Beginners Query re Ruy Lopez


Hi Folks

I believe in Ruy Lopez, one of the White's aims is to pressure Blacks pawn on e5

why doesnt Black defend the pawn with 3 d4?




In many lines, the pawn on e5 is not quite takable without wiping out the advantage of the 1st move and the initiative/space advantages White usually gets in the long main lines starting with 3...a6. Often the pawn will go to d6. But to do it right away, gives up a lot of potential and lets White have a freer game with minimal opportunities for Black to counterpunch.


3... d6 is ok, just a little passive.


Despite the Ruy being over 400 years old, its still a fun and versatile opening. Black certainly can play 3... d6 (but not 3... d4 as that is an illegal move).

Lately, I've been seeing black adopting the Bird's defense against the Ruy more often, which is a bit of a fun twist to the same old story


yes, sorry, I meant d6 

thanks guys



It seems odd, with all the theory and decades of GM practice, but if Black responds to 4 d4 with ...Bd7, he has a perfectly playable game.  It will be a passive defense for the most part - as Steinitz played with virtuosity - but Black has no weaknesses and should be able to defend.


3...d6 can also easily transpose into a variation of Philidor's Defense, which is also playable but passive. 3...a6 followed by 4...d6 is The Modern Steinitz Defense which is an improvement over The Old Steinitz Defense with 3...d6.