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!


  • 9 years ago · Quote · #1


    thats really nice to know i have used it a few times and i like it
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #2


    Now I get it.


  • 9 years ago · Quote · #3


    Now I know why the light colored Bishop should not take Black's Knight at c6.
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #4


    ah this brings it back! i think this is one of the 1st openings most chess beginers learn,it was the 1st one i studdied in any depth. it may be an idea to study something off the beaten track,to confuse and complicate matters for your opponent. obviously this is posted to interest the novices and people new to the game.Wink
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #5


    Black can also exploit White's mistake in another way:

     This is also very dangerous for White.

  • 9 years ago · Quote · #6


    I prefer the Giuoco Piano rather than the Ruy Lopez. For people who don't know no the Giuoco Piano it starts off like this                                                                                           

    1. e4 e5
    2. Nf3 Nc6
    The starting position of the Giuoco Piano

    3. Bc4 Bc5

  • 9 years ago · Quote · #7


    Also known as the Spanish Torture.

    And 5...Qg5 is not the best way to regain the pawn because of 6. Nf3 Qxg2 7. Rg1 Qh3 8. d4 Bg4 9. Rg3 Qh5  where White can castle Queenside and attack the enemy Kingside.


  • 9 years ago · Quote · #8


    this helps alot


  • 9 years ago · Quote · #9


    Yup-very dangeourous.White can castle or take the knight.I do not know that opening.Teach me.Thnx.
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #10


    "This opening is commonly called the Spanish Game outside of English speaking countries"


    hmm... it seems odd to me that, specifically in countries where they don't speak English, the would use English to describe a chess opening.



  • 9 years ago · Quote · #11


    Akuni, how did you put the smaller board in your post? if i want to put a board position, it becomes a big one like Eugene's.
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #12


    Murshid, when you are inserting a board, clik "next", "next", ... , enter moves, or pgn-file, etc. and there will be a "board size" option in the right-hand corner of the window.
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #13


    this opening is definitely good for white

  • 9 years ago · Quote · #14


    I don't really understand why it's important... can somone explain? But it's interesting, so I'll try it on dad.
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #15


    no offense but all white has 2 do is move knight 2 g4
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #16


     Ruy Lopez is the best for me...

  • 9 years ago · Quote · #17


    As a beginner i luv's a good openning..and yeah i've learnt it as A spanish Gm.


  • 9 years ago · Quote · #18


    But I think the opening compromises white's development.
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #19


    i have deleloped a different variation to the spanish opening and it goes thus: yo, pedro, dos san miguel por favor!
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #20


    "no offense but all white has 2 do is move knight 2 g4" - Greatness


    Ng4 would be answered by ...Bxg4. 

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