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Old 09-17-2015, 09:28 PM   #1
PyramidScheme
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Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

OK so hear me out for a second. My main idea for doing this would be to pick the latest possible Black move that is "necessary" in the line and declare said move to be illegal for Black whenever that exact position appears on the board (regardless of hot it was reached)

If Black were to play this move, White could (and should) call Black for making an "illegal move" just as if Black left the King in check.

I feel this slight tweak would go a long way to closing what seems to be an exposes loophole in chess. How accepting would players be of this? Do posters here think it's a good idea?
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Old 09-17-2015, 09:32 PM   #2
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

If it's that big of a problem, why does white ever play into it?
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Old 09-17-2015, 09:34 PM   #3
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

They are doing so less. But "not playing into it", might require White players abandoning 1. P-K4 all together.
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Old 09-17-2015, 10:54 PM   #4
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

If this policy is adopted, FIDE should wait until the next time Kramnik plays the Berlin and have the tournament director announce "Mr. Kramnik, tear down this wall." At which point he has to take back his suddenly illegal last move and play something else.
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Old 09-18-2015, 01:35 AM   #5
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

I'm half trolling and half serious with this post. Can anyone seriously argue this opening is good for chess? I know banning openings might be a slippery slope, but maybe banning a few super drawish ones is a reasonable compromise to going full on Chess960
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Old 09-18-2015, 01:03 PM   #6
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

Do you think that among high level GMs, black can virtually force a draw against 1 e4? Because black would normally want to do that aside from specific situations in a tournament where the player with black needs a win. But afaik 1 e4 is still commonly played, and frequently black doesn't play the Berlin or even 1 ... e5. If this drawing weapon was so reliable, I'd expect 1... e5 almost exclusively (between two relatively evenly matched GMs where black would generally be happy with a draw). Either white has other good options after 1 e4 than "playing into the Berlin", or the Berlin Wall while drawish still gives white some winning chances, or GMs with black aren't being logical in their opening choices when they opt for anything else.
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Old 09-18-2015, 01:24 PM   #7
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

What percentage (X) of elite games (defined as both players being rated above threshold Y) are drawn in current professional play, when the Berlin is played?

What values of X and Y would be necessary to justify banning it? If 80% of games between 2700+ opponents are drawn, is that enough for a ban? Does it have to be 90%, or is it only 70%? Should we look at games between lower rated opponents as well, perhaps it's more bannable if it's just as drawing among 2500s? Where are those thresholds?

If, after deciding what thresholds you support, and researching whether the Berlin (or any other "drawish" opening surpasses them in modern play), then and only then can we start discussing the absurd logistics that would have to go into actually banning a specific opening...
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Old 09-18-2015, 02:15 PM   #8
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

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What percentage (X) of elite games (defined as both players being rated above threshold Y) are drawn in current professional play, when the Berlin is played?
About three-quarters in online CB's sample of 34.
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Old 09-18-2015, 02:35 PM   #9
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

Part of the reason it's so popular is because playing like this is considered to be White's best chance to get an advantage. If the top White players didn't think they had an edge, in the Berlin ending, they would try the Scotch or Italian and try to find something against the lines that are currently thought to equalize there. So don't blame Black for playing a drawish line, it is White who is forcing Black to follow a very narrow path to near-equality.
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Old 09-18-2015, 02:57 PM   #10
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

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If the top White players didn't think they had an edge, in the Berlin ending, they would try the Scotch or Italian...
Or of course the other ways of handling the Berlin, 4. d3 or 5. Re1 avoiding the endgame. For example MVL-Sargissian from this tournament, the position after move 9 is quite popular and probably thought to be "equal" given the symmetric pawn structure and both sides' lack of weaknesses, but there's a lot of scope for either side to play for a win http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1801396

Or something else that doesn't have a good reputation at the moment. Or they can deviate on move 1...

I think it's only certain specialists who have the knowledge and technique to draw these as Black 4 times out of 5. Just being 2700+ isn't good enough. Look at this game from Wei Yi-Ding Liren which is topical this week and features a very pretty combination by Wei Yi: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1792112
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Old 09-18-2015, 06:59 PM   #11
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

There are other factors to take into consideration besides the straight draw rate or "blaming White" for going into it to. I'm not "blaming" either side, I just think it's bad for the game that there exists a way to force a trade of all the pieces in a very common P-K4, P-K4 line. If it was in closed game I wouldn't care nearly as much. We will never know how often players are playing other lines (perhaps even more closed lines) to avoid this variation. That is the problem to me.

Yes it doesn't work all the time, yes some White players think they might be able to win that endgame but that's just so bad from a spectator standpoint.

