Caruana Fires Qe2 at the Berlin Wall!

I give Fabiano Caruana

https://www.insidethegames.biz/media/image/101955/o/Fabiano%20Caruana.jpg

full credit for trying something considered different against the dreaded Berlin defense,

https://www.elkandruby.com/gallery_gen/0620cff1024d68fc93e0d44f28f0cec1_960x1520.jpg

especially when the move was previously played by none other than Bobby Fischer!

In an article at Chess24, Superbet Chess Classic 5: Shakh attack!, by Colin McGourty, one finds: “The other games in Round 5 of the Superbet Chess Classic were all drawn, with Fabiano Caruana’s 8.Qe2!? against the Berlin Defence the only one that’s likely to be remembered.”

“Anish Giri

https://www.buddhichal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/11029509_10153614542891675_8630450749912991276_o-768x511.jpg

had in the previous round explained that his Chessable course on the Sicilian Dragon had come about through some desperate brainstorming over how to win on demand with the black pieces in the Candidates Tournament.”

Whoa! Let us stop right there in the middle of a well written paragraph by Mr. McGourty for some editorial comment. Anish Giri playing the Dragon?! ‘Back in the day’ it was said that books about the Dragon variation were, “written in disappearing ink” because the theory was rapidly changing. Isn’t “Giri” and “win on demand” with either color, but especially black, oxymoronic? Over at the ChessBomb this was found at the “chat” during the second round games:

bobp55: Done – 3 draws today so far. So that’s 8 for 8 in the tourney.
lentil: Amish Girl will always find the draw.
GiriWillFindTheDraw: of course he will (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-grand-chess-tour-romania/02-Giri_Anish-Radjabov_Teimour)

Like it or not Mr. Giri has the reputation of being his generations Master of the Draw. The only thing Anish can do to eradicate the reputation is win the World Championship, as did a previous Grandmaster with a reputation as a drawing master, Tigran Petrosian.

https://www.elkandruby.com/gallery_gen/dfae8ee5a0ff679a9f1c36815af55406_932x1412.jpg

Unfortunately, putting up the Berlin wall will do nothing to eradicate his reputation and the drawmeister.

We return to the paragraph by Colin: “Perhaps some similar logic had gone into a way to surprise someone in that most solid of all variations, the Berlin Defence. Just when queens were about to leave the board for the infamous ending, Fabi veered off course with 8.Qe2!?, a move almost 30 times less popular.”

The game can be found at Chess24, and a plethora of other websites on the web, so I will present other games to complement the Chess24 article. First we will begin with a picture of Bobby Fischer playing Neikirkh, at Portorož 1958, posted by Douglas Griffin @dgriffinchess at Twitter:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E3cJEo1WQAcgYb7?format=jpg&name=small

Fischer, Robert James vs Neikirkh, Oleg
Event: Portoroz Interzonal
Site: Portoroz Date: ??/??/1958
Round: 1
ECO: C67 Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence, open variation

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.O-O Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qe2 Nd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.Nc3 Bg4 11.Qe3 Qxe3 12.Bxe3 Bb4 13.Ne4 Bf5 14.c3 Bxe4 15.cxb4 a5 16.bxa5 Rxa5 ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=2541935

Qe2 can and has been played on the fifth move:

Nepomniachtchi, Ian (2792) vs Radjabov, Teimour (2765)
Event: FTX Crypto Cup KO 2021
Site: chess24.com INT Date: 05/30/2021
Round: 3.12
ECO: C67 Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence, open variation

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.O-O Nxe4 5.Qe2 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.Qxe5+ Qe7 8.Qa5 Qd8 9.Qe5+ Qe7 10.Qa5 Qd8 11.Qe5+ ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=4287585

Although played with much less time for the game at the Crypto (Didn’t that stuff kill Superman?) Cup, it would have fit right in at the Superbet what with the “New Rule” in place at this tournament:

To promote competitive play during all GCT events, it will not be permitted for players to offer or agree to a draw in any game of a 2021 GCT event, including playoff games. In the event of a claim for a draw under Article 9.2 of the Laws (three-fold repetition) or under Article 9.3 of the Laws (50 move rule), one of the Event Arbiters must be asked by the players to verify the claim.

As Mr. Mr. McGourty wrote earlier:

“That doesn’t stop draws by 3-fold repetition of the position, however, which is how all the games were drawn in Round 2.”

