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Ruy Lopez

  • Last updated on 8/31/14, 1:55 AM.

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Opening: Ruy Lopez (Spanish)
ECO: C60
ECO Variations: C60 - C99
Type: King's Pawn Game
PGN: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5
FEN:  r1bqkbnr/pppp1ppp/2n5/1B2p3/4P3/5N2/PPPP1PPP/RNBQK2R b KQkq - 3 3

The Ruy Lopez (also known as the Spanish Opening) is a chess opening beginning with the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5. While this opening was first noted in the Gottingen Manuscript around 1490, it is named after Ruy López de Segura, a 16th century Spanish priest who published a book on chess in 1561. His book, Libro del Ajedrez, included analysis of the opening which would later bear his name.

The first ever recorded modern chess game with Ruy Lopez opening was in 1803 between Hermann Victor Hesse and an unknown player ended 1-0. Several notable games include:

  1. Lasker vs Capablanca, 1914 (1-0)
  2. Capablanca vs Marshall, 1918 (1-0)
  3. Tal vs Hjartarson, 1987 (1-0)
  4. Kasparov vs Karpov, 1990 (1-0)
  5. Shiven vs Pruijssers, 2011 (1/2 - 1/2)

The Ruy Lopez is regarded as one of white's best attempts to achieve an advantage in double king-pawn openings and is popular with both beginners and experienced players. It is commonly seen in games played at the grandmaster level.

The key is to put pressure on the e5 pawn quickly. However, after 3...a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. Nxe5 white gets into trouble with 5...Qd4! 

This is why White's 5th move in this, The Exchange Variation, is usually 0-0 or sometimes d4. The great thing about the Ruy Lopez is that Black doesn't have to play 3. ... a6 and White doesn't have to exchange if he does! The Lopez is a complex maze of opening possibilities and deeply analyzed variations that you could play your whole life and never get to the bottom of.  

The standard, accepted main line of the Ruy Lopez is: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 0-0 9. h3 and here, where Black picks his strategy to counter the impending d4 push by White in the center, the further course of the game is determined.

Ruy Lopez is regarded as the most frequent opening by the Chessmaster Grandmaster Edition database. The 18 steps of Ruy Lopez is 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Be6 10. d4 Bxb3 11. axb3 exd4 12. cxd4 d5 13. e5 Ne4 14. Nc3 f5 15. exf6 Nxf6 16. Bg5 b4 17. Na4 Ne4 18 Bxe7 Nxe7 which can be shown below.


Note that after 4. Ba4 Nf6, the variation is called Morphy Defence (C77), after 5. O-O Be7, the variation is called Closed System (C84) and after 9. h3 Be6 the variation is called Kholmov Variation (C92).Enjoy!


  • 6 years ago · Quote · #121


    Great opening!

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #122


    i think if handled properly white has a big advantage in the ruy lopez opening.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #123


    so niceCool

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #124


    the A6 pawn  is interesting bcs it work as a reverse phychology ..the black trying to tell white  ..'run away dont eat my knight bcs it is protecting the pawn !' but in his mind ...take my knight!

      this is bcs the light square bshop can be threatening if attacking on f7 which is king weakest square and  create much trouble for black most of the game if it sit on diagnol of f7 .so black will be happy to trade knight with bshop.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #125


    O geez!I have been doing it wrong the whole time!?

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #126


    Qd4 is the best way to regain the pawn. 1...Qg5?? is a move that does nothing.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #127


    many a time it happens

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #128


    i like this move oii think i can start to mke this my opening until i fine domething better

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #129


    Ruy Lopez is very aggresive. It also needs to be played accurately otherwise your attack is nothing. Smile

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #130


    I always do this opening, i think. Its really helpful.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #131


    good,i use it a lot

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #132


    king's gambit is greater i think

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #133


    Interesting opening. It's used very often by the people I play...

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #134


    What is the best reply to 5...Kxe4?
  • 5 years ago · Quote · #135



  • 5 years ago · Quote · #136


    Hey ho everybody! Plz comment on my forums!! You will find that they r really interesting topics, so plz comment! I want to know your opinion!

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #137


    ruy lopez opening is my first opening in first rating tournament

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #138


    my Dad used to win most all the matches I played him as a kid, but the tables are turned! I win 8 of 10 now.
  • 5 years ago · Quote · #139


    It's not difficult position for Black, he can play  Nd2 defending his attacked Knight.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #140


    Me Lovvveeess Z Lopez Tongue out

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