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Nigel Short vs Ivan Sokolov
Corus Group A (2005), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 8, Jan-23
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. l'Hermet Variation Berlin Wall Defense (C67)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Sokolov will be seeing this final pawn structure in his nightmares tonight.
Jan-23-05  fgh: Lol!!!
Jan-23-05  acirce: Is this what Tony Miles called the "Irish Pawn Center"?
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: LOL! <acirce> It's what the English call a queue.
Jan-23-05  azaris: <acirce> The expression comes from the games of Eamon Keogh, who remarked:

"You get an awful lot of open files in such positions!"

The key word here being "awful".

Jan-23-05  Champ Supernova: acirce, I think that the Irish pawn center(according to Miles) is tripled pawns on the a or h files.
Jan-23-05  yoozum: I second that. I don't care what result Short gets as long as he picks up some much-needed rating points in Corus, to compensate for his Olympiad disaster.
Jan-23-05  csmath: Actually, this is the best game of the day. Short played great game here, I don't think that Sokolov anticipated such a misery with the bishop pair that he eventually had to give up. Masterfull strangulation by Nigel. One more reason for me to hate Ruy Lopez with blacks.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: This is the kind of game that makes the exchange variation of the Ruy look like a forced win
Jan-24-05  TIMER: Sokolov's last move Re3 was hoping for g7?? Re8 mate!
Jun-12-06  acirce: Some selected Short's comments on this game in New In Chess 2005/2:

9.Nc3 <Here we are at the starting point of the Berlin proper. There are some strong 1.e4 players, fearful of the two bishops and fretful that the e-pawn has crossed a bridge too far, who believe that this position is equal. Nevertheless, Vladimir Kramnik, the world's greatest expert on this opening, informed me - perhaps it was in Bahrain - that White definitely has an edge. I concur with the sage's assessment, as I might add, does Michael Adams. Indeed, with better development, a superior pawn structure and Black's king awkwardly stuck in the centre, why should it not be so? The Black position is simply not that easy to handle, as Garry Kasparov - a man who has invested not a few hours in analysing the Berlin - discovered to his cost against Judit Polgar. Interestingly, Peter Leko - someone renowned for his excellent defensive technique - confided to me that he had also tried it with Black in a few training games, but with poor results. There are, of course, people who have subtle appreciations of the Berlin's nuances; Aleksey Aleksandrov and Zoltan Almasi spring to mind. However, it is certainly not everyone's cup of tea.>

It was interesting for me to learn that Leko had had problems with it. I wonder who these players are who consider the position equal. Personally I enjoy this as Black; I like to play without queens, your moves flow more or less naturally and there are certainly winning chances; but I have never tried it in a serious game longer than rapid.

11.Bf4 <A patzer move, devoid of sophistication. Look at this stupid bishop staring at his own pawn! On the other hand, it does connect the rooks very efficiently.>

I don't particularly like Short, but his self-depreciating humor is enjoyable.

15..b6 <Black might have preferred to accelerate his counterplay by 15..a5 but after 16.g4 Nh4 17.Nxh4 Bxh4 18.Nc5 Bd5 19.c4 Bxf3 20.Rd3!! the main line continues 20..Be2 21.Rd7 Bxf1 22.e6 Bd8 23.e7 Bxe7 24.Rxe7 Bh3 25.Rf7 Bg4 26.f3! Bxf3 (26..Bh3 27.Kh2!) 27.Rxc7+ Kd8 28.Ne6+ Ke8 29.Bd6 and mate follows next move.>

20.f5?! <This is not exactly an error, but had I not played so impulsively I would have found the simple 20.c4! hxg4 21.f5 Bd7 22.hxg4 with a dream position.>

23..a5?! <Ivan was scathing about this move afterwards, saying that he had to try 23..g6! to disturb the pawn structure. Indeed that would have forced me to find some good moves: 24.Ke3! (24.f6 Bc5! 25.Nxc5 bxc5 would make victory very unlikely) 24..gxf5 25.gxf5 Rh3 26.Rd3! Kb7 27.c4 and White is still firmly in control, although the open lines on the kingside offer some chances of escape.>

28.Re2! <Ivan had underestimated the strength of this consolidating retreat. Black's counterplay proves to be largely illusory; he is basically a pawn down on the one side that matters.>

The win is relatively straightforward from this point. He gives 28.e6 and 37.Rf7 exclamation points.

Jun-12-06  alicefujimori: <acirce>Very interesting annotation. Black definitely isn't doing too good in the position after 12.Rad1 lately.
Jun-12-06  euripides: <There are, of course, people who have subtle appreciations of the Berlin's nuances; Aleksey Aleksandrov and Zoltan Almasi spring to mind.> more power to Kramnik for getting such a good position in Kramnik vs Aleksandrov, 2006. I thought Aleksandrov just didn't really know how to play the line :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Very surprising, but Alexandrov has a lot of experience in this line:

Repertoire Explorer: Alexey Aleksandrov (black)

In the database, he played the Berlin in 41 out of 46 opportunities, and seems to have quite a good score.

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