Giri is not the only Grandmaster who will find a way…

Here is another game, a real rarity, played with Oe2 on the fifth move:

Naiditsch, Arkadij (2727) vs Akopian, Vladimir (2681)
Event: World Teams 2013
Site: Antalya TUR Date: 12/02/2013
Round: 6.3
ECO: C67 Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence, open variation

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.O-O Nxe4 5.Qe2 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.Qxe5+ Qe7 8.Qa5 Qd8 9.Qc3 Be6 10.Re1 Qd7 11.Ng5 O-O-O 12.Nxe6 fxe6 13.d3 Be7 14.Nd2 Bf6 15.Qb3 Nf5 16.Ne4 Be7 17.Bd2 Qd5 18.Bc3 Rhe8 19.Re2 b5 20.Ng3 Nxg3 21.hxg3 Bf6 22.Bxf6 gxf6 23.Qc3 e5 24.a4 a6 25.axb5 axb5 26.Ra7 Kd7 27.Qa5 Rc8 28.Re4 Re7 29.Qd2 Rg8 30.c4 Qd6 31.Rh4 e4 32.cxb5 cxb5 33.Qa5 Rg5 34.dxe4 Rc5 35.Kh2 Qd3 36.Qe1 Rc2 37.Ra1 Qe2 38.Qb4 Qxf2 39.Qxb5+ c6 40.Qb7+ Ke6 41.Qc8+ Kd6 42.e5+ Kxe5 43.Rh5+ f5 44.Ra5+ Ke4 45.Rh4+ Ke3 46.Ra3+ Ke2 47.Qa6+ Ke1 48.Ra1+ Kd2 49.Qa5+ 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=3875034

Here is a game located at the ChessBaseDataBase, which is an even more rare event in the Berlin world, a win with black!

N. Illijan (2290) vs D. Sifrer (2240)

SLO chT 1993

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qe2 Nd4 9. Nxd4 Qxd4 10. h3 Be6 11. Rd1 Qc4 12. Rd3 Be7 13. b3 Qh4 14. Bg2 Bg5 15. Rd4 g4 16. Ba3 Rd8 17. Rxd8+ Bxd8 18. hxg4 h5 19. g5 Rg8 20. Bc1 Bxg5 21. Nd2 Bf4 22. Qf3 Bd5 23. Ne4 Bxe4 24. Qxf4 Rxg2+ 25. Kf1 Rg1+ 0-1
    https://database2.chessbase.com/

Now a couple of games found only after a trip in the Wayback time machine:

Mr Peabody's Wayback Machine | NastyZ28.com

Mackenzie, George Henry vs Riemann, Fritz
Event: DSB-04.Kongress
Site: Hamburg Date: ??/??/1885
Round: 4
ECO: C65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d4 Nxe4 5.O-O Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qe2 Nd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.c3 Qh4 11.Be3 Be6 12.Nd2 Be7 13.f4 Bf5 14.Nf3 Qh5 15.Qf2 O-O 16.h3 Qg6 17.Kh2 h5 18.Rad1 Rfd8 19.Bd4 Rd7 20.Rde1 Rd5 21.c4 Rdd8 22.b3 b6 23.e6 fxe6 24.Ne5 Qe8 25.g4 hxg4 26.hxg4 Bxg4 27.Rh1 Bf6 28.Nxg4 Bxd4 29.Qc2 Qh5+ 30.Kg3 Qf5 31.Qe2 Rd6 32.Rh5 Qxh5 33.Nf6+ Bxf6 34.Qxh5 Rad8 35.c5 Rd2 36.Re2 R2d3+ 37.Kg2 R3d5 38.Qg4 Rxc5 39.Qxe6+ Kf8 40.Kf3 Rh5 41.Qxc6 Rh3+ 42.Kg4 Rh4+ 43.Kf5 Rh5+ 44.Kg4 Rh4+ ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=2693274

