THE CLASSICAL DEFENCE IS OFTEN SEEN ARISING OUT OF THE BERLIN DEFENCE. I am not sure how many times I have advocated my readers to concentrate on K-pawn openings, answering 1. P-K4 by ..P-K4 or in algebraic 1. e4 e5. In fact, this varied defensive system is gaining popularity over other choices which lead to games forcing attack-defense motifs on a normal run of strategic planning for both sides. The pile of openings and variations to choose from within those are enormous and gives the budding player ever greater insight into the realm of chasing down the Kings.
White: GM Topalov vs. Black: GM Leko
Opening: Ruy Lopez featuring the Classical Defence *
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Bc5*
This is probably the best way to reach the Classical variation of the Berlin Defense because 3. … Bc5 is strongly met by 4. c3 Nf6 (4….f5!? is sharp) 5. d4 Bb6 6. Qe2 e:d4 7. e5. Another way to go is 6. N:e5 N:e5 7. d:e5 N:e4 8. Qg4. White can also try the tricky fork line that goes 5. N:e5 N:e5 6. d4 which is complex and leads to a different type game plan. I prefer keeping pieces on the board in hopes of creating more tension and imbalance opportunity arising from the opening.
5. c3 O-O 6. d4 Bb6 7. Bg5 h6 8. Bh4.
The exchange 8. B:f6 Q:f6 9. B:c6 Q:c6 10. N:e5 Q:e4 11. Nd2 Qf5 12. Nec4 d5 13. N:b6 a:b6 14. Re1 Qg6 and I like Black here.
8. … d6 9. Qd3 Bd7 10. Nbd2 a6 11. Bc4!?
An idea like 11. Ba4 seems too passive because of 11. … N:d4 hitting the center. 12. B:d7 and Black can go …N:f3+ 13. Q:f3 Q:d7 14. B:f6 g:f6 15. Q:f6 Qe6. With Bc4, White keeps an eye on f7 and fairly good play on the diagonal white squares.
11… e:d4 12. c:d4 g5 13. N:g5 h:g5 14. B:g5 Kg7!!
Well played as White may have been hoping to spring a trap idea 14….B:d4? 15. e5 B:e5 16. Qg6+ Kh8 l17. Qh6+ Kg8 18. Ne4! The purpose of Kg7 comes clear as now the Nc6-e7 will lend defense to the Kingside while the King defends N on f6. But what a position! White has created an imbalance of two pawns for the Knight and a busted open King position too boot.
15. Nb3 Ne7 16. B:f6+
Going for an all out attack. Interesting is increasing square count by 16. e5 and avoiding immediate piece captures. 16. … Nh7 17. Bh4 f6 18. e6!?
16. … K:f6 17. f4 Be6! 18. Kh1 B:c4 19. Q:c4 Kg7 20. f5 f6
Maybe in the nick of time. Perhaps 18. Kh1 removing the King off that diagonal gives Leko time to build a defensive bloc for his King. Such is the wages of war! Like with the need to defend the d-pawn by Nb3 which takes the Knight away from the action, the dislocation of just one unit or tempo lost can effect the final phase of a game rather well played by both.
21. Rf3 Rb8 22. Rg3+ Kf8 23. Qe6 Ng8.
Now 24. e5 d:e5 25. d:e5 Qe7 seems great for Black by offering to exchange Queens.
24. Re1 Qe8 25. Qc4 Qf7 26. Qc3 Re8
Black has accomplished a bridge protecting his King.
27. Rg4 Qh5 28. Qg3 Ne7 29. h3?
Hoping to entice Black allowing him to open up lines to the King. Necessary is 29. Rf1 as he overlooks the pin. The pin is mightier than the sword! With careful play, the pawn goes in the box.
29. … N:f5! 30. Qf4 Rg8 31. R:g8+ K:g8 32. Rf1 Ng7 33. Q:f6 R:e4 34, Kh2 Qe8 35. Qg5 c6 36. Qg3 Qe6 37. Nd2 R:d4 38. Nf3 Rd5 39. Re1 Qf7 40. Qg4 Bd8 41. Qc8 Qc7 42. Q:c7 B:c7 43. Re7 Bb6 44. g4 Rb5 45. b3 Kf8 46. Rd7 Ne6 47. Nh4 Ke8 48. Rb7 Nf8 White topples his King in resignation. (0-1).
And a bowling rep called chess a boring old man’s game!! That is often the image of folks who know nothing about how to play chess. The game, like bowling, to be good requires practice, study of the elements, and determination to succeed at something you enjoy.