Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing
Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense (C65)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6

Number of games in database: 5858
Years covered: 1840 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 35.7%
   Black wins 24.0%
   Draws 40.2%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Fabiano Caruana  95 games
Viswanathan Anand  81 games
Magnus Carlsen  65 games
Levon Aronian  79 games
Vladimir Kramnik  70 games
Wesley So  69 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Steinitz vs Chigorin, 1892
Capablanca vs O Bernstein, 1911
Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858
Marshall vs Lasker, 1907
Anderssen vs Steinitz, 1866
Blackburne vs M Weiss, 1889
<< previous chapter next chapter >>

 page 1 of 235; games 1-25 of 5,858 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. von der Lasa vs W Hanstein 0-1331840BerlinC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
2. Mayet vs Harrwitz 0-1221847Berlin mC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
3. Bird vs C F Smith  1-0201850Casual gameC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
4. NN vs Morphy 0-1241850Casual gameC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
5. Mohishunder vs Cochrane 0-1351850Calcutta mC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
6. Bird vs C F Smith  1-0351850Casual gameC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
7. Wallenrath vs C Jaenisch ½-½541850St. PetersburgC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
8. H Kennedy vs Szen 0-1301851LondonC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
9. Loewenthal vs Anderssen 0-1301851LondonC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
10. Bird vs Anderssen 1-0441851LondonC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
11. Nijmegen vs Gouda  1-0501851correspondenceC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
12. Mayet vs Anderssen 1-0531851BerlinC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
13. Loewenthal vs E Williams 1-0601851Loewenthal - WilliamsC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
14. Bird vs Horwitz 1-0591851LondonC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
15. Szen vs Horwitz 1-0381851LondonC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
16. J Trelawny vs R Brien  0-1431851Provincial tC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
17. E Williams vs Staunton 0-1611851LondonC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
18. Bird vs Horwitz 1-0291851Bird - HorwitzC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
19. C Jaenisch vs Staunton 0-1421851Jaenisch - StauntonC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
20. Staunton vs von der Lasa ½-½691853Staunton - von der Lasa Casual SeriesC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
21. Staunton vs von der Lasa 0-1271853Staunton - von der Lasa Casual SeriesC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
22. Loewenthal vs Harrwitz 1-0591853Harrwitz - Loewenthal mC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
23. Zytogorski vs R Brien  0-1271855Kling's Coffee HouseC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
24. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  ½-½411855CalcuttaC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
25. Bird vs Anderssen 1-0381857LondonC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
 page 1 of 235; games 1-25 of 5,858 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day : Ruy Lopez,Berlin Defense 1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 ♘c6 3.♗b5 ♘f6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: The Ruy Lopez is strong, but not unbreakable.

Same for the Petroff

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day

Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 ♘c6 3.♗b5 ♘f6

click for larger view

May-28-13  dvpjal: Visit


Sep-25-13  Kikoman:

<Opening of the Day>

Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6

click for larger view

Dec-01-13  solskytz: I have a very basic question, as a totally non-opening-expert:

If black wants to play ...Nf6 early, isn't it more flexible for him to play 3...a6 first? And then on 4. Ba4, ...Nf6?

Doesn't this give him more options? Or is there something basic here that I'm missing?

Flexible because after 3...a6 and 4. Ba4, he can always break the pin if he wants, by playing ...b5 anytime he sees fit.

Explanation please! :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <solskytz> One reason is that Black cannot go for the Berlin set-up if White plays the Exchange Variaion with 4.Bxc6.

This goes back to one of the basic themes of the Ruy Lopez, the vulnerability of Black's e-pawn. Consider these two sequences:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.0-0 Nf6 6.Nxe5

click for larger view

Since Black dare not play 6...Nxe4 7.Re1 as the open e-file will be deadly, he has simply lost a pawn.

Now look at this sequence:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.Bxc6 dxc6

click for larger view

Since White hasn't castled he doesn't have the Re1 idea ready, so if he plays 5.Nxe5 Black can safely play the standard counter 5...Qd4 regaining the pawn. If White tries to get back to the previous line with 5.0-0, Black has time for 5...Bd6.

Essentially, in these lines 3...a6 just wastes a move.

Dec-02-13  solskytz: Dear <Phony Benoni>

Thank you very much for taking the time to explain this, and with diagrams.

Maybe I should have been a bit more precise in my question... I'm a 2000+ player, and of course I'm familiar with the exchange variation and this early play on winning or not winning the e pawn (Nc3 on the 5th move also threatens to win it, but is no longer popular after the 2nd world war).

So I will now be more specific, and hopefully you would still be able to help.

It is true, that 3...a6 takes the risk, that white will play the exchange variation. However, the vast majority of Ruy Lopez players don't go for the exchange variation, which has many resources for black, and in which, much like the Berlin itself, the two bishops often tell in the Q-less middle game, and black goes like "Good luck exploiting that K-side pawn majority".

So the precision of my question would now be - let's suppose that white ISN'T going to play 4. Bxc6, but would make the usual retreat to a4.