Mackenzie, George Henry vs Berger, Johann Nepomuk
Event: DSB-04.Kongress
Site: Hamburg Date: ??/??/1885
Round: 6 Score: ½-½
ECO: C65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d4 Nxe4 5.Qe2 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.O-O Nd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.Kh1 Be7 11.Nc3 Be6 12.Rd1 Qc4 13.Qe1 Rd8 14.Be3 O-O 15.b3 Qa6 16.Rxd8 Rxd8 17.Ne2 Bf5 18.c4 Qa3 19.Nd4 Bg6 20.f4 Bc5 21.Qf2 Bxd4 22.Bxd4 Bf5 23.h3 b6 24.Re1 Qa5 25.Rc1 Qa3 26.Be3 Qe7 27.g4 Be4+ 28.Kh2 c5 29.Re1 Bb7 30.Bc1 Rd3 31.Be3 h6 32.Qg3 Qd7 33.f5 Qc6 34.Qf2 Qf3 35.Qxf3 Bxf3 36.Bf4 Rd7 37.Kg3 Bb7 38.h4 Rd3+ 39.Be3 Kf8 40.Kf4 g6 41.e6 Ke7 42.exf7 Kxf7 43.g5 h5 44.Ke5 gxf5 45.Kxf5 Rd6 46.Kf4 Bc8 47.Rf1 Kg6 48.Kg3 Bf5 49.Bf4 Rd3+ 50.Kf2 Rd4 ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=2693289

https://worldchesshof.org/hof-inductee/george-henry-mackenzie

Is Magnus Carlsen Infected With The Trumpitis Virus?

I have spent an inordinate amount of time reading several articles concerning the “postponement” of the 2020 Candidates Chess tournament, and every reply. The articles, Carlsen, Dvorkovich & Kramnik on ending the Candidates (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/carlsen-dvorkovich-kramnik-on-ending-the-candidates), and Azerbaijan National Team Writes Open Letter Regarding Radjabov, Candidates (https://www.chess.com/news/view/azerbaijan-team-open-letter-fide-radjabov), resonated deeply. In addition, an excellent article at Chessbase, Cancelled: When the war put a stop to top chess events (https://en.chessbase.com/post/cancelled-when-the-war-cut-top-events-short) was read, but does not figure into this post. It does, though, give some perspective on the situation in which Chess languishes.

Magnus Carlsen

https://cdn.chess24.com/Npdpj-ZGRImCRhHCxUpzFQ/original/magnus-carlsen-live.jpg

is the World Chess Co-Champion of Classical Chess, by his own admission. Magnus was unable to win even one classical game in the last match for the the World Human Chess Championship with Fabiano Caruana.

https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/imageserve/1073923720/960x0.jpg?cropX1=0&cropX2=4928&cropY1=41&cropY2=2813

https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrissmith/2019/08/16/fabiano-caruana-americas-top-chess-star-on-the-need-for-corporate-sponsors-and-a-potential-championship-rematch-with-magnus-carlsen/#7b3accfa268d

He was able to beat Sergey Karjakin

IMG_4080_by Maria Emelianova.JPG

only once in the previous match. He did, though, also lose one game. Magnus is considered World Human Chess Champion only because he happens to be better at playing ‘hurry up and get it over’ Chess.

Mr. Carlsen is proof positive that Chess does not make one “smart.” From the Chess24 article:

Carlsen on Kramnik (and Lawrence’s) suggestion to give Radjabov a 2022 wild card

“This is just my opinion. I think if he had wanted to play the tournament he would have played it.”

Lawrence: You think he didn’t want to play it, not related to the crisis?

“I think it’s partly but not fully. That is just my opinion. I think he was very happy to win the World Cup but he didn’t particularly fancy playing the Candidates, which I can understand. It’s an ordeal, and he had a rough time the last time [in the 2013 London Candidates Radjabov lost 7 games and finished last, 2 points behind the next player]. Obviously the corona situation gave his already I would think pre-existing opinion that he didn’t particularly want to play a lot of substance, that now he had a legitimate reason not to play. I’m not saying that his reason was not legitimate, I’m just saying that all the other guys did play and I’m sure they had concerns as well. That is just my take.

You can see that with Maxime, for instance. He stepped in on short notice and he’s not been one of the guys who’s complained at all about the situation. He’s just happy to be there, he wants to play and all of that stuff about it being a difficult situation and so on – yeah, of course it’s a difficult situation, of course it’s not the best atmosphere for a chess tournament, but you chose to be there, and so if you choose to be there then you play, you do your job and you have to trust the authorities there to make the decisions – FIDE, the Russian government and so on. As long as they feel that it’s safe to hold the tournament then you’re holding it.

Obviously the situation we have now is not ideal, but I think giving Radjabov the wild card for 2022 – that I would find just ridiculous. You could make the case that he should actually play in this one now that it’s been postponed and the situation is different. I don’t feel that way, I don’t know the law, I don’t know what is supposed to happen there, but to me it doesn’t feel justified that he should play even if it resumes, but I would understand it. But 2022… no!”

