Why I didn't play naturally In The Ruy Lopez

Why I didn't play naturally In The Ruy Lopez

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Hey all! 

welcome back to another tournament game of mine, today we're looking at my 7th ever tournament game where I played on the white side of a ruy lopez and struggled to find effective plans and let a win slip!

Before we get into the game, if you would rather see this in video form, check out my YouTube channel!

Now that we have that out of the way, let's get into the game!

This is the first point where I would like to pause the position and talk about what's going on. White has a few plans here and so does black. White's plans involve playing d4, playing Nbd2-f1-g3 and going for a kingside attack as well as playing for pawn breaks like a4 or f4 to gain more space. Here I faltered with the move Nbd2 which although not a terrible move, it isn't as critical as the direct move d4 going for more central control. But doesn't it look like there's a pawn hanging?

turns out the pawn on e4 is poisoned! this is a very important tactical theme to know about that pops up a lot in the ruy lopez.

Continuing on with the game, the next mistake comes from not understanding central control in a different way.

In this position there's only really one serious choice, that's the move d5 gaining a ton of central control and continuing on with the most common plan of the ruy lopez, take the center, close it, attack on the flanks and prove that blacks lack of space is disadvantageous. But here I made a crucial mistake which was the start of the turning of the tides.

Surprisingly black has a knock out blow here, but it's a tricky one!

Of course my opponent ended up missing it which is totally understandable.

This is where I think the game goes sour, although still fine according to an engine, the plan I come up with in this position is not practical, instead, playing for Nf5 and Qf3 to slightly improve all of the pieces is a much better use of my resources here. The plan I came up with in the game was a waste of time, to target the b5 pawn via Nf1-d2-b1-a3?

The all natural Nxe4 is actually a blunder! Try to find out why:

and white wins quickly!

A sour move to end off a sour game, I touched the rook and before I realized the knight was hanging I was forced into a situation of touch move, not to say the position was already miserable though!

All in all, I think the most important thing I took from this game was the importance of maintaining a central advantage in the ruy lopez, while also not wasting time like I did in the end of the game by moving my knight around the board for a plan that wasn't even necessarily that great...

Thank you to all who have made it this far! See you all wednesday