The King Pawn Ruy Lopez Berlin Variation has been very popular in recent years. After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Ne4 5.d4 there is a fork in the road. Almost everyone follows the path 5…Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8. The road not taken is 5…Be7. This bishop move appears only about 15% of the time.
What is Black’s idea with the 5…Be7 move?
1. It develops a new piece.
2. It protects the king against an open e-file.
3. It prepares Black to castle kingside.
4. It keeps the queens on the board.
The disadvantage after 6.Qe2 Nd6 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.dxe5 Nb7 is that Black’s knight has been temporarily fianchettoed to b7. It takes more time to get rearranged and untangled. After 9.Nc3 0-0 10.Re1 Nc5 11.Be3 Ne6, theory favors White slightly. 12.Rad1 is close to equal. It looks like either 12.Nd4 or 12.Qc4 are better.
In my Ruy Lopez game against “bjewe”, I focused on the e-file. Gradually White picked off all of Black’s kingside pawns for an endgame win.
My Chess Training Repertoire this Thursday covers the Ruy Lopez. Sign up if you want to receive my weekly training repertoire by email.
Sawyer (2226) - bjewe (1631), ICC 20 20 u Internet Chess Club, 31.10.1999 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Be7 [Normal is 5…Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8=] 6.Qe2 Nd6 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.dxe5 Nb7 [8...Nf5 9.Qe4 g6 10.b3+/=] 9.Nc3 0-0 10.Re1 [10.Nd4 Bc5 11.Qd3=] 10...Nc5 11.Be3 Ba6 [11...Ne6 12.Rad1=] 12.Qd2 Rb8 13.b3 f6 [13...Ne6 14.Nd4+/=] 14.exf6 Rxf6 15.Bg5 Re6 16.Rxe6 Nxe6 17.Bxe7 Qxe7 18.Re1 Rb4 19.Ne5 Bc8 20.Ne4 Rd4 21.Qe3 c5 22.Nf3 Rb4 23.Nxc5 Qxc5 24.Qxc5 Nxc5 25.Re8+ Kf7 26.Rxc8 Rb7 27.Ne5+ Ke7 28.Nd3 [28.g3+/-] 28...Nxd3 29.cxd3 d5 30.Kf1 Kf6 31.Ke2 Ke5 32.Ke3 Kd6 33.Rd8+ Kc5? [33...Ke6 34.Rh8+/-] 34.Rd7 Kc6 35.Rxg7 Kc5 36.Rxh7 d4+ 37.Kd2 [37.Ke4+-] 37...Kb6 38.Re7 c5 39.Rxb7+ Kxb7 40.h4 Kb6 41.h5 Kb5 42.h6 Kb4 43.h7 Black resigns 1-0
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