this line White is not rushing with Nc3. Caruana likes this move. Adams described it as follows: "The new fashion which enables White to advance his kingside pawns very rapidly in some variations."

After 9.h3 Black has many different plans. In this game Adams opted for a ...Bd7 system (Black intends to evacuate his King to the queenside) coupled with ...Be7 (with the idea to exchange a pair of knights with ...Nh4).

The Berlin Wall normally leads to a long strategic battle. A short introduction you can find here

Jul-21-14  ex0duz: @cro777 : Thanks mate, very informative. I don't really see the rush of 9.Nc3 either, 9.h3 seems like a good solid move while also allowing a fast kingside expansion like Adams said.
Jul-23-14  Ulhumbrus: < ex0duz:
Can someone tell me what the ideas are on the black side of the Berlin? >

Here are three ideas. To some extent Kramnik may have applied all of them in his match against Kasparov at London in 2000 when he won the world championship

1. Black has the bishop pair in return for his doubled pawn.

2. Black can gain the advantage if it comes to at least some endings because White has played e5 <instead of f5> and so weakened his white squares < instead of his black squares> - and it is the white squared bishop which White has parted with. This may enable Black to prevent White from making count White's king side pawn majority eg after ...h5

3. If White plays c4 to support Nd5, Black may be able to gain a queen side attack by means of the pawn attack ...b5

Jul-24-14  1d410: Like watching these old guys waltz around the edges of the board while the young generation takes command of the center and win.
Dec-10-14  Conrad93: Why didn't Adams stick with 10...Kc8?
Jump to page #    (enter # from 1 to 5)
search thread:   
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
NOTE: You need to pick a username and password to post a reply. Getting your account takes less than a minute, is totally anonymous, and 100% free—plus, it entitles you to features otherwise unavailable. Pick your username now and join the chessgames community!
If you already have an account, you should login now.
Please observe our posting guidelines:
  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, profane, raunchy, or disgusting language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate or nonsense posts.
  3. No malicious personal attacks, including cyber stalking, systematic antagonism, or gratuitous name-calling of any member Iincludinfgall Admin and Owners or any of their family, friends, associates, or business interests. If you think someone is an idiot, then provide evidence that their reasoning is invalid and/or idiotic, instead of just calling them an idiot. It's a subtle but important distinction, even in political discussions.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No malicious posting of or linking to personal, private, and/or negative information (aka "doxing" or "doxxing") about any member, (including all Admin and Owners) or any of their family, friends, associates, or business interests. This includes all media: text, images, video, audio, or otherwise. Such actions will result in severe sanctions for any violators.
  6. NO TROLLING. Admin and Owners know it when they see it, and sanctions for any trolls will be significant.
  7. Any off-topic posts which distract from the primary topic of discussion are subject to removal.
  8. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by Moderators is expressly prohibited.
  9. The use of "sock puppet" accounts in an attempt to undermine any side of a debate—or to create a false impression of consensus or support—is prohibited.
  10. All decisions with respect to deleting posts, and any subsequent discipline, are final, and occur at the sole discretion of the Moderators, Admin, and Owners.
  11. Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.
Blow the Whistle See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a Moderator.

NOTE: Keep all discussion on the topic of this page. This forum is for this specific game and nothing else. If you want to discuss chess in general, or this site, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors. All Moderator actions taken are at the sole discretion of the Admin and Owners—who will strive to act fairly and consistently at all times.

This game is type: CLASSICAL. Please report incorrect or missing information by submitting a correction slip to help us improve the quality of our content.

Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
Fabiano Caruana's best games
by shintaro go
Spanish, l'Hermet Var Berlin Wall Def (C67) 1-0 The last word?
from Instant Coffee Repertoire-1 by fredthebear
Spanish, l'Hermet Var Berlin Wall Def (C67) 1-0 The last word?
from A B C Players 21st Century by fredthebear
Instant Repertoire-1
Instant Repertoire-6
from Special Forcing Lines Collection by chess.master
Berlin Endgame
by Zhbugnoimt

home | about | login | logout | F.A.Q. | your profile | preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | new kibitzing | chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | privacy notice | contact us
Copyright 2001-2019, Chessgames Services LLC