It seems like almost everyone is playing the Berlin nowaday.
In Zurich it was one of the main openings of Carlsen, Aronian, Anand and Nakamura, 4 out of 6! However, after the opening Anand managed to reach a very comfortable advantage but after the logical but maybe premature 15.d4 move the game went into totally unclear areas where Nakamura just managed to hammer the Ex-World Champion away.
1.e4e5 2.Nf3Nc6 3.Bb5Nf6 4.d3 Sowe have an Anti-Berlin with 4.d3. If any of our readers know how to get any advantage in this opening, please don’t hesitate to contact us immediately! 🙂
4…Bc5 5.Bxc6 Strangely White has almost stopped trying
5.c3 or 5.0-0.
5…dxc6 6.h3 One of the main moves. Actually I have never been sure if it is really necessary to avoid Bg4…
6…Be6 Nakamura chooses quite an aggressive line, which I would actually not advice to play. [6…O-O followed by the usual Nd7-Re8-f6 looks very solid.]
7.Nc3 Qd6 Black is going for the long castle.
8.O-O O-O-O So we have reached quite a tricky position. It is clear that White will try to create some play on the queenside and Black on the kingside. White’s idea should also be to play Na4 somewhere to exchange the dark squared bishop.
9.a3!? Quite a tricky move by Anand. [9.Na4 of course didn’t work because of 9…Nxe4!]
9…Nh5?! is too direct. [A flexible move like 9…Kb8 could have been one of the options to go on. The king is better placed on b8 than on c8 anyway and White still doesn’t have Na4.]
10.Na4! It is very important for White to get rid of the black squared bishop.
10…Bb6 I am not sure why Nakamura decided to lose one more tempo. [It might have been better for Black to play 10…f6 11.Nxc5 Qxc5 12.Be3 Qd6 and White is probably a bit better because of the nice pawn structure, but nothing too dramatic has happened.]
11.Nxb6+axb612.a4! Another strong move by Anand. White is planing to play a5 and afterwards a6 to try and open the a-file.
12…f6 looks a bit slow, but Black probably didn’t have anything better.
13.Be3 [Why not immediately 13.a5 ]
13…Nf4 Now Black is threatening to play g5 next.
14.a5 b5 To open the a-file would of course be deadly for Black.
15.d4?! This move is quite a serious mistake as it gives Black a nice chance to complicate the game. [White should have played 15.a6! asking Black the big question whether to take on a6 or not. 15…b6 (15…bxa6 was not much better as after 16.Rxa6 g5 17.d4 the black king on c8 is in terrible shape and White is close to winning.) 16.d4c And we have a similar position as in the game, only a6 is included, which is very important because White has the very important a7 move in a lot of lines.]
15…Nxh3+! Nakamura is taking his chance! Black needs to take extreme measures! [After the slow 15…Bc4?! 16.Re1exd4
17.Nxd4 it is clear that White is much better.]
16.gxh3 Bxh3 So what to do now?!
17.dxe5 What else to do?! [17.a6 doesn’t bring anything here because of 17…bxa6!; And after 17.Re1 Black has the very strong 17…Bg4! with the idea of playing f5 next, with a very unclear position. (17…Qe6 18.Nh2 exd4 19.Bd2 would lead to a clear advantage for White.) 18.c3]
17…Qe6 18.Nd2 Protecting the g4 square and the queen.
18…Bxf1 19.Qxf1 Qxe5 The position has dramatically changed. Black has 2 pawns and a rook against a bishop and aknight. This time it is White who has to be in a hurry to create some direct play on the black king as otherwise Black will be more than fine.
20.c3 Protecting the b2 pawn and securing the Bd4 move, which is a logical decision. [20.a6 Once again White could have included 20…b6 but it would only lead to the position in the game.]
22.Qg2! A nice move by Anand. The queen is perfectly placed on g2. White always has the f4-e5 idea in mind and Qxg7 could also be a possible threat in some lines as well as to play Nf3-Nd4 next, even sacrificing the e4 pawn.
22…Rd6?! A very direct move with the threat of playing f5 next followed by Rg6. [22…Rhe8 with a very unclear position was probably a better option.]
23.Nf1? This is already a serious mistake. Such a passive move just can’t be right. [Much better was 23.Nb3 What can be more natural than to put the knight on d4? 23…f5 24.exf5 Qxf5 25.Nd4 Qg6 26.Bf4 White should be better here.]
23…f5! Now Black is on a roll.
24.exf5 Qxf5 25.Ng3 Qd7! The black queen is taking an excellent position on d7. The idea of Black is simple, to play h5-h4 followed by Rg6 and mate.
26.Qe4 It is really hard to find a plan against h5-h4 for White.
26…Ka7! Very cool and strong play. Black is securing his king’s position before starting the final attack.
27.Kg2 Anand probably wanted to bring his rook to h1-it is hard to give a better advice.
27…h5 28.Qf5 A very strange move. White starts to panic. [Following the idea was of course the right choice: 28.Rh1
28…Rd5! Black is of course better, but White is fighting.]
28…Qe8 There will be no exchange of queens!
29.Qe4 Qf7 The hide and seek game is over. White can’t attack the black queen any longer.
30.Kh1 This move loses but the position was probably already lost anyway. [30.Qf5 30…Rf6 is winning for Black.]
30…h4 Chasing the knight from g3.
31.Ne2 Re8 All black pieces are joining the attack.
32.Qg4 Another problem of White is that even after the exchange of queens Black’s position would still remain much better.
32…Rg6 33.Qh3 This move gives Nakamura the chance to finish the game with a beautiful tactic:
34…Rxe3! A nice final blow!
35.fxe3 Qd2 White can’t defend the e2 knight in a normal way.
36.Qf1 Rf6 White resigned because of 37.Qg2 h3! All in all a fighting game, but White could surely have done much better.