Under these circumstances, does the Berlin gain in power and flexibility for black by merit of including ...a6, Ba4? Or does it not?

Dec-02-13  Calar: <solskytz> It usually doesn't, since in many Berlin line Black gains time by attacking White Bishop on b5 with Nf6-Nxe4-Nd6 maneuver. With inclusion of a6 and Ba4, White could simply ignore Black's Nd6 and continue with his plans. Some examples are:

3...Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 (White must parry Nxb5 threat) dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 : famous Berlin Wall line

3...Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.Re1 Nd6 6.Bf1 (or even Bd3; but again White spends a tempo to parry Black's threat)

<So the precision of my question would now be - let's suppose that white ISN'T going to play 4. Bxc6, but would make the usual retreat to a4.> Then it's not Berlin defence anymore. 3...a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 is considered main line of Ruy Lopez and is different system than Berlin defence (defined by 3...Nf6).

To conclude, Nf6 is good and playable both with or without inclusion of a6 and Ba4; it just leads to different type of positions between these two lines.

Dec-02-13  solskytz: Oh, <Calar> - I guess that this is the kind of answer I was waiting for! I kind of suspected that this had to do with an attack on the Bb5, but missed the precise details...

I'll get home, prepare a cup of tea and go carefully over the variations you prepared, and finally learn something of value :-)

I'm sure that <Phony>, if he saw my second post earlier, would answer along similar lines, pretty much, so thanks to you as well :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <solskytz> If you're rated 2000+, I was wasting both of our time trying to answer your question!

I'm very glad that <calar was able to furnish a more appropriate response.

Dec-02-13  RookFile: In the standard line, after 3....Nf6, 4. Nc3 is a perfectly playable move, transposing the game into a 4 Knights Game. I would not be suprised if we didn't see more players opting to play that way.
Dec-02-13  micartouse: <RookFile: I would not be surprised if we didn't see more players opting to play that way.>

I would. :) Just kidding, I agree completely with what you meant to say. 4 Knights has all the qualities of a typical opening that gets revived. It's only a matter of time.

I'm a very weak player to throw in a point with you guys, but I've noticed the inclusion of ...a6 and ...b5 isn't all roses for black. It has both plusses and minuses. No doubt it's inclusion makes an improvement tactically in the development of the variations regardless of whether black was intending to set up with ...Bc5, ...Nf6, or ...d6. But positionally, it is slightly loose and committal.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <Rookfile> As a matter fact Ivanchuk and Nakamura did just that in a recent World Team Championship:

Ivanchuk vs Nakamura, 2013

The game was a hard-fought draw (though I suppose Carlsen would have kept playing on the final position.)

Dec-02-13  solskytz: <Phony Benoni> Definitely not! Even if you are rated way below 2000, you may still know more about certain aspects of chess than I do.
Dec-02-13  solskytz: <Rookfile> I liked this idea :-) Never crossed my mind actually...

I once beat a 2100 player (when I was below 1900 myself) with a game that started from the Berlin, 4. 0-0 Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dc and now 7. Nxe5, instead of the more customary 7. ed.

As I didn't know the theory, my idea was simply to get my Q to f3, play c3 and enjoy a space advantage on the K-side. I still think that this variation has potential.

Eventually in that game, I played a very successful sacrifice of my Ne5 on c6, capturing a second time with my Q (from f3), where it netted me his queen after some more complications. It felt amazing!

Apr-23-14  Garech: Does anyone know where the Berlin Defence got its name?


Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: The first game at the top of this page is clue.
Apr-23-14  RedShield: Does anyone know where the Panama hat got its name?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: It was a Panama Hat that killed Morphy's dad.
Nov-04-14  Tigranny: Starting to like and use this opening more than my typical French, particularly in the Berlin Wall variation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <RedShield: Does anyone know where the Panama hat got its name?>

Yes. Tom Miller does.

Dec-31-16  Ron: After 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6, I have been looking into 4. Qe2.

Based on the games in the database, 4. Qe2 seems to me just as good as other 4th moves for White.