Evidently the World Co-Chess Champ of Classical Chess is a mind reader. Mr. Carlsen mentions a bad tournament by Mr. Radjabov SEVEN YEARS AGO! AS we go through life we change. An example would be the article, How your personality changes as you age, in which we find, “Our personalities were long thought to be fixed by the time we reach our 30s, but the latest research suggests they change throughout our lives.” (https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200313-how-your-personality-changes-as-you-age)

Teimour Radjabov

https://images.chesscomfiles.com/uploads/v1/news/598444.62c19464.668x375o.1aa2bd887956.jpeg

https://www.chess.com/news/view/teimour-radjabov-interview-fide-candidates-chess

is a different person than he was in 2013. Could it be that Magnus, after playing over the recent games of Mr. Radjabov would prefer to NOT have to face Mr. Radjabov? Magnus Carlsen is twenty nine years of age and in Chess terms getting a little long in the tooth.

Consider this reply by KoustavChatterjee1:

“It’s amazing how arrogant some chess players are. They still say that Rajdabov withdrawing was because he was afraid of playing in the Candidates, even though there’s so much evidence to the contrary (him hiring seconds, the amount of prep etc).

Rajdabov is completely validated in his decision to withdraw from the event, as health and safety matters way more than chess. The players who went and played, didn’t do anything brave. They were just thinking about their careers and acting as professionals. Rajdabov sacrificed one of the best opportunities of his career for the greater good.

This thread is a perfect example as to how playing chess doesn’t correlate with being generally smart – proven by the World champ, and multiple people who commented here – who don’t realize that a tournament (no matter how important) is not worth the potential risks that a deadly pandemic entails.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/carlsen-dvorkovich-kramnik-on-ending-the-candidates)

Then there is this from BabarBouzouardo:

“Carlsen speaking of Radjabov: “That is just my opinion. I think he was very happy to win the World Cup, but he didn’t particularly fancy playing the Candidates, which I can understand. It’s an ordeal, and he had a rough time the last time [in the 2013 London Candidates Radjabov lost 7 games and finished last, 2 points behind the next player]. Obviously the corona situation gave his already I would think pre-existing opinion that he didn’t particularly want to play a lot of substance, that now he had a legitimate reason not to play.” … Bravo chess genius, you figured out everything about all subjects! Indeed you are a genius …! At first, Carlsen looked polite, respectful and rather kind. It was the time when, as a teenager, he was accompanied to chess tournaments by his father. He then gradually became a young man and his father was no longer in the picture; at this point you could see a change in his character. He became more and more provocative, aggressive. Now that he has become world champion and is on the threshold of the 30 year age group, he clearly got a swollen head/ego and he has become an arrogant character full of himself. Is Carlsen infected with the Trumpitis virus? … Or, is he just a chess genius and simply an idiot? … Carlsen can now, disrespect competitors and fart higher than his ass as long as he is champion and get away with it, and with no consequences! But even the great Kasparov had to give way to a younger player by the age of 37 and even retire at 40! …. So what could an idiotic Carlen do, he who has not learned a thing, or known something, about reality and life. Once his chess lights will dim out, what will he do and how will he live in society? … I guess in contempt and bitterness!” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/carlsen-dvorkovich-kramnik-on-ending-the-candidates)

I have been amazed at some of the things heard and read. WAKE UP PEOPLE! COVID-19 is not simply going to blow away with the wind. Things will most definitely NOT return to normal, whatever your interpretation of what is ‘normal’. For example:

Scientists warn we may need to live with social distancing for a year or more

Researchers say we face a horrible choice: practice social distancing for months or a year, or let hundreds of thousands die.
By Brian Resnick@B_resnickbrian@vox.com Mar 17, 2020, 12:00pm EDT
https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2020/3/17/21181694/coronavirus-covid-19-lockdowns-end-how-long-months-years

Or this:

“Americans need to prepare for the possibility of COVID-19 coming back as a seasonal illness,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a White House press briefing on Wednesday.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said there have been cases in Africa and the Southern Hemisphere, which is approaching colder seasons.

“If they have a substantial outbreak, it will be inevitable that we’ll get a cycle around the second time,” he said.”

