The Most Solid Chess Opening: Berlin Defense | Best Opening Moves, Strategies, Traps & Ideas
Let’s check out the Chess Opening that most Grandmasters are playing nowadays. Even the great Magnus Carlsen plays this opening quite frequently.
In today's chess video, I'm going to share
with you some super cool opening strategies,
Traps and ideas in the Berlin Defense, which
is quite a popular opening at the grandmaster
We start with the moves e4, e5, Knight f3,
Knight c6 and Bishop b5.
This is the famous Ruy Lopez opening or the
The idea here for white is to indirectly attack
this pawn, by threatening this knight, which
is defending it.
From here, black has a lot of different options.
As you can see below, the most natural move
is a6, attacking this Bishop.
But one of the best defenses for black played
at the Grandmaster level is Knight f6.
This is what we call the Berlin defence.
If you look at the games of Magnus Carlsen,
you will find that this line is played quite
regularly by him both as black and white.
It was actually Vladimir Kramnik who sort
of revived this opening in the year 2000 against
Garry Kasparov in the world chess championship.
Nowadays, you will find all the top Grandmasters
playing this opening quite frequently.
So what is it that is so attractive about
For starters, it's a very solid opening.
It is one of the best defenses for black against
the king's pawn opening.
And if we talk about white, this opening gives
him the option to decide how he wants to proceed.
He can go for a sharp line to force a win
or he can opt for a drawish kind of a game
by exchanging queens quite early.
So white can play his moves accordingly.
Okay, so let's see what options white has
in this position.
Three of the most popular moves are castling,
pawn d3 and knight c3.
If you are thinking about bishop c6, well
that's not quite useful because after pawn
takes, knight takes, black can simply play
queen d4 to regain his pawn with tempo and
black ends up in a better position.
Going back, Moves like knight c3 and pawn
d3 look quite natural because you defend this
pawn from being captured by this knight.
If you go for knight c3, you transpose into
the four knights game which has a lot of different
variations where both sides slowly activate
their pieces and launch a systematic attack.
This is something we can cover in a separate
Anyway, in this video, the 2 main lines I
want to focus on start with either pawn to
d3 or the short castle.
These are the 2 most popular moves & cover
more than 80% of the games played at the top
Both these moves have their own purpose.
The move d3 solidifies the position to enter
into a game full of tactical motives and ideas,
whereas the castling move leads to a line
where queens are exchanged and we soon enter
into more of a theoretical middlegame.
Let's first see what happens when white castles.
This pawn is undefended so black takes.
Now There is a sneaky little trap here.
Let me show it to you.
We play rook e1, attacking the knight.
Knight goes back to d6 attacking the bishop.
Now we won't save the bishop instead we take
the pawn on e5.
If black tries to be greedy and takes your
bishop, then knight takes on c6, it's a discovered
check to the king and this black queen is
Going back, in this position, instead of rook
e1, a better move to play before that is d4
because it puts pressure on this center pawn,
which is guarding the king along this semi
If pawn takes, then rook e1 and soon white
will be in a very attacking position.
Therefore, from here, we see knight d6 attacking
Bishop takes knight, pawn takes bishop, pawn
takes pawn and the knight moves away.
Queen takes queen and king takes queen.
This is one of the main lines of the open
variation, which is also called the Berlin
As you can see, this becomes a very theoretical
game with not many tactical ideas on the board.
White has an advantage of this passed pawn
which can materialise in the endgame.
Also, Black's king is stuck in the middle,
which white can exploit with the help of his
These doubled pawns also are not such a good
thing as far as black is concerned.
If we talk about the positives for black,
he has a bishop pair which could be quite
useful in such an open game.
Even though white has a slight advantage,
it's quite difficult for either side to win
If you are someone who is good at playing
endgames or if you want to avoid any complicated
tactical combinations in the middlegame, then
this is a solid opening you can go for.
The major ideas for both sides are highlighted
This could also be a good weapon if you are
just looking to draw a game against a higher
Okay, now let's look at another variation
which is in total contrast to the Berlin wall
White straightaway plays d3 defending this
Black can also play d6, but then this bishop
is trapped inside so the logical move is to
take out this bishop first.
C5 looks a good square for the bishop eyeing
down the Kingside.
From here, you could have a few different
One of them could be pawn to c3, preparing
to push d4, then black castles, white castles
and then finally, black plays d6 supporting
This is like your normal setup of the Ruy
Lopez with a lot of tactical possibilities.
Going back, Another interesting line from
this position could be bishop takes on c6,
D takes on c6 and here comes a trap for Black.
If white is not careful and he takes this
pawn, then after queen d4, black is threatening
a checkmate and also attacking this knight.
Ultimately, white is down a full piece, which
is completely winning for black.
Anyway, instead of taking the pawn, white
should continue with normal development moves
and again we have a regular setup of the king's
pawn game where both sides can slowly build
up an attack and force a result.
Like all openings, the Berlin Defence also
favours white a little, but still black has
ample opportunities to equalize and even win
Okay so it's puzzle time.
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Okay, so here's a Chess puzzle for you all.
It is White's turn and you need to find the
best Move continuation for white.
Do share your answers in the comments section
If you liked this, then you should watch this
video as well, in which I have covered all
the basics about the Sicilian defense opening.
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Thanks for watching and see you in the next