Ruy Lopez

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The Ruy Lopez
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 black knight
b5 white bishop
e5 black pawn
e4 white pawn
f3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
h1 white rook
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66
55
44
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22
11
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The position after 3.Bb5

The Ruy Lopez, also called the Spanish Opening, is an old chess opening. It is named after the Spanish priest Ruy López de Segura. He may have invented the opening. These are the opening moves:

  • 1. e4 e5
  • 2. Nf3 Nc6
  • 3. Bb5

The Ruy Lopez is one of the most common and well-liked openings. There are many ways to play it. It has always been popular in master chess. White's idea is to try and undermine the center by attacking the knight with his bishop. However, White will not be always able to win a pawn immediately:

  • 3... a6
  • 4.Bxc6 dxc6
  • 5.Nxe5 Qd4 recovers the pawn.

For this reason White usually plays a longer-term strategy, starting with:

  • 3... a6
  • 4. Ba4 Nf6
  • 5. 0-0

Here, Black has two main options. Black can either play with an open center, with 5... Nxe4 or play a closed, positional game with 5... Be7. These openings are called the Open Ruy Lopez and the Closed Ruy Lopez.

Closed Variation[change | change source]

The closed variation of the Ruy Lopez comes after these moves:

  1. e4 e5
  2. Nf3 Nc6
  3. Bb5 Nf6
  4. 0-0 Be7

This line leads to a closed pawn structure. White's idea will be to break open the center with d4. Play typically continues:

  • 5. Re1, defending the pawn on e4
  • 5... b5, kicking the Bishop back even farther and preventing White from capturing the knight. If White had taken the knight, then the e5 pawn could be taken.
  • 6. Bb3 0-0
  • 7. c3

These are the main moves for White. However, White can also play 7. h3 or 7. a4. These moves are played in order to avoid the Marshall Variation.




  • ECO code: C60–C99. ECO is the Encyclopaedia of chess openings.