I set up that opening in Stockfish 7. Here are some experimental games. Black's moves are entirely Stockfish. White's moves are a combination of Stockfish and mine.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. Qe2 a6 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. O‑O Bd6 7. d4 Bg4 8. Nbd2 O‑O 9. dxe5 Bxe5 10. Rd1 Qc8 11. h3 Bh5 12. Re1 Re8 13. Qd3 Bf4 14. Nc4 Bxc1 15. Raxc1 Rd8 16. Qb3 Bxf3 17. Qxf3 Qe6 18. b3 Qe7 19. Qc3 Re8 20. f3 Nh5 21. Qe3 Qf6 22. e5 Qh4 23. Rcd1 Nf4 24. Rd4 g5 25. Kh2 Red8 26. Re4 Nd5 27. Qg1 Nf4 28. e6 fxe6 29. Qf1 Qh6 30. g3 Ng6 31. Rxe6 Qg7 32. Qf2 Qf7 33. R6e4 Rf8 34. Kg2 Rad8 35. Ne5 Nxe5 36. Rxe5 Qg6 37. g4 Rfe8 38. h4 gxh4 39. Qxh4 h6 40. R1e2 Rf8 41. Re6 Qf7 42. Qf2 Qf4 43. Qg3 Qxg3+ 44. Kxg3 Kg7 45. Re7+ Rf7 46. R2e6 Rd6 47. f4 Rxe6 48. Rxe6 Rf6 49. Re7+ Rf7 50. Rxf7+ Kxf7 51. b4 c5 52. bxc5 b5 53. a3 Kg6 54. Kh4 c6 55. f5+ Kf7 56. Kh5 Kg7 57. f6+ Kxf6 58. Kxh6 Ke6 59. g5 Kd5 60. g6 Kxc5 61. g7 Kc4 62. g8=Q+ Kc3 63. Qb3+ Kd4 64. Qd3+ Kc5 65. Kg6 a5 66. Kf6 b4 67. Ke5 bxa3 68. Qxa3+ Kb5 69. Kd6 a4 70. Qc5+ Ka6 71. Kxc6 a3 72. Qxa3#

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. Qe2 a6 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. O‑O Bd6 7. h3 O‑O 8. d3 Qe7 9. Bg5 h6 10. Bh4 Bd7 11. Nbd2 b5 12. c3 c5 13. Rfe1 g5 14. Bg3 Nh5 15. Bh2 Nf4 16. Bxf4 gxf4 17. d4 Rfe8 18. Rad1 cxd4 19. cxd4 f6 20. d5 Kh7 21. Nh4 Rg8 22. Kh1 a5 23. Rc1 Bc5 24. Nf5 Qf8 25. Rc2 Bb6 26. Rec1 Rd8 27. Qh5 Rg5 28. Qh4 Be8 29. Nf3 Rxf5 30. exf5 Rxd5 31. Nd2 Rd4 32. f3 Qd6 33. Qe1 Kg7 34. Ne4 Qd7 35. g4 a4 36. h4 Qf7 37. a3 Bd7 38. Qe2 Qf8 39. Rc3 Kh8 40. Qc2 h5 41. Qg2 Rd5 42. Kh2 Be3 43. Rxc7 Bxc1 44. Rxc1 Qf7 45. Rc7 Rd4 46. Rb7 Qg8 47. g5 Bxf5 48. gxf6 Qxg2+ 49. Kxg2 Rxe4 50. Rb8+ Kh7 51. fxe4 Bxe4+ 52. Kf2 Kg6 53. Rxb5 Kxf6 54. b4 axb3 55. a4 Kf5 56. a5 Bc6 57. Rxb3 e4 58. a6 Kg4 59. a7 e3+ 60. Kf1 Kxh4 61. Rb6 Bd5 62. Ke2 Kg4 63. Rg6+ Kh4 64. Rd6 Bb7 65. Rb6 Bd5 66. Rb5 Bh1 67. Rb8 Kg3 68. a8=Q Bxa8 69. Rxa8 Kg4 70. Rg8+ Kf5 71. Kf3 h4 72. Rg2 h3 73. Rh2 Ke5 74. Rxh3 e2 75. Kxe2 Ke4 76. Rh4 Kf5 77. Kf3 Ke6 78. Rxf4 Ke5 79. Re4+ Kd6 80. Rd4+ Kc5 81. Ke4 Kc6 82. Rd5 Kc7 83. Ke5 Kc6 84. Ke6 Kc7 85. Rc5+ Kb6 86. Kd6 Kb7 87. Rb5+ Ka6 88. Kc6 Ka7 89. Ra5+ Kb8 90. Ra6 Kc8 91. Ra8#

Jan-01-17  Ron: After 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. Qe2, the most popular move is 4. ... Bc5

Opening Explorer

and that move does seem best for Black. Better than 4. ... a6 like in the two games I posted above. I've put the position after 4... Bc5 into Stockfish 7 and the games have been mostly draws.

Still, I think 4. Qe2 is no worse than the other lines against the Berlin.

Sep-24-23  VerySeriousExpert: There was a Game 3 of the World Chess Championship Match between Lei Tingjie and Ju Wenjun ( T Lei vs W Ju, 2023 ), where the World Champion has played a system 4...Bc5 5.c3 0-0 6.Bg5 d6 7.Nbd2 a6. Yury V. Bukayev doesn't like this system for Black. Here are his analytical comments after Game 3 and Game 5: . Thus, he has written there about Game 3:
"In Game 3 I recommend the way 8.Ba4! AN with the continuation 9.Qe2!, 10.0-0-0! (the same is also good after 8.Bc4!? AN), analogously to my old analytical research ( ), instead of her way 8.Bxc6 bxc6 9.d4".
Jump to page #    (enter # from 1 to 4)
search thread:   
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

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: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific opening only. To discuss chess or this site in general, 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 ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | 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 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC