The Ruy Lopez Exchange - 5.0-0 Variation

| 8 | Opening Theory

Now let's take a look at another variation, 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb4 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5.0-0. This variation was employed by one of the greatest chess players ever, Robert James Fischer. After 5.0-0 the threat Nxe5 becomes real. Because after the move sequence 5....say Bc5 6.Nxe5 Qd4 7.Nf3 Qxe4 8. Re1 wins the queen as it is pinned to the king. So now black must defend his pawn, a topic covered previously in the Keres Variation 5. Nc3. There are three variations after 5.0-0. They are:

5...f6 (Gligoric Variation) most common


5...Qd6 (Bronstein Variation)

The third option is considered slightly inferior, so i have decided not to go in detail about, the ideas are similar as in the keres variation explained in the previous articel. There is also a dubious-looking move, 5...Nf6?! which does not defend the e-pawn but instead counterattacks white's pawn. Let's see why this move is not to black's advantage.


So black ends up losing his knight.











Let's start with 5...f6 - the Gligoric Variation. Now, we should be positive that since white's plans is to trade down pieces to reach a favourable ending, that again white's best responce is 6.d4. The only way for white to trade pieces is to open lines giving him tactical possibilities to do so. After, 6.d4 black has two main options, both offering black good chances to draw, or if white plays carelessly even a win. Those are 6...Bg4 and the obvious 6...exd4. Lets examine the second option first. After 6...exd4, the best way to capture the pawn is with the knight. 7.Nxd4 even though 7.Qxd4 is also playable but puts white in a slightly worse condtion. Take a look at the following diagram:

5...f6 has proven itself a good move for black.












5...Bg4 can lead to the alapin gambit, and is also a good continuation, for black.



















There is also a clever draw to be obtained as we shall in the following game.





















I have not decided to comment on the game as it follows the main line (which i have already explained), I have just posted it on the article to show the plans and the moves after the opening.











Generally the gligoric variation leads to interesting usually entangled positions, but with correct play the minimal advantage white enjoys at the start will not be transformed into victory without correct play.



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