Read more here: https://www.sacbee.com/news/coronavirus/article241513906.html#storylink=cpy

People in the Chess world need to understand that, in the immortal words of Bob Dylan:

In a fight between life and death Chess becomes irrelevant.

https://m.media-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BNTkyMjg0NmItOTIzMS00YzVjLTkzZDQtNTQ0M2Y5OTdkMDkyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDc2NTEzMw@@._V1_.jpg

Good Old Friends and the Buddy-Buddy Draw at the Moscow Grand Prix

Although I have intentionally not followed the ongoing Moscow Grand Prix event my old friend the legendary Georgia Ironman has followed it because it did begin with a couple of games of what is now called “classical” Chess before devolving into what is called “rapid Chess” before devolving further into “speed” Chess. Frankly, I could care less about which player is best at faster time controls. The only thing that matters is who is best at a classical time control. Say what you will about Magnus Carlsen but the fact is that he could not beat either Sergey Karjakin or Fabiano Caruana at classical Chess, something to keep in mind when talking about the best Chess player of all time.

In an article at Chessbase by Antonio Pereira recently, dated 5/18/2019, it is written: “Ian Nepomniachtchi, Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Radek Wojtaszek won with the white pieces at the start of the FIDE Grand Prix in Moscow, which means Levon Aronian, Wesley So and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov will need to push for a win on Saturday if they want to survive the first round. Three match-ups ended with quick draws, while Peter Svidler and Anish Giri accepted the draws offered by Nikita Vitiugov and Daniil Dubov in games that could have easily kept going.”

The article continues:

“Better than losing and worse than winning”

“A lot of criticism followed the 2011 Candidates Tournament in Kazan, in which the knock-out format led to some players openly using a safe-first strategy by signing quick draws in the classical games and putting all on the line in the tie-breaks. In order to discourage the players from using this strategy, the organizers are awarding an extra point in the Grand Prix overall standings for those who eliminate their opponents needing only two games. In the first game of the opening round in Moscow, four out of eight encounters ended peacefully after no more than 23 moves.”

The so-called “strategy” of the organizers had absolutely no effect on the players who continue to agree to short draws with impunity whenever and wherever they want, regardless of what organizers or fans want to see from them. Are the players aware their “inaction” is killing the Royal game? Do they care?

Exhibit one:

Teimour Radjabov (AZE)

vs Hikaru Nakamura (USA)

Moscow Grand Prix 2019 round 01

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 e6 4. c4 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 dxc4 7. Qc2 b5 8. a4 b4 9. Nbd2 Bb7 10. Nxc4 c5 11. dxc5 Be4 12. Qd1 ½-½

Sergey Karjakin (RUS) – Alexander Grischuk (RUS)

Moscow Grand Prix 2019 round 01

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. a4 Bd6 7. a5 O-O 8. Be2 e5 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. O-O Bc7 12. Qb3 Nc6 13. a6 bxa6 14. Qa4 ½-½

The article continues:

“It must be added that Nikita Vitiugov had what seemed like a considerable advantage against Peter Svidler when he surprisingly offered a draw.

Both contenders are part of the Mednyi Vsadnik team from Saint Petersburg, which won the last two editions of the Russian Team Championship and are the current European champions. Vitiugov has also worked for Svidler as a second more than once. The long-time friends talked about how unfortunate it was for them to be paired up immediately in round one, although Svidler confessed that, “[he] somehow had a feeling that [they] would play at least one [match], and particularly in Moscow”.


Good old friends from Saint Petersburg | Photo: World Chess

“Regarding the position shown in the diagram, Peter recounted how he was thinking about 18.f4 being a move that would leave him worse on the board. So, when the move was accompanied by a draw offer, he thought, “yeah, that’s a good deal!” And the point was split then and there.

To accept the draw was a good match strategy? Peter wittily added:

“As for match strategy, I envy people who have strategies of any kind. I don’t have any. I thought I was worse and then I was offered a draw, so I took it.”
https://en.chessbase.com/post/moscow-grand-prix-2019-r1-d1


http://www.espn.com/espnw/news-commentary/slideshow/13596920/13-major-showdowns-serena-venus-williams

The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, have had to play each other many times during their storied tennis careers, and each and every time there has been a winner because offering a draw is not in the tennis rule book. What is it doing in the Chess rule book?

Chess organizers better wake up because Chess is in a battle with the game of Go and if the trend continues, like the Highlander, there will be only one left standing.