Common Lines in the Ruy Lopez

Common Lines in the Ruy Lopez

Jun 15, 2012, 4:36 AM |

The Ruy Lopez - StartingĀ Position

Above is the starting position of one of the most popular openings in chess, the Ruy Lopez. This position is reached by playing the moves

From here, there are a number of possible variations. Let's take a look at some of the most popular.

1)BerlinĀ Defense The Berlin Defense is reached if Black plays Nf6 on his third move. It gained a great deal of popularity after Vladimir Kramnik used it in his victory over Garry Kasparov in their match for the World Championship. Known for being very solid, the Berlin Defense is often used as a weapon for drawing as Black by strong players who are familiar with the key lines.

2)SteinitzĀ Defense

The Steinitz Defense (3. ... d6) was popularized by the first World Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz. While it is solid, it leaves Black with a passive position, making it an unpopular defense in modern play.


The Bird Defense (3. ... Nd4) is an offbeat try for Black that can sometimes surprise an unprepared White player. However, after 4. Nxd4 exd4, White will usually emerge with a small advantage due to having the better pawn structure.