The Berlin variation of the Spanish is one of the most popular openings among world class players. After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 Black can play a completely sound opening based mainly on understanding rather than memorizing theory. Many opening books make this claim, but the scarcity of forcing lines in the Berlin mean that in this case it is true. The trick is to gain the requisite understanding, and this is where John Cox's eloquent prose comes into its own. After reading his explanations it will be clear why this robust opening has gained the nickname The Berlin Wall.
Part one of the book is all about understanding the Berlin both in terms of pawn structure and piece play. After a Positional Introduction Cox examines all possible Berlin Defence endgames - pawn endings, knight endings, bishop endings, knight v bishop endings and various endings with rooks and minor pieces. He uses examples from games to ilustrate the dos and don'ts of these endgames for both sides. Chapter 3 takes a look at the positional and tactical themes arising from the Berlin, again with example game fragments from Grandmaster play.
Part two examines the theory of the Berlin Defence including systems with ..Ne7; ..Be7; and ..Bd7; for Black as well as White's early deviations such as 4.d3, 4.d4, and 4.Qe2. Cox offers an objective, detailed and well-researched overview of our current knowledge of the Berlin Defence.
John Cox is a lawyer and International Master from London. He is an experienced author whose previous books have received high praise. The current book is extremely well written, highly readable and clearly was a labour of love for the author.
Published 2008, softback, 328 pages.View sample pages (pdf)