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!


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #101


    It is one of my favourite opening.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #102


    I don't normally play e4 games, but I did rather well in a Lopez tournament recently because I am beginning to understand the concept/idea behind the opening.  Thanks for the tip.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #103


    I don't think so, what if the guy using Ruy Lopez opening was Kasparuv?

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #104


    that one is a good  openning

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #105


    Not that I would fall for the trap a second time to do this, but I think that Greatness has a point...6.Ng4 Bxg4 7.Qxg4  doesn't look that bad.  You now have your queen out too, but at least it is protecting the e4 pawn.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #106


    The exchange variation works perfectly, just play 5. 0-0 or 5. Nc3 or d3

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #107


    Why doesn't black take the knight with his b-pawn? It conserves the d-pawn for center control.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #108


    the ruy lopez the scotch and the giuoco piano are all good openings also the Italian opening all these incorporate the same basic moves another one is the four knights game these are all good to learn as both white and black pieces one of the first i have learned was the early bishops or bishops opening well for the most part anyway all of these well help you learn i mean its good to know them that way you can transpose from one to the other.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #109


    The Giuoco Piano is definetely the more effective one

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #110


    What stops the Ruy Lopez: Berlin Variation? Also, to reply to K3bool's question, I like the Giuoco Piano better, although there was a period of time when I preferred the Ruy Lopez. I really like the Evan's Gambit ( 4. b4 ).

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #111


    I like the Ruy Lopez, it is a knee-jerk response for me against Black. But that Bb5 always bothers me. When one pushes the bishop too far you lose material, when you retreat to a4 when the pawn descends you lose tempo


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #112


    Interesting thanks. 

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #113


    This is one of my top openings in my opening repertoire, among the King's and Queen's Gambit. Ba4 Nf6 0-0 Be7 Re1 is a better continuation.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #114


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #115


    Its a very fine opening and the middle game is reached pretty soon and possibly with lesser complications. I like this opening a lot.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #116


    The main line...

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #117



  • 7 years ago · Quote · #118


    In my experience (humble as that might be) it is not generally a good idea for white to trade bishops for knights so early.  It can of course be advantageous later on but bishops are great for developing an attacks on any part of the board whereas knights cannot move as far.  I don't know.  I like to play E4 but I have always thought that the Lopez is an impatient and over aggressive opening for white. 

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #119


    Another more dangerous variation of this is 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Bc5 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. Nxe5 Qd4. In this variation, black not only attacks the Knight and Pawn, but is also threatening mate on f2.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #120


    Previously i used Qd4 but now i m also confident with Qg5.Thk u ver much

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