index 2007
Letter #38 -  2007

Sub:    Berliner variation
Date:  12/02/2007 7:24:09 P.M. MST
From:  Richard Moody Jr.

Dear Chess Poster,

Ordinarily, one would expect theory done by the former Correspondence World Champion, Dr. Hans Berliner, and a very strong computer, Hitech, to produce reliable theory of superior quality. However, at a critical juncture, the World Champion missed two candidate moves, both of which are superior to theory. The opening in question arises from the main line of the 4.Ng5 variation of the Two Knights' Defense. This variation is the main line of BCO 2.

Here are the opening moves: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nd4 6.c3 b5 7.Bf1 Nxd5 8.Ne4 Qh4 9.Ng3 Bg4 10.f3 e4 11.cxd4 Bd6 12.Qe2 (The Muir Variation) 12...Be6? (According to Fritz 8, this is best. Only slightly better is 12...Bxg3ch 13.hxg3 Qxh1 14.Qxb5ch Bd7 15.Qxd5 +- theoretically and +/- between average GM's).

Book according to Fritz 8 at this point is 13.fxe4?? There are two better alternatives. If White had nothing better, then 13.Qf2 holding the piece is a developing move instead of a pawn move, but after 13...Nb4 14.Na3, Black has the grotty Berliner compensation.

What cooks Berliner's analysis and the analysis of Hitech is 13.Nc3!! Now Black is busted. This move gains at least 7!! tempos, because Black is trading a piece that has moved several times whose capture frees White's Queen Bishop, the Black Queen will be offside, and it will take Black forever to connect his Rooks. First of all, 13...Nb4 is not playable because 14.Kd1 is possible when 14...Bxg3 is no longer check i.e. 14...Bxg3 15.Qxb5ch/Qxb4+-.

Fritz 8 was required to analyze the position and report its findings. It gave this move sequence after 10 minutes of thought for each of Black's moves:13...Nxc3 14.dxc3 (Now White's ugly duckling becomes a beautiful swan) 14....Bxg3ch 15.hxg3 Qxh1 16.Qxb5ch Kf8 17.fxe4+- (White won easily by creating three connected passed pawns in the center of the board; Fritz 8 could find no defense).

First and foremost, the Berliner Variation is a gambit and should be treated like a gambit i.e. the defender should give back just enough material to squelch the attack and use positional plusses to bring home the point. In this position, White has a slight material edge of Bishop and two pawns for a Rook (and is guaranteed to pick up a third) and has a huge positional plus for the aforementioned reasons.

This, and other innovations in double King Pawn openings and especially in the Two Knights' Defense, will appear in a book the author has written called Magic. This will be advertised in the January issue of Chess Life. Among other innovations, the author presents a new opening system for Black called the Universal Attack that can used against any White opening.

The third part of the book is devoted to an odds game called Magic where the author gave a stronger computer 9 moves in a row at the start of the game and over an extra hour for each move and still won using unique opening and middlegame theories.

Richard Moody Jr.

Dear Mr. Richard Moody Jr.,

Thank you for your e-mail.

We know for sure that this very good information will be very useful to us and our viewers.

Best regards,

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