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Wesley So vs Francisco Vallejo Pons
"So Now You Know" (game of the day Jun-09-2014)
Capablanca Memorial (Elite) (2014), Havana CUB, rd 2, May-09
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. Berlin Wall J. Rogers Line (C67)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  SugarDom: 22. Nd6!!
May-10-14  1d410: I refuse to accept that the Berlin Wall is bad. I claim that black fuddled up the endgame.
Premium Chessgames Member
  luzhin: At the end, if 42...Re7 43.Rd7+ is a winning K+P ending.
May-10-14  john barleycorn: Has somebody an explanation for the last moves?

39. Rd2 Rf7 40. Rd1 Rf8 41. Rd2 Rf7 42. e6

Time was no problem, as far as I remember. Why not 40.e6 instead of 40.Rd1? Psychology?

May-10-14  dunamisvpm: 33...Nxe5 creates a passed pawn for white. Black predicament is confounded by his King separated by white rook on the Q side. Super GM So simplifies everything by exchanging the remaining minor pieces! Who knows, GM So might win this event! GOD bless!
Premium Chessgames Member
  SugarDom: Taking down the Berlin wall.
May-10-14  torrefan: <1d410: I refuse to accept that the Berlin Wall is bad. I claim that black fuddled up the endgame.>

I say that what happened to the Berlin Wall here is exactly what happened here:

May-10-14  john barleycorn: New opening classification:

Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. Berlin Wall Kenny Rogers Roasters Line

May-10-14  Chris321: <1d410: I refuse to accept that the Berlin Wall is bad. I claim that black fuddled up the endgame.>I havn't had time to play through the game yet,but i agree with you that the Berlin is not a failure.Im not a 1... e5 player,i'm a Sicilian boy,well that's what i feel more comfortable with,but if i have to reply to the Ruy Lopez,i will go Berlin.
May-10-14  Chris321: But what is this Rodgers line,Why not playing what Carlsen or Anand play when they are scaling the walls of the Berlin @Hitler? ;)
Premium Chessgames Member
  iking: Ruy Lopez
-Berlin Defense, Berlin Wall J. Rogers Line
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 Bd7
Premium Chessgames Member
  iking: maybe, Paco was awed by Carlsen's use of it ... he did not know that Wesley have studied well that defensive line ... J Smeets vs Carlsen, 2011

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Ne4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bc6 dc6 7. de5 Nf5 8. Qd8 Kd8 9. Nc3 Bd7 10. h3 b6 11. b3 Kc8 12. Bb2 h5 13. g3 Be7 14. Rad1 a5 15. a4 Re8 16. Rd3 c5 17. Nd5 c4 18. Rc3 Bc5 19. Kh2 Bc6 20. bc4 Ba4 21. Ra1 Bc6 22. Rf1 a4 23. Ba3 Ra5 24. g4 hg4 25. hg4 Ne7 26. Nb4 Bb7 27. Kg3 Ng6 28. Re1 Bf3 29. Rf3 Re5 30. Rd1 Re4 31. Rf7 Rg4 32. Kg4 Ne5 33. Kg3 Nf7 ... white resigns


Premium Chessgames Member
  iking: or Paco was awed by Kramnik's win in this game ....


May-10-14  Strelets: <john barleycorn> Does that make Wesley So the Gambler?
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: "In terms of chess opening theory, what is noticeable is that both Caruana against Carlsen and So were fully capable of accepting the battle against the Berlin Wall in the opening. There was a time that players were so in awe of the Berlin defence, with memories that in 2000 Kramnik did not lose a single game as Black in his opening against Kasparov." (IM Colin Crouch, Crouchnotes)

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 Bd7

click for larger view

This is Wall J. Rogers Line, Kramnik's speciality. Carlsen also used to play this line. Black intends to put his king on c8.

10. b3 <Preferred by Kasparov> Kc8 11. Bb2 b6 12. Rad1 h6 13. h3

click for larger view

The same position has arisen in the first game of the Kasparov - Kramnik World Championship Match (2000).

Here, Vallejo-Pons opted for 13...a5 followed by ...Ne7. Kramnik played 13...Ne7 straightaway which is the main line.

Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: The critical postion has arisen after 34.fxe5

click for larger view

34...h4? This was the key mistake (the correct move was 34...f4 followed by Rg5). Wesley is now winning but, as we know, "the hardest part of chess is winning a won game" (Frank Marshall). Wesley's play is very instructive on how to convert a winning position against strong opposition.

"I was not using the chess engines, but at far as I could see, it was an extremely smooth win throughout. Indeed, it looked like one of Capablanca's wonderfully clear wins, and this was of course in the Capablanca Memorial ... The endgame was thoroughly symmetrical throughout, with White's pawns at one stage being on a4,b3,c4, and on f4, plus a pawn on h3. His opponent's pawns were almost totally symmetrical, the only difference being that Black has a pawn on h5. This one aspect of slight asymmetry meant that in some lines, White could perhaps manoeuvre his king to h4, infiltrating with his kingside. There was also a bishop of opposite colour on either side, plus a rook and knight. Drawish? Not a bit of it! Each of White's pieces were slightly more active, to such an extent that it was looking clear that Black was already in severe danger." (IM Colin Crouch in his notes)

May-10-14  Chris321: Good post by cro!,informative!
May-10-14  Chris321: iking too
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: 16. ... c5 (while not a "blunder") looks like a basic error allowing weaknesses in the Black pawn structure,which White exploits nicely.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: But White seems to have a fairly clear advantage on move 16. Mind you I don't understand the theory of the Berlin very well. It is usually solid. I saw a big book on it once but decided it was too much like hard work. Clearly So has taken the more active approach, being slightly higher rated than me...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Hmm, maybe c5 was o.k. as it gave Black more "room" and then if he had played 21. ... Rd8 it seems a bit more balanced.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: The pun is based on two meanings of the word so.
Jun-09-14  morfishine: <offramp> What pun?
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Was the winner any relation to the two tailors: Mr. So & So?

White will exchange rooks and win with the h-pawn.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: I would have taken a draw on move 25, thinking that there is no way to proceed for White to get an advantage.

I guess I should think again!

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