Frankly I wish we'd switch to Chess960 for all tournaments 2200+ it would user in a new era of chess romanticism and exciting miniatures DAILY but it will never happen :/ Computer has ruined the game.
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Old 09-18-2015, 07:59 PM   #12
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

I think the whole thing with thinking the Berlin is super boring and awful for chess is very exaggerated.

If it was banned, the players should protest by playing a whole tournament of nothing but the Exchange Variation of the French and Slav.

Quote:
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[...]
P-K4, P-K4
[...]
Off topic, but descriptive notation should be banned.
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Old 09-18-2015, 08:40 PM   #13
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

Why do you want to restrict Black, the side that has a disadvantage at the start already? It's White who should be prohibited from castling at move 4 if you want the Berlin to be banned with no significant damage to either side's winrate.

However, I should stop blaming top level players for entering the endgame early after I exchanged queens at move 11 in one of my best games (ironically, I did it against the Staunton Gambit, where the endgame usually doesn't come early; stay tuned, I'll post it in BBV anyway when it's finished). Endgames can be colourful sometimes.

Last edited by coon74; 09-18-2015 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:16 PM   #14
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

I don't know much about chess but banning a defense seems really dumb.
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:33 PM   #15
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

I agree. I don't even care if it's a good thing to do from a pure entertainment standpoint. It's idiotic. This is chess, not checkers. If we wanted to optimize for entertainment we could ban everything but the Sicilian and KID and Moscow and Chigorin and Winawer and Hillbilly Attack and Dumbass Gambit and all the openings like that and force players to do that Eastern European dance jig where you kick out alternating legs in a sort of crouching position instead of hitting the clock in order to start their opponent's time because zomg entertainment lol but that's not chess.

And if FIDE pulls something like this -- okay, WHEN FIDE pulls something like this -- everyone should boycott and Rex Sinquefeld should start the official chess organization that matters.
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Old 09-19-2015, 12:11 AM   #16
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

blahhh above attitudes are why chess can't move with the times. It's like soccer fans defending how wonderful every game ending 1-0 is. I'm a huge fan of chess myself, and a decent player but I try to not let those "but it's been that way my whole life" feelings effect my attitude. How is it only me that thinks that these games are getting ridiculous.
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Old 09-19-2015, 01:18 AM   #17
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

Chess has had plenty of rule changes in the past. But how do you honestly ban a defense that comes from a series of otherwise legal moves? That just seems crazy.

Why does it bother you so much and why does it make you think chess can't "change with the times"?
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Old 09-19-2015, 10:46 AM   #18
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

Quote:
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blahhh above attitudes are why chess can't move with the times. It's like soccer fans defending how wonderful every game ending 1-0 is. I'm a huge fan of chess myself, and a decent player but I try to not let those "but it's been that way my whole life" feelings effect my attitude. How is it only me that thinks that these games are getting ridiculous.
You can convince me under extreme circumstances -- like everyone starts with the same six moves in half the games after a quantum ion baryonic supercomp discovers dry equality in like 90% of openings. But I don't think the Berlin prevalence is at that extreme point yet. It really has to be a lethal, paradigm-shifting sort of trend.

I'm not a stodge. Chess can change. The formats. The time controls. The tertiary rules like the 50-move whatever. But I think when we're talking about legislating what you can do with the pieces, that's a bit much. Sophia Rules are a good example of a change that improved the entertainment value of chess without impinging on the actual mechanics of play.
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Old 09-19-2015, 11:21 AM   #19
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

I've always wanted to try playing a game where the queens can move like knights, too. Or maybe every Nth move. That would be wacky.
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Old 09-19-2015, 11:24 AM   #20
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

A thematic tournament with super gms where the super drawish lines are mandated, but draws are worthless (0-0 score for any draw, normal 1-0 score for decisive games) could be fun to watch. It'd be interesting to see how they play the exchange french or the berlin or whatever when a draw is the same as a loss. How do they breathe life into such openings?
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Old 09-19-2015, 11:25 AM   #21
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

Great idea. The Berlin can be pretty rich.
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Old 09-19-2015, 11:36 AM   #22
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rei Ayanami View Post
This is chess, not checkers.
I am not very familiar with high-level checkers, but the idea of randomizing the open moves (from among a collection of reasonable openings) is, to me, more interesting than chess960 (or this proposal).

Also there are a lot of really interesting games in the Berlin.
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Old 09-25-2020, 04:23 AM   #23
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

We should be so lucky.

The world of chess was a better place when Art Bisguier was the only strong player to go into that queenless middlegame. Actually had a line prepped for him but could never bring myself to play 1.e4 and head into the miasma. Stuck to 1.d4 instead and lost twice that way.
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Old 09-29-2020, 01:32 AM   #24
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

necromancy
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Old 10-04-2020, 03:49 AM   #25
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Re: Is Banning the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Wall Feasible?

I don't play it but I did a reasonable book preparation for computer play and white is doing fine.
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