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!


  • 8 years ago · Quote · #81


    Ruy Lopez is actually a very flawed opening

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #82


    ahh now i understand y i keep losin lol

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #83


    Thanks guys, I like to use this and it's good to hear what you others had to say about it as well...actually learned a couple things in one post :)

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #84


    excuse my lack of understanding with algebraic coordinates, but the white knight on the right side of the board doesn't have to take the king's pawn.  By stacking the pawns with the capture of white's bishop against black's knight creates a success for white in itself.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #85


    Try 5...Q-D4 forking the night and pawn.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #86


    actually ı love that favourite but giuoco piano took my interest also.ı gonna try ıt

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #87


    nice tactics it helps...

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #88


    Ng4 would be a better move actually....nice murshid :)
  • 8 years ago · Quote · #89


    Just showing the thing in an easier way to understand.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #90



       this is a practice in how to insert a comment

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #91


    I play it!

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #92


    its a good opening, but just take care on making your move....

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #93


    This opening is very common in my games.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #94


    I think  Ruy Lopez or Spanish opening is an aggresive opening.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #95


    Ruy Lopez is good for black if the white captures Knight on c6. But certainly, Guicco Piano is better because one mistake and rook is gone!

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #96


    maybe d4 to protect the knight and threat the queen with bishop would be good... am I right?

    what do you think?

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #97


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #98


    eugen wrong d4 gards N and attacks Q

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #99


    beautiful variations, thanks guys

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #100


    could have given it more